From the Fiction Issue: Miami, by A.L. Major – Photos by Nan Goldin
Morgan printed the photos and laid them flat on the table. The photos were of a topless white woman with red and curled hair. She was tan and oiled, and she wore a sparkly gold thong. She was sprawled on the sand, on all fours, on her back, on her side. She had sandy, fat nipples and a paw print on each breast. Must be an American, Morgan thought. Only Americans would do this. She stuffed the photos into an envelope labeled private, not caring if she bent them.
Morgan had been working for six months now at Mr. Rolle’s Photography Shop, located on the left side of the Colony Hotel, away from the 100-foot pool and cabanas and rooms, down the broken escalator, at the end of a long line of average souvenir stores. Morgan saw a lot of strange photos working at the shop—backward-capped frat boys mooning the camera, really, really close-up body parts—but these photos of the topless women were the strangest. Her co-worker, Mr. Wilson, had taken them. He was a white man with a gold molar. His face was beet red because he roamed the beach taking photos of tourists who would then come to the shop and pay for a copy, if they liked what they saw. In the window of Mr. Rolle’s Photography Shop, Mr. Wilson had taped photos of white girls with sunburnt faces and cornrows and captions like, “Only in Di Bahamas, Mon!”
Mr. Wilson wasn’t so bad. Morgan liked the way he looked at her—in the same way she liked when men in cars honked at her and when men outside the numbers shops ssk-ssk’d her. Mr. Wilson had a strong American accent and a charming way of addressing her that made her feel like a woman and not a 14-year-old girl. She liked the way he called her Sugar.
“If I were a few years younger, I could handle you.”
“What do you mean a few years younger?” Morgan asked him.
“You don’t think I’m too old for you?”
“No, Mr. Wilson.”
“Don’t call me Mr. Wilson then. My name is David.”
Morgan nodded and smiled. She would keep calling him Mr. Wilson.
“How old are you anyway?” he asked.
“Sixteen,” she lied.
“You’re trouble,” he said. “You got a man.”