My father kept a copy by the side of his bed.
Occasionally I would sneak a look, pulled
by the lurid sketch on the cover: a scantily-clad
blonde fighting off a man with a pistol.
I imagined how it would end. Once when no one
was home, I flipped through its well-thumbed
pages when I found the passage where the bullet
enters her soft white belly. I immediately grew
as stiff as that pistol.
After dad died I kept a copy
in a draw by my bed which I drew upon from
time to time.