The Robbery

I’m not sorry. That’s what I’ll tell the overworked police officer when he shows me the evidence he has on me after this.

I’m not sorry. That’s what I’ll tell the judge when he tries to lock me away for the crime of wanting what’s rightfully mine.

No, I’m not sorry.

I’d like to say I was anxious for what was to come, but my nerves were steely, my hands stone steady inside my black leather gloves. Given the circumstances, you’d believe I was a hardened criminal without a trace of humanity in my body. Maybe the second part of that impression was accurate but I was not a criminal- unless, of course, you count the social rap sheet I sported. In my life I had the audacity of being born poor and healthily melanated. To add insult to injury, I had an extra X chromosome and a human oven between my legs. All injection worthy offenses.

I wasn’t the only one with a hefty record, though. I was part of a team who’d banded together specifically for this night. If one of us was going to commit the perfect crime, she’d need the perfect accomplices.

Red One, who sat in the passenger’s seat reapplying her foundation, was born with parents who were only visitors here. They nearly gave her the chair for that offense. Red Two, polishing her aluminum bat in the back seat, made friends with the wrong people. Johnny and Jack were always there to show her a good time but weren’t too kind to her when she’d resurfaced from her blackouts and found she’d lost her home. To her left was Rookie who liked to dabble in games where she could play with her own team. She hadn’t been caught yet, but soon enough the closet she lived in would get a little too small. She’d be sentenced to life for that one.

No, none of us was sorry.

Can you blame us for pulling up to the curb at 3am, waiting to act on the small window of opportunity? One that we groomed each other to seize? All that was left now was to play the waiting game.

Wait. Start the car and bring it to a low rumble. Low beams on. Wait. Turn on the radio.

That’s not for you…

Turn the dial

Isn’t that a little ambitious…

Turn the dial.

That’s unrealistic…

Turn the dial yet again

You’re not talented enough for that…

Every station plays the same song.

Cut the music.

We had a few stops to make tonight and this was the very last one. We’d run up on our self-doubt, invaded the home of our fears and dumped them in the trunk of our beat up self-esteem issues. We’d dump the car later. It was only extra baggage.

I heard her short breaths behind my neck. Rookie was nervous. This was her first time and like any first-timer, she brought her self doubt along without taking the slugger to his temple like I’d told her. Said she didn’t have the stomach.

Rookie mistake.

Wait. Spot check exit points. Polish aluminum bat. Reapply foundation. Wait.

See, the rookie’s self-doubt didn’t go quietly. From the trunk, it sent muffled whispers in loving insults disguised as “mother”, “lover”, and “friend”. Poor girl was shaking in the back seat, making a habit of wiping her upper lip and brow every few seconds. But she told me she was ready and I wanted to believe her. She’d have to get herself together soon. It was time.

The plan was simple:

Set timer to two minutes. Cut engine. Mask on.

We sauntered our way to the massive double doors. Bats in hand, we were unbothered by robust chains on the handles. If we wanted opportunity, or any resource for that matter, we’d have to fight for it and keep a slow swagger in our steps as we showed up to claim it. One swing for practice and another to break the windows. We were a force as our army blazed the lobby. The faces of our hostages all looked the same, frozen in an expression of collective disgust and offense. Good. Stay mad.

No security or weapon could take us out as we stormed across the marble floors towards the safe. The funny thing about having such a notorious social rap sheet is that it basically makes you bulletproof. We quickened our pace, sprinting full speed towards the steel safe.

Only 45 seconds left on the timer. No more waiting. Black bag in hand.

We filled up the black bag with all it could carry. Rookie finally found her stride, slinging a black bag over her shoulder. Brute force seemed to be the only option against us, but a bat to the face can slow just about anyone down.

30 seconds left.

Make a quick escape out the back door.

Flip the pages and run my hands along the binding. Freedom in a leather hardback.

Forget Me Not

Trust the process. It only works if you allow it to. Trust the process, and the pain you feel now will be a distant memory. Trust the process. Adam had to keep reminding himself that beyond the automated doors in front of him, there was a chance he’d get to be normal. He couldn’t help but fidget with the clear band around his wrist with his name in bright holographic letters. He’d given every dime to his name and waited his turn on the ever expanding wait list for this. Tomorrow, he would be Sgt Harfield and the memory he held so close would disappear.Trust the process, he thought.

The blinking LED screen warned him he had less than 5 minutes before his appointment. He’d only heard rumors about the process and very few people who experienced it ever spoke of it again. Adam wanted to worry about the repercussions of his his mind kept picking at the same scar he’d gone into poverty trying to heal.

“Mr. Harfield?” he looked up at the attendant, a bit disgruntled.

“Ma’am,” he said

“I will see you now.”

He took a deep breath and rose to his feet. The bouncing  red ringlets springing up and down the attendant’s back kept his senses occupied as the two passed a  narrow passageway. At the end of the hall was a small room spilling over its brim in white lights. The space was only occupied by an all white recliner chair and a small table with a glass of cobalt blue liquid.

The nausea rolled through his stomach as Adam recognized the glass. Those brave enough to speak of the procedure always mentioned the blue glass that changed everything for them.

“Please have a seat,” the attendant said, forcing Adam to pry his stare away from the crisp glass. He sank into the frigid board of a chair he was given and awaited instructions. After a few moments of scribbling notes in her clipboard, the attendant spoke.

“My name is Penelope. I am version 9.2 of the NXJ android model and I am here to transition you through the process as efficiently as possible.” Adam blinked rapidly. He’d heard stories from his great grandfather about these beings and all of his great war stories defeating them, but he’d never come across one in his life.

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“The process,” she continued, “ lasts approximately 45 seconds and is 9 times safer than automobile travel, 11 times safer than most dental procedures and almost as safe as conventional oven use.” The droid paused, smiling at him with a blank expression in her eyes as if waiting for something.

Adam let out a sharp breath behind his half smile.

“That’s very funny ma’am,” he managed.

I guess they added a humor feature to make her seem more human- IT more human, he corrected, internally hating himself for the slip.

Penelope  reached over to his wrist and took his vitals.

“Are you certain you would like to continue?” He’d heard the questions before. At each stage of the procedure you had the option to change your mind. Adam clenched his jaw and responded, “ Yes, Ma’am”

“Vitals are within the normal anxiety level for specimen.” Penelope stuck two small patches to his temples. “We will proceed to phase one on the procedure. Please consume the liquid,” she gestured to the glass. Adam hesitated but took the icy drink in his hands. It tasted like nothing going down his throat and he felt no different afterwards.

“The following procedure,” the droid continued, “ will delete all emotional attachment to the selected memory. As previously discussed, 3 emotionally charged memories will also be extracted from the specimen to reach optimal psychological, emotional, and neurological equilibrium.”

“Yes Ma’am. I’ve given this a lot of thought and I think I know which ones I am willing to trade.”

The fine white skin of her forehead wrinkled.

“Confusion detected. The memories extracted are not the choice of the specimen, rather a choice of the algorithm. The algorithm programmed will select the memories to be extracted as it’s design is flawless, its coding unmatched by any technology in the field. After this point, all decisions will be made final and the procedure will begin. Do you wish to continue?”

Adam went stiff in his chair, his heart began to race deep beneath his ribs. Without any permission of his consciousness, his eyes gravitated to the glass on his left.. The beads of sweat across his brow rolled in cool strokes down his temples. His limbs went limp with the weight a a freight train. A flood of images overwhelmed him. Every Christmas and New Years in his memory raced past his very eyes. He thought of his very first time going hunting with his father and how excited he was to finally be old enough to tag along. He could see every trip to the valleys his family took every year. The meeting of his wife…. The green blouse she wore on their first date at the ice rink wrapped itself over her milky skin. Her wine red curls lost themselves in the silk fabric…. The birth of his daughter…. Every gap-toothed giggle… every swear word uttered behind the pout of her pink mouth.. Every breath…. Every counted breath….

“Stress levels above normal,” Penelope said, somewhere distant from Adam. “Do you wish to proceed?”

Adam had made his choice.

For All the Fat Girls

This one’s for the fat girls…
For the girls, like me, who have had people poke their nose on our plates. This is for all the girls who’ve had people judge our lives like we put out an ad on craigslist for a second opinion. This one’s for the girls who would rather chew glass than go shopping because of how hard to find something that actually fits. I’m talking about the 38 DD and bigger, size 16 and sexy club. I’m calling out to all my “smile politely and endure unsolicited dietary advice from a stranger” fat girls. That’s right! It’s a roll call for all the stretch marks and cellulite fat girls. The not so tiny tummy and thunder thigh fat girls.
This is for all the ones who, like me, have heard all the criticism before- in both whispers behind our backs and  in front of people we know. I’m speaking up for all the “try to take a joke as your grandma critiques your weight at Christmas dinner” fat girls and the “get asked condescending questions when you eat” fat girls.
Because, you see, I’m no average fat girl. This fat girl has an answer for all of those pressing questions.
Question:“Isn’t that a lot of food to be eating?”

Answer: Isn’t that a lot of your business you should be minding?

Question: I’m worried you’ll catch diabetes

Answer: You should be worried about catching these hands

Question:“How does sex even work with you?”

Answer: Ask your man if you need a road map.

See I’m different breed of fat girl. I’m the “put you in our place” type of fat girl. I’m a “take no shit” kind of fat girl. Just ask the poor turd who tried to Snapchat me eating while he and his girlfriend laughed at me. Poor thing didn’t have a drop of color in his face or a pea shaped ball in his sack when I got in his face. That’s right, I’m standing up for ALL the fat girls. The “put a pillow on my lap when I sit down” fat girls, the “I love this game but won’t play” fat girls, the “take a selfie from the neck up” fat girls, the “you’re cute for a big girl” fat girls and especially the invisible “who’s your friend?” fat girls. I have been all of these fat girls at one point in my life. I was even the “don’t eat in public” fat girl once.
This one’s for my fat girls who know what it’s like to be insulted with “tough love”. With the rising epidemic or heart disease and diabetes, you can’t blame people for wanting to help. But let me tell you why the “tough love “ act does more harm than good. Loving your body is a journey. For all my depressed fat girls and my genetically predisposed fat girls you know what I mean. Don’t you think we’ve tried the low carb diet? The Zone diet? The south beach diet? The “it’s all about self control” diet? The not eating after 7 diet? The only eating fruit diet? The eating absolutely nothing diet? The eating everything in sight then throwing it all up diet? Believe me, we’ve tried. The one underlying factor in each of these is self-loathing and trust me, we don’t need anyone’s help to get more of that. This one’s for my insecure fat girls, who have been yo-yo dieting since the age of twelve. I’m the type of fat girl that will eat my Lorenzo’s extra cheese slice with a classy finger in the air for anyone with even a breath to say about it. This is a call to action! II want every fat girl to be:
The “turn heads when I walk” fat girl
The “I’m not pretty for a big girl, I’m pretty period!” fat girl
The “vivacious and lively” fat girl
The happy fat girl
The unapologetic fat girl.
Love yourself enough to be happy. Love yourself enough to be healthy. Most importantly, love yourself no matter what anyone says. I’ve learned this in a very hard way. It’s why I will forever be proud to be a fat girl. A curvy, thick, slick- mouthed fat girl.

Anybody wanna buy a heart?

She passed the fragrant smells of cheap perfumes and diamond dreams. The thrifters and salesmen of the market buzzed past her in negotiations as she neared the dingy wooden table in the corner of the booth. She padded the footsteps that wheezed out of her scuffed shoes, black bag in hand filled to the brim with hope that this would be the week she would sell her most valued possession. The usual pleasantries were exchanged between her and her neighboring stands. The conversation kept closely to the topic of weather and avoided the obvious darkening rims under the two chestnut traitors spilling over her fears down her face. She is patient. She has no more fear of the hours soon to stretch past her. Her frail hands reach into her black bag with barely enough strength to lift the glass jar out of it. She’s given up trying to display her possessions as her fingers, with nails chewed to the bed, had no strength to wrap around the lid. Her stone body sat still, head hanging low as she was unwilling to watch the hands one after another pass her by.

Closed fists with knuckles white from their turn in the jar, squeezing, bruising, crushing, bleeding her dry.

The few hands that took pity and pried her open only left but few cents behind for all her troubles. At first the hands were generous, leaving one or two gold coins. Eventually, the bruises blackened her only good to offer and copper coins rang against the wooden table much more often.

Who would want something so bruised? Who would want her damage?

She snatched her heart in a jar off the wooden table, clutching it close to her chest. This was hers. Bruised and beaten as it was, her heart would no longer be subject to the buyers negotiations. If nobody wanted to buy a heart, it would no longer be for sale.

She couldn’t take anymore and was near her emotional end when he walked up to her table.  He tilted his head for a moment, eyes locked on her face. Reaching deep in his pockets, the stranger left all the gold he had. His eyes flooded with hope, but her fingers clutched her jar close. She stared back with her chin pointed forward and her arms clutching the jar. Her eyes were steely, her mouth set in a hard line. He frantically checked every pocket and crevice, his eyes mouth twisted downward, and cheeks flushed. A pocketful of lint, two more coins and a rubber band later, he’d met his wits end with a sigh. Shoulders slumped, he reached into his black bag to pull out a jar with a heart inside the size of a dying rose petal. Blackened, and in shards, the barely beating heart was bloodless with promises bought but never received.  He left the jar on the table and began to walk away.

She stood, hesitant at first but presented him with her jar.

“Wanna buy a heart?”

Perfume Sale!

My pessimism should be extracted, collected and bottled up to be sold to the masses. Honestly, the amount of disdain I had for all of the foolery I put up with in life could have launched an entire fragrance line. It would be sold in major department stores nationwide and the blond lady in an all black power suit would be ecstatic to sell it (just like the employee handbook says). Her plastered smile could nearly shatter her face as she works to earn her commission and entice you to buy.

“Oooo, good choice,” she’ll compliment as you waver your eyes towards a hot pink bottle on the lower shelf. “That one’s a little strong. It’s called ‘Who the hell asked you?’ This one is more appropriate for formal occasions like when someone says what you should do with your body, or when someone is compelled to tell you how to live your life.” She’ll laugh delightedly as she hands you the bottle for a test spray. Then she’ll lead you to the most expensive bottle that has been marked 40% off! She claims it to be her favorite of all!

“You’ll love this fragrance!” she’ll say. “ It’s called “Kiss my Ass”. This is the signature fragrance, made for all occasions.Suitable events include, but are not limited to: When customers at your job treat you like you’re not a person, when you’re bullied because of your looks, being told you’re not good enough, general doubt from your support system, and many more!”

Well Sharon, I think I’ll buy all of the bottles you’ve got. I’ll be very subtle, as I know that a lot of people are off put and often intimidated by such strong fragrances. I’ll start with a base coat of “I love me” and douse myself in a bottle of “Fuck it” just to piss them all off.

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