Not in the mood to read? Here’s an “Audio-Visual” story I’m working on. Images are “placeholders”, but the story, voiceover, and effects are mine.
“You must remember this, a kiss is just a kiss…”
Do you remember your first kiss? I do. I was about 12, and it happened under the stairs in middle school. It was very awkward and involved braces, bumping eye glasses and noses.
Kiss of Death.
And so on…
You might call this entry a “Fantasy”, but I like to call it a “Feel Good” story. Either way, it’s a mini escape, and perhaps a bit of “food for thought”. Enjoy, xxoo.
They had always had access; access was easy. It had been a not-so-secret secret for decades. The tunnels were intricate, yet direct. Once under the main source, it was a vertical climb up to the White House kitchen, where stealth moves were required to sneak beneath tables, alongside blazing hot stoves, towards the massive mother-load. The pantry was easy to raid. Entire loaves of bread could go missing, without anyone noticing. They were careful to avoid leaving a crumb trail, and the growing rat family stayed healthy and happy.
Every few years there was a turnover, and the food staples would change. The rats were overjoyed that the prior host was finally gone, as there had been a severe shortage of starches and junk food for far too long. Eight years to be exact. The new tenants were a welcome supplier of white bread, processed crackers, and yellow cheese. To top it all off, there was a delightful supply of fast food to be pilfered from trash bins. Fries, burger buns, and the fried chicken were absolutely irresistible. The rats gained weight, and within a year, a few had become too fat to get through the tunnels. This was when a disaster occurred. Two of the rats got jammed inside the mainline to the kitchen, causing a major back up. They needed help, and they knew just who to call. Sure, they’d risk losing the two fat buddies, but collateral damage was a burden they’d simply have to shoulder. The boa constrictors resided in the sewers of the surrounding city. Long ago, an escapee from the zoo had mated with a female who was let loose by a lousy pet owner. They had bred, and now the family of snakes had countless cousins, all living within the under water system of Washington D.C..
As the oversized elderly rat informed the snake boss of their “clog” problem, the big boa gathered his extended family around. Eagerly, they slipped away into underground tunnels with ease, until they reached the trapped rats. After devouring the “blockage”, the boas swiftly continued along route towards the jackpot. Upon arriving in the kitchen, they glided in silence behind the walls towards the pantry. By now, it was late, and there were workers busy stocking shelves, so they decided to bypass the kitchen and check out the second floor. Silently, they headed up a narrow opening behind an ancient dumb waiter, and emerged onto a dim upper hallway. In the stagnant air, the snakes detected a strong scent of chicken. Slithering along dark red Persian carpets, they felt their way against plastic gilded moldings. It was well past midnight, when the lead snake paused, startled by an electronic pinging sound. He slowly headed towards the noise, which was coming from behind a door. A weak stream of light seeped through. The smell of chicken filled his nostrils. He waited there for his partners to catch up. They gathered by the base at the door, contemplating how to flatten enough to slide beneath it. Aligning themselves, the five snakes pressed together as one.
Silently, they burst through, and into the bathroom where they saw a large fat man in a white hotel robe, hunched over on a gold toilet. His eyes were closed, as he ate KFC from a box on the shelf. While chewing loudly, he hummed in a monotonous tone, gripping a phone in his free hand. He was too busy to notice the snakes heading towards him. Suddenly, one gripped each of his legs, and wrapped tightly around the limbs, as the other three slid up behind the toilet, winding effortlessly around his thick neck. In unison they began to squeeze. The giant lurched forward, and tried to yell, but no sound came out, other than a loud belch. A half- eaten chicken leg dropped to the gold tiled floor, followed by his cell phone, which shattered into pieces. His heavy head flopped down, a stringy yellowed hairpiece flapping forward over a distorted face. Large dirty dentures clattered to the floor. The man’s stomach bulged, and he let out a long fart. The snakes untethered themselves, and snatched the remaining fried chicken. With that, they seamlessly slipped under the door. Making their way down the halls, they passed a few of the rats along the way, and shared a swift knowing glance. With a low hiss, they headed towards the exit tunnel, disappearing back into the underworld of D.C.
