“The Importance of Experience”

Published in Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine 3.1 (April 2010).

The Importance of Experience

In the middle of the empty bar, the place where they play the Coasters at full volume and already know me ‘cause I have to drive Dad home sometimes, Starla—at least that’s the name she told me—gripped the empty neck of her brown bottle behind a shield of red fingernails. She had told me her name three Buds earlier, before she started analyzing the reasons someone sixteen-years-old would be at a smoky bar just off the highway. “You already told me you have the money, but all kids your age wanna do is treat me like shit,” she leered, and tossed her stick-straight blonde hair over her shoulder.

Heat rose up my throat from my chest, and as it stung along my cheeks I looked down at the wooden bar, at my water with lime, and pulled a Camel from the pack my brother bought me. He had told me it might be a little tough to convince one of them, but he’d never said I’d get embarrassed, or that she’d know the nasty things I’d want to try with her. I pushed the barstool back, across the uneven floor, as I lit the cigarette with matches the bartender had given me.

“You promise to?” She winked, the bottle on her outlined lips, and tipped it up until it pointed down her throat, her dark eyes still on me. I thought of pinning her down, fingers wrapped on her neck, and nodded as she wiped her mouth on her wrist—leaving a delicate stain of pink lipstick and beer foam—and tossed her purse over her shoulder as she stood and took my arm.

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