Gilly Brown, woman on a mission. She tosses her cane to the side and plants her bottom on the oversized chair behind her. That chair has been her favorite for twenty years. A perfect outline of her butt rests in worn, beige fabric. These days she even sleeps there.
She reaches for the remote control and flips on a television equally as old. She bought it at RadioShack brand new, the first line to come with a remote control. As always, the news flickers on the grainy screen. Delilah Delaney beams as she gives the news.
Gilly never liked that anchor. She smiled too much, and something about her voice irritated Gilly’s aged ears. Most people her age lost their hearing. For some reason hers had become sharper, the piercing of high pitched sounds splitting her head in two. Gilly scowls and shakes her silver-topped head.
That Delilah dresses like a whore, she thinks. Her eyes move down to the anchor’s top, cleavage popping out like the Grand Canyon. Someone ought to teach her what happens to slutty girls. A wild grin stretches through loose, wrinkled skin as she realizes what she must do. Reaching for her cane, she stands from the chair, her muumuu shifting with her slow movements. Knees ache with each step, but that doesn’t stop her.
It isn’t easy for her to undress and dress herself anymore. Yet she does it because Gilly doesn’t need anyone’s help. She might not be a spring chicken, but she isn’t ready to be pastured either. It takes at least twenty minutes to get out of that muumuu and into a pair of track pants that slide easily over her high-waisted, silk panties.
Gilly waddles back into the hallway, gripping her cane with age-spotted hands. Thin skin stretches over her knuckles and reveals a tangle of veins that wriggle with each step. The obstacle of a door looms before her, plain white with the dinginess of time. She twists one lock, slides another, turns a bolt, and jiggles the last one that has a tendency to stick. Gilly always worried some young hooligan would burst into her house late at night.
Hooligans, vagrants, and whores are three of her least favorite things. They make her want to whip them all with her cane. She finally pulls the door open and steps out into the breezy night. A busy, white eyebrow perches low over her eye as she wonders why it seems so cold. Shrugging it off with a shake of her head, she moves down the steps after pulling the door closed.
Gilly’s old sedan rests in her driveway, rust peeking through peeling paint. It has served her well over the last fifteen years, except that one time it puttered to a stop in the middle of the highway. She only drives it once a week for doctor’s appointments and grocery shopping. The driver’s side door squeals as she pulls it open, and the entire car bounces as she plops onto the smooth, leather seat. Gilly doesn’t weigh more than one hundred thirty pounds, but it cries out from her weight all the same.
By the time she starts the ignition, a solid forty five minutes has passed. Everything Gilly does is slow and deliberate. Careful should have been her middle name. She slides the seat belt over her shoulder and clicks it into place. It feels a bit strange over her chest. She skipped her doctor’s appointment last week. That must be why.
Throwing it into reverse, she backs out of her driveway at a snail’s pace. The rose garden she’s taken such tender care of sits close enough that she worries about backing over it. Finally she makes it to the street, tosses her car into drive, and presses the gas with a ginger touch.
The news station stands only a few blocks from Gilly’s house. WBFU glows in blue on the bright neon sign standing about twenty feet tall in front for their octagon-shaped building. She’s no stranger to this place. Gilly has given them a piece of her mind on many occasions. Last time she ripped into Bret Toppler for showing pictures of those half-naked cheerleaders. No one wants see a grown woman with her tits hanging out. That sort of garbage doesn’t belong on the screen.
Standing out of her car, Gilly pulls her cane along with her and begins her slow gait to the front door. Her brown loafer slippers skid across the cement. Lifting her feet is out of the question tonight. She’s done more walking than normal and her knees grind with each step. A brief moment of gratitude eases past her. At least the door isn’t far, she thinks.
It takes her a moment to wench it open. Gilly grumbles under her breath. It’s one of those heavy doors her feeble arms and hands can barely manage. Every single time she comes here she has to fight with it. She’s lost that fight a few times.
Once inside, her cloudy, grey eyes scan the reception area. She notes the new girl sitting behind a tall, curved desk. The girl’s eyes are wide, and her red painted lips hang open as she stares back at Gilly.
“What’s wrong with you, dear?” Gilly asks. “Never seen an old lady before?” A groan carries in her speech. She purses her dry lips and attempts to straighten her back. It hurts, but she won’t let them see her as anything but tough.
The small brown-haired girl blushes bright red and shakes her head. “I. . . You. . .”
“Well, spit it out! I don’t have time for stuttering.” Gilly taps a foot to amplify her impatience.
A sudden gasp and the crash of a coffee mug on the cold, tiled floor causes her to turn. Delilah Delany stands there with a hand over her mouth and shock in her eyes.
Gilly harrumphs and lifts her cane, waving it at the slutty anchor. “I came to have a talk with you, young lady. You need to start thinking about your wardrobe better.”
“Uh, Miss Gilly?” A familiar voice rings I her ears. Officer Dover has managed to sneak up on her. He stands beside her with a nervous frown on his face.
She loves Officer Dover. They’ve been friends for ten years – ever since she first came here to complain. “Will you tell her, Jim-bob?” She never learned his first name, so she just calls him Jim-bob.
He takes a deep breath and starts to remove his coat. “Let’s get you back to your car.”
She frowns, her brows creasing inward in bewilderment. “What do you mean, ‘get me back to my car?’ I’m staying right here until that young lady puts some decent clothes on.” She gestures to Delilah who has started to giggle.
Gilly clenches her teeth and forces her lips into an angry, thin line. “Now, you just listen, Miss Delaney. No one needs to see just how deep your creases go. You don’t need to be on the television looking like a whore.” Her phlegm-filled voice rises with her temper. No one laughs at her, especially not a slutty news anchor.
Officer Dover steps closer with his coat in hand. “I’ll have a good sit down with her, Miss Gilly. Now, put this coat on.”
“Such a gentlemen,” she says. She beams at him. “Thank you, Jim-bob.” One more time she turns to face Delilah Delaney. “You listen good to him. I won’t have you on my screen flashing your cleavage no more.”
“We’ll take care of that. Don’t you worry.” Officer Dover’s tone is one of patience and kindness, though it shakes out like he’s sitting on a washing machine. He leads her away, pushes the door open, and holds it as she slides her feet over the threshold.
Gilly turns with a smile, removing his coat from her shoulders. “You’ll be needing this, Jim-bob.”
Officer Dover nods, accepting his coat. “You have a good night, Miss Gilly.”
It felt wonderful to get that off my chest, Gilly thinks to herself. She shuts the old door behind her and turns to fasten all the locks. Her knees throb now, pulsing pain up to her hip replacements. She winces and moves even slower as she toddles down the hallway. Soon she’ll be in her powder-blue muumuu again and sitting in her favorite old chair. It takes all her strength to make it to the bedroom, but she can’t wait to get into that loose cotton fabric.
Gilly pulls her feet from her loafer slippers and works off her track pants. Her hands move to her waist to lift the. . .
A flash of heat touches her cheeks and a flutter quickens her heart. Her eyes turn downward, wide and filled with humiliation. Two drooping, stretch-marked breasts hang from her bare chest, taunting her along with the sound of Delilah’s stifled laugh ringing in her head.
Gilly Brown had forgotten to wear a top.
Copyright © 2015 by Sophie Giroir