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Water pipes grinding. ANGE, early 20s, dishevelled, in an oversized light blue hoodie, looks down at her dry toothbrush. She sighs and shoves it in her mouth. 

Ange pulls out her phone, absentmindedly brushing. She has two new messages from her landlord, "Shut water off, upstairs haven't paid rent. Use bottled water." 

She turns to the windowsill, still brushing and runs her finger along the empty alcohol bottles lining it. She grabs a plastic water bottle, shakes it. Empty. She grumbles and grabs the last bottle on the sill, a full Bacardi. Ange spits into the sink, tips the bottle back and gargles, spitting again. She stares intently at her reflection. 


Today's gonna be a good day. 


The bus doors close as Ange runs up, she goes to call for the driver to open the doors, but hesitates. The bus pulls away. Ange slumps down in the middle of the bench. 

A group of high school boys walk up, half of them take a seat on the bench and the others crowd around. Ange moves over. They chatter indistinctly, and set their bags down. Ange moves again, now crowded against the arm rest. Another boy sits. Ange stands and moves to rest against the shelter. The bus arrives. The boys rush to push in front. 

3 INT. BUS. DAY. 3 

The bus is full, an older man man-spreads next to her, snoring heavily. She is on the edge of the seat. 

She pushes the button and watches the bus drive past her stop. Again, she goes to speak up, the man next to her snores a bit louder and she stops. She settles in to wait. 

4 INT. BAR. DAY. 4 

Ange enters the bar to a chorus of raucous cheers from its drunken occupants. She walks behind the bar and tucks her bag and hoodie into the break room. As she pulls on her apron, DRUNK MAN at the bar watches.


Hey sweetheart... what's a beauty 

like you doing in this bumfuck bar? 

Ange laughs nervously and starts shovelling ice. 


Oh... you know. Making ends meet 

like everyone else. 


I could help you make ends meet if 

you let our two ends meet. 

Ange laughs. Drunk Man stares. Ange stops laughing and turns to her co-worker, trying to find an easy out. 


Hey, Louisa, do you need some help 

over there before you head off? 


Nah, I'm fine... have a good shift, 


LOUISA leaves through the break room door. 


So... your name's Ange, huh? 

Perfect for a fucking angel like 


Ange goes to serve another patron. Drunk Man stares after her. The second she's done serving, he waves her back over. His mouth moves as he talks, mouthing the word "fuck" several times. Ange can't hear him, her ears ringing as she goes through the motions, laughing and mindlessly nodding along whenever he pauses. 

The ringing clears abruptly when the door slams open. DEVI, late 20s, purposefully ugly in a way that's effortlessly pretty, in a fitted red leather jacket, is greeted with the same cheers that Ange was. She flips them off, jutting her neck out and bulging her eyes. 

The cheers cut off abruptly. Devi grins viciously and stomps behind the bar. She throws her bag and jacket into the break room carelessly and grabs her apron.


Drunk Man is talking at Ange again, the ringing in her ears slowly creeps back in, muffling his lewd monologue.

Devi strides over to Ange, slinging her arm over her shoulders almost aggressively. The ringing ceases. Her voice is sickly sweet. 


Hey, Ange! Who's your friend? He 

seems like a real sweetie. 


None of your fucking business. 

We're having a conversation here. 

Fucking, obviously. 


Yeah, I can see that... Hey, Ange, 

didn't you say you like, hate 


Ange stiffens under Devi's tight grasp and shoots a confused look her way. 


No she fucking doesn't. I think I'd 

fucking know by now if she didn't. 


That's crazy, because I could've 

sworn she told me she didn't like 

it. Ange, don't you hate swearing? 

They both turn to Ange, who hunches in on herself even more, trying to look as small as possible. 


It's fine. 


No, no, it's not. Use your big girl 

words, Ange. 

Ange stares into the ice, hands gripped tight on the bar. 


I... don't like. Swearing. 

Devi squeezes her tighter against her side, smirking. 


This is fucking ridiculous. You 

heard of fucking freedom of speech? 

He leans over the bar, spit flying from his mouth. She flinches back, Devi's arm keeps her in place.


I can swear however the fuck much I 

like and you can fucking deal with 

it, you hear? 

He reaches over the bar to grab at her ear. Devi pulls her back. 



He jolts back, the bouncer grabs him and pulls him away. 


Ange sits with her chair propped up in a corner, facing the door, knees tucked to her chest under her hoodie and eating a sandwich. Devi sits facing a mirror, back to the door, straddling her chair backwards. Devi grabs a bottle of Bacardi from beside the vanity and pulls a shot glass from the drawer. She pours herself a shot and downs it. Before she's even done swallowing, she's pouring another shot. This one she sips at. 

