New people didn’t exactly phase Boo. Sure, it could mean some fresh vagina if she was lucky, but after being in prison so long, it wasn’t something she was going to pounce on. She had a new strategy. Going after them like a hungry grizzly bear was going to scare them off. It was better to let them get situated and then come to the girl, let them know that momma was there for their needs.
That was until Yoga scurried up to her one morning, squealing “Alex is here! Alex is here!”
Boo looked up from her magazine, tilting her head. “Alex? You mean Vause from back at camp?”
Yoga nodded her bony head so fast, Boo worried it would snap right off. “Same dark hair, soulful dark eyes, those great legs…if only I could get her to do tai chi…”
“Save the hippy shit. Show me.”
Yoga gave her a disapproving look for the language (which Boo ignored, it hadn’t worked when her mother gave it, it wouldn’t from some pot head, hippy), but lead her off nonetheless. Sure enough, sandwiched between Norma and Anita, was the long, curvy specimen with glasses that was Alex Vause. The guard was trying to get them to pull away, but Anita shooed him off.
“I’ll take the shot,” she said, her accented voice booming across the rec room. “This here is family.”
Alex chuckled. “I wasn’t expecting such a warm welcome.” She managed to worm out of their tight grip. “I had no clue you guys were all here.”
“Got transferred over after the mess at Litchfield.”
“Doesn’t explain what you’re doing at this joint, Stretch,” Boo said, walking over and slapping five with her before giving a quick hug. “Where have you been?”
“I got sent down to max with a lot of the others,” she explained. “We’ve been there for a bit, but they transferred me.”
Boo tilted her head. “You start another riot?”
“Nah, long story.” Norma had taken out a piece of paper, with some questions about Red, Nicky and Lorna. Alex frowned. “I need to talk to you about them.” Norma looked worried and she held up her hand. “Everyone’s alive…” She trailed off, looking at Boo with a flash of pain in her eyes. “Well, not everyone.”
“Don’t tell me Blondie kicked the bucket.”
“No. Piper’s fine, she’s out actually. But, come with me, Boo. We should talk.”
Boo cocked an eyebrow, following Alex off to the side, as far as they could without the guard glaring at them. Alex was looking at her weird, in a way she never had before. Boo didn’t like it, not one bit. They had never been what Boo would consider close, but maybe Doggett had sent a message through her.
“This isn’t easy for me to say,” Alex said, softly.
“If you’re looking for a side piece now that Chapman’s out…”
“No, no. Look, please just let me talk. Um, look…you and Doggett, Tiffany Doggett, you were close, right?”
Boo nodded. “I helped that little squirrel out a time or two. Was she with y’all at max?”
“She was. She was doing pretty well for a bit, keeping herself out of trouble. Trying to get her GED from what I heard. No one’s really sure why she decided to do it…especially because she ended up passing…”
Boo grinned. “No shit, good for her! I knew if she sat down for a few minutes, she could accomplish something.”
Alex still didn’t smile, that serious look remained on her face. “The thing is, after she took the test, before she could get the results, she went and took…a bunch of drugs.”
Any source of joy dripped away from Boo’s lips. “That’s impossible. Doggett was clean. After she got her new teeth, she wasn’t going to mess them up. She…wanted to do better.”
“Like I said, I’m not sure why she would do it, but she did. She…didn’t make it.”
Boo felt her stomach flip. No, no. That wasn’t true. Doggett lived on a diet of ding dongs and Mountain Dew, but she wouldn’t die. This was the girl that never brushed her teeth, did mounds of heroin and somehow managed to survive a bitch fight with Chapman. She had gotten a second chance at life, she literally never shut the fuck up about that. This was Tiffany Doggett. She was the luckiest girl in the world. Murdered someone, but got a lesser sentence because a church mistook it for a religious conviction. Got her heroin encrusted teeth knocked out and had them replaced. Had even shittier parents than Mr. and Mrs. Black, yet still somehow managed to become a loving, kind and gracious person. She was doing so much better, passing her GED for fuck’s sake.
She wasn’t dead. No, that little girl still had half her life to live.
“No, you’re shitting me,” Boo said, clearing her throat before she started crying. “This is revenge for fucking with your girlfriend.”
