It’s not her job, but she asks to slice the limes and lemons, and Ricky lets her. She holds the knife, poised to halve. Slurp of the pulp pooling the board when the blade slices through the rind. Satisfying thwack and the stick of the juice on her fingertips, the little stings that fill the gash on the edge of her nail. Stings so faint and charged like bloodshot eyes. They say holding a gun increases a man’s testosterone. And mentalization, being able to think about what’s inside your mind and what’s inside the mind of another. Knowing the difference. Handling a gun, a knife, it connects you to your gut, that aching stem. Sometimes the heavy door swings open and the cold rushes in and she doesn’t want to look up to see who’s coming inside but she does because she has to. She keeps chopping, likes the sweep of the slice like a zipper, only these cuts are irreversible. She flips the half and dices smaller, small enough to straddle the lip of a glass but big enough to squeeze dry, to drop into liquor if someone wanted. She tosses the bright, perfect wedges into a Miller Lite pitcher, pushes the wasted nippled edges off the cutting board into the garbage. The pitcher fills, blooms green and yellow and fills the bar with the smell of soft, gentle hands, a drug on the brain. Ricky says that’s enough, that’s all they need, but she keeps slicing. Can’t stop.
Kate Wisel's fiction has appeared in Redivider as winner of The Beacon Street Prize, New Delta Review, Bartleby Snopes as "Story of the Month" and elsewhere. She has received scholarships to attend The Wesleyan Writer's Conference, The Juniper Institute, The Squaw Valley Writer's Workshop, and the Writing by Writer's Fellowship at Tomales Bay and Methow Valley. Her collection of short stories was recently selected as runner up by judge Benjamin Percy in the Santa Fe Writer's Project Contest.