“You like go cruise?” our boyfriends ask us on a Friday night, their heavy voices, weighing down the cordless phone in our hands. “We can meet everyone in the Sack ‘n Save parking lot bumbai, drink some steinies. I even get some wine coolers for you.” Their dark molasses voices, oozing through the ether.
Like every other night, we are sweetened and plumped, convinced to endlessly circle our little town, the lights of shops, restaurants, hotels sparkling the strip of Ali’i Drive, windows down, the cool sea breeze, salt-filled, saturating our skin in time to the bass kicking our bony depths from the trunk of their souped-up Japanese imports.
They pick us up, their cars shining under the sodium glow of the street light. Our skirts are short, our midriffs showing, hair long and curly, eyes lined, lashes full, ready for a night on a town much bigger than this one. A steady beat reaches our toes and travels up our spines. “You one honey tonight.” They say this every time.
We know this routine will continue, like clockwork, the phone calling, the drinking in parking lots, the racing on mountain roads, the fucking in the driver’s seat, the steering wheel hard against our backs because there is nowhere else to go.
MELISSA LLANES BROWNLEE — Melissa (she/her), a native Hawaiian writer, living in Japan, has work published or forthcoming in The Rumpus, Fractured Lit, Gigantic Sequins, Cream City Review, Indiana Review and Craft. She is in Best Small Fictions, Best Microfiction, and Wigleaf Top 50. Read Hard Skin from Juventud Press and Kahi and Lua from Alien Buddha. She tweets @lumchanmfa and talks story at www.melissallanesbrownlee.com.
JACQUELINE STAIKOS — Jacqueline is a largely self taught contemporary artist living in Quinte West, Ontario. She has exhibited her work in several Ontario galleries including shows in Toronto, Kingston and in New York City. Her creative process involves working with inks, acrylics, oils and mixed media. She is currently working out of her home studio in Trenton, Ontario. More of her art can be viewed on her website, jstaikos.org or on Instagram as jstaikosart.