APRIL 2009


Say It
By Lauren Becker, Feb 20, 2009

She is his best nightmare. Lizzie with the long brown hair. Lizzie with the loose jeans and clean face who can’t hide her lipsticked insides. Lizzie with the eyes that will make him close his and take whatever she gives.

He goes to her checkout line always. His purchases seem random and he always buys fewer than twelve items, even when she’s not working express.

His hands sometimes shake when he hands her the cash. Always exact. Six dollars and seventeen cents: A five, a one, one dime, one nickel and two pennies. Like he figures the price of his purchases at home and comes ready to pay. He doesn’t speak. Even when she tells him to have a nice day, like they taught her.

He wakes before sunrise, sweaty from his unconscious exertions. Eyes closed, he stays in the dream. Lizzie’s long fingers touching his face, his chest. Name tag gone. He knows her name. He says it. Lizzie. He commands it. Lizzie. She says his name. And yes. And yes. He holds her by her hair. She says yes. And more.

He is exact. He presses his thumbs to her throat. He doesn’t know why. He can’t let go. She looks at him and gives. Whatever you want. She says his name. He pushes it out of her throat. She says it once more. Say it again. Say it. She would say it if she could.

He is back in the morning. A box of powdered donuts, a grapefruit, a Bic lighter, one can of Chicken of the Sea tuna.

The total is seven dollars and forty seven cents. He lays down a five, two ones, and two quarters. She opens the register and counts out three pennies.

He walks away, leaving her holding his change.

Lauren Becker lives in Oakland, California. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Word Riot, DOGZPLOT, Wigleaf, Mud Luscious, Pindeldyboz and elsewhere.