If I Don't Leave the House, I Won't Know I'm in the South
Ryder Collins

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

w i g · l e a F               11-01-10                                [home]