Los Angeles Which Craft

As Bukowski once said, “hate contains truth. beauty is a facade,” and there’s often no telling what lies beneath…

by: Christopher James

She wore high heels and red lip-gloss to visit the swimming pool out near Voss. She wore a shiny bikini two sizes too small, that couldn’t get wet, not even at all. She strung pearls round her neck and shaved her arms and her legs, and she called up her ex and asked him to join her. He said no. She knew he’d never liked being seen with her in public.

She knew she wasn’t beautiful. Had no illusions about that. She went to the pool near Voss because kids at the pool closest to home called her names. At Voss she was anonymous, and anonymity made her feel like she could maybe be attractive to someone.

Technically, you weren’t supposed to, because there were children at the pool, but she took her top off to tan all over. She’d done it before, and nobody had complained. Men looked, and she smiled at them. Waited for one to smile back. She knew she was ugly, very ugly, but with high heels and red lip-gloss and shiny bikini bottoms and hairless skin and exposed breasts and anonymity she felt like maybe she could be nice to look at for a while. Nice to talk to for a while. Nice to lie with for a while.

The sun finally called it a day, and everyone left. She did too. Back home, she called her ex again and asked if she could go to his place. He said ok. She wore mascara and a tiny black dress, to take the bus, to meet her ex. She wore her lacy magenta thong, the one he always commented on, and expensive perfume she’d bought in the airport. She shaved her arms and legs again, just in case her hair had grown since this morning. She packed some condoms in her clutch, because he wouldn’t have any if she didn’t bring some herself.

But before she left, she took a knife from the kitchen and made six deep holes in the wall, that made her feel good, and ready to face the night.


Christopher James lives, works and writes in Jakarta, Indonesia, and has had work published online by Tin House, McSweeney’s, Smokelong, Wigleaf and many other places. He is the editor of Jellyfish Review

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