Home > 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl(3)

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl(3)
Mona Awad

For minutes now, Mel has been seriously calculating how much we might be worth to these businessmen. She has decided that our youth and the fact that we’re both virgins—in her case, only technically—makes us way more expensive than she initially thought.

“At least three hundred dollars,” she finally says. “What do you think?”

“At the very, very least,” I say, playing along. I try to use a voice that tells her I’m just playing along.

I look at the men more closely. Two are fine. But one of them is rather flabby and pale with little worm husk lips and a look of hunger in his eyes that his Big Mac is not filling. His whole face reminds me of the word horny. I know if it comes down to it, this is the one I’ll get stuck with.

“But where are we going to go with these guys?” I ask.

“I’ll bet one of them’s got a big, black car,” Mel says. “Big enough for all of us.”

Mel looks out the Windex-streaked window into the parking lot. I look with her.

There are no cars like that in the parking lot.

“There’s more parking in back,” she says. “You go ask them.”

“You go,” I say. “It’s your idea.”

She looks at me and takes a deep breath and says, “Okay,” and gets up and I say, “Wait.”


“Let’s go to the bathroom first.”

When we get up to go to the bathroom, Mel saunters over to the three men and says hey in what she thinks is her sexiest voice. To me, though, the only difference between it and her normal voice is that it sounds louder. In this voice, she asks them if they happen to know the time.

All three of these men are wearing wristwatches but only one of them—the fat, pale, horny one—consults his. The other two exchange a glance and keep eating.

“It’s about five thirty,” he says, looking up at us. And I notice that when he does, his little businessman eyes do this little dip from our faces to our chests. It’s the littlest dip you can imagine. But it’s all Mel can talk about when we get to the bathroom.

“Could you beeelieeeeve that guy? I mean, he was slobbering all ohhhver us.”

And I say, “Totally, I know. He totally was.”

And she says, “Oh my god, Lizzie, we have to do this.”

And I agree. We have to.

Today was Dress Down Day, which means that though we came from school, we’re not wearing our uniforms. This Dress Down Day had a theme. Normally Mel and I steer clear of the themes because of how lame they usually are, but this one was The Sixties, which we guessed was cool enough. Everybody dressed up like a hippie, including me, but Mel did a cooler thing. She found this minidress with a whacked-out red and white pattern at Value Village for, like, seven bucks. So she’s wearing that and her lips are covered with a silvery frost, which she is now reapplying in the mirror. Her eyelids are lined thickly on top with black liquid liner. All day she got compliments from everyone, even though we know no one except Katherine. Girls we both hate kept coming up to Mel and saying things like, Love your dress. And then Mel said, Thanks, and when the girl was out of earshot Mel finished with, Bitch. And we both laughed.

I finish putting on my lipstick and I watch Mel apply a fresh coat of eyeliner to one closed eye, and I say, “But we can’t have sex with them.”

Mel waves the coat of eyeliner dry with a hand.

“Oh my god,” she says, “of course not. Are you crazy?”

I heave a sigh of relief. “Okay, good,” I say.

“We’re just going to suck them off in their car,” she says. “It’ll make their whole lives.”

“All right,” I say, and run my tongue over my teeth.

• • •

I pray the businessmen won’t be there when we get back, but they’re there. And one of them, our friend the time teller, even smiles a not unwelcoming smile. Mel takes a step toward their table; they all look up. Then just as she takes a breath and starts to open her mouth, I grab her hand and pull her back.

“What?” she hisses.

“Let’s do the Fate Papers real quick,” I hiss back.

Mel sighs and sits down with me back at our booth.

I watch as she lamely shuffles the crumpled bits of napkin. I close my eyes tight and ask the universe as hard as I can in my mind.

When the paper drops, I pick it up off the table and unfold it.

Yes, written with purple ink in Mel’s loopy hand.

I make her do two out of three.

“Now what?” she says, as we both stare the crumpled Yes of the universe in the face for the second time.

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