Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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Short Story
4027 words
SHJ Issue 18
Spring 2018

Her Memoir

by Larry Smith

Now we get to the part of my life that takes place in prison. I get this funny feeling as I start to write that maybe it ought to have been the first part I wrote about or maybe even the only part. There are a lot of reasons why I think that might be. When you’re in prison, it’s like nothing else has ever happened to you. The past is a dream and the future is a great uncertainty. All the day-to-day experiences you have in prison are so awful and so intense that it seems they’re the only experiences you ever actually had. There are the fights where you think somebody’s going to die. There’s being naked in the shower where everybody sees you and you have to see everybody. There’s the moans and groans in the night which make you know that Lord Broomstick’s up to her old tricks again.

I guess that’s what hell is. It’s the feeling that pain is eternal, that it always was and always will be. Not that you don’t remember what happened before, and feel sorry that what happened before is what got you here. On the other hand, I have no regrets, no regrets whatsoever.

But there’s another reason why maybe prison should have been the first thing or even the only thing I write about. For me, prison is a metaphor. That means, it symbolizes everything that’s ever happened to me. It’s what my life is all about. It defines my life. I’ve always been in prison in one way or another. Even when I was in love, so much in love that I shot someone. That was a kind of prison too.

“Anytime you want me, babe, you got me,” he said to me. I wanted it all the time. So that meant I was his prisoner, and that love itself was a prison.

Sometimes he was my prisoner. “I could get in real trouble because of you,” he told me.

“So why don’t you just go away somewhere,” I asked him. But he didn’t. He kept coming back for more.

I just thought of another reason why being in prison defines my whole life. I became a celebrity in the regular world and in this world I’m looked upon as an even bigger celebrity, even more so than if I were a Mafia guy or a serial killer. A regular person like me who happened to commit a famous crime isn’t someone these other prisoners usually get to see. They follow me around or whisper behind my back or try to get in my pants, knowing that it’s an extraordinary thing that they are locked up with somebody from a higher rank of society that people on the outside are still talking about.

They all want me, but they don’t want me for me. They want me because I’m famous. And I’ll confess that something did actually happen. There was one woman who was pretty strong and rubbed up against me in the kitchen when we were both working there. I hated what she did but it was very interesting now that I think about it. Even the atmosphere was interesting. There was all this steam from the vents, and there were big blasts of heat coming out of the ovens, and the only other woman there besides me and Carol was old Carla, a Puerto Rican woman who was in jail for a long time and was kind of half-witted and didn’t know who I was or care about what was going on.

But Carol sure knew who I was. She forced me against the side of one of the ovens that wasn’t being used and started pulling at my pants. “Get off me, you stupid nigger,” I said.

“Don’t make me get a knife,” she said.

“I’ll get one too,” I said, but I was bluffing.

“C’mon, I just want to see what it looks like,” she said, and I said, “you seen it in the shower.”

“I haven’t,” she said. “Besides, I want to see it now.”

So, to make a long story short, she got my pants down and reached in to my puss with her finger. I was going to hit her or scream, except she fascinated me because she kept repeating my name as she felt around inside and I realized it wasn’t my body that she wanted. She wanted my name, she wanted to do my name, and I could see her getting very excited as she said it over and over again, as if she were feeling around inside of something more incredibly special than anything she’d ever known before. It was as good for her as if I were a movie star, maybe better. She was so glad to be feeling the puss that made the name famous.

It got around, of course, what happened, so I tried to stay more and more to myself lest everyone want the glory of knowing what I’m like inside and telling everybody about it. But then I saw something that disturbed me even more than if I had been raped, although it was nothing that did me any direct harm. In fact, you’d think it was the kind of thing that would flatter anybody’s ego and make her feel like a goddess, but it actually bothered me quite a bit because of what it says about how weird people can be. Even prisoners shouldn’t be this weird.

A prisoner named Melissa had built a shrine to me in her cell. There were pictures of me from the newspapers, and drawings she had done, and articles all cut up and pasted together in a big collage, like a whole map of me, on the wall. She’d lie on her back and stare, not masturbating or anything, but just contemplating the pictures.

“That girl’s got a thing for you,” said one of the women.

“It’s really something, your being here and all,” Melissa said to me in a dreamy kind of a way after I called her a crazy bitch. But she never tried to touch me or anything. Melissa was in for shooting somebody too, but it wasn’t that she identified with me because we had done similar crimes. As I say, it was just because I was so famous, the most famous person of my kind until the O.J. Simpson murder happened.

