The sun rose slowly using her rays to pull over the horizon. She lit the soccer fields on the eastside of Valley campus. The fields had a portable stage with additions to mimic the Globe. The campus was flaunting posters everywhere advertising the play. They sported all the cleverest slogans. One taped to center tree read “To be or not to be”. The words of the original word smith augmented with “depends on the weather”. The sun reached the poster and on over to Mary Pole and Bill Cave dormitories. A pair feet sporting lime green polish accented with happy faces on the big toes were the first to greet the day. Feet are rude creatures for the most part. These two were no exception immediately ducking and diving for covers.
Red rolled over mostly regaining the dark. Hair spilled over her face and on the bed. The light shone through gaining a crimson hue and molding a new dream as it went.
The dream opened on a path thru a burning forest. The path stretched on and up, up and on, on and on, reaching up and up. The fire raged in the woods. It danced wickedly, roared hatefully, but it did not burn her. She moved up the path somehow even though her feet were still. A thought of Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego came and went in the fire. Red reeled as the house towered up in front of her. Mommy was screaming “YOU SON OF BITCH GET OUT GET OUT”. Red wondered what a hitch was and why was grandma one. The front door slammed open and daddy rolled out. Momma was right behind him. The strangeness of dreams gave her proportions twice or ten times normal size. Her hair flickered and struck consisting of snakes made of flame. She was still screaming but her voice was deeper like thunder “You cheating bastard this is last time”. A light came behind her growing brighter and brighter. Red covered her eyes and rolled over.
Red’s hair fell and the sunshine painted her face with a soft white glow. Her body relaxed as a sweet morning breeze blew in the window. Her left arm explored the other half the bed but found nothing. Her eyes opened first a slit then almost half lazily exploring the room.
A cherry of fire floated in the only corner still dark. Red groaned “Put that out, you’re going to get in trouble.” A voice like light sweet bells replied “Oh, I’m not too worried you’re over reacting again Red. I guess I’ll have to teach you not to, besides, it’s not my room.” Red propped herself up on her arm, half sitting up. The sheet started to slide down but got caught by an arm moving a little too quickly. Raven stood up and moved over by the bed. “You know you’re going to be late to see Justin in his stage début. Come on sleepy, time to go.” As Raven said this, she was grasping the covers at her conclusion she jerked. Red’s left hand popped loose. The sheet started to go, but the right hand, with better purchase, held firm. Red, with eyebrows ascending to the hair-line and cheeks coloring, jerked the covers back “Raven! Uuuughh umm would you go get me a cup of coffee?” Raven’s brow contorted to a question mark then, with a half-smile, she said “Sure honey one suga or two”. Red replied “no suga go go go” adding a shooing gesture. Raven flourished her cloak with a bow, then flipped up her hood, and strode out.
Red blew out her breath. When she was sure Raven was gone, she flew out of bed and got dressed in something between flight of the bumble bee and an attack from the Tasmanian devil. She was assessing her mane when Raven came back in the room. Red, still looking at the mirror, said while shrugging, hands out palms up, “Did you ever learn to knock?” Raven looked thoughtful then took a drink of her coffee. Red, giving up on her hair via pony tail and ball cap, got up to leave. Red seeing Raven drinking the coffee said “Did you get one for me?”. Raven replied “No, did you want one? You better collect your earnings.” Red followed Raven’s eyes to a ten-dollar bill on the nightstand. Red needed the money to get into the play so scratching her nose, with neither ring nor trigger finger, but making a point to Raven as she ran over and got the money. She noticed, as she pulled the door shut, all of yesterday’s clothes piled at the foot of the bed.
Red grabbed a cup of coffee as the girls exited the dorm. Raven, fully engulfed by her cloak, and Red, looking ready for a game of ball, were not the typical sight on a campus with the possible exception Hogwarts. The girls used to getting attention paid none back. Red was thinking about meeting Justin’s brother and sister today. She was pondering whether she should be assertive and approach and introduce herself or lay back and let Justin make the introductions. Being deep in thought, she kept right on walking when Jason said “Hey Red, what’s the going price?”
Jason was leaning on the shady side of center tree with a couple of his cronies. Raven had stopped cold and was appraising the campus curmudgeons. The unwitting group of poor phallus withered under her black eyes. Red, a little shell-shocked by Raven’s and Jason’s combined comments, was wide-eyed and open-mouthed. Her face reddened and her brow crimped as she appraised Jason. She walked up beside Raven, who quiet and still, had the interested look of one waiting for the show to start. Jason leered at Red as she rejoined with an ear to ear grin. Red set her feet and crossed her arms in front of Jason. Red in an even tone said “My rates are fair for quality of merchandise; the problem is I only go straight, which rules you three out.” Jason’s faced flushed bright red. He thrust his hips trying to emphasize his manhood said “I got your…” but that was as far as he got. Red’s arms uncrossed fists sliding back to each side adding power to the straight kick flying out. The kick hit, true to its aim, with such force Jason permanently moved up two octaves and would never contribute to the gene pool. The cronies, in a crotch guarded retreat, hurried off dragging their fearless leader.
