Loki Gets Her Story
As Callie lay on her bunk, the anguished sobbing ringing in her ears, she told herself she had no reason to feel regret. She’d been pushed beyond her limit – any sane person would agree with that. The brat had had her restricted to her cell for a whole day with a stranger! She’d made Callie, and everyone else, look like complete fools. Velda was right – Callie had been more than patient and where had it gotten her? Nothing but disrespect from the fish she was supposed to be looking after! Who could blame her for finally snapping??
In spite of this, her conscience kept niggling at her. She knew one person who would not have approved. Growling to herself, she picked up the tube of arnica and got out of her bunk.
“I must be getting soft-headed in my old age,” she muttered disgustedly.
She made her way to Loki’s bed and sat next to the crying woman. Finally, unable to stand it any longer, she reached down and gathered the brat up, settling her carefully on her lap so Loki’s punished bottom was clear of her thighs, and held her close. It was a clear sign of the Loki’s defeated state of mind that she didn’t fight to get away, but instead buried her face in the crook between Callie’s neck and shoulder. Almost automatically, Callie found herself making soothing noises and rocking the younger woman. It had been a long time since Callie had had to comfort a woman – especially a woman who was crying because of her – and she was glad to discover she hadn’t forgotten how.
After awhile, when Loki’s wailing had died down to soft tears and an occasional hiccupping sob, Callie rearranged her to lay across her lap. She could tell by the brat’s whimper the position brought back too-fresh memories of the worst spanking she had ever received, but it couldn’t be helped. This was the best way to apply the arnica. She uncapped the tube and cleared her throat.
“Once upon a time,” she began, ignoring the fish’s little start of surprise, “there was this woman I knew. Her name was…uh…Daisy.”
“Daisy?” Loki’s voice, though still tear-ridden, was skeptical.
“Yeah, Daisy. Her parents named after a flower, thinking it would make her grow up classy, but she hated it. Don’t ever do that to your kid,” she advised the woman over her knee.
“Not likely,” was the acerbic, hiccupped response.
“Anyway, Daisy was a hard-headed idiot, even as a kid. No one could tell her nothing. She always had to find out things the hard way. Sound familiar?” Loki didn’t answer, and Callie continued. “She moved away from home early, and lived off her wits. Did odd jobs here and there…developed some street smarts. Fell in with the wrong crowd, fell out again. Decided the only person she could trust was herself. Like I said, she thought she knew it all.”
“She was right – the only person you can trust is yourself.”
Callie shook her head and tapped the undamaged portion of skin above Loki’s tailbone with her finger. “You got a lot to learn, fish. I hope you survive long enough to learn it.”
“Not likely, with the cellmate I’ve got,” Loki sniffled under her breath.
“What was that?”
Loki just shook her head. Contrary to popular belief, she did NOT have a death wish. After a suspicious glare, Callie resumed her tale.
“Amazingly enough, Daisy managed to make it to adulthood without anyone strangling her. Her life was not the greatest, but she did as she pleased, so she was satisfied. But life throws funny curves at you. She thought she was pretty tough, but then she found out differently when met her match.”
“A bitch even tougher than her?” Loki guessed.
“Worse.” Callie paused to gather more gel on her fingertips and rub it gently over the reddened skin. “She fell in love.”
Loki let out a soft hiss of mingled pain and surprise. Callie was being gentle, but her ass hurt something awful. “What’s so bad about that?”
“Nothing, I guess. In fact, it was probably good for Daisy. Softened her up some.” She paused to apply the gel around the outer edges of Loki’s bottom. “Daisy met Josie one day at the library, of all places. Daisy wasn’t one for books and shit, but the library did have a decent collection of music, and it was free. Josie was behind the counter, and Daisy noticed right away how cute she was. But she wasn’t the kind of girl Daisy usually went for. I mean, she had glasses and everything…she was obviously the kind who read all those books in the library.”
“But…I see you reading all the time!” Loki was confused.
“So?” Callie scowled. “What does that have to do with Daisy?”
After a moment, Callie continued. “Even though they were really different, it turned out Daisy and Josie got along real good. They liked the same movies. They laughed a lot together. But the most important thing for Daisy, was that Josie wasn’t just smart in books, she was smart in people too. And she was a spunky little thing. Josie wouldn’t take any of Daisy’s guff, she always gave back as good as she got. At the same time, she knew how to twist that tough dyke around her little finger.” Loki could hear the smile in Callie’s voice. She kept quiet so as not to interrupt the reverie. “Josie was the best thing to ever happen to Daisy.” There was silence for awhile.
“So what went wrong?” Loki finally prompted.
“What makes you think something went wrong?”
“I’m a storyteller, remember? Something always goes wrong.”
“You’re too young to be so pessimistic,” Callie scolded. “Something doesn’t always go wrong.”
“Okay, so nothing happened? They lived happily ever after?”
Callie rested her palm against Loki’s still-heated buttock. “Are you telling this story, or me?”
Loki took the hint and shut up.
“Okay, in this case, there was a problem. But it’s not always like that!” she growled at Loki’s half-stifled laugh. “Anyway,” she began rubbing gel over Loki’s bruised sit spots, “Josie had this asshole of an ex-husband. He didn’t like the fact that his wife decided she was a lesbian. He especially didn’t like the fact that she fell in love with a woman who could whip his butt.” There was a grim satisfaction in Callie’s voice.
“I guess you know that because Daisy actually whipped his butt?”
“Yup. She had to. He kept bugging her girlfriend, and she wasn’t going to stand for that. So one day, she paid a little visit to the bastard’s working place. He worked in some brake repair shop. He wasn’t even a real mechanic, he just changed pads and rotors all day. What a loser.”
