Mr. Red

by Hilda Mann

Hilda Mann is a traditional hand drummer, community activist, defender of Mother Earth, vegetarian, and spiritual yogini who walks softly on Mother Earth. Previously published in Journeywriters1 (a literacy reader type book) as well as several community papers, she’s been writing since Grade 2 because she always wanted to write her own happy ending. Although she writes short stories, both fiction and non-fiction, poetry is her favourite genre—free form because she just can’t force powerful, beautiful words into a nice, neat box. Originally from Sagkeeng First Nation, Hilda is grandmother of 5, and #22 of her parents’ children.

Mr. Red, the cab driver, was a very bad man.
It was nice of him to let her live.

He was weird, too weird, liked to indulge in strange things
Like golden showers and moontime blood
Take a drunk girl for a cab ride, out to the middle of nowhere
In the freezing cold
Speaking in fake accent he said, “Just this one thing please.”
She said NO!
He insisted and he pleaded.
She said NO!
He wasn’t trying to hurt her, he said, “Just this one thing.
And I will drive you back to safety. You will get to see your kids again.
Just this one thing.”

In the middle of nowhere in the freezing night
Terrified
This unnatural, natural act
She performed like a show
On a stage
In the headlights
Just to live
Just to see those sweet little faces
Again.
Please.
He was
Pleased.

He told her she was a good girl,
Kissed her tear-streaked face and thanked her.
Gave her back her coat.
“You’re a good girl, I will take you back for free.
Anywhere you want to go.
You’re a good girl.”

When she told her boyfriend, he said, “Don’t tell.
This will haunt you forever
They will call you a prostitute
Call you a street worker, a hooker
No one will believe you.
Don’t tell.
Nobody needs to know.
Be glad he let you live. You’re okay now.
Be a good girl. Don’t tell.”

And she didn’t.
Until today.

 


Hilda Mann is a traditional hand drummer, community activist, defender of Mother Earth, vegetarian, and spiritual yogini who walks softly on Mother Earth. Previously published in Journeywriters1 (a literacy reader type book) as well as several community papers, she’s been writing since Grade 2 because she always wanted to write her own happy ending. Although she writes short stories, both fiction and non-fiction, poetry is her favourite genre—free form because she just can’t force powerful, beautiful words into a nice, neat box. Originally from Sagkeeng First Nation, Hilda is grandmother of 5, and #22 of her parents’ children.

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