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Trafficked. (Short Story).

July 9, 2019

cropped-12301412301.jpgMears Park wasn’t very crowded and Mark was grateful for that as he took notice of a young couple heading somewhere through the park; the guy next to him was staring at the young girl with a look. Mark knew that look and it was proving something he was kind of hoping wasn’t true but it was becoming apparent it was. He told Brianna he believed her story about the guy but he was still hoping it wasn’t completely true. But apparently it was with that look the guy was giving the girl in the cut-off jeans and tank top.

Trevor was still talking, “…The writing assignment is to write about what cartoon character would you like to seduce and write a story about it.”

He wasn’t sure he heard right, “A cartoon character?” But he sure Trevor was serious even with that pleased look in his face.

“Yes.”

“A cartoon character was the theme of the story topic in this class?” Adding with a look of disgust, “Sex with a cartoon character?”

Trevor leaned back a bit as he sat on the bench at Mears Park, he sipped his coffee with a pleased smile, “What’s wrong with the topic? Sounds quite interesting. It is a creative writing class after all, Mark.”

Mark repeated himself only because it gave him a chance to digest what Trevor just told him, “It’s a creative writing class? At Century College?” He was sounding stupid but the subject was just too weird; weird being a mild way of putting it. Sex with a cartoon character? That was some of the questions Trevor had been asked to write about and had just asked Mark.”It’s a creative writing class, Trevor. An actual teacher assigned this as homework?”

Trevor Lindgren laughed at Mark’s expression, “Yes. it’s a creative writing class. I said that before….”

“It just sounds weird, Trevor.”

Still in a good mood, “It’s very simple, Mark, if you could seduce a cartoon character who would it be was the assignment and we had to write a short story on the subject…”

Mark bit into his philly steak sandwich, thought of a response as he noted the man was watching others in the small St. Paul park but he was still talking on the subject.

“….I’m taking this class to see if I can make a living writing. I need a job change….”

“Don’t like what you’re doing now?” Mark had long ago forgotten what the man actually did for a living as he rarely ever talked about it; Mark thought he worked in one of the small stores along the walk-ways across the city?

He looked at Mark with a impersonal look, “I work at the damn bank sitting at a desk dealing with other people’s crap. It’s boring. Pointless and boring….”

Mark said nothing but he nodded in agreement.

Still talking but watching the few people walking through the small park, “I’m forty-nine years old next October, time to do something else, Mark. Time to do something more interesting with my dull life than playing banker.” He took a longer notice of an attractive young woman walking by the small stage, smiling he continued, “She walks by about this time everyday. I have her image practically memorized. Every detail.” He studied the girl with his thoughts not too hidden, “She would be useful in a story idea. Look at her.”

Mark looked of course, “Yes, quite pretty.” He was simply being nice in his comment of the probably little over thirty-something blonde in the Beatles beat up old t-shirt and blue jeans, “Well, she might make an interesting character but not one in your teacher’s assignment?”

“Why not?”

“She’s not a cartoon character, Trevor.”

“I can make her into one.”

“Sounds very perverse to me.” He watched the look in the man’s eyes as he watched the girl turn the corner and out of their sight. Did vampires look at their victims with the same look? Except the fellow sitting next to him on the bench looked more like a young Charles Laughton than Christopher Lee in the full prime of being Dracula. The look of the man as he watched the pretty blonde vanish with a slight smile that was obvious in it’s meaning. He had seen the look in others who simply saw girls as a piece of human flesh to enjoy. That was one phrase he had actually heard from a guy he had interviewed, a piece of human flesh to be enjoyed and at times abused. “Sounds perverse, Trevor…”

He was still in a good mood behind the short trimmed light red beard, “Oh, you puritan’s and your morbid fear of sex and sexuality. Sex and sexuality is a normal human function.” Adding with a look of pleasure at something, “I enjoy sexual things. I like the assignment in my creative writing class. It seems an interesting subject…” Annoyance came and went away slowly, “I need it to relieve the boredom of working for a bank, Mark. A man needs something to release the tension of his tedious life….” Looking a bit around the small park, noting a few people walking by the stage, “Sex is normal, Mark. And yes it’s even fun to write about having sex with a cartoon character as a writing assignment into creativity….” He was amused by some inner thought, “Japanese animation would understand…”

He knew what he was talking about. Mark Interrupted with a raised hand, “Yes, sex is quite normal and healthy, but not with a cartoon character. It just sounds weird, Trevor. Just sounds little too, well, lack of a better word right now, too kinky if that is even the right word….It just sounds too weird of a writing assignment even for a creative writing class, Trevor.”

