Stuck In Estrogen’s Funhouse Excerpt
Coming out of the bathroom I growled, “Failed! Who fails a pregnancy test?” I mean yeah, I’d knew you could get a positive or a negative result, sure, but failing it? I sighed in dismay while I stared at the test. I had recently chosen to stop taking the birth control shot due to the rise in contraception prices. Bar tending, while being a very entertaining job, didn’t do much for health costs. So, Spencer and I were now playing the lottery as to the issue of having kids or not. But I had only missed my shot by a month. There was no way that I could be pregnant. Not yet.
Still, I haven’t been feeling like myself lately. Instead I’ve felt tired. And moody, as my husband, Spencer, likes to put it.
“How’s that even possible, Hun?” He asked coming over to wrap his arms around me.
“I didn’t even manage to pee on the freakin’ stick.” I held up a dry pregnancy test to show him, before shoving it back in the box with the cap reattached. Then I walked over to the bed, and fell backwards, onto my back. “Seriously, who fails a pregnancy test? That is idiotic.”
“That’s my baby.” Spencer said. I could swear I heard pride in his voice, which amused me. He fell on top of me, pinning me to the bed, he was a good fifty pounds heavier than me, so I flinched slightly before the warm tingle of desire shot throughout my body.
“I am glad you take pride in the fact that I failed an un-failable test.” I remarked, once I caught my breath. He had me pinned down so the only thing I could do was stretch out my neck and kiss him on his nose.
He kissed me on the forehead. “Take it again later today.”
“I can’t. You’re supposed to take it with first morning urine; or, in my case, as soon as you get out of bed. We’ll have to wait till tomorrow night.” I sighed.
“Well then, not much we can do about that.” And with that he started kissing me hard, bringing back the arousal I felt a few minutes ago. I kissed him back, also full of longing. Every inch of my body wanted more from him. And he complied.
After a few minutes of intense kissing, his lips moved from my lips down to the left side of my neck, and my head fell back in pleasure. I opened my eyes to look down at my husband as he kissed my neck and slid his hands under my nightgown. As I raised my head to look at him, my eyes caught sight of an annoying electronic, black box with red numbers sitting on my dresser. I wanted to mash it up with a sledgehammer. Instead I screamed: “Crap!” The rush of ecstasy I got from making out with my husband was gone, leaving me breathless.
I stared at the clock, which stared back at me, and continued to inform me that it was already 9:30. Usually I woke up earlier, around five, so that I had time to eat and play before work. However, thanks to the exhaustion I’ve felt lately, I’ve been sleeping closer and closer to the time I am required to go into work.
“What?” Spencer asked, pulling away from me.
“It’s 9:30. I have to be at work at ten. I’ve got ten minutes to get ready and get out the door.” Lucky for me, my work was within ten minutes of my house- not including stop lights- which don’t count because they are only slow when you need to be somewhere on time. Unfortunately for me, the public parking spots always filled up at the club, so I always tried to get there before the customers started parking in the employee parking lot. There were a few nights where I had gotten there too late and I had to park over in the Starbuck’s employee lot instead.
“I don’t want to stop.” Spencer complained to me in his lower-pitched voice that I recognized as his I’m-turned-on voice. It sent warm tingles down my spine. Despite his complaining though, he still rolled over, freeing me from his grasp.
“We’ll continue when I get home.”
“I told your dad I would help him instal Linux tomorrow morning.”
“Right. Ok, well we’ll have to continue later then.” I said, jumping off the bed and running to our closet and picking out a purple tank top, and my black sequined tank top to go on top of that. I picked out a pair of my boyfriend-cut jeans and put on my closed-toe black high heels. I threw my hair into a ponytail, which luckily looked more like I meant to have it look tasseled than it looked like I didn’t have time to comb it because I had been making out with my husband. I grabbed my car keys before turning back to Spencer to say good-bye. “I should be home by four or so.”
“Good luck, Love.” He said, kissing me as I ran out of the door and down the apartment’s stairs to my car.
