The Bootlegger's Daughter

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Mary Messes Up

The day I just explained was the start of the worst day of my life. I understand that it may be odd to think a day that is months away from happening started long before. The best I can say is that because of what happened that October day it made the worst day of my life happen. Also as a side note it feels that I should reference the day I just described as ‘yesterday’ but I will try my best to not do this as to not confuse you.

This chapter is about the next day. And to all you who just groaned thinking that I will write a chapter describing in detail what I did each day, I can tell you right now that I won’t. Sure I will do my best to portray important days the best I can, but I certainly won’t do that for every day. And also, I just don’t remember every day perfectly. Only the last day and the worst day are etched in my brain.

Getting back on task, the next day I woke early to barely any sun coming through my window. Then again, I live in a big city and I barely get light in my room any day. I felt dread in getting up which is odd considering that I was looking forward to going to the meeting, I got dressed and put on a purple dress that was long sleeved with striped sleeves and skirt. The stripes were purple and a bronze shade. The collar was also bronze and there was a purple bow around the waist. I know describing my dress serves no purpose, but I like it because I am proud of my clothing. A perk of being a bootlegger is getting rich. I then brushed out my hair and left my room to go to Mary’s.

Mary’s room is just a short way down the hall. On this floor (the third one) were Mary’s, David’s, Robert and John’s, and my room. Robert and John share one as we ran out of room, but I don’t think they mind. On the second floor is Father’s, Aunt Emma and Uncle Johnny’s, Uncle Henry and Aunt Bertha’s, and what used to be Grandfather’s room. Little Matthew still sleeps in his parents’ room. Anyway, I walked down to Mary’s room and knocked on her door. It took her awhile to get to it so she must have been sleeping.

“What do you need?” Mary said in a somewhat gruff voice. I hate to be rude because she is my cousin and my closest thing to a friend, but she looked terrible. Mary normally wears eye makeup to look like various cinema stars, but she must not have bothered to wipe it off because it was smeared. She was wearing a dressing gown over top of her pajamas and looking very annoyed with me.

“I just wanted to know if you could do my hair?” I asked. I wasn’t expecting to get my hair done, especially since she had already seemed so mad at me. But Mary opened up the door a little bit with her foot and backed away into her room. This really did shock me as I thought this was going to be one of the days where I have to try my best to do my hair by myself. I followed Mary into her room and stood awkwardly as she got her hair supplies ready. Mary’s room is small and it has a bed, a dresser, a vanity, some little tables, and a little bookshelf. I have a big bookshelf as I somewhat horde books. Most of them are actually my mother’s that Father gave me after she died. But there was something out of place in Mary’s room that I noticed right away.

“Mary, what is that doing there?” I asked pointing to a bottle that was sitting on one of the tables that was being used as a nightstand. The bottle only had a few sips left in it, and I hoped that Mary didn’t drink the whole bottle last night.

“It’s nothing. Just water that I put in an old bottle.” Mary said. I didn’t believe her. I should say that I had some basis for this as I have tried to hide my drinks from her as well and I knew how to pretend I was drinking water. I picked up the bottle and took a sip from the remenates. Just as I suspected, it was alcohol.

“Now you know that I could care less about what you drink but you can’t complain about me drinking and then have a whole bottle one night.” I said in a somewhat scolding voice.

“It was only half a bottle. And do you want me to do your hair or not?” Mary said getting annoyed at me. I went and sat down at her vanity and Mary did my hair. Neither of us spoke as we never did and I had already had more of a conversation with Mary than I had ever had in the mornings. I guess she was in a good mood that day as she even put finger waves in my hair. I must admit I was looking quite stylish and it was a shame I wasn’t going to school to show it off. Not that I would really want to brag to Ada as she is poor, but I wouldn’t mind doing so to Lillian. “Now can you leave? I need to get dressed.” Mary said as soon as she had finished. I got up and left her room.

In the hall I saw David slowly walking down the stairs. When he heard my footsteps, he turned around and looked to see who it was. David looked like himself in the sense that he was wearing his normal clothes of a vest and a bow tie. I also forgot to mention his knickers that David always wears when I described him earlier. He also had his very messy curly hair looking cow-licked as usual. But David was different because his face was all puffy and his dark brown eyes were red. He must have been crying all night and maybe even some this morning. I think he wanted to say something to me, probably along the lines of ‘Are you doing alright Lucy?’, but he never quite got the words out of his mouth. They seemed almost stuck there, frozen in the air between us and in each of our brains. But David then walked up the stairs and into his room, so maybe he didn’t want to talk to me.

I walked down the stairs and went to the kitchen to get something to eat. As rich as we are, there is hardly any hired staff as Father always says “If you want something done right, you do it yourself.” So we don’t have a cook, only two maids that are there every other day. Aunt Bertha does most of the cooking as she prefers to stay out of the bootlegging and she was with child so she couldn’t do much anyway. Aunt Bertha was there that morning. She was cleaning a few dishes.

“Hello Lucy. We missed you at supper.” Aunt Bertha said in a happy voice. She paused waiting for me to explain why I wasn’t there, but I never did so she continued talking. “Here you can take one of these.” She said while motioning to two plates of breakfast. One for me and one for Mary who had not yet been downstairs to get one. I took my plate and went to the dining room to eat.

I don’t remember what I had for breakfast nor is it important to this story, but I do know I enjoyed it and was somehow having a grand old time eating by myself. Then Father walked in. He was looking more tired than he normally does with distinct black circles under his eyes. It’s curious how sadness can be shown in someone’s eyes. For David it is red, for Father it is dark circles, and for Mary it is the glassy look you get when drunk. I don’t know what it is for me. Anyway Father came in and sat down in the chair next to me.

“You know you don’t have to be all dolled up. You’re not going to school today.” Father said through a forced happy voice. Why was it that Aunt Bertha and Father seemed to want to make everything happy, I still do not know.

“It makes me feel put together.” I explained. Father just shrugged a little.

“How are you?” Father asked while taking my hand and holding it. I just shrugged and brushed away the question. After a pause Father spoke again. “At eleven o’clock there is a family meeting.” I didn’t smile but I know my face did light up.

“Am or pm?” I asked.

“Pm.” Father said as he left the room. This made me happy as the best meetings happen near midnight. Even now I still stand by that.

It’s for the best I explain another term to you. A family meeting is a meeting of all the members of the Sweets. We don’t have some fancy name like some crime families or gangs; we simply go by the Sweets. But the Sweets consist of my family and the others who help us. The others are the twins, Lady, and sadly Sourman, plus a few others who I really don’t care to name. The only people who don’t come to family meetings are little Matthew, people who have jobs for us that they cannot leave, and sometimes Aunt Bertha. Other than that everyone is there which means it will be a busy night.

But the meeting being at night meant that I had a long time to waste. Goodness only knows where my grandfather was, and I certainly wasn’t going to ask. There are just some things where curiosity doesn’t get the best of you. But if I did know, maybe I would have paid him a visit. But I’m not stupid, I know that no one is buried a day after their murder. I would go to the speakeasy but it was not open yet. Instead I settled for a walk.

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