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Midnight Flash

By Ann Rower


Now that they have a thing called Date Rape they also have a new word for plain old fashioned rape (not to be confused with my favorite vegetable, broccoli rape). It's called Stranger Rape as in Truth is Stranger than Fiction. But not really stranger than flopping down on my stomach on my bed on Bleecker Street after I got home and not feeling anything at all. That was stranger. A boyfriend coming over and saying he just couldn't stand the idea of touching me anymore. That was stranger. But I remember telling a girlfriend about how it seemed almost a victory because I actually talked my way out of getting raped by this guy.


A guy, a man, in a raincoat I had a split second to wonder about anyone wearing in the middle of an August city heat wave while he's saying

I just got out of Creedmore this afternoon...

(the raincoat did look new)

and I haven't had sex with a woman for a year....

(his hair was wavy and shiny)

And I mean, he said, opening the raincoat and showing me his gun, to get it now.

What did you do? she said.

I told you. I talked him out of it.

But how?

I told him I was carrying this wildly contagious vaginal infection I had just been to the gynecologist that day which he would definitely catch if he raped me I hadn't even been to the Drugstore to get my prescription filled, let alone start taking the medicine to STOP IT, PLEASE

Did you?


Really have an infection.


Where was it?


Yes, where did it happen?

Oh. Bedford Street.

What were you doing on Bedford Street?

Getting my Sticky Fingers record back.

What did he do?

He pushed me forward and down with the butt of his gun and pointed up to the next landing which was hidden more but not much from the street and said

Bend over and pull up your dress.

(It had a very short skirt and little orange faces on it. I got it at Paraphernalia on Greenwich Ave not the one uptown and I had cut the sleeves off it was that hot even at two in the morning and I know you're thinking what I doing roaming around in a torn dress etc etc)

-and he jerked off in my ass, as I put it in my confusion to the young cop barely 30 minutes later.

How did the cops get into it?

Maxwell had insisted I call them. They wanted me to cruise along 8th Street in their squad car to try to find and identify the man but I said I couldn't possibly find anybody in the late Saturday night early Sunday a.m. crowd and I couldn't possibly identify anybody in particular because I didn't have my glasses with me and besides, I said, I didn't see his face.

What'd ya mean, you didn't see his face, the younger cop asked and that's when I blushed and told him about the man jerking off in my ass. I couldn't think of any other way to put it. I guess I was in shock.

He blushed too and was so embarrassed that he was silent until the car had pulled up in front of my place on Bleecker Street and we got out of it and the hearing of the other men.

I hate to have to bother you any more miss but I have to ask you one more question-It's for the charge-


This man, this man who, he fidgeted with his hat like a cop on TV this man did he-Well, you see, miss, for the charge... it's-it's-a matter of... penetration.


But what was really strange was I wrote all this down and tried to get it published. I think what happened next would be called Editor Rape. It was one of the first stories I ever wrote down and I decided it was funny cause it sort of had a punch line though it was strange that no one ever laughed but people said try to have it published so I took it into the Soho News (remember the Soho weekly news?) where the editor in chief, a fat big pig who shall remain nameless, had been making goo-goo eyes at me on the street every day for years and I thought to parlay some of that heat into publication success in the esteemed downtown rag and I'd tried to dress nice and I'd retyped the story and put on some perfume from Barone's (surely you don't remember Barone's) I think it was called Power but it was mostly musk and stuck the story in an envelope and loped over to the Soho News feeling confident about my writing but when I walked in I lost my nerve and I sort of snuck up to his desk and stood in front of it holding the story in the white envelope in my hand.

I have something Iwrote, I said.

Is it news or feature, he said.

I don't know, I mean-

What's it about, he said.

It's a rape story, I said.

Oh were you raped, he said.

I said well not really.

Oh then it's fiction, he said and pointed over to the features desk and he didn't even look me in the eye or looked right through me like he never even saw me before though he'd been making goo-goo eyes at me at least twice a day on the street for five years like I said.

No it's not fiction.

Oh then you were raped.

Well not really, I said, sensing that I was losing him. I mean that's what the story is about, well you really have to read it...

He did not look convinced or at all interested. I was ready to turn tail but I stuck to my mission and said PLEASE, like in the story, and stuck out my hand with the story in it. He looked at me like he wasn't going to take it at all then slowly, he reached up and grabbed the white envelope and leaned back and just as he was about to dismiss me, for the first time since I'd been standing in front of his desk, his eyes met mine, he raised my story to his nose and inhaled deeply.

Love your perfume, he said.

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