THE WEBSITE by Cady Vishniac

The latest  Slush Pile  fiction at  Dig Boston:

YOUR FIRST MESSAGE is from some kid who only just gained the right to drink in bars this past November, and what he writes to you is I like older women. Good lord. You log off.

The next morning you wake up in your new bedroom in a small town on the New Hampshire border, a place full of peace and quiet and thin middle-aged women who jog around the reservoir by the graveyard. The cold is unbearable.

The baby lets out a bloodcurdling scream in her bassinet. She’s hungry, and you’ve been pumping exclusively since you got that infection in your left nipple, so you leave her crying in the bassinet while you waddle into the kitchen and grab the pump, a full bottle from the fridge, and a plastic cup of applesauce.

You empty the applesauce into the milk. She strains at the thick mixture for a few minutes, emptying only part before she nods off again. You’ve been pumping the whole time; you keep pumping for a minute or two after she’s asleep again. You swaddle her in one of those tight velcro wraps the Head Start nurse gave you and then it’s back in the bassinet.

You login again, although you weren’t necessarily planning to do so, and are surprised to see that strange men have left you a total of twenty-five messages overnight. You asked them only to contact you if they lived in town, but you also wrote that you didn’t want to meet them—that you can’t actually meet them, ever. The men appear not to have read that far, because they don’t live in town and they do want to meet you, desperately, as soon as possible. Some of them are from Newburyport, some from Boston, a couple from faraway places like Montreal and Nashville.

The boring ones (there are more than a dozen) all start with Hey or You’re beautiful. The offensive ones include such openers as Wanna fuck? and I love your big tits, which is funny because even now, swollen with milk, your breasts are tiny. One or two of the men are scary: You seem like a real cunt. Why are you even here? I hope someone rapes you. A couple of them want to lecture you. This is just how the world works, kid.

The twenty-third message is the only one that interests you.

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