Karen, over at Table For One, bless her heart, got all wrapped up in PBS’ “Nature – Sex, Lies, and Butterflies” the other night, and got all excited with ideas for a prompt. She “promptly” (I’m such a comedienne, aren’t I?) emailed both Marc at Sorryless and me with this challenge. Now, originally, we, Marc and I, both thought that we could pick and choose between the following ten words:
- Painted Lady
But noooooo… as her post today shows, Karen used all TEN WORDS in one post! Sneaky one, that Karen is. Of course, the gauntlet has been not only drawn, but thrown down, so what’s a girl to do?
Her best. That’s all she can do. Her best.
Metamorphosis to a Painted Lady
Katie was now a young woman, as far as she was concerned. She was no longer a juvenile 13-year old. At 14, she was ready to face the world as a woman did. Her mother would never cease to hover over her and try to control everything she did and everywhere she went and everyone she hung out with, as long as she remained under her roof. Katie swore that woman had antennae and could sense her every move! She was done with it. After all, there were cultures where girls got married at 14, some even younger. Proof that she was definitely grown up.
At midnight, when the household was asleep, Katie emptied her piggy-bank, packed her backpack and took flight. She was going to go to the big city and prove she was now a woman, capable of taking care of herself. She hopped on the bus, chose one of the many empty seats, leaned her head against the window and dreamed of the possibilities awaiting her.
Her stomach fluttering in excitement, she stepped off the bus, right in the centre of town. She had never been there by herself, and definitely not at one o’clock in the morning! She felt like spreading her arms wide and turning around à la Mary Tyler Moore. Her mom loved that show and owned all the DVD’s and made her watch them. The thought of her mom brought an immediate lump to her throat and a falter to her step.
No! Stop thinking like that! You are not a boat without a rudder, you are on a path to womanhood. Having shaken off the doubt, she lifted her chin, squared her jaw and took a step forward. The City was not for babies and she was out to prove she wasn’t one. Katie was awfully glad it was not winter and that her light jacket was warm enough. She didn’t have to worry about freezing to death.
Ah. Finally. The main drag. People. Lights. Life! A nice-looking man came up to her, smiling, and asked if she was lost. She shook her head no and kept walking. He turned and quickly adjusted his step to hers. “So, young lady, where are you headed?”
“I’m just walking around, taking in the sights.”
“Mind if I keep you company?”
“Yes, I do mind. Please leave me alone.”
“I can’t do that. There are rough people out there just looking for a nice young thing like you.”
“Why is that?”
“Come on now, Sweetie. Why do you think?”
“I don’t know what you are talking about. No one would come looking for me.”
“I bet you are a virgin, aren’t you?” Not waiting for her response, he continued, “Do you know how much some men would pay for such a treat? To be the first one to screw you?”
Hey eyes wide, she looked at him and sputtered, “Wh-wh-wh-at? Sh-sh-sh-surely not. Why are you such an awful thing to me?”
“What’s your name, Sweetie?”
“Katie. Katherine, actually.”
“Katie, my name is Steve. Walk with me. I want to show you something, okay?”
She knew she shouldn’t follow a stranger, a male one at that, but she nodded her head yes and followed him. They approached an intersection and he nodded towards a small group. “See those girls over there?”
“Yes. They look like young women, to me.”
“Well, they’re not. They are about your age and have been living on the street for a couple of years already. We call them the Painted Ladies.”
“Why is that?”
He sighed. “They are hoookers. They sell their bodies for money. Probably half of them already have the clap.”
“The clap? What’s that?”
“A venereal disease you, young fool. One of many you could catch.”
Her mouth formed an O and she looked at him, her lip trembling. “I’m not going to be one of them.”
“Honey, you stay out here all by yourself, you will become one of them. I would really hate for you to go through that type of metamorphosis. I can tell by the look of you that you come a good family. One that is probably going crazy looking for you right now.”
With that, Katie felt her whole body deflate. She knew he was right. She was so not an adult yet and now was regretting her rash decision.
Steve took out his cellphone and handed it to Katie. “How about we call your folks, have them pick you up? I’ll wait right here with you till they show up.”