Thursday, October 26, 2006

another lil peekie

I'm happy with this bit, so up it goes...

My Nation’s Capital:

My life as a citizen was in the capital of the country. It is a place of indecision, of covenants and trades. It is a place of giving up what you are for where you need to be. The only industry is the government and those who do business with it. It is a place of giving up, a crash site rather than a launch pad. There is heritage, but it can be described as one giant suburb without a centre. It lacks the mass of a nucleus and is forever perfect, but lacking something essential.

For me it is the place of my little brother’s breakdown and subsequent redemption. It is the place of facemasks and small breaths. It is a place of secrets and ignored deceit. It is a place where no-one notices you and everyone notices, fascinated by elements of themselves. It is a place of conceit and self-importance. I was the only mermaid alive in that city and even the people who probed me so thoroughly with cocks and tongues never noticed the dorsal fins and thrashing tail.

I had relinquished my citizenship early. I felt steeped in entropic pain. Pointlessness and easy fear. I had avoided fishermen’s nets ever since I started drinking tea from small bags of trapped herbs. I wasn’t going to end up like them, and sometimes it came too close for demure refusal. There were too many. It was too much. A populace city with expectations and certain needs all of their own. There were plenty of men and there was family too. I always wondered why they were asking about men, humans. Wasn’t it obvious? I am certainly a remarkable creature, but let’s be logical. I lay eggs and there are few men who will tolerate a better half without a bottom half. It wasn’t meant to be. My species is such that wants joy and clear comfort. A round hook in the cheek and a long white dress would scratch and dry me out like late night pizza anchovies.

I had been a fish out of water since shortly after I squiggled out of the rip they made in my mother. She never quite knew what to do with me, and the other was overwhelmed. Happy, but unsure and ultimately focused on more immediate, personal problems. The next was the blonde one, and then they sewed up that dimension for good. Like all merpeople, we emerged ready and needed little training for the salmon run ahead. I envied his breath and wondered how he got people in this self-centred, fascinated city to pay attention to him so effortlessly. I too seemed to have a spotlight on me, but I was jealous of it and would never go gracefully into the shadows.

There were tunnels at that time. Mind tunnels I suppose your kind would call them. I found myself in familiar places, staring forward, not moving, not really thinking, on automatic. Someone shouts at me or shakes me or touches my shoulder and gently asks if I’m alright. Mostly I say I don’t know. There are times when faced with a decision I can’t cope with, there are tears and condescending smiles. There are humiliating doctors appointments. Nothing seems to be wrong. I can’t breathe, but I’ve never been able to do that really. Gills will probably come with womanhood. Like all other mermaids, there is a school rather than family, and no real need for intimacy. Warmth is dangerous in freshwater with leeches everywhere, but one single mermaid can turn a pond into a turkish bath when angered.

Where were the others? I know I know them, but I can’t remember where they are supposed to be. I’m not the only urban mermaid, but where are my memories? And who are the others anyway? How was it such a secret? Well, you’re talking to the girl who couldn’t do trigonometry to save the life of a loved one, but who could see the angles and depth of a desk and was thusly able to masturbate in the middle of class almost every day that year since the teacher stood higher than we sat. It was odd to me though, that more curious, though narrowminded peers never saw my fins.

It amazed me everytime I drove that I had something to push the pedals with. Seatbelts were always a problem for me, as was most confinement. I wobbled most when I came home drunk thinking, ‘this is how it must be to walk on a tail’

I was escaping since it began. First Jill, her cramped bowl of poison that I nearly killed her to get out of. Then I needed to get out of my ugly snowpants. Then the house, too often shouts and accusations. Many times confusing and mostly in her grip. Visitors while we were downstairs. Cars I didn’t want to get into and places I didn’t want to visit. I wanted to save him, but he was so far beyond even wanting help, it was a ditch behind a reef to even see him. Between the two of them, we drew a map of the city on the backs of our suitcases. My buspass never showed dorsal fins or gills and unsteadiness standing on a city bus is to be expected. I got away from both of them. Her first into his lobster trap. She cried and I was free of her whims and covenants. It was the best feeling. The most freedom from I had had in my life. It never occurred to me to look for freedom to.

