Today’s Story A Day prompt was to write about childhood damage, and how it affects your character in adult life. As it happens, the first book of my Spadena Street humorous mystery series (currently in edits) has that very element at its heart.
So, since my Holly prompt was Recreation, I sent my main character on a cruise.
This is Thursday, so there will also be a door.
It wasn’t until the cruise ship left port that it occurred to Juss she could have just not boarded. Doris, her foster mother, had hugged her and kissed her goodbye at the airport in Louisville, with the finger-wagging injunction to enjoy herself. Doris wouldn’t have known Juss was holed up in a motel in St. Augustine instead of at sea.
Of course, Doris was canny. Doris would have asked her questions until she got the truth. Then she would have been disappointed, and Juss hated to disappoint her “Mama D.”
So here she was, dressed in middle-class clothes, strolling around the middle-class deck, having won the concession from Doris to take this birthday gift cruise as middle class, not in the first class they could easily afford.
“I don’t need a fluffy robe and free slippers,” Juss had insisted. “I don’t need complimentary flowers and champagne. I don’t need a suite or a balcony.”
Mama D had given her that Look, calculating if Juss meant it, or if she was just rejecting something she wanted out of loyalty to her raising. It was a tough call since, out of loyalty to her raising, Juss didn’t want first-class amenities.
Even middle-class cruisiness, even now, just out of port, made her want to rip holes in her jeans and tie-dye a t-shirt and cut her new sneakers into make-do sandals.
Men and women in white uniforms with gold trim smiled bright smiles, the men touching the brims of their hats, asking if they could be of any assistance.
Juss tucked herself into a deck chair and watched as other passengers requested directions to their staterooms or the Lido deck. Alone.
Mama D was supposed to have come with her, but Doris’ boyfriend’s grandmother had been in a bad way, and Juss agreed that Doris needed to be there for him. Juss suggested their canceling the trip and rescheduling, but Doris had given her that Look, like Juss was denying herself, and had told her she was too old to need her mama with her every minute.
There, she was wrong. Juss’ natural parents had left her with Doris in the commune they’d help start back in the 70s and had never come back for her. Rejected by the only relatives Doris could trace for her, Juss had continued to live with her Mama D, joining her in the work force as soon as she could, until death had loosened the relatives’ grip on Juss’ inheritance.
Doris, who had had a life before the commune, continually encouraged Juss to live the life she had been given, but abundance just didn’t seem real.
A handsome young man in the standard uniform stepped up next to her chair and touched his hat brim. “Anything I can do for you? Would you like a cold drink? Do you have any questions?”
“I’m fine,” she said. Then, “Do you have a union?”
“I … I beg your pardon?”
“Crew ship workers. Do you have a union?”
His smile grew wider but less sincere.
“Lunch will be served on the Lido deck in half an hour,” he said. “The bar is open now.”
“I take it that means you don’t.”
He touched his hat again and scurried away.
She unlocked her cell phone and opened a browser. Thirty seconds’ search revealed that, no, most unions didn’t cover most crew members, especially the ones with the hardest jobs.
Sounded to Juss like a job for a good lawyer. Fortunately, she had a good lawyer, and he knew other good lawyers.
She would be willing to bet she could document some actionable outrages during a ten-day cruise. She would be willing to bet she or her lawyer could find out the best way to pursue relief and representation for all crew, everywhere.
Change the world overnight? That was unrealistic. But the hammer of justice, while small, just kept tapping away, providing you kept your hand on it.
Thursday Doors is the brainchild of Norm Frampton, photographer extraordinaire. Visit his site, enjoy his wonderful photographs, follow his instructions, and enter a world of doors.
MY PROMPTS TODAY: Childhood damage, recreation.