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The Women of Pottersville

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After dark, it's not safe for a woman to be on the streets alone. A respectable woman, that is. Violet meets you at the library every evening and walks you home.

Tonight, she's sitting on the steps when you lock up, holding a handkerchief to her nose to staunch the bleeding. "Fucking john gave me a shiner," she says. She's drunk, but no more than usual. You leave downtown Pottersville in silence, but when you get to your house you tell her "Come in, I'll put some ice on it."

You move around the kitchen timidly because any noise might wake your mother. Actually you do everything timidly: you've learned that life is easier when you don't attract attention. Violet is the opposite, loud and brash-- when you press the icepack to her cheek she grabs your arm and says "You're the only one who looks out for me, Mary," and her voice is too strident for the room. And then she tries to kiss you.

It's not the first time, but it's the first time you let her. There are no good men in this town and only two ways to be a woman: your way and Violet's way. But just now you realized that this makes three. So you let Violet kiss you and unbutton your blouse and touch you in places where you've never even touched yourself. Gosh, it feels good. You kiss Violet back with all the ardor of a spinster who has nothing to loose.