All tagged material world

Holy Grail

I welcome clients with my shopgirl singsong voice. At the store we make our clients more beautiful. We find their holy grail skincare and beauty regimens. Regimentation is key. A client buys more product with her holy grail regimen. She’ll come back in to adjust it, swap in one cream for another, a toner for a peel, and I’ll be here to help. The regimen evolves with the client. A regimen means more UPTs: more units per transaction, more sales.

Grin & Shimmy

People get an ass-backwards impression when I say I’m a backup singer at a karaoke bar in Orlando. What they think: bleak, drab, desperate. What it is: karaoke writ large. It’s a full band with a repertoire hundreds of songs long—White Snake to Whitney Houston, Adele to Aerosmith.

Losing Words

Chiku’s jaw is made of flowers. Her flowers—plumerias and mai’anas, braided into ti leaves, her favorite maskaran mwarmwar thus far—are the reason why National Geographic is on the phone speaking to her husband.

Show Off

I grow boobs, I get my period, and I dump my boyfriend Christopher because he’s not a football player. My new boyfriend Sean has big muscles and I show him my boobs because he puts his hands around my waist in just the right way.

Unmentionables

We arrived at the gilded department store, quiet on a mid-week morning. We darted around bored salesladies contouring shiny noses. Tested mists of oxygen-activated serum. Examined rose gold sunglasses stacked in rows. Smelled exotic candles in ambers jars, scents like Thistle Tundra and Whisper Noir, scents we couldn’t distinguish, sweet, spicy, hints of burnt orange, dashes of sage.

Sucker

She wasn't allowed to have candy, so she kept it hidden in her top dresser drawer. Her mother made her dress in church clothes whenever company would come, and each time Connie would sneak a taste. It became her silent sacrament.

The Renovation

There’s a face behind our sink. Scratch that. There’s a face behind the tile above our sink. I hope that makes sense. It’s hard to describe, really. We chiseled away that old tile, we chipped off countless layers of caked-on grime, and there’s this face. Plain as day. Or maybe not plain as day.

Buy You

I found him at a pawn shop a while back, searching for a cheap hammer. He looked good on the outside. Shirt tucked into jeans with pocket flaps, hair like pipe cleaners, shoelaces tied too tightly. He bought the hammer for 59 cents. I said I’d be his girlfriend three weeks later. 

Ants and Lashes

When I learned about the world between my lashes, the thriving bodies mating among my eyes and hatching in my follicles, I felt like a planet. I tried to hold magnifying glasses up to my face in front of the mirror to catch a glimpse of my kingdom of mites. I was fascinated knowing that I’d been born Demodex folliculitis free, and somehow they found their way to me across brow and lid and lacrimal.

My Noise Will Keep the Record

My home is a witch's lung or a giant’s heart. Puckered cracks of plaster snake up the walls from a half-­century-­old renovation. It palpitates from the constant drum the interstate highway just beyond a courtesy swamp once planted, then neglected, as a sort of apology for the highway. The swamp thrives, reclaims detritus for the realm of bio­organisms, while I am increasingly cybertronic.

Personal Space

A cloud of talcum powder settles around me and the woman who touches my face studies the lost shape of my eyebrows. The woman who touches my face goes tsk tsk, you’ve waited too long. She can embarrass me a little because I need her. 

The Lights

I see those lights, those bright fluorescents and a feeling burns in my chest. It fills me up, a total euphoria that is paired with a hungry longing. Taco Bell, McDonald's, GameStop, JC Penney, Gino’s Family Dining, Target, Walmart, Kmart. They come galloping out of the horizon like cowboys of old, delivering me that rush, that sense of fulfillment.

Girlies

In this episode, the models' challenge is to stay photogenic while spiders crawl all over them, creeping on their flat stomachs and toeing their belly buttons and climbing their breasts and making homes in the little shells of their ears. It's the tall girl's turn.

Benevolence

The middle finger went first, straight through her skin. It wriggled out the back of her neck. Soon, the others followed, emerging one by one, flipping away strands of her hair. The whole hand crawled from the back of her neck. She gagged on the wrist as it slid out of her skin, the fingers drawing closer to the buttons. They snatched the top eye and pulled the first button through.