They’d be even hotter for my name if they knew some secrets about me that even the newspapers never found out, but that I’ll tell you about right now. My parents aren’t my real parents, but they got to adopt me because they have the same last name as my real father, who gave me to them, partially because of the coincidence of the names.

He was a very famous entertainer in his day, but he fell on hard times. He was very handsome and a wonderful singer with a clear deep voice, although not quite a baritone. It was a perfect voice and he had many hit records. But he fell on hard times because he left his wife for a famous movie star, and the public condemned him for that. Then the famous movie star left him for another famous movie star, and the public mocked him for that.

I never really met him and, in recent years, I understand he’s been drinking a lot and taking pills. But I have a beautiful letter he wrote me three years ago, which I memorized, and which said:

My fine daughter,

I hope you are enjoying your life with your fine family. Things are going well for me, and I’ll actually be coming east soon to perform at the Harms Theater in New Jersey. Maybe someday we could meet, because I’m sure you’re growing up to be a fine young lady and that would make me very proud.

Your loving father

My mother was someone he met while he was singing at the Westbury Theater in the Round, a woman who came back stage after the show to try to meet Joan Rivers, who was headlining, and had to settle for meeting him instead. It was a one-night stand but my father was really supportive when my mother got pregnant with me and he bought her a little house in Queens. But she had what’s called the wanderlust, and she called him when I was a baby and, according to what I was told, she said, “You better do something about this kid because I’m out of here.” That’s when his agent contacted my adopted parents, and, in truth, the fact that they have the same last name wasn’t the only reason they were chosen. My father’s agent thought they were also very nice and stable people, and I guess they are. I’m sorry for the pain I’ve caused them, although I don’t regret anything, not a thing. I’m also sorry about the pain I’ve caused my real father, except he may be too loaded to give a shit. If so, I guess that would be a blessing.

Oh my papa! Sometimes I think I could follow in his footsteps by becoming an entertainer after I get out of prison. Who wouldn’t want to pay to see me, if only because of the novelty? But then that would wear off because I think I have some real talent, and in the fullness of time that’s mainly what people pay attention to, like the black chick who was Miss America until she bumped pussies in the magazine but now the only thing people really think about is what a great singer she is.


Did you ever stop and wonder why they made such a fucking big deal about me and the crime I committed? I mean, people get shot all the time, and people get fucked all the time. And people get shot all the time because they’re getting fucked or because, like in my case, the shooter’s the one getting fucked. So why me? Was it him that got our story on the front page because he’s so fascinating and all? I don’t think so. Big dumb shits like him are everywhere and so are little cuties like me.

Maybe it’s because most of the people who read the Daily News and the New York Post are a lot like me in terms of family background, and the things we do for a living, which could be either very blue-collar like being a garage mechanic, or very white-collar like being an insurance salesman. Sometimes I talk to insurance salesmen and they don’t sound a lot different from guys who load trucks, even though they wear different kinds of clothes to work. They’ve got the same views of things and the same tone in their voice when they express themselves. I remember I was at a bar in Kew Gardens and a guy who was wearing a suit and tie and looked like he was a manager in a bank was talking about capital punishment and he said, “They should just kill those animals and not let a bunch of damn politicians stand in the way.” That very same week, I see this construction worker or something like that because he was wearing a hard hat, I see him on the street in Manhattan, and I overhear him say to his friend, “They should kill those animals and not worry about it.” I assume he was talking about capital punishment too but even if he wasn’t, it must have been a similar subject, and the choice of words and the tone of voice were so similar; I made a mental note of it.

So if you go from bankers to construction workers, and they’re all similar enough to people like us to identify with us, and to really pay attention and be fascinated if we shoot somebody, especially when there’s sex involved, then you’ve got an incredible big audience of readers.

