Iowa Writes

MERIDEL LE SUEUR
from The Girl


Saturday was the big day at the German Village, where I was lucky to get a job in those bad times, and Clara and I were the only waitresses and had to be going up and down from the bar to the bootleg rooms upstairs. My mama had told me that cities were Sodom and Gomorrah, and terrible things could be happening to you, which made me scared most of the time.

I was lucky to get the job after all the walking and hunting Clara and I had been doing. I was lucky to have Clara showing me how to wander on the street and not be picked up by plainclothesmen and police matrons. They will pick you up, Clara told me, and give you tests and sterilize you or send you to the women's prison. I liked to be with Clara and hear about it, and now with Belle, who with Hoinck her husband and Ack his brother ran the German Village. It wasn't German but lots of even stylish people came there after hours for the bootleg Belle and Hoinck made.

Saturday was the big day at the German Village, where I was lucky to get a job in those bad times, and Clara and I were the only waitresses and had to be going up and down from the bar to the bootleg rooms upstairs. My mama had told me that cities were Sodom and Gomorrah, and terrible things could be happening to you, which made me scared most of the time.

I was lucky to get the job after all the walking and hunting Clara and I had been doing. I was lucky to have Clara showing me how to wander on the street and not be picked up by plainclothesmen and police matrons. They will pick you up, Clara told me, and give you tests and sterilize you or send you to the women's prison. I liked to be with Clara and hear about it, and now with Belle, who with Hoinck her husband and Ack his brother ran the German Village. It wasn't German but lots of even stylish people came there after hours for the bootleg Belle and Hoinck made.

Clara told me all about what was going on up there and it scared me—the men who came in the back alley door and went past the bar and upstairs scared me. Clara told me about Ganz, who brought in bootleg from Dakota and paid protection for the place. I shivered when he passed me. And Clara would take my place when Belle told me to take them beer, because she said she could "field" them better when they tried to make a home run or a strike, with their too-free paws. Sometimes I didn't even know the words Clara spoke. I had a lot to learn, Clara said.

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About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


MERIDEL LE SUEUR

Meridel Le Sueur (1900—1966) was born in Murray, Iowa, and spent most of her life in the Midwest. She has been recognized as one of the leading proletarian short story writers of the 1930s. Her 1978 novel The Girl was reissued by West End Press in 2006 with a new introduction by Linda Ray Pratt.

The Girl site

West End Press

This page was first displayed
on September 25, 2008

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