Hillary Leftwich

Remember what your mother told you. Take your plain pink panties off and put on the lace thong—yes, the one with the red bow. Speaking of red, smear that tube of red on your lips, make them pop. Smack your lips together a few times. Spray the Victoria’s Secret body perfume and walk into it. Spray, walk. You smell like hot candy. You look like cool heat. Hit the sidewalk like a suit on Wall Street. Approach the car window and lean in, but not too far. Squeeze your elbows into your waist; your tits look bigger when you do this. Say something clever. Don’t sound too dumb, don’t sound too smart. Name your price. Stick to it. Don’t break eye contact. When the car door opens, slide inside. Your skin sticks to the hot polyester like a Band-aid. Stay cool when his hand grabs your knee. Smile big. Show your teeth. When he starts to drive, keep track of the passing scenery. He doesn’t tell you his name, but he asks you yours. Tell him your name is Candy. Smile again when he licks his lips. Act like you enjoy his hand running up your skirt. When he pulls over and reaches behind him, shows you the coil of rope and grins, feel your smile start to fade. When he grabs you before you can move, before you can scream, try to remember where the door handle is. He binds your hands together and points the gun at your head. Nod when he asks if you’re going to be a good girl. When he turns on the radio and “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” comes on, try not to cry, because that’s your mother’s favorite song. Remember when she sang it to you at bedtime when you were a girl. Remember her face: beautiful and calm as you slipped into your dreams. Say goodbye to the city. Say hello to cornfields, to the lake stretched out before you like a hunter’s skinned trophy. Even the birds have stopped their chatter to watch you. Try to find the weak spot in the rope binding your wrists together. Bite his hand when he leans towards you. Don’t cry when he slaps you and calls you a whore. You’re a good girl. Breathe through your nose when the duct tape forces your lips shut. Don’t look at the gun in his hand. When he carries you to the lake, keep your eyes on the sky. Hit the water like a broken bird. The water melts over you like a second skin. Recognize the moment when you stop trying to fight. How the air becomes concrete in your lungs. Try to remember what your mother told you. Her face, sinking as you are now, the water heavy as syrup as it rocks you to sleep.


Hillary Leftwich resides in Denver with her son. She is co-host for At the Inkwell, a NYC based reading series and organizes/hosts other reading/fundraiser events around Denver. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Creative Coping Mechanism (CCM) “A Shadow Map” Anthology, Hobart, Matter Press, Smokelong Quarterly’s “Why Flash Fiction?” Series, the Missouri Review, The Review Review and others. Follow her on Twitter at @HillaryLeftwich.

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