Perhaps my fate was sealed when I sold my three-year-old sister. My father had taken me to a couple of cattle auctions, not minding that I was a girl-this was before Missy was born, of course-and I'd loved the fast talk and the intensity of the whole thing. So the day after my seventh birthday party, where Missy did a song for everyone while I sat alone, my chin in my hand, and meditated behind my still uncut birthday cake, it seemed to met that here wasa a charming and beautiful little asset that I had no further use for and could be liquidated to a good effect. So I gather a passel of children from our gated community in Houston, kids with serious money, and I had Miss do a bit of her song once more, and I said, "Ladies and gentlemen, no greater or more complete perfection of animal beauty ever stood on two legs than the little girl who stands before you. She has prizewinning breeding and good teeth. She will neither hook, kick, strike, nor bite you. She is the pride and joy and greatest treasure of the Dickerson family and she is now available to you. Who will start the bidding for this future blue-ribbon winner? Who'll offer fifty cents? Fifty cents. Who'll give me fifty?" I saw nothing but blank stares before me. I'd gotten all these kids together but I still hadn't quite gotten them into the spirit of the thing. So I looked one of these kids in the eyes and I said, "You, Tony Speck. Aren't your parents rich enough to give you an allowance of fifty cents?" He made a hard, scrunched-up face and he said, "A dollar." And I was off. I finally sold her for six dollars and twenty-five cents to a quiet girl up the street who daddy was in oil. She was an only child, a thing I made her feel sorry about when the bidding slowed down at five bucks.
Doree had to take three buses-one to Kincardine, where she waited for one to London, where she waited again, for the city bus out to the facility. She started the trip on a Sunday at nine in the morning. Because of the waiting times between buses, it took her until about two in the afternoon to travel the hundred-odd miles. All that sitting, either on buses or in the depots, was not a thing she should have minded. Her daily work was not of the sitting-down kind. She was a chambermaid at the Comfort Inn. She scrubbed bathrooms and stripped and made beds and vacuumed rugs and wiped mirrors. She liked the work-it occupied her thoughts to a certain extent and tired her out so that she could sleep at night. She was seldom faced with a really bad mess, though some of the women she worked with could tell stories to make your hair curl. These women were older than her, and they all thought that she should try to work her way up. They told her that she should get trained for a job behind the desk, while she was still young and decent-looking. But she was content to do what she did. She didn't want to have to talk to people.
I struggled to recall the last occasion that I'd seen my wife naked, and it had been bright enought to see her properly. Not that year, for sure; I wasn't even certain that it had happened the year before. How could I have failed to notice such deep bruises on the body of the only person I lived with? I tried to count the fine wrinkles radiating out from the corners of my wife's eyes. Then I told her to take off all her clothes. A red flush appeared along the line of her cheekbones, which her weight loss had left indecently sharp. She tried to remonstrate with me. "What if someone sees?"
No lines are longer than 80 characters, TYVM. Other specified properties aren't being scored automatically at this time so this is not necessarily good news...