Sunday, March 13, 2011
On this Sunday, I'd like to give you a little more Foxy, so here's Chapter Two of Foxy's Tale. Enjoy!
“Higher,” says Foxy.
She points to the brick front of the old building just above the storefront windows. “Just a little higher.”
Two men grunt as they hoist up a wide sign that says Second Chances in elegant, raised, gold letters.
Foxy nods and smiles. “Perfect. Right there.”
One of the men starts to fasten it down with a cord free drill.
Foxy holds her arms up as if to stop them. “No! Wait! Drop it just a bit, please.” They sigh, but do what she asks. “How’s that?” yells down the bearded man.
She puts her hands on her hips and tilts her head back and forth. She just can’t decide. Higher or lower? She’s been at this sign raising for over thirty minutes now, and she knows these kind men are becoming very annoyed with her. If only opening a business were as easy as buying a new pair of Jimmy Choos. “Ah, sugar!” she shouts, stamping a foot and looking around for guidance. “Where is Amanda? She said she would help me with this.”
“Lady,” calls down the bearded man. “We got another job to do today.”
“Fine.” She looks defeated. “Leave it there. Thank you! You two gentlemen have been so kind.” They set the screws, release the ropes from a pulley and climb down from their scaffolding.
She’s open for business. Foxy Anders, owner of Second Chances, the newest shop in the second oldest building smack in the middle of the chic district of DuPont Circle, Washington, DC.
“What’re ya’ll gonna sell in there, lady?” asks the other workman, a scruffy southern boy with wild red hair and rosy cheeks.
“Dreams of better days,” says Foxy. She flashes a bright smile. She’s pretty and she knows it, has always known it. Until four months ago she’d never had any reason to question the power of that beauty. Then all hell broke loose. It was in the newspapers, on the TV, everywhere she went. Her former football star husband turned sportscaster had been caught with a twenty-something “hostess” (the media loved to put quotes around the word “hostess”) from L.A. Not only caught, but caught naked, the two of them going at it like swine in the fountain at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. To Broadway show tunes the hotel pipes in, for God’s sake. Handsome, charming Pete Anders – Foxy’s second mistake.
“Yeah,” the workman tells her. “I guess everyone dreams of better days.” He looks beyond Foxy and asks, “What do think, Buzz?”
A stranger standing just behind Foxy says, “Looks good.” and Foxy turns to see a tall, sandy-haired man in jeans and a dress shirt open at the neck. He’s grinning and about to shake Foxy’s hand. And he’s too good looking for Foxy to deny this to him.
“Oh,” she says, “Foxy Anders, new to the neighborhood.”
“Buzz Vance,” he says, and shakes her hand for a moment longer than necessary. “I see you’re using some of my subs. Hope they’re treating you okay.”
“Oh they’ve been just terrific. And I need all the help I can get. This is new to me. I’ve never had to fix up a store before.”
“Well if there’s anything you need help with just give me a holler. I’m working on a house down the block right now.”
“Are you a contractor?
“Well, contractor, architect, builder, a little of anything you might need.” He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a business card. Foxy likes the sound of this but …
The two men pack up their tools and haul them into the back of a battered, dusty pickup. They’ll be around for another few weeks until all of the inside work is finished. But that’s it for today and Foxy stands at the door to her new store.
Above them, from the second floor, a teenage girl stares down from the far left of three windows that face the street. She watches the men prepare to leave. Her big gray eyes appear half their size, weighed down by a heavy dose of black eyeliner. She carelessly slides a slender silver hoop earring into one earlobe hole. Above it she has already placed a series of studs into piercings that follow the curve of her ear like a crescent.
Surrounding her are half-opened, unpacked boxes, clothes strewn here and there, shoes piled in one corner. The rumpled bed is unmade, the closet door open to a mass of hangers and tangles of more clothes. Books dot the room like fallen leaves, scattered in random patterns, as if blown in from outside.
She shrugs and moves away from the window to sit at a small desk cluttered with the detritus of her teenaged life. She stares at a computer screen and taps her fingers absently on a book called Daughter of Darkness. She jiggles the mouse and the screen lights up on the blog she just that morning created. A field of black behind a gray page mottled like some river stone. At the top, the header says Amanda’s Life in Hell. She thinks this is heartfelt and heavy, a fitting title for the place where she can pour out all her complaints against the world as she sees it. Her slender, young fingers, with rings on almost every one, nails coated shiny black, rest lightly on the keyboard.
Day One (she types)
We’re here. The new home. If you can call it that. I have to walk up a flight of stairs just to get to our apartment. It’s not even our house totally. She’s going to rent out apartments, and we’re right on a busy street in the middle of town so you can hear the people and cars and buses all day and all night. It’s . . .
She stops for a moment and looks at what she has written. Then she backspaces, deleting everything.
Day One (she writes again)
I hate my mom.