A Dream lay In Wait, by Robert Crisman

Roanne hungered.

Memory had ruled her forever. Shards, really, edged like machetes: daddy, whose fingers had eyes in the dark. Momma, ensconced in the shadows.

A church full of short eyes scoping the pretties…

The playground at school—swoopings, formations, attacks. The girl that she spit on. The boy with the matches. A first stolen kiss. The snide little wannabe rapists who lifted her dress in a dark-cornered hallway. The nun who blamed her…

It was as if she’d been stripped and then laughed at in front of the whole third grade class…

Later, there was this movie she saw. In it, a woman, tall, muscled, proud, toting an uzi, and dressed in an outfit that flowed down her body, inseparable from her, weaving together the beauty, strength, and allure that made her The Queen.

The Queen wore a crown, a little black hat, a shell of black feathers, tipped forward to the side, with a veil that covered one eye.

The Queen! She held her gun ready and ruled. In attendance around her, a covey of young, supple gangsters. She was their rock, the dream they all dreamed of.

She stood there, inviolate, serene. She took Roanne over…

Roanne dreamed she’d be Queen. But her legs were…too short …

Wisdom has it, however, that clothes make the woman; they mold, sharpen flesh. Roanne had an eye for design; she could turn shadow to sinew. She would be Queen. The world would fall at her feet…

Women would give themselves over to her to be honed for the wars. She’d reshape the world: all women, men’s eyes…

Ah yes, men’s eyes… Like all pretty girls, Roanne had been raised to be bait for the boys. Which meant a life lived in the prison of skin.

Boys tapped on her nerves—especially the bad boys who spit on the old folks’ religion. They somehow embodied a Fuck-You-All freedom denied her…a ticket away to some other, faraway place…

But their cruelties and callous indifference, their drumming, incessant need—what could these do in the end except sharpen her strong sense of place on the margins?

There were the yoyos, of course, yoyos who’d lick the soles of her shoes for the chance to get next. She filed these away, for use later on…

Bait for the boys; she’d use it, embrace it, and somehow escape it thereby…

She’d reshape men’s eyes and be free

Roanne went downtown, age 14. Where the lights are all bright and the shadows are sleek. The Lost Paradise. Bad boys in heaven and she right there with them…

And Dope…

Roanne would be Queen. She’d learn how to game and get over, to outwit the wolves, fleece the lambs, run the maze. Then, past the maze, she’d exhume the dream and reshape the world.

She’d retire in the end to a house on a hill, where no danger or dread could ever molest her again.

She would live the American Dream, the Dream that ends in a splendor of uncaring comfort and ease, that soothes like a breeze on a raft floating down the White Nile, with the softest of suns caressing her lips and her brow and her breasts, and whispering the sweetest of nothings.

The Dream is 10,000 years old. It soothes just like chiva

Roanne found her power.

She found it one night in the badlands. A fifth-rate hotel, in the back, in the room that holds all the lost children.

She’d been dodging bandits.

She came there to rest and replenish.

She was so hungry.

A smorgasbord there on the table! She tucked in and tied off…

Roanne found her power, and power reshaped her.

She hungered and hungered for more…

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