Laughing at him, “But you really can’t explain why can you?”

“It’s weird, Trevor.” Looking at the man trying to understand the man’s thinking, “I know it’s a creative writing class, but still, the assignment was to write a story about having a physical relationship with a cartoon character. Didn’t anyone else in the class object or at least have questions on the assignment?” He didn’t wait for an answer, “I find it hard to believe that the entire class simply had no trouble with the teacher’s choice of writing subject….” Brianna said she had.

Trevor smiled, “Well, there was one students who didn’t like the assignment and spoke up in class…”

“Why?”

“Oh, religious objections. She didn’t like the assignment because she said it was no better than pornography…”

“Really?” Mark took notice of the older man walking his dog; the mini-schnauzer with a big dogs personality was apparent. “What exactly did she say?”

The pleased look vanished, “I don’t remember, I stopped listening the moment she started talking religion. Something about it being dehumanizing. That’s all I really remember….” Adding with that look, “Pretty girl though, shame it’s being wasted on religion. She should be doing something else besides sounding so close-minded. Great body like hers and she’s wasting it on religion. Waste of a life….”

“You don’t remember much about what she said?”

The face didn’t want to talk about it, “Look, Mark, she was one of those religious types who thinks morality is some sacred God-given virtue and shouldn’t be touched by people who don’t think like she does.”

“Okay.”

“She kept going on and on and on about how her God created man and woman and created them to create other humans by sex…” He looked at his watch, made a disgusted face, “She was one of those religious types that really does believe that their religious book is the only religious book of truth…”

Mark noted the guy seemed to be talking more to himself now than to Mark.

“….The teacher did finally say something of course.”

“What?”

Again the displeased features continued, “That she didn’t have to do the assignment but it would be she would get a failed grade for the assignment. It was as simple as that. Either do the writing assignment or fail the assignment.” He watched across the straight as some teens laughing and chatting went by; he stared too long for Mark’s comfort at the young teen girls, “I don’t get some people. Just do the assignment. What’s the damn problem. In class we were simply discussing the differences between what makes erotic fiction and what makes it pornographic? I certainly didn’t see the problem with what the teacher was telling us to write about.” He looked again about the small park, noticed no one worth his efforts to watch was apparent, he started talking again but with a bored tone, “I’m not a prude, Mark. I like sex and I like porn. It’s normal to like porn…” Trevor looked hard at Mark as if he wanted his statement to be challenged, “Porn has been around for thousands of years. Look at some of the paintings on the walls in the ruins of Pompeii. Sexual in nature indeed. Sex is normal and healthy and I have no problem writing about it or writing about the assignment from the teacher….” He seemed lost in thought as the metro bus went by, “Look, Mark, I am an adult for a long time now, I’m allowed to enjoy porn if I want to. And I see nothing wrong with the teacher’s choice of subject…”

“All this because you’re bored with your job?”

“I’ve always wanted to start writing, somehow make a living at it if I could.”

Another bus went by.

“And you think you could or can?”

He frowned at something, looked at his hands briefly before looking at Mark, “I’m stuck in a job I don’t like anymore….” As a thought came to him, “Doesn’t it say to write about what you know and love.”

“And porn is it?” Mark replied really wishing to get off the subject but it was partly why he was there, “Trevor, I work with kids and believe me some of them have been sexually abused. It’s heart breaking to listen to their stories…”

Abruptly, “I’m not looking at child porn, Mark. There is nothing wrong with what I like…”

“I have one teen girl, she was trafficked, Trevor, for from age ten to about seventeen…”

The features didn’t change much, “When did this conversation turned into something so serious? Look, Mark, I’m sorry for those kids and I’m sorry that the kid was trafficked, but I am doing nothing wrong…” Angry for a second or so, “Look, it’s just a class assignment and nothing more.”

