Note: This first appeared at the Six Sentences Zine, in 2010.
“Hey there, my pretty girl,” he says to me and I push air through my lips and roll my eyes because I am not — thank you Ani — a pretty girl and I’m sure as hell not his pretty girl. But he seems to think differently, as he uses an elbow to make room for himself at my table, upsetting my half-full coffee cup and splattering Ethiopian Yirgacheffe onto my note cards, onto the manuscript I’ve spent the entire morning — hunched over this little table in the corner of The Chipped Cup — reworking, rewriting, and killing not just a few of my babies.
He doesn’t notice the spill; his eyeballs have fallen down the front of my tank top and the only things he’s seeing are tits; he’s trying to start a conversation with them by asking their name. It seems no one has ever disabused him of the notion that tits don’t, in fact, talk. But fictional characters do talk and right now this man’s intruding on a conversation that I’ve been trying, for months, to hold with my antagonist.
So, it’s with no reservation about looking like an asylum escapee that I turn to the empty chair next to me and continue aloud what I’d begun on paper minutes before Mr. Hey-Pretty showed up; when he finally shuffles off — looking a little peaked around the eyes — in the middle of a descriptive explanation on the best way to keep the skin of a flaying victim in tact, I consider that the sign of a scene well done and pick up my pen to commit those descriptions to paper.