Hippolyte by Richard Larson
They were out on the salt-slimed boardwalk when Jack showed her the tits nestled obscenely in their plastic. Kristine shoved them back in the bag.
“Is it really that bad?” she asked, looking out over nightskinned harbor.
Jack fixed her with his clear blue eyes. “It’s fucking disgusting.”
Kristine weighed the silicon reluctantly in her hands. Jack had brushed back her hair like a highschool sweetheart while she splashed rancid vomit into the toilet bowl. Jack had taken a pityfuck from one of their therapists on an afternoon when she was entombed in a leather chair with IV.
She drew her arm back easily, so easily.
In the coming mornings she would inspect the puckered X-shaped scar in the mirror and leave her bra cup sagging empty. Her lipstick would go on more like warpaint, and Jack’s tits would choke fish at the bottom of the bay.
Roller Coaster by Mandi M. Lynch
Katie left the subway and braced herself against the bitter wind and driving rain that met her. It had been raining when she entered the underground system an hour ago, but not like this. Her sultry little red dress and sexy four inch heels were hardly appropriate for the weather, but she didn’t care. She hadn’t intended to ride the subway all the way to the end of the line, either, but she had. And here she was – Stillwell Avenue, the only subway stop on Coney Island.
It was half a mile from the corner of Stillwell and Surf Avenues to the end of the Coney Island’s pier, and she walked it by habit: west, then around the stadium, and a turn south before heading directly across the beach and down the wooden planks of the jetty. When she got there, there were no remainents of her $250 hair appointment; her limp bangs clung to her forehead as if they were painted on.
Any other day, she’d’ve worried about her Manolo Blahniks, but today, the only reason she took them off was because the heels caught the sand. Now, she fell to her knees and sobbed into Lower Bay. Coney Island had been the setting for every happy childhood memory; she had summered there with her grandmother, tucked away on the corner of 27th and Mermaid, where they’d tell stories of the mythical creatures of the same name. Katie would give anything to be back there again, where her wild hair and freckles were a sign of her beauty, not marks against them.
Even on those summer nights, she’d have been tucked in bed a long time ago. But that was then, and it was a long way from thirteen to thirty, and an even longer way from the penthouse apartment that had hosted the night’s disastrous soiree. Had Harrison really chastised her in front of six hundred of their closest friends and business partners for not getting Botox? Was that one laugh line really such a bad thing?
As the storm picked up and the waves wiped over the boards, she screamed into them, letting all the frustrations wash away with the water. To hell with Harrison and his collection of antique silk ties, his arrogance and his impossible standards of beauty, this was all she could take. Katie reached into the dress and pulled out both 400 cc silicone breasts – loaners to try out the voluptuous D cup size they would make her after surgery and weeks of painful recovery. Another request of Harrison’s.
She thought of the grandmother who would braid her hair before a day at the beach. They’d spend days with sand between their toes, stopping only for amusement park rides and corndogs and Sunday mornings at the church across the street.
With a scream that would make a banshee run, she threw the implants into the bay. To hell with Harrison. She would leave Coney Island the way she always had – with dignity.
Silicon Breasts, Coney Island by Hannah Karena Jones
She tried to comfort herself with the fact that, though he had asked her to stuff her bra with the silicone implants, he didn’t actually want to surgically alter her figure.
“To me,” he had said, placing his hand over his sagging pectoral muscle, pledging allegiance, “you are perfect. I like you just the way you are.” Underneath the bed sheets, he cupped her breasts in his hands. “It’s the other people, the strangers, these Americans who don’t think you’re beautiful.” He sighed. “I don’t want you to change, but it will be better if they think that you have.” He squeezed her. “The truth will be our little secret.”
She chose to believe this rather than admit that he was cheap. She saw the way he stared every morning when she tucked them underneath her natural breasts, filling the bra she had bought two sizes too big. She saw the smile that hid in the corner of his lips when she adjusted her shirt over her temporarily bulging chest. She knew that, if he could have afforded more than the twenty-dollar, Brooklyn flea-market—“gently used,” the woman had promised him—implants, he would have had her under the knife faster than he could write the check.
Even though the plastic edges peeked out of her bikini, he insisted she wear them at the beach. “We have to keep up appearances,” he said. She stared at the chest hair that grew straight up and out from the collar of his undershirt, stretching for the sky like their sun-starved houseplants, and said nothing. He watched her slip the implants in her canvas bag, next to her book and her subway pass.
She collected sea glass—a nice word for the piles of shattered stout-brown bottles scattered across the beach—before walking into the water, the goose bumps climbing up and over her knees. She held a perfectly circular bottle bottom up to her eye and squinted, wondering if she could see all the way home. The waves crashed against her body and, dedicated to wearing her away bit by bit, to smoothing out her rough edges, a wave dislodged her left implant. The bathing suit top hung empty, gaping and hungry. With her thumb, she pulled the strip of fabric away and allowed its mate to slide out and down into the ocean.
Way to Freedom by Nate Worrell
White hair arcs out of a black skull like a wind tossed wave against the rocks. The man in rags calls out to people passing by. He offers freedom and salvation. Yet, none seem to hear. The twinkling lights blind them, the organ music deafens them, the smell of butter and taste of grease distracts them. He’s nothing more than another noise in a world of amusement. Yet for just a second the world comes to a momentary hush. His cry for repentance echoes across the island and lands on the ears of a girl who once dreamed of becoming a great singer, but now sits among the candy wrappers and empty bottles building up the courage to once again walk down that dark alley where men try to quench insatiable thirsts. She hears him and follows the voice. He sees her step from the shadows and beckons to her.
-my child do you wish to be made pure-
She nods her head.
-it is only by blood that we are healed, we must die to our old self to live as a new creation-
Her eyes widen as he takes a small knife from his pocket.
-do not be afraid my child, your body is a temple that has been defiled, pain is the way to freedom-
He smiles like he knows a hidden secret and so she trusts him. She closes her eyes as the heat pierces her chest. The pain is raw and electric for the first few seconds but then the darkness explodes into blinding light. She hears the sound of sweet music and feels like she is cradled in the clouds. Her body fills with warmth like drinking cider in November. She exhales and floats away into ecstasy.