Chapter 2

Alma and Chelsea

Red lipstick half way to her mouth, Alma watched the drama at the front counter. Her daughter,
Chelsea, elbowed her.
“She’s a virgin, huh Alma?” whispered Chelsea.
A teenager, wise beyond her fifteen years, Chelsea was a pretty adolescent now, but it was evident that she would be a stunning beauty as she matured. Her strawberry-blond hair, falling to the middle of her back, was natural and her green eyes were made even larger with expert make up. Her torso was concealed in a large man’s dress shirt and her legs were encased in Slim-Jim jeans. Her designer high-tops were untied.
Alma laughed. “Oh yeah, a virgin and a rich one to boot. What the heck was she thinkin’, comin’ here dressed like she was shopping on Fifth Avenue?” Alma looked down at herself distracted by the contrast of her clothing.
“How does this blouse look, Chels? Do you think your father is gonna like it?” Alma fished inside her blouse to fix a bra strap; then cupped her breasts and did a little jiggle to create more cleavage.
“Jesus, do ya gotta do that in public?” Chelsea said.
“Hey. Watch the swearing!” She looked across the room. “Wonder who ‘her highness’ is here to see. From the looks a’her she could‘a sent her maid for this job.”

Alma stood and did a pirouette. She was lovely in spite of the heavy makeup. Her bright red hair was piled on top of her head with messy tendrils framing her heart-shaped face.
Expressive green eyes sparkled as she asked, “How ‘bout these jeans? Too tight, ya think?”
Chelsea was about to answer when the officer’s voice rang out, “For Baldwin! You can go in now.”
“Tie your shoes, baby,” Alma told Chelsea.

Poking her fingers into the mess of red hair on top of her head, Alma adjusted a few well placed strands and with a sensual roll of her hips she crossed the room and waited at the heavy steel portal. Chelsea hurriedly tied her shoelaces and ran to catch up with her mother. The door silently slid open and the two women walked into a small glass enclosed space, facing another heavy door. The door closed with a whisper behind them.

“I hate this part,” said Chelsea.
“I know, honey. It takes just a minute and we’ll be outta here,” reassured Alma. The door in front of Alma and Chelsea opened as if Alma had uttered ‘Sesame’.
“There. See? Not so bad,” said Alma.
“I still feel like I’m buried or drowning or something,” Chelsea complained.
“I don’t know where you got this fear of small, closed spaces. Ya didn’t get it from me.”

They walked into a large cafeteria style room with two dozen tables and chairs all bolted down. The linoleum floor was a sickly green and the chairs and tables were a faded orange. Alma sashayed up to a podium where another guard was seated.
“Hey, Brad honey, how’s it hangin’?” Alma asked.
Flirting with the young handsome guard was so much fun. Guaranteed he’d blush in five seconds. “Ya got a….table for me, handsome?” She purred.
‘Here it comes, watch for it’… Alma thought to herself. ‘Three, two, one…Voila! The kid doesn’t know whether he’s on foot or horseback when I’m around’, she gloated. ‘He’s probably not too much older than Chels and brand spanking new with the department of corrections. He’s so cute, all embarrassed and shy around me’. She thought. ‘Like most men he laps it up like a puppy’.

“Yes, Ma’am, Mrs. Gaynor. Table three.”
“Brad, honey, don’t call me ‘ma’am’. It makes me feel so old and I’m just a couple of years older than you,” Alma laughed and walked away.
“Oh, brother,” Chelsea muttered.
“Hi Chelsea,” Brad blushed an even brighter red.
“Yeah, whatever,” replied Chelsea.

Alma made her way slowly to her assigned table, making certain that every man in the room had a good view. She basked in the low cat whistles and groans as she walked by. “Here’s our table, Chels,” she told her daughter, making certain that her husky, sexy voice carried to the men nearby. Chelsea slouched into her chair, across from her mother.
“God, Alma, do you have to be such a spectacle every time we come here? Daddy would be really mad if he saw how you act.”
“There’s nothin’ wrong with taking care of yourself and being proud that others appreciate it,” Alma said. “You could take some lessons. Look how you’re dressed. You’re never gonna get a boy friend lookin’ like that. If I was your age again I’d be showin’ it off, you can bet money on it.”
“Yeah, well you’re you and I’m me, thank God.” Chelsea sighed.
‘What was keeping Charlie’, Alma wondered. ‘I’m sure not used to men keeping me waiting…for anything. I hate this place where men are the bosses. Except for a few furtive looks at my boobies and butt, these guards couldn’t care less about the favors I can bestow.’

