Charlotte Hamrick ~ Tell Me Why It Was Bad to Execute Myself

I spent my late teens dust­ing antacid bot­tles and con­dom box­es (quick­ly, before the boss could crack a dirty joke) in a strip mall drug­store. I filled out hun­dreds of Medicaid reim­burse­ment forms by hand, space by space.

I watched my mid­dle-aged cowork­er gaze ador­ing­ly at her hus­band of 20 years every day when he swag­gered into the store. When she found out he was screw­ing her best friend, she blamed the best friend and her smil­ing pussy.

Friday after­noons, two wiz­ened men came in and bought all the rub­bing alco­hol off the shelves. We lived in a dry coun­ty, far from any­where that sold refined alco­hol that took longer to rot your gut.

I swiped No-Doz for my best friend because we were too scared to buy real drugs from real drug deal­ers. Of course, back then drug deal­ers were your brother’s hip­pie friend who dropped out of school and lived in a VW bus out­fit­ted with a bed and sub­woofers blast­ing Lynyrd Skynyrd 24/7.

We often had tor­na­do warn­ings — no sirens or texts. We knew one was com­ing when the sky out­side turned green and hung low and smol­der­ing just above the town, wind cussing and thun­der thwack­ing like me, inside. The boss said we had a tor­na­do every time I wore a dress to work. It wasn’t not true. I was a tor­na­do-in-wait­ing, bid­ing my time til I could toss that place into the green sky and eject myself right on into anoth­er world.


Charlotte Hamrick has been pub­lished in a num­ber of lit­er­ary jour­nals includ­ing Flash Frontier, Bending Genres, Still: The Journal, New World Writing, and Reckon Review.