Moll (After Kincaid) ~ fiction by Richie Narvaez

Take the loot from the Saturday night knockover and lock it in the box; wash the stash on Sundays at the track and glom a little for yourself and stuff it into the mattress; never leave the house without one of the fellas; fry up eggs in butter, not oleo, and make a lot more toast that you think you’ll need; always keep your dress perfumed; if you buy yourself a new purse, make sure it’s got secret pockets, if not sew in secret pockets, because you’re going to need ’em; soak shirts in milk to get out the bloodstains; say, you didn’t talk to that copper O’Reilly, did you?; never finish the food that’s on your plate or else the gunsels will call you a pig and have a laugh; at the speakeasy try to act like a lady for once and not like the red-light floozy you really are; never talk to no stinkin’ coppers; on top of that, never talk to stinkin’ snitches, not even to ask for a light; don’t drink any old bubbly sitting around—it could be a mickey; but I don’t talk to the coppers or snitches at all and I certainly never did at the clubhouse; this is how to sew up a stab wound; this is how to make a bandage for the stab wound you just sewed up; this is how you do dance slow with a man without looking like the red-light floozy I know you are and who you’re always gonna be; this is how you hide a gat so’s it don’t make a bulge; this is how you starch your man’s best shirts so that he never sees a crease and backhands you one for it; this is where you get hop—far from the house, because you don’t want your man to know; this is how you ditch the fellas before you go get good and gowed-up; once the hop hits you, this is how you vomit so’s you don’t get it on your shoes; this is how you shop; this is how you shop on credit when things get tight; this is how you stretch a sack of potatoes over a month; this is how you make friendly with the corner grocer you don’t like too much; this is how you make friendly with the corner grocer you don’t like at all; this is how you make friendly with the corner grocer’s wife who ain’t gonna like you no matter how you try, so why bother; always cross your legs and act like a lady—and don’t ever think you’re a hot shot or criminal or a gangster, you rube; all that is his business and let the rotten bum keep it; this is what you put inside yourself so you don’t get knocked up, because if you get knocked up you’ll be on the street again being the red-light floozy again; this is who you go to to take care of things when you do get knocked up; he’s out of town; always take care of things out of town, so the neighbors don’t see nothing; don’t make eyes at the doc or at anyone, because believe you me it’ll get back to your man; this is how to make a martini; this is how to make a gin rickey; this is how to make a gimlet; this is how to cure a hangover; this is how to soak your head after a bad batch of bathtub gin; this is how to cure a bad dose of hop, but you gonna have to count on one of us gals because your man won’t want to know about it; this is how to settle down a gunsel, and if this doesn’t work there are other ways; this is how to chiv someone if it comes to that, and this is how you use those famous getaway sticks of yours so maybe you live to see tomorrow; this is what you tell your parents when they ask what how you’re doing in the big city; always use your teeth to check oyster fruit to make sure it’s the Real McCoy; but what if my man don’t give me no oyster fruit?; you really gonna sit there and tell me that you’re gonna to be the kind of dame stays with a bum don’t give her no goddamn oyster fruit?

Richie Narvaez is the author of two novels and two short story collections. More at

Show Richie some love via PayPal at richienarvaez(at)gmail(dot)com.