Polka Dot
Darlin’ Neal


Maybe I wore a polka dot dress when I slid over the seat. If my panties showed, I wouldn’t have thought much about it, just pulled my dress down when I got to the front, wanting the radio but we couldn’t run down the battery. The parking lot was crowded with empty cars over gravel. We could see mountains bluish all around. I could hear the announcer in the distance, people cheering on the track. A man walked by carrying a folding chair. He had afro curly hair, he was white. He seemed sort of like a rich man to me, from somewhere else when he leaned to the window and asked me how old I was. I told him. Was it 11? My brother locked the back doors and fell over the seat beside me to lock the front and he breathed so scared as the man walked back by the car. “Don’t look, don’t look,” he said as the man walked by and I glimpsed at the man playing with himself as he slowed down, probably thinking he was crafty, hiding his limp dick from everyone else with that folding chair. It was hot in the treeless parking lot. All I gave him was my profile.


Darlin’ Neal’s story collection, Rattlesnakes & The Moon (Press 53), was released in March 2010. She is an assistant professor in the MFA and undergraduate Creative Writing Programs at the University of Central Florida, and lives in Orlando and Jensen Beach with Maggie the cat, Brian the human, and Catfish the dog.