“That student who stood up in class to protest, what happened to her?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, you said she was against the assignment, what did the teacher do?”

“Told her to either do the assignment or fluke the assignment. Nothing happened to her, Mark. She’s fine. She’ll survive…”

“Doesn’t it bother you at all, Trevor, what pornography does to those girls? It’s dehumanizing. You need to talk to some of those girls after it’s over and ask them if it’s just something they can survive and get over. Some can’t just get over it…”

Trevor glared back, “Look, I don’t force my personal life on anyone.”

“Trevor, I deal with kids who have gone through hell from the pornography industry and being trafficked….”

“Sounds like a depressing job, Mark.” Taking notice of another girl walking across the street, “See that girl, pretty isn’t she and yet I would not force myself on her….”

“You’d watch it though, Trevor.” He said because it was obvious that Trevor would have.

Annoyed, “You go to church don’t you? You’re one of those religious nuts who thinks that any portion of a woman’s body seen it’s pornography. I never thought you a religious person, Mark, and you certainly sound like one….” He was still watching the girl walking down the sidewalk, “That girl in the class was just as bad as you in that everything is sinful if sex is involved.” Looking at the man finally, “I like the subject the teacher has given us, I hate my job, and if I can make a living writing about sex and whatever else I want to write about I will…” Pointing to himself to make a point, “I am quite capable of living a normal life and watch porn. I’m not hurting anyone…”

Mark had been thinking as the guy had been talking, holding up a hand, “I actually don’t go to church because I am religious, Trevor, but my daughter does go.” He wished the guy would have some kind of change of expression other than indifference. The truth was it was a requirement of Mia’s that if she was to move back into the house with him he was going to go to her church; it was a small price to pay for what he had put her through lately.

“What, the wife doesn’t go?” The comment was snarky of course, “What? You don’t go but the family does?”

Softly, “Trevor, I lost my wife five years ago to cancer, it’s just me and the kid.”

“Oh, sorry, must be tough raising a kid alone.”

He would have liked to believe that the guy cared, “Me and the kid are doing fine. We’ve had our rough moments but we are doing fine.” He was uncomfortable using Mia’s name at all. “My wife died when the kid was about to turn thirteen. It was hard on her, very hard.” He knew the guy didn’t want to talk about the other subject, but Mark was going to get back to the subject. “The kid just graduated high school, probably go to Century College for a bit….” Adding, “She wants to get into writing as well. Her mom would have been proud of her. I’m proud of her.”

“Creative writing?” Trevor asked with a look of someone with too much of something else on his mind, “She should take the class I am taking on the subject. She’s a good teacher…”

“Who’s the teacher?”

“Mrs. Thatcher, looks about in her forties but still attractive.”

“Is she a good teacher?”

He laughed, “Not really. But the subject’s she wants us to write about are very interesting…”

“She thought a good creative writing subject was what cartoon character you would have a sexual relationship with? Are you serious?”

“She doesn’t have a problem like that student has with the subject. Her view is that a writer should write about things that bother them as much as it interests them. Creativity is her main goal in what she wants us to achieve. She simply wants us to learn and explore all avenues of the creative process. It’s not her fault that some students are so offended they had issues with a creative writing assignment.”

“What happened to that student?” He knew he had asked already, “Is she still in the class?”

He shrugged his shoulders as if that said enough, “I don’t know, I know she wasn’t in class last time it met. Not my problem, Mark, if she’s too offended to do a simple writing projects that upset her precious religious beliefs. So don’t do the assignment, not my problem if you think it’s dehumanizing on some level…”

“Maybe she has a personal reason why it bothers her?” He was sure the guy didn’t care, “Whether it’s because of religious belief or not, she felt it was offensive for some reason.”

