Playing Safe by Nicolette Wong

She takes a last drag of my cigarette, her eyes squinting at the stranger who has travelled half the globe to walk down her street. As she relishes the last smoke ring, I turn to leave.

‘Are you sure you aren’t coming with me?’ she asks, passing me the cigarette butt stained with my saliva and her dark red lipstick. Against the lamp post she looks tall and rough in a faux fur coat, her skin the color of sand. Her eyes speak of an old soul I once met, a girl who went on all fours on my table like a wild cat.

I throw the cigarette butt into the bin.

‘You’re going to be in good hands,’ she says.

Does she have vodka bottles hissing on the windowsills too, when the wind blows through the afternoon shadows? I bet this one is too busy to notice anything beyond her bed and nightstand. She must work all day, whenever she manages to pick up a customer on the street. I’m not strong enough for that.

Past the entrance to my temporary home, I hear the whirling cry of a possum that is out to kill.

‘Has Wesley been out for the day?’ I ask my fiance.

‘No, he hasn’t,’ he says. ‘It’s not safe for a girl to wander around this neighborhood at night.’

I grab our cat and put him on my lap. There are too many ways to be safe.


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Filed under Nicolette Wong

8 responses to “Playing Safe by Nicolette Wong

  1. this had a real mysterious air to it that kept me intrigued. it felt moody and noir. really nice. i loved the last two lines. perfect landing.

  2. Loved this NW…impending air of darkness, and like Len mentioned, a noir flair. So nicely written, tight, and great end too.

  3. I really enjoyed this story. I read it twice to make sure I understood all the nuances. Nice, especially the cat.

  4. So brief but so damn entertaining. You’re a master.

  5. Smooth, taut, tight. Very subtle, with a delicious unease. Peace…

  6. Pingback: Week #26 – Animal behavior | 52|250 A Year of Flash

  7. Becca

    Love it! Especially that line about the cigarette butt stained with saliva and dark red lipstick.

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