“This better be fuckin’ life or death!” That angry, foul–mouthed demon is my sister, Tania Hanover.
“Would your boss callin’ ya for work be life… or death? I always get confused on which category I fall under.”
She and I are natural sisters, but we’re like night and day.
Being married to the same wonderful man for ten years still made me smile. Oh, sure, like most other couples out there, we had our ups and downs, but our love kept us together. He was my knight in shining armor and every heartbeat screamed his name.
Tania’s longest relationship was a weekend date. Usually, she had this rule about not dating the same guy in the same week, but a snowstorm changed her law. While everyone was sleeping, it snowed more than it ever had and shut down everything. Even Denny’s! She was stuck with that man for over three days and threatened to kill him many times.
That’s how she was, though. She dated a lot of men at the same time. She refused to settle down with just one. Hell, one time she told me that she had four different dates in one week. Now, I know we all go through that stage. Hell, I went through one myself, but she was close to thirty and it was high time for her to settle down.
Being a manager at the rock quarry, my office wall, bathed in awards, proved I was that damn good at my job. Hired on at the ground level, I worked my way up the chain to the executive level.
Tania always bounced around in the job field. She worked for a week or two here or there but then quit when she had enough to buy whatever material item she wanted. Usually, she would con her dates into buying it for her or maybe they paid for the sex? I wasn’t sure, but she never held onto a job long at all. After a while, the restaurants blackballed her from working any fast food place. It didn’t matter how much she smiled or flirted, no one would rehire her because of her history.
The only reason she even had this job was because of my mother. She threw out that whole family togetherness bullshit and talked me into hiring her at the quarry. I didn’t want her to mess up my job. Hiring someone unworthy is a good way to get a bad name yourself and people higher up the corporate ladder look down on that. I told her that I would murder her if she quit this job or the main office fired her. If it wasn’t for that, Tania wouldn’t have a job.
I have never been a drinker, just a casual toast at special occasions. More than a couple and you would find me the next day, under the kitchen table, without a clue how I got there. I could count hangovers on one hand, minus my thumb.
Tania was hungover all the time, bragging about how she could drink a man under the table. Usually, her only concern was which sucker was going to pay for her partying.
I used to think my sister was part fish and my mother yanked her out of an aquarium filled with Jack, but she denied that claim.
Like I said night and day.
She groaned into the phone. “Oh shit! Is it that late already?”
“Yes. Didn’t your alarm go off?”
“Yeah. A few times. Until I bounced it off the wall,” she mumbled under her breath. “That reminds me, can ya spot me for another one? I’ll hit ya back on payday.”
“Yeah.” It seemed I spotted more than she hit back. “Ya know, they do have this thing called a snooze button. Lo an’ behold, if ya look on the side, it even comes with this button to shut it off. Get this. It’s labeled… are ya ready? Off. They are just sooo easy to work,” I teased.
“Smart ass. Yeah, I know.”
Even though I already knew the answer, I had to ask. “Did ya get too drunk last night?”
“There’s no such thing as too drunk.”
“Oh, but I’m sure there was drinkin’ involved.”
She laughed. “Gee, ya must have mom’s ESP.”
My mother had ESP and at times, I felt she might have transferred it to me. That was something I got that Tania didn’t. However, it didn’t take ESP to know that answer. “No. I know you.”
“Ouch. Bitch. No lectures. I’m hung over this mornin’.”
“I don’t care how hungover you are. Ya need to get your ass in gear an’ get ready.”
She groaned. “How much time do I have?”
“I’m waitin’ on my muffin then I’m out the door.”
“I think I’m still drunk.”
It wasn’t a good idea to tell your boss that you’re going to work drunk, family or not. “You’re supposed to wait till weekends to party like that. Go a little easier the day before ya have to work.”
“Why the fuck would I do that?”
“Go to bed early so you’re refreshed for work in the mornin’? Oh, I don’t know. It’s just part of the crazy shit people are expected to do, I guess,” I told her sarcastically while rolling my eyes.
“Yeah, well,” she yawned into the phone. “I went to this biker bar last night.”
When she started conversations like this, I knew it wasn’t going to be good. Shaking my head, I pulled a chair over and sat down. “So far, it’s not a great start. I’m ready an’ sittin’ down so I don’t get floored from anything ya say next.”
“It’s not that bad.”
“I’ll be the judge of that. Continue please.”
Whenever Tania told one of her stories, I was reminded about how she would make the best storyteller. She filled it with so much emotion and dramatic flair. It was like listening to a narrator for a Broadway play.
“There wasn’t a parkin’ place not filled with bikes.” She inhaled deeply. “They were soooo busy there were four bikes for every spot. I mean back to back, wall to wall, leather… clad… bikers.” She paused after each word for effect as if I wasn’t already sitting on the edge of my seat.
“Do they really wear leather?”
“These bikers you’re talkin’ about. I mean, can they afford it? It seems to me that would be expeeensive.”
“No. Well, I mean some of ‘em do, but it’s mainly just jackets an’ jeans, not like full chaps or anythin’.”
“Listen to you; the biker bar expert.”