‘I’ve just been without a man too darn long, she complained to herself. Why did I have to fall for a guy who gets himself sent to prison? I’m dyin’ to get my hands on Charlie, even if it is for only two minutes. What a stupid rule! And it looks like I’ll never get laid again what with Charlie always getting write-ups. No conjungle visits for me any time soon. God, I hated this dump!’
“What’s wrong, Alma?” asked Chelsea.
“What? Oh, nothin’ baby. Just thinkin’.”
“Sour thoughts.” Chelsea observed. “Your face looks like sour grapes. Careful it don’t freeze that way.”
Alma laughed. “You remember what I used to tell you when you were a little girl, about your face freezing?”
Alma kept an eye on the door and suddenly it opened and Charlie walked in. “Ah, there he is,” Alma said.

Charlie swaggered across the room, and gave the guard only the slightest nod. Brad held up three fingers, indicating Charlie’s table assignment. The sleeves of his shirt were rolled up showing off his muscular arms. His jeans were tight and the well toned muscles of his thighs were visible through the denim. As he wove his way through the tables he approached a black couple sitting quietly. He passed their table and bumped the chair of the woman hard.

His voice dripped with sarcasm, “Pardon me, Ma’am.”
Charlie glared at the black man sitting opposite her. Joe Washington jumped to his feet, his hands curled into fists. He was six inches taller and fifty pounds heavier than him but that didn’t matter to Charlie. He’d killed a man with his bare hands so Joe presented little threat.

Standing his ground, Charlie growled, “Go ahead, Boy. Come on, come and get some.”
Hattie Washington lay her hand on her husband’s arm, “No, Joe, don’ do nothing. Please.”
“It’s Joe or Mr. Washington to the likes of you, cracker.” Joe snarled. “You got a short memory ‘bout what happened the last time you messed with me. You keep away from me and mine or you won’t walk away next time.”
“Baldwin, go sit down with your family,” Brad called out.
Charlie ignored the guard. “Take your best shot,” Charlie said. “Last time ya caught me by surprise, a lucky punch. Go on,” he taunted. “I don’t mind the ‘hole’ nearly as much as you do.”
“Joe, please, sit down. It don’ matter,” Hattie pleaded.
As the two men faced off, Brad got up and started across the room. “Hey, you two, sit down. Baldwin, get over to your table, NOW!”
Joe sat down. Charlie turned to walk away and muttered under his breath, “This ain’t over, Washington.”
“Anytime, Baldwin, you just name it,” Joe replied.
Charlie continued over to where Alma and Chelsea waited. Chelsea jumped to her feet and ran to meet her father.
“Daddy! I missed you!” She hugged her father close. “Who was that man? Why are you mad at him?”
“He’s nobody, little girl. How’s my baby been?” Charlie kissed the top of her head.
“Just fine, but I ain’t your baby no more. I’m fifteen, you know!”
Charlie laughed. “When did ‘ya get to be so old?”
“Oh, Daddy, you know I turned fifteen last summer. I’m almost sixteen.”
“Stay fifteen, will ya? I’m not ready for you to grow up. Remember, you’ll always be my ‘baby’ even when you’re fifty and got no teeth.”
“Eeew, gross!” She playfully punched his arm. “How ya been, Daddy?”
“Couldn’t be peachier. Ya know this here country club is the lap of luxury.” Charlie grinned at his daughter.
“You’re so funny.” Chelsea wrinkled her nose, “This ain’t no country club that’s for sure.”
“Sure it is and after I say hello to your Ma, we’ll go out to the swimming pool and have some drinks brought to us.”
He looked across at Alma, his eyes eating her up like a starving man. He let go of his daughter and reached for Alma. “Goddamn, woman, you look good enough to eat. C’mere.”
Alma rushed into Charlie’s arms and they kissed deeply. Charlie’s hands lowered to Alma’s butt and he cupped her, pressing her to his body as close as possible. Alma moaned into his mouth.
“Oh, Charlie, I missed ya so much. Give Mama some sugar,” Alma sighed as she ground her hips into Charlie. In the haze of sensual heat they barely heard the pencil tapping on the podium as Brad signaled them to break it up.
“Alma,” Chelsea said, “Break it up. Daddy’s gonna get in trouble with the guard over there.”

