Though I live blocks from my friend, Cee’s, I’m pretty sure I’m not near any of our places. We teach at the same college–she studies fossils, writing grants to go to countries, and I write stories of how I used to be a farm girl, then a medic, my weeks as a cop. Cee’s mother is convinced an angel saved her. My mom compares her fate to the size of the moon. Tonight Cecilia and I toasted, eating rice and beans and green stuff. I had to print a Mapquest to get there.

Now I walk past buildings with metal bars and porches. A low wide car drives by, a sound with bass and fuck words.

One car parks and out come men with drooping pants and neck chains.

I pick up my phone. I hear the beep beep beep—the battery is history.

***

Today Cecile and I did yoga, then jogged as pilgrims in a 10K. We drank wine, the conversations moving to how she couldn’t believe I didn’t have a sex toy. She gave me one she and her husband didn’t like much–when I left and started walking, my boyfriend called and asked what I decided–I’m supposed to be on my way to visit him in Montana, which is something I keep doing even though he’s only been here once. I walked one way, then another without thinking, telling him he lives in a town I can’t imagine going back to.

I walked from street to street, getting into a conversation he didn’t like much.

***

After running from the chained guys, I walk further, down another street I can’t seem to place. I see houses with junk in the yard.

I walk by two parked cars filled with guys with crew cuts. I go straight. I know it’s dumb, but I hold on to my sex toy.

I say to one of them, Excuse me? Can you help me?

A man looks me up and down. His friends laugh. He lifts his chin and points and tells me, That way.

I say thanks, and though my legs feel weak, I keep myself ahead.

I think I hear a bang and I sprint like a race.

Kim Chinquee

KIM CHINQUEE is the author of the collections Oh Baby and Pretty. Most recently, her work has been featured, along with Daryl Scroggins and Holly Tavel, in Ravenna Press’s Triple No. 3. She edits New World Writing, and lives in Buffalo, New York.

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