“So, do you know yet?” Crystal demanded as I clocked in and took my spot behind the bar.
“Know?” I feigned ignorance, though I had a feeling I knew what she was talking about. Crystal and I have been friends for years, and our working together for the last seven years, meant there wasn’t much in my life that escaped her notice.
“Are you pregnant?!” She squeal-whispered in my ear.
“I don’t know. I am a week late now, but I failed the dumb pregnancy test.”
“So you aren’t pregnant then?”
“I told you I don’t know. I failed it.”
“Yeah, you said that. But if it is negative then you didn’t fail it, you just didn’t get a positive.”
“No, I failed it Crys, I mean, I didn’t even manage to pee on the stupid tiny stick.”
At this, Crystal fell into complete hysteria. “Wow. I guess you really did fail the test. That’s sad, Marti.” She said when she re-gained control.
“Yea. Thanks.” I said, washing my hands and checking to see how many bottles of beer we had in the refrigerator. “Will you go to the back and grab some more Bud Lites? We’ll be out by ten thirty with this stock.”
“I mean, seriously, who fails a pregnancy test?” Crystal asked me, echoing my own thoughts. She never answered me, but she did leave the bar and go towards the back so I assumed she had heard me. That was just the way Crystal was.
“I already know I’m pathetic. This is just proof.” I commented when she returned with a new case of Bud Lite. “You look tired.”
“I worked this morning too. Open to close.”
“Poor girl. My cell phone company will cut me off if I don’t pay them this month. And it’ll cost a heckofalotta cash to get my phone reactivated.”
“You’d do better if you worked both shifts on Friday. Ladies night is always good for tips.”
“Yeah, I got that scheduled too.”
“You are insane.”
“I told you, I am broke. I need the money. Besides, we have a good gig, you and I. Get to dress up all snazzy without needing uniforms. You remember working at Applebee’s, don’t you?”
“Yeah…” I said, thinking about the days when I used to work at Applebee’s for the first time in months. I had been working at Flash Point since I turned 23, and I didn’t miss Applebee’s at all. I was paid crap compared to what I make now. Though, there were a few shining moments I’ll never forget. The popcorn bowl incident among them.
It had been kid’s night, and Crystal and I were both working, as usual. I had just been seated- that’s waiter-speak for “assigned”- a table of eight teenagers, which was about the worst table a waitress who wants to make money can be sat. Crystal, however, had a table of four kids and three parents. One of the kids, apparently, was allergic to potatoes and so his mother had provided him with a bowl of popcorn instead of fries.
“Popcorn? For real?” I asked Crystal, after she had told me about the odd substitution. I glanced over at table 98 in the corner. “That is definitely different.” I noted, not sure what exactly to say. “Why popcorn?”
“Apparently it’s what the kid will eat. Although, the other kids sit there and watch him eating popcorn instead of eating their own food. They are jealous of the boy and keep asking for ‘just one more piece’ of the boy’s popcorn. The popcorn bowl keeps getting passed around so that the other kids will eat their own food too.”
“Huh,” was all I said. I mean, really, what do you say to something like that? Instead of commenting further, I told Crystal that I had to go check on my ‘table from Hell’ and went to do just that. After I had taken the eight-top’s orders and got them into the Point of Sale (or POS) machine, I went back to folding silverware.
“What do you mean it’s empty?” I heard a voice scream above all of the other voices in the restaurant. I looked up from my silverware folding and saw that Crystal’s table in the back, table 98, had been the one that caused the uproar. The mother was standing up and leaning over the little boy, trying to soothe him. I put down my silverware and walked over to the right hand area so I could see what was happening. I couldn’t hear the mother, who was trying her best to keep her child quiet, but I could hear the child just fine.
“It was my popcorn!” he yelled, not giving over to his mother’s soothing voice. “They can have french fries. I can’t. They shouldn’t have ate it!” He continued to yell, pounding his fists on the table.
Crystal bypassed me and went up to the table. “Can do to help?”
The mother sighed and it looked like she was saying that the kid ran out of his popcorn. As if the whole restaurant did not already know that.
