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Dear mom and dad.

Dear Mom and Dad,

I'm joining the Holy Order of Cleanest Dead. I'm giving away every slutty stack of notebooks, every clump of hair from my brush. I get two bowls of bleach and soak my fingertips. It's time to clean you, too. I fill the microwave with your belongings and set it for forever. I develop a headache that clarifies my purpose in life: none. I pay the neighbor boy twenty dollars to tie my hands and feet together and prop me in a lawn chair. I wear a t-shirt that says PSYCHIC. I'm drooling a little from the pain, neat as a saint, trim as a martyr, pressed as neatly between one page and the next as an accidental maggot. The moon inflates unbearably, and I vomit, an empty hostage, a lidless tin the kittens lick until it rusts through to the sticky basement floor. Awash in caffeine and narcotics, my veins stinging and dilated, I wait for a car to pull in the drive. I wait for its headlights to wash me cleanest, for one sea to be supplanted by another, which scrubs harder than the first, for my shirt to get unstained, for my feet to touch sterile grass. Outside in the foul noise of small life, in the wet suburban smudge, medicine bride of medicine and plastic, stupid froth on my lips, vision fracturing until each streetlight's message settles legibly at my feet. The future comes to me as a series of car crashes and a system of grafts. The future is a dirty thing, breathing with its legs together just as fast as it can

Your Ugly Little, Scab

Dear Mom and Dad,

I try to leave, but I only make it as far as the gutter. That's a joke, guys. I try to leave, and I make it far enough to buy a new set of tattoo needles, by which I mean safety pins. I call a girl friend and she promises to do me later if I bring all the supplies. I find a bottle of vodka with the seal still intact and six ballpoint pens out of which I pop the ink tubes. I get a couple of pain pills from a guy at the ice cream shack, who trades them to me for one of my red painted nails clipped to the quick. Here on my gut it's going to say never. To say I came here to do right, but I did wrong again. Leaky or flabby or ugly smells. Nothing. a bent over stick figure puking into a bucket, that figure wearing the bucket over its head. The name of them whose life I ruined in blacked out heartscript. In an eel heart, inside out, in a nest of treasure. In a nest of rotten teeth, pirate's teeth, why the hell not, I'm not shy. I tried to get away, but here I am strolling the shame arcades with a sack of dead daisies. Here I am upside-down on the tilt-a-whirl, yelling the lyrics to "Surrender." Here here here they come, some paramedics with their arms full of beer and blankets and ready to have a barbeque with me in the sandiest lot or dead-endedest alley, ready to make out inside a dumpster plastered with pictures of runaways. I can't get out of here. Not without some money.

Anyhow, she tattoos a misshapen skull, big, from ankle to calf, one socket x'd-out and the other one crying for its mama. I'm so grateful I can't stop sobbing myself and she gets worried about her parents, so she stuffs a t-shirt in my mouth and then I'm the happiest I've been in months. I put my arms around her. I put my arms around her shoulders, which are narrower than mine, and I feel like I'm wearing a big pair of boots, kicking the luck out of her row of china horses. I'm smearing blood and ink all over her white sheets and she can't stop laughing. We're going to be a little bit famous, we imagine. We're going to get out of here so late in the game, we'll be covered in welts and filled with the kind of neveragain you only see in the movies.

Your, Ugly Little Scab

Dear Mom and Dad,

We're all in a play and the director keeps feeling up the other girls backstage. MI the white girls. He doesn't cast the black girls or the Asian girls. He casts a Latina girl, but she's half-white and six feet tall and punches him in the mouth and quits the show when he asks how her tits got so big so fast. He doesn't cast the Indian girls, but he asks a Persian girl to do the lights. He doesn't touch me. He doesn't seat me so that my dress hikes up, or ask me to cross the stage in a slip without a bra, he doesn't care if I wear glasses or not, and never replaces my iced tea with Wild Turkey. He brings me a list of props that I'll need and all the props are appropriate to the show, even though I saw him earlier gesturing at a pink blond white girl with a bright pink dildo and a pair of pliers. Up in the costume loft, in a dusting of dead flies, he pushes another white girl back on her heels and nuzzles her stomach. He leaves an extra-wet trail of saliva across the front of her sheer robe and tears some of the feathers from her carefully crafted hair. The Persian girl who does the lights carries her back down to the edge of the stage and hands her a cigarette and a Twizzler and asks if she's on the pill.

The director licks the pancake from the chest of the biggest white girl, he takes one of the boys out to buy more lumber, he writes a new scene into the script that requires quick changes backstage, and asks the black girl stage manager to make sure that no one's wearing panties. He changes his mind about the Asian girls and sets up a bubble-filled tin tub on stage and tells the two Korean girls who sit in it and sing a song from The Pajama Game that no one will guess that they're actually naked. When I walk over to his desk, he hands me a broom and asks me to sweep up all the false lashes. He asks me if I've found the right shade of red for the star's big luscious fat suckface mouth. He asks me if I think he made a mistake about the Asian girls, if I know where to get Ecstasy, if I have the phone number of the Latina girl who quit the show. His bald head blends into his bald face blending into his flesh neck where his collar perches and his v-neck sweater calls up ruddy welts, tucked into his pants, neatly pleated across his lap.

