Robert the Arab Girl by Stuart Matthew Davis.

It hurts like hell, but I finish plucking my eyebrows into a high arch. My forehead is red and tender from the procedure. I stare into the mirror, admiring my work. Just then, my mother walks in.

“Roberto! What have you done!” she shrieks.

“I plucked my eyebrows,” I say nonchalantly.

“Daniel!” she calls to my dad. “Come look what your son has done to his beautiful face!”

My father comes in and his jaw drops. I smile. He gathers himself, smiling back like it’s nothing.

My dad clears his throat, turns to mom, uncomfortable with my new look. “Now, Rosa, we have to let Robert explore. We can’t judge. We must have an open mind.” My father’s been going back to school and is completely immersed in the culture of academia. He wants to seem smart so he’s always saying “open-minded”.

Not that I mind because it diverts my mom’s attention away from my feminine eyebrows. She turns on dad, speaking rapidly in Spanish, arms flailing. My father responds softly in Spanish and turns to go back to the living room. Mom follows, continuing her rant. Neither of them asks me to explain why I’ve done this unspeakable act to my face. That’s how I like it.

Later, I creep past my parents’ room, careful not to disturb my mom. She’s praying to her picture of Mary, saying “Please don’t let my hijo be a fudge packer, please don’t let my hijo be a fudge packer.” She says it with the same fervency she says the rosary.

I walk into the living room and ask my father “Mind if I go with you to school today?”

My dad beams. “No, of course I don’t mind. I’ll be ready in five minutes.” Hope springs eternal with him that his loser son will turn his life around. Of course, he may just like that he doesn’t have to pay for parking since I drop him off and park off-campus.

On the way there, my father goes on and on about college. I interrupt his pitch, asking “Dad, can we stop to get some make-up?”

“Sure, whatever you want.” My dad tries to keep his poker face, but I’m sure he’s wondering if I’m just testing him, seeing how far he’ll take his “tolerance and acceptance” kick. He’s uncomfortable with my recent proclivities, but we stop for mascara anyway.

After I drop him off, I pay for parking on campus. I take my make-up and a full backpack from the car and walk to the student housing parking lot. On my last few trips to the school, I scoped out the perfect car for my purposes. There are several that were not moved since the last couple of visits. Some students tend not to drive much since everything they need is on campus. One Civic has been in the same space for three weeks. I take a slim jim out of my pack, break into the Civic and start it using the education I received in prison.

I drive to a shopping center, park behind the grocery store and apply the mascara, wanting long, feminine, but also natural looking lashes.

Next, I look around to make sure there’s no one watching and strip out of my clothes, changing into a Muslim woman’s garb and burka that I bought at a thrift store. Pulling a .357 from my pack, I conceal it in the robe.

I get out of the car and walk around to the front of the building. A bank is next to the grocery store. I walk in and stand in line behind one other customer. No one pays attention to the fundamentalist Muslim girl. It’s all going according to plan.

Awhile back, when I came to the school, my goal was to check out the girls. I have this mission to bed a chick from every nationality, so it caught my eye seeing a young Arabic woman in full, head-to-toe, Muslim dress. Only her eyes could be seen. What a challenge! I followed her and she went to the same bank, waited in the same line. Surely they’d make her remove the burka for security reasons, but they didn’t. Apparently, the bank was culturally sensitive- more politically correct BS. Luckily this BS would allow me to rob the place.

When my turn comes, I walk up to the teller and he gives me a dumb grin like it’s normal for a person to walk up to him with a covered face.

He asks “What can I do for you today?”

I show him and the teller next to him the gun and say in the highest voice I could “Give me all the money in the registers!”

They just freeze until I clock one over the head with the gun. “I said get me the cash now!” My pack fills with money quickly. I run out of the bank and behind the building, get in the car, pull off the Muslim garb, put my clothes back on and drive the car back to the student lot, leaving it where I found it. I discard the burka and robe.

That does it- $10,000 dollars stolen and the robbery looks like it was done by a Muslim girl.

I pick up my father where I dropped him off and he asks “What did you see today?”

“I think you’re right, dad. School can really expand my horizons.”

My dad smiles and we drive off.

Stuart Matthew Davis lives in Houston with his wife, Jennifer. He has a fiction blog at and wrote a novel called "The Last Chance Players", available on Amazon.


Mike Miner said...

Man, I had no idea where this was going but loved getting there. Fantastic payoff.

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

SMD- Well done. Totally caught me off guard. Thought for sure he was a tranny, especially when prison was mentioned. That part with the mom and the Rosary beads had my son asking me what's so funny, cause I was cracking up.

Ron Scheer said...

The surveillance camera footage will be on youtube, of course.

Charlie Wade said...

Didn't see that coming, nice twist.

David Barber said...

Really enjoyed this one, Stuart. Well written and a great twist. Very well done!

Lily Childs said...

Intriguing from the start then the burka changed everything and menace crept in.

Very clever. Bet his eyes were pretty...

Thomas Pluck said...

A great switcheroo, I enjoyed the character quite a bit!

nigel p bird said...

and that's not like any prayer my mother taught me!

Stuart said...

Thanks for the kind words, all. To Nigel- I certainly hope not!

Eric said...

I couldn't help but rush through the story to see what would happen. Then I reread it to enjoy the finer points. I love the element of surprise. Great!

Anonymous said...

Love me some nice and accrate slaps to face of the constipated,P-wannabe-C groves of academia. Nicely drawn map to alternative education too. Chuckled all the way through. Mom and the fudge packer rosary put me on the floor. Cool, cool and, well, COOL.