Charlotte Hamrick ~ Zipped

We were the kids who nev­er got called to the advisor’s office, asked what our plans were for col­lege. We didn’t go to the foot­ball games or pep ral­lies, didn’t play in the band. We were the kids no one both­ered to bul­ly because we were coun­try kids, invisible.

We’d cut out of school at lunchtime, sneak away in Gina’s old Ford, light up a Salem. Sometimes we’d just ride emp­ty dirt roads, some­times go to the lake in the next coun­ty, swim off our invis­i­bil­i­ty in its mir­rored waters. Sometimes, when we had mon­ey, we’d go to the bootlegger’s, buy a bot­tle of Boone’s Farm and hiber­nate in an aban­doned house we knew, bel­lies full of sweet wine and life’s bile. Roll around the floor and write pain-words on walls no one’d ever read.

One day Gina said she’d met a cou­ple of old­er guys. Said we were invit­ed to their place. We rolled up out­side a two-sto­ry that looked like a mouth­ful of crooked teeth. Through the front door was a stair­case dressed in food wrap­pers, smelled like rot­ten fish. Gina went first, banged on the door at the top. A skin­ny guy with long, greasy blonde hair opened the door. Smiled a slimy smile and went “oooooweeee”. Goosebumps rose on my arms as Gina pulled me inside. Well, I nev­er could say no to Gina.

He said he was Sonny and the oth­er guy was Len. They were lis­ten­ing to Lynyrd Skynyrd and smok­ing weed. Offered us some. The smoke and gui­tar riffs pulsed in the air around us, smacked us around til we twirled like tiny pink bal­leri­nas on a jew­el­ry box dead-set in the wolf’s eye. I felt nau­seous so I laid down on the couch, fell asleep.

I woke up feel­ing the waist­band of my jeans dig­ging into my back, my butt being jerked upward, a rock­slide of den­im drag­ging down my legs. The guy Len was hov­er­ing over me, tug­ging, but my arms and legs felt as limp and use­less as a bro­ken cat’s tale. The music was pound­ing mad fists in my head, felt like daddy’s belt on bruised skin.

I won­dered if I should scream, if any­one would hear. I thought about what would hap­pen if I did scream. Would he hit me? Kill me? No one knew we were here. Where was Gina? And what if some­one did hear and came or called the cops.Then what. Daddy would kill me for going to a man’s apart­ment like a com­mon whore.

A mil­lion thoughts, a mil­lion heart­beats. The deci­sion clicked in my head, locked.

When he was done he zipped up his pants like I’d zipped my lips and I walked out the door.


Charlotte Hamrick’s cre­ative work has been pub­lished in numer­ous online and print jour­nals, most recent­ly includ­ing The Citron Review and Emerge Journal. She’s been nom­i­nat­ed for the Pushcart Prize, Best Microfiction 2021, and was a Finalist for Micro Madness 2020. She reads for Fractured Lit and was the for­mer CNF Editor for Barren Magazine. She lives in New Orleans with her hus­band and a menagerie of res­cued pets where she some­times does things oth­er than read and write.