Force • Aubrey Hirsch

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Even after 26 years of masturbation, 21 years of partnered sex (including 16 with the same man, training him to fuck me just the right way) the best orgasm I ever had was the one I got from Angie in her oven-warm kitchen on Thanksgiving night, our husbands drunk and nodding into their cigars in the living room, her Betty Page bangs peeking up from between my legs. Now she stares through dark glasses down the barrel of a Colt sport model Woodsman and I can tell, like I can always tell, that there’s a bruise under one of her eyes. She’s whispering to herself. I can catch syllables between the blasts of gunfire and their echoing returns. Is she saying his name? Or mine? The guns were on the passenger seat when Angie picked me up, wrapped in her fancy kitchen towels. She didn’t have to ask me to get in the car. I just got in. It was always like that with us. When she stops to look at me her mouth is a blade. I raise the revolver in my hand, squint through one eye like Bob Steele and empty the chamber into the canyon wall. Angie’s mouth moves into something you might call a smile, if you didn’t really know her. She didn’t kiss me that Thanksgiving night. Just handed me her drink to finish, lowered herself to the floor, and pulled my pantyhose off, so gently, so carefully, the way only a woman who’s pulled off a thousand pairs of pantyhose could. I finished the drink in one determined gulp, held her empty martini glass in my hand the whole time. I felt so filled with strange new power I was sure that if I tried to put it down the glass would burst into a thousand jagged pieces. It amazes me still, when I think about it, how a delicate thing can become a dangerous thing if one applies just the right amount of force.


Aubrey Hirsch is the author of Why We Never Talk About Sugar. Her stories, essays and comics have appeared in Black Warrior Review, American Short Fiction, The Florida Review, The Nib, The New York Times and elsewhere. You can learn more about her at or follow her on Twitter: @aubreyhirsch.

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