Thursday, May 7, 2015

Coming Soon: Brenda's Bounty

Brenda was on her third shot of Patron, and not really understanding why that memory had presented itself so freshly upon her getting home.  All she knew was that she needed to drive it out right now. It had been her first lesson in love. Only she had been too young to understand what it meant.

“Brennie Ann. .”  Brenda started in the heavily accented way her mother used to say it. “I should’ve told you, what trouble men will make ‘or ye. The greatest disservice I ev’r did to ye was ‘ot ‘elling you what a bleedin bastard yor father was for ‘eavin us till I died.”

Her mother hadn’t lived for much longer after that night. She had been near the end when the doctor relegated her to bed rest.  Instantly her gaggle of sisters that hadn’t been able to stand Anthony Margiani had not hesitated to come to their sister’s bedside. Each and every one of them, Aunt Sarabelle, Josephine, Margery and Carolyn had come to Willie’s home and stayed to make their sister as comfortable as possible as they took care of house and the child that Tony Margiani had left behind.

Brenda shivered as she remembered the last days.  Her mother had wept and called out for Anthony.  The pain from what she was experiencing had rendered her nearly mad.  Aunt Carrie had started feeding her shots of liquor to try and ease it.  But even that was eventually not enough.  Those last days she couldn’t be consoled and the whole time she had yelled the one phrase over and over again. “Tony, I ‘ought ye loved me, ‘ow could ye ‘eave me to do this alone. Our Brennie, take care of Brennie.”

Her aunt Margie would hold her in her lap rocking her and whispering in her ear the whole time. “Don’t mind ‘er love. She’s ‘ust upset. It’ll be o’er soon.” Her aunts Margie, Carrie, Sara and Josie took turns staying with her mother or staying with her. She could always feel the wetness from their tears falling into the mop of her hair. 

Brenda quickly poured herself another shot and hit it.  She let the liquid burn making her ice blue eyes water.  At least she told herself that was why her eyes watered.  Brenda hadn’t cried over anything in over 10 years.  Not something she was proud of, just a fact. 

She had spent so many years crying, over her mother, over her jilted at the alter status, over years and years of trying to please a man that only saw his failure in the eyes of his daughter. It had taken her father 2 years after the death of her mother to actually come back to Wales for her.  By then she was the community child of her four aunts, and the 6 children that were her cousins that they were also trying to raise. Her aunts were good women, but also brutal women.  Only Josie and Carrie where even still married. They spoke their mind and didn’t care who heard it or how graphic it got. They hadn’t spared Brenda’s ears over the evils of her father those years after they had bitterly buried their sister as she had jumped from house to house.

She remembered the day like it had just happened.  She had been on the streets hustling tourists.  Wasn’t something she had been proud of, but it was what all the kids were doing.  Little wharf rats they had called them. They would do bait and switch on unsuspecting travelers.  Take them through seedy neighborhoods and get them lost there. It was amazing how many people came to England looking for a waifish orphan child to swindle them. Even in the 80’s when Brenda was coming of age they expected 17th century.  She and her little crew saw opportunity and were there to deliver.

Punk rock had started to take over the airwaves and British teens and pre teens alike became rebellious and cliquish. Walking around with a chip on their shoulder and willing to thumb their noses at authority. She had been 12 years old and all bony limbs in one of her punk girl outfits.  Her favorite in fact was a red plaid school girl skirt, some torn fishnets, Doc Martens, a ripped Sid and Nancy T-Shirt and a moppish haircut like the one Chrissie Hynde wore.  All bought and paid for by her swindling money. Her aunts had gotten to the point where they didn’t ask the child how she came about these funds knowing they wouldn’t like the answer.

“Little girl, what’s your name?” the man called from the other side of the street.

She had barely glanced at him as she yelled. “Piss off,” in her roughest voice.

“Brennie..” he had called. “Brennie Ann.”

Brennie had been fine, it was the Brennie Ann that had set her off. She had turned enraged by being called that. “Sod it off old man, no one in the bleedin ‘ell calls me that any- .” she had thought to finally push her moppish bangs out of her eyes and stopped speaking as she recognized the man. “Pa,” she whispered.

He nodded down at her as he stared at her as if he couldn’t look away. “Christ you look just like her,” he whispered.

And then the rage came flooding back. “You piss’r! You left us! You left ‘er to die!” She threw herself at him trying to hit him. In her rage she only noticed after she began to get tired that he wasn’t fighting back. He was taking it; letting her rage against him.  As she wore herself out she could finally hear what he was saying.

“Mi bella, mi dispiace.” My beauty, I’m sorry.

Her rage gave way to tears as her hits became weaker and less impassioned.  He finally was able to lift her up and just hold her as she wept.

Sacramento California hadn’t been a terrible place for a teenage girl to grow up.  If you didn’t spend the whole time being a self-righteous brat.  Of course Brenda had spent most of her years with her father reminding him of what he had done wrong. Melanie, her dad’s new wife had put an end to that a few years after he had moved her there. Luckily Brenda had found the street punks in Sacramento so she always had someone to go whine too when home life became unbearable.  

But something odd happened to her when her first baby brother was born.  It had happened right there in the hospital when she had seen him for the first time.

“There he is Brennie. Your little brother, Lawrence.” She had moved her moppy bangs out of her face to stare at the bundle from the window.  He had looked so perfect, unspoiled.  She had felt this welling of hope.  It would be different for him.  She would see to it. He would be a good man, and he wouldn’t leave his family just because times got tough.  There was hope still.

It had been the same with the twins, Warren and Walter.  Each little boy represented an opportunity to build a new man.  One that would be the way they were in storybooks, and not the way they were in real life.

Brenda's Bounty Coming November 2015

Catch the 1st two books of the Series, Sandra's Social and Charlotte's Chance on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads

w/ love