Strip Job

There was nothing to do in the waiting room but listen to the evil whine of the drill and think about how you were paying a man to hurt you on purpose and how you’d have to come back year after year to the same pain.

“Liza, let’s move,” I said. My sister was trying to ignore me, pretend we weren’t related. She glared at me.

“Dumb idea. Where would you go?” she said, then went to studying her burgundy fingernails. I had to get out.

What I found out in school during “Heritage Week”: This is a place where young girls are butchered in old-time songs. And not just by anybody, but by lovers they’ve surrendered to secretly, sweethearts they’ve touched in the darkness. The lovers always bury their girls in mountaintops, even when the Pretty Pollies vow not to tell. Then the men go crying sorry to their mamas before they get hung. Old people still dance to these songs until they sweat. They spin around and around and end up laughing. A group of them, my grandmother’s age, in calico dresses and overalls, had been visiting my school all week, telling us to take pride in all that. That’s what I hate about High Knob.

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