Miracle on Junquera Street
Photo by Seph Tan
A mix of smoke and snow swirls in the air between the mirror and her face as she tries to cover up her in-born mistakes with baby powder. She makes sure that her face is attractive enough, worthy of people’s spare change. With a final touch of lipstick to hide the bruises left behind by her previous customers, she pouts her lips and reassures herself that she’s beautiful, at least fitting the standards of her pimps. She does a final check on the mirror; her red crop top flowing over her visible ribs and her green skirt barely grazing her thighs.
Perfect for the occasion.
Having consumed only a piece of bread for dinner, she relishes the last hit of her cigarette. Hunger seems to be an illusion to her since she started in the industry; she’s become more of a product than a consumer.
I’m feeling lucky tonight.
The drug enters her system through her right arm. She does this every night to help her through her working hours, maybe even extend for overtime if she’s not yet sore.
I’m ready to attack.
She steps on the hunting ground, getting slapped hard by the cold breeze, making her giddy. Concrete shadows line up the street as she makes her way to the edge of the curb. The streets are empty tonight; neither foe nor customer could be seen.
They’ll come later.
She continues to walk forward, hoping for someone to make use of her talents. She’s extremely flexible — perfect for her line of work. Having relevant experience from being a saleslady in a thrift store, she’s never had a problem with selling cheap items. She’s always open to try something new every day and someone new every night, although repeat customers are also welcome. Her voice control is also impeccable; she could be screaming like a wild cat in one room and silently whimpering like a scared dog in another, depending on the preference of the pet owner. Speaking of oral skills, she’s a master of persuasion, sealing the deal with only a few words and licks. She also likes catching every opportunity that comes her way, especially when it’s right on her face. Overall, she’s a well-rounded girl albeit a little out of shape.
Are those people?
Like an cougar ready to pounce on its prey, she positions herself to attack. She’s already used to having two customers at the same time anyway; her great multitasking abilities are enough to maneuver both bodies to come simultaneously. She squints her eyes as two figures come into sight. As the two shadows dash toward her, her eyes and hopes drop as she sees that they’re both children. The kids extend their hands, begging for money, crying that it’s for bread, and that they haven’t eaten yet. She ignores and drops them off, like she did with her unborn child two months ago.
I’m getting light-headed.
She questions her life choices as she trudges on heavy ground, trying to keep her focus down as the drugs lift her up to another dimension. She left home hoping that she would have a prosperous life in the city. She could be having noche buena with her family right now, but instead she’s offering herself as a meal. With a heavy head and distorted vision, she wobbles through the block, thinking about retreating since it’s almost midnight.
Is that a car?
A set of headlights illuminate the trash-ridden street as a car speedily approaches. Instead of a revving engine though, the sound of hooves gently tapping on the hard floor echoes through the empty road. A reindeer-powered sleigh hovers up the street as the sound of bells plays on its stereo. A huge, bearded man with his red overstuffed coat is behind the wheels — whips? He seems to be either laughing or calling her; she cannot decide. He pulls over in front of her, jingling his balls as he motions for her to come closer. He says he has a gift that would make her jaw drop in amazement for a while.
She shakes her head and rubs her eyes, trying to pull herself back to sanity. But the guy is still there. He reaches out his hand towards her and she grabs it, not knowing what he’s up to.
His hands are soft.
She steps into the sleigh, feeling a pang of pain on her rib and shoulder as she sits comfortably beside the man. Contrary to what she feels about her other customers, she feels safe beside him. There are no time for niceties, though. They ride off into the sky, the reindeers effortlessly pulling the sleigh ride as they go upwards. They reach the clouds, making themselves invisible from anyone, and he immediately starts going down on her chimney. The way he devours her Christmas ham raises her closer to the top of the mountain. She’s on cloud nine, literally and figuratively.
Why am I hurting?
He drops her off on the sidewalk, her body slumping on hard concrete. The guy throws spare bills at her, slamming on the gas pedal as quickly as possible. She stands up, her legs and whatever’s left in between aching as she stretches it and sees the backlight of a sedan leave the street; it’s not pulled by reindeers, and it’s most certainly not hovering.
What was I thinking?
She picks up the bills and counts them; they’re not even enough for the fare. She looks around and notices that she’s in unfamiliar territory. She checks the time on her watch: two hours into Christmas day.
Just like any other night.