thursday

Flash Friday #2: Thursday Simpson – A Woman Who Is Pure At Heart

Welcome to Flash Friday, a new feature in which we present a work of Flash Fiction, short Non-Fiction or personal essay that we find powerful, important and/or particularly engaging. This is true when we refer to the perspectives of historically marginalized communities — Women, non-binary people, people of color, LGBTQ and Neurodivergent — but we respond to great narrative and sharp writing, wherever it comes from. For our second issue, we present “A Woman Who Is Pure At Heart”, by Thursday Simpson, which is part of Moonchild Magazine’s Three Gothic Stories.

Thursday spends her time between Iowa City and Peoria, Illinois. She has a BA from the University of Iowa and is a founding editor at Out/Cast, a journal for queer and Midwestern writers. Thursday has been an active musician since 2002, spending her time between a cowpunk and 70’s prog aesthetic. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Hexing the Patriarchy, Clash Media, Dreginald, Mistress, Thirteen Myna Birds, The Breakroom Stories, Rhino Poetry, Fishfood Magazine and Far Off Places. She believes in Feline Satan and garlic and onions. Ask her to do an impression of King Diamond and she will probably smile.

A woman who is pure at heart

The neon sign outside my shop is still on. I’m sitting inside at my desk and I can see through to the séance hall and the purple light is reflecting everywhere inside. I can’t get enough of purple neon. My robe isn’t purple, too much of the same thing is off-putting. My robe is teal. But my curtains at home are purple. Neon purple. The leggings I’m wearing as I finish my receipts for the evening are purple. This is something my customers don’t see.

I don’t know why more people don’t become psychics. You get business. Especially asshole-drunk business. They get off on your moaning and all of the pretty lights and sounds and give you money. And everyone wants to go out with the spooky medium girl.

The main skill you need is reading people. You need to see what people want and then give it to them in a way that makes sense. It’s easy to tell when someone is worried or horny. Sad older women who come in alone usually want comfort, sad old men usually forgiveness. You don’t need a seminary degree and you get to dress fucking beautifully.

Tonight wasn’t so bad. I always open at 6:30. People come in and tell me what they want and I prepare. I do have a very nice black and yellow rug outside that my séance table sits on. A very beautiful table I found at an antique shop downtown. I buy tons of old books, sand the titles off and just leave them sitting around and they collect dust, make everything look authentic. I make people tea from leaves that sit inside antique containers.

My hair is about as long as I want it. Some people like to keep their hair short and give off the mid 90’s dominatrix baby sitter vibe, but that shit isn’t for me. I keep my hair long and know how to fight. You want guys to get hard, but not that hard. The no refund sign is right there on the counter.

I love the way it looks in here even more with the lights off. The old books, the smells, the carpet. The tarot cards. Tarot cards are so beautiful. I have a few of my favorite designs from the Crowley Thoth deck blown up as prints on my wall at home. One is right above my record player and the other is in my kitchen.

I’m thinking about Italy as I’m outside locking up. Still I want to be there so bad even if I am happy here. Things are easier in Italy. I believe people there would understand me. Accept me. I think of the colors in Argento and Fulci. Rob Zombie uses the colors especially in House of 1000 Corpses, but he’s too God-damn sadistic in that film, it’s almost unforgivable. And as he becomes more lyrical with Halloween 2 and Lords of Salem, the Argento colors go away.

Being a rural area psychic is better than some people might assume. You aren’t really fucked with as much as one might think. Only a few times concerned Christians have come to my door. Mostly everyone is just afraid of me, or interested.

I decide to go for a drink. This town isn’t that small. Probably 60,000 people when students are around. Students are good business. Last year I dated a girl who studied biology at the university here. She was nice. She moved home after she graduated and we still keep in touch some. I wish she would come visit me.

Thankfully my apartment isn’t far from downtown. I don’t have the money to drink and drive and I can’t make it to Italy if I’m in prison. This reminds me that I need to finish watching Spring. Becoming a criminal doesn’t stop that young man from going to Italy and it shouldn’t stop me, either. I like the young man in that film, just him and his father and mother. He reminds me of a guy I went to college with. Quiet and tough and nice. Not afraid to feed his mother while she’s dying.

I’m not exactly young anymore. I think that’s why I have such a crush on Lisa Ann. There are plenty of reasons to dislike porn, but Lisa has turned an entire generation of young boys on to older women with black hair and veiny hands. This has its advantages. I go home first and change clothes and then walk down to a bar with lots of these boys.

