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red.jpg

Red-Hot Decisions

 

by Samantha Memi

 

 

I was just one of the girls strutting my stuff on the Bois de Boulogne when this gorgeous guy gets out of his lipstick-red sports car, same color as my dress, walks over to me and says, —How much?

 

He looked rich, so I needed a high price. I was wearing my best frock; I’d even shaved my legs. On the other hand, I didn’t want my price so high, he left me for someone else.

 

—Fifty-five, I said. He looked me up and down.

 

—Okay, we’ll go in my car.

 

Now, no one used cars any more. Not since six girls turned up dead, throats gashed like a lipstick-red smile. It was either standing in an alleyway (obviously not his style) or a cheap hotel. Though with him, I hoped it would not be so cheap.

 

—I’d rather find a hotel, I said.

 

—That’s where I'm going, a hotel.

 

—There’s plenty close.

 

—I think for you, we need something special.

 

Flattery will get men anywhere with me. I’d drop my panties for a smile.

 

—Okay, I said.

 

And so, unlike Marianne Faithfull, I drove through Paris with the wind in my hair, but we didn’t stop at a hotel. We drove into the country. As we left the city, he pulled out a knife and pointed it at me.

 

—Don’t make a sound.

I stayed quiet.

 

 

 

We pulled off the road into a forest lane and drove to the lake shore. I was whispering prayers to every saint I could think of and some I’d never even heard of.

 

—Get out, he said.

 

He held the knife to my throat.

 

—You’re a cheap, fucking whore.

 

I didn’t argue.

 

—Unzip my pants.

 

 

 

As I was sucking his dick, I caught a glint of the knife in the corner of my eye. I bit down hard on his dick, tasted blood and let go. He screamed, crumpled over, fell on the ground, curled up, groaning. I kicked him in the head, picked up his knife and stabbed him. I stabbed him again, and again. . . . I don’t know how many times. I searched in his jacket, found his car keys and money, lots of money. I drove away in his car. That’s the car I’m driving now. Same color as my dress. Goodbye, Bois de Boulogne, I’m going down south. Maybe Italy. Take up painting. I liked to paint when I was young.

 

 

 

Ahead of me, I see a police road block. If I carry on, they’re bound to ask for the car’s registration papers. I’m driving into a trap. But if I turn back, they’ll chase me. I’ve got a sports car. At least that gives me a chance. I turn back. But as soon as I’ve done that, I realize they couldn’t possibly have found his body so soon, not to have set up road blocks. Most likely they’re there because of a robbery or a child got abducted. It’s too late now, I can’t turn back.

 

I see blue lights in my mirror, sirens wail. I put my foot down hard on the pedal.

 

 

 


jamesgang.jpg
Art by Lonni Lees 2014

Me and the James Gang

 

 

by Samantha Memi

 

 

 

Jesse rode ahead. He shouted, “We’ll head ‘em off. You come up behind; make sure no one escapes.”

 

So him and the boys rode off and left me alone, as usual.  Jesse and me had been lovers since we was just kids but when he was with his gang he treated me like I was just his maid. He wouldn’t even sleep with me. He’d send the boys into town, then have me under the branches of a tree. He wasn’t the romantic sort.

 

I saw the stage come round the curve. It looked kinda purdy, Dead Man’s gulch lay behind and with the sun is settin’ and all. Then I heard the boys hootin’ and hollerin’, riding down on the stage, but the dang fool driver tried to make a dash for it and got himself all shot up, and the shotgun had to stop the stage. When all the shootin’ was over I rode on down. There was three passengers, a lady and her daughter, and a man, who I don’t think was with them. I took the jewellery off the lady. She said, “Please don’t take my wedding ring.”

Which was the kinda thing I’d woulda said if I’d been wed, but I ain’t so I ain’t got no callin’ to. So I took her ring and her purse and all her stuff. When you’re a robber yuh can’t be all soft-hearted and cry baby and say, ‘keep your wedding ring,’ ‘cos then they say, ‘oh and my bracelet. It was a gift from my husband,’ and yuh end up lettin’ them keep all the stuff. Least that’s what Jesse says.

 

Then we mounted up. We had lots of loot. As I was gettin’ on my horse, a derringer suddenly appeared in this lady’s hand and she shot me in the side. Just in the flesh but it hurt like hell and made me mad. Jesse blew her brains out, but I cursed him for it ‘cos I wanted to do it myself. Her daughter was screaming like an Indian being burnt. So we rode off and left ‘em. But I was sore wounded and losing blood. Cole said we gotta ride slow so Samantha don’t hurt none. So we rode slow and then set up camp near a river. Frank said I’d have to see a doctor, like I didn’t know, said the bullet was too deep to get out with a hot iron. I didn’t get much sleep. At sun-up we rode off west. But we knew they’d be followin’. Robert had said it was stupid ridin’ so slow with a posse after us but the others said they had to ride slow ‘cos I was wounded. So I felt guilty I got shot and slowed them all down. Then Cole said I should have found the derringer if I’d searched her proper. So it was all my fault. Then Robert saw dust on the horizon and shouted, “Posse!” and they all rode off, even though it coulda just been horses. And Jesse shouted. “I’ll come back and getcha,” but I knew he wouldn’t.

 

So I was in the town jail, trying to remember everythin’ so I knew what to say in court and the Sheriff looked at me and spit on the floor, all tobaccy spit and said, “They’re gonna hang yuh, Samantha.”

 

I didn’t stand a chance in court. They said I’d shot a woman in cold blood. I said I didn’t. But once they’d said it everyone believed it; so that was that and they found me guilty.

 

It was a really sunny day the day when they led me out to the scaffold. They tied my hands and put a rope round my neck. Then I saw Jesse, he was riding fast, coming inta town. He was coming to cut the rope, but just as he got close the trapdoor opened and I fell with a scream and my tummy in my throat.






Samantha Memi lives in London. Her stories have been published, or are forthcoming, in Fiction International, Yellow Mama, Gemini Magazine, Thrice Fiction, The Cortland Review, and Birkensnake. Her writing can be found at http://samanthamemi.weebly.com

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