Nosebleeds, Mini-Skirts, and Soul-Skewering Boredom

Author notes: This is heavily based on a true incident; only the names and some identifying characteristics of the "characters" have been changed. Maureen is myself.

It is 11:30 pm; I am curled across two hard plastic, very uncomfortable chairs in the very dull, hotel-like lobby of the Atlanta main hospital. I want to try to sleep, but I'm sort of nervous to let my guard down that much, and I open my eyes every few seconds to make sure no wandering bum is standing over me with a sharp knife and bloodthirsty grin. There is a security guard down at the lobby's entrance, but that does little to set me at ease. For all I know he can be easily bribed, distracted, or outright gunned down. For all I know, I could be every serial killer's ideal prototype, and they'll stop at nothing to get to me. They don't always mean the shopping center when they talk about underground Atlanta, you know.

Even if I didn't fear for my life, I did fear for my purse, and the fact that I had it clasped tightly in my hand detracted from my comfort level for sleep, as did the fact that I had no pillow but the crook of my arm. I could have used my jacket, but that was currently spread over my legs in an attempt to keep my ass from hanging out of my miniscule black skirt for the entire Atlantic population to see.

And they were looking. Three men walking by had already stopped and made lame remarks about how I was getting comfortable or recharging my batters or making myself at home or whatever variation of the theme they thought was "clever." All I had to say about that as I merely smiled a pained smile that was more gritted teeth than anything else was that if this was my new "home," I had just discovered hell on earth. Here it was, right here in the Atlanta Grady Memorial Hospital.

For one thing, it was cold. It was raining, and as Toni and I had parked her car earlier in a garage conveniently located four blocks away from the hospital and which set us back ten bucks, we had got caught in the downpour. I had on a light jacket at the time, but I also had on a white shirt underneath, which, along with the jacket, soaked through, displaying my bra's outline to any interested. And "any interested" appeared, from the smirks and leers tossed my way once I obliviously took off my sodden jacket, to be any male in the vicinity. Hours later my clothes and shoes were still damp and with my jacket covering my ass instead of my arms, goosebumps were riddling my skin.

I hadn't eaten dinner, having had the wildly optimistic hope that I would be out of here in time to eat somewhere decent, and now the cafeteria and even the gift shop was closed, and I only had a twenty to give the vending machines. My cell phone had died, so I could no longer text Toni for updates on the situation; my Ipod had also died, so I could no longer amuse myself in any way. I had wandered multiple times through every inch of the ancient hospital, at least the parts open to the public, and other than learning that Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone with the Wind, had died here, I had benefited only in passing some time. I was bored out of my skull. I was worried. I was tired, uncomfortable, and pissed as hell.

I had been here for nearly eight hours.

I could have gone back to the emergency room lobby. But then I would have had to sit with all the drooling drunks and muttering crackheads, the hacking, wheezing, sniffling sick people with broken bones or cracked ribs and multiple diseases, and if I just thought I was uncomfortable here, I would be a hell of a lot more uncomfortable among all of them. I could have switched places with Toni to stay with Logan in the ER again, but then I would be sitting on a gurney among six other gurneys in the middle of a narrow hall, staring at Logan's bloody tissues and shrinking away from the rapt gaze of the prisoners in striped suits and pink- yes, PINK- handcuffs in the room that was, of course, directly across from Logan's bed. Maybe I was a wimp, maybe I was selfish, but I'd rather sit and twiddle my thumbs in a quiet lobby than watch a con with a hard-on staring at me in my stupid mini skirt.

Some fall break this was…if this was just the first day maybe after this we should go home.

Readjusting my arm again under my head, I pulled my jacket tighter around my legs, exhaling loudly. I didn't care how bad off he was right now…Logan Enright needed to get his ass kicked, and once we were out of here, I, Maureen Blakely, would personally see to it that he had one.

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It all started because Logan is too lazy to blow his nose with a tissue instead of sticking his stupid thick finger up it- or too disgustingly unconcerned with hygiene. Since the guy had often declared that cologne can legitimately take place of showering, I'll go with the second option.

It was the weekend of our fall break, our junior year of college, and my best friends, Toni Morrocco, who is also my roommate, and Logan Enright had set out to stay in Atlanta for the weekend. Initially there was supposed to be another guy coming along too to even things up, Toni's boyfriend, but they had broke it off the weekend before, a fact that I was pretty sure Toni was more bothered about than she let on. Since Logan can't seem to hold onto a girlfriend for longer than five minutes and I'm pretty much resigned to being single for eternity, it was going to be just the three of us. We had no real plans, figuring once we got into Atlanta, the closet major city to our small South Carolina college town, we would figure out what to do as we went. We had a whole weekend stretched before us, a chance to kick back, relax, and have a blast without work and term papers to worry about. It didn't matter what we did as long as we had fun doing it, and what else could I have but fun with my best friends of three years?

Ha. I should have remembered the Logan factor. Add in Logan to the mix and something stupid will always go down.

Just think about how we met the guy. It was the second day of my freshman year; I had moved in and met Toni, my roommate, the day before, and we were going to a campus party, the first of several pointless, drunk, and often boring ones we attempted to enjoy ourselves in during out first week. It's not that I don't drink- I'm not a teetotaler by any means, and Toni definitely isn't. But parties where the entire source of entertainment is drinking are not my thing.

Well, Logan and our first sighting of him was a stand out moment in the previous sameness of drunk morons giggling, clawing at each other, and puking into plastic plants to the beat of, of all things, Maroon 5. Toni saw him first. When she nudged me, openly smirking, I followed her gaze to see a blondish guy who was perfectly average looking in every way, except that he was covered in what was either melted yellow crayons or, which was the actuality, Cheese Whiz. Apparently, as we were shortly to find out when he came over and introduced himself, encouraged by the smirks he obviously took to be smiles, Logan had decided to see what happened if you stuck a can of Cheese Whiz into a pot of boiling water. The saddest part about this resulting explosion was that Logan was sober.

Somehow by the end of the night I found myself amused rather than contemptuous of Logan's quirky, impulsive, and dorky ways; Toni was a hold out for a while, but by the end of our first month on campus and several more typical Logan Enright encounters, the three of us had somewhat miraculously bonded. Three years later, defying all odds, Toni and I were not only still friends, but also still roommates, surviving wars over music, cleaning duties, decorations, and wake up routines to emerge with a friendship that isn't possible if you haven't lived with someone, the kind where you know everything there is to know about the other person and still manage to love them anyway. And Logan's been right in with us, through god knows how many stupid mishaps- sometimes ones that aren't even his.

They're like my siblings by this point, the kind who annoy the hell out of you just as often as not. Toni is the sarcastic, opinionated older sister who can never let anything go, and Logan is the annoying little brother who's more like a gay best friend than someone I could ever have feelings for, even though he's definitely not gay, as his frantic dating shuffleboard makes clear.

However much we bicker and as different as we are though, I love them both…and in a way I was glad it would just be the three of us together, even if it was probably sort of depressing for Toni. She'd get past her ex and have fun with us this weekend though- Logan and I would make sure of it.

Ha. So much for being an optimist.