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Fiction #194
(published September 30, 2004)
Tourist Pet
by Julio Peralta-Paulino

(eye socket)

I'm seventeen. I haven't been doing this a long time. You see, I had problems with my father. Well, I had problems with my mother and father. Just one of those sad stories.

I have a baby girl. I have to buy her what she needs. That's why I'm here.

I got pregnant at fifteen.


(brain case)

It was an accident. I had a boyfriend and one thing led to another. I didn't want to have sex but he told me that if I loved him I would have sex with him and I told him that if he loved me he would wait. Then one night we were kissing and I was going to have sex with him but he forced me like he only cared about sex. Before I could even tell him how I felt and that I wanted to do it, he held me face down on the ground and forced me. I cried so much that night and he never came back to see me. He just wanted that I think. He just wanted sex. It was my first time and I got pregnant.


(dorsal fin)

Maybe some things are meant to be the way they are. I think about religion sometimes. I mean I believe in God. Sometimes, where I live, in front, there's a church and I'll sit by the church door. I'll sit there with a friend. I pray and stuff like that. I think I like religion. I just don't go in.

When I was young, I went to church very often. I used to sing. Later, I realized it was like a business. Taking from the poor. That church from my old neighborhood. They were always asking for money. First it was just a regular house and then they turned it into a church. Saint Claire's. The priest just got richer and richer.


(fin ray)

I don't know. It's not like I'm such a good person. I'm okay. I think I have a good heart. Money is not that important to me. It's garbage. What I have, I spend on things that I need. For me or for my daughter. A person needs money, but I'm not ambitious.


(adipose fin)

I try to keep in touch with my parents. Well, with my mother. She's more humble. I have a brother that gives her a lot of trouble. They actually had to go and leave home. He had a problem with a guy. Some guy. That guy chopped off one of my brother's fingers. Shit. He actually wanted to kill him so my mother decided to move away in order to avoid more trouble.


(caudal fin)

Last night, I made two hundred and twenty dollars. It was a good night. I talked to my mother. She called me at a friend's house and I went over and gave her one hundred dollars. I would give her more but really I can't afford to.


(anal fin)

But with my father, I don't want anything to do with him. He's an idiot. When he found out I was pregnant, he almost killed my mother. He kicked me out of the house. That's part of the reason I started doing this. I had nowhere to go and I had no money. Now he calls me a whore, but I call him a pig. I'm always clean and well dressed, while he's always a mess. A pig in a sty. I try not to think about. There are worse problems.



Sometimes there are problems here with the police. They come around and force you to be with them. Some of them have even beaten up some of the other girls. A few times, they even make you give them some of your money. They say like if you don't give me some money, I'm going to beat you. That's what happens. They can't arrest us because the patrol station is always full so they beat us.


(ventral fin)

Anyway, I'm just about done with high school. I took a test, but it didn't go well. I want to go to college. I talked with my mother about it. I need some papers. She said she was going to help me get my documents. It's funny. Last night, I dreamed I was in college.

I don't know how much longer I can stay out here. I want to stop. Sometimes, I feel ashamed. I usually go with the tourists. Some of the other girls call me tourist pet. It's just that when I see some of the men from here I can't go because I feel so all— so ashamed. And when people walk by, I feel that too. I don't want to be seen like this. I don't know, I don't want to talk about that.



I guess if I get the chance to go to college, I would want to study medicine. I'd like to be a doctor. I'm already like a nurse. Well, I took a course that lasted a year and six months and I graduated. I even worked in a clinic for a while. The thing of it was that the doctors used to bug me. Man, they bugged me all the time. They wanted to sleep with me— you know, to have sex. They even threatened to fire me. I just told them go ahead and fire me. Then they forced me— I mean they fired me and after they fired me they refused to pay me what they owed me.

I told him off. He called me indecent. I told him he was married and trying to force me to have sex with him when I even knew his wife. Some men are worse than animals. They just want to use other people and they don't care.


(pectoral fin)

They're not all the same. Well, some women are worse than animals too. Men are just so much worse.

I have to go now. I see someone I have to see.

Look, maybe if you are around tomorrow we can talk some more. I like you, you're quiet. I never talked to a real writer before. Remember, I'm Cymprini. Come tomorrow. I won't charge you. I'm usually here by ten.

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