Sunday, 19 June 2022

Drowning without water by Davena O'Neill


Amy wipes her chest, looks at the clock, there’s time for a cigarette.


Red welts beneath sandal straps, she longs for slippers as she rubs her feet. Two hours to hometime, pay the sitter, fall into bed. She runs a finger across her chest, still sticky to the touch; maybe a long shower tonight.

Back in the bar, girls in nipple tassels and thongs bring drinks to tables. They take the cash, the flick of a tongue as they lean over, a finger slipped inside barely-there material. “Can I get you gentlemen anything else?”

Only the stage is bright, coloured lights reflecting off wet flesh. The girl grinds to the beat, teasing, just out of reach of those watching. Looking like there’s no place she’d rather be, she’s living her dream, with her dead eyes and needle marks between her toes.

Amy spots two suits at a small table, wedding bands gleaming on sweaty hands. First-timers, just her speed. She straightens her shoulders, drags up a smile, sits between them, arms draped across their shoulders. The one on the left tenses, but the guy on the right springs to attention. With a lick of her lips Amy has him on the hook. In twenty minutes, they’re heading for the back room.

Once behind the curtain he’s all enthusiasm, hands everywhere, trousers around his ankles. Amy slows him down, gets him sitting, talks business. He throws the money at her, so keen he won’t take long to finish. Folding the cash into her bra, she closes her eyes, pushes thoughts of her kids from her mind, and sinks to her knees, bruises long faded. She doesn’t cry anymore, and the bills keep coming, as sure as the tide.


Amy wipes her chest, looks at the clock, there’s time for another cigarette.


  1. Jennifer Shanahan20 June 2022 at 09:41

    A fabulous, hard hitting piece of writing, love it!

  2. Raw and real -- anguish, fear, exhaustion be damned. Behind the facade of bright lights and boys with cash dwells a truth only few know about. And the beat goes on, and on. Well done!

  3. Absolutely fabulous, leaves you wanting to read more.