The boy was in near hysterics. “I want my p- p- p-popcorn!” he screamed, beginning to cry. He was still pounding his fists on the table. About a minute later he decided that since his popcorn was gone, and nobody was refilling it, he would punish the kid that had finished his popcorn. He picked up the now-empty ceramic bowl and threw it toward the popcorn thief. Said ‘thief’ ducked from the flying bowl, and the bowl went right over his head, hitting the elderly lady sitting behind them right in the temple.
The old lady slumped over the table and Crystal immediately left the distraught mother and went to check on the old lady. Sage, our manager, also came onto the scene; and about ten minutes later, the old lady was conscious once more. I imagine she had one hell of a headache, but she was once again awake. She got her meal on the house, as well as a free gift card for next time, but she still didn’t look too happy after being knocked out with the popcorn bowl.
“Marti, are you going to see what that guy wants or what?” Crystal asked me. It was then that I noticed the club had opened and I’d been lost in my memories. “I’m supposed to go out and do rounds.” Doing rounds meant taking a tray of shots out and selling them to people who were sitting at the tables instead of dancing.
“Yeah, I got it. You go and do rounds.” I slid over to the far side of the counter where a young gentleman had just taken his seat as Crystal took the tray of shots and hip-bumped me on her way to the floor.
“What can I get for you?” I asked the young man when I reached the far end.
“A Tom Collins, please.”
I automatically reached for a highball glass and filled it with ice before pouring the gin, lemon juice and sugar into my shaker. As I shook it, I made conversation with the young man. He had to have just turned twenty-one. He had the cutest baby face in the world, with not even a hint of facial hair. His hair was straight, blonde and kind of reminded me of a Californian surfer. His baby blue eyes just completed the look, making him look harmless and adorable. Not cute adorable… actually, I had to admit he was kind of sexy-adorable. “I haven’t seen you here before. You here with anyone?”
“My friend, Dan, is supposed to be here. We just finished our finals. He should be here anytime.”
“So you’re a college student?”
“Upper-Grad. I’m studying photography: he’s in the medical field.” When he spoke there was a twinkle in his eye. It was, of course, adorable.
“Wow. Photography, eh? Own your own studio?”
“That’s the plan. For now I work for my sister. Glamorous, I know.”
“Older or younger?”
“Older. I don’t think I could stand working for my younger sister.”
I poured the mixture I had been shaking into the highball glass, and then I poured some club soda on top of it before topping it with an orange slice and a cherry. “Your Tom Collins.” I said, sliding the glass to him.
He took a gulp and grinned. “That’s gotta be the best Tom Collins I’ve ever tasted. Thanks.” He said, grinning.
“Well, it’s not free.” I laughed.
“Oh, I know. I just didn’t expect this to be so delicious.’
“You doubt my ability to make drinks. You don’t even know me. If you think you can do better, then you should apply and become a bar-tender.” I was miffed that a complete stranger had doubted my ability to make drinks. Logically, I know that he couldn’t have known how long I’d been bar-tending, but it still made me mad.
“No! I wasn’t doubting your skill. I trust that if you have the job you’ve been properly trained and know how to mix a drink. I didn’t expect too much because you didn’t seem to be paying much attention to the drink while you were making it. Your Tom Collins is by far the best I’ve ever had. Do all of your drinks taste this good?”
“I’d like to think so.” I said. “And I’m a woman, multitasking comes second nature. Would you like to start up a tab?”
I headed over to the POS machine and turned to face him. “Your name?”
“Huh?” He stirred his Tom Collins and stared at me blankly.
“Your name, so I can tell which one is your tab.”
“Oh, yeah, it’s, um, Erik. With a K.”
I raised my eyebrows as I typed “Erik” into the computer. “Um, Erik with a K huh?” I asked.
“Erik!” a guy with a five o’ clock shadow yelled over the noise as he came up to the bar. “I see you’ve met Marti! Ain’t she the greatest? Makes the best drinks this side of Manhattan! Gimme a naked nipple, Marti.”