We’d both had a hellacious week. Diane was denied funding for her latest study and I worked as a waitress. We went to our usual bar but it was closed as the plumbing was busted so we drove around arguing about where to go. We picked up a couple forties of Steel Reserve and drank them on my cracked stoop, then Diane sprang for a bottle of cheap whiskey and I bought the liter of cola. After polishing it off in ten minutes we stumbled into a near-by frat bar and convinced a refulgently pockmarked young man to buy three rounds of car bombs.
He had some pot, which Diane declined, but I slipped out into alley with him to smoke it. We crouched by the rank dumpster, packing up bowl after bowl, and then I kissed him. I don’t know why as I could barely look at him in the bar without my stomach churning. I remember calling a few unfortunates ‘crater face’ back in high school, but they were baby smooth compared to this kid, though he was kind of cute in the shadows, which filled in the blasted valleys of his face. And all I noticed, in between the blackouts, were his slightly crooked teeth, an imperfection that I’ve always found hot. I closed my eyes and concentrated on the wet sucking sounds of our tongues slithering around each other, like a pair of spastic slugs.
A bike cop cruised by and the kid ran away, his spit drying on my chin. I threw the bowl in the dumpster and stumbled back into the bar. Snorting, I charged at Diane, knocking her off the stool and screaming that a SWAT team was out back coming to check I.D.s. A bunch of kids ran off, leaving their beers on the bar. I don’t remember much after that, but Diane says I pounded the row of half-filled pints, getting more on my chest than in my mouth. The bartender yelled at us, so she walked me home, stripped me of my clothes, and pushed me into a bath. At some point I must have left to get my Hitachi Magic Wand.
It was nearly two in the afternoon when Diane found me lying in the cold water, the Hitachi floating at my feet, still plugged into the socket above the sink. My crotch was burned black, as were my fingers. My dark hair, stuck to the sides of the tub, was streaked through with white, like the mermaid bride of Frankenstein as Diane later described it. At first she thought I was dead so she sat on the toilet, lit a cigarette and cried. After she finished she smoked another one, unplugging the vibrator. Then she started screaming at me, something about my brain being the size of my urethra. I’m sure she said far worse, but that’s all I heard as I woke up.
I moaned, rubbed my eyes and told her to turn off the light. I flipped on my side, water sloshing against me. Okay, I thought, I’m in the tub, what the fuck? Then I noticed the tingling in my vagina. It felt like it was fresh out of the dryer, crackling with static.
‘Your vagina…’ Diane stuttered
‘What did you do to it?!’ I shrieked, looking down for the first time.
‘You did it! You fucking idiot! You brought your damn vibrator into the tub! You’re lucky you aren’t dead. You should be dead as a warning to all the other horny drunks.’
‘You drank almost as much as I did, you lush!’
‘Oh, I’m a lush? You’re a crackerass slut who can’t hold her booze!’
‘Better a cracker than a honky, honky!’
‘HONKY! You’re the one who grew up in a trailer park!’
‘Don’t bring class into this you two-car garage WASP tramp!’
And that’s when it happened. A blue white bolt shot right out of my crotch, blasting through the tub and the wall behind it. I leapt out of the water, kicking at the vibrator and slamming my head into the curtain rod. Diane screamed and flapped her arms like a baby pterodactyl. Another bolt shot out, smaller and only burning half through the tile floor.
OMIGOD OMIGOD OMIGOD OMIGOD OMIGOD…
It took about ten minutes for us to calm down. My upstairs neighbor, a man we suspected of being a child rapist (he had that sort of mustache), banged on the ceiling. Diane and I panted, staring at each other.
'This is impossible.' Diane whispered, 'This isn't science. It's insane!'
'Who said science is sane?! Look at you. You're a scientist and unsound of mind.'
'Just because I see a therapist....'
The neighbor banged harder and a hairline crack appeared along the length of my ceiling.
'JESUS CHRIST! You're breaking my damn ceiling, you fucker! I'll never get my deposit back now!'
He stopped and I heard him stomp across the floor, leaving his apartment. I looked around for a towel to wrap around myself, sure he was coming down to yell. That's when I saw my hair in the mirror. I started screaming again and a bolt shot out of me, the weakest of all, merely scorching the floor.
Diane had composed herself and sat on the toilet, her chin in her palms. She was chewing on her bottom lip like it was cud, her eyes slits as if the lids were forced together by the weight of her thoughts. I was crying and hiccuping, mumbling inchoate prayers and curses at gods I don't believe in. Sure enough, the man was knocking at my door. More like kicking it from the sound of it.
FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOU
I screamed at him, running to kick my side of the door, staring through my tears and the smudged keyhole at his face, flushed eggplant purple with rage.
I KNOW YOU RAPE LITTLE KIDS! YOU WEAR VELOUR TRACK SUITS AND YOUR BOUNTIFUL CHEST HAIR MAKES ME BARF WHEN YOU SNEAK INTO MY SEXUAL FANTASIES! I DON'T EVEN WANT TO FANTASIZE ABOUT YOU