“It’s not offensive, it’s just another form of creativity, Mark. Nothing wrong with enjoying such things…”

“Not for some people, Trevor, apparently.”

“Their in the wrong class then. It’s a creative writing class, that’s the assignment for this month. Write a short story on what it would be like to have a relationship with a cartoon character…”

“So, it doesn’t have to be really sexual?”

“Mark, of course it does. What does having a relationship about but sex. It’s always about sex. The porn industry isn’t about relationship goals, Mark. It’s about tits and ass and everything else that involves the act of sex…”

“I think you just like the idea of sex and wouldn’t matter what the assignment is about.”

The features changed somewhat but it was agreeing with his statement, “Hey, most things are about sex when it comes to any relationship. She was very clear to everyone what the assignment is to be about, Mark, very clear…”

“And that was?” He also wanted to ask more about the teacher but he wasn’t sure anymore that Trevor was actually telling him the truth of his class he was taking. Holding up a hand, “Let me finish, Trevor, I work with kids, I’ve worked with some very troubled kids because they were either abused on some level or other. Mostly sexual abuse. I’ve heard their horror stories….”

“What does this have to do with anything? I’m not writing child abuse stories or watching child porn, Mark…”

“No, probably not, but so far you’ve shown no sense that there is anything wrong with the idea. Not one hint that it might be a little unpleasant to even write it as a writing assignment.”

He stared at the man in disbelief of what he was being accused of, “Look, Mark, I’m just taking a creative writing class, I am simply trying to get out of a dead end and dull bank job and maybe write a book. I hate my job, and if this damn assignment gets me out of that damn job I will write whatever it takes to escape a dull life…” Adding with a angry tone, “Nothing wrong with porn anyway…”

“Whatever it takes?” He looked at the man with some understanding and a faint sense of anger, “That’s the point I’m badly making I guess. Because you see that young girl was used and abused by her father because he convinced himself that he had to do something, anything, to get out of debt. He borrowed money from the wrong people because of gambling. He ran into the wrong people while in that frame of mind and the next minute that little girl knew she was being held down and raped for a thousand dollars. And it didn’t stop until she finally ran away…”

“Doesn’t apply to me, Mark. I’m not abusing anyone…”

“I met her father once, I asked him why he did it and his answer was what you just said, he did what he thought it would take to get out of debt. He trafficked his own kid, he never got out of debt and ended up finally being arrested. So you see it does matter…”

“Not the same thing!”

“The rationalizing is. As far as I can tell it’s rationalizing. Her father still doesn’t think he was wrong in what he did. It was all about him as I interviewed him from prison. He kept repeating that he did what he had to do to get out of debt. I kept asking him about how he could have done that to his own ten year old daughter; she was ten, Trevor, not an adult…”

Trevor said nothing but it was very evident he didn’t like the conversation.

“He kept repeating that he did what he had to do.” He forced down the anger he felt then as well, “He sat there behind the glass window and kept repeating that as if it justified his rationalization about what he put his own daughter through. He felt no remorse, Trevor. He dehumanized her to save his life from people threatening to kill him if he didn’t pay them back…”

“What does any of this have to do with my creative writing class?”

Standing up, “That, Trevor, should be obvious.” He studied the man, “That girl in your class is the same girl, Trevor. She knows what she is talking about and what such things reduce people to and what happens to the victims…and she has a very good memory for faces…”

Anger was there, ignoring the comment, “Isn’t it unethical for you to tell me a patients history?”

“Wouldn’t be the first time when something like this has come up, Trevor. I have a bad habit of letting the horror of the victim override good old ethical common sense. And in your case I am not sure I am far off in saying that you have more than a creative writing interest in the subject.”

Standing up, anger was evident, “I have done nothing to anyone, Mark.” He wanted to walk away was very obvious, “You’re not the cops anyway…”

“Trevor, rape of a minor is still a crime.” He had noticed the young girl a while back; she sat near the stage with a look that said much but she sat bravely he thought.

“And I certainly don’t know this other girl you’re talking about…”

“Funny, Trevor, I never said you did.”

He shoved his hands into his pockets with clenched fists, “This is stupid, what does this have to do with a creative writing class?”

