Mandy dropped the coin into the slot, took the can of drink from the vending machine, chewed vigourously on her gum and then turned round to face her suitors.
The eager young guys were leering at her legs, exposed all the way up to her knickers. She had hitched up her school skirt until it was just a ‘pelmet’, barely visible beneath her white school blouse, which was unbuttoned to reveal glimpses of cheap black bra.
She loved the power, the feeling of adoration, she was in control like some omnipotent ruler.
She knew that the other girls sneered at her………. The beautiful, poised girls who lived in their pure white, sugar-coated world. They were secure and loved, they didn’t know what it was like to live in squalor, hating your alcoholic Mother………your absent Father who drove an oil tanker all over the country and never bothered to come home.
But here, at school, she was popular; oh not with the female students, no; but certainly with the boys !
They hung around like flies on jam, all eager to take what she offered.
It had all started when she had been 9yrs old and had gone behind the sports hall and let Billy Smith put his hand on her breast. She understood the salient points of sex by the time she was 10. She realised it was a weapon – or at least a way of getting some attention, some love.
She was never short of cigarettes, gobstoppers or comics, all given to her in exchange for a quick fumble, a hand on her knickers, a look at her bare skin beneath.
Of course, as she got older it had progressed to the ‘real thing’, losing her virginity to a spotty 15yr old, behind the village hall at the grand old age of 13.
Now she was 15 and there were always two or three boys waiting at the school gates after school. Waiting and willing to follow her down to the allotment and the disused tool shed by the canal. There she ‘earned’ £1 coins and packs of cigarettes and felt loved and wanted and needed for a few short minutes before going home to a slap across the ear, or the sight of her Mother, still in her night attire, unconscious on the filthy sofa.
Sex was her escape and seemed to be what all the boys wanted and so she obliged. She would have given it freely, she didn’t ask for ‘gifts’. She felt popular and far superior to the other girls and enjoyed that feeling.
The boys laughed about these female students, they called them ‘frigid’ and ‘lesbians’ and ‘cock-teasers’ and any manner of derogatory names.
But she stood in the school hall with her entourage, thought of the name-calling and smiled………then, leaning against the school football hero and placing a proprietorial hand inside his shirt, she gazed smugly at the virgins, with their golden curls. Mandy knew she would never be lonely as long as she gave the guys what they wanted…………………
Mandy dropped the coin into the slot and then watched her washing spinning in the dryer. The launderette was empty except for one old vagrant, humming softly to himself as he swigged from a can of Special Brew.
Mandy hugged her thin cardigan around her shoulders and looked out of the finger-marked windows. Young mothers walked past, girls she had known, years ago at school. They wore designer clothes and pushed expensive prams, containing beaming, plump, talcum-powder-scented babies.
Mandy though of her own babies, little pink, crumpled wailers, that had been taken from her by the social workers. Fostered, adopted. never to be seen again because she was an unfit mother. Was it four or five ….? ….she couldn’t remember. Her mind went hazy and everything merged into darkness when she tried to recall the births and then she had to seek shelter in a bottle of anti-depressants and, often, more potent and destructive drugs.
She lived her life in solitude now – no longer the darling of the boys. They were all grown up. Had important jobs, boasted about their brand new cars and were married to the golden girls from school.
These men now shunned her in the street, hurried their perfect children past the ‘dirty’ lady, the ‘slut’, the ‘prostitute’.
Mandy lifted her washing out of the dryer and carefully placed it in her laundry bag.
‘Where had she gone wrong ?’ she wondered. All she had ever done was try to please people, give them what they wanted. She had only been doing the same as the guys ….but, of course, she was a girl. It was all so unfair…..so one-sided ……..she was still the same person, why weren’t they ?
She picked up her heavy bag and wandered back to her lonely flat. As she passed the newsagents she saw the headlines,…………..
‘ 16 WOMEN IN NEW SHADOW CABINET ‘ …………………………………………….
This sad little piece of fiction was an entry for Matt’s word game. It has been slightly edited to bring it up to date and contains the words;
Coin, Boasted, Coated, Tanker, Ruler, Hating, Suitors, Salient, Wailers, Poised, Breast.