Already, it had begun. The shaming.
Beyond the plate-glass doors, in dim half-light, sheets of paper lay strewn about the floor – slim sheaves spread in a white drift over flecked linoleum.
The woman placed her hand on the door’s bar – a leather-softened grip fastened over a horizontal tube of buffed aluminum. Depressing the handle, she entered. Pale light flashed and lanced off the door’s glass. Once inside, she paused, adjusted netted top hat over the knot of her hair, tugged velvet jacket into place over her ribs so brass buttons aligned spine-straight. When she broke, once more, into movement, tiers of crisp taffeta shushed about her legs. The clip and snick of her boot heels echoed, their insistence blunted by the path of paper underfoot. Each thin leaf she trod held, trapped within its rectangle, a black-and-white headshot of the shaming victim. Unwavering, the woman followed that paper trail.
Shush, snick – heel spitting cheek. Shush, snick – toe blacking eye.
When the entry hall widened, the woman halted her march, reached behind herself to lift and agitate her skirt’s bustle. The action loosed an additional sheaf of papers — they drifted free, curled in the air and settled gently to the floor behind her. These, too, held black-and-white headshots, trimmed of excess paper about the victim’s tumbled hair and shoulders.
Unsmiling, the woman continued down the hall.
Shush, snick – heel against throat. Shush, snick – toe filling mouth.
— C.Birde, 11/17