“She recognized you.” He had taken notice of her slightly nodding painfully in his direction, “She wasn’t sure at first as it was such a shock to her, but she recognized you.” He could see the man thinking, “I did ask the obvious question, was she sure?”

The look said as much as the cold tone, “She’s wrong.”

“I questioned her a bit, I could see she was getting emotional on the subject, but she described you pretty well even if it was some years ago, but she doesn’t forget very easily such nightmares as being molested as her father watched…”

“None of this applies to me in any way, Mark.”

Mark studied the man just as coldly as the man spoke, “I’ve been around abusive fathers and men who got off molested young girls….”

Angry, “You sound like you get off on the subject, Mark. And you sit there judging me on my personal life. You’re being such a hypocrite, Mark. How much porn do you look at? I’m at least up front and honest about my likes and dislikes. What about you?”

Mark of course knew rationalizing was coming as they all pretty much had one, “You sound just like them and their defense of their behavior. They all for the most part rationalize it as their personal lives are none of anyone’s business or it’s the child’s fault. Mostly the second one, the child flirted with them and asked for it. I’ve heard many of them and most of them had convinced themselves they were not in the wrong…” He could see the man was thinking of his own rationalizing excuse that he hoped would sound good, “I’ve heard them all, Trevor, I’ve heard some that only made sense to the predator and those involved in trafficking girls…”

“This girl or you can’t prove any of it, you are aware of that. You’re taking the word of a troubled girl who was probably abused by her father and is just blaming every guy she doesn’t like the look of…” The smirk was there, “If she is the same girl from the class, she’s been a issue ever since she entered the class with the teacher, Mark. Doesn’t like any of the assignments because her damn religion says it’s wrong…”

“Actually, she has only been recently been going to church with my daughter…” He could tell the guy didn’t care. They had met in his office as Brianna waited for her appointment; Mia was the kind of kid that made friends easy and she made one in about ten minutes.

Interrupting, “What got into you to even think of doing this kind of work? I mean seriously, who goes into this kind of head shrinking and to deal with such terrible tragedies in kids lives? What, guilt of some kind?”

Mark understood the fellow very well, “I actually was with my daughter in a used bookstore and I found this book called “God In A Brothel: An Undercover Journey Into Sex Trafficking and Rescue” by. Daniel Walker. The title caught my attention as I do deal with kids who have been through such things…”

“So, it was guilt of some kind I take it then. What’s your dark little secrets, Mark?” The smirked laughed, he studied the man with a cold eye as if he knew something, “What black and ugly sins have you got buried in your life…”

Mark simply replied, “I have a drinking problem, Trevor, that’s my demon to deal with.” He could the guy wanted to say so much more, “After my wife died it got a little worse…it was a rough few years for me and the kid…” He refused to say Mia’s name with this guy; the kid was good enough. “It wasn’t easy for the kid, I took a lot of anger out on her…”

“Hit her at all?” It was of course spoken with complete belief that he was going to be right, “You’re accusing me of raping a child, so did you hit your kid?”

Mark knew of course what the guy was doing, but he wasn’t going to lie either, “Yes, I did. I broke her arm by slamming her into a wall…”

“And you think I’m a bad guy.” He smirked again as if he made a point, “I may like pornography, I at least don’t go around hitting a kid because I had too much to drink, Mark.” Almost amused, “Broke her arm, huh, must have been one hell of a punch…”

He knew what the guy was trying to do; Brianna had moved from the stage and was standing looking down from the little bridge into the water; what was she thinking in those large blue eyes that only saw her life as a abused little girl. He was beginning to regret letting her come and observed but she wanted to. Why he gave in he had no idea.  “It wasn’t a punch, I shoved her very hard into a wall in my study….I remember all too well, Trevor…”

“I bet so does your kid.”

“She does sometimes when we are having a bad day in our relationship, but we are trying to have one.

“What happened after you hit your kid, Mark?”

