Inside the ladies bathroom at Freddy’s Roadhouse the walls, stalls, ceiling, sinks, and countertops were all painted baby pink, and coated with a luminous pearl finish that gave them a faint blue-green shimmer. Pale carnation ceramic tiles covered the floor.
There were five stalls opposite four sinks, which were evenly divided between two countertops, above which were mounted two five foot wide vanity mirrors, each topped with ten round, soft light bulbs.
A wall, six inches thick, had been constructed flush between the countertops. Shelving in either side of the wall was always stocked with an array of different essentials women might need at any given time, on any given night: hairspray, clear nail polish, sanitary napkins, perfume, paper towel singles, tissues, and occasionally condoms.
The owner, Freddy, had given his wife, Dolly, complete control of the ladies’ room design and maintenance. He didn’t care, and he didn’t want to know, what it looked like, what it held, or what went on in there. Except on Saturday nights, when half his staff congregated inside to put on their faces and talk shit. Freddy wanted it that the girls were already pretty and done up before they got to work. He wanted them out on the floor schmoozing money out of their regulars, and pouring alcohol down men’s throats.
Instead, Taylor, the waitressing manager, spent twenty minutes inside the pink room with her crew, bitching and gossiping without shame or remorse, in front of, and with, regular customers about which staff they hated, each other’s husbands and boyfriends, and only God knew what else.
Freddy hated it. But what could he do? Taylor had a gift for pulling people in and keeping them coming back.
So what if she’d gathered together a girl gang of regulars, whose members were always eyeballing him and grinning at his floor manager, his bartender, and his bouncer? As long as none of it got back to Dolly, and as long as they kept spending money every weekend they could keep the bathroom for half an hour every Saturday night between seven and eight.
Taylor knew she was good for business, and she knew that Freddy knew it too. He hated her guts, and she knew that also, because he only ever spoke to her when he absolutely had to. And even then it was always a short conversation where he never made eye contact.
Freddy wasn’t much on socializing with anyone, but he made it clear who he liked and who he didn’t. You could tell because he would engage. He would look at people, he would touch them. Whether a handshake or a pat on the shoulder, he had a physical way of communicating his affections and respect.
He loved Gloria, and Genie, and that young blonde number, Shaniah. Freddy had to love Genie; they were in-laws. Gloria was apparently an old friend, and the first waitress they’d hired something like fifteen years ago.
Taylor didn’t know why Freddy liked Shaniah so much, other than she was also apparently a ‘family’ friend. But it wasn’t a far stretch to think they were fucking. Neither of them ever gave any clues, but the girl was too young and way too hot to just be some family friend, who managed to stay single the entire year since she’d started.
Taylor didn’t buy it for one second.
“How come Gloria’s never in here, getting ready?” someone asked from inside a stall.
The bathroom was full tonight. Every stall was taken and at least five or six women crowded together at each vanity.
“Gimme a break,” Taylor called out.
She finished applying eyeliner to the insides of her bottom lids and brought her face back from the mirror.
“Nobody wants to see lipstick on a fucking zombie.”
Some of the women laughed.
“I mean, I think she could use all the help she can get,”
Taylor eyed her small tits through her blue skin-tight tank top. She turned her face to the side and squinted her eyes. She should have worn the yellow top.
“But some people are just past the point of no return, ya know?”
“She knows it too,” Carol added beside her.
“I’d fuckin hope so,” Taylor chuckled.
“Evelyn came out all right,” another woman commented. “Hot little number that one.”
Evelyn was Gloria’s eighteen-year-old daughter, and one of the cocktail waitresses. She must’ve pulled her father’s genes because Taylor refused to believe Gloria could have ever been nearly as good-looking in her youth.
Evelyn had a fit and tiny frame. She always wore her long sun-kissed brown hair open and down her back. She kept her bangs blown out and heavily hair-sprayed.
Her favorite pastimes were tossing her hair and spinning around whenever her name was called, teasing her bangs, reapplying her shimmery white Wet & Wild lip gloss, and dancing at tables full of grown men when she wanted to make her boyfriend jealous.
Taylor didn’t hate the girl. She hated that her mother let her behave that way.
Gloria encouraged Evelyn’s antics.
“She’s hot all right,” Taylor rolled her eyes, “and dumb as a fucking rock. She’s too dumb and too slutty for her own good.”
Taylor turned to her best friend.
Carol rubbed her lips together, pushed them out and looked in the mirror. She fluffed her bangs a bit on top and nodded.
“Good to go,” she smiled.
“All right,” Taylor brushed past Carol, toward the bathroom door. “Let’s get out there and make some money.”