Sleeping Beauty Is a Bad Girl
I will bathe the cat. I will bathe myself. Then I will sleep and wait for a prince to awaken me. I’ve been dozing in the barn, and I need to get clean. My fingers smell bad. I don’t even want to bite my nails.
Cleanliness is next to godliness. In that case, I’ll go to hell. My mouth is dirty, my ears are dirty, my mind is dirty. I’m a bad girl. I’m owning up to it right now.
I washed my underwear. I’m still dirty.
I wasn’t always this way. In sleep I’ll become clean. In one dream I ran through a rain shower.
I left behind the tricky politics of my parents, of the future, the past; the embarrassment of pimples and eczema; the effort of flirting with soldier boys. Everything was cleaned by the raindrops. I don’t want to be a princess. Cats don’t like to be bathed. I will drink the rest of Mom’s brandy. I twirl the fancy goblet between my dirty fingers, stare into it and see my golden face.
There’s hope. I can be pure again. Like a baby, like a child.
My head is over the toilet.
Cezarija Abartis’ Nice Girls and Other Stories was published by New Rivers Press. Her stories have appeared in FRiGG, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, The Lascaux Review, Waccamaw, and New York Tyrant, among others. Her flash, “The Writer,” was selected by Dan Chaon for Wigleaf’s Top 50 online Fictions of 2012 and “To Kiss a Bear” was selected for Wigleaf’s Longlist 2016. Recently she completed a novel, a thriller. She teaches at St. Cloud State University. Her website is http://magicmasterminds.com/cezarija/.
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