He decided to play along a bit, he ignored the comment, he had his reasons, “She moved in with her grandmother for a while. It’s when she also started attending church with her Grandmother Rose. The kid of course made friends rather quickly as she always did…” It was of course more complicated than that but when was life not complicated by human nature. What did Grandmother Rose call it, human nature is very corrupt? Sounded about right Mark had to admit and he did.

“Ah, so she became religious to deal with your own abused…”

He forced a calm smile, “I never abused my kid, I drank too much, I’m dealing with that, but I only lost control one time with the kid, only once…” And that was all it took and then Mia moved out and into her grandmothers house for a few months. It took a while but he finally had to admit he had a real problem and that was he was becoming a real dangerous alcoholic who had broken his own kids arm! It was lucky he supposed that Mia’s grandmother was visiting that day and was able to take the crying girl to the hospital; the look she gave her father should have killed him as they wrapped her broken arm in the bright blue cast; she refused pink and refused to talk to him for a long time. He remembered watching her walk away with his grandmother with the bright blue cast on her left arm; she told her grandmother the color would match her soccer team colors.

“So, what did her grandmother think of you?” He was enjoying himself, “And you think I’m the criminal….”

“That I needed help.”

“Sounds like it. At least what I like doesn’t involve hurting anyone, Mark.” He was still standing but his body language was that he wanted to walk away, “At least what I like simply involves the internet where no one really gets hurt…”

“You actually believe that?” Mark knew where Brianna had walked to and sat down; she looked unhappy. She didn’t have to come but she felt it was needed to come and simply at least face her fears of something she could never explain very well. Maybe never explain very well such a terrible feeling of being violated and not believed Mark figured. He also knew that Mia had pushed her in this direction to face her demons. Mia meant well but Mark wasn’t sure it was a good idea but Brianna insisted. He had been outnumbered as the two of them stood in his home office office making it clear that Brianna was going to go with him. It made no sense and he wasn’t sure it was a good idea but Brianna could also be stubborn. So, he told her when and where he usually meet up with Trevor for lunch; Mia had to work but wished she had been able to be there for Brianna.

Trevor was growing impatient, “Look, Mark, go and be religious with your kid and leave my personal life alone. You sound as if you have your own problems to deal with…”

“Well, she does pray for me, so I have that going for me.”

“You’re an abusive father and you think I should feel guilty about a little pornography?” It was evident he wanted to added something else and Mark had a feeling what it would have been.

Standing up slowly, feeling very tired, “No, Trevor, I actually feel bad about what I have done to my own kid, we still have a long way to go but we are getting there…”

“And if you don’t, you going to hit her again?”

“We’ll get there.” He studied the man with a calm look he didn’t really feel, “I’m just telling you that one of your victims is sitting in that classroom and she knows who you are.”

Trevor’s expression changed to a smirk, “Stupid bitch….” He walked away.

Mark felt Brianna walk up behind him.

Brianna spoke up, “He looks so pathetic, Dr. Robinson…”

He looked at the girl who had been holding in her emotions of what she really felt like saying. He wasn’t sure what she was thinking behind those sad eyes but he could guess.

She was still talking, “I thought I would feel far worse than I am actually feeling, Dr. Robinson, I feel lousy of course, haven’t stopped feeling lousy, but I watched him and all I could see was a pathetic monster…A disgusting pathetic monster” She looked at him with her tearing up eyes, “I guess I have a far way to go before I can feel anything good…”

He had to ask, “What about your class?”

The girl simply smiled sadly, wiped her eyes, wished Mia was with her, and spoke up slowly, “I’m going back to class, I have got to stop running at some point, Dr. Robinson, can’t run forever….” Her expression remained unhappy, “I’d like to, but I can’t.”

“No, Brianna, we can’t run from our demons forever.”

“But I wish I could. I really wish I could just keep running and never stop…”

“Wouldn’t solve anything and we can’t really escape our demons, Brianna…” He didn’t like sounding like he was lecturing the young girl, “Sorry, don’t mean to lecture…”

Brianna tried to smile, “It’s okay, it’s the truth…Mia keeps pushing Jesus on me of course….” Shoving her hands into her pockets, feeling she didn’t want to talk about it anymore or at least with Dr. Robinson; maybe with Mia. She loved Mia; Mia understood her. She spoke up, “I’m hungry, do we have time for lunch?”

