Blogger Olive Rosehips is putting together an anthology where writers craft incredible stories in only ten sentences. “Pen Ten” will feature writers across the world and will debut this Fall. Khadijah’s short stories “Purple Nails” and “Blu’s Crisp Bills” will be featured in addition to eight other stories by Khadijah that will be compiled in a chapter of the book. You can check out “Purple Nails” on the anthology’s blog page here.
Here is “Blu’s Crisp Bills”:
“I don’t feel right about this,” said Maxi, fumbling with her umbrella as wet curls lay plastered to her forehead as she waited for Blu to answer. Blu was pretending not to hear as she held tightly to the anger that was rising in her chest; she tried to quell it as it tried hard as it could to spew out profanity at Maxi.
Blu did not like Maxi at all– the sight of her scuff-free boots and manicured hands made her want to vomit as she thought of the rich brats she used to watch shop without care when she used to be normal and work a day job at the mall. But, she swallowed roughly, this was a job, and her job was to follow directions, whether she liked Maxi or not.
Blu opened the envelope that Maxi handed her, counted ten crisp one hundred dollar bills and scanned the other books of money neatly settled in the envelope. Funny, but thirty thousand dollars didn’t look like that much money . Her mind remembered the bills the money was going to cover and, though relieved she would be debt free for a while now, she was a bit wistful about not being able to vacation with the windfall. She tucked the envelope into her purse and looked up. The glint from Maxi’s badge flickered first as she heard “You have the right to remain silent”, then she saw the uniformed cops emerge from surrounding spaces that had seemed so vacant before. As Blu put her hands up and felt rough hands push her head down and handcuff her, she hoped that her sister would be called soon enough to pick up the baby from daycare.
Khadijah Ali-Coleman is a playwright and performance artist. She is editor of the anthology Liberated Muse Volume I: How I Freed My Soul and will debut her play Running: AMOK this year in the Capital Fringe Fest this summer in Washington DC. She was inspired to write “Blu’s Crisp Bills” when she learned that 62% of women imprisoned in the US are between the ages of 25-39 and typically mothers.