I got an honourable mention for this piece I wrote for Writer's Plot - my writing group.
The prompt was an image of a little girl holding stuffed toy, a prison fence and guard tower, and the first line. Thanks to Murray for setting up the challenge for us.
Daddy's Little Girl
There had to be a way to get the package inside. Mary knew that if she thought hard enough she would be able to figure out a way. She wasn’t a natural blonde after all. Cigarette between her well-bitten nails she sighed again. There had to be a way to get the package inside. She looked around her room. All she could see were stupid reminders of stupid mistakes she’d made along the way. Every guy she’d fucked, and possibly loved from the other side of the bottom of a bottle, hung from the ceiling.
There was Ted, her first conquest - the cuddly dork who seemed so appealing until he started talking about marriage. Nelson (Nelly) - forever known as “The Elephant” due to his huge dick and inability to forget her indiscretions. She’d had to leave her home town to get away from that one. Roger “The Rabbit” - he’d wanted more sex with more women than any guy she’d met. Sadly she’d only discovered the “more women” part after she’d tested positive for the clap. Hank “The Horse”; Barry “The Beaver”; Larry “The Lizard” - scaly as anything but man oh man that tongue was a thing of legend. They were all there, hanging from their little cable above the yellowed curtains. They were all memories wrapped in stuff and fluff.
Mary sighed as she turned back to her bed. The package was there. All neatly wrapped and ready to go. Wesley wasn't expecting it. He deserved it. Conjugal Visits were every twenty eight days but he was a man who wasn’t able to wait. She sat down next to it, her free hand tracing over the wrapping. It would have been easy to hand it to him then, the guards weren’t that fussy on that day. But regular visits were different.
She stubbed the cigarette out in the ashtray on the floor. There were only twenty minutes until visiting hour.
“Momma!” Lily’s voice was just louder than her galloping up the wooden floor in the hallway. Mary’s door swung open and her dark haired daughter ran and dove onto the bed. Lily picked up the parcel and hugged it close to her. Her serious grey eyes stared up at Mary.
“Momma, we gonna get it to him yeah?” she lisped slightly, in her adorably three year old voice.
“Of course, Lily-boo.” Mary said as she scanned the room again searching for a solution. She glanced back at Roger “The Rabbit”.
“Fuck yeah!” she whispered as she remembered. Smiling she stood, reached up and pulled him
off the cable. Setting him carefully on her bed she opened the small pocket in his stomach - the package fitted perfectly. Stroking Lily’s head, she said “Come on my Lilyboo! It’s time to go!”
“Yay! Momma, we gonna see my Dadda now? Give-a him his present?” Lily squealed as she
skipped down the hallway to the front door. Mary picked up her purse and followed Lily,
“Yeah we are gonna see Dadda!” she smiled, throat tight.
Wesley was the only mistake she’d made that had given her a positive outcome. She owed it to
Lily to keep it together. Six years down from nineteen for drug trafficking wasn’t too long to wait for Wesley. For Lily to have a real dad, not just a man behind a glass wall like hers had been. Times had been tough but she'd gotten this far. He only had three more years to go. Lily had been born three months into his sentence.
They walked the five minutes to the gates of the prison. The tall towers always reminded Mary
of her childhood. She supposed they were like the landmarks of beach holidays for other people her age. She twisted her wedding band as she waited for the succession of clicks as she and Lily were allowed through the gates. The guards were old friends now. Some had seen her grow up and they’d all known Lily from birth to now. Lily’d even taken her first steps here and learned to ride her scooter in the exercise yard on one of the summer afternoons when Wesley had been allowed outside.
They walked through, Lily waving and smiling at all the guards as she skipped along, holding
Mary’s hand and the rabbit by the ears in her other hand. One or two guards commented on the rabbit and Lily’s growth spurt. Mary smiled nervously, waiting for them to check the rabbit or for Lily to tell them about the package. But, even through the pat-downs, Lily just babbled on about seeing Dadda. The guards smiled indulgently and ignored the rabbit.
They slowed as they walked down the final mud green hallway. Lily put her thumb in her mouth, eyes owl-wide as they were ushered through the heavy door at the far end. The nurse on the other side, smiled gently and waved at the door on the right of the ward. She followed Mary as Lily ran to the bed, managing this time to avoid all the tubes as she climbed up onto Wesley’s bed. Another sign that she was growing up, Mary sighed. She watched Wesley raise his hand and cup his daughter's face and he glanced her way, a sad smile flashed across the room.
“Lily-boo” Wesley managed as a tear rolled down his cheek. Mary stepped forward as Lily wriggled away from her dad's hand and pulled the package out of the rabbit and handed it to him.
“Dadda! Is for you! Is for Father’s Day.”
The nurse put her hand on Mary's shoulder and squeezed it. “I won't tell the guards.” she whispered. “He's not going to make it to Father's Day. It won’t hurt to let them have their fun.”