SmokeLong Quarterly

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Girls, Girls, Girls

Story by Shannon Barber (Read author interview) June 26, 2012

art by Sam Myers

This summer kills me and brings me back to life.

Once upon a time, when I moved away from this neighborhood I hated summer. I spent whole summers doing and seeing nothing but hot bright skies and White girls trying to get tan.

Now I’m home and the girls; the girls here kill me.

There’s her, the Haitian high femme hottie. She is shorter than me, thick-thighed in her white K Swiss and booty shorts. I met her at a house party last weekend, she pressed her firm little breasts against mine, her many-ringed fingers worked themselves up the back of my shorts and she tickled my ass cheeks.

“Why you so shy baby girl?”

I opened my mouth to squeak something, an argument or a smart-ass comeback and she bit my lip and spun away laughing.

Then there’s this other girl. I always want to call her OG, she’s older butch and gives me this look that makes me want to die or kneel at her feet. Rumor is she got the scar on her cheek in a knife fight in jail, I don’t want to know; I want to run my fingertip down the little envelope of flesh the scar makes on her cheek. I want to kiss it when it crinkles up as she laughs.

She hangs out with the homies across the street from my building. She smiles at me when I walk by along with the boys but she is the only one my eyes are on. I walk a little slower; I let my ass jiggle a little extra with every step.

This summer I’m beautiful. The city sun has burnished me to a deeper richer red brown. I wear doorknocker earrings and multi-colored braids. This summer is all about sky-high heels, short skirts and the way my ass moves under those tiny skirts.

This summer I am real.

This summer is full of crowded jungle hot house parties where I have girls everywhere twerking, asses jiggling and their sleek hands on my thighs their lips hovering next to mine.

I won’t have a girlfriend; I will have girlfriends, all of them. I will fuck my way through the waves of beautiful Black and Brown Femmes around me.

When I have a girl on my arm and someone honks or hollers at us I will stop and yell. I will give the finger. I will turn my wrath on the dudebro trying to holler.

“Who the fuck you think you’re talking to motherfucker?”

I will watch them recoil and take my time finishing going across the street.

This summer I am with my people. I am home.

When fall comes I’ll pack up my things and go home.

Back to nice White girls who spend so much time talking to me and learning about my experience. Who are so excited about an out woman of color. Those girls with their social activities and causes.

There is the Dominican girl with big white teeth and big gleaming pink lips who whispers in my ear on the train.

“Hola preciosa.”

Tonight I will shimmy into my shortest shorts and oil my legs so my thighs gleam. I’m wearing my stripper shoes and am prepared to sit her in a chair in the middle of the party and show the Haitian high femme I know how to give a proper lap dance.

All these girls, the girls with gangster tattoos, the chubby Dominican girls at the salon, the girls on the down low, the butches with braids and clean fades, the femmes with done toes and the girls that walk like they are on every catwalk in the world.

This summer kills me and brings me back to life.

About the Author

Shannon Barber is the author of Gasoline Heart (Lark Books). Her work has been widely published.

About the Artist

Sam Myers grew up in Florida, was born in Virginia, and she’s currently living in the U.S. of A. Sam is an eccentric packrat attempting to save the world by recycling, reducing, and reusing. She likes to use alternative canvasses, recycled items, and massive amounts of imagination. Her works range from jewelry, painting, clothing, and so forth. Whatever her mind can create!

This story appeared in Issue Thirty-Six of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Thirty-Six

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