Thursday, April 07, 2005

[short short story in progress]

Better Living

No guests have arrived, but the party has already started for Daniel and Linda, who ate shrooms ninety minutes ago. On the roof Daniel melts smores on the Hibachi. Linda’s hands, despite repeated washings, smell like chopped meat from making endless hamburger patties. “Oh, all the perfumes in Arabia cannot sweeten this little hand, etc etc,” she says to the mirror in the bathroom. The girl in the mirror has huge pupils that make her eyes look like the black dots that comic book characters have for eyes. Walking into the kitchen, she poses dramatically in the doorway and says to the room, “I feel like Hopey from Love and Rockets. And I’ve never even read that comic book.” The big gray cat, positioned on the table amid the rolls and salads and bottles of vodka and tequila, looks at her quizzically. “Don’t you look at me like that,” she chastises him. “I know you know what I’m talking about.” She thinks that she and the cat have some sort of simpatico at this point, they are of similar mindsets and worldviews. Except she can’t imagine sitting among the food without her stomach churning.
It takes about three hours to climb out the window and up the fire escape ladder to the roof, thinking hard about how to coordinate the complex hand and leg movements necessary to complete this task. Once there, she marvels at the splendor of the wholly artificial sunset sponsored by Dow and whatever other chemical companies pollute the air over Jersey City. There is nothing as breathtaking as a chemical sunset in Linda’s experience. The particulants in the clouds filter the sunlight, producing a dark orange that fades up to purple, resulting in a vivid pinky-ginger color that always reminds her of this vile but gorgeous-looking hard candy her grandmother used to have around the house at Christmas time. It looked liked curled ribbon, she thinks it was called ribbon candy, but this isn’t making the impression on her brain that it ought to. It doesn’t feel right, and thinking about food, no matter how exquisite, makes her stomach heave in deep throbs. Daniel floats by and hovers, holding a smore near her face. The chocolate drips loathsomely over the graham cracker and onto his fingers, which are grimy gray from stacking the coals. She waves her hand slowly and makes a face as if being pestered by a ponderous mosquito. “Ew. I hate food. Right now.” In an instant, Linda is on her back on the soft sticky black tar roof, arm flung over her eyes. She has thrown herself there. Her mind gets lost in an Amazonian jungle, giant dewy green fronds folding over her face. Hours, minutes, but really seconds later, she sneaks a peak westward at Daniel’s shoes, inches away from her face and attached to Daniel. The shoes are flaming, or at least the pattern is, these are Hot Wheels-style Chuck Taylors, a little worn in the back, the colors fading, the rubber pulling away from the fabric where the ball of the foot bends the shoe. His pants fall to exactly the correct spot. The edges are slightly frayed. The radiant sunset is sweepingly dramatic and makes brilliant halos around everything she sees. She shades her eyes and looks up towards Daniel’s face, a beautiful confection of Irish-American angst and southern civility, softened by whiskey and Pabst Blue Ribbon. The air, heavy with Hibachi fumes and melting tar, glides gentle fingers on Linda’s sweaty skin. Roaring cars sound several towns away. Party guest Bob is down on the street below, calling her name. She hears it on the edges of her brain. Finches twitter. A chunky bumblebee slurps from a puddle of orange soda a few feet from Daniel’s heartbreaking sneakers. Her Hello Kitty watch ticks away one second. Like the time a Ulysses butterfly landed on her hand at the butterfly tent at the Bronx Zoo, she is paralyzed, afraid to breathe, unwilling to let this moment go.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

oh noes! i've opened this up for comments! i might actually start posting here more, as opposed to posting for my cat in her livejournal.

Friday, May 02, 2003

huh. i have this other blog which tracks mistakes i've encountered in books i've read. and it's not working! but this blog seems to be working. hmm. i wonder what's up?

[4/21/2003 5:55:00 AM | Marie Mundaca]
Behrman, Andy, Electroboy, first PB edition, 2002
p 123: "The night before I am to pick up the paintings in Brooklyn I rent a car, then I wake up at 4:00 A.M. to be at Annike's studio by 5:00 P.M." Now, I understand fully how this got passed the CE, as this book is so full of missing time and tremendous leaps. But the next sentence reads "...I imagine myself being lost until sunup." Obviously, it is supposed to be 5:00 AM. This is the sort of thing that should have been corrected in the PB edition, right?

But, an excellent book.

why isn't this working???

one more error-- it's Rihga, not Righa

Thursday, March 13, 2003

I have always lived here

You probably think I’m a stupid petulant spoilt child, a complaining brat, a self-absorbed child of privilege. And maybe I am. I really don’t know anymore.