“So anyway…” she paused and I could almost see her rolling her eyes through the phone. “I went inside. There were good lookin’ men all over the place! We’re talkin’ hot! I wore my short, black, leather mini–skirt with a spaghetti strap tank top on with… nothin’… on… underneath.” Once more, she paused between each word.
It worked. My eyes couldn’t open any wider.
See what I mean?
“You went in there with no panties?”
My mind raced into the XXX part of my brain. “How short was that skirt?”
“Ya couldn’t see anythin’ Mother, not until I bent over.”
“Oh no. I can see where this is goin’.”
“No, you can’t! So…” she paused again. Never mind that I was barely sitting on my stool at this point, holding my breath as well as the counter to stop from falling, waiting for the punchline I already knew. “I walked in an’ drank a little, danced a little, an’ had a great time. I bent over the bar to get an ashtray an’ then…” she paused taking a drag off her cigarette. I motioned for her to continue with her damn story, even though she couldn’t see it. “It happened.”
“Wait! Ya need to elaborate what it is. It doesn’t seem good at this point in the story.”
“It was great! I got fucked right there over the counter by a complete stranger. It was the best sex I’ve ever had.”
What the fuck?!
There was no way she belonged to my family! We were normal and she was not! She belonged to a family like Roseanne or maybe even Dallas! That sort of thing didn’t happen in normal, everyday lives!
“No, you didn’t.”
“Yes, I did.”
I chided. “No, you didn’t. You’re full of shit! No one fucks in the middle of a crowded bar except in a porn. No, you didn’t.”
“Stop tellin’ me I didn’t when I’m tellin’ you, I did.”
“Well, wasn’t that a little awkward when ya turned around? What did the guy look like?”
“I dunno. I turned around an’…” she paused. “No one was there. I never even got his name.”
An’ I doooon’t even knooow his laaaaast naaaaaame…
Carrie Underwood just belted that line in my mind as my mouth dropped open.
Every time she told me one of her wild, unbelievable stories, I wondered if she was living in a fantasy world. I hoped that this was just another chapter from an erotica story she loved to read. If it was true, what she really needed was a priest!
“You have to be adopted. Ya had sex in an open bar, with people all around, an’ no one said nothin’?”
“Biker bars are like that. No one gets in your business unless your business is with them.”
“Or a train on a girl, folded over the bar, wearin’ no panties!”
“Naw, it’s not like that. I was perfectly safe.”
“…or so you think.”
She yawned. “I can’t believe it’s mornin’ already. I swear I just went to sleep.” She yawned again. “Not to change the subject, but… have ya made me an auntie yet?”
Looking back, I realize why she changed the subject. She was tired of me lecturing her about getting drunk the night before she had to work. She brought up something that would make my thought train jump tracks quickly, without the slightest jolt. Having a baby was heavy on my mind!
I groaned. “No. I started my damn period. It’s gonna be at least three days of pure hell for me. Ya know, when the sexual revolution was goin’ on an’ girls were gettin’ knocked up, I prided myself on bein’ careful. Now, I wish I had an accident or two.”
“Naw, ya wouldn’t. You’d probably have brats runnin’ around an’ their deadbeat dads would’ve run away, probably screamin’. You’d be on welfare, livin’ in some roach motel, hatin’ life, livin’ alone with your accidents, or possibly mistakes by this time.”
“You have such a wonderful way with words.”
“Yeah, yeah, but think about it. If ya had a couple illegitimate brats, you’d probably be livin’ with Mom. Havin’ her hover over every decision ya made before tellin’ ya fifteen reasons why ya were doin’ it wrong. Ya would’ve been labeled a slut in school since no one likes the red carpet. They all like a challenge.”
Boy, if that wasn’t the pot calling the kettle black! Tania was the only person I knew with a red doormat that stated, welcome, wipe your feet an’ come on in, outside her apartment door. Everyone in Maryland and the surrounding states knew that she was an easy piece of ass.
“Well then, talk about a silver linin’ inside a hurricane.”
She continued as if I hadn’t spoken. “Not to mention, ya would’ve dropped outta school. Ya can’t get a good job without a diploma, so you wouldn’t have your career. I wouldn’t have my job since I got this one from you. Instead of bitchin’ ya didn’t have any kids, you’d be bitchin’ about how ya had ‘em way too early. You’d claim they ruined your life while yellin’ at me to get outta the bathroom.”
I laughed more at the visual than her strange reading of an alternate past. “Yeah, but now I’m financially fit an’ emotionally ready to have a baby, but it’s not happenin’! I’ve only got a few good years left before I should stop tryin’.”
“You’ve got more’n a few good years. Women are havin’ kids later an’ later. Hell, there are women havin’ kids in their forties.”
“I’d like to have kids earlier than forties. Ya know, before the senility sets in.”
“Listen to you! Okay, so all your brilliant plans failed, so why not try one of mine? I can almost guarantee it’ll work.”
“You can almost guarantee it’ll work? That’s like hearin’ the bomb squad say, ‘I’m pretty sure we got this.’ It’s not that comfortin’.” I took a deep breath and said three words that terrified me. “However, I’m desperate.”