He knew her thoughts on Mia, “We have time.” It wasn’t exactly true but the office would survive a bit longer without him.

Brianna was still talking despite the obvious that she didn’t want to be talking so much, “I know she means well, and I don’t mind going to church with her but still, I don’t see a need for Jesus…”

They stopped at a crosswalk. He wondered where she was going because he was simply following her as she was walking with a purpose once the crosswalk light changed.

Still talking, “…She likes church, everyone likes her.”

“She makes friends easily, Brianna, always has.”

She smiled a bit, “No one dislikes Mia, Dr. Brentson.” She stopped abruptly, “Where the hell are we going anyway?”

“I was following you, Brianna.”

Looking at him funny, “Maybe that’s my problem, I don’t know where I am going…”

“You’ll figure it out.”

Sadly, “I wonder about.” Softly, “Is it okay if I just walk alone a bit, I’ll meet up with you at the office.”

He agreed and watched the girl walk alone toward a destination she only knew. She looked defeated despite her bravado at returning to her class and he continued to worry about her. She had become one of his patients he had grown fond of and the fact she was a friend of Mia’s made it more difficult; he felt responsible for her far more than he should? It certainly felt that way. Why did he care more about this one girl than any other of his patience? She needed lots of attention and patience but she was a good kid somewhere buried in all the pain and dehumanizing crap she had gone through. He watched her turn a corner toward the library and felt a strange feeling that she had decided on something as she was talking to herself was obvious. He headed back to the office.

Brianna stared down from the Roberts Street Bridge at the Mississippi river below; she stood there a bit watching the water go by and wondered how deep it was or cold? Would the fall kill her or the fact she couldn’t swim anyway kill her? Girls being used as sex toys don’t require swimming lessons she told herself. They only require complete obedience to their masters and do as their told. Her cell phone went off; looking at the caller ID and wiping her face as she shoved the phone back into her pocket and watched the river go by. The fall would probably kill her she thought as the phone went off again; she didn’t bother looking at it. If the fall didn’t kill her the fact she couldn’t swim certainly would. What did drowning feel like she asked. Drowning sounds a little more peaceful and less painful than falling off a bridge and slamming into a wall of water below. Either way, Brianna, you’d be dead. How bad can it be to drown? You get swallowed up by the water and your lungs fill up with water and you drown. Is it painful to drown? She watched a small boat go against the current heading somewhere important. Where would her body end up if she did drown? How long would it take to drown and die? She stared straight down at the murky and dirty looking water. Maybe it would be better to slam into the river’s surface and be killed by the impact than sink and drown in that murky water below. Either way, Brianna, you’d be dead at some point. One is just faster than the other method of execution of a useless life except to abuse and treat like a punching bag and fuck the hell out of. She looked at her left wrist and the scar that was deeply cut into her skin. Well, that didn’t work. Her phone went off again.

“Leave me alone, Mia.” Choking back a sob, “Why can’t you hate me like I hate myself…” The phone went off again, “Leave! Me! Alone!” The phone kept going off. “Leave me alone, Mia! Go away!” The sobbing really began as the phone kept ringing, finally she took the phone out and looked at the caller ID, “Leave me alone, Mia, leave me alone and let me do this. I can’t do this if you keep calling me!…drowning is easy, Mia….you just breath in the cold muddy water and it fills up your lungs and you drown and it kills you…what’s so hard to understand….”

The picture of the two of them kept showing up with each call; it was of them at Como Zoo on a good day. Both smiling, laughing, having a good day for once.

“Why wont you leave me alone!” She studied the picture of a few months ago at Como Zoo. “That was a good day, Mia…We had so much fun….”

The ringer went off again; the picture showed up again; she wished Mia would go away again. She answered the phone; she started crying as Mia listened as she always did.

Mia listened and felt the knot in her stomach grow worse that at some point Brianna would not be answering the phone and Mia would know why.

 

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