By: Alan Berger
Ann Maxwell was born with exceptional beauty inside and out and yet she never gave a conceited thought regarding either one.
She figured everyone was born like that.
As a young girl she just wanted not a pony or to be a Princess but just a cat.
Later when she got older she just wanted to be a mommy.
She did of course get older and married young.
It didn’t work out so she moved on without a regret or a doubt.
A little after that debacle, without being sick a day or minute of her life, except in the fifth grade when she threw up suddenly on her desk.
The best looking boy in the school known as “The Bobby”, went to her aid and comforted her by patting her on the back and telling her it happens to the best of them and then walked her to the girls room to clean up and waited out side for her so he could take her to the nurses office and waited there with her till her mom came to pick her up and take her home.
They never spoke after that because his most popular steady girl in the school would not permit it.
Ann was not popular and less popular after coating her desk.
After the before mentioned marriage she started getting migraines.
Sometimes she had to go to the emergency room to have the relief shots administered because she was too shaky to do the disposables she had at home.
The Emergency Room staff liked her because she never made a fuss waiting for her precious shots and many was the time she would let someone go ahead of her she thought was worse of than her which was everybody, unless you showed up dead.
The disease had no room for friends. She lived alone. The question of a pet cat was out of the question.
Too much labor, maybe get a kitty later, yes, later!
Not too far from where she was so called living was a big black and grey car with the young owner in the the back and a hired hand with his hands on the wheel rolling through the city night.
There was no music playing, there was no talking either, as the driver hoped for rain so he could at least hear some drops and windshield wiper sounds to break the too loud silence of the silent dark clouded owner halfway brooding halfway snoozing in the black back.
The driver’s pet name for the owner was, “The Coma”, and like Ann Maxwell, the owner had no pets either. He was too busy doing nothing to have a relationship with anything on four legs or two.
How, “The Coma” made all that dough in the stock market was beyond the driver’s comprehension.
Friday, the Last day of how the Hell did I get through this week Ann wondered. This thought was before she was called to her employer’s office to be fired permanently from another temporary job.
She walked to the door with her last check in her hand and although the amount of the check was small, the check itself was too big to hide. Not that anyone noticed as they all were thinking about and making their, “Thank God Its Friday Date Plans”.
Ann thought about a date she may make someday with a gas oven but that day would never come and it would put the other people in the building in danger. Anyway, she wasn’t that type and the oven was electric and what always stopped her was the thought of waking up in a worse place.
But “The Coma” was that type as he rolled into another day in the daylight darkness.
Ann cashed her check and went on a mad shopping spree.
A plastic pale like the kind you take to the beach, but without a little play shovel, a bottle of Windex, A roll of paper towels, a sponge and a bottle of distilled water was her haul.
She had just enough leftover for a Starbucks’ with a few shots and a tip.
She then took her new job out onto the streets of Manhattan.
She went to the nearest corner and waited for the light to turn red and went to the most expensive looking car in the front and began to wash, clean, and dry its windshield.
The driver went a few inches forward, then, a few inches in reverse as she was plying her trade, but he did give her five bucks as he chuckled and drove off.
Ann Maxwell was not chuckling as much as smiling, looking at that big ass fiver in her pretty little hand.
Ann soon learned that if you went by the percentages, it was the older and more fucked up cars that gave her more, if anything, than the expensive ones. Bad cars looking for good Karma she reasoned.
Besides, a lot of the expensive cars gave her a few bucks just to stay away from their already dazzling windows. Ann would have preferred to have dazzled the windows a bit more, but a profit is a profit.
Around the time it was getting dark, she made around forty dollars.
She counted it a hundred times.
She was always a real believer in believing. But not for a long time. This new job looked promising.
Then one morning that big black and grey car was taking. “The Coma”, to work. After all the money the job was now “The Bane, Of His Existence”.
A stockbroker. How the fuck did that happen?
He wanted to an artist. What kind of artist? Who cares? Maybe a combo?
He wound up chasing so many dreams at one time, all he wound up with was a well paying nightmare talking people into investing. Leading lambs to the slaughter. Being obscene making obscene money.
He had yet another sleepless night with the nightlight too bright and his senses too dim. Another auto-pilot day coming up.
He fell asleep in the back on his way to work but was woken by the yelling his driver-bodyguard-brother-in law was giving to this Angel In front of the car with his big balloon head sticking and deflating from his window.
At first, “The Coma”, thought it was a dream.
He had not seen such a pretty face in an ugly long time.
The Angel looked afraid.
Then he realized this was a dream face but not a dream.
He shot out of the back door so fast and hard his ten thousand dollar watch almost fell off.
He looked over the situation, her situation, their situation and figured out what to do about it because that was what he was good at. Figuring out situations as long as someone other than himself was involved. He was no good at his solitary situations. He had to be somewhat on the outside in to be of any use.
He went to the Angel and grabbed her sponge and started to wipe and wash the headlights of his big black and grey rolling structure as Ann Maxwell held the bucket as ,”The Bobby” dipped the sponge in and out of it and on the vehicle.
The Angel started to cry.
She noticed that he noticed and Ann said, “It’s a good cry”.
He said, “I never had a cry I didn’t like”, as he worked on the bumpers. Ann went to work on the side mirrors and as they passed doing their chores, they brushed against each other a bit and Ann And, “The Bobby”, liked the contact.
The light changed and the honking started. “The Coma’’ told the driver to. “Pull the shit box over to the curb, we’re not done”.
Then he wiped a tear from Ann’s right eye with his left white cuff, but she just welled up some more.
“You hungry’’? Bobby told more than asked.
Ann said she could eat if she had to but no, not right now.
Then she said, “I know you, you’re “The Bobby”.
Then he said, “I know you, you’re “The Maxwell”
“I thought one day I would read about you in a magazine, or on the news doing something special”, said Ann.
He told her for a long time he felt he was allergic to success. Then he told her that when he did become successful, he got allergic to it even more.
Ann said she has not had either one of those experiences.
Bobby said she will.
He held the back door open for her and she got in and they drove away in the dream they were always in.