—from Vertigo Browning’s Hello, Hella Hot Cyborgs!,
Part 3: “Security Status”
At the bookstore, I hit on the girl who works here by reversing the order of the books she’s sorted from A to B. I also point their spines toward the inside of the shelf so she sees only the paper edges. She might be half my age. I dig in my already-pink eyes (I’m thirty-something years old, and I still eat my eye-boogers). I think I’ve “turned her off”—which makes me smile since we’re in the sci-fi section with the series about robot girls who can literally be turned off. The bad guys always beat them by pressing their power-off buttons.
“There are so many,” she says, re-rearranging the books. She’s seen my eye-boogers. I wipe my finger on my shirt. “I must have a medical problem,” I say.
She twitches: “You like these books? They’re awful.” Oh, she means the books about the robot girls.
“What,” I say. “God, what, no, they’re terrible.”
I ha, nervously.
“Can I help you find something,” she says.
“Your ‘on’ button,” I say, and I motion as if poking her belly.
I’m so nervous, I dig for another eye-booger. To my surprise, she eats one of her own.
Then she struts away. On my way out, I see the same girl, calm behind the counter, reading the third book in the series.
Jason Gordy Walker is an undergraduate at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he recently interned for Birmingham Poetry Review. He’s currently a poetry reader for poemmemoirstory. His fiction has appeared online in NAP and others.