This story is ultra personal. It is a small event which changed the course of my life. I didn’t tell anyone until years later. I’m not one to “overshare”, however in light of recent events, I feel it’s warranted. With all of the clamor regarding old testimonies from “never mentioned” crimes, it’s easier to tune it out. But, the fact is that these things do happen. Humans are flawed, and they make mistakes. These incidents play forward until there is some sort of resolution, acceptance and forgiveness. I’ve done all three, but I can be honest enough to admit that what happened was real, and it did manifest in my life for many years after. For this reason, I believe women who come forward after the fact. And, I do believe it speaks to the character of the individual who perpetrated the incident, when they deny the fact that anything ever occurred.
The first time it happened, I was 17. It was supposed to be the best time in my life. I was in New York City, studying fashion design at a prestigious art school. I had always dreamed of becoming a costume designer and working in the world of theater or film. Finally, I was on my way.
The first time it happened, I was 17. I thought I was so grown up and sophisticated, until I arrived on that campus in Manhattan. It was immediately apparent that I was way out of my league. Girls flitted by in the latest high fashion outfits, and the boys, well, they were just as stylish. I remember suddenly feeling very small and insecure in my Macys jumpsuit, wearing one of two pairs of shoes that I owned. I always had felt confident about being able to put together an outfit, until I saw my competition.
The first time it happened, I was 17. Sure, in my small town, I had gone out on occasion. I had my first drink, when I was 14, and I continued to drink because it helped to relieve painful shyness. Even so, it was only on occasion, to get bold enough to socialize, or cut loose on the dance floor. I guess I was pretty sheltered. This became clearly apparent within a week of arriving to college. My roommate, who was 2 years older, seemed so savvy and cool, I couldn’t believe she wanted to hang out with me. She invited me to go out, and I fell under the spell of the nightlife that was NYC at the time. Swirling lights, music, drugs, and plenty of them. I was underage, but there were plenty of girls out in the clubs that were far younger than me.
The first time it happened, I was 17. I had never had a real “boyfriend” during high school. You could say I was a loner. I guess the combination of shyness, coupled with the fact that I wore thick glasses up until 11th grade didn’t help. I was still a virgin, and I secretly longed to find that special someone to share the first experience with. I wished to find that “true love”. The first month passed quickly at college. The soft summer air chilled to a crisp. It was time to break out fall fashions. Sweaters, boots, scarves, hats and gloves.
The first time it happened, I was 17. My roommate coerced me into going out to one of the last standing monsterous clubs of the moment in midtown Manhattan. I wore a vintage 60’s hot pink fitted shift dress, with a black fake fur cropped jacket, fishnet tights and pointy patent leather pumps. My friend wore a black sharkskin fitted men’s suit, with nothing under the jacket, along with red shiny booties, and her trademark black beret. She styled my hair into a sexy tousled mess, added heavy black eyeliner and hot pink lipstick. As we headed downtown in a cab, drinking vodka from a bottle, the interior filled with a cloud of Aqua Net and cigarette smoke. I was already tipsy by the time we got there. Standing in line behind the velvet rope, we were immediately selected to enter. My friend was strikingly beautiful, with her wild curly black hair, green eyes, and androgynous style. As soon as we walked in, the music took me over, and I headed to the dance floor, as she went off on her own. The place was a vibrating cavernous, multi-level extravaganza. A sensory overload. I lost myself in the music and danced for what seemed like hours. Intermittently strangers would come up and dance with me. It was a different time. People used to dance, and it was all very sexually charged, mixed up, and fun.
