[Content Warning: This is a piece about an underage prostitute, and is not particularly cheery]
She makes herself smile as she slathers another coat of blush on her face. She thinks it makes her look like a clown but the other girls say it’s just the way things are and new pussy shouldn’t ask questions. The other girls never talk to her much, but she doesn’t really mind because they’re old and they’re scarred and they’re not nice, not even to each other. But it makes her miss her friends. She used to have friends.
She walks out into the hall and Daddy’s sitting on the couch with his brother, smoking his bud. He’s not her real Daddy, of course — she doesn’t know anything about her real Daddy other than he knocked Momma up in high school and left town right after. This Daddy doesn’t like when she interrupts his “me time,” but that’s pretty much all the time and she needs a ride to 36th and Prince because he said if she doesn’t make at least two hundred tonight he’d take it out on her ass.
“Hey Daddy,” she says, but it comes out as more of a cough as the smoke dancing in the room hits her throat. Neither of the men notice her, so she says it again, and her voice sounds more like the 13-year-old girl she is than the 18-year-old girl she’s trying to look like.
“Fuck you want?” Daddy says without looking up.
“I need a ride.”
“Ain’t my fuckin’ problem. You got your own two legs, don’t you?”
“Yeah, I got legs,” she replies. Daddy doesn’t like it when you don’t answer his questions.
“Then fuckin’ walk.”
His words sting. She hates the way he talks to her now, but more than that, she hates herself for being so hurt by them. She sniffles, and Daddy holds out an arm. She backs away, afraid he’s gonna hit her, but he wiggles his fingers and she walks forward. He bends her down and places a soft kiss on her cheek.
“Do good tonight, okay Baby? Do good and I’ll take you out.”
“All right,” she says. “Night, Daddy.” She heads toward the door, holding a hand to her face. It reminds her of when she first met him, when he said he wanted to be with her forever.
She picks her purse up off the ground. There’s nothing in it except a pack of condoms, some cheap lip gloss and a stick of gum. She found both of those on the sidewalk last night before the fat old man picked her up. She almost chewed the gum after he bust in her mouth, but now she’s glad she saved it cause her stomach is groaning and it’s not real food but at least it’s something.
Outside it’s that strange sort of weather between snowing and not-quite. The grey sky makes it seem like a different world, and she wishes it was. It’s not cold outside and she almost thanks God, but then she knows she doesn’t have a whole lot thank God for ‘cause He could probably give her more than a warm night if He really wanted to.