1. I am

Bella Swan


The tile floor is cold. I don't know why I am here. I promised myself last time was the last time. Yet, here I am. My mouth is desiccant. There is a
ringing in my ears accompanied by a pulsing that reaches right to my
gut; churning whatever is in there.

What did I eat last?

Did I eat today?

What is today?

My breathing is slow and it feels like I am suffocating. There's an imaginary weight on my chest that I can't push away. Sitting up doesn't help. Fuck, my head is
throbbing. My stomach ushers me to the rim of the bowl and I expel food I
don't remember eating. The smell is putrid and I can't seem to care as I
rest my cheek to the dirty porcelain.

It's cool and finally cold feels good on my face.

Yeah, cold feels good.

Blackness falls and I am gone.

I am gone.


He's working me from behind. I am still. I am a robot. I am pleasure. I am pain. He's done in no time and slips a twenty into my hand. I ignore his
wedding band and he ignores me, slipping out of the room.

I walk around Mike's house a while and admire all the pictures, the décor, the life that fills this space. He is an amazing architect. So smart. His
house is lovely. His wife is lovely. I am a robot as I eat the leftovers
in the fridge. She's a good cook too. He leaves me her robe on the edge
of the tub, same as always. I use her shampoo, her shaving gel to shave
my legs and of course, her razor.

My hair smells clean and delightful.

It is all a lie.


I sit on the edge of the bed and stare at a well-concealed spot on my leg. I am closer, but not there yet.


There is a preacher on TV in my motel room. His face is a little blurry and in black and white. His voice can be heard and it is clear as day. I agree
with him and I curse at him all the same. He is wrong. He is right.

I blow smoke in his face and pour a shot, toasting to sin.

It burns on the way down.


When I walk out on stage, the crowd howls. They should. I'm showing a lot of fucking skin. I tease not. I'm the real deal. My tips prove it. My hand slides down the pole
and I don't think about who was here last or why it is slick. I just do.

My body moves on its own accord. It dances to a beat I only hear in my head. It might match the music from the speakers, but I am not sure. The
men don't seem to care. Their faces are blurry and with every spin
around the metal pole, they get fuzzier and fainter and the pulsing is
back in my ears.

A sour taste floats on my tongue. Acid burns my throat and I bend over, giving them a good show. I swallow and start to gyrate my hips towards the pole, tipping my head back. My arm feels
weak, but I hold on and dip myself down and up and down and up.

They call my name. One of them.

The stage is littered with their money and I stomp over it, taking off my top to coax them into giving more.

Mike is here tonight. Odd.

He gives me a hundred and whispers our plans for the week ahead in my ear. There is a rose on my dressing area when my set is done.

I wish his wife knew how sweet he is. Was.

As I walk towards the train, I hand the rose to a child standing with her mother as I pass by. She smiles. Her mother pulls her closer. It's cold
tonight and I hug my arms around myself. It does nothing to sway men
from staring at me as I continue my way towards the train.

Now, I feel naked.