Alissa Nutting kicks off October at GenPop Magazine with “Dancing Rat,” from her forthcoming collection, Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls.
“Dancing Rat” is just what you think it is: a story about “free sex” on the set of a children’s television show, of course, and dancing in a mouse costume.
I’m haunted by how physically perfect Missy is, her clear skin and her white white teeth. She just landed a detergent commercial, and because I want to punish myself I will not be able to resist switching to that brand. I am a zombie-slave under Missy’s control, I often think. I don’t have a child and I probably will never have a child: I hate this but trying any harder to have one seems like it would make the reality sink in even more. It is far easier to just do the bratty things Missy asks me to do, buy her endorsed products, and act like this agonizing relationship somehow brings me closer to motherhood. . . .
Going back on set when I know I have semen inside of me reminds me of that urban myth about a chemical that will turn all the water around people purple if they pee in the pool. I kind of expect that one day, while walking across the Rainbow River Bridge over to the Sharing Seat, I will look down and realize my crotch is flashing like a police siren due to some product that detects seminal fluid on the sets of children’s shows.
Other stories from Alissa Nutting’s first collection, Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls (Starcherone Books, 2011) appear in journals such as Tin House, Mid-American Review, and Denver Quarterly. She is currently a PhD candidate in English at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she is a Schaeffer Fellow in Fiction.