Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Girl With Four Names and Fair Self Esteem

I'm in this brilliant creative writing class this semester, and our first exercise was a character sketch. I think I should probably explain that several years ago, I saw a documentary about rats. I learned that an adult female rat, on average, has sex 27 times a day. So I pictured this prostitute who looked like a rat. And I finally got around to writing about her because I was working on my character sketch last night while watching Hoarders on A&E. One of the hoarders hoarded rats, and they said something about rat babies, and my brain went on this five hundred thoughts per second sequence and I remembered that prostitute from so many years ago. So.. I wrote a character sketch about her. Here it is!

She has four names. She’s twenty-six, five-foot-four, thin, shrewd, with short, listlessly brown curly hair and bulgy pale blue eyes. When she stands in the harsh gleam of the lights near the river in Manchester, New Hampshire, she looks sallow and wan. Most people don’t realize she’s just as colorless in the middle of the day. When she’s upset she rubs her lips together- sucks them in over her teeth and slides the bottom one slowly from side to side- and her eyebrows point upward. But she doesn’t let herself get upset too often.

She was raised in a strict Catholic home. She served a brief sentence in a boarding school. After just one year, her parents decided they didn’t want her so far out of range of their careful, watchful eye...s.

Most people who grow up in New England suburbia move away from home the second they come of age. She stuck around. Here’s the thing about the prostitution: it wasn’t about rebellion, or poor self image, or drugs. She just found that she liked sex and figured she’d make a career out of it.

She likes the color pink, can’t stand the smell of oranges, wears a size six shoe, has had twelve boyfriends, and wants to name one of her kids Arthur. She likes sushi. Her favorite article of clothing is this brown fur coat that she wears everywhere. It’s probably the source of all communicable diseases on the East coast, but she won’t let it go for anything. Somewhere between its matted, coarse exterior and the worn so long it’s soft again lining was the source (or maybe the store room) of all her confidence.

So anyway. It isn't much, but I think it's a good character sketch.

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