That would explain why the newspapers pick one thing and not another, and why something that’s not really a big deal gets to be a big deal. In New York City alone, not counting Newark or Poughkeepsie or whatever, do you know all the shit that niggers are getting into, and all the shit that’s happening to them? And when you take a whole look at the Tri-State area, holy shit! In just the week or two before I got sent to prison, and was still reading the papers, they found one black baby in a cardboard box on the West Side Highway, they arrested a woman in the Bronx who froze her two-year old in a freezer, a drug dealer was found in little bitty pieces, a family got burned to death in Jersey because the guy thought his woman was doing somebody else, a girl in South Ozone Park was gang raped, a girl in South Jamaica was gang raped, a woman in East New York shot her husband and 10-year old son, and a junkie was found in her apartment still alive but her baby was eaten by a dog because the dumb fucking junkie forgot to feed the goddamn dog. And me? What did I do? I took one shot at one woman, who never even came close to dying but has a slight handicap that will probably go away in time.

I conclude from all of this that the newspapers don’t care about niggers or what they do or what happens to them, which is ok as far as I’m concerned, but what hypocrites! They’re always preaching about the evils of racism, and supporting the niggers when they give speeches and such. But they know that what actually happens to niggers won’t sell any newspapers, so they come after me instead. It’s like that Steinberg case they made such a big deal of. I think that guy Steinberg was a piece of shit who deserves to die, but there’s a million Steinbergs right now doing their own kids or somebody else’s kids, but they single him out because he’s white and supposed to be middle-class and professional and all that, and supposed to uphold middle-class and professional values, and what does he do instead? He goes and does his own adopted fucking daughter, or at least he beats the fucking crap out of her. But is that kid’s life worth more than some little nigger’s?

And do you know what else Steinberg was? You got it! Steinberg was a Jew and isn’t supposed to do such things. I mean, if Jews behave like this, then what hope is there for mankind? Starting to catch on? You know what I am, don’t you? You bet I am!

I wouldn’t say it’s anti-Semitism or anything, especially since most of the newspaper editors are Jews themselves, or else micks that like to hang with Jews. But it’s really playing on all kinds of public attitudes about Jews, and not just the thought that Jews are supposed to be more upright than others. I think there’s also a sex thing here. Guys love Jewish puss. It’s exotic, because it’s different, but also because we’re supposed to be hungry bitches. So when they see somebody like me, and I have a horny look on my face in the papers or on TV, and they see I’ve got these slim, pretty, delicate hips, but the guy’s probably got a donkey cock between his legs, they read the story in the papers and they say, “Whoa, that must have been some kind of fucking!”

I’ll tell you a real secret about something that, assuming he still has it, he could make a million dollars or more selling it to a Hugh Hefner type. One day he comes to me and he says, “Babe, I want to take your picture.”

“Sure,” I said, because I didn’t really mind if there was a nudie of me floating around, and in fact it kind of excited me. He’d have even more control of me because he had the picture, but I’d have even more control of him because I could always say he photographed it. So he says we should meet at the regular motel and he named the time.

We meet in the driveway—I took a bus there that day—and as I see him signing in, he’s carrying a big leather case in which I know he has the camera, because who checks into a motel room carrying a camera? That would be a little obvious, don’t you think? So fine, we’re in the room, and I say, “Do you want pictures of me doing myself?”

“Later,” he says.

“Later? What do you mean later?” I say. “I thought you could do one of me in bra and panties, and a few more of me doing myself in different poses.”

“Oh yeah, I’m all for that,” he said. “But first there’s one I’ve been dying to take. Stretch out naked.”

I took my clothes off and lay down on the bed. He told me to put my hands behind my head, which I did. Then he told me to open my legs just a little, which I did. Then he reaches in for the camera, and he says, “Babe, you’re gonna love this.”

But I didn’t love it. In fact, I thought it was insulting. You know what he did? He reaches into the case and pulls out a brand new white yarmulke. “What the fuck?” I asked.

“I bought it over in Forest Hills,” he says, and with that he puts it on my cunt, and takes the photograph.

“This turns you on, you pig?” I ask.

He laughs, and says, “I think it’s funny, like you just swallowed up some Jewish guy in your cunt, and all that’s left of him is his little beanie cap between your legs.”

“Frame it,” I said, “and call the picture, ‘Man Eater.’”

I hope he does sell it and make a fortune, so he can send his kids to some college where they’ll teach them not to be a big dumb guinea like their father. Maybe that’s what I’ll do after I get out of here. Open up a school for little guineas, like a finishing school, so they can grow up with a little class.


