The State – 1

Posted: April 1, 2013 in The State

4.

It’s a hard business, the running of an orphanage. There were so many problems to address – always issues – issues and problems. But Father didn’t mind; he had been at this game for a long time now, and he knew how to keep things in tune.

That’s not to say that he wasn’t upset this morning. “Women,” he thought to himself, immediately regretting it. Looking around to see if anyone had caught his momentary lapse into internal misogyny, Father exited his office, moving down the hall and into the dining room to see what he could do about this latest development.

Ladies, thank you for coming. Let us give thanks for the wonderful meal Sister Ann has prepared for us this morning.” Father looked around the room as the Sisters turned towards the back where Ann was placing a bowl of cut fruit onto the buffet. A few women who had started to clap, realizing that they were essentially alone in their endeavor, embarrassingly attempted to conceal their efforts. All eyes turned back towards Father at the front of the room.

Ladies. The reason we are here today, is…well…impropriety.” He paused to let his last word sink down into the consciousness of his audience. “Impropriety.”

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The State – 0

Posted: April 1, 2013 in The State

1.

Wet spots. Goddam wet spots. Jesus. Perfect.”

Mary looked up at the sign above the door. “Home for Children” was carved into a piece of blue-painted wood; faded from the years since it had been installed. She hoped that Father didn’t notice the spots. She really needed the money.

The sound of the door’s handle turning brought her back to herself. “Now or never,” she thought, affecting a smile not unlike the one that had landed her in this situation in the first place.

Mary?”

Yes, I’m…”

Come in please.”

A woman, dressed in the garb of her beliefs, led Mary into the building. Aside from her curt interruption of Mary’s introduction, the woman did not speak. She stood in the entryway and eyeballed Mary; starting with a penetrating gaze into Mary’s brown eyes, and then down, over the ample curves of Mary’s waist and belly and resting finally on the black clogs that Mary had found herself wearing recently. If the woman noticed the wet spots on Mary’s chest, she gave no indication. “Come this way please. Father is waiting.”

Mary followed the woman down the hall, hoping that Father was a bit friendlier than her current escort.

The woman stopped at a wooden door carved with four acorns; one adorning each corner of it. Mary was unsure of when such things had ever been in style on the West coast. There was a worn, wooden bench set to the right of the door. The woman indicated to Mary that she should take a seat. “Wait here please.”

Feeling thankful to be off of her feet, Mary searched her purse quickly for a tissue with which to address her leaking breasts. Before she could complete her digging, the acorn door opened wide and a strong, baritone voice said, “Mary, would you come in here?”

A man appearing roughly sixty years old was seated behind a wooden desk that was adorned with the same acorns as the portal to his office. “Please, take a seat,” he said; indicating the leather wrapped chairs at Mary’s side. Mary sat.

I see from your shirt that you weren’t exaggerating on your application. No, please, don’t be embarrassed, this is a good thing. This is exactly what we have need of. And I believe that we can be of some assistance to you as well?” Father asked with a small, friendly smile breaking over his face.

Mary sagged into her chair a little with relief. “Yes, Father. I… Well, I…I don’t really have much use for this anymore,” Mary said, looking down at her now mottled shirt, as sadness pulled down on the corners of her face. “I’m happy to help out where I can.”

Father stood from behind his desk and quickly moved to Mary’s side, taking up her hand. “Let’s get you started right away,” he said, smiling into Mary’s brown eyes. “That little boy needs you.”

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