Girls in Bars by Aimee Parkison

I. Girl in Daquiri

She’s Flor de Caña, simple syrup, and freshly squeezed limes. I’m American moonshine and RumChata. One of our girlfriends is Skittles infused with vodka. The other is Goldschläger and Rumpleminze: fire and ice. Her mother is Bunny Guinness: coffee liqueur with Carolan’s Irish cream and Goldschläger. My sister is a Gladiator Bomb: amaretto and SoCo dropped into Sprite and OJ. Meanwhile, her sister is a Thunder Bomb: Stoli Vanilla Vodka and Blue Curacao dropped into orange Fanta. She kisses me like strawberries and cream: Bacardi, Malibu, amaretto, strawberries, and coconut milk. She spins me into a tropical smash: amaretto, Captain Morgan, Malibu fresh pineapple, fresh squeezed OJ, house sweet and sour, and cherry juice. She breathes her breath into me, then licks my lips like a piña colada —Malibu rum, dark rum, amaretto, simple syrup, fresh pineapple, and coconut milk. “Hey, America,” she whispers. Now, I’m house-made cinnamon apple moonshine.

II. Girl in Garage-Style Mimosa

Smell the wild thyme from the lakeshore as girls in bars whisper to each other, aware we are listening. We were once their mothers but are strangers now. Their laughter becomes like blossoms flown on the wind, later blown through air vents as the girls become like pollinators in the greenhouse where they kiss each other, becoming women they think are so different from the ones who were once their mothers. Do they ever remember us as they drink garage-style mimosas: vodka, champagne, and freshly squeezed orange juice? They drink and drink, never realizing we are confined with sweet-smelling flowers, hot-house women sweating near the gardener, who mists our bodies in clingy gowns, while observers wearing scissor spectacles regard us as if we are merely flowers blooming in cottage-garden paintings.

III. Girl in Summer Toddy

Jack Daniels’, honey, rose water, and freshly squeezed lemon: party planners asked us to fill bathtubs with this concoction and called it the “whiskey dance.”

My lover and I bathed in it, night after summer night.

Soon, we began filling the kiddie pool with the new old fashioned—rye whiskey, house bitters, orange bitters, and simple syrup.

Once my lover’s hair was slicked back in simple syrup, rose water misted my eyes, and we kissed.

A halo of bees followed us down the stairs where honey stuck to the rails.

Bees floated past our eyes, hovering, as she whispered.

Orange bitters dripped from our breasts, although my lover assured me my breasts were coated in lemon.

We did the whiskey dance on those summer nights of our captivity. Between my legs, I felt her heart fluttering. I came, shuddering, drunk on what I thought was love, always wondering. What if I was wrong to believe her heart was throbbing as we retreated?

She kissed me, cradling my face in her hands. I never wanted summer to end. As she released me, I felt her fingers slowly drifting away from my eyes with bees combing the apple orchards.

Aimee Parkison is the author of four books of fiction, including Refrigerated Music for a Gleaming Woman, Woman with the Dark Horses, The Innocent Party, and The Petals of Your Eyes.  Parkison has won the FC2 Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize.  She directs the creative writing program at Oklahoma State University. More information about Parkison can be found at

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