I Came For the Dancing Peacocks: A Short Story

Big assed women danced with multicolored peacock tails strapped to their backs. Their big, boisterous asses swayed to calypso for no one in particular. Just a bunch of dark skinned girls with a beat that needed to be matched with equally feverish movements.

It was carnival and the sun was high. A residential road served as a dance floor, fast food joint, and bar. People danced and drank, scattering for the occasional car then returning to their activities once the car passed. Air carried weed and ackee and salt fish scents through the street. Sweet smells of a successful celebration.

The cluster of chocolate and caramel peacocks danced until beads of sweat ran down their backs; their hair, gelled straight up and dyed bright blue to match peacock crests, tossed and flipped as their necks jerked unnaturally. Their wide peacock tails were peppered with sea foam, turquoise, and auburn ocelli. Huge eyes that guarded the crowd like Argus did Io. Carnival transformed these women into omniscient nymphs of Hera, bouncing their asses in epileptic fits.

A woman lay prone on the tarmac like roadkill. She held onto the rear bumper of a red 1978 Honda Civic, her peacock wings twisted, makeup melted to amorphous pools. A man with stubby dreadlocks sat in the car with a much darker, prettier, french speaking woman. The woman on the ground yelled something to the man. Something about him not really knowing how to speak French – about how he’d always been a good bullshitter and soon this new, darker, prettier, french speaking woman would see. Her pupils were pinpoints, eyes huge with disbelief. If she held onto the bumper any tighter her knuckles might split open. The heads of two small children were visible through the wide rear view window, their eyes darting between the two women. It was not clear which one, if any, was their mother.

An explosive backfire sent most of the crowd to the ground and the rear bumper slipped out of the woman’s fingers, carbon dioxide kicked into her lungs. She might have been better off if the man had dragged her a few miles down the road. Instead she lay there, the rest of the peacocks getting a bird’s eye view of her shamelessness. Calypso was an ill-fitted soundtrack for the worst moment of her life. Voices stirred with tongue clicks and finger snaps, murmurs of “if he’d done that to me”. Hypotheticals that would never be tested so were not worth the talk. Just a brave show among women. She picked herself up, threw her peacock tails down. All of that women’s intuition, all of those eyes sprouting from her tail, proved useless once again.

I hope you enjoyed reading this very short-short, the first I’ve managed to keep under 500 words. As usual, please let me know any thoughts, comments, or constructive criticisms you might have in the comments section!