Unforgiving Light: Flash Fiction

Alison browsed through the sales rack looking for anything black and tight. That was the uniform for the crew at Grind, for women and men alike. She knew she was likely hired as a hostess for her small waist over her high college GPA, but what mattered was that she could keep a smile plastered on at all times. Alison learned from her grandmother how a plastic smile could take you places—especially in a place like Hollywood.

A tired sales clerk approached her. “Can I help you?” she asked.

“Just looking,” said Alison, “Thanks though.”

“You’re young, you should wear some color,” she said, shaking her head. Under the harsh fluorescent bulbs, the woman looked like a ghoul. She saw her own grim future as a thirty-year-old hostess under unforgiving light in an unforgiving city. Alison started to sweat. 

She nodded and the woman shuffled to the opposite corner where she tidied a row of pleather miniskirts and sighed.

Alison pulled a black turtleneck off the rack and held it up against her chest. She looked in the mirror. It was cut off at the waist. She could pull off a look like that for another year at most, just long enough for the cheap material to last.

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