Short Story: “Neither Rhyme Nor Reason”
Neither Rhyme Nor Reason
A Rett Bonneville Story
By Anne M. Freeman
Whoever wrote it must have been in the ladies room while I was indisposed because the clichéd lipstick writing on the mirror wasn’t there when I entered. I couldn’t help but read it – the frosted write writing was in front of my face as I washed my hands.
“Eenie meany miney moe
Catch a Shannah by the toe
If she hollars shoot her
Eenie meany miney moe”
I stood motionless in front of the smeary white words. Shana was my dearest friend. This was not funny. And the idiot who wrote this doesn’t know how to spell.
I shook off the dripping water and ran out of the bathroom straight to the club’s back lounge where I’d been chatting with tonight’s act and a few other women. Jennifer was wearing that frosted white lipstick, and she was in the lounge. She can’t spell and she can’t think, either.
Jennifer was talking to another woman, her back to me. I slammed the door shut and kicked the back of her right knee in one leap. Jennifer flew forward, her purse sailing to the other side of the room. She fell onto the grimy carpet and I landed on top of her.
“What the Hell are you doing!” She screamed as I held her down.
I yelled at the other woman, “Grab her purse! There’s a gun in it!” The woman picked up Jennifer’s purse and looked in as Jennifer and I struggled on the floor.
“There’s no gun in here,” she said, looking confused.
“Of course there’s no gun in my purse. Are you nuts?” Jennifer yelled. Crud from the rug stuck to her frosted lipstick.
The woman set Jennifer’s purse on a table and opened her own purse, reaching in. She was strangely calm, considering the circumstances.
“But,” she said, smiling, “there’s a gun in mine.” She held a small handgun that was pointed at us. Jennifer and I froze.
“You’re the one?” I asked, confusion and fear welling up my throat.
“What’s going on here?” cried Jennifer.
“I guess I don’t know,” I said, watching the woman.
“Yes, I’m it.” Just then I noticed that she was also wearing white frosted lipstick.
“OK, you’ve got my attention. Where is Shana?” I asked, letting my grip on Jennifer loosen.
“Oh, she’s probably out in the audience partying it up.” Jennifer replied, stating the fact as if there was no message on the mirror.
“Come again? Aren’t you the one who just wrote a message in the ladies room about shooting Shana?”
“Shooting Shanna!” Jennifer yelled. “What the hell is going on here?”
The woman pointed the gun at Jennifer and then back at me. Jennifer stopped moving.
“I’m just sick of you stealing all my boyfriends,” the woman said, as if it were a fact that was somehow connected to the madness of the last five minutes. “Every time I go clubbing with a new guy and you’re playing or in the room, he always goes gaga over you. I can’t stand it anymore. It’s got to stop.”
“So you’re going to shoot me? Isn’t that a bit extreme?” I asked. “I’m not trying to steal anyone from you! I have a boyfriend.” I hoped logic would work, but I held onto that hope lightly because this woman was obviously not wrapped too tightly. She seemed to hesitate. Her arms wavered a bit.
“Listen,” I said. “They’re just guys. They’re not worth going to jail over. Then you’ll have a lot more to worry about than some stupid guys. If a man isn’t treating you right, dis his sorry ass and find another one. They’re a dime a dozen,” I said, trying to sound like a girlfriend instead of an object in her crosshairs.
“Can I leave, please?” Jennifer asked in a shaky voice. “I definitely don’t have anything to do with this, and I’d really like to get back out to hear the show.”
The woman hesitated, and looked as if she were trying to think. Her face got sort of foggy. We waited.
“I don’t know how to shoot a gun, anyway,” she finally said. She shoved the gun back into her purse and then stalked out of the room, slamming the door behind her.
Jennifer and I sat, dumbfounded for a few moments, and then started laughing with a chaser of hysteria.
“I’m sorry. It was the lipstick,” I said. “She wrote a threat against Shana in white frosted lipstick on the ladies room mirror, and I thought it was yours” I squeaked out between the hic-cups that had me convulsing.
“Tell me about it later,” Jennifer said, “after a few stiff drinks. You’re buying. Should we call the police?”
“Nah,” I said, shaking my head. “Then she might come after me for real. Wipe off your lips, Jennifer. You’ve got crud stuck to your lipstick. And, I’m sorry about kicking you. Are you OK?”
She shook her head yes, got up, limped to her purse on the table and wiped off her mouth with a tissue.
“And you’re jealous of my life exciting as a musician?” I asked.
“Nevermore,” she said, “nevermore,” and she changed her lipstick color to magenta.