Girls Girls Girls

Cady Vishniac
| Fiction


Mona or Monica or Mandy has fully committed to the dead husband thing. Elkie is not fooled, not even by the twist of the fake name. She turns her phone back off again. She has to stop by the Recreational Activities Office to fill out a request form for a faculty chaperone to Pine Ridge. And she works this afternoon, this evening, one to six: she’s scheduled four men back-to-back with fifteen-minute intervals. A Sheraton three blocks from the bus station. She’s panicked, at first, about her night. Don is missing and Brianna is pissed, and two of these appointments are with new clients; she’ll be seeing strange men with nobody to check up on her.

What would happen if she let the wrong man in at one o’clock? Would the next man circle the hotel for hours, waiting for her to pick up the phone? When she failed to do so, would he call the police, or go home? Elkie doesn’t believe her clients are bad men, not most of them, but she can’t see them ensuring her safety either. Not at the cost of getting arrested themselves. Elkie has never had a client try to hurt her, but Don was always making her promise to be safe.

She settles herself in the hotel room. She showers, hides her book bag under the bed, puts on wet eyeliner and CK One and a new white bustier set, this one from Va Bien. It came with a matching white kimono. She gargles with the hotel’s mouthwash. She’s got an hour to kill and she might as well book herself out to the end of the month.

She has to turn the phone back on to do this, which means a half-hour responding to texts and emails and voicemails. All men, all calling for Crystal. Still no Brianna, which is horrible but fair, and no Don, which is not fair at all.

When she’s done booking, there’s still half an hour left. Too little time for homework, too much time to just sit there. Nobody to talk to. So she texts the wife again.

    Crystal:     You win.
                    Why are you doing this?
                    Can you at least let me know he’s okay?
    Don:         No, I can’t do that. He is dead.
                    Who is this?
    Crystal:     Don is my friend.
    Don:         How close were you?
Elkie’s phone vibrates, a call this time. Her first appointment is ten minutes away from the Sheraton, and he wants to know where to find her. She gives him the room number. Then she hits the power button.

Cady Vishniac studies Yiddish and Hebrew at the University of Michigan. Her work has won the contests at New Letters, Mid-American Review, Greensboro Review, and Ninth Letter, and is forthcoming in Glimmer Train.

Welcome to the new issue!
The View from the Necropolis