He has a wife. He shows me a picture of her and asks me to buy something in her size at the grocery across the street. I buy a pair of pink latex gloves and a plasticized apron printed with teapots. He asks me to try on the apron and when I cinch it tight across my bare back he says it will do. The black girl who builds the sets makes a tssk and one of the white girls from the garden party scene laughs behind her hand.

When the director calls the rest of the cast in for notes and tells the lead to tape her tits together everyone argues about the best kind of tape. He tells the white girls in the chorus to keep their legs high, and tells the boy playing Stanley to get one of the Indian girls to oil his chest. He tells me to wash my face, he tells the Indian girl who sews costumes to sew him a smoking jacket for the cast party, he tells the boys to bring all their rope and all their trading cards, he tells the prettiest white girl to pick one of the boys from the chorus and show him how it's done, he tells the prettiest black girl on the crew to go along and take notes, he tells me again to wash my face, he asks for his glasses he makes a note in a little notebook with a nude by Degas on the cover he asks for his flask back from the lead boy he asks for a couple goddamncuntandwhore aspirin, he cries a little and tells us we can't imagine how long he's waited for this, how long he's been teaching US history in the shitforbrainspodunklittle school, how long he's hung his dong out the window on dark nights just waiting for the muse to come and suck the wonderpoison out, how long he's been making do with the hole he drilled into the ladies room through which he threads a tiny fiberoptic microphone that broadcasts back to him the sound of piss on porcelain, how long he's had his hat in the ring, how many times he's struck and struck out and been under the strain of it all

Your Ugly Little, Scab

Dear Mom and Dad,

In the summer camp for pythons, bad girls, and history buffs, I meet a CIA applicant. He's precise, trim, his glasses so polished they set fire to anything he looks at. He's coming my way with a question about literature, he's coming my way with a book of chubby sonnets in his pocket. He's rubbing his hands together with my thigh in between. He doesn't care if anything dead fell out of my crotch, he doesn't care that I am a teenage bride and my back is covered in sebum boils and cigarette scars and one look at me will ruin his career not because I've got anything special but because he'll get an indelible stamp of bad judgment.

He tells me how smart I am and asks to smell the inside of my sleeping bag. After lights-out he comes scratching at the screen trilling a night bird song, dressed as a raccoon, carrying a light bulb. He crouches under the porch and waits for my ankle to brain him. He stands in the showers fully clothed, fists stacked under his chin, weeping, and when the water comes on he goes still until the shower fills with girls and if I'm among them he hands me the soap. When a possum is injured, he sits at its spitting bedside until the park rangers come for it. He eats with a knife and fork balanced easily in his competent fingers. During the evening prayer he replaces our salvation most high most wholly large most immediately correct deepest influence so help me your grace with my name.

Some of the campers know how to become lawyers and some will stop cutting themselves as soon as they learn about yoga. Some campers go home for holidays and eat the fleece right out of their bed pillows, and some die on the bus. I'm there to lose weight or to recover from a fit of consciousness. I'm there to wait until the bassist who keeps leaving dead snakes in our mailbox gets bored. I'm there to keep my mouth shut about the hotel rooms you've shot and the windows you've shot out and the tax returns you didn't. I'm there to shut up about the children in every state down the eastern seaboard, and there to shut up about the toxic rental properties and sham garages. I'm there to wipe the smirking scars off my face and to smirk no more when you receive a public award and to stop puking in the tureen and to stop jabbing guests in the side with the tip of an antique harpoon, the harpoon's rope wrapped around my waist, my arms wed to it, it's blackened brass leaving a faint tang in the air. When you insist upon my departure, when you pay for it, when you bag me up and tie me to the bus rails, when you pack a bag for me and it contains pre-stamped envelopes and a stack of Saltines, when you charge me for it, when you write clean up time on my forehead in marker, magic marker, stinking like grape overdrive, when you rent my room out to a cult leader, when you burn my novels, when you slit the particle board back of my dresser and remove from its dark interior my list of things you might've done to me should I go missing and burn it on the gas grill and hand me a raw steak and tell me I'll be leaving in the morning.

No one cares if the campers get high or have sex, so I do both and then go to the crafts tent to make myself another lanyard. At the end of the week, I've woven two sets of handcuffs and a ball gag out of bright plastic threads. With cotton loops, I've knotted together a horse suit. My hair hangs down my mane down my back, my homemade hooves appear arthritic in the bad light of a burnt out basketball court. There, I do a dance I call A Successful Morning of Vomiting Out All My Memories of You. At the end, when I'm sticky from effort and my looped tail has gotten tangled in my bit, I scrub into the asphalt. The audience pokes me with the sharpened ends of marshmallow sticks while I make a noise I consider to be an abject whinny until one of the counselors clears a path and elbows me back to my bunk. There's a line of boys waiting to peek up under my horsey skirt and find out if it's true, but I'm so tired I just roll over and let them have at it,

Your Ugly Little, Scab
COPYRIGHT 2013 Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education, on behalf of UNLV, College of Liberal Arts, English Dept.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Author:Pafunda, Danielle
Article Type:Fictional work
Date:Jan 1, 2013
Previous Article:Preface.
Next Article:Dear Interim.

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