Reluctantly, Alma and Charlie pulled apart and Alma slowly licked her bottom lip with her tongue. As she walked to her chair Charlie’s smoky, passion filled eyes never left her.
“God, Alma, it’s been a long time since we…,” he glanced at Chelsea, “…never mind. You know what I mean.”
“I know baby. If you could just behave better we might get a shot at some conjungle time,” Alma purred.
“You mean ‘conjugal’ don’cha, Alma?” Chelsea asked with a straight face.
“Huh?” Alma said.
“Hey, I thought I warned you about calling your Mama by her name. She’s your Ma and you’re not gonna call her Alma. Understood?”
“Oh, Charlie, it’s okay…” Alma said.
“No, it ain’t neither,” Charlie insisted.
“But, honey, it makes me feel so old when she calls me ‘Ma’.”
Charlie raised his voice, “Yur her mother, for Chrissakes. Tell her you’re sorry, Chels.”
“Sor…rey.” Chelsea said begrudgingly.
“Sorry, what?” asked Charlie.
“Sorry, Ma. Jeez, Daddy, what’s the big deal?” Alma interrupted, changing the subject.
“How ya been, honey?” She asked Charlie.
“OK, I guess. As good as it can be locked up in this hell hole. How ‘bout you two? Are you doin’ all right?”
“We’ve been just fine, sweetie. Haven’t we, Chels?”
“Who’s shirt you wearin’, Chels?” Charlie asked his daughter.
“Yours, Daddy. It’s okay, right? You’re not using it and besides all the girls are wearing their Daddy’s shirts this year.”
“Of course it’s okay, Doll. In fact help yourself to any of my shirts at home. When I blow this joint, I’m getting all new ones anyway.”
“Can I have your purple shirt?” Chelsea asked.
“Don’t know why yur askin’ now; you been wearing it for months,” Alma muttered.
Charlie grinned at Chelsea. “Sure you can. That ol’ thing ain’t gonna fit me now anyway.” Charlie flexed his biceps. “I been workin’ out every day, ya know.”
In a honeyed voice that she had learned from her mother, Chelsea purred, “Thank you, Daddy.”

She turned to Alma, eager for a little payback about the ‘Ma/Alma’ nonsense. She hated it when her Daddy found fault with her. “Tell ‘im what you been doin’, Ma.”
“I don’t know what you’re talkin’ about Chels. And if you know what’s good for you, you’ll stay outta my business.”
Charlie pulled a prison credit card out of his shirt pocket and handed it to Chelsea. “How ‘bout you go get us some sodas?”
“Save that card for later, hon. I bought you a new one with fifty bucks on it.”
Alma handed it to Chelsea.”Use this one, Chels.”
With a dirty look aimed at Alma, Chelsea took the proffered card. She turned back to her father and smiled, “Sure, Daddy. Any flavor okay?”
“Sure, baby, but remember I don’t like that Dr. Pepper crap. And none of that diet stuff. I want the high octane kind. It’s as close to a beer as you can get in here.”

