by Karen Schauber
Janice woke up early. She meant to scrounge around for the sewing kit the night before but fell asleep with the bottle in her hand, again. She rummaged in the hall closet and pulled down the blue Samsonite from its upper perch. It wasn’t inside. Rifling through the stale pile of winter blankets in the laundry hamper also drew a blank. The last place she bothered to check was the cabinet under the bathroom sink. She got down on all fours pulling out the Ajax and spray bottles, flinging mouldy scrubs and crumpled toothpaste tubes behind her, and spilling the half-corked Pine Sol as she grabbed past the crushed box of sanitary napkins, feeling for the kit. A waft of chemical potpourri sent her reeling. She put none of the wreckage back.
Janice was getting right pissed off and needed a cigarette. Her familiar sense of defeat was almost in full swing, but she managed to keep her usual histrionics at bay and instead pulled on her shabby-chic pea jacket, stepped barefoot into clogs, and shuffled out the door to 7/11.
There wasn’t a lot of time and the kids might wake up before she got back. ‘They best not wander around the row houses looking for her, like the last time she left them alone and CPS showed up.’ - She promised herself that she would be quick. She would not hang around to chat, or to bum a cigarette. After all it was only the sewing kit she was after.
Janice made a beeline home. It was still quiet in the flat. In a few moments the little’uns would overrun her whining for something to eat, their bellies empty and needing filling. They would have to wait. She had more important stuff to do. She plunked herself down on the sofa and pulled the pink sparkly dress out from the cellophane bag. Janice didn’t feel half bad about nicking it from Marshalls. It was real fancy and she knew she’d scored a real prize. Laying it out flat, she was careful not to crush the ruffles or crinoline underneath. Her nimble fingers gently repositioned the broken wings on the seam, and with needle and thread brought the fairy princess back to life. Daisy would be over the moon. She would be the prettiest girl on the first day of school.
Janice did good. She grabbed for her cigarettes and a fresh beer, and put her feet up. Parenting was damn hard work.
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Karen Schauber is a seasoned Family Therapist practicing in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her earlier writing is non-fiction and details three decades of psychosocial and analytical cases. Flash Fiction is a new and welcome adventure for her. Fictional short stories are much more fun to read and write!
As an emerging artist, Karen hones her craft at home and at the dog beach on the west coast (when it’s not pouring out). The upcoming Group of Seven Flash Fiction Anthology is her first editorial novella-in-flash venture. http://GroupofSevenFlashFiction.weebly.com. Karen’s flash fiction can be read at http://rebelshorts.weebly.com, at Spillwords, Blood Puddles, AdHoc Fiction, and forthcoming at Yellow Mama.
She can be reached directly at: http://karenschauber.weebly.com