Mint in Your Throat

Author’s Note: This is a somewhat problematic story. Readers may find it
helpful to have some of my thoughts on it, which can currently be found in
my October 29th journal entry.

You’re walking down Guerrero, exhausted. Class ran late. Missed
the last bus and no way you were carrying enough for a cab, so you’re
walking home after eleven. Street’s deserted — pools of streetlight
illuminating emptiness. A backpack heavy on your shoulder and you’re
wondering why the hell you decided to wear the damn heels to class. Mike
Massiani, graphic design professor extroadinaire who you’re pretty sure
was noticing your legs yesterday is the reason. Stupid reason. Your feet
hurt like hell until finally you stop and take off the damn shoes. Shoes
in one hand, picking your way carefully along the concrete sidewalk,
watching for broken glass. Totally unprepared for the swift figure out of
the alley, his hand grabbing your arm, a pocketknife at your throat.

Heels in his face? Scream? In that frozen moment of decision
he’s dragged you into the alley, pressed you up against the wall. It’s
just a pocketknife, but the blade is sharp. He’s maybe sixteen, barely
bearded and acne-spotted. White boy with dead-cat breath and a high

“Hey, bitch. Bitch, you’re gonna give me some.”

Not money he wants — good. You don’t have any. Visions of
blood, and your legs are shaking. Glad of the concrete wall at your back.
Cool. Calm.

“You want sex?” Voice didn’t crack. Good.

He’s confused. Maybe he’d thought you’d scream.


Here’s the test. “Blow job’s fifty bucks. You wanna fuck, it’ll
be a hundred.” Don’t let him see the fear. You do this every day, right?
Tough chick.

“Where the fuck am I going to get that!” He’s shaking now. Maybe
drugged out. “I’ve got a fucking knife on you and you want fifty

You sigh. Please don’t let that hand with the blade shake against
your throat. “Look, whatcha got?”

He shrugs slightly. “Maybe ten.”

“Okay. But you gotta put on a condom.”

He doesn’t move or speak. Sweat dripping down his face and the
stink of fear heavy in the air. His or yours?

Finally he drops the hand with the knife. Fumbles in his pocket
and pulls out a crumpled five, a couple of ones. You take them. Don’t
let your hand shake.

“Don’t have a condom.” He’s halfway apologetic, halfway
belligerent. Could lose it right now.

You reach into your backpack, pull out your wallet. Stuff the
money in and pull out a condom. God knows how long it’s been there. If
it isn’t still good…. Hand it to him.

He unzips his pants, pulls out his cock. Pathetic little thing.
Gets the condom on, with difficulty. Stands there, waiting for you,

You drop to your knees on gravel. Muck on your legs. Spit on
your hand and grab his cock. Rub it ’til it’s hard. Then your mouth —
powdery mint and latex. You almost gag then, but shove it down. All

His hands are tight in your hair. By the end, he’s fucking your
mouth, slamming into your throat. When it’s done, he zips up and walks
away. Tonight he’ll tell his friends he got a blow job from a hooker for
only eight bucks. He’ll boast. He’ll do this again.

You kneel there. Once he’s out of sight, the shakes take over.
Deep shudders and still you’re biting back the moan. Blankly you stand
and start walking. Walking and walking. You circle your block three
times before you walk up the stairs to the apartment and up the door.
Can’t find your keys. You slam your fist into the door until your
roommate opens, his eyes startled.


You stand there, with the words swallowed down so deep. He pulls
you in, gently. Asks you questions. You don’t answer, and finally he
pulls you into a hug, a long embrace, with arms protecting, cradling. His
palms are flat against your back, your head tilted into the hollow of
shoulderblade. Shaking again, and he’s murmuring softly, reassuring
words. Still the taste of mint in your mouth. Dry dusty mint. Tilt your
head up, just a little, and he’s looking down at you, concern in dark
brown eyes.

Just moved in a few weeks ago and he doesn’t know you too well,
but knows that you’re not the type of woman to come home this late with
slime on your legs and an inability to speak. You’re not that kind of
girl. You’re not. His name returns to you. Miguel.

Up on toes you kiss him. His lips taste slightly salty before he
pulls away.


You kiss him again. Your hands balled in the fabric of his shirt,
you pull him to you. He’s wanted this for a while. He hadn’t said
anything, but you knew. You weren’t sure. Your roommate, after all.
Generally a bad idea. But he wants it. So do you.

Still he holds back. “Jenny, are you sure?” Such a kind

You nod. Mouth ‘yes’, though your throat is still locked. Mouth
‘please’. He surrenders then, hands gentle on your back, lips moving
against yours. He smells like trees. Miguel.

Afterwards, you cry. Weep while he holds you, until the tears
have washed a path down cheekbone and chin to opening throat. Tell him
everything. He gets the eight dollars from your wallet and you throw it
out the window. Puts you in a shower, pours you hot cocoa, and then both
back to bed. Sleep in his arms.

In the morning, you wake before him. Sun pours onto the futon and
the alley seems a dream. A dream of rank sweat and mint, terror and
arousal. You shudder, biting your lip. A hand between your thighs comes
away damp. You are crying again.

M.A. Mohanraj
Clarion ’97