They sit in tension a moment, Devi watching Ange from the corner of her eye. 



A single shrill ring. Ange jolts. Devi scoffs. 


I knew it. 



It's just easier to go along with 

them sometimes. If you fight them 

on it, it never goes well. 

Devi glares at her, unimpressed. 


And if you say nothing, they think 

they can get away with crap 

behaviour. And they keep treating 

you, and every other woman, like 


She smirks. 


They're like animals, or small 

children, they need to be taught 

right from wrong. So teach them. 


I mean, yeah, in an ideal world. 

But I decided today's gonna be a 

good day so I'm not about to do 

anything to mess it up. 

Devi scoffs, downs her shot, and starts pouring another. 


That's not deciding anything. 

That's just hoping things will 

happen to go your way. Y'know, like 

how little girls hope they'll wake 

up princesses tomorrow. 

Ange pulls her legs out from her hoodie, dropping them to the floor and leaning forward. 


What? So you're saying there's no 

point? A good day's as rare as 


She laughs. Devi downs her shot and stares. Ange stops laughing, leans back, crosses her arms. 


I'm saying make it happen. 

Ange shifts in her seat. 

They sit in silence as Devi pours another shot. She pauses, thinks, grabs a funnel and pours it back into the bottle. Devi stands and walks to the door. She abruptly stops halfway and turns to face Ange, teeth gritted. 


Make something fucking happen. 

A piercing ring. Ange shifts. Devi realises she's sworn and bites her lip, turns on her heel and slams the door. 



Ange steps out of the break room, shuts the door and turns to face the bar. Sitting across from her is Drunk Man, staring her down. She jolts back into the door. Devi turns at the noise and notices him. 


Hey, Security! 

The bouncer waves a wad of cash at her. Devi scoffs and turns a critical eye to Ange and Drunk Man. Ange looks desperately between them. Devi nods to herself and turns to Drunk Man. 


Yeah, no. Ange can have the 

pleasure of dealing with you. 

Devi turns away and Ange slowly slinks towards the bar. She shovels ice, her knuckles white around the scoop, ears ringing. 


Ange pushes through the door, pulling her hood up and shoving her hands into her pockets. After a beat, Drunk Man walks out. Her ears are still ringing, the pitch slowly rising. 

Ange keeps walking, gradually speeding up. Every time he says something, the pitch jumps an octave. She looks over her shoulder, eyes growing manic. She's twitching, hair falling into her face. She slowly pulls her keys out of her pocket and, hands trembling, pushes them between her knuckles. She shoves her hands back in her pockets. 

Drunk Man yells out. Ange grimaces. She veers into an alley and stops still by a dumpster, leg bouncing. Drunk Man reaches out to grab her, the ringing stops. She swings around, fist out, and scratches his face with her keys. His hand goes to his cheek and comes away bloody. 

He looks from his hand to her and forms a fist. Ange's eyes fill with tears, but she refuses to blink. 


You'll pay for that, you sneaky 


On the last word, spittle flies from his mouth, landing on Ange's hoodie. Ange's eyes flick down to it quickly, her breathing picks up, she doesn't blink.

He throws a punch, it connects with her jaw. Tears spill over. Her eyes stay stubbornly open. 

He laughs. She drops her keys and throws herself at him, tearing at anything she can reach in a frenzy. 

He's shocked for a moment, then starts to struggle. Ange lets out a piercing scream, still hitting. She keeps pushing, clawing and screeching until she runs out of breath. 

Ange throws him against the wall and stumbles backwards, her back hits the dumpster. Her head jerks around, desperate. She grabs a wooden plank resting beside her. She blinks. Once. Twice. She rears back and swings. 


Ange slams the door open. Devi stops fixing her lipstick. Her eyes trace over Ange in the reflection, eyes wild, hair matted, hoodie stained red with blood. 


I'm gonna make tomorrow a good day. 

She pulls her hoodie off and throws it in the waste bin. Devi smirks and grabs the Bacardi, pouring herself a shot. 


Take mine. You can't be walking 

around looking like that. 

Ange looks at her. Devi nods to her red jacket on the back of the door. Ange pulls it on. Devi grabs a second glass. 


I hate Bacardi. 

Devi nods and silently toasts herself in the mirror. She's still smirking as she downs the drink.

Marissa Wilkinson is a Greek-Australian writer currently studying writing and innovation at the University of Technology, Sydney. When she's not writing, she enjoys crocheting, her cats, and crocheting in spite of her cats' attempts at her wool. Marissa is currently shortlisted for the Nillumbik Prize for Contemporary Writing 2024 and her other work can be found in Hot Pot Magazine.

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