Saturday Night by Meg Nicol / Flickr
Here’s the problem-- everyone calls them her puta boots because they’re so slick and shiny. It’s not cliché, not with her. It’s not that shit she watched on TV, that movie they show sometimes on Saturday afternoons where a streetwalker ends up meeting a man and getting to Rodeo Drive. It’s not even like that, and she leans against the wall like she’s the most brilliant mannequin. If she could count the stars she would, but they’re not even there. Still, there’s all kind of lights on Blackstone. She’s short, and her boots fit her like snakes are eating up her legs, and they buckle and pinch, and they gnaw at her kneecaps.
No, wait. She’s not really on Blackstone or G Street. She’s just walking down the halls of her elementary school. Crystal’s in kindergarten. The first time she saw the boots in the store window, she fell in love with them. Her mom bought her the boots because at that moment in time, she thought that they were rain boots, or at the very least, would pass for rain boots. At first it was ok. Crystal would just wear the boots to stomp around the house, up and down the stairs, and all around the porch. But then, she got so attached to those boots she wanted to wear them to school. She would beg her mom, and sometimes she would even cry. She wouldn’t let the subject go until she got to stomp out the door with her boots on. That first day she wears them, all the mothers are standing with their children at the gate, and they look at the boots, and then they look at each other, whispering behind their hands, like brown paper fans.
She wouldn’t let the subject go until she got to stomp out the door with her boots on. That first day she wears them, all the mothers are standing with their children at the gate, and they look at the boots, and then they look at each other, whispering behind their hands, like brown paper fans. Hey everybody, do you like my boots? Crystal shouts loud enough so that everyone can hear her. All the mothers start to laugh in a coy kind of way, in a mean kind of way, and Crystal’s mom looks so embarrassed like she wants to obliterate, like she wants to die. During recess, it starts to sprinkle a bit, just perfect for boots. It’s raining, but not hard enough to keep the kids in the cafeteria to watch old school cartoons. The rain is more like a mist, and not so cliché that it can’t be used in this story. All the other girls in Crystal’s class sit on the rails of their classroom bungalow, and they watch Crystal play tetherball by herself. She feels all their little brown eyeballs staring at her through the mist, and so she picks up the ball, and says, Look at this, and tries to kick the ball to the milky way, where she’d much rather be, riding on nebular ships, instead of in this playground mist. The teacher calls everyone to come inside, but Crystal stays dragging her feet in little circles on the blacktop. Her teacher comes out, and takes her by the hand. She says, By the way, nice boots
Monique Quintana holds an MFA in Creative Writing from CSU Fresno, where she was the president of the Chicanx Writers and Artists Association. She is a Squaw Valley Writers Fellow, and was the Senior Associate Fiction Editor of The Normal School literary magazine. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Huizache, Bordersenses, Mount Island Review, Lunch Ticket, Ragazine, Madcap Review, and Heather Press, among others. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of razorhousemagazine.com.