I can only imagine what it is to have a normal life. Only when I imagine it, it’s like what I’ve seen on tv and in the movies, or like what I’ve read in books, and we all know how un-normal that is. Well, I know how un-normal that is. So many things get left out. What’s important to, say, me, may not be important to say, my mother, whom many of you know as Annette Browning, best-selling author, Oprah guest, celebrity Jeopardy champion, cancer survivor, consort of several famous male and female intellectuals and celebrities. Annette Browning, of the painfully sharp and elegant collar bone upon which rests the simplest and most beautiful strand of pearls, of the sexily unkempt lush black and gray hair, of the men’s trousers that look so goddam good on her that you all, well, a large number of you 30s-50s literary chicks, went out to the thrift store and purchased in droves and which later sat on the floor of your closet collecting dust and cat hair because none of you looked as goddam good as she could in those things, because you all have HIPS and she just has legs that go to her waist on the outside, and to her twat on the inside.

I have hips too. And I am short and stocky and I take after the pool boy and not the man who was married to my mother when I was born, and not the woman who was her wife shortly thereafter, the woman whom I grew up thinking of as dad. She played golf a lot, dad did. I saw a photo of the pool boy once when I was 13. My mother was lounging with her straps down and the pool boy was off to the side of the photo, skimming. This was by the pool. Poolside, as people say. It was 1970, a year before I was born, and my mother not yet pregnant was wearing a bikini and a gondola hat to keep the sun off her face. She was lounging, but she was working too. There is a thick stack of papers propped up on her thighs and she is holding a pencil and looking pensively down at the paper. She is probably working on her first published novel, “Doing More Damage.” Of course, being a trophy wife, a kept suburban woman, and the sexual and emotional exploits of, are something she knows much about. Makes sense that she could right a ‘novel’ that seemed so ‘realistic.’ I’m sure she figured her husband would be leaving her after the book was published, and she took that chance. But as it turned out, it took her kicking him out, calling the police, etc etc and all that stuff she outlined in her rather pre-mature autobiography, “Don’t Forget Your Lunch,” which you probably already know. That’s how I found out that my father was the pool boy. My friend Lila, her mother read the book, and Lila asked me about it at lunch one day and I started to choke on my sushi. It wasn’t Lila’s fault. I mean, who could know that not only did I not know, but that I hadn’t even read my mother’s book?

Honestly, though, there is no 13 year old girl in the world who wants to read what her mother writes about her and her family in an autobiography, especially if your mother is my mother.

Although she has publicly apologized, claiming that she thought she was dying of cancer. But I have a secret to tell you. A benign pre-cancerous tumor is not the same as cancer. One rarely dies from such a thing. Even at 13 I knew she was being a drama queen.

to be cont.

Friday, February 28, 2003

The yanomani are my people

Most people, when they’re kids, have some adult that sort of looks like them. In fact, they have entire families that sort of look like them. My mother is a diminuative thing, the size that people use to be in the olden days—under 5 ft 3, and under 110 pounds. She has no fat on her face, meaning her face looks sculpted. Normal. You can see cheekbones and a chin. My father looks like a Mexican. If he was in Arizona or Texas you wouldn’t even see him, he’d blend in so well. My brother pretty much looks like my mother. I look like I dunno what.

For many years I never saw anyone who even vaguely looked like me. My grandmother, my father’s mother, was Chilean, but she looked like a willowy Sofia Loren. My grandfather looks like a South American magic realist. What I mean to say is that they looked European. I don’t know how they ended up with a little Mexican kid, especially when his twin sister, in her 20s and 30s, looked very much like Tura Satana, but with icy blue eyes. Yowch! Why could I look like her?

And then as a teen I finally saw my people. They were on some National Geographic type special, living in the amazon jungle, either never having seen the rest of us before, or just lying about it and laughing behind our backs. The yanomani.

The yanomani are not pretty people. Their skin color is sort of a sallow yellow, and they offset this by dyeing their straight thick black hair, probably their only redeeming physical feature, a strange bright red. Not auburn. Red, like a fire ant. No doubt the dye comes from some amazonia plant that’s highly endangered due to clear-foresting by the McDonald’s corporation. I mean, it couldn’t be manic-panic, could it?

So this beautiful hair they have, they dye it this absurd shade of red and then they put a bowl around their heads and cut the rest off. They all have bowl haircuts. And not cool 1960s Yardbirds bowl cuts, but the ugly one when the bowl is too small. The bright red bowl-cut hair and sallow yellow skin really accentuate their fat, flat, formless faces, rubbery lips, crooked noses and double chins. How the hell do you end up with a double chin in the amazon?

Their bodies, although prone to chubbiness, don’t look as if they should have faces atop them with soft fat chins. But they do. And that yellow skin would make you think hey’d have those adorable central American noses that are a little wide and retrousse. But they don’t. They have Scottish noses and fat-people chins. And, like I said, they are not a fat people per se, but they pack on the weight pretty easily. I suppose that’s some sort of advanced evolutionary function designed to keep humans alive in lean times, but get over it! There’s always food! And they absolutely do not get fat in a cool, curvy way. They are not Anna Nicole Smith fat. All the weigh ends up in their belly, making them all look like some sort of indio “Love Is…” characters.

