Because I have a huge crush on Tegan and Sara, my recent air has been colored by a rosy, lesbian feeling that is accented by thoughts I have about a female friend of mine. The results are two snippets of short story that will probably not lead to much else. Smells and tastes I've had in my head include grass, barbeque, and Vera Wang for men. The legacy of this softer kind of carapace:
Linda, pronounced Leenda like in Spanish, has been my imaginary girlfriend since I came out in the eighth grade.
Her hair is red and she is shy as leap years. Throughout the cold of anxiety, my breathing problems, and the whole
explosive mariachi fiasco, she has kept me warm with her immaculate affection. It’s bright as the lights they put in fountains. Crisp like the backs of locusts in the spring. Our love is immortal.
Before Linda I spent a year with my mother in a cardboard house outside of Nogales, Mexico, playing laundry-
trade with the children of people my mother interviewed for a book, “Forgotten Gente of the Border Hills.” My
mother is an Irish anthropologist. We’ve lived worse places: a pool house in Beverly Hills (for her study on the sex
patterns of rich daughters), a tree house in the Redwoods (to research wanted hippies). Right now we live among
the wilds of Colorado City, one of the few known polygamous towns in the Western United States, where my
mother is throwing many large dinner parties and avidly observing our expansive units of neighbors. For these
parties, I’m in charge of punchmaking.
“More rosemary,” says Linda today, brushing manicured strands of lipsticky hair behind her perfect ears. “You
were short last time.”
My recipe is secret; only we know it. The many wives adore it. (A few, I have observed, add a nip of what I
know from the brief but sure smell to be rum before taking delicate drinks).
“Okay, my Linda, que linda.” I look at her. Her skirt is too short for company, mostly because I’ll only want to
be dragging her to bed all night. Even though she is imaginary, I look to see if my mother is coming before I kiss
her bow-shaped mouth. “Linda, que linda.”
Soledad is scraping new goo from the same cash register she scrubbed clean yesterday. Drops of Windex bead her
brow like sweat. It is six-thirty a.m. and everyone else who works at the department store went home half an hour
ago; she has planned to follow suit for minutes upon minutes, now, but won’t move until she gets the god damned
shitty goo--residue from tape and stickers--off of this fucking fixture.
Maria Luz and Genevieve work with Soledad at the brothel on Powder Street, where Soledad spends several
nights a week under gauze and Christmas lights. These girls curl their hair with hot clothes hangers. The brothel is
a classy one for this town: the glass and concrete of a hollowed office building seem to swell with something like a
happiness: a deep, souly satisfaction that stretches boundaries of matter with its pleasing girth. Each girl gets one
themed room--roses, vampires, ancient Greek. The owner of the brothel is a Broadway cast-off, name of Maryrose,
who has assigned each whore a character, a prototype. Maria Luz is a sad-eyed Frida Kahlo in a room full of crepe
flowers, for men who like real women, for men who know pain. Genevieve is a skinny gamine cum Parisian whore.
She bears a minute tattoo along the curve of her ass that reads, “Sans toi, les émotions d'aujourd hui ne seraient
que la peau morte des émotions d'autrefois.”
When Soledad spends a night at the brothel, she transmogrifies into a woman like the ones in films she used
to love: her tarpit-black hair comes down from its hard chignon to fall around her hips, her lips become the red of
sacrifice, and she dons the shortest, blackest dress she owns. She trades her boots for leather pumps. At the
brothel, she is dark and wild. At the brothel, she glues vampire teeth onto her canines.
She closes up her stint at the department store with a stiff nod toward the three bosses, who stand like waving
apostles in the faux grass of the golf section. Let them, Soledad thinks. Let them stand and get paid their 10.50 an
hour to wear khakis and direct the brown ones.
She kind of likes being a brown one. When she lived with Bluebell, her mother, in the color house that stood
before their cancer years and many bad trips, they hung posters of Benito Juarez and Cesar Chavez on the indigo/
gold walls for dart practice.
“For Mexico!” Bluebell had laughed, high on cleaning chemicals and sugar from her janitorial position at the
university. “What a fucking failure joke.”
Bluebell had been sold by her parents to entrepreneurial Russians in the North American sex slave market
shortly after her thirteenth birthday, and spent the next seven years before her escape and ensuing lawsuit in dark
closets and on blood-stained shag carpets. Mexico was her parents and all corrosiveness. Soledad has never been.
I never even thought to hope that you'd take pity on my project and imbue it with your graces. I'm so, so excited. It will be a success even if its membership stays at its current number.
I don't know where Linda came from, but I think she'll haunt me further.