Standard Naming Conventions

The man at the bodega calls me baby.


Is that all for you, baby?

That’ll be five-oh-seven, baby.

Here’s your change, baby.


I want to say I’m not your baby.

I want to punch him in the dick.

I want to curl up and cry, like a baby.

I want-

I want.


The man on the street calls me Red because of the color of my dress.


What’s good, Red?

Where you going, Red?

You lookin’ real fine today Red.


I never liked the way I look in red.

I never asked him what he thought.

I never want to leave my house again.

I never-

I never.


The man in the bar calls me Blondie.


You here with anyone, Blondie?

Can I buy you a drink, Blondie?

Your skin sure feels soft, Blondie.


I am fidgeting beneath his gaze.

I am screaming behind my closed mouth.

I am squirming beneath his meaty hands.

I am-

I am-


I am.

–Brooke Hespeler

Brooke is is a Brooklyn-based research assistant, nonfiction writer, and aficionado of The West Wing. Her work has been previously published by the Santa Fe Writer’s Project, and she was a finalist for their 2013 Nonfiction Award. You can find her on Twitter.

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