Here’s Where You
Beth Thomas

Here’s where you tell me you’ll teach me how to inhale an old, fine wine off your flopping tongue. Here’s where you drop in another four quarters so the curtain stays up a minute longer.

Here’s me behind the glass: wink. Here’s me, all long arms and legs and ludicrous angles, wanton, coked-out, and pale. I am trashy and hungry and I need a good wash, but at least I am self-aware.

Before the next show, I drink a little Turkey and watch the eleven o’clock news. Ms. Luna pinches my arm and says, You got too many tattoos. They’re distracting, she says. I ask, What if I get tattoos of big black arrows pointing to my tits? I point to my rib cage, shoulders. Would that be better? I light a cigarette and change the channel. Ms. Luna tells me to go fuck myself.

Here’s me behind the glass again: twirl. And you say you’ll clean me up, take me to the opera, wash my hair in a bathtub after fucking me stupid six ways from Sunday. You have your hand down your pants. I look into your eyes, stick my finger in my mouth, past my tongue, down my throat, and mock throwing up all over the stage. I push the red button and the curtain falls.

Ms. Luna says she is tired of my shitty attitude and that I should just smile and slap my ass a little and be quiet about it. Here’s where I tell her to go fuck herself, and here is also where she fires me on the spot. She says, Clean out your locker, whore. Which is retarded because there are no lockers.

Outside beneath the bridge I smoke cigarettes and listen to the midnight hum of 18-wheelers on the I-40 and the comforting sirens of an ambulance rushing somewhere down into the valley to save a life. I wonder what is farther that way, south. I picture white-sand Mexican beaches and skinny little chicos selling warm beer for a quarter.

Under the street lamp, I stick out my thumb. It has been a long road to here. Here’s where you pull up and ask out the window, Where you headed? And I say, The country, someplace, maybe Mexico. And you say, Shit, baby, hop in. I’ll take you.

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