I Don't Wanna See No Shitballs

I am an observer. My assignment for the day is to inhabit the work area of a big, sassy natural blonde named Sudie Hawl and report on my findings.

Sudie sits in a small seven by seven foot room, behind bulletproof glass. She watches hundreds of people come and go through the lobby each day. I take a seat behind her and press the red button on the digital voice recorder. I poise my pen over the paper and wait for her to talk.

She's a single mom. Her husband is on the inside for armed robbery. It's been well over two years and he's still there. It's about time he got out, she says. He's got another six months, just in time for the birth of their fourth daughter. She's about to pop. Those are her words, not mine. 

"You know them, um, conjugals?" she says to me.

"Is that how you conceived your daughter?" I ask.

"Day-umm!" she exclaims. "You gonna make me say it? Day-yum! You wanna hear details? You some kind of Jody?"

"What?" I ask, scribbling the word down in my pad.

"You know what a Jody is, right?" she asks mischievously. "A Jody is, when like, you on the inside, some man done fooling around with your wife, that other man is a Jody."

I note casually that she doesn't really tie herself to her words. She has found an economical way to tell people off.

She reaches into her purse and pulls out a dollar. She presses it into my hand and says,

"You know them, um... them sweet and salty nut? You know what I mean. Can you get me one uh those?"

"In the vending machine?" I ask.

"Yeah sweetie, thanks, bye. You run off now Jody." She laughs like she's kidding, but she isn't.

I shuffle off to get her the sweet and salty nut.

When I get back into her little room, she's on the telephone with someone. I suspect it's her daughter. From what I can tell, the little diva doesn't want to ride the school bus. Sudie's girl spent all morning getting dressed up for school and she's now too fancy to ride the bus. Sudie can't leave work to drive her little diva to school. I know this because Sudie has told her daughter to get on the school bus five times in a row, with the same inflection.

After the fifth time, Sudie aint' having it any more. She talks low and fierce, a murderous edge to her voice. She cups the receiver with her hand, which only makes her voice clearer and louder to anyone who might be listening.

"Get... on... that... damn... school bus!" she rasps. "Nee-aw!"

A pause. I can hear a shrieking voice on the other end. Sudie interrupts her. I can tell she is fuming. Her hands shake.

"I ain't gonna give ya to ten, girl. I'm gonna fucking kill you. You get on that school bus! Lord strike me down if you ain't on that school bus in faahve seconds, I'm gonna kill you. Little Diva crack ho bitch!"

She pauses. The daughter is speaking again in the same high shrill tone.

Sudie then says, "Ok, love you, bye." and hangs up.

"What was that all about?" I ask, handing her the sweet and salty nut.

"I done be finished with her ass." she fumes. Just then, one of the paralegals, a woman with an unfortunate face walks by the window on the way to the rest room.

Sudie doesn't miss a beat. She turns to me conspiratorially and exclaims:

"Damn, she ugly. She ugly as sin. Day-umm!"

I write that down in my notepad.

"Oh, you writing this down?" she asks. "Don't give my real name, okay? I don't wanna get fired or nothin."

Someone else walks by her room. Sudie calls out to her.

"Hey baby, come back here. I wanna talk to ya." The lady pops her head back in. "How you doin', baby?" They chat for five minutes, then the woman leaves, and Sudie immediately says:

"That girl crazy. She lookin' to have one uh them turkey baster kids. She and her girlfriend."

Another attorney walks by the room and gives a little wave at Sudie. Sudie ain't havin' her, either.

"You see that sour-ass look on that damn bitch's face? She look like she just bit into a god damn lemon, is all. I bet her pussy stink too."

"Wait, what? What do you mean?" I ask.

"You know what I mean, you never heard uh that? You slow or something?" She laughs and pats my hand like it's all in good fun, but her eyes blaze sadistically. "You know, uh, when someone looks like they always smellin' something bad, and you know it's them just smellin' themselves. I bet she stank."

The mail guy walks in and drops off a stack of filings on the desk behind her. Sudie mumbles at him.

"Hey Billy hows it goin what you doin."

He nods and walks out.

She immediately turns to me again and juts out her jaw, showing her lower teeth.

"What kinda dog is that? You know, the one with the teeth?" she asks. She laughs hysterically.

"Do you mean... Shi Tzu?" I say hesitantly.

"Ha! Billy's a damn Shi Tzu! Hey, look!" Sudie juts her jaw out again and crosses her eyes. "That's what he looks like, I swear. Day-umm!"

Billy pops his head back in.

"Hey Sudie, want me to pick you up some lunch?" he asks.

"Yeah, uh, get me one of those pork pie, uh, pulled pork things with the mac and cheese on the saahd? You know what I mean. Oh and hey, Billy, this guy --" she gestures to me "he just called you a, what was it?"

"No I didn't!" I protest.

"No, he did, Billy, he called you a Shi Tzu!" she laughs. "Damn, ain't that mean?"

Billy wanders off before I get a word in. Just then, the 'damn she ugly' paralegal walks back in the lobby. As she walks past she glances at Sudie and exhales loudly, and her bangs whip up against her forehead. Sudie presses a button to let her back into the office. Sudie's phone rings and she takes a phone call, then turns back to me.

"I hate it when she does that."

"Does what?" I ask.

"Like I wanna know what she be doin' up in there. I know where she been. She's all walkin' in here, letting out a puff 'uh air, like it's been some big struggle."

"What struggle?"

"I don't wanna imagine her ugly ass all in their, letting out them damn shitballs. You know they big, too. Big ole' shitballs." She begins to laugh hysterically. "She walk by like it's been some hard work and shit, and like I wanna imagine them. I don't wanna be thinkin' about her shitballs? I don't wanna see no shitballs!"

"What the hell you talking about in there, Sudie?" someone asks from just outside the door.

"Oh believe me, honey, you don't wanna know." she answers. She gets up and hands me the head-set.

"I know you here just observin', but I need to go. BAD. You won't get no calls."

I protest, but she's already gone. I take a few calls here and there - they're mostly from debtors and homeowners looking to work out a deal to stay in their homes. Some of them sound sad, others sound angry. I don't think I could do Sudie's job. I start to think about why she is the way she is when she appears in the doorway and sits back down. She looks worried, like she wants to ask me something.

"Something on your mind?" I ask.

"I think I just lost my mucus plug." she says, looking over at me. I'm already sorry I spoke up, but she's not finished. "You know them, uh, mucus plugs right? I think it just dropped on off into the water when I wuz sittin down."

I can't conceal the look of alarm on my face.

"No, don't worry, I'm not gonna give birth right here. I got some time."

Just then, the phone rings and she turns back around. It's her mom. The conversation starts out nice but after about a minute she's cupping her hand back over the receiver and talking with that same low, homicidal edge she gave her daughter.

"Momma, I said I ain't gonna talk about it no more! Momma, you pick her ass up. My ass is gotta work. Momma, you pick up your own damn booze." She stops. I can see her hands shaking again. She is trying to hold back but something snaps and she crouches down under the desk, still cupping her hand over the receiver. We can all hear her.

"You a fuckin bitch, momma. I fuckin' hate your drunk ass. You ain't good for nothin. You ain't worth a damn worth full of shit. You ain't nothin, you aint' shit."

She sits back up. I can hear her momma shouting something through the phone receiver. After a while, Sudie starts looking bored.

"Ok momma. Love you, bye." she says lazily, and hangs up.

"I gotta go to lunch." I say quickly. I stand up and head for the door.

"Well, okay, Jody!" she says. She convulses with laughter. "Can you pick me up another one of those sweet and salty nut on your way out?"


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