It’s odd, though, that when we all became celebrities, I wasn’t particularly surprised. You’d think I would be. People like President Kennedy were raised expecting to be famous in the media every day. But then other times history just seems to swoop down and pick people out. It happens a lot to simple people like Pope John XXIII, and to another great pope hundreds of years ago who was called Pope Celestine V. I’m not a peasant or anything, but I am a simple person, or at least I don’t come from a family like the Kennedys, yet I was picked anyway.

History will ask, why did she do it? Right now, until I tell you, no one but me knows why. First, you have to understand what I loved about him from a sexual standpoint. It wasn’t just that he had a big dick, but he used it in a bold and powerful way, and I respected how he might knock a girl around without ever hurting her. You could tell he didn’t want to hurt anybody. Sometimes I’d slap him when I thought he was being presumptuous in the things he’d do with his dick, but then he’d hold back my arms so I couldn’t hit him and he’d screw harder and faster like his thing was a pneumatic drill and he was doing a job fixing up 34th Street or something. You have to be a hell of a guy to make a girl feel like she’s 34th Street. I could never love a guy with a small wiener, yet more and more I was beginning to feel that a big one wasn’t enough for me either, unless the guy had a genuine sense of his own personal value to go along with it. And, for those of you who do think a big dick is all you need let me tell you, I’ve heard about real flamers who have big dicks, but they’re guys in drag who take it up the butt for joy.

Sometimes I got to imagine what it would be like if I were married and he were doing me like this behind hubby’s back. Hubby would be the ultimate schmuck, don’t you think? He’d be owned. It’s almost like when your wife gets fucked so hard and fine by somebody else, you’re getting fucked too. That turned me on, except I wasn’t married.

But here’s the thing. I loved him so much at times that I wanted to be him. Sometimes I wanted to be him fucking me, but that wore off as a fantasy because, after all, he was fucking me. So then maybe I thought I could be him doing him, crazy as that sounds, or turn him into a woman, and make a fool out of his husband, but he doesn’t have a husband and it’s hard to imagine him having a husband or what kind of guy could ever be his husband. But he does have a wife, if you can see where I’m going. And that idea really worked, it stayed alive inside me, and, as time went on, I started wanting to do his wife real bad, but not as a woman doing another woman, but as a stud doing the spouse of the lover he loves.

Then it got even heavier. The more I thought about it, and the more I dreamed of being him, the more I could really feel what he was feeling and want what he was wanting. So never mind all the hot cheat on your spouse stuff. Love and love alone, love in all its glory, took over. As I remember, the very moment when I was loading that gun, I was thinking about what it must look like when he does his wife or when his wife does him and at that moment I wanted to be him loving up his wife just like a man should.

So I didn’t hate the woman. Quite to the contrary, I loved her husband ever so much that I wanted to be him and fuck my wife and really take her over with a big banging she wouldn’t ever forget. But if I strapped on a dildo, or even if I could grow my own dick, she would have just told me to go packing, and, besides, I didn’t want to play-act like a man. So I took the gun, figuring that would be a satisfying thing to do her with, and of course I wouldn’t kill her, I’d only wing her a little, just like Chin Gigante winged Frank Costello in the old days, and in the same part of the body—which just happens to be a part of the body a lot of women use in a very adoring and loving and humble way to give men sexual satisfaction. I loved him so much, I feel like a saint who sacrificed everything for love. I’m not Catholic but isn’t that what saints do? Give it up, and all for love?

Anyway, so that’s why I shot her. I shot her because I was changed from what I used to be, love had changed me, and shooting her made the change as real as the flesh on my bones and the blood in my veins. I’m no longer the hot little Jew girl who passes out blow jobs around the neighborhood. I’m no longer the bitch who teases dorky guys while she secretly dreams of the stud she’s been longing for. I’m no longer the wayward kid who needs a shrink. I’m no longer even the celebrity that pitiful bitches in prison dream about. All I am now is my lover’s penis, and that is all I ever want to be.


SHJ Issue 18
Spring 2018

Larry Smith’s

novella, Patrick Fitzmike and Mike Fitzpatrick, was published in 2016 by Outpost 19. His stories have appeared in Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Low Rent (nominated for a Pushcart Prize), Exquisite Corpse, The Collagist, Curbside Splendor, Sequestrum, and [PANK], among numerous others. Smith’s poetry has appeared in Descant (Canada) and elimae, among others; his articles and essays, in Modern Fiction Studies, Social Text, The Boston Phoenix, and others.

Author’s website:

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury