“Remy. Listen close and listen good. I need you to get yer mom and bring her here. Right now.”
“My mother?” Remy’s voice cracks a bit as he talks, both out of nervousness and from typical pubescent modulation. He leans a little on the bathroom door, pressing his ear close. “Wh-What kind of help do you need her for? Shouldn’t I get Mr. Green?”
“No!” Cricket slams a fist on the fancy marble counter, causing various soaps and other toiletries to rumble. “My momma told me that if I had this problem before she got outta jail that I needed to get a lady I trust to help me out, and I trust your mom well and good enough. Also dad would just faint.”
“ Faint? That sounds really serious Cricket. Oh... Can’t I come in and check on you at least?”
“No! And whenever you get done fetchin’ your ma I need you to run down to my house and get me a spare pair of britches.”
“Did you make a mess in there?”
“Yes! No. A little."
"What about your Gramma?"
"She's at her kickboxing class, she'll never get done in time."
"You and I both know that Tilly uses the weekends to fulfill her duty as queen of the subway rats. You'll never find her. Be realistic, Remy!"
“Alright, Cricket. But I don’t like this.”
Cricket hears Remy’s plodding little footsteps disappear down the hallway, echoing through the cavernous house. He sighs and, with one eye closed and the other squinting, takes a peek at the red stain marking his briefs. That’ll be a big pain in the keister to scrub out later. If it can be scrubbed out. Usually Cricket just lets blood sit on his clothes and wears the stains like really gross Boy Scout patches. This one was for wrangling chickens and this one was for hopping fences. Basically he doesn't know how to get out a bloodstain. Rub coffee on it? Bury your clothes in the yard? Paint it over with white?
It’s like a punishment, this particular bit of blood. Something he hoped wouldn’t come. Or at least not yet. And definitely not while he’s at someone else’s house. He had to sit on the toilet for like ten minutes before Remy got worried and came to check on him, asking if he’d started chewing on the decorative soaps again. Pshh. Cricket hasn’t eaten one of the Remington’s fancy soaps in like two months. At least not that Remy knows about.
He’d been hoping that it’d happen while he visited Big Cafe. Then Gloria would help him figure things out. And Gloria would totally understand, she shoves her feelings onto those abstract splashie paintings. She would get it. Maybe.
“Cricke-et,” Rashida sing-sing calls to him through the door, “What have you done to our bathroom this time?”
“I ain’t done nothin’ to your bathroom! I need help with a blood problem.”
“A blood problem?”
“A blood problem! I need one of those sticky doo-dads to fix onto my underoos. And I need clean underoos.”
“Oh! A period. Well that’s no problem, I carry extra toiletries in my purse for clients and-... Wait. A period ?”
“Yes! Now hand ‘em over, Remy’s mom. Or I’ll get rowdy.”
“Well, Remy went to your house with Vasquez to gather... Underoos .” Rashida, though a bit confused, does crack open the door and slide a few pink packaged pads in and onto the sink. Cricket snatches one and opens it up, crinkling the packaging loudly. He squints his eyes at the winged creature inside and holds it out from him, trying to interpret the lack of instructions.
“Do you know how to use a pad?”
“I know you stick ‘em on your underoos.”
“Well, yes but... Ugh. Practice with what you’re wearing now, then toss out that pad, alright? You want to pull the pad off of the packaging, then pull the wings out. Set it on your underoos in the middle with the widest side towards the back.” Cricket does as she suggests, eyeing the pad suspiciously the whole time. “Now take the little papers off of the wings and fold them under. Then make sure nothing sticky is... Sticking out.” He finishes up and tosses the wrapping to the ground.
It looks right. He pulls up his soiled underwear and feels a distinct lack of bloody wetness against his undercarriage. “I did it! Remy’s mom I did it!” Rashida laughs and leans against the wall next to the door.
“You want me to keep this from Remy, don’t you?”
“Oh. Yeah. I do. I uh... Didn’t really wanna hafta tell you about this. No offense.”
“Not at all. I’ll make sure to stock pads in the lower cabinet for you. And they'll be our secret.”
"Not at all, Cricket. But do me a favor in return?"
"Stop eating our soap."