1.

In an apartment on the second floor overlooking the seacoast, Emilie Simon is singing her Desert song as the ceiling fan hummed along. There is one pink lamp, casting on the floor a singular shadow. A woman curls up in the corner of her bed. Her nest of hair is resting on the belly of her pillow. A book, L’Étranger by French philosopher Albert Camus, lays open to pg. 113.

***

The phone buzzed on Friday while she was wearing her favorite two-piece dress, blanc et noir. She was squatting on the kitchen floor, next to a pair of pumps, peeling a bag of red onions. When the layers of onion came off their plump round bodies the stinging sensation always drove her on the verge of tears, but she never cried. She blinked twice, hard, and placed the phone between her left cheek and shoulder with ease. Years of work as a secretary in a high-end fashion boutique have made it an easy thing to do.

Bonjour?

“Hey! It’s me.”

Upon hearing his voice, she picked up a raw onion, examined it in her hand, and took a bite. A drop of onion juice trickled down the curve of the vegetable and onto her arm as the instant burning shot up her nose and left her with a bitter foulness in her mouth. She paused, and then said:

“I didn’t expect you back in town so soon.”

Continue reading “1.”

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1.

Heal

The homeless man hands the pamphlet to her.

“If God is for us, who can be against?” It says.

What a funny thing to say, she observes.

If God is really for her, why would she be in such a state of desertion and abandonment right now? If God really is here, why is she suffering this heartache, this pain, this misfortune? Where is God now?

Paroxysm of rage, sore and sour from disappointment, starts in her stomach and shoots up her lungs.

She stares at the words again, burning a hole into the crumbled page. The homeless man smiles a toothless smile. He wears a knit hat, covering his ears and unshaven sideburns. His prickly stubble sticks out like the bristles of a kitchen scrub, silver and white. He is wearing a mud green coat with a hood. It looks new and she wonders where he stole it. His swollen and raw fingers poke through his sleeves. His nails are jagged and bitten; his nail bed soaked with dirt and feculence.

He starts to speak:

“God bless you!”

Spit splatters on her painted cheeks. Her cat eyes narrow as she moves to wipe away the sputum.

She looks at him again, and his tin jar of rusted copper coins catches her attention. He nods and backs up. He takes out a few more pamphlets from his pocket. She imagines he does this often – this trick, to get people to give him money.

The frosty wind wraps around her. She pulls on her scarf and buries her face in it, reading the few lines again:

“If God is for us, who can be against?”

She takes her first step forward. Her golden curls tickle her ears and she buries the pamphlet deep in her pocket.

Maybe it is time to heal.

Heal

Hollow

Hollow

 

as I gorged – feasting on last night’s pumpkin pie, sweet yam, and cranberry sauced ham,

my fingers wet with insatiable appetite,

still

 

Hollow

 

as I thought of you and

the blue of sapphire,

the blue of that moon one mid-autumn night,

the blue of the three gold crested buttons on your left sleeve.

The blue of your eyes

They all seem so –

 

Hollow to me now.

 

Hollow

That Year When

It was as if the year when that happened didn’t happen. Mom sat at the table counting the bills and wrinkling the meager check she got in the mail. Mom would often say if only they would hand her the check in person and give her the money they used to buy the stamps. Of course, that would never pass.

Mom didn’t really liked to talk about it. She tried to keep quiet because it was not anything glorious to boast about, but Mom’s New Boss was the nosy type and there was no way he would let such juicy gossip slip away.

So Mom told him about that year when she still worked at the fry shop. Mom’s Old Boss was the nasty type who liked to keep Mom in his office so he could say all sorts of perverted things to her. Mom always took it like a champ because she needed the paycheck. One day he came into the shop and called Mom in. Mom just got this gut feeling that he was up to no good. Sure enough, he started to put the moves on her and tried to force her to do things with him. So Mom kneed him. While he was grimacing on the ground, she grabbed a number 2 from his desk and stabbed his hand so hard it went through and I heard he needed surgery to patch that hole up. Mom also slapped him, but that was beside the point — he had a lot of explaining to do to the police.

Mom came home today after telling her New Boss about that year. She told me she got a promotion and an increase in salary. She said if she knew, she would have told him the story much earlier.

please understand that i am in no way, shape or form encouraging those in similar situations as described above to “take it like a champ.” be a real champ and report that bastard. 

That Year When

Whore

Not bad at all, she thought, giving it a rough count, fingering the leaves and riffling the pages. And I did not even have to do anything kinky.

A knock on her door, a twinkle of ears and the kitty stirs in her lap.

“Hush baby,” she purrs.

She saunters over to the door, swaying her hips side to side. The cat tiptoes behind.

The bronze doorknob twists and the door creaks open. A puff of smoke immediately suffocates her. She lets out a dry cough and stuffs a roll in his good hand.

His cigar hangs loose between his lips. He cracks a toothless smile:

“You aren’t going to invite me in?”

She swallows and backs up a little. He brushes by her and she can smell on him the mix of tobacco and rain. She holds back the urge to puke. He indulges in another puff and continues:

“Listen, I’ve got a bigger offer. A politician.”

She quickly eyes the remaining cash on the table and slaps the green in his hand.

He pulls her face closer and hisses:

“It’s got to be a lot more than that. Why not just obey, huh? After all, you are just a whore.”

He dips his head lower; she wraps her leg around his. His hand slithers up her thigh, pulling at her undergarment. With one hand, she hooks the nape of his neck and gifts a long kiss. With the other, she reaches behind her for something cold.

He clasps around her waist and plunges into her as she plunges it into his neck.

His eyes a piercing blue, his face turns pale and blood sprouts out as if from a broken water hose. With a quiet thud, he drops on to the floor.

The kitty sneaks over, one paw at a time, white fur dripping with red, and sticks out her raspberry tongue to lick at his wound.

She loses her grip and murmurs:

“You are the real whore.”

Whore

Sinister

You launch at me, out of the plastic where you planned your ambuscade.

You land on your abdomen, waving your rat-tail whiskers and kill-a-pods in the air. I shudder at the thought of where you might strike next.

Oh look at the sinister in your beady eyes, cold marble polished black. You are drunken red, foaming strings of bubbles out of your hare lipped mouth. Are you too angry to speak?

I extend two hesitant fingers – one thumb and one index- and gingerly, oh so very cautiously, pull on your exoskeleton. You creep a little away from me; your smallish feet tap the floor in unison. Is that your game plan? It isn’t very good, you know.

The water in my cauldron is boiling and ready. I scoop your up and toss you in, letting the grumbling water devour you. Your funny little pokers scratch the inside.

Oh, how delicious you will be with some melted butter!

 

Sinister