Escort Gossip

– C.J. Cioc

On the bridge out of one city

into another city, in a sundress and sandals,

she holds her head screaming

into the line of stopped cars. I don’t remember her name.

She was running up and down the bridge, warning

each approaching car—


     carfire!

     theres a fucking car

     on fucking fire—

     get off the damn bridge!

     these police is retarded!

     these people

     are retarded!

the police set up sawhorses

around the Saab’s flaming carcass. Nobody was inside, though.

We all smell the burning plastic, so we emerge

from our cars, confident to step

on to the highway bridge and walk

towards the wreck—

The girl

whose name I don’t remember

ran back up and is

chatting up the taxi driver.

     I cant be stuck on this bridge, son

          I gotta go home

          get three hours sleep

     Well, I’m a escort, so— my clients in Jersey

     I’m fucking late

          Yoo, you said you’re a escort,

          if you ever need a cab—

     If you ever got clients,

     you let me know, kay?

          Aight.

The cab driver, smokes a cigarette with some

tired looking tow truck guys.

     Yo you said your name was Muhammad, right?

     I’m calling you that’s my number, there

     these people are seriously stupid, like they

     think we don’t know they cant

     get their shit together— 

          mhmm, you know it, baby

There’s this big blue junk van and this big black guy

is sitting in the driver’s seat murmuring

something to his friend next to him—

they sigh heavy sighs.

Suddenly, the white headlights of hundreds of cars and trucks

rolled over red like the scales of a venomous snake,

they make k-turns, all aim their cars to traffic.

On the drive back down, all four refineries

can be seen churning out cloud, with some stars

or medivacs or planes, coursing

through their short bursts. All down the banks

and across the bridge, skinny flare stacks gasflared

and broke brown night around the wrsh

traffic—

wrsh traffic—

stiffly gaining speed.


C.J. Cioc is a recent graduate of Rosemont College’s MFA program in Creative Writing. His works have been featured in Rathalla Review, Philadelphia Stories, and Calliope among others. He lives in the Pocono Mountains with his family and his dog, with whom he enjoys section hiking the Appalachian Trail.

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