Máiréad Casey: Bad Bitches Like Us

Gran says I have a knacker name. So when I go to her house she calls me “Beth” instead of Beyonce. “She’s never going to have a proper job with a name like that. You’ve cursed the poor thing to be a ne’er-do-well, all because you like some half-clothed singer on the TV” she says to Mammy. The Beyonce I’m named after is a strong, independent woman and who runs a world of business and I think she might also be Queen of America. Mammy says not to listen when Gran says mean things because I can still be Dr Beyonce Ryan, veterinarian, if I want to. Or Chief Engineer Beyonce Ryan, or Make-Up Artist Beyonce Ryan if I choose to be. Or just Beyonce Ryan, lovely person altogether. All good Beyonces.

When Mammy goes to work to build computers, I get dropped off at Gran’s house and it’s all fine except for me pretending to be called “Beth”. I can play from the Christmas trees at the end of her drive to the fields the at the back of her house with the wire. I know the wire is on because I can hear the steady click of the current. One time, Gran had to put on the drier so she turned off the ‘lectric wire and that’s when Bailey and I made a run for it and Gran couldn’t find us at all until after lunch. Now the wire clicks all the time.

Best of all here is Bailey. Bailey is Gran’s big black Rottweiler. “But really, I’m yours” Bailey tells me. “An old woman like me needs protection, sure what good would little fart of a dog like a pug do if a robber came in, eh Beth?”

“Stuff and nonsense,” Bailey says beside her, “I’m here to protect you, Beyonce.” Gran says that Bailey and I get on so good because Bailey is a girl dog or a b-i-t-c-h. When Bailey speaks to me though she’s never bitchy. She used to sound all posh like Nanny Plum in Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom but now she sounds strong and wise and ready for adventure like Garnet from the Steven Universe. She sounds like he knows a thing or two about what’s what.

Bailey barks loud when my evil cousin Aoife comes to visit. “She’s coming Beyonce! Rarrf! Run! Hide in the trees!” Gran says Bailey hates the big alloy wheels on Aoife’s mammy’s car. Aoife pushed me once into the nettle patch because I didn’t care that she was going to see One Direction. I stung everywhere even on my eyes and it was so sore and I couldn’t sit down on any of Gran’s furniture because of the calamine lotion. And I did care.

I jump into the low branches of one of the Christmas trees and climb up a bit. Bailey keeps watch from below. When the car pulls in, Bailey stops barking and runs over to Aoife and gets petted and licks her biscuity fingers because she’s checking her out like a super-smart secret-spy. Go Bailey, go! Dogs mouths I heard are really clean so she’s also probably making sure that I don’t get any of her germs. Make sure you get her face too, Bailey! Good girl.

Now she’s coming over. I activate my invisibility bracelet even though no one can see any one in these dark trees. I’m invisible. I’m invisible. I’m invisible. “What are you doing up in that tree, Beth?” I can hear Aoife’s voice through her blue braces. “You look like a feckin’ ejit.”

“Only Gran is supposed to call me Beth, Aoife!” She tricked me into giving away my hiding place. Aoife doesn’t have a pretend name at Gran’s because there are no famous people already named Aoife. I take off my invisibility bracelet and jump down. Gran is probably going to make cucumber and wild red salmon sandwiches for Aoife and her mammy soon anyway.

“And after sandwiches, we can go slay the dragon on the stone wall,” Bailey reminds me. “You know that tired old dog isn’t actually talking to you. You’re just doing the voice yourself” Aoife says with her nose all scrunched up and small, like a mouse’s. “Screw you!” Bailey growls and I tell her that she mustn’t swear because that’s beneath us. We must tell Aoife to mind her business, instead.

Gran is standing at the top of the porch steps, watching us. Bailey has to stay outside because Aoife’s mammy doesn’t want him coming over and getting her nice pants all slobber. The whole world changes when Aoife and her mammy come over and I hate it. “Don’t sulk, Beth,” Gran says.

Sometimes I imagine Bailey turning into a big, powerful wolf and blowing Gran’s house down with all of them inside.

I imagine the doorbell ringing and Gran answering the door and it’s Bailey but she’s a big strong wolf again and she opens her mouth wide and eats Gran all up and then it’s just me and Bailey on the lawn for a while. Then after another while she spits her out again and they don’t need to cut Bailey’s belly open.

When Gran comes out she’s learned her lesson, “Come back inside Beyonce, your tea is getting cold.” She has her apron on so that means there might be hot fresh scones.

*

Biography

Máiréad Casey is a Pushcart Prize-nominated writer who has previously been published in Silver Apples, The Runt, Stanzas, The Flexible Persona and Icarus. She likes fairy tales, horror films, woodland critters, and daydreaming about tattoos without actually deciding on one.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s