Mary Morony, Author of Apron Strings, Done Growed Up and If It Ain't One Thing

Sneak Peek At If It Ain’t One Thing

A Sneak Peek at If It Ain’t One Thing… – Chapter 1

 

IfItAintOneThingCoverThere! Right there on Free Bridge for God’s sake! Mackey sat fuming and feeling anything but free. The red light only added to the traffic congestion, which was even more stopped up than her head, and she was fifteen minutes late for her appointment with a destiny that she already didn’t like.
 
I’m sorry. I’m late. It was the traffic—a wreck I couldn’t go around. No need to lie. I can’t remember when I have ever come into your office and not waited. Do you think you could …?
 
If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it. If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it.
 
Isn’t it awful about that little girl? Did you hear they’re making dolls?
 
I’m really sorry. I know the value of time. It was the traffic. You wouldn’t have believed how bad it was! It was an awful wreck, and the rubbernecking … Don’t you just hate that? I do too. It’s just so … well, a lie.
 
You know damn well. Take responsibility. You left late.
 
Right, I left late. If I hadn’t forgotten my cell phone and gone back for it, I wouldn’t be late. There are no victims here. No excuses either. If I’m too late, I’ll just make another appointment. So what? I’m late, BFD. I’ll come back. It’s only fifteen minutes. No big deal; they schedule in fifteen minutes for just this sort of thing.
 
You son of a bitch, move the … Go, go, go! Goddamn it, I missed the light, you stupid … Now I really am late!
 
If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it. If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it. If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it. All the single ladies. All the single ladies. All the single ladies …
 
The traffic was so bad. I hate minivans. Have you ever noticed how they are always in the way, always in the middle of some clusterfuck?

Snarled traffic? Traffic jam? I need to clean up my language. Jesus!

Gross, dude. Pick your nose somewhere a little less public.

I can’t believe this bridge sways so much. I thought they fixed that.

Oh my God, I’m late.

Come on, let’s go. You can make it.

God, I hope there isn’t a policeman around, or I’m really screwed.
 
I wish Eric had made me get up. Why does he keep turning off the damned alarm? I probably could have, but then Joey doesn’t help either. I hate it when things are so damned crazy in the morning.
 
If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it. If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it. Now put your hands up. Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh … All the single ladies …
 
I’ve got to start going to bed earlier. Maybe I shouldn’t have had anything to drink last night, or at least not as much. Did I drink last night? Three—too much! Oh my God, the mess. I can’t believe I left that spilled cereal there. Does he have to do it every morning? You’d think I’d be used to it by now. I don’t know why Eric’s logic made any sense—let the cat clean it up.
 
 … put a ring on it …
 
She’s not supposed to be on the counter. I don’t want to know how she gets up there. And how in the hell are you supposed to train an animal if you aren’t consistent? Maybe it will still be there when I get home. I hope so. What am I thinking?
 
Oh shit, I left the list. What was on it?
 
She rummaged through her purse, located her phone, and punched in Eric’s name, noticing her hands quaking slightly. “Eric, hi. What was I supposed to pick up at the store? … No, I left the list on the counter … I’m late, so I don’t know anything yet. My head is so stopped up, I can hardly breathe. I’ll call when I do … Yeah, I’m going to pick up Joey … Milk. Anything else? … Thanks. Bye. Love ya.”
 
Don’t forget the milk. Milk, milk, milk. “I can fill out the check while I’m waiting at this light. Oh, right, no check. That’s why I pay for medical insurance.”
 
If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it. If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it.
 
She gazed at her reflection in the rearview mirror, brushing down the light brown wisps and adjusting her ponytail. Gray eyes stared back at her. Her father liked to say her hazel eyes were his best barometer for how she was feeling—sort of along the lines of the old saying “Red skies at morning, sailors take warning.” For Mackey, her father said it was green eyes, delight; gray, take warning; light blue, ice storm and run for cover!
 
Who was the dimwit who thought it was better for the little kids to go to school earlier? Trying to get to that damned bus in the dark is impossible. Poor little Joey’s so tired when he gets home. It could be colder, I guess. I wish it would snow.
 
Jesus! Come on! Get out of the way!
 
 … All the single ladies …
 
Her phone twittered. “Hello,” she barked. “Oh, sorry. Hi, Mom. I can’t talk now. I’m on my way to the doctor’s.”

“Are you sick?” Stuart asked as she tried to quell her rising dread. Stuart, for God’s sake, stop. People go to the doctor all of the time. Give it a rest! She sounds like she has a cold.

“No. Well, I don’t know. There was something not quite right with my Pap smear, I guess, because they called and said I need to come in.”

Sounding casual but feeling otherwise, her mother said, “I hope it goes well. I guess you won’t be able to go with me to see your grandmother then.”

“Nope, not today. I’m slammed. I’m at the doctor’s now. Gotta go. Give Gran and PopPop my love. Bye.”

 

The tires protested with a squeal as Mackey whipped her car into the space closest to the door. She grabbed her checkbook just in case, stuffed it into her back pocket while clicking the door lock over her shoulder, and raced into the office. With a breezy smile, she greeted the girl behind the counter. “Boy, that traffic!”
 
Looking up absently, the receptionist pushed a sign-in sheet at her.
 
She noticed two names ahead of her own. “Whew, I’m not late.”
 
Now put your hands up. If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it. … Oh, oh, oh, oh … ’Cause if you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it.
 
Picking up a dog-eared Real Simple magazine, she noted that it was last month’s issue. She began to leaf through it, only occasionally looking at a picture or an ad as she studied the other patients. One by one, the room emptied. A nurse, as featureless and menacing as a queen’s guard, came to the door, issued a perfunctory summons, and disappeared again, closing the door behind her.
 
Who does this doctor think he is? I can’t believe I have to wait this long. The arrogance—does he think he’s God? Her supporting foot twitched up and down while her crossed leg swung back and forth, making the magazine in her lap jiggle and bounce. She stole a glance at her watch. God, I hope he doesn’t keep me waiting much longer. I’m going to be late getting Joey from school. Like I need to spend my whole day off here. I’m not going to have time to get to the store or do any of my errands. Goddamn it. Would you hurry up? This is absurd.
 
All the single ladies …
 
“Ms. Buckner,” the nurse called from the door, looking around the room with a detached air, her hand resting lightly on the doorknob. “Ms. Buckner?” she repeated, sharpening the command.
 
Surprised to hear her name, Mackey started and then got up and followed the nurse through the door. “Do you have any idea? Could you just tell me why he wants to see me?”
 
 

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