I’m in the motel bathtub. Muddied pink acrylic and it can’t be that sanitary. Not that I give a damn. I keep plugging my head under the water half hoping I’ll drown. My God did not make me for crying. At least in the water I can play sobbing.

My husband is dead. Cold and dead in the basement next to his favorite toy. Even now, I can feel his long purpled neck when I dance with my fingers. He was never really mine.

Cross my heart it was self-defense. It would have been easy for him to kill me. It would have been easy, easy as cherry pie. He loved cherry pie. With the clean press of a button, he could have erased me from this earth. One minute stuffing me into a closet, the next eating a steak and potato dinner. He was always a coward. He could have washed me out months ago. Years ago. It was only now because I broke his darling Machine. He was grasping for that button, the button that would wash me stiff, when I got him by the neck. His shivering eyes pleaded with me, lips trying to split out the L’s of my name.

“You never loved anyone but yourself,” I told him.

I don’t really have a name. In fact, I’m going to pick one for myself right now. Francis. It won’t be long before they find me.

He was cheating on me, you know. He was cheating on me with myself. Cheating on me with my younger self. Or so I thought. But it wasn’t me.

It was her. The one I was modeled after down to the hairs of her widow’s peak I shaved off. It’s a bloody burden to carry around her memories I never lived.

My husband. If I can call him that. I know now I wasn’t at the wedding, she was. He never really liked me. I was just there to tickle a daydream. Tickle a daydream, and when I slipped, he made the Machine. Night after night I would watch him creep down the stairs, creep all the way down to the basement. The basement, where he would glue himself to the Machine. Cover his head and plunge into his memories, memories I have but don’t own.

I have that Machine to thank for knowing what I am. For knowing that my veins don’t run with blood. My fingernails don’t grow. I will never burp or fart and I have no real reason to breathe.

I was born into the body and mind of a 32-year-old female human. He loved me then, shiny and new, but I kept growing. I grew and I grew too big for him. He needed to own me but he couldn’t stand owning me. Staying home all day I developed a love for spaghetti westerns. I began to experiment with my clothes, piling this one on that one, hats, dresses, pants, socks, blanketing myself like a big cake. I made found object sculptures out of our trash and old clothes. I declared myself a socialist and sang socialist anthems I made up. He really didn’t like that.

I can’t tell you why I had to live because I don’t really understand. It wouldn’t have been so bad to just disappear. No one would have missed me. I don’t have any friends. I don’t have parents or children or a career or anything else humans really live for I guess. But I want to live. I do. I want to live so badly.

I’m in the motel bathtub and the water’s growing cold. Maybe I’ll see what’s on the television.

I was just a girl when they slaughtered them. Nine years old, I remember eyeballing the backyard from my little window the day after that man we called “President,” President my ass… That shitstain’s in hell if there is one… The day after he decided you could hunt them, milk them, eat them, my daddy had one hanging by the neck from a meat hook in the backyard. Poor fellow was still in human shape; he’d been mashed up pretty sick… When they’re hurt it’s harder for them to shift, you know, they can’t focus… He was hanging there but still kicking. I looked into his eyes and he looked right through the back of my head. The rest of the backyard was covered in pools of water and blood and God knows what, the dead pigs slumped with their noses underneath, the half dead pigs rolling around looking towards heaven. I knew it was all upside down but I didn’t have a sliver of what to do about it. I’ve never been known for being clever, you know, but hell I was the prettiest kid on the block, ask anybody, they’ll tell you.

It all started in the fancy places, the swanky as hell places that are only open for dinner or lunch, not both, real bullshit, and hotels and crap. They were disguised as the cream of the crop of servitude, they were your waiters and your concierge and your maids, starched silly like you could hear them all crispy when they walked. Crisping around real proper in their bowties and their aprons.

Anyway they got all sick with a sort of itch twitching, they couldn’t hold their human shape and they were shapeshifting spasming screwy from one body to the next. I saw one of them, a waiter at one of those ritzy beachside hotels, shifting like wild before they tackled him to the ground. First he was a rope person, head and hands all coiled up cartoonlike, then a fat dragonfly with wings as long as my legs, then a swarm of dust, the only thing didn’t shift was his suit. I was on the pier with my nanny rubbernecking the whole thing, and I know it must have been painful, switching your skins real quick like that, but God, it was the prettiest thing I’d ever seen, real magic. I’m ashamed to say it but sometimes I would dress up in front of the mirror and pretend I was shifting like that. I fastened some rope to a piece of cardboard and I would wear it as a mask around my room, walking all wiggly like how he was in a real frenzy.

