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Chapter Three

Cinnamon Girl was the only child of an ill-fated union between her Oxycodone-addicted mother and her alcohol-enfeebled father. The day she was born, her mother dropped her off at an abortion clinic, wrapped in old newspapers stolen from a fish market. Her mother left her with no love, no money, and a prescription-pill addiction the size of a dead celebrity. And she’s been selling herself on the streets ever since.

Cinnamon Girl’s mother tried to abort her. Two months into her pregnancy, she asked an old gypsy woman to cast a spell on her uterus. She didn't trust doctors and she couldn’t afford a hospital abortion anyway. Even hobo abortions (or ‘hobortions’ - intentional miscarriage on a budget) were out of her price range. Unfortunately for all females involved, the 'operation' didn't take. She was still saving up to buy a coat hanger when she gave birth in a K-Mart toilet.

After she gave birth and ate the afterbirth for breakfast, her mother donated her newborn baby to a pack of roving gypsies (different ones). But Cinnamon Girl ran away at age nine after (her words) "they tried to force me to seduce and sacrifice a live goat to the Israelite God using my teeth as an Aztec-Mayan ceremonial sacrificial dagger.” I find her claim highly dubious, as gypsies are known for many disgusting things…just not that.

And her mother's profession? You guessed it. The second-oldest in the world. Like mother, like daughter, like streetwalker. Who was her father? Just another customer. An anonymous sperm donor just passing through. Maybe Cinnamon Girl serviced her own paterfamilias, she'd never know...

"I've known that I was going to murdered since before I was born,” bragged the busty young ingénue-turned in-and-out-artist. “And I’ve been slowly dying to get it over with ever since."

Every day of her life, she expected to die. And every morning, she was disappointed to find that she hadn't. Yet. But her fingers-crossed death wish only made her more impossibly enchanting in my eyes. Cinnamon Girl had the power to make any man fall in love with her; be they player, married, gay, clergy, or all four…but only for an afternoon. I was one of the enamored few who stuck around for the post-game commentary.

* * *

I can’t take this anymore. I take the teenage girl’s first exit (fittingly), a sharpened razor blade vertical down the vein. Right. Left. Right. Left. The air grows lighter as my breathing grows heavier. The smell of ammonia fills my pores. I like it. The bathwater turns pink as I sink underneath, filling my open wounds and open veins with my special-recipe toxic brew. It burns, it burns…

I block out everything else and remember the last time I saw her. My Cinnamon Girl. It started out such a gloriously optimistic day…

* * *

I force my car into a skid by the side of the road and ram the concrete guardrail. All my life’s belongings fly up in the air as glass shatters and metal splinters. My world goes underwater, slow-motion. The sound of the collision is muted as if my ears are packed with alcohol-soaked cotton balls. Wreckage fragments float before my eyes, burning snowflakes on a celestial downstroke.

Whiplash snaps me back into existence and my nose greeted the steering wheel like an old friend who thinks I stole his wife. It's broken, blood leaking out between my eyes as I make my way down the embankment.

The girl lies down by the river, her clothes folded by her side, her body as naked as the day she was born into this world, the only daughter of a boozebag and a crackwhore. Sadly, the legacy of their namesake ends with her. Another bloodline left to bleed out on the side of the highway, taking proud generations of street prostitutes and opium addicts down with her. Death finds us all eventually but her Hide and Seek ended prematurely.

I should say something. Before the desert sun rises and turns this coffinless open casket into an impromptu cremation. What can I say about a dead teen runaway? I search my memory, trying to remember a prayer for the dead…but my mind is as blank as hers.

All the men in her life: the pimps, the pushers, the perverts, the police, and me.

I wonder which one of us killed her…but upon closer examination, the antique fountain pen jammed in her cornea settles that discussion. I try to tell myself that I was coming there that day to take her away from the criminal decay but…that’s what I told myself every time.

At a first glance, it appears as if her face is sprinkled with cinnamon. From a distance. Just a simple helping of dessert topping on her windswept cheeks. But as I get closer, I see the cinnamon swirling. Not cinnamon but a writhing mass of red worker ants, gorging on her dead flesh, gnawing away what was left of her face to take back to the queen's colony. This was all she had left to offer the world now…an outdoor ant farm. A ruined picnic. An empty decomposing shell with only value offered to invertebrates and necrophiliacs. I don’t know which unlawful penetration sickens me more.

A beautiful girl reduced to rotting carrion. Just another roadkill carcass left to the elements. Ants, beetles, cockroaches, maggots, larvae, and flies of all kind.

I should have been there to save her. She was too young, too pure, too good for this world. She’s gone. And it’s all my fault.

A million of God’s tiniest creatures devour the visage belonging to the sweetest girl of my sickest dreams. A Neil Young song blares away on my dime store radio. And I weep.


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