The Sisters of Beneficent Misery orphanage and girls’ school sat precariously at the very top of the only hill in Orangeville. When Rita saw it for the first time, from the outskirts of the town, she thought it was about to topple over. It looked like such a shithole she nearly started to cry.
“Jesus-Christ-Mary-Mother-of-God,” she said. “That’s the dump you’re going to ditch me in?”
“Rita!” snapped Auntie Margie. “Watch your fucking mouth!”
“Oh God,” moaned Rita. “It looks like a prison, or a mortuary, or a lunatic asylum. I’m going to die of typhus in there. While you’re getting drunk at the Legion I’m going to die of typhus. It’s a certainty: I’m going to get typhus and die.”
Auntie Margie scrabbled around in her handbag for her smokes and ended up spilling cigarettes all over the vinyl seat.
“Just a couple of hours more,” she muttered and jammed the lighter into the dashboard, “a couple hours more.”
Rita glared out the window at all the clapboard houses with their neat lawns and their picket fences.
They pulled up at a four-way and a kid on a banana-seat sat at the corner staring at her. She gave him the finger.