Misty’s cleavage said Fuck Me. Her ankle bracelet said Fuck You. The grocery store manager stiffened. The bag boys openly stared, lips parted, dropping cans of peas into paper sacks as she walked through sliding glass doors, split wide open.

Misty rolled her cart up and down each aisle. Corn chips, mayonnaise, Ole Rooster whiskey, molasses. Women turned their backs. They knew the Misties of the World. Hard, mean, rabid dogs. The girl who’d yank the ribbons from your hair and call you a cunt.

Misty fingered a terry cloth blue baby bib hanging from a display. A dancing elephant blowing a horn, beaming smile. She gave hand jobs on the school bus in exchange for cigarettes. The bib was soft. Retail price $6.99. She shoved it in her purse.

Misty’s new boyfriend likes rib eye steaks and meth. She picked out the biggest piece of meat, threw it in the cart. Bent over trays of ground chuck, beef, lamb, pork. She poked her finger through each package until the plastic snapped. Over and over until her fingers grew numb from the cold, spongy meat.

Misty stood in line at checkout. Candy swinging from hooks. Bags of lemon drops. Grandma Bayleen’s favorite. She taught Misty how to lift them.

The cashier looked away as Misty leaned over her cart, nipples tight from the air conditioning, a tattoo of a wicked snake, wrapping around her neck, slithering down her left arm.

“Did you find everything you were looking for today?” The cashier mumbled.

“Sure thing.” Misty rubbed the bib hidden in her purse.

Christine Baerbock

Christine Baerbock

Christine Baerbock writes fiction from her home in the Midwest. Her short stories were published in Boston Literary Magazine, Flashshot, Peninsula Pulse, Page & Spine, Weird Darkness, placed in the Hal Grutzmacher Writer Contest, and included in several anthologies.
Christine Baerbock

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