Only Women Bleed

Last time with Helene Troy:

Talking to Xander on the phone made Helene wistful of her time at the University of Pittsburgh. She graduated two and a half years earlier but the grind of working in New York City bars made it seem longer. She missed clumsiness with college boys.

“Xander, is 2 a.m. past your bedtime? Can you make it?

Helene pulled the phone from her ear and saw a dropped call.

“Shit! I can’t have a normal conversation with myself, much less some cute painter.”

With an hour to get to work, Helene saw the next stop was near Sadie’s apartment and the bodega where she had offered to take in the two kittens. She got off.

As she trudged up the stairs, her phone buzzed. It was Sadie.

“Leney, I’ve got horrible news.”

She hadn’t heard from her since the Darcy drama earlier. Helene threw her long brown hair back and braced for the worst.

“Jamie hurt her knee in a pick-up basketball game this morning. We’re at the hospital. Her doctor says it’s ligament damage. She’s not going to Greece. Her room isn’t available. I’m so sorry.”

Helene felt nauseous as she reached the street. Her mouth dried and her knees buckled. She dropped her backpack to the pavement. She’d be homeless in two weeks. Tears formed in her tired green eyes as she responded.

“I’ll call you later. Tell Jamie I hope she’s okay.”

She knelt to pick up some of the items spilled from the backpack. Her pocket knife had opened slightly, enough for the top of the blade to poke. It nicked the webbing between her right index and middle fingers. Blood began to weep through her knuckles. She licked the tops of her damaged digits. The flavor of metal and salt made her cringe.

“That sexy college daydream of being a grungy itinerant musician is coming true, Helene.”

Her phone buzzed again. It was Xander. She ignored his call and walked past the bodega to the liquor store next door.

****blogger’s note***

This is a new story episode of The Ballad of Helene Troy. You can find the rest of it, so far, here:   This is also a response to two writing challenge “weep” from and “flavor” from Please visit them.

Today’s song is Only Women Bleed from new Hall of Famer Alice Cooper. I know the song’s about a woman in an adusive marriage but it’s tone and some lyrics fit here. I wanted something downbeat.