When a sober pays it forward to a drunk, two trajectories can occur. The sober is either saving the drunk from a lot of grief the next morning or prolonging their inevitable demise until later that evening (or early dawn). In Beatrix’s case, it was always the latter. She had invoked her share of “aid” from sober people, and she wondered if, at any point, that might run out soon. Spread itself to another more deserving, fresher to the game wasteoid (as Emilio Estevez in The Breakfast Club would put it). Her answer came one late evening at the end of November. She found herself in territory she didn’t usually frequent… that strange abyss of Lower Manhattan that wasn’t quite Battery Park nor the World Trade Center vicinity. Just an in-between point that offered accordingly in-between places–like the deli Beatrix stumbled into after finishing a round with an office worker type friend in the financial district. Beatrix herself was immune to the inveiglements of everyone she knew seeming to offer her a job at their beige workplace, where activities more nondescript than the wall color seemed to go on. She instead preferred to “make it work” (with the slippery slope supplement of credit cards) by running an Etsy store that only sold about three products a month. This is, in part, why she got drunk so frequently. She was not suited for anything, and that can weigh on a person the further into adulthood they get and the more everyone else seems to leave you in the dust with their flauntings of success in this endeavor–that is, the endeavor of “being an adult.”
Beatrix preferred to work at other things, like enjoying herself before her body was considered irrelevant for use and admiration. So it was that she spent her time the way she did, out in public. Public being the bar. And though dating apps had changed the game considerably, people–men–still couldn’t turn down perfectly good pussy when it was sitting right there next to him, consequences be damned (for everyone is so skittish about “disease” these days, when the only one people really seem to have is that of self-involvement).
And when she told them her name, it was always met with the usual line about Kill Bill, how she was probably just as dangerous as The Bride. She went along with it, because that’s what they wanted to believe about her. It was easier to think she was some sort of femme fatale because it made it more palatable to their conscience to send her on her way in the morning and then never speak to her again. They didn’t want to incur her wrathful Beatrix Kiddo side, after all. Better not to give her the wrong idea sooner rather than later.
This form of rejection, among so many forms that pervaded her spirit the older she became and, in turn, the less socially acceptable it was to be so open out one’s relishment of fucking off and delighting in the art of not really doing anything, was getting to be too much to handle. And it drove her evermore into the arms of the bottle, ironically armless unless you were buying a handle from the liquor store, which she was on that November evening as she pulled out her wallet to pay, every form of ID and credit card spilling out onto the floor as she reached for the one she needed and handed it over to the cashier. She didn’t even notice that the contents were on display for all to see as they walked past. It was only a fellow female, perhaps wanting to express some form of solidarity with her sex, who chose to bend down and pick up the debris, handing it all back to Beatrix in a neat stack as she said quietly, “You dropped these.”
“Shit, thank you,” Beatrix said in the midst of a hiccup. Oh how she hated hiccuping. It made her feel like a homeless old man, which was the course she seemed to be setting herself up for.
The girl nodded and backed away, as though she had inserted herself into Beatrix’s existence for too long, and might catch an infection of her loserdom. Beatrix paid no mind, stuffing the wallet back into her giant purse that she also always carried a toothbrush and a change of clothes in just in case the night took her to a milieu that would not end up being her own apartment.
Staggering outside with the black plastic bag, Beatrix let the cold gust of wind hit her face and billow her fur coat, purchased for ten dollars at a vintage store with a surplus of the same exact style. It was like the graveyard of Margot Tenenbaum’s unwanted wardrobe. And Beatrix lived happily in this graveyard, for you have to make fashion choices that will set you apart in this life. Not that it was much of a challenge anymore when considering that most women were content with the “basics” of Madewell. She giggled to herself, she wasn’t sure about what, as she lit a cigarette. Where was she going? Tonight and in life. In the morning, or rather afternoon, when she awoke to find herself on a bench in the Bronx, she would wish first that she knew where her underwear had gone and second that the girl at the deli hadn’t given her back her wallet droppings. For maybe if she had not, Beatrix’s night would have ended there. Would have been forced to cease without the necessary resources of fake finances or proof of her withering age. Alas, people so often think they’re doing the lushes of the city a kindness in serving them a helping hand toward their next destination. One that will get them another taste of what they need to avoid the inevitable for just a little longer–reality. Cold, unforgiving reality. The one that told Beatrix she was nothing and never would be. All those previous, daft ideas about her somehow being different than everyone else, about being too good to lead a conventional life, would wash to the surface of her brain the minute sobriety hit and make her feel foolish anew. And oh how hard it hit that afternoon on the bench. Her face and hair a trainwreck, her fur coat matted in random places–her purse gone. How the fuck did she get here? The kindness of a stranger. A self-righteous sober, who would have done better to let her deal with a less cruel revival sooner rather than later. But no, they were all doing her such a service in assisting her through the night in her inebriated trance.
Ambling past the zoo amid cat calls and mockery to get to the East Tremont Avenue station, Beatrix came to the conclusion that the only thing she hated more than being sober herself was being drunk around sober people that felt so inclined to “avail themselves” to the incompetent dipsomaniac.