Roxanne "Roxy" Harper preferred to keep certain things about herself private. Like the fact that she bought a parrot months ago. That's right, Mason, I finally got my friend. What do you have to say now? Or that she can't take a bath unless the tub is filled with lavender and chamomile. Or that her favorite writer is Hunter S. Thompson. George, the queen of smart-assedness, would have something to say thought Roxy.
It took her awhile to get used to the parrot. She named him Marcel, after the Reaper that freed George's soul before the toilet seat fiasco. Even though he was the boss, Rube would sometimes defer to Marcel's paternal wisdom. Since he died during the Civil War, Marcel used to joke that Harriet Beecher Stowe based her character Uncle Tom on him. It didn't seem that far-fetched, as he was such a sweetheart. Mason would try to take advantage of it sometimes…asking to borrow money all the time. But Marcel was no sucker. Even though he knew that Mason would never pay him back, he never held anything against Mason.
Betty always liked taking pictures of Marcel. Betty kept hoping that instead of seeing Marcel's doppelganger in the picture, she would see him as he appeared to her. It never happened, but Betty remained optimistic that it might. Even until the end…the morning before George took his place for good. Marcel never did say how he died, and everyone was smart enough never to ask. Roxy wondered if Marcel left behind children. When Marcel got his "lights," Roxy hoped that it was everything that he dreamed of. Maybe he sailed to an island paradise…just as he had always longed for.
Roxy almost felt in the wrong for teaching her parrot every cursing word known to man (even the Spanish words). It was so different from how Marcel would've carried himself. But it's not her fault that the damn parrot only picked up the four-letter words. Besides, who else was she going to vent to about her day? Isn't that what friends are for? What about the guy that she had to reap, and the only thing she was able to grab was his exposed member? Stupid fucking flashers…always stirring up trouble. Would you believe that his "lights" consisted of a porn shop? If she said anything in front of Mason, he would've had a field day with it.
If Roxy's colleagues were asked to sum her up with one word, she imagined what they would say (starting with the newbie first): George—"misunderstood"; Daisy—"uncouth"; Mason—"prickly"; Rube—"dependable." Might as well throw in Betty ("spirited"), Kiffany ("troubled"—she may be psychic after all) and Penny ("sweetie"—though Penny called everybody that) for good measure. Well, at least they didn't say bitch.
But back to Marcel. The parrot was sure better than her last "friend" Vaughn. Yes, the Vaughn that strangled Roxy to death with her own invention—leg warmers.
You know that saying "forgive and forget." Well, Roxy wasn't about to embrace that concept. For twenty years, on the anniversary of her death, Roxy made sure to remind Vaughn about the murder. One year, she sent a bouquet of roses to Vaughn with a pink card that read "Make sure not to smother them to death." Another year, she sent Vaughn a choker made of wool. Then, there was the year that Roxy sent her a mix tape that played "Roxanne" back to back. Every time, Roxy would watch from a distance, and savored the guilty expression that spread across Vaughn's face. Even after all these years, she still wore that cheap-ass blue eyeshadow. She loved how Vaughn fret for days on end, losing sleep and her sanity over the trinkets that Roxy sent.
And then…the stupid bitch had to jump off a bridge. Roxy found out about it on the front page: "LEG WARMER GURU TAKES HER OWN LIFE." How about that? And she wasn't even wearing the fucking leg warmers. At first, Roxy wished she could've been there. Was there a big confession before she did it? "I fucked over my friend to get rich!" There wasn't. Roxy knew it. It would've been in the obituary. So, Vaughn took it to her grave. But what was Roxy expecting? Validation? Money for her stolen design? Please…Vaughn was a cold-blooded snake…even till the end. At first, Roxy was happy about Vaughn's death. After spending years reaping all those damn souls, something finally good happened to me. But then the emptiness began to set in. When you've let anger fuel you for so long, what happens when the source is gone?
So when it was the twenty-first anniversary of her death, Roxy didn't have her long-held tradition. She almost felt remorseful about tormenting Vaughn for all those years. Had Roxy known that Mason was doing something like what she'd done, she would've given him shit for it. But Mason was a fuck-up. Yeah, keep telling yourself that. Try to make what you did some sort of twisted validation…even though it kind of was.
The ironic thing was that Roxy wasn't even like that before. When she thought that the leg warmers idea was going to take off, Roxy imagined her and Vaughn hitting the clubs and flirting their asses off to every cute guy. Now, Vaughn was dead, and nothing was left—not even the bad shit. And she would've continued moping had Rube not intervened. He encouraged her to wear the prettiest dress she owned, bake the best bundt cake imaginable, and collect all of her belongings in a box. Everything that lingered from her life before was cast into the fire. Roxy felt a little cleansed that night. Even though what was left of her past was gone, it couldn't change the fact that she was still a hard ass.
And rightfully so. Her occupation was so tough it would strip Daisy of her fake perkiness in five minutes top. Try to act your way through an asshole giving you shit for a $50.00 ticket. You can't blow them all. Roxy laughed at the thought of Daisy going down on Mr. Perkins—the fat fuck who was too dumb to refill the parking meter.
"Here's another round for you, Officer Harper" said Kiffany.
"Thanks, Kiffany," replied Roxy, as she shifted her seated position.
"Where's the rest of the crew tonight?" asked Kiffany.
"George is at a work retreat. Daisy's helping Mason find something he lost…again…and Rube decided to catch 'The Toll of the Sea' at the Lumiere. He likes silent films."
"Well, enjoy the peace, then" said Kiffany, "Because something's coming that will change everything…Let me know if you want more pie." She smiled as she walked away with the coffee pot.
Aw, shit, I hope Kiffany isn't giving me a prediction thought Roxy. Daisy…Mason…what are you going to get me into now?