shift

I sat with my feelings for a week
and took a chance on shifting from
5-8s to 3-12s, rotating weekends.
Everything in my body says,
“Pray for this job, two days off
during the week one week, then
four days off during the week the next
is what you need.”

A smooth transition. Perhaps?
An easy transfer. Who knows?

But, I didn’t want to
fight myself later
for not taking a chance
just in case I actually get it.

I’ll never know unless 
I try.

Right?

fruits of labor & labored fruits

Flash Fiction

Wally in a Red Blouse by Egon Schiele-1913

Watch the hands wave them in, suitors and scavengers alike, waiting for their piece of American pie. They come in droves — lips coated in silver-spooned tongues raising their hands, bidding at all costs for the missing links of home. What they cannot get from the one they married, they will gladly pay the one they do not love. The wanting . . . The yearning . . . The overwhelming beasting of burly men stands at attention.

She can only be a symbol of strength — moving through the vicissitudes of life without fear, she gathers their names. She will remember them; their grunts and groans, the sounds of the room, and the premature orgasms logged in the memory bank of her mind. Three hundred seventy-five dollars will get you two hours and two positions. If you want more, add sixty dollars for an additional thirty minutes. Her time is theirs to have but at a cost.

This is a business. She is professional. Each transaction is documented. She prefers cash but will not decline plastic. Wear your words carefully and choose your tour wisely. The ins and outs of her will not be extended. Your personal escort awaits . . . Sign off and hand your ticket to Duane at the front desk.

You have been served.

The cars on the street honk their horns, their owners smile happily — satisfied . . . satiated. Their disheveled clothes are replaced by the clean items waiting in their bags. A new attitude is ordered. It arrives right before their feet meet the doors of their homes. Frequent flyers look forward to their weekend adventures — their secret life tucked neatly behind their backs. They’ll never tell. She’ll never tell.

The perfect exchange.


*Professional escorts provide their clients with undivided time and attention in return for payment. Their work can range from companionship to sexual services. — wikiHow (2019)

The Life I Gave Her

The Struggle Is Worth It

Sash Margrie Hunt via Unsplash

What does this picture say? I have an imagination that would bring itself back to life if it died, so instantly, I drum up a story. Who is this woman? What is her story? What is her struggle? She stands, book in hand, waiting for the train. What’s her background? I study her. I plant my eyes on an amazing creature and I think . . .

“What type of life can I create for her?”

She’s a graduate student, studying Socioeconomics with an emphasis on Urban Culture and the effects of gentrification on middle-aged people of color. She is working on her thesis and has fifteen pages of solid, stone-cold research that she can verbally back up in her sleep.

She’s fearless, the eldest of four children, and a full-time teller at the bank Uptown. She juggles school, work, and time-spent keeping her cousins out of the morgue. She does not complain. She struggles silently.

The promotion to financial advisor has been on and off the table for the last three years. She aims for it, going the extra mile: staying longer at work and arriving earlier than everyone else.

She does not complain. She struggles silently.

Her boss sees her but doesn’t see her. She stands out, but not in the way the company needs her to. She speaks four languages and can cuss him out in three of them. He wouldn’t know a thing. The offer on the table today: $16.25 per hour, 40 hours per week. A seventy-five cent increase.

He tells her, “It’s the best we can do.” She calls bullshit but with class. She knows Taylor, her window-mate, received a $1.05 increase and she trained her. The chick’s been clucking about it loud enough for the entire breakroom to hear. They don’t seem to care about her constant avoidance of company policies. Taylor’s untouchable. And since Taylor’s untouchable, she has to be ten times better at her job to receive less.

The chick’s been clucking about it loud enough for the entire breakroom to hear.

There is no one. She hasn’t been on a date in nearly four years. There’s never any time. Mark, her ex-boyfriend, calls regularly, says he’s “just checking in.” She entertains his advances for moments at a time weekly but he knows their ship sailed a long time ago.

There is no room for love. There is only time for work, school, writing her thesis, fighting for her rightful positions in life and society, and sleep. Everything else is on the back burner. Everything else will have to wait.

The guy standing next to her offers her the only seat left on the train after they enter. In exchange, he adds, for her number. She sighs, discontented with the constant barter and trade most men often dole out on a daily basis. She’s had a rough day. He doesn’t know it. He doesn’t care. His aim is to conquer, build up his ego, and slowly deflate hers. She declines.

She stands and reads the last chapter in her book on how to increase a company’s authorized share capital. She highlights key aspects and mentally preps a presentation. Tomorrow at work, she will turn in her resignation.

The guy standing next to her, offers her the only seat left on the train after they enter. In exchange, he adds, for her number.

Armed with a wealth of knowledge, ten years in the banking industry, and being multilingual, she remembers the job offer her classmate shared with her one week ago: Entry Level International Accountant for the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation (IFRS Foundation).

She will leave her life to gain a life. She has her wings.

Starting now — It’s time to fly


Originally published as a metered paywall piece via Medium. I have included the “friend link” as it’s a paid piece via Medium, thus anyone who clicks on that link above can read for free.

Worn

Worn Out|Vincent van Gogh – 1881

beaten into defeat,
worn and torn, his
body cannot go on.
he leans into himself,
gathers the strength to
breathe out a sigh, and
tucks his sullen demeanor
into his pockets.

two more shifts before
night’s end.
will he make it?
can he make it?
he doesn’t know, but
he will try.

that’s all that’s left 
of him.