But I don’t find a young boy tonight. Tonight I see something different. I’m sitting alone. I hear him say, “He’s always fucking whining to his fucking mommy. Such a fucking bitch. Tonight she fucking worked late and he’s sitting around screaming saying, ‘Ohhhh my fucking Mom said I could watch wrestling,’ and he’s fucking sobbing, fuck he’s a fucking bitch.”

This goes on for a while. It’s hard, staying patient. He gets up and I follow him outside. I ask him for a light. It doesn’t take much else to get him back to my apartment which is thankfully not far from the woods. He doesn’t tell his friends goodbye and he doesn’t mention to me that he has a son.

I close my apartment door and ask him if he wants a drink. He says, “How about you suck my fucking dick instead.” So I do. I look up at him and don’t blink. He won’t look down at me. After a minute he says, “Quit fucking looking at me like that. You’re giving me the fucking creeps.” I obey. I focus on his cock. His sweat smells like beer.

He comes in my mouth and I let it drool out and I ask him if he has much time. He says he can fuck in a minute. “But don’t ask me to fucking suck your pussy. I’m no fucking queer.”

I don’t question his logic. He asks me to dance for him and I do. I turn on some music. I look up at my favorite tarot card and play the first Beggars Opera album. I’m on his lap. I feel him getting around again and he starts laughing, so I start laughing. He asks, “What the fuck are you laughing at?”

I lean over and whisper in his ear, “I’m about to fucking kill you, you stupid bitch.” He barely has time to question this because above his chair is a very heavy granite teapot on a shelf. It’s more for decoration than serving tea because it’s so heavy. I hit him over the head with it and it doesn’t even break.

When he’s awake again he is nailed to my wall. I’ve never understood why my neighbors don’t call the police. Men have very loud voices, but I guess they figure the less cops are around, the better it is for everyone. He starts screaming. I kick him in his balls.

I’ve changed into bra and panties. Purple and black because I want to enjoy this. I lean my forehead against his and he tries to bite me. This time I punch him in his nose. I ask him if he has AIDS and he says, “Fuck you, I’m going to fucking kill you, fucking bitch.”

“Wrong,” I tell him and I kick him in his groin three times. He screams and screams. I walk into my bedroom and bring back a razor blade, he screams the entire time. “No one gives a shit about you,” I tell him.

“Let me tell you about your son.” He keeps screaming.

I cut his left cheek. “High school will be shit. College might be, too. But he’s smart. It’s obvious because you hate him so much. He’ll find a partner who will feel sorry for him at first, but they’ll make sure he learns to fuck well. Maybe a teacher, maybe his boss. And then after a few years of relationships like that he’ll have to start turning people down just because he doesn’t have time to fuck that much. He’ll tell his partners stories about you. About how much of a piece of shit you were.”

“You were,” I say again in his ear.

I make cuts all across his chest. He starts sobbing. I cut him under his arms. I tell him his son will live a happy life, in some ways, because he was abused. “He will get along better with his mother without you there. They’ll go to wrestling shows by themselves and have so much fun. They’ll eat at Hardees on the way home and never mention you.”

I make more cuts. I make sure his blood gets nowhere near my mouth or pussy. I can wash everything off later. I didn’t swallow any of his come earlier. Fuck this apartment, anyway. I tell him that. “I fucking hate this place. I’m going to make a mess of you.”

I take off his ear and then a finger. There is no difference between his sobbing and screaming. I tell him, “Your son and wife will be so much happier without you. The world is going to be such a better place now that you’re dead. I wish your mother could see you like this. I wish she could hear what you said about your son back at the bar.”

He starts to scream, but I cut his stomach and then he just cries. He’s going to bleed to death. No one in this neighborhood calls the police, but just to be safe I slice up his wrists. I take a shower and when I get out he’s dead. Another good thing about porn, so many guys want me to sit on their face. I even tell them what I’m going to do. They all think it’s one big game.

This isn’t so cleanable. Fuck it. Like I said, I’m certainly not getting any younger. Italy will appreciate a woman like me. I have many things to offer to many fine Italians. I book my flight online. I get my money from an ATM and I drive to the airport. Sooner or later my car will be repossessed. Sooner or later someone will report the smell and everything in my shop will be sold on public auction.

I want to meet an Italian graduate student. And maybe a boy who is barely legal. Italian men are abusive, too. But I’m also probably a racist. I’ll teach them all how to fuck, how to have confidence. There are many uses for a razor blade. I’m on a plane. I’m drinking wine. I’m flirting with the man beside me. He is fine. Not quite kind, but still fine. There are many uses for a razor blade as there are many ways a woman who is pure at heart can make her mark on the world. Italy seems like a fine place to live.

[Originally published in Moonchild Magazine]

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.