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The Provider




You are a very pretty lady and you must know that by now, yes I know I’m a bit of an older fella, I’ve put on some weight over the years, but I’m a good man, a good man, if you will believe this, and plus, you know, here in these parts we don’t see ladies who look like you, especially not ladies playing a WNBA All-Stars–themed slot machine game in plaid skirts, no here in our little city, when ladies come to the casino they are always getting their boyfriends to throw down at the Craps table, they’re never going over here in their little dresses and shoes to try their luck at the WNBA All-Stars slot machine game, it’s kind of rare also to see a lady who smells so beautiful as you do, I am wondering if this sent, this perfume, this parfum, this eau d’something, might be cucumber melon, you’ll know that my girls, my sweet beautiful girls, they get this scent from the mall, surely you have heard of Crossgates, yes, or perhaps a lady of your provenance would say oui, that is the mall that all the kiddies are going to, it’s in the city, which in these parts I’ll have you know, means Albany, and also I’m curious as to where you’re from, you seem like you’re from perhaps the city of Angels, Los Angeles, or maybe you’re Oklahoma City, or Berkley, California, and if that’s the case, I’m sure you’re aware that Schenectady is where the Unabomber’s family lives, yes, he’s a bit of a local celebrity on these parts, on his birthday the children wear his face on their shirts, it’s really a nice local tradition, we know he’s a terrorist but we also like to highlight the man’s brilliance, and since you’re a Berkley woo woo hippie mama you know that Ted, he was a teacher there back in the 1960s, which was before you were born, I mean, we haven’t gotten that far yet, I don’t even know what your name is yet, let alone the year you were born, and where are my manners I should buy you a drink, I should get you a vodka cranberry, or a cosmo, or perhaps a tequila soda, there’s a lot of things I should be doing, I should be at home with my wife and my four daughters and I should be making love to my wife and I should be sliding off her tan Spanx and shimmying into her sweet organ and bending her over the bed while I do it so I can see her whole asshole, her whole fucking middle-aged pink asshole that she bleaches for me, oh the marital asshole, and anyways, sorry I’m drunk, and my wife is my true love even though these days she’s a bit worse for wear, you know, menopause does a number on a woman’s body, you don’t have to worry about that, you got a look in your eyes, a glimmer that says “I am between the ages of 24-27 years old, and I have the whole rest of my life in front of me to be a publicist or be an 100 pound little thing in the back of an armored tank reporting on the war in Iraq,” yes, I can see the headlines: “The lady army reporter in the plaid skirt takes Fallujah—what’s next,” you should be changing the world, you should have a boyfriend, a nice guy who is The Provider, a guy who can get you pregnant, and cook you steaks drenched in A-1 sauce, and tell you how pretty you are, god you’re so gorgeous, Oopsies, I’m sorry I’m a little dunk, yeah I’ve had like 6 of these, Ha Ha Ha Ha, no I’m not an alcoholic, I’m a pillar of the community, I’m a notary public, My wife’s in the PTA, our daughters were all Girl Scouts, OK, sometimes I ask for a happy ending at the massage parlor over on McClellan but otherwise I’ve never been unfaithful to my wife, she’s my heart, she’s my whole life, and of course the girls: Melissa, Kayla, Tammy, and Rebecca, I couldn’t do it to them, they’re four beautiful girls and well, Melissa got into Marist for nursing and we’re really so proud of her she’s such a smart girl, and she has a good head on her shoulders, really though, I’m not wasted, I could consent to sex, I mean I’d never cheat on my wife, I’m just speaking in hypotheticals, come on, come on, come on, let me take you to the Craps table I want to show you a good time, I’m a gentleman, Ha Ha Ha Ha, you can say no, it’s ok, I won’t be offended, I’m a good man, I’m a Provider.



Sophie Kemp is a writer based in Brooklyn, originally from Schenectady, New York. Her non-fiction work has appeared in American Vogue, GQ, the Nation, and more