art by Geoff McFetridge

When you tell them your name, they laugh, they say, what a wonderful name, like the fault was yours. In your head, you tap dance to Nabokov: Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.

Anthony stares at you throughout dinner, which makes you drink too much wine. His friends ignore this goatish behaviour because he is off to Oxford next week on a research grant, gone for a year. Tonight, they’ll get pissed in his parents’ house and pretend to be interested in you, the Asian he met at the bookstore last week.

Later, while his friends debate whether to change into their swimsuits or dance on the rooftop, Anthony pulls you into a coat closet. You turn your back to him and press your palms against the warm wood. You rub your cheek against a dead animal’s coat.

Anthony hikes up your dress, pulls down your underwear and enters you from behind. It is erotic for five minutes, but he finds his rhythm and it is too fast and his cock is bent to the right and the pressure kills your building orgasm. He comes, slumps against you and licks your nape. You’re so fucking sexy, he says. You twist your head and give him a long kiss to stop yourself laughing. You don’t understand why he talks like he’s in the movies.

You straighten your dress and feel for your knickers with your toes. Anthony opens the door quiet as possible but he needn’t have bothered. The other guests have all migrated upstairs. Let’s have a shot of tequila, he says. You nod and wave for him to go ahead then gesture to the loo.

You take a glass of white wine from a passing maid and drink it in one gulp. In two minutes you’re out the door. Anthony will look for you, but Lisa with her horse face and common sense will distract him.

Your moped is squeezed between a Benz and a new Volkswagen. You are careful as you back it out. Then you pull on the throttle and pretend you’re escaping a crime scene.

Halfway home, you decide you need coffee and head to your local. They serve your cappuccino with a ginger cookie because they ran out of chocolate. You take out your notebook and write three poems because this is the only thing that protects you from yourself.

When you can breathe again, you look up and notice that the cafe is empty and the staff are huddled around a television set watching a film about zombies. You feel alone. But there is nothing dangerous here, not anymore.



35 thoughts on “slumming

  1. Pingback: slummingΒ  | listentothebabe

  2. I feel an intriguing sort of propelling heaviness in the narration here that suggests something habitual in the narrator’s experience, as though she is accustomed to (and weighed down by) the monotony of another disappointing encounter that met her (low) expectations and has left her, yet again, unsatisfied. And empty.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Horse faced people are the ones with the most common sense. I like that my moped is stuck between two German cars and I have to eat spicy ginger instead of soothing chocolate. Another brilliant read! And I liked being the main character.

    Liked by 1 person

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