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"Revenge, Served Hot & Pink" by Charlotte Hamrick

Our boss was a weasley old dude who thought he was a new age Magnum P.I. because he drove a Ferrari and had a mustache. He was always bragging about hiring local girls who would’ve ended up working night shifts at the plant. We all knew the real reason he hired young girls because we were always dipping and dashing out of his reach. He let us buy stuff on credit until payday so he thought that gave him privileges. We giggled and side-stepped and tolerated a pat on our asses or a snap of our bra straps sometimes to keep him thinking we were good sports. To keep him believing we were harmless and didn’t have anything under our blowouts but empty space and hormones.

Three scraps of paper with a list of charges stayed pinned to the shelf above the counter in the stock room. At first, I didn't have a pinned note. Daddy said you never buy on credit, never be beholden to anyone if you can help it, do without and wait until you can pay cash. The other girls just rolled their eyes, said they be holdin’ stuff they needed and scraps could blow away in a light breeze anyway.

One stormy spring, dark, mean clouds hung low, low over our little town. Over a week without sun and pimple cream made my face popcorn with hatching pink eggs. I became a desperate 5.49 on a fourth white scrap. Old Magnum just grinned his weasley grin and thumped my scrap with his thumb. Thought he finally had me under it along with the other girls and Brandy down at the cafe.

Every Saturday he would eat lunch at The Sunshine Cafe where Brandy the waitress spread her sloe-eyed sunshine pie all over him. Every Saturday afternoon his wife took the Ferrari to the First Baptist Church car wash so it’d be bright and shiny for church the next morning. She’d watch the young guys squirting and rubbing, her mouth working double time on a wad of gum. Us girls had a running bet as to which one of them would rededicate their life to Jesus the next day, being good Christians and all.

This one Saturday afternoon Magnum’s wife came in the store as usual to pick up the Ferrari keys. Magnum was having lunch at the cafe. He dragged in late that day with a look on his face like a black top road on a July day, a big old stain all over his white Polo, and a wet pink wad stuck in his hair right above his left ear. He walked real fast to his office giving us the death stare as he passed. We didn’t see him the rest of the day and his wife didn’t pick him up after work. We hid behind the snowball stand and watched him stomp down a back street toward home.

Chatter at the skating rink later that night was that his wife found a hot pink lace thong peeking out between the seat and the console when she picked up the Ferrari. Us girls laughed and laughed as we twirled around the rink, sliding our hands down our mini’s so as not to let our panties peek out.

Charlotte Hamrick writes about, reads about, and photographs extraordinary everyday things in New Orleans. Her writing is included in a number of literary magazines and in the Best Small Fictions 2022 anthology. Sometimes she writes in her Substack, The Hidden Hour.

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