Agatha Hates the Way She Looks

Agatha hates the way she looks. There’s the semblance of beauty, but it’s all come out wrong. Not like her mother. When her mother was young she was a flight attendant and a model as well. Apparently, she used to eat raw mince-meat to keep her weight down. She was engaged to some oil baron from Norway or something for a while, but she ended up marrying Agatha’s dad and they settled down in the outer suburbs. If anything, it’s her dad’s fault that she looks the way she does. She wanted to get plastic surgery for her eighteenth, but changed her mind at the last minute and got a car instead.

Getting ready is a long process for Agatha. There are creams and powders and all kinds of things. Some have to be absorbed and some have to dry and others have to be wiped off. It’s kind of like making Sea Monkeys; you have to do everything in exactly the right order at exactly the right time or you’ll end up with a bowlful of slime. After make-up and combing the wardrobe for thirty minutes to find something to wear (it never looks as good on you after you’ve bought it), she does her hair. Her hair is the one feature she is happy with. She puts bobby pins into her fringe to hold it away from her face. She slept for a good part of the morning, but she’s starting to feel tired now, so she swallows a duramine.

She puts her Marlboro Lights into her new handbag and walks towards the front door, but Mum intercepts her on the way.

“That skirt’s a bit short; it makes your thighs look even thicker,” says mum, trying to be helpful.

Before leaving, Agatha changes her skirt and swallows another duramine.

By the time she gets to Tracey’s the duramine has got her going pretty fast, so she has a couple of glasses of red to slow her down. She can vaguely hear Sally rattling on about how she is now head girl at the Estee Lauder Counter at Myer. Agatha knows this is a lie, but doesn’t say anything because she doesn’t want to rock the boat. She has another glass of red and the duramine recedes.

They go to the Lizard Lounge to meet up with some friends. Friends of Tracey’s. Fucking bitch Amanda, among others. She thinks she’s better than everyone because she’s a real-estate agent. She wouldn’t even have the job if she wasn’t Tracey’s friend. Tracey says that she’s sick of Amanda and her Dad wants to sack her, anyway. Amanda is with a black guy who looks about ten years older than her. One of those self-consciously flashy men who wears as much of his money as he can. He’s conceited, too. He looks at Agatha and she looks away.

Agatha and Tracey shoot some chartreuse and chase it with vodka, lemon, lime and soda. If you want to know how to pronounce a label or something, Tracey is the girl to ask. Tracey has a lot of style, partly because she has a lot of money. Agatha is a bargain shopper. For two hundred dollars, Agatha can go to a few shops on Bridge Road and come away with four tops, a couple of skirts and a pair of shoes. Tracey, on the other hand, will drop two hundred dollars on one top on Chapel Street. It’s a different story when you work for your Dad and you can elect your own wage. Tracey is bigger than Agatha, but she knows how to dress for her shape and Agatha admires her for it.

Agatha’s head starts to spin as she is dancing. It feels good. She puts her head back and looks into the lights. When she looks down and the glare fades Amanda’s Handbag is dancing near her. He puts his hands on Agatha’s hips and she recoils, but when she sees Amanda watching from the bar, she lets him keep his hands there. He pushes his knee in between hers and she feels scared, so she goes to the bathroom.

Tracey comes in shortly after and they do a line of speed each off the toilet seat. After that, Tracey goes to the bar and gets another two vodka, lime and sodas and they sit together in a booth in a corner. Agatha likes speed, but only takes it when she’s clubbing. Speed is good because it allows you to drink more alcohol and not get drunk.

Tracey starts on about how lucky Agatha is to be working as a secretary in a financial planning institution. She can work her way up to being a financial planner. It’s good money and provides a great opportunity to ‘diversify her portfolio’. Tracey is over real-estate and wants to do something else. Her Dad is getting on her case about being late to work in the mornings and even suggested that she start paying board at home.

Amanda’s handbag sits down and squeezes Agatha’s thigh. She drives her knee into the table in fright.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

“Just trying to get your attention.” Handbag smiles. He has a gold incisor.