Laughing, Chelsea rose and walked away. Charlie sat very still and stared at Alma. Trying to cover her discomfort, she started talking fast.
“There a virgin outside.” She mimicked a voice that she thought sophisticated women used. “Very hoity-toity. La-de-da! Fur coat and everything! She got real pissy with the visitor intake officer. Refused to fill out the forms like she was somethin’ better than the rest of us.”
Charlie continued to stare at Alma with a stone cold expression on his face. “Whad’ Chelsea mean…’tell ‘im what ya been doin’, Alma.”
“Nothin’ much, baby, really.”
Charlie continued to look at her, not saying a word.
“Now, Charlie, don’t get all mad okay?” Alma whined.
Charlie answered in a disingenuous tone. “Why would I get mad, Alma? What ‘ya been doin’?”
“Nothin’ much.” Her voice dropped to a whisper. “I went back to work.”
“I’m sorry, I couldn’t have heard you correctly.” Charlie’s icy tone sent shivers up her spine. “Could you say that again? So that I can understand.”
“I said I went back to work.” She replied defiantly.
“That’s great, doll, ‘cause I know when you say, ‘back to work’ you couldn’t mean strippin’. Right, Alma? You don’t mean to say you’re dancin’ again.”
“Now, baby, don’t be that way. I had to.”
“What the fuck do you mean, ‘you had to’?”
“We needed the money.”
“You promised, Alma. When Chels got into her teens you promised you’d stop. That was our deal after she was born. Or have you conveniently forgotten?”
“I tried, Charlie, really. But other kind’a jobs don’t pay five hundred a night.”
“I told you no more and I meant it! That’s not something I want my daughter around. Why can’t you work in an office or somethin’?”
“Cause I’m a exotic dancer, that’s why. That’s what I do.”
“Yeah, sure you are. If that’s what you want to call it.”
“Well, I am. That’s what you called me when you came back to Reno. You said I was the best dancer you ever seen. You tol’ me that, Charlie.” Alma whined.
“That was then. This is now. I don’t want ya strippin’ no more. We got a daughter we gotta think about. I got one thing in my life that’s good and clean and sweet and that’s Chelsea. I don’t want my daughter around yur strippin’, whorin’ friends.”
“You’re so nasty, Charlie. Why ya gotta be that way?” Alma trailed her long, red fingernails up Charlie’s forearm. “Don’cha love me no more?”
“Goddamn it, Alma. ‘Course I still love ya. I guess I always will. But, I swear to Christ, sometimes you are as dumb as a box’a rocks.”
“Baby, I had to start dancin’ again. That’s the only way I know how to make good money, ya know that. That old poot who manages the park was after me about the rent. Tol’ me if I didn’t get caught up he’d evict us and sell the trailer. Then where would Chelsea and I be? Besides that, Chels needs stuff.”
“That’s how you’re gonna get it for her? By takin’ your clothes off?” Charlie snarled.
“You can call it exotic dancin’ but you and I both know what your customers expect.” Charlie glared at her and gripped her arm. “You whorin’ Alma?”
The guard rapped the podium with his pencil and called out. “Baldwin! Take it down a couple of notches or your visiting time is over.” Charlie let go of Alma and sat back in his chair.
“I ain’t whored a day in my life and you know it!” Alma cried. “Shame on you. I ain’t turnin’ tricks. You should know I got more respect for myself than that. I went back to work dancin’…jus’ dancin’. We can’t make it with you in here. And yur never gonna get out if ya keep gettin’ into trouble.” She peeked at him through her lashes. “Please honey, ya know I can’t do no other kind’a job and make that kind’a money.”

Alma paused to see what Charlie would say. He sat there and stared at her. Alma reached into her pocket and brought out a pack of cards. “I brung the cards, ya wanna’ play some Gin?”
Chelsea walked up, her hands holding three soda cans. “We gonna’ play cards? Can I play, Daddy?”
“Sure, baby. A nickel a point, okay?”
“Oh, Daddy, you know I ain’t supposed to gamble. You always told me ‘a lady don’t gamble’.”
Charlie laughed. “not suppose to’ gamble, no such word as ‘ain’t. And what I said was, ‘a lady never gambles with her own money.”
He slapped the table and laughed at his own joke. “Deal the cards, Chels.” He looked Alma in the eye, “We ain’t through with this conversation, Alma.”


The next segment will appear Wednesday. Hope you return to find out what happens to Alma and Charlie and the rest of the women living outside the walls…..

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Author's Bio: 

Author, playwright, and poet, Trisha Sugarek has been writing for four decades. Until recently her writing had focused on stage plays that ranged from prison stories to children’s fables. She has expanded her body of work to include two books of poetry, a group of children’s books and her debut novel, “Women Outside the Walls”.

Newly released, a series “ShortN’Small” short plays, small casts which are used in classrooms in this country and internationally.

She has enjoyed a thirty year career in theatre as an actor and director. Originally from Seattle, she has worked in theatres from coast to coast and her plays have been produced across the country. Trisha lives in Savannah, Georgia with her three golden retrievers.

Trisha’s plays and books can be found on her web site at: