Excerpt

Kris Bertin
from “Girl On the Fire Escape”

She did have a scar on her stomach, but it was going in the wrong direction. I kept looking at it, touching it. The tattoo between her breasts was huge, complex. Now that it was uncovered I could see that the flowers and flames were all coming from a phoenix below the huge eyeball. There was a banner with something in Latin. I asked her what it meant and she said Memento mori, which answered nothing.
            She gave me tea and asked me on another date. Frankie's Pub again, by the insane asylum.
            I asked if that’s where she came from but she didn't laugh. That's not funny, she answered.
            I changed the subject back to the vending machines and she said they were for her father. For Father’s Day. Even though it was March.
            Suddenly I didn't want a sexy back-and-forth. I just wanted to know who she was.
            I asked her why she was like this.
            She shook her head solemnly and put my hands on her teacup-sized breasts. She declared that she lost both breasts to cancer but had survived and now every day was a gift.
            I told her my name was Chris. I was twenty-two years old and I was from Charlottetown. I came here after dropping out of college because I was all fucked up.
            She said she didn’t actually lose her tits. But she did come back from the dead.



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