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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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FIRST PLACE


Flash Fiction Competition 2012



The Patron Saint of Easy Girls

 

by Colleen S. Harris

 

 

 

Not all saints make it onto medals. Those who do deserve it, mostly. They’re about what you might imagine. Jude has the patience of–heh, well, of a saint. I don’t take well to whining, sick children make me ridiculously sad, and having your charges die on you all the time…well, it’s got to be wearing. He’s a somber fellow, quiet and gray, calming. Not exactly bachelorette party material. I get most of those invitations, nowadays.

 

I don’t do sick kids. Girls, those are my bag. I say girls, but they come in all ages. You know the kind, the wide-eyed sort. The ones who would trade their good jobs, their real leather handbags, their good bone structures, their left kidney, or the juice box out of their kid’s lunch for someone to pay real attention to them.

 

My sweet girls, generous to a fault, always amazed that the body is the bottomless bread, the miracle that they can share it with so many and it never runs out.

 

They don’t know my name; the saints on medals get called by name. I’m the invisible name behind the “Please let him glance my way,” the one they dedicate the last drink of the night to. I’m the one they thank when he asks them to dance, I get the whisky salutes and the rum trumpets when he asks them home from the neon haze. I’m the angel that dances on the head of a swizzle stick, who knows the trick of getting vomit out of suede and how to do that thing to him in the shower so it doesn’t feel like drowning.

 

Mostly, though, I answer to “oh please, oh please” as they crouch over a slim stick they have just peed on, squatting in front of the sink in their panties, their eyes moving from the stick to the clock (or their watch, or cell phone) and back again, a tennis match of time against fertility. Their hymns are their bodies, in the way they rock back and forth, arms clasped tight against their middles, shielding themselves from the wrong side and far too late. The way they moan is a lot like how monks used to chant, all the way from the soles of their feet. You can pit a hundred choirs against each other and never get a sound like that.

 

My troubled girls. My black-eyed Susans and Betties praying he won’t hit them again, my wide-hipped Helens desperate to be desirable, geeky Gildas meeting strangers in online chat rooms and seedy rest stops. My sweet girls, my lovely girls. I’m the patron saint of poor decisions and consequences, of high heel hangovers, the patron saint of easy girls.