A short story by Catherine Kos
Horror at the Nail Salon
Oh my god.
I cannot believe my luck. Like, of course this would happen to me. It’s just my like. First, my boyfriend breaks up with me. And, okay, yeah, maybe I did sleep with his friend, but it was a total accident. I cannot believe he didn’t understand that. Anyways, he packed up all of my stuff while I was at work, and put it outside of the apartment. He even changed the locks. Imagine having the worst day at work and then coming home to find you’re locked out. What? Is there no consideration for other people? Looks like I don’t want to be with him anyways. Because, how rude! So, I packed up all of my stuff. By myself! My brother was working and my best friend was busy. Like i said, just. My. Luck.
So, after i packed everything into my cherry red mercedes, I drive all the way across town to my parents house, and of course they aren’t home, so i have to go in through the back door which they never lock. I drop everything by the door because man, is that a lot of work. Then i look down and see that i broke a nail. As if this day couldn’t get any worse. I paid a hundred and fifty hard earned dollars to get this done last week. It took forever for them to get me in. I let out a scream of frustration. I leave my stuff at the door, deciding to deal with it later. Maybe mom will take pity on me and move it back into my room for me. I climb back into my car and trek all the way back across town to the nail salon. I pull into the parking lot, making sure to take up two spots so no one can hit me. This is my baby, after all. My daddy got it for me, on my eighteenth birthday. He said if i can go a year without an accident, he’ll get me a new one for my twentieth birthday next month. I’ve only got thirty days left. I storm across the parking lot, into the salon, frustration seeping through my bones. I go to the counter, telling the lady about how i broke my nail, and how it’s been just the absolute worst day.
“Do you want us to fix the one?” She asks me.
“No. Re-do all of them. I’m a single woman now. I need to change my nails accordingly. Also, let’s get a pedicure. I need to relax. It has been so stressful.”
“Okay, pick a color.”
“Actually, i already know the color. It’s 1-49 of the no chip variety, and i want a frenchie on my toes.”
They lady’s eyes are wide as she looks at me.
“Um, so can I go sit down?”
The lady jumps to attention.
“Yes, of course. Right this way,” she says and leads me to an empty pedicure chair. She starts filling up the bottom with water. I wait until she tells me to put my feet in. i dip my right in, not thinking, and instantly yank it out.
“Ow!” i yell, pulling my foot up by my hand. “Are you trying to burn me?” I ask the girl, shocked.
Her jaw drops. “Of course not. The water temperature is still low,” she tells me.
I roll my eyes. “It’s too hot for me.”
The girl changes the temperature, and then dips her hand in.
“Try it now,” she says.
Leary, i test the water with my big toe.
“This is fine,” I say, tipping my nose up at the girl, because it’s about time she gets it right.
I rest both of my feet in the water, and let them soak for a few moments when the women gets her supplies. She comes back over and starts scrubbing my feet when my mother calls.
“Tiffany,” she says, and i can already hear the dismal tone in her voice.
“Why are all of your things in the living room?”
“Well… Brad kicked me out,” i tell her.
“And, what do you mean ‘and’? I have no place to go.”
“Fine, but you can’t just leave everything you own in the living room, Tiffany. Why couldn’t you at least bring it to your room?”
“Because, mommy, I was just so tired. And Brad was so mean.”
“Well, what did you do?” She asks, and i nearly scream. What did i do? That terrible man kicked her daughter out of her apartment, and she asks what did I do?
“Ma’am,” the pedicurist calls to me, but ignore her.
“I cannot believe you mother. Here I am, sad and heart broken and you act like it’s my fault.”
“Ma’am,” the pedicurist calls again but i barely hear her over my mother.
“Because it’s always your fault,” she yells through the phone. “Ever since you were a child. Making messes. Never wanting to clean them up.”
“Well, excuse me!”
“Ma’am!” I look down to see her, shock and horror written all over her face. The water my feet sit in is no longer blue but a cloudy red, and it stains my feet and the pedicurists hands.
“What?” I say, trying to stand up, but hands push me down.
“What’s going on?” i ask, feeling faint because of the blood. “What’s happened?”
My head feels woozy, and in the distance i think i hear sirens.
“This has been the worst day,” i hear myself say, as my eyes start to close.
Just the worst day.
When i wake up, the lights are really bright and blinding, and my head hurts.
“Ow,” i say, objecting to the pain.
“Oh, honey, are you alright?” i hear my mother ask as she bends over to look me over.
“What happened?” i ask.
“Darling, the girl who was doing your feet, cut your toe. Nearly sliced it off. Then you fainted and hit your head,” my father says, his head appearing next to my mothers.
“Oh, god!” I cry. “This has just been the worst day! Why do all of these things happen to me!”
“Shhh, darling, it’s okay. And since we know this day has been hard on you. We decided to get you a present.”
I sober up immediately. “What is it?”
“Well, we got you your new car early,” my father says, dangling a new set of car keys out in front of me.
“Oh, thank you! Thank you, daddy, so much!”
“Of course darling, anything for you.”
I take the car keys and hug them to my chest. I think back to everything that has happened today. My terrible ex-boyfriend. The lady almost cutting off my toe. I just hope there was a lot of blood, and that she is going to spend most of the night cleaning up all that blood.
Then I look at my car keys. Maybe this day wasn’t so bad after all.