Raven turned to Red who was stuffing the ball cap in her back pocket. Red tightened her pony tail. Her face was still flushed but with round eyes and pursed mouth she said “I know that was wrong, but no one calls me out as a hooker” then turning her head to Raven, added “except you, but that’s not okay either”. Raven smiled crookedly as she replied “No worries Red, you just did the world a huge favor. You over reacted, sure, but I am going to help you break that habit. Now let’s get going before we are late for the show.” Red was thinking that she did not want anymore of Raven’s “help”, but fell in step none the less.
As they walked, Red was trying to remember last night’s dream. She stretched out her minds fingertips and could touch it, but when she tried to grasp it, poof, it was gone. She felt uneasy moving along the path. The world seemed distant like she was watching herself on television. Raven helped nothing in her oddity and she had only ever been mean or cruel. It either her beauty or mystery that had initially appealed to Red, but that appeal was gone now replaced with a stale tolerance. The world had the feeling of a surreal nightmare and what Red wanted most was to get back in bed.
There was a large crowd gathered for the play. Red and Raven were late and the play had already started when they arrived. It’s quite far along, Red thought, as the fairies were on the stage. She could see Bottom ass-head and all. He was hugging the full size version of a Barbie doll. Red never could wrap her mind around the reasoning that led some woman to mold themselves into the standard issue sociologically perfect woman, but they do it all the time. A thought occurred to her that it would be an improvement over red-headed hooker. She laughed a little as she scanned the crowd for Justin.
Red watched as Raven veered off to one side. She dropped her cowl as she went her long black hair rolling out from under her cloak. The crowd spotted her and lost all interest in the play. Even Puck paused to watch Raven. Raven glided down seeming to have no contact with the floor. It was then Red saw where she was going. She was walking straight toward Justin. Red smiled, forgiving sweet Raven for the morning and hurried to join her. Red had closed about half the distance when Raven reached Justin. Justin, along with everyone else, was watching her approach. He took a step forward as he put his arms around her. Raven swung her head, locked one arm behind Justin’s head, and kissed him.
It was an epic kiss rocking the foundations of the world. Puck was the first but the crowd followed him in a great big “Awe”. Justin, startled, disengaged from the kiss. Raven looked around with a dazed happy leer. Red was glowing like the “you are here” dot on a map. Her hair busted free of the pony tail. It exploded out lit by fury. Red’s eyes were charged emeralds that swan in red as blood filled the whites. Raven smiled coyly at her but fidgeted nervously. Red, face flushed, started walking with grace and precision.
Red, taunted all morning, blew up. The trinity bomb of shame, humiliation, and outrage was armed. Raven’s coy smile went ahead and detonated the anger bomb. It blew through her mind, white-hot, washing away all those things considered humane. Murder was the only thing left as the world shaded scarlet.
She approached Raven, who laughing said “Hey Red, meet Dustin, told you I’d teach you not to over react” but it fell dead on Red’s ears. Raven turned to look at Dustin so she never saw Red spin the round house. Red’s foot hit Ravens head spinning her then followed with another laying the stygian witch out.
Red, slightly sated, had regained some reason. She looked at Dustin, who frozen with fear watched Red with wide eyes, “Justin” she fired at him, but he shook his head back and forth then pointed to Bottom the character in the play. Red turned and found him with his ass’s head still on. The Blonde was still hanging on him, but she defied everything known about Blondes and did something smart. She showed Red nothing but heels. She ran away in true Olympic fashion. Red looked at Puck who was still watching her intently. Music started playing far away but came closer and got louder. It was Birdie and the birds singing “fly fly birdie”, then like the lifting of movie curtains Red opened her eyes.
Red’s chest heaved as if from heavy exertion. Her face was flushed, but it was getting better now. She jumped a little as she saw a cherry burning in the shadowed corner of her room. The Blonde was sitting there and she laughed out loud at Red’s fright. She said “Wake up girl; you got a date with Jason!” Red did nothing for a moment fixing her eyes on a blank piece of her bedroom wall. She nodded, then smiled and said “Hey, would you go get me a cup of coffee”. The Blonde said “You know its five bucks a cup. You will never get ahead if you just blow your money!” Red smiled “I know but you are going to buy it for me. How smart is that?” The Blonde smiled and said “Now you’re getting it!” She bounced up to get the coffee. Red hopped out of bed as she left shutting the door behind her. She nodded again as she locked the door. She turned and got back into bed and as she drifted off to sleep again she muttered “Not that smart”