Alan Catlin

The Dancing Girls of Death

She was fifteen going on
a Sex in the City age, three gold
rings in her right ear, a clown’s-
head charm bracelet around each
wrist, and a blue butterfly tattoo
on her butt, no one in her family
had seen nor, ever would, if she
had her way. “My stepdad would
freak if he knew. Especially, as he
paid for it.” She told one of her
boy toys who was so stoned all he
could manage was an obligatory,
“Bummer,” his reaction to all negatives
like his all purpose “Cool,” for all
the positive things in life. Like
beer blasts and pill parties, unprotected
sex in beachfront houses while parents
were away at orgies of their own,
though they called them something else.

All the like-minded she-witches in
her coven had matching tats on
their ass as a kind of blood kinship
thing that would forever unite them
in sisterhood until the next falling out,
next sex text one of them would send,
of one of their number, to like, everyone
on earth. Something sent as a kind of
joke, under the influence of alcohol
and E, barely remembered after, until
the message went, like viral, and the girl
in question thought razor blades
in the bath was the only solution
to an otherwise insoluble problem.
And it might have been, were it not
for the kid brother seeing the text,
and barging into that room no adult
would dare to go.

Accused of bullying, violating
sacred trusts, and child porn laws,
she stonewalls authorities, insists she is
above all this childish stuff and maybe
she was, in a way, if someone hadn’t
almost died.


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