karen \\ if there’s a rocket tie me to it

I came here to run away. I was refugee, just like the other ninety percent of Las Vegas tourists. I was fleeing the scenes of the crimes I’d committed against myself and those against any sense of decency I’d ever had. I was only looking for peace.

And instead I found him. He texted me this time. The first time he’d ever texted me.

We were drinking in the hotel room, taking whiskey shots. We’d given Sophie some money for a new outfit, and Valencia — Cia, as she liked to be called, was clutching a drink in one hand and her dog in the other. Darcy, of course, played bartender, pouring more than we asked for. “Drink your water, children, it’s good for you!” she kept saying.

My phone vibrated. I ignored it for over an hour, figuring it was only the ex, or the fling, or the boss. Only when I took it out to check the time later did I see his name, Ryan, on the screen.

hey sarah palin, you in portland next weekend?

Terrible nickname aside, I was pleasantly taken aback.

maybe. i’ve taken a detour and ended a bit south of the norm. i’ll let you know?

The words were drunkenly slurred onto the screen. Inside, there was a part of me that was beaming. I tried not to let it show.

By the time Darcy was dancing around the room in her underwear, I’d received another text.

roger that. i’m in vegas for the weekend. a buddy’s bachelor party. let me know your plans. missing that birthmark on your hip.

I laughed out loud. I pretended that I´d just taken a photo of Darcy. The rest of them were so drunk they hardly realized it.

We decided to meet up. There was a club off the strip, I guided the girls there. Inside, the music was blaring, the girls started dancing, and I started looking.

And now I’m here. It’s been well over 27 minutes since we had sex, and he still hasn’t asked me to leave.

Darcy’s phone call this morning wasn’t unexpected. I remembered programming the alarm into her phone, and I remembered telling her that I was leaving. She’d been kissing a large, really attractive black guy, so she’d given me the brush off, “Yeah, yeah, got it. Get it, girl.”

I have my head on his chest. His fingers stroke my hip, right where my birthmark is.

“Your friends?” he asks, sleep in his voice. I look up. His eyes are still closed.

“Yeah.”

“You gotta leave?”

“Sounds that way. Dunno where to meet them, though. Phone died.”

“Better stay a bit then.”

I’m happy to, I think to myself. I push myself up to look at him, smiling through my pieces of hair in my eyes. I kiss him, then pull away.”

“Ryan?” I look at him quizzically.

He opens his eyes, a small smile playing in the corner of his mouth. “Karen?”

“What do you do?”

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