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I wait for the bus across the street from a building that houses a threading salon on the second floor. Big red letters herald its name, and a looped video plays on a large screen in its plate glass window, demonstrating the process along with other facial hair removal procedures, like waxing. I like to imagine being that hirsute woman whose face looms over Sixth Avenue, passing by on the street below, on a date with a new fella, wanting desperately to brag, "That's me!" but knowing there's no way she can do so if she wants a second date.
In my treks through the two acres of open field and woods that comprise my parents' property, I stumble upon a desiccated bone of a murder victim. Even though I'm only 11, I know that sometimes murderers dispose of the bodies in pieces, so that's why I'm not shocked when my search doesn't yield other parts of this long-forgotten skeleton. I stare at the bone, now out of context on my desk, and imagine the horror of the victim's last moments alive. I wish I could solve this mystery that I'm certain has baffled seasoned detectives for decades.
Continued from 3/2
The bone is perhaps five inches long. I cannot figure out which part of a murdered man or woman would have housed it. It's too big for a hand, too small for an arm or leg, and too non-rib-shaped to be a rib. The only logical explanation: The bone came from someone not yet fully formed, also known as a baby. Babies have short forearms, don't they? Yes. Therefore, on my desk rests the ulna of an infant. I don't feel sadness for the dead baby, only fascination for the imagined circumstances of its death.
Continued from 3/3
I wish I had more than a microscope with which to further examine my find. How am I supposed to be a pre-teen forensic scientist without sufficient equipment? Where was my white lab coat? Then again, I tell myself, if Nancy Drew solved her crimes wearing nothing more than cuffed denims and wielding, at most, an oversized magnifying glass, so could I.
(Not to denigrate my microscope, however. That super-powered black beauty, in its sturdy metal box with the tight latch, and its accompany real glass slides, was even more treasured than this mystery bone.)
Continued from 3/4
PROGRAM NOTE: We interrupt you early in your gleeful perusing of these 100 Words to bring to your attention that we are well aware that in yesterday's entry the word "accompany" should have been "accompanying". We apologize for any interruption in the flow of your reading.
We regret that we loathe proofreading. We also regret that we are compelled to re-read entries immediately after posting them so we can recoil in horror at any such errors.
We will stop referring to ourselves in the third person now. We apologize for that as well.
Continued from 3/5
The bone is safe from curious fingers and contamination in the plastic baggie in which it rests atop my desk. I know the police will appreciate my attention to detail and commend me for adhering to proper procedure.
My mother makes a rare appearance in my bedroom and approaches my desk.
"Why do you have a chicken bone in your room?" she asks. "Here, give it to me. I'll throw it out."
Chicken bone? This couldn't possibly be a -- oh, yes. It could. And is.
Damn it. Murder was so much more exciting than discarded KFC.
When she was still a teenager in dog years, my dog Shrdze subscribed to Teen Magazine. She liked seeing her name in dot matrix on the mailing label almost as much as she liked the articles about lip gloss and boys and the ads for Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific. We would huddle on my bed or my denim beanbag chair and admire the glossy pages. They smelled almost as terrific as we knew our hair would, if only we bothered to wash it more often. We never paid for those magazines. Collection agencies didn't come after dogs back then.
I'd like to pretend I could travel light. That I could toss a pair of pants, a shirt/dress that can be worn six different ways, a toothbrush, and two pair of underwear (wear one, hand-wash the other!) into a Chihuahua of a suitcase, and be on my merry way.
But I won't. I like options. I need options. I don't want to be locked into wearing the same shoes for the duration of a trip. I don't care if nothing can do "double duty". And I won't go anywhere without my flatiron. Even if it's just for the weekend. Sorry!
The girls in my sixth grade class never seemed particularly cruel until they read "Blubber" by Judy Blume. No sooner had they finished the book than poor Diane P., who had theretofore been able to exist in quiet, chunky, lank-haired solitude for most of her 11 years, became the target of mean-spirited pranks torn directly from the pages of that treasured paperback.
I intended to finish this by saying I'm glad "Carrie" hadn't yet made the rounds. But then I remembered that two years later, upon the release of the movie, hapless Diane P. endured pranks that were much crueler.
Lisa likes watching her mother's right hand splash-dance through the soapy side of the sink to the clear side, and the neat spin she puts on each plate when she tosses them to her father. He catches with his right hand, lifts his left leg, and balances each dish on his thigh while drying it.
Lisa admires how the vacant left sleeves of their shirts match and wishes she, too, was missing an arm. She has her dad's eyes, they say, and her mom's hair. But when will her arm go away, so she doesn't feel like such a mutant?
I want to replace my noisy new neighbor with a colorful character more suitable to be my Rhoda Morgenstern, to offer acerbic remarks and wisecracks while wearing a colorful scarf to contain her curls and kooky bellbottoms whose flare-legs try in vain to disguise her seam-splitting thighs, to prop up me, Mary Richard, the elegantly neurotic (and thin) star.