“What for?”

“You’re really sexy.” She feels herself blushing.

“I have a boyfriend.”

“Where is he?”

“At work.”

“Really.”

Handbag pushes his hand into her crotch and starts massaging her cunt. Her knees go up into the table-top again and she laughs in shock.

“What do you think you’re doing?”

Handbag doesn’t reply. She squeezes her thighs around his hand as tight as she can, but he’s persistent and her thighs loosen the more he rubs her. Agatha doesn’t notice when Tracey gets up and walks away.

Handbag tries to kiss her after she comes, but she won’t let him. Amanda is watching from the bar, eyes almost completely slitted. Agatha winks and raises her glass in toast.

“Oh oh, I think I’m in trouble,” says Handbag and he takes off towards the bar.

Agatha doesn’t know what Handbag has said, but both he and Amanda go with Agatha and Tracey and the other girls to Velour. Velour is a bar in Flinders Lane. A clutch of yobbos are pissing on the bins at the top of an alley. They chuckle and whisper and one gives Agatha a low whistle as she walks past. She ignores them and swings her hips a little more just to make a point.

Agatha’s boyfriend, Jeff, is standing on the door. He must have heard the whistle as he is looking darkly at the drunks at the end of the alley. Amanda puts her hand on his chest as she walks inside and Agatha feels a thrill as he recoils from it. Then she feels poisonously guilty.

“How’s your night, Furry Girl? You look very pretty.”

‘Furry Girl’ is Jeff’s pet name for her. It refers to the trail of blonde hairs she has under her navel. When he started calling her ‘Furry’ she shaved them all off, but they grew back black, so now she waxes assiduously. He bends down to kiss her and he says that he loves her.

“Have you taken anything?” he asks, looking into her eyes suspiciously.

“No.”

“Better go inside,” Jeff tells her, his eyes on the yobbos walking down the alley. Agatha does as he asks. She has found out the hard way that the bouncer’s girlfriend can become a target for disgruntled drinkers.

At the bar, Handbag won’t keep his hands off her. And there’s no delicate touches, either. His hands are on her arse or between her legs and he’s none too subtle about it. One of the barmaids has noticed. Agatha doesn’t like her; she believes she has designs on Jeff.

“Will you stop that please?’

“You love it, you little tart.’

Getting called a tart is par for the course when you go out, but this really stings after what happened at the Lizard Lounge. After all, if you think about it, it was rape. She puts her drink down on the bar and goes outside to talk to Jeff. He’s busy talking to a group of people, giving them directions. She braces herself.

“Jeff, I have to tell you something.”

“You’re drunk. Again.”

“No, that’s not it.” She steadies herself against the wall.

“Well, what?”

This is not going the way it should. She doesn’t know how to say it, so she says the first thing that comes into her head.

“There’s a guy inside that keeps feeling me up.”

“Which one?”

“The guy at the bar with Tracey. The black guy.”

“Right.”

Jeff goes inside. Shortly after, she hears the crash of breaking glass and Handbag is propelled into the alley, tripping on the bluestone step on his way out the door and goes sprawling into the bins like a bowling ball. Jeff strides out after him. Handbag stands, feet spread ridiculously, and raises his hands in supplication. Then he sees Agatha. He shakily points a finger at her.

“You. You little slut.”

Handbag quickly discovers this to be the worst thing he could have said. Jeff hits him a couple of times and then hoists him up by the scruff of his shirt.

“Apologise,” Jeff hisses, “Apologise, or I’ll murder you.” Handbag gurgles out an apology and then Jeff hits him anyway. Handbag crumples into a pile. Later, Amanda comes outside and helps him look for his front tooth amongst the bins. She shoots Agatha a bitchy look, but Agatha just smiles and puts her arms around Jeff.

It’s nice to be loved.

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One Response to “Agatha Hates the Way She Looks”

  1. Nice little story Jarrod. Not to be dense but is there a background to it? I am curious where it came from where its going to? Is it possible to get a little synopsis on it or what motivated it. Anyway nice to read a little bit of fiction my friend.

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