Ch. 1 here
Ch. 2 here
Ch. 3 here
Ch. 4 here
Ch. 5 here
The Plus-sized Models, in unison: “The first time we became aware of TYRA watching us, we were quite small. Her eyes seemed like Jupiter compared to our Mercuries. Her hair was like genetic jackpot, ours like a scratch-off ticket. Her legs like whoa and ours like teacup piglets’.”
Oh, the luring story. Everyone has one. TYRA offered me bobbins and acres of jersey. There is a girl, on the third floor, who recreates the moment of her luring, again and again. She cannot articulate this (or much of anything, anymore), but I suspect she needs to know how it happened. At what point could her mind have been so weak?
She clambers atop a stepstool and smashes her head against light fixtures. Glass shards have joined with her hair to create a sparkly tangle. Her concussed speech is slurred, her tongue lolls uselessly much of the time.
In the light, she looks fantastic, her hair like iridescent candy floss. But then she goes and butts her head into its source. TYRA has tried everything: fluorescent tubing, candles, elimination of dropped ceilings. The other residents are getting pissed. She’s put her head through all the television sets.
The Plus-sized Models continue: “We could sense her desperation and wanted nothing to do with her. Most of all, we were frightened of her body weapons: vagina dentate, need we say more? We probably should have reported her to The Authorities. But she took us horseback riding and then for manicures. And our pet marten disappeared. Implied threat.
“She fattened us on a diet of gin and babyback. The tenderness, oh! The first time she kissed us, our tongues retracted, and we choked. We would have died if she hadn’t been there to snag and tame our struggling muscles.”
That crazy girl howls at the night sky, straining her neck to break the moon. She is so dumb. The moon is really far away.
“We grew up with her in our peripheral vision. The day she left we took some pills. They were just Tylenol, but that is still a cry for help.”
I take the Plus-sized Models on a tour before handing them over to TYRA for the ceremony, and they’re all way too interested in the vat room. “What’s in there, perfume? Fabulous cash and prizes? World-famous photographers?” The vats, the vats: What could they possibly contain other than gore? This is no funeral parlor, but it ain’t exactly an amusement park either. I guess Movie Night is okay. I’m getting better at the piano. And TYRA gave me some silk once in exchange for my grandmother’s engagement ring.
The Howling Girl spaces her neck with bangles. Each day it grows half an inch, a rate alarming to our keeper. We have been told not to give her jewelry because, even now, her height far exceeds door frames, and it’s interfering with her massage duties. She rolls shattered pieces of glass in her shredded cheeks till they’re smooth enough for beading. She is her own ocean.
I would like to surf her tongue, but must content myself with staring as she showers. How come everyone but me gets a muse? And do you choose your muse or does he choose you?
The Howling Girl needs to get over herself and start helping me sew clothes for the small pets. I hate that I can see the teacup piglets’ nipples.