I do fret, though, that perhaps I'm not suited to be Mary. Maybe I'm actually Rhoda. And maybe I need a Mary instead.
Alas, this little loudmouth neighbor, a Mary of another sort, isn't even fit to be my Jack McFarland.
What do hospitals do with the body parts removed from people's bodies during surgery or found after a particularly horrifying automobile accident? Are they discarded with as much insouciance and lack of fanfare as freshly clipped hair swept from a salon floor or the contents of one's nose dislodged into a tissue after an ordinary blow?
I imagine severed and amputated limbs wearing still-tied sneakers or still-ticking watches, gall bladders and hearts oozing unneeded bile and blood, carelessly tossed into a large plastic container larger than a trashcan but smaller than a Dumpster.
I imagine them crying and confused. Heartbroken.
May I be the first to say your baby is not attractive? I won't go so far as to say he is out and out ugly. However, I will go far enough to say he's not particularly good-looking and in no way spectacular, despite what everyone else is no doubt telling you. (LIARS.)
I would hesitate to say this if only I hadn't heard you whispering to yourself, as you poured Chex Mix into a bowl, "I wish my baby wasn't so average. For this I gained 35 pounds, have leaky tits, and now can't afford to buy new shoes?"
My boyfriend is the perfect blend of lanky Jimmy Stewart Midwestern sensibility -- solid as the hammer he handles with aplomb to take care of any number of household tasks I have no idea how to complete, uttering "holy cow" with absolutely no irony and unblinkingly confusing "Pachelbel" with "Taco Bell" -- and the brooding unnamed bad boy from the back of the classroom, the one who, with one long, lingering look, speaks volumes about the deviant ways he wants to nail you, and who murmurs words into your ear so filthy that a month of Q-tips couldn't dislodge them.
By 7:20 a.m., I had started my laundry at the laundromat and dropped my Netflix DVD in the mailbox.
"Good girl!" I said, as I dashed across the street before the light turned red. Beating the light almost made me want to high-five or chest-bump myself. Or both, mid-air.
Given the previous day's level of sloth, when the mere thought of leaving the house was enough to make my head spin, today I was all about congratulating myself for even the most pedestrian of tasks.
"Way to go!" I cheered, as I stepped out of the shower at 10:15 p.m.
The coffee guy at Fairway with the wonky eye just waited on me ("a pound of the Yirgacheffe, whole bean is great, please") and I pretended, as always, not to be bothered by the wonky eye or to even notice it. Indeed, I felt like I overcompensated for my pretense by smiling at him a little more than his level of service warranted and by looking him straight in the wonky eye, which is kind of hard to do given that it's semi-sealed shut and I have no idea which way it's looking, if indeed it's looking anywhere at all.
In perhaps one of the most ill-advised moves to hit their house in at least a decade, my parents and sister have taken in my sister's "boyfriend", whom my parents have met a grand total of one time and whom my sister visited at his Florida home perhaps three times in the two and a half years of their acquaintance. This has all the makings of a laugh-track-heavy, woefully miscast WB sitcom. I am not going out on a limb when I say abrupt cancellation even before mid-season, if not immediately after the pilot, is a distinct possibility. Stay tuned.
I've never felt less blonde, less blue-eyed, and less pale-skinned in all my life. Or less athletic, less pretty, or less popular.
Standing next to Debbie Van Slyke, one of my best third-grade friends, is like being in the presence of a real life Marcia Brady, my TV idol. Except Debbie's hair is even blonder, her eyes even bluer, and her skin even more porcelain than Marcia's. She leaves me and my black-coffee brown hair and matching eyes and olive skin in the dust that would be generated by the kickball thrown my way if only I wasn't so clumsy.
"Why is the sky blue?" my sister asked from the den.
"Why are Irish Setters red?" I asked from the kitchen.
I could hear her trying to suppress laughter through the extension.
"I cannot answer those questions," the operator said.
"Why not?" I said. "Isn't this Information?"
"No," the operator said. "It's called Directory Assistance."
"Well, can you direct me to assistance to answer my questions?"
My sister gasped. Giggled. I knew I would be sure to follow, so I hung up.
We dashed in the dining room, midway between the den and the kitchen, feeling oddly victorious.
From time to time, for a reason I never found out, my family used to sleep in the back room of my parents' record store in the farmer's market. I liked to think of it as camping out without the aggravation of tents, coyotes, or fresh air. I was just happy for any excuse to sleep in my sleeping bag and run down the mostly blacked-out halls of the market with my sister to use the bathroom, our flashlight a surefire way to ward off the monsters, burglars, and murderers I convinced myself were lying in wait for pre-teen girl-flesh.
