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Contents Page: July 1, 2011, vol 7 no 2

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Autumn N. Hall

 

Ajima (Grandmother/Madam)

Midnight, just off shift, and the South Korean air wafts like dog breath in my face. My stomach flips at the buggy smell of simmering silkworms drifting up from the brass kettle balanced on a propane tripod. In the orange-tarp soju tent, rowdy locals wash down a peppered feast of glass noodles, sea cucumbers, and cuttlefish with liquid rice-fire, slurping and belching in delight. A pin-curled hag hovers in a hidden doorway. She cuffs my arm in her claw, hard enough to imprint my uniform stripes on my bicep. "You, go home," she spits, and shoves me down the alley.

Her pickled-plum face seems to rehydrate and soften. Wrapping my husband's arm in hers, her voice lilts, lychee-sweet, "You, han-some man, you come with me." He shrugs at me, sheepish, attempts to slip her grip.

Jabbing a ginger-root finger at me, she snarls, "You, go home!" Incredulous, I stand my ground, 'How dare she?' and 'Hilarious!' competing in my head.

Tugging at my helpless hubby, she bobs her noggin toward the door and croons, "You like 'em young, I got 'em young. I got one fo-teen. You like."

As she gropes for his privates, he deftly executes an evasive maneuver. We about-face in tandem to double-time it home, leaving the banshee behind.

rat familiar
crosses the power lines
crossing the street

 

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