Our town had one star prostitute who was truly a hard working girl. She took no holidays and always stood on the corner of the bar most favorited by our construction workers. She could take seven, eight men a night and still show up on the corner the next evening wearing her widest smile. And her smile was very wide. It was rumored that she worked every night, did everyone and everything, happily so. However, mothers and wives hated her and would often sue her for home wrecking. Children of unfaithful fathers, as well as their friends, would throw bricks at her windows or steal things from her house on a daily basis. Thus, she was always in debt.
One night, a local teenager finally threw a Molotov cocktail at her living room slash kitchen and her house burned down while she was at work. When she came back to the ashes of her house, she calculated that she will be homeless forever and crawled into her vagina for cover, head and arms and all. With most of her torso coiled into herself, she walked around on her naked legs, stomach curved unnaturally, her body forming a P.
The night of the fire, she had been with the town’s famous writer, who, despite his success in the literary scene, had long been deemed unrespectable. He was a drinker of all, smoker of all, swore like a sailor, was generally inhospitable to adults and kids alike, and when he showed up at his mother’s funeral with a notebook and a pen and sat there scribbling through the whole ceremony, it was generally agreed that he had no heart.
Nevertheless, after the fire, he took the prostitute into his home, from which she continued to come to work. She could be seen, a peach-hued capital P, standing all the more provocatively at her corner at night. Mothers and wives, previously filled with a communal hatred for her, now sometimes visited her and tried to talk to her through her womb, offering condolences, apologies, warnings about the writer, and so on. The prostitute never showed any sign of reaction whatsoever, but would only wrap one of her legs around one of the women’s, which they took as a hug and awkwardly patted. In truth, she did the same gesture to male customers when seducing them.
When a daring and lonely bachelor took the chance and the word got out that the presence of her mouth and breasts in her vagina made her ever more pleasurable, perhaps the most special experience, and many a fight occurred to take her home, the visitations of the mothers and wives stopped entirely. Hatred for the writer grew even more among the construction workers, because now the prostitute took holidays off and only accepted maybe three or four men a night. It is said that the writer himself enjoyed her services all day, for his generosity.
Apparently they were a happy couple though, because on weekends they were often sighted sitting on park benches, the writer feeding the prostitute pieces of pear or pomegranate through her vagina into her mouth, most of which sloppily juiced down her thighs and left the wooden seat quite sticky. She never ate bananas, and would spit them out as whole as she could without even taking a bite. We postulate that she thought they were penises in the darkness, and some confirm this, but we can never be sure. I certainly have no clue.
The womb kept this going for a while, then, on the ninth month, spat her out prematurely at twelve contractions per hour. As soon as she was delivered, the writer kicked her out and moved to another state, and the house was occupied by a new family the very next day. Some who were there to witness this say that she walked through the seedy neighborhood naked, her bare feet slapping onto the cracked asphalt, leaving red footmarks and her hair dripping constantly. Presumably, no one raped her because of all the blood.
She continued to work with her wide smile, but the number of customers decreased significantly upon her return to a regular woman, to less than even before the fire. Other prostitutes had taken up many of her customers, and since she still had no home, it was difficult for her to keep herself clean. By the third week of sleeping on benches, she finally crawled back into her vagina, which managed to earn her just as much money as she used to.
A few months later, a detailed but largely dramatized account of this story was found in the writer’s new book, Pregnant with Me-ning, which was received with much praise in various literary magazines and granted our town much tourist revenues. The prostitute regained her stardom and earned and received enough money to buy herself the writer's previous house, driving the new family out of town. Although she had a home now, after her second delivery, she again crawled into her vagina and continues to do so every ten months. She can presently be seen at her corner by the same bar, where she reports to duty every evening as a dashing capital P. She is due next Thanksgiving.
Soeun Seo is a poet, a fiction writer, a freelance translator and a lost soul in Seoul, though she has been lost in other places before. With the poet Jake Levine, she has translated the Korean poet Kim Yi-deum and she translates the Korean cartoon artist Peong’s comics. Her poetry has been published at Potluck Magazine and is forthcoming at Witch Craft Magazine.