The Devil You Don’t

Marisol carefully washed herself in the basin. She used the perfumed soap Olán had given her for her birthday. The lavender scent was strong, but did little to mask the  odor of the businessman’s cologne that seemed to hang about her room.

She went to the dresser and counted the money for a third time. She did not like to touch it. She wished Olán would come home so she could be shut of it.

Perhaps when he returned he would have good news, maybe even a job. He told her every day that he would find work soon, that their fortunes would turn around. That she could stop with these visits from the businessman.

“It is not a choice we make willingly,” he often said. He was careful to always say “we.”

He liked to say that their necessity would negate the sin of all this, that God would understand.


What Pegman Saw


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    • J Hardy Carroll

      Yeah, it’s always a bummer when you have to prostitute your sister to pay the rent. I have a feeling the brother is going out and sitting in bars and not looking for a job, too.

  1. Lynn Love

    Well written, Josh – a modern tragedy of sex slavery, one body being used by countless others, the brother included. Sordid and sad, but very well told.

  2. pennygadd51

    What a clever manipulator you make Olan. The appearance of sharing the responsibility is subtle; as is the argument that ‘God will understand’. I wonder how long it will be before Marisol realises she’s been conned?

  3. EagleAye

    Oh the dreaded, “we.” I often hate the times when “we” must do something. “We” so often means “one person” shoulders the burden. How about “we” get on the ball and find a job, Olan? Regardless, it’s sad when poverty pushes families to such things. A beautifully told, tragic story.

  4. rochellewisoff

    Dear Josh,

    I wasn’t sure if this was her husband but I see from your comment he was her brother. How convenient for Olán. Good story. You evoked a lot of emotion from this reader in few words. But you have a knack for that.



    (Still mad about Betty ;))

  5. prior..

    really loved how you said “we” because it shows how the bro does maybe ache too (even if he is maybe drinking and not aggressively job hunting) – and I really felt in that room where was sex was business and the cologne smell stayed…

Don't just stand there.