“She kicked his ass, huh?”
“She gave it to him good. Broke his nose and kicked his ribs in, and he had to have stitches in his lip. She scared him good, and she knew he wouldn’t bother them after that.”
“Good for her.”
“Yeah, you’d think so, wouldn’t you?” She spread some gel over Loki’s thighs and tutted. The brat was going to be a rainbow of bruises by tomorrow. She really did do a number with that bread board. “But what the little hot-headed idiot did was considered assault in most states. Assault with a weapon, no less, because Daisy had made the mistake of picking up a wrench and threatening him with it. Are you listening, fish? It doesn’t matter if you assault an asshole, it’s still you going to jail. You hear me?” Her voice held its trademark growl.
“Well, I don’t think it’s fair.” Loki plopped her head down with a pout and closed her eyes.
“Doesn’t matter what you or I think, it’s the law. And so Daisy got herself locked up for her trouble, and what good did that accomplish? Josie was pissed at her, her fucking ex-husband was laughing his ass off, and she was stuck in prison for five years.”
“I bet she didn’t regret it, though. And I bet Josie forgave her.”
“She didn’t regret beating the crap out of that loser, no,” Callie agreed, her tone savagely gleeful. “And yeah, Josie could never hold a grudge.” The smile appeared again for a second in the top’s voice, and for some reason it made Loki smile too, even if this was the woman who had just beat the hell out of her as well.
“But the problem was – now they were apart. And Daisy…couldn’t protect her anymore.” The warmth had disappeared from Callie’s voice. Her tone was as bleak as an arctic wind. Loki gave a little shiver.
“With Daisy locked up, Josie’s ex-husband was free to come around again….”
“He could take his revenge out on Josie….”
“He could put her in the hospital, if he wanted….”
“He could even put her into a coma….”
“And Daisy couldn’t do anything about it.”
Each bitter sentence was softer and softer, forced over clamped-up throat muscles which threatened to choke their owner and out through teeth clenched to hold back emotion. Loki didn’t dare speak, didn’t dare breathe. Even the usual background clamor of the Bucket somehow receded into nothingness, as if bearing witness to a stark exposed pain which never usually saw the light of day.
Two teardrops meandered down Callie’s face, and she wiped them away absentmindedly. Her eyes were open and fixed on the wall opposite, but her gaze was entirely inward. She took a deep breath and came back to the present.
“They didn’t even let Daisy go to the funeral. Why should they? Josie wasn’t a relative or anything. She was only Daisy’s….life.” Callie’s voice wasn’t tortured anymore, just unutterably sad.
“I’m sorry,” Loki whispered. She wasn’t sure if Callie even heard her.
“Daisy went nuts.” Callie’s tone was matter-of-fact now. “The brightest thing in her life was gone, and she was in prison. She didn’t care about anything, including living. She picked fights, she hassled guards. She was on the path to an early grave, and she didn’t give a shit.”
Callie looked over her work with a practiced eye. There would definitely be major bruises, but the brat would survive. She capped the tube of arnica and began rubbing in the last of the gel. “Luckily for Daisy, there was someone in prison who saw what was happening, and cared enough to do something about it. It was a woman named…uh…Zelda.”
Zelda? Loki gave a soft snort of amusement. It’s a good thing the woman wasn’t going to try to make a living as a writer.
“Zelda was older, wiser. She took the time to talk to Daisy. Try to make her see reason. She even pointed out Josie wouldn’t have wanted her to end up this way. But Daisy was still young and angry. When the talking didn’t work, Zelda decided she had to make an impression another way.” Callie chuckled. “God, that was embarrassing! To be an adult and bent over someone’s knee, bare-assed, unable to stop yelling because each belt-lick hurt so damn much!”
She shook her head. “Poor Daisy. But it got through to her where all the talking didn’t. She realized someone really cared about her, which was a big surprise. And even more, that someone was going to keep on beating her ass until she wised up and started taking better care of herself. That’s when Daisy started lifting weights, she quit picking fights, and she learned to be more respectful…of herself and others. She became someone…someone hopefully Josie could be proud of.” Callie trailed off, then cleared her throat self-consciously.
“So you see,” she concluded, “this is why I come down so hard on you, fish. I don’t want you to end up like Daisy. You deserve better. We all do.” She paused, but no response was forthcoming. “You understand what I’m saying, Loki-or-whatever-your-name-is-this-week?”
The only reply was deep breathing. Very deep breathing. Callie leaned forward to confirm what she had begun to suspect. Yup, the brat was sound asleep. So much for making an impression!
Ah well, she’s tuckered out, Callie thought with a wry expression. Causing mischief takes a lot of energy. Not to mention being locked up in the loony wing, spending time in the hole, being spanked to within an inch of her life, and then sobbing her heart out. I guess she can be excused a little nap.
Carefully, so as not to wake her, Callie maneuvered out from beneath the sleeping woman. She decided to leave her bottom bared, and just covered her with a blanket. As she lay down on her own bed, Callie wondered briefly whether Josie would’ve approved of her treatment of Loki. She probably would’ve been able to handle things a lot better…probably would never have needed to raise a hand to her to get her to behave. On the other hand, Josie would’ve been a lot smarter than to end up in prison in the first place.
“Fuck it. You’re not here, and I am. And I’m doing the best I can,” Callie said aloud. She didn’t quite believe in heaven, so who knew if Josie could hear her or not? But she thought, from the strange warmth that blossomed in her chest at that moment, that maybe…just possibly…she could.