Reem Abu-Baker


On vacation, I meet a man with awful bleachy hair. I am the kind of drunk that means I suck his dick while he brushes his teeth in the hotel room. He is the kind of drunk that means he grabs my tit for just a second before he passes out, mouth open, throat wet . His snoring irritates me and it makes me want to put something inside him. I remove my pinky ring and slide it gently between his moist lips. I have never heard a sound like that gurgle. I remove my left earring and I pop it in, more quickly this time. I search the table next to the bed: pen cap, watch, slip of paper covered in phone numbers. All of them inside. He moans in his sleep. Five-cent coin, travel floss, hand sanitizer, yellow plastic giraffe. I imagine I have x-ray vision, I’m watching all these objects line up in the man’s esophagus, dance together as they slide down his slick interior, as they fizzle in his sloshing acids. I just keep going. It’s all very calm and methodical, until he wakes up coughing, choking, sputtering, clutching desperately at his throat. I once performed the Heimlich on a mannequin, so I know more or less what to do. I throw my arms around him and thrust upward. It is just as I remember. His rubbery body resists until it doesn’t. He is stiff and hairless, proportioned a little strangely, heavier than I expect.


Reem Abu-Baker lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where she is the fiction editor for Black Warrior Review. Her stories can be found in Ninth Letter, NANO Fiction, Day One, and other journals.