I figure I'll do what other people do on Facebook: Search for people I knew 14,000 years ago and send them "friend requests", even though some of them were just acquaintances back then and probably have less in common now than we did then. My search yields several classmates I'm sure have forgotten me -- if they'd even noticed me in the first place. I send notes along with the "friend requests", striving to strike the perfect balance of chirpy youth that I never embodied even back then and witty sophistication that's sure to inspire a favorable response.
Continued from 3/21
I am shocked that they not only does everyone remember me but they're thrilled to hear from me after all these years. One girl from sixth grade remembers, with exclamation points, that I had perfect printing and was very funny. A guy from tenth grade biology lab remembers how much we laughed in class and tells me I was definitely noticed by the other guys ("attractive girls are ALWAYS noticed!" he assures me) back then. Although this titillates the hell out of me now, I can't help but wish he'd told me 30 years ago. Exclamation point.
When I was still of single-digit age, I had a "thing" for girls with light freckles sprinkled across their noses, boyishly short hair, and eyes that alternately flashed with mischief or out and out flirted. Ellen, my best friend until I moved after third grade, was my first such crush. In fourth grade, I met Melanie, the perfect blend of Tatum O'Neal and Jodie Foster, two girls I admired almost as much as Marcia Brady. I wanted Melanie to admire me, too, so I let her teach me how to pry hood ornaments and emblems from neighborhood cars.
I liked carrying "Sybil" around school almost as much as I liked reading it. It wasn't the usual reading material found in eighth grade hands and certainly wasn't assigned reading. The cherry on top of the stack of books on my desk, it invited curiosity from kids who otherwise paid me little attention. The funniest boy in class, on whom I had a sizeable crush, monitored my progress, marked by a tasseled bookmark.
One day he scooped the book off its perch and opened it to the mark. He read an eyebrow-raising passage and then leered at me.
Continued from 3/24
Just because I was reading a book that contained a few perverse (by eighth-grade standards) passages, Jeff seemed to think that that made me more worthy of attention than he had in the two years we'd been classmates. Whereas he paid only mild to moderate attention to me prior to "Sybil", he suddenly hovered around my Social Studies desk more frequently and for longer periods of time. The appearance of the word "vagina" in my reading material elevated me from mere acquaintance status to actual jerk-off fodder.
This was a notion that did not entirely displease me.
Dear Love Of Her Life:
You're not the first, and you certainly won't be the last. In the handful of years since I've known her, the freak who's lying beside you being all smarmy-poetic about listening to your heartbeat, posting updates online about the wonders of true love and having finally found it, and making you mix CDs has made the same claim at least four times. Each time, she broadcasts a stronger love than the time immediately preceding it. Each time, the declaration of the relationship's inevitable end is even more disastrous.
In the meantime, though, enjoy the blowjobs!
Every morning the three Bedlington Terriers passed on the sidewalk across from my apartment, pompom ears bobbing, lamby fur begging to be snuggled, rounded profiles adding even more to their stuffed-animal appearance. I wanted to scoop them onto my bed to surround me in naps lasting well past noon.
One day I saw only two. I didnít dare ask their dad what happened.
Eventually the walk was only a solo. Again I didn't ask what happened.
Even if I wanted to, now I wouldn't be able to ask. I have no idea what the man looks like without his companions.
I wonder if the liquid-hipped licorice-whip of a boy my boyfriends, my boyfriend, and I are ogling at the dance club has any idea that, as enticing and marvelous as he is, he's hardly an original. Does he have any idea that an identical version of him -- tight hip-slung jeans, silver belt and rings, pointy boots, T-shirt that barely covers his taut lower belly, longish spiky black hair falling over his forehead, kohl-lined eyes -- has been in dance clubs for at least 25 years?
Who cares? I still love seeing this kind of boy gyrating on a platform.
I am at the water fountain in the ladies locker room, filling up my bottle for the trip home. I have a count of 30 until the bottle is filled, so I have to make good use of my time. I pretend my glance away from my bottle is an idle one. No one has to know I'm really assessing whose tits and ass and more are worth my time.
I don't want to see the bodies that look like they've benefited from the workouts. I want the floppiest, the saggiest, the lumpiest, the dumpiest. I am usually rewarded handsomely.
Christine tells me that she clips her husband's toenails, which are so long and ragged that they tear holes in every pair of socks unfortunate enough to find his feet inside them. She spits vitriol for the duration of the task, and asks why he can't do it himself.
"Because I want YOU to do it!" he says.
This is not an answer.
To make matters even more vile, she does this in their bedroom, on their bed, with him lying on the bed. How she can consider being otherwise horizontal with him, there or anywhere else, is anyone's guess.
The customer is not always right, I'm sure, but in this case you shouldn't be questioning me. This is at least the twentieth time I've been here. When I tell you the noodles have way too much black pepper, trust that they do. Don't tell me that's the way you've always made the dish. Just take it away and replace it with something that won't have me in gasping tears after a mere chopstickful. And after finally agreeing to replace the dish, don't bring back a version that has not even a hint of any spice. That's not cute either.
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