A dark and thrilling piece of powerful prose from Shortlist usual Timothy Jay Smith. His writing continually makes breaks into the top of the field, resonating with a darkly human tone, and touching on difficult and stirring subjects with the deft hand of an accomplished writer. Dance of the Black Lolita is no different, and was a contender for top spot.
Flash Fiction 1000 - Shortlist
Dance of the Black Lolita
Timothy Jay Smith
Lulay didn’t give her john a good-bye anything. She was done with him and needed her ice water, and Juma had a nice tall glass of it waiting for her. Crossing to the bar, she dodged come-ons from guys who knew she hadn’t had time to spit out the last one, and she couldn’t quite believe it, her expression said. She was still girl enough to have that look.
Handing her the water, Juma gave her a look that asked if everything was all right, and she said something that amused the barman and made him shake his head. Lulay took a mouthful of water, and leaning her head back, gargled before swallowing it. She took another sip, and swiveled on her heels, legs akimbo, zeroing in on Cooper. She always knew where to find him. She had Cooper radar, and she knew he’d seen her walk out with her john. She puckered her mouth like she was going to send him a big kiss with lips newly painted crimson, and instead squeezed out an ice cube like a turd into her palm.
The power came on and the jukebox flickered to life, spinning a seductive beat. Lulay’s untrained body, still a girl’s body, still a body remembering before her bleeding had started, and she could almost see womanhood but hadn’t yet, that was the body that danced first, that found firm footing as she shook her glass at Cooper like a voodoo charm. Even the men slumped at the bar perked up for this dance of the Black Lolita. She rolled her chilled glass across her forehead, cooling that hot girl’s body, cooling scenes seen by a woman, and that was the body that danced next—her woman’s body. She swaggered into that woman’s dance, moving her feet to a second beat, shutting her eyes in remembrance of every ass she’d grabbed and every night she’d swallowed.
When the lights flickered off again, Lulay rescued another cube from her glass and dabbed her neck with it like wet kisses washing away the johnny slobber. That cube melted fast, so hot was her little body; the next cube pressed to her face hardly touched her cheeks before turning into ersatz tears.
An animal cry threatened to escape Cooper’s throat, so tormented was he by her wretchedness. He pushed through the beery couples until he stood in front of her.
She held out her glass to him. “Do you want some ice water, Cooper?”
He shook his head no. What look Cooper had on his face, he couldn’t say. Despair? He felt it. Fear? Impotence? Determination? He felt them all.
“Why did you start wearing lipstick?” he asked.
“Juma gave it to me.”
“Did you have to put it on?”
“You don’t think I’m pretty?”
“I think you’re prettier without it.”
“He didn’t hurt me,” she said, and when Cooper asked who, her eyes landed on her last john. He was swilling beer at the bar and exchanged no notice of recognition. “I talk-talk him into using one. That’s why he takes too long. It slowed down his come-come.”
“How did you convince him?”
“I told him it makes men bigger.”
“That’s good,” Cooper said, chuckling appreciatively. “I hadn’t thought of that strategy, and it’s a good one. Men always want to be bigger.”
“Men are big enough,” she said, not having to look too hard to find several leering at her. Everything was emerging on Lulay all at once; hips, lips, tits all getting fuller and rounder and making her more and more desirable. “The next time he’ll hurt me,” she said. “It takes him too long and he has to pay more. It’s too expensive not to hurt Lulay.” She reached into her glass to retrieve the last ice cube and slipped it into one of his vest’s many pockets. “Free me, Cooper,” she said, and left him to go back to work.
With her tears melting in his pocket, Cooper watched the girl push her way to the bar. She didn’t need to try to seduce, she did so naturally, and she brought every man around when she slammed her glass of ice water on the long counter and said, “Make it a double” as if that African beauty knew a good time.
On his soul, Cooper swore he’d set her free.