There were always those who needed my insides and couldn’t find my configuration. Some were fascinating, but mostly it was loose curiosity. How do you fuck a mermaid anyway? Is there anything you need to push out of the way? Do you buy them a drink beforehand? I personally appreciate it, but it’s mostly just for show. And good luck guessing what an urban mermaid will want in her glass.

More than once I have been in this mental position. How did I get here? You get asked sometimes what choices you made that got you into the place or position you are currently in. It never felt like a choice to me. It was small trapped corners the whole way to this dead end. I look back and I can see the forks and branches now, but ahead of me was always a straight line into a 90 degree game over.

He had left and plucked my scales like petals to count out a juvenile question. We had been in a bar and I had tried to keep my cool. It was an interview to keep me. I couldn’t help but ask stupid questions, poorly worded as well. “Did you consider me for that choice?”. I couldn’t help but point out obvious and stupid realities. “We’ve been together for six months, and it’s been pretty good.” He reassured me that I was her type and I would receive a phone call if they ever decided on a threesome. How insulting, and how brimmed I was with self-loathing to still want him after he wiped my chest with a red stain and washed his hands of me.

There were questions then. What do I do? Who do I do it with? Does this girl really deserve to live? Do I have the energy to ruin her? This was the roadsign as I passed him, so impervious to my pain. No Way Out.

There was no reason to have had hope at that time. I saw only dead ends of each stubby, similar road. I was trapped at a crossroad, again with those fuckers. The corner of Laurier and It All Ends Here. My nation’s capital had exhausted my patience and I wanted nothing more than to curl my tail around the edge of a serrated knife and be done with it. I should have seen him coming at that time. There was no better place for him to lay the groundwork of his swamp in my memory. I never saw it for what it was. I was blind, arrogant, compulsive, narrow-minded and that most suicidal of all traits in a mermaid, shallow. It was the worst, most immediate choice I ever saw. My future lay ahead like perfect diamond cut clockwork in a reasonable home with a reasonable man. A reasonable job while I’m young and then as if by consensus of peers and particulars, a child. I knew that was death by asphyxiation, and no good ever comes of being what’s settled at the bottom of the pond. I sat right there on the warm cement, stretched my teeth, grabbed one fin in each hand and ripped as hard as I could. Screaming I tore at the fatty, dense flesh and used the muscles in it to pull the two halves apart harder. I heard the wet entropic sound of meat on the pavement. My bottom half was shaking uncontrollably as I tried to flex what was a tail into heels and thighs. I had no idea what a knee was supposed to do, and it gave me vertigo to turn on my flippers, push myself up and stand. My head was spinning, my sinuses were dry and bleeding from the unfamiliar air. I gripped the street post with shaking, sweaty hands and inched up. I fell against it several times as my thin fins slipped on the bloody ground. I slapped the bottoms of each half on the sidewalk and wobbled. I vaguely wondered how much more I would bleed. Forcing scales suddenly too dry and thin cartilege to hold me upright, I saw it all coming. One step and tears and pain. A second. Small mewling sounds I could hear out loud. My jaws met and I stepped again and again. Loping and swaying as exposed skeletal cartilage dried and began to harden. Momentum. Escape. Another slapping sound. More tears, more steps. Faster. Slap, stamp, stumble, slapping swaying, further and more. From that road sign saying No Way Out, I ran.


orangelina said...

WOW. well, i'm so glad to finally get another lil peekie of what you've been working on. it makes so much sense to me, because i know you, and i am familiar with your background. that having been said, even if i didn't know the story behind the story, it's still so lyrical and desciptively brilliant. i really really enjoyed reading it, and i feel that the voice you write in allows so much room for empathy.
i can't wait to read more.
can't wait.

Anonymous said...

Wow...That was amazing and sooooo filled with emotion and feeling. I don't think I've ever read anything that made me feel the way I did when I read this. I got all weepy by the end of it.(I know it's not the end of the whole thing but, ya know...) Such a journey...You are an incredible writter my friend. (hugs)