Access: Women


This story first appeared in 52/250 A Year in Flash (http://52250flash.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/access-women-by-randal-houle/)
The password to every woman is a multi-layered encryption. She stretches her naked legs. Like judgment from outside, the harsh light filters through a thin veil covering the window. “Put it on the nightstand,” she says. The password to this woman is money.
Her grades are above average. She studies her gender well so she will know how to make society treat her. On weekends, and sometimes during the week, she sips free drinks at a local pub. Her laugh is easy. The guys play pool and strategize. She taunts them with her repudiations. She delights in it. One of millions manages to swim the crowd. He has penetrated her formidable barrier. He buys her a drink. She has already decided to go home with him.The password to this woman is confidence.
She hunches over breakfast dishes after a long day at work. Her arms are sore and all she can manage on days like this, it seems, is an hour or two of television before falling asleep. Her husband returns from his day. The two exchange obligatory pleasantries. The sparse indoor plants are dying and even the children, who are nearly full grown, have become surlier of late. He holds a heart shaped box to her. She holds up her pruned, withered fingertips at the end of dripping hands. She thought he had forgotten. Today is their anniversary.The password to this woman is chocolate.Or try these codes: kindness, respect, listen, give.
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