The first time it happened, I was 17. It was 3 am in the club. The place was still going strong, but I was ready to leave. I walked over to sit in a banquet, and moments later, a handsome stranger sat down close to me. He was well dressed, in a Wall Street sort of way, but friendly enough with his sweaty bangs falling over crystal blue eyes. He asked if I wanted to party with him, and laid out a couple of lines of coke before I even had a chance to answer. He snorted it quickly, and asked if I wanted any. I had never done drugs, but I was curious and I thought, well, why not. I took the rolled up bill, and he held my hair as I leaned over and snorted a line. As I let the cool burn slide down my throat, I could sense a shift in my body. Now tingling and alert, I told the stranger that I wanted to dance again. He slid his arm around me and told me that he wanted to take me to an after hours club where we could dance till dawn.
The first time it happened, I was 17. Riding in a cab through midtown, after midnight, with a stranger. High on cocaine, and giddy with nerves. The stranger was funny and charming. We made out in the cab. I asked him where the after hours club was. He told me we needed to go to his place to pick something up first. I was too out of it to protest. We headed over to the east side, and the cab stopped in front of a fancy brownstone. He took my hand to help me out. I followed him up the steps to the big wood entryway. Once inside the luxurious apartment, he invited me to sit down on the sofa, while he went into the kitchen to make drinks. He returned with two drinks on a tray, along with a pile of white powder. I took the drink, but declined the coke. He just laughed and said, “more for me.” I was starting to come down, and felt very tired and weak.
The first time it happened, I was 17. I was falling asleep on the sofa, and I told him I needed to go home. He had been yammering on and on about some deal he had made on Wall Street, and how much he was going to make during the next year. He reached over and grabbed me as I started to get up to leave. I told him I had class the next day. No, no, he said. I’ll send you home in a cab in the morning. Stay. Stay. I told him I couldn’t. He kept persisting, his sweat dampened hair dangling over wild looking, bloodshot blue eyes. As he tugged on my dress, he tried to slide his hand up my thigh. I firmly gripped his hand to stop him. I told him I couldn’t sleep with him because I was still a virgin. I told him I was saving it for that special someone. I told him I wanted to leave. He grabbed me, and kept kissing me, even though at this point, I was not reciprocating. He was in a coked up frenzy by now, and suddenly I was very sober. I pushed him away and told him to stop it. He pushed me back down on the sofa. Tears welled up in my eyes. He was so much stronger than me, as he pushed me down, I heard him unzipping his pants. Tearing at my stockings, he told me to lie still, and urgently forced himself upon me, heaving and breathing like an animal. Hot tears flowed down my cheeks, pooling at the side of my face, as it was crushed deeper and deeper into the velour pillow. Physical pain was dwarfed by my emotional agony. Then, suddenly, I felt myself floating upward and watching this event from above. I disconnected and became numb. Nothing could touch me now. I became smaller and smaller, fading away into the distance, until I finally disappeared completely.
The first time it happened, I was 17.
Her mother tugged harder than ever, smoothing back Chevon’s deep brunette hair with a fine toothed metal comb, into a high elegant chignon. The small child squirmed in the hard chair, impatient after more than 2 hours of primping. “Stay still”, boomed her mother’s voice over her head, echoing off the grey marble flooring of the large bathroom. “Don’t you want to be pretty? Beauty is pain! You will suffer for beauty, but it’s all worth it. Money you can’t always get with brains. You do what I tell you, and you will be thanking me, and taking care of me when I am an old grandma living in your house.” She leaned her head down to press her cheek against the tiny face, and smiled at their reflection.
Tears welled up in the young girl’s eyes. At 6, she had endured this fussing for 4 years already. Since she turned 2, her mother had dressed her up like a tiny doll. The more serious makeup and hair styling had started around 3. By now, she had been in countless competitions, and won multiple trophies as the cutest, sassiest, prettiest girl in the world. “World Doll”, “Adorable Baby” “PerfectionZ”. You name the competition, Chevon had won it. First place all the way.