“No, it’s not,” Alex said, seriously. She looked like she felt sorry for her and Boo hated that.
“Fuck that. Doggett’s not dead. She’s a kid! A fucking kid!”
“No!” Her voice shook. “You’re lying! She’s fine! She’s there, probably making her lemon drink and talking off some other dyke’s ear about the bible and her shit childhood. She’s still alive!”
The tears started to fall down her face. Alex took a step forward, putting a hand on her shoulder.
“She’s still alive, man!”
“I am so sorry,” Alex whispered.
Boo let out a sob, falling into Alex’s arms. She allowed her to hug her, not caring what anyone else thought. The other women came over, Yoga asking what was wrong and Alex quietly explained, but Boo could barely hear it. They all stood there, crying for the girl that never had a chance.
For the first few days, Boo wouldn’t leave her bunk. Anita managed to find a sympathetic guard to get her out of work for a bit so she wouldn’t get in trouble. This wasn’t like most prison deaths. She knew that at Litchfield Max, there had probably been a memorial for her, with some of her things and people who knew her. Here, there wasn’t much of that. Alex had gone to tell the others who knew Doggett and a few had dropped off snacks for the “widow”, but that was it. She didn’t want to see Leanne or Angie’s stupid faces any day of the week, but especially these days. Jeannette came by and offered to take her for a walk, saying exercise helped after Poussey, but she turned it down. The snacks remained untouched, for the first time in forever, Boo was not hungry.
It took awhile for Boo to realize that Doggett would probably yell at her. She would say she was being a sad sack and probably say that she was being selfish. She’d probably quote the bible and Boo would roll her eyes, but secretly, even though she didn’t believe a word of it, she’d enjoy the passion of it. She sat up in bed and gathered up her snack, grabbing hold of some paper and pen, making invitations for everyone that went to Litchfield. Even Angie and Leanne, she could put up with their yellow teeth and ratty hair for one night. (So long as they didn’t speak. Perhaps someone could make a muzzle.)
The invitations told them to bring junk food. Nothing healthy. Everyone was to raid their commissary stashes and bring as much candy, potato chip stashes, soda (did the prison have Mountain Dew? If they did, BRING IT), whatever they had. They were going to feast.
They held the memorial in the church, as Doggett would’ve wanted. Alex showed up with Anita, Norma and Jones. Angie didn’t show, but Leanne did. She was surprised to see Brooks and Jeannette make an appearance. Everyone gathered together to remember a girl they may not have always gotten along with, but may have made them smile at one point or another.
Using a contraband cell phone, they borrowed from Alison, they had a picture of her from her obituary (according to it, the church she was apart of made sure to give her a nice burial, her family stayed out if it all together like the pieces of shit they were). They ate snacks and drank soda, sharing stories of that they had once knew. As Boo finished telling the story of the time she caught Doggett toasting her aborted babies on Mother’s Day, she stood up to address the crowd.
“I want to thank you all for coming today. I don’t know how many of you know, but I lost my mother when I was a young adult. I missed her funeral and it…fucked me up. Doggett used to say you could make up for your past, but I do regret it. I regret I couldn’t go to Doggett’s either.” Boo bit her lip. “This kid…she was a trip. But she changed a lot too. When I first met her, she was a racist, homophobic little shit. And in time, she became one of the most accepting people I know. To the point where she got angry when I tried to change myself.”
Tears gathered up in Boo’s eyes, which she willed herself to not fall down.
“I…I once tricked her into thinking she was a lesbian. And God, there were days I wish she was, because damn…I would’ve settled down for her. She…” her voice broke a bit. “She was my best friend. I loved her. I laughed with her, I cried with her…I tried to shove a mop up a guard’s ass with her…” Boo saw the crowd looking perplexed and shrugged. “You had to be there. Anyway, the point is…I once said, “All Boo needs is Boo” but I was wrong. I needed her. I don’t know if I believe in any afterlife like she did but…I do believe in her.”
Boo raised her can of Mountain Dew, the tears free falling now.
“I love you, Tiffany. Here’s to Heaven, Hell and nothing in between.”