Friday, April 22, 2011

Solicitation - Flash Fiction - A to Z Challenge

Coming from a rural village, I found college life in a big city overwhelming, to say the least. But I soon made a few friends; it was obvious to them that I was dazzled by their clothes and cosmopolitan airs, and they in turn determined to take me under their collective wings and expose me to “the night life”.

One such field trip was to Atlantic City. I dressed in what I considered to be evening attire; they laughingly stripped me and put together an ensemble of their own choosing. We compromised on a dress which was still modest. Driving into the city, I was afraid that it was a trick; each block seemed more rundown and deserted than the next. But then we turned right, drove another single block, and the gambling mecca burst upon the scene like a thousand Roman candles. Limos jockeyed with the ubiquitous and garish jitneys; neon lights flashed and hummed and were reflected in miles of glass and fountains. I tried not to let my amazement show.

My senses already reeling, I followed the others into one of the casinos. The air was rent with bells and jingles and unnamed clatter; the air smelled of cigarette smoke, heavy perfume, and spilled alcohol, all underpinned by a hint of salty humidity. I drifted along as they moved from slot machines to tables to roulette wheels, hazarding a bet or two without knowing what I was doing.

Eventually, I found an out-of-the-way spot near a bar with a few leather chairs. I promised to rejoin the others at a certain spot in half an hour, and wearily sat down. A good looking man sat down across from me; he took out a pack of Marlboros and offered me one, but I shook my head, and he put them away. He asked me where I was from, whether I was a college girl, whether I had a boyfriend, and why I was sitting alone. I don't know why, but I talked to him for a bit, maybe out of boredom, or politeness, or nervousness. We talked about how difficult it was to find a job and pay for school. He wanted to know if I was interested in a job. I said “possibly”. I'd told him that I loved to write; maybe he worked in an advertising agency, or even a publishing house!

He told me I was beautiful. He wanted to know if I liked men, and if I would be interested in entertaining businessmen in town for the weekends. “You could make a lot of money, you know. More than you can imagine. I'd expect you to spend time with me too, of course.”

I was suddenly angry, and sick. Yet such was my upbringing, that I couldn't curse him roundly or throw my drink in his face. “No thank you,” I said, numbly, and stood up. He laughed derisively. “You give it away to your boyfriend for free though, don't you.”

I got up and went to go meet my friends. My face burned with shame and humiliation. Obviously there was something about me that had drawn this man; he'd singled me out as someone with such proclivities. Maybe everyone thought that about me. Perhaps I had some ugly spot on my soul which showed on my face.

I tried to act naturally with the girls, but I could feel how rigid my posture was and how wooden my conversation. I felt like crying. I dozed fitfully on the way back, but once we got back to the dorm they tried to pry it out of me. Eventually, I told them, and was met with a burst of laughter.

“Oh, that happens a lot in AC. Pimps are always on the lookout for college girls looking to turn tricks.”
K looked at me. “Take it as a compliment. He thought you were lovely enough to attract lots of men and make him some money. Besides, think of the swank restaurants and shows you get to go see! And the gifts. Not so bad, to be treated like you're special all the time.”

“A special kind of loneliness,” I said, easing off my fake crocodile pumps.

K didn't reply, and I looked up. “K, promise you won't ever consider it!”

She promised, but she didn't meet my eyes as she toyed with the silver bracelets on her wrist.


  1. "toyed with the silver bracelets on her wrist."
    Yup, she's gone over to the well-paying dark side. A special kind of loneliness indeed. Well done.

  2. Great story. Another one that would be great to read more of.

  3. And here I sit mad as a wet hen because I thought this real and was ready to throw that drink for you. :)

    Excellent story, one I wish more girls understood your side of it.
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  4. Beautifully written...I could also see this as a scene from a much nonverbal communication can be portrayed with these characters. Love the bracelet bit.

  5. Excellent! I could see this being played out - it would make a good screen play.

  6. Screenplay...hmmmm...never written a screenplay. never thought about it. Then again, I've never been in a play and only seen a handful. Looks like a few things to be rectified!

  7. I agree--it would make a good screenplay! :)

  8. Great story. Brought back some memories due to your choice of locale.

    Not sure if you've ever been to AC, but I lived in the area for my first 35 years.

    When the casinos were being put in, they were sold with how they'd revitalize a run down city.

    Sadly, what you have is a run down city with a couple of nice buildings.


  9. Following from Weekend Creation Hop. Unfortunately the computer I am on will not let me join any websites. Reading this short piece, it was hard not to believe it. I thought it was real until I read the comments. Great job!


  10. This is very realistic. I like the "show don't tell" focus in this one. It's very surprising how many are seduced by a little glamour and quick money, or just very curious how such a life would be. There are a lot more Ks around than we imagine.


  11. This is excellent! I'm so glad you stopped by my blog and became a follower. I'm here to do the same.