It wasn’t long after the beach, people discovered all that other crap. That their meat was as sweet as pork, that their bodies could milk like a liqueur, that it became legal to butcher them. People just started eating them and milking them left and right. I really didn’t want to but my daddy forced me to drink a glass, every night for 2 months, until the supply ran out, you know.

I mean hell I love a pulled pork sandwich as much as the next person, better than the next person. I mean I love a pulled pork sandwich like that’d be my last supper, but you know I’m a good person, I had to put my foot down…

There was a gravely thumping, a scooping, a gnashing in the next room over. One of those kerump-krackety smacks that could spin your skull till you vomit. The thump was sperunketing through the bedroom wall I share with dear old mom and dad. It was such a fricken’ ruckus I peeled the prickles from the crannies of my oily eyeballs and smashed my two feet on the floor. My ears were sore as hell and I splashed through that door to give them a piece of my mind.

“What’s the fuckin’ ruckus?!” I shook my scrawny fist around letting them know I mean business.

My sister Bernice had beat me to the spot. That bitch always has to be first. She and I were wearing the same frickin’ pajamas, the dumb Christmas kind, real embarrassing. Anyway, Mom, Dad and Bernice were huddled witch-like round a ditch thick as a bathtub. Dad’s fist gripped a fat shovel and the rug was scurbled shoved tight against the bed. A strand of mucky pearls plunked real cozy atop a pile of rubbish crap pulled from the hole.

“I heard a big commotion going on under there,” Dad said, eyes squeezing through the sockets, twisting the shovel this way and that. I could hear it, too. Snippity uppity chatter gurgling hahaha hehehe and “Oo’s” and “Ahh’s” leaking through cracks.

Dad thwacked the shovel smack into the ground gash till it buckled, dropped the shovel and slobbed himself into the shallow room below. Bernice jumped in, too.

“I’ll keep an eye out up here for you, hunny,” said Mom to no one, leaning ‘gainst the bed lighting a cigarette.

I wasn’t gonna wait up there like a sucker so I plunked in the hole, m’self. Dad had yanked up a trapdoor, so we crawled down the ladder neath it real slick. Soon as we cut through the black, shit, this place was fitted for a goddamn duchess; the walls were all curly-q carved crisp like a cake. Frosted like real sickening, like I don’t think you could even dream it.

All kinds of folks were milling about the place. There were real tiny like people, like the size of cats and some big ones big enough they had to slouch droopy to squeeze into the thirty-foot ceiling. There were others, too, even a spiny seahorse Zebra in a polkadot gown float slipping about, a single high heeled shoe hanging from the bent up tail. This crowd had real nerve, poke shoving their noses and their cameras into displays of tiny handbags, each one smaller and more ghastly than the other, with plaques like, “Mrs. Blankendashere wore this handbag on the 9th of May in the year of the humbersnatch to the Queen of Castleberry’s 99th birthday soiree.”

I guessed Mrs. Hoosiwhatsit must be one of the statues. Two mammoth wax statues of some sniffly geezers snoozing snobbed up the middle of the goddamn room. I had to climb up the side of the bed but I took a good peek into her nostrils all pitted and hairy, real lifelike. Mr. and Mrs. must have been real special cause this place was filled to the boot with their crap. All kinds of garbage plooshed into glass cupboards and on pedestals and nailed onto the caked up walls.

Strange thing was no one seemed to notice we were there.

“Alright, grab what you can, kids,” said Dad.

“What do you mean, Dad?” said Bernice. Goddamn Bernice, loves to pretend she doesn’t have a fuckin’ clue.

Dad tramped over to a hodge-podge stew of a painting, which looked rather like a lopsided creamy muck of the Mrs. smiling wild in salmon, puke yellows and greens, and slammed his hands on either side of the frame.

Bernice scooped up a hulking pair of wingtips. I snatched a tea set. And lickety-splot as Dad plucked that god awful painting smack off the wall, an alarm let out a bloodcurdling screech.

Featured Posts

© TASHi FAY 2012 - 2020
 

  • Instagram - Black Circle