How to Raise a Proper Young Lady

The following piece is the flash fiction winner of F(r)iction’s Fall 2022 literary contest

As it is the duty of every rational creature to attend to its offspring, and … it is necessary to be prepared to conquer nature’s brute instinct. The first thing you must attend to … is her exterior accomplishments…

-Loosely borrowed from Thoughts on the Education of Daughters with Reflections on Female Conduct, Mary Wollstonecraft, Grandma of Frankenstein’s Monster

Take your sweet brown girl. To the field. Grease her pate like she’s a fine filly. You’ve been telling her so. Let her laze in her favorite spots. Only greens she can eat until she’s almost sick. Wrap a braided choker round her throat and guide her now swollen body to the house.

Shield her eyes from the cool metal, the easy leads of flesh. Button her ears against the sounds of production. She’s meant for better things. Take her to her own little sweet space to rest. Nuzzle her nose. Pet her crown. Don’t look into her eyes.

Now comes the messy part.

Line her up with the others. She blends in except to you. You see the Cameroon-shaped birthmark above her gut and know it’s her. Guide her through the line. Shock her if you need to. It’s nothing compared to the gun. Look away when the bolt of lightning hits her skull.

Collect her. Hook her. You may see yourself in her brown eyes but don’t worry it’s just a reflection. She’s dead. Blood-let her for good measure. Keep the blood away from your shoes otherwise you’ll leave a trace. Cover your nose when her foulness slips out.

Start your work. Dissect her into sections.

Fuck the Chuck and round. They’re both for poor people.

Locate her tender parts. Be gentle here. It sells for your whole month pay, making it worth 1/12th your life.

Finish with the plate, flank and shank.

Take her parts to be weighed. Notice how her insides look like all the others but argue for more because she’s been fed. Wash her blood off.

Take the cast-offs of her you’ve been allowed to take home. Grill her. Notice how her ends now curl up into a tough bowl. Put her on a white plate. Ignore how bland she tastes. How she sticks between your teeth, tweeks your jaws. Swallow her whole if needed.

Shit her out re-born brown.

Jeannetta Craigwell-Graham

Jeannetta Craigwell-Graham is a Caribbean/African-American writer based in Ebeltoft, Denmark. She is a recipient of the 2023 de Groot Courage to Write prize and a 2021 Tin House Winter Workshop Scholar. Her writing has appeared in swamp pink, Indiana Review, X-R-A-Y Magazine, Litmosphere, as a second place finisher in their 2023 Lit/South Awards in Fiction, NY Writers Coalition Black Writers Program Journal, among other publications. Jeannetta is also the co-host/producer of The Write Attention Podcast. She is currently working on a novel trilogy incorporating family history and horror mythology from the African Diaspora.


Image by svstudioart via Freepik.