Life (Story by R.C. Peris)

“Get your shit together, yeah.” There was vodka dribbling down Colleen’s chin. She slammed the shot glass on the counter and the sequins on her dress shimmied and shimmered.

“Get your shit together,” I said. In truth, Colleen did have her shit together. She was a graduate student in the arts, she had an exhibit coming up at a Dublin gallery, and her grandmother, whom she visited every week at the nursing home, wrote her a check for a thousand euros. I was an exchange student at Trinity and worked at a chip shop and bar for extra cash. I was studying economics but hadn’t quite grasped budgeting and money. Also, the euro was less than the dollar. I told Colleen, my roommate, I would be late on my rent. I had already blown my scholarship and loan money. Tuition was paid up but personal expenses were questionable. My rent was 600 euros but I had spent 200 euros in two days. Partying. Oh, and paying for Plan B. I wish I had gotten the IUD before I left the States. They counsel you and shit to get the Plan B in Ireland. I readily admit that Plan B was no plan at all.

“Call your Mam for money,” said Colleen. She was raven-haired and not particularly attractive with a face of rage and alcohol streaming down her. She did alright though. She could snag men. I could snag men. I was just less good at getting them to pay for drinks.

The nightclub was thumping with music and I braced myself on the bar. Things were spinning.

“I’ll do it. I’ll call my Mom.” I felt my forehead. I was feverish.

“That’s it. Get your shit together. Get your relatives to pay. You’re only twenty. Want the fuck do they expect? Trump?” Colleen started laughing then. She lost her balance and I grabbed hold of her. Trump was quite a joke in Europe. Somedays I felt like writing Fox News and letting them know America was an embarrassment around the world. A punchline.

I left Colleen at the bar and went to the toilet. Mid-pee I phoned my Mom.

“Can you send more money?”

“Madison, what is going on?” I could envision my mother. Rigid. The pose she had for the jury on her court cases.

“Getting my shit together. Come on, Mom. Don’t you remember being young?”

There was silence. So I spoke. “I don’t have all my rent money. You don’t expect me to be on the streets of Dublin do you?”

“You need to grow up, Madison.”

“I do. But not at this very moment. Nope. Not at this various moment.”

Mom wired money the next day, I paid rent, but then I went to the pub and needed Plan B again. Fuck. So I was short on next month’s rent. I went to the nursing home for Colleen’s grandmother. She had dementia. I told her I was Colleen and she wrote me a check for 500 euros. I felt a little guilty but more annoyed that growing up and being an adult was not fun and not easy. If I could crawl into my Mom’s womb I would. Of course, I would have to experience my mother’s passive aggressiveness and occasional rage again. I don’t think any age is ideal. Just ask Colleen’s grandma. Life really is shit.

THE END

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