But for some reason, the yanomani always seem happy, at least in the documentaries. Maybe it’s their simple way of life, the lack or mirrors and Britney Spears videos, or maybe it’s the coca leaves, but they don’t seem to care that they’re the ugliest people on the face of the earth. Just my luck to be a yanomani in early 21st century New York City.

elevator etti. at the time life blgd
people are pretty
my people are the yanomami

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

He was slipping off my skirt, caressing my hips. He said I was a birch fir(1). His birch fir.

1. Birch Fir was what the desirable girls from the university were called. It meant something beautiful and unattainable. I was a Birch Fir for a day(a), until it was quickly discovered that I was, indeed, attainable.

a. That day, my Birch Fir day. It was early in my sophomore year, and a typical late October day filled with sun, clouds, wind, cold, warm, leaves, flowers of the fall variety, chipmonks and squirrels. I kept tripping over acorns, and occasionally one would be thrown at my head by an errant squirrel. Maybe not errant. Maybe a squirrel experimenting with gravity. The Sir Isaac of squirrels. When I wasn't slipping or swiping acorn debris out of my hair, I was sneezing. Seasonal allergies. Yet, I looked beautiful that day, in that way that only an 18-year-old who’s slipping and swiping and sneezing can look. I was in full-bloom, as it were, this day being the day of my ovulation. Perhaps this was why the squirrels were throwing acorns at my head.

Boys were hiding in piles of leaves and garbage cans, under benches, trying to get a look up my skirt as I strode across the campus to the library. I could hear them rustling, the leaves and the garbage, and the boys undid their zippers for a quick pull-and-release. Because this is what they did when they saw a Birch Fir.

As I entered the library, I was grabbed from behind. A hand over my mouth muffled what would have been a scream. I was quickly blindfolded, hands and feet bound, and carried to a rusty van. I know it was rusty because I could smell the iron. Although I can’t imagine no one saw me, no one came to my rescue. The rustling stopped, and the acorns stopped, and I was carted away.

A few minutes over bumpy roads that felt suspiciously like the gravel parking lot of a certain building, I heard the back van door open, and I was dragged out. Wherever I was it was relatively quiet except for the sound of a tv tuned into the Oprah Show. I was placed on my back and not too gently on a flat circular surface that I imagined to be a small table like one would find in a hotel room. Rough hands pulled down my tights and pulled up my skirt, and ripped my underwear at the seams. The same rough hands pried open my vaginal lips and inserted a cold metallic cylinder with an irregular surface that was slightly thinner than a penis. A different set of hands cut my shirt off, and sliced open the front of my bra. I heard what sounded like pants unzipping, and then some adjusting of the cold metal thing as chino-clad legs slipped between mine, kneeling on the table, and then the unmistakable flapping of a guy jerking off. The table seemed a little unsteady until the owner of the other set of hands tried to balance it all out by leaning into the table and placing the left hand hard on my breast. The guy flapped and shoved and groaned, “Birch Fir, fucking goddam cunt-hole Birch Fir, I’ll teach you to walk around like that and not want to fuck.” He was leaning into the metallic cylinder shoved into my twat, which was a bit uncomfortable, and I began to squirm. The owner of the other hands leaned over me, long fine hair tickling my stomach as the right hand reached down to play with my clit. With all the pain and excitement and perceived danger that seemed really like a lack of danger I suddenly started to feel my clit swell as my back arched to better position myself for the mysterious right hand. I gasped and then I groaned and thrashed as I started to come, deep wet waves pulsing through me, while I was splashed and showered with hot thick jism. GODDAM, he screamed, YOU’RE NOT A BIRCH FIR! Thus I was found out and enjoyed a very sexually active fall semester.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

My mom wanted me to start going to church after Liz and I split up, so I went to the Church of Satan.

I didn't want to jump right in with a black mass, so I started slowly. They were having an afternoon BBQ at the church, which was some old hippy house where about 27 people lived, most of whom had names like Bliss and Om. They had hippy parents and they were rebelling. It's difficult to rebel against hippies without becoming corporate sell-outs, and none of them were that smart, so they became satanists. With $100 and some black fabric you could be a member.

I'd heard about the Church from Dove, who was in my Post-Modern literature class. She ended up there by mistake because she thought it was a poetry class. Dove told me she was a member of the Church of Satan and sometimes they had really cool parties and the biggest local bands would play and there was lots of liquor and goth chicks and it was all cool because, really, who'd want to piss off the satanists? Even the charismatics with all their crazy tongue-speaking were afraid of the satanists. Also, there was usually a lot of food because of satan girls hippy moms would come by with vegan chili and vegan corn bread and vegan chicken.

names for cats

Chairman kaga


Jamoca Almond Fudge


Roy G. Biv


Mr. Popper

Edwige Dandicat

Mama Cat Elliott



Lizzie Grubman

Macy Gray

Lady Jane Grey

Earl Grey