Japan’s wristlet purse rattled all the way to the coffee bar.
“Double shot, please,” she told the machine.
It whirred to life and soon a steaming shot of bean water was filling a mug.
She fetched a pill pouch from her purse. It had to be holding at least a dozen different pills in all shapes and sizes–capsules, tablets, slick, some small and round, and others quite enormous and shiny.
She dumped the pills into her hand, popped them into her mouth, tossed back the scalding hot espresso and swallowed it all in one big gulp.
Belarus was relieved to hear that she could use Russia’s shower while hers was being repaired. That relief would soon turn into horror.
Russia stood in the bathroom doorway as Belarus examined the shower faucets with scrutiny. Every shower was a different mystifying puzzle that caused inner anguish; how do I turn it on, how do I work temperature, what do I do if it’s too hot or too cold and you’re downstairs and can’t hear my screams?
Russia said, “You know where everything is, don’t you? Let me know if you need anything.” She turned and left, but only got half-way down the hallway before she heard a shriek and went running back.
“What is this?” Belarus sounded like she’d just found a dead body. “Why is it red?”