TITLE: STAGGER INN
GENRE: Women's Fiction
The Monday following her fourth birthday, Molly stood on the steps of Great Aunt Sophia's cement stoop in St. Louis, her hair still jumbled from sleep, her too short jeans ending her her ankles. Her mother pressed a ten dollar bill into her hand, hastily planted a pink-lipsticked kiss on her cheek, and skedaddled down the steps in her high heeled shoes.
"Only until I can get on my feet, baby," she called to Molly.
By the time Molly reached seven years, she had figured out that "on her feet" more likely meant "on her back," a sad and precocious realization for one so young.
Despite her mother's haphazard care, Molly loved her with a wounded passion, dazzled by her glamour and her frantic energy, compared to Aunt Sophia's tightly curled perm and tightly pursed lips.
By her twenty-seventh birthday, Molly worked as a waitress at Dawn's Early Light. That February morning, Molly greeted the early breakfast custsomers, the winter air still trapped in their coats. Most of the six o'clock crowd worked at St. Louis' Barnes Hospital complex--interns, nurses, aides. They wore uniforms, some as unbecoming as Molly's starchy dress, but she felt certain their jobs were far more interesting. They dealt with crises, matters of life and death, bad news, good news. All she dealt with was the choice between ham, sausage, or bacon. Day after day.
She was definitely ready for another change. And her new plans definitely wouldn't involve Dawn's Early Light. Or Vinnie.