Short Fiction by Jennifer Obidike

There were eyes all over me as if I were the culprit as opposed to Francois who paraded me through the party in an ill-fitting suit, buttons near bursting at the belly as he grinned at passers-by like a child who had just let out wind. The woman of the hour. She stood gesturing near a pig, roasted body on a platter of heirloom silver. ​Why do people make a mockery of pigs who cannot eat? It upset me profoundly. The pig’s skin was charred and scaly from heat. Francois tore a strip of its flesh. The skin crunched beneath his teeth. He licked his lips in praise of the woman of the hour. ‘Such a succulent pig,’ he said. I stood by the table beside Francois, a look of innocence playing on my face. He preferred me close as a reminder to others. I fingered the white cloth. ​The woman of the ​hour looked me up and down. I lowered my eyes. I had seen the cooks running around in the background like chickens with their heads cut off. Indeed, there were some now on the table next to the roast suckling pig. They gave me surreptitious glances: not the chickens but the cooks. They wanted to know how a girl like me of my age and status could be with a man like Francois. I have been examined all of my life, seen as a curiosity both ugly and beautiful like the figs split in half on the table.

The woman of the hour pretends I am a shadow on the ground flanking Francois’ feet. She speaks to Francois in the way everyone speaks to Francois: she laughs at his every joke, defers to him in disagreements, shakes her head to and fro. The pig, I notice, is smiling, full of all the apples in the world. My mother told me once that suckling pigs were called suckling pigs because they were not yet weaned from their mothers when separated and killed. She told me their bodies shrunk on the coals they rest upon, skin tightening, mouths choked into a smile. I could not imagine what it must be like to be birthed, tasting the first milk of your mother, only to die for a plate at the amusement of savages. And then I giggled. I giggled to think that these people once thought, still thought, that me and my people were the ones who went around with spears, speaking in tongues, and so what if we did? My shoulders heaved and my nostrils let out the sounds of the pig. I couldn’t help myself. But Francois’ face coloured in rage as he dragged me away. ‘You should be ashamed of yourself,’ he said as we stood on the cobbled street.The woman of the hour peeped from the window. ‘Behaving like an animal!’ he said. ‘Do you know where we are? To embarrass me like this? You are replaceable,’ he said, his words echoing between the narrow street, ‘and there are hundreds of girls just like you waiting for a chance such as this.’

‘Why don’t you then?’ I asked.

‘Why don’t I what?’ he snarled.

‘Leave me? Why don’t you just leave me alone?’ and in my rage, I spit on his lip. I spit on his lip and he recoiled. He had shoved his tongue into my mouth, into all of my orifices, and still he recoiled, a crazed look on his face as if I were a stranger brandishing a knife as opposed to a girl of nineteen. ​Dark as a delicacy, he used to say. ​To be sampled and thrown away.


Jennifer Obidike is an American writer and performer living in London. She’s performed for book launches and festivals in collaboration with Les Fugitives, and has shared her work with Lit Sisters and MIRLive. She has a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from the New School (A New York University). She is the founder of ‘Let Me Read For You’, a new venture offering writing coach and editing services to creative writers. She can be found on Twitter @jenniobidike
April 15, 2019

The Roast Suckling by Jennifer Obidike

Short Fiction by Jennifer Obidike
April 8, 2019

I Don’t Like Your Pillows by Angèle Eliane

Short Fiction by Angèle Eliane
April 1, 2019

The Fall by Alex Williamson

Short Fiction by Alex Williamson
March 25, 2019

Split / the difference by Micaela Maftei and Laura Tansley

Short Fiction by Micaela Maftei and Laura Tansley
March 18, 2019

Woman in Bombed-Out Apartment, 1945 by Emma Venables

Short Fiction by Emma Venables
March 11, 2019

Payback by Andy Mead

Short Fiction by Andy Mead
March 4, 2019

Judgement Call by Lorna Thorpe

Short Fiction by Lorna Thorpe
February 25, 2019

Nectarines by Tim Footman

Short Fiction by Tim Footman
February 11, 2019

Charged Particles by Judy Darley

Short Fiction by Judy Darley
January 28, 2019

When You Stare Too Long by Andrew McDonnell

Short Fiction by Andrew McDonnell
January 14, 2019

A Girl in My Bathroom by Douglas Bruton

Short Fiction by Douglas Bruton
January 7, 2019

Differential Equations by Marc Nash

Short Fiction by Marc Nash
January 4, 2019

Moving On by Rosie Allabarton

Short Fiction by Rosie Allabarton
January 2, 2019

Moving Targets by Tom White

Short Fiction by Tom White
December 28, 2018

Brexit Swan by Alice Wickham

Short Fiction by Alice Wickham
December 24, 2018

Ocean Grown by Kym Deyn

Short Fiction by Kym Deyn
December 21, 2018

Well here I am right back where I was yesterday by Melissa Wan

Experimental Short Fiction by Melissa Wan
December 19, 2018

A Shot at Redemption by Steve Smith

Short Fiction by Steve Smith
December 17, 2018

Idea for a Story: Café Man by Nick Trench

Experimental Short Fiction by Nick Trench
December 14, 2018

Kiss by Elizabeth Baines

Short Fiction by Elizabeth Baines