Giving all the Aloha by Melissa Llanes Brownlee

Shannon needs a ride to work but her stupid boyfriend has left her with no car and no money for a taxi. She wishes she could take a bus but there’s only one on the entire island and it just goes in a circle. She thinks hard about walking, but it would take her almost two hours on the side of the road with no sidewalks, watching tourists driving past, honking and laughing at her. She hates her job. Working the counter at a pizza shop sucks, the boss always trying to grab her ass, brushing against her chest as he walks past her at the cash register, but she puts up with his shit because he pays her cash under the table, no taxes, no social security, and she gets to keep all the tips in the jar next to the register. Most of the time the customers are tourists staying at the resorts and condos along the seashore, so she smiles wide, her brown skin against her shark white teeth, giving all the aloha she can to score that fiver in the tip jar. Most of the time it’s the change, but every once in a while, she scores big time and they can splurge with their dealer, loading up on a few different varieties. On those days, she remembers to bring home a couple of pizzas, white for her and pep for him, hoping he remembers to pick her up without her having to beep him. She thinks about calling in but takes a hit from the bong in front of her to chill out and wishes she could just fly to work, over the sunburned heads of tourists in their rented convertible Mustangs, the beach bums surfing their days away, her boyfriend probably one of them.

Biography: Melissa Llanes Brownlee (she/her) is a native Hawaiian writer with recent work in The Rumpus, Fractured Lit, Flash Frog, Gigantic Sequins, Cream City Review, Indiana Review and Craft. Read Hard Skin from Juventud Press and Kahi and Lua from Alien Buddha. She tweets @lumchanmfa and talks story at