Her mother set up the instagram a few months ago. Hairowin was built to feature her daughter, and profit from her fame via affiliate sales. Sheila had been a hair-stylist, long before she became a stage mom. Salon work had gotten too difficult for her, with standing for those long hours. Her weight had ballooned from chronic stress, and was now considered a health hazard. However, she could still do hair like a wizard, designing elaborate up-dos, and a multitude of glamorous styles. Working at home, she could spend time with her daughter, sit down and rest as needed and save money on babysitting expenses.
That’s when Sheila had the brilliant idea to feature her daughter as a model on instagram. Chevon had a long head of luxurious shiny deep brunette hair, which her mother embellished with extensions, and featured in posts on a daily basis. The followers swooped in. No matter that more than half were most likely pedophiles. Sheila knew it was a numbers game, and the higher the following, the more opportunities she would have to turn a profit. Winning pagaents was all well and good, but creating a passive stream of income was even better. Her bank account grew daily, and so did her greed.
Chevon struggled in the chair again. Tears welled in her sparkling blue eyes. “Mommy? I have to go pee. Can I get up please?” Sheila tugged extra hard, swirling her glossy locks into a corkscrew bun and fastening it with a crystal clip. She roughly pushed her daugher and told her to hurry up. They needed to post within the next 2 hours for optimal exposure. As Chevon shuffled to the toilet, Sheila headed to the kitchen, grabbed a slab of cold pizza from the fridge and inhaled it, wiping crumbs on her sleeve.
Back in the master bathroom, her child obediently sat on the chair at the vanity, patiently waiting, while her mother swirled, pinned, combed, and teased her hair into an ultra vixenesque style. Sort of a cross between Marie Antoinette and an 80’s glam rock star. She grabbed the makeup bag, and launched into a whirlwind application, adding glitter and gloss for a finishing touch. She laughed with delight seeing the bright blue eyes glisten under long mascara coated lashes. An awkward smile appeared on her child’s face. “Gorgeous! This is a winner!” Sheila ran to the bedroom, and returned holding a hot pink and red chiffon dress encrusted with swarofsky crystals across a corsetted bodice. “Let’s get you into this dress, and start taking pics! I smell money honey!”
She roughly tugged off Chevon’s flannel pjs, throwing them in the corner. Unzipping the gown, she tossed the fluffy tulle over her head like a fishing net, careful to avoid the hair and face, yanked and zipped it tight. Custom made by her aunt, it fit like a glove. She picked up her child like a doll, and plopped her down onto the large velvet divan. Then she posed her, rearranging her arms, legs, and tilting her head a few times until she sat there, in the perfect temptress position.
“Smile!, Now, Pout! …no, not like that! Look at mommy, like this. See how sexy mommy looks?… Sheila demonstrated, pouting with a slight grimace. Her daughter dutifully obeyed and posed like a mini doll, doing her best to please her mother.
This went on for about half an hour. Satisfied, Sheila told her she could take a break and watch tv, while she uploaded the photos onto social media. Sitting in front of the computer with her phone at her side, Sheila smiled, laughed, and texted, while mouthing responses to the comments as they poured in. She was too excited to bother with any negative remarks, just deleting those as they appeared. Her daughter was a star and she was gonna be rich!
Finally, she headed to the living room to find her daughter fast asleep with the tv on. A program about serial killers blared in the background. She picked up the small child, shaking her gently. “Bedtime princess. Someone’s gotta get that beauty sleep. You did so good today, doll, You did so, so good, 5,000 likes so far and counting….we’re gonna be so rich. I love you. Tomorrow I’m gonna do a sleek long style, and I have a silver sequin gown for you to wear! It’s going to be topped off with one of your pageant tiaras.”
She carried the small child, a bundle of chiffon and hair, into her pink princess room. She laid her down on the canopy bed, surrounded by twinkling strands of tiny white and pink lights. Chevon looked like an angel. Sheila began arranging and spreading her silken hair on the pink satin pillow. The child’s eyes fluttered, and closed again as she fell into a deep sleep.
Sheila pulled out her phone and snapped away. A few more photos, the hair on the pillow, so perfect. Ultimate in glam. This would be a sellout image. She titled it “The Real Sleeping Beauty.” Uploaded, and boom….instant likes and comments. “Living doll” “OMG” “beautiful” Adorable “Sexy” well, who cared where it came from, she was getting lots of likes and action….meaning money. Money. Money. Money.
Her husband still worked nights for the city morgue, and he was doing a lot of overtime these days. He really had no idea about social media, and had always stayed away from all that “girly stuff”. When he got home that night after 11, Sheila was dressed in her favorite long black slip, with a slit up the front thigh. Her large silicone breasts overflowed, and her thick body bulged out in quite a few directions. He smiled. She offered him a beer, and they went to their room. She was in the mood, and they stayed up late into the night doing things they had never done, and many more than once.
Sheila slept well that night. So well that she didn’t hear her alarm. Today was the day she was going to do the long luxury ponytail look on Chevon. She rubbed her eyes, looking at the alarm clock. Grabbing her phone off of the side table, she quickly logged into the instagram. Her eyes cleared and she saw the thousands of likes on the last post. Sleeping Beauty was a giant hit! She had DMs for buisness proposals, and a multitude of opportunities coming her way. Today was gonna be a good day. Finally all of her hard work was paying off. The baby beauty pagaents, the styling, the sacrifices she had made. All paying off big time.
She texted her husband. Dan texted back “last night was hot, babe. Let’s do that more often.xoxo” She smiled. “definitely babe. I love you” she responded, smiling as she glanced into the bedroom mirror admiring her afterglow. Sure she had gained weight, but it made her feel powerful and her husband was enjoying her extra curves and fleshy hips and thighs.
Grabbing her silky robe and putting on her favorite sheepskin slippers, Sheila shuffled towards her daughters bedroom, humming as she thought about the next “look”. The little angel was still asleep. Her hair splayed out in tendrils. She touched the shimmering bronzed forehead, realizing she hadn’t removed the makeup. She headed into the bathroom, and brought back some makeup wipes. Sheila began gently removing the makeup from Chevon’s delicate tiny face, with a tenderness she hadn’t felt for some time. Her little girl still looked like a baby in the morning light.
Sheila pushed the hair back gently off of her tiny forehead. As she pushed the hair, it moved further back. She pressed a bit harder, and she saw pale scalp showing through. To her shock, as she took hold of a tendril, lightly lifting it, effortlessly, the hair lifted completely from her daughers head. She moved her hand through the hair, and felt it detaching from the scalp with ease. In fact, all of Chevons hair seemed to have become loose overnight and was now just falling off, leaving bald sections. Sheila was horrified, as she took sections of the long tresses in her hand, watching them slip through her fingertips onto the bed and floor. Her daughter stirred. “Was anyone in your room last night?” Sheila whispered loudly.
Chevon cracked her eyes open and squinted, “No mommy!” Nobody came in here. Why? What’s wrong. Mommy! What’s wrong?” Alarmed at seeing the expression on her mother’s face. “Mommy?!” Chevon reached up to her head and felt the bare skin. She touched a loose lock of hair that had fallen over her face. Holding it between her forefinger and thumb, she slowly took it from her head and held it up in front of her own eyes. “Mommy! What happened to my hair?” Mommy!” She started to get hysterical. Sheila grabbed her, hugging her close. “What are we gonna do now? Your hair was our life!!! We need to figure this out. Get up right now!”
Light fades, Shadows move
Silently I fall slow motion
Deeper into the abyss
A cavernous void, infinite chasm
Weightless no sound
I continue down
Into the otherworld
Floating down forever
Tethered to the past
Tethered to the now
Tethered to the future
I don’t know how
To disconnect, change course, shift focus
To become untethered.