If I Don't Leave the House, I Won't Know I'm in the South
Sometimes when I'm plucking my eyebrows I start thinking about the
Inquisition. As I lean into the mirror, nearsighted and squinting,
tweezing stray hairs, I imagine heretics being rooted from God's bosom.
Or I imagine the Crusades. Infidels being cast out of the Holy City.
Burning oil, sizzling non-believers, or maybe garroting, spearing,
drawing and quartering, whatevering. I just rip those hairs out; I show
those motherfuckers. Sometimes I get so caught up, I'm left with only
half an eyebrow. Only the left one though; for some reason, I know when
to stop with the right.
I had a roommate who was a methhead. No, I've had two roommates who
were methheads. Not at the same time; I'm talking separate houses,
separate states even. The one shaved off her eyebrows once when she was
tweaking. Ever since then she had to draw them in, and she was the
ugliest stripper I ever met. Sometimes I had to eat in a whole other
town just to keep my food down. She barely ate, instead of eating she
would wake up and go to the corner bodega and get a twelve pack of
Milwaukee's Best. The Beast, no joke. She was skinny like a bulimic or
a methhead. No muscle tone and no pole dancing. The meth was before we
lived together; she didn't do that shit when I knew her, that
I knew. I didn't know the other one was doing it though until I was
tripping one night and wearing her shirt and found her meth stash in
the pocket. I just thought she liked to stay up late and clean and
rearrange the furniture, that maybe she was a little OCD. I had no idea
she was a tweaker; she was from L.A. and had all her teeth.
I met a man today who had the same goddamn white spots as me on his two
front teeth. We were at the package store and said hi to each for no
reason. And I saw it, his two front teeth, two jagged little spots,
like someone erased just those bits, or whited them out but didn't let
them dry right so the circles went all squiggly. Calcium spots, yeah
right; that's a goddamn government cover-up is what I say. He's the
only person besides me I've ever seen with these. I took it as a sign.
Plus, he was buying bourbon, not whiskey. I wanted to say something; I
wanted to say have you ever been tempted by an emery board or electric
sander or homemade plaster; I wanted to call him brother. We are a lost
tribe, him and me. I wanted to acknowledge this tribeness with a hug or
a secret handshake or showing him my underwear or pinning his face to
my shirt like a take home note but there were Confederate cowboys all
around us a-rodeoing and a-whooping and a-monster-trucking and
a-lynching and to make matters worse, my brother's black and I'm white.
We didn't even smile at each other after that. In fact we hid our teeth
like little Japanese schoolgirls. I went home and pounded sake. My
brother was lost to me, and those Confederate cowboys knew it. They
rubbed it in by holding an impromptu Auto de fé in my
backyard; all night long, kegstands and country accents and bronco
busting and burn witch burn.
Ryder Collins has stories in or coming from Diagram, Juked, Monkeybicycle and others. A chapbook,
Orpheus on Toast, is forthcoming.
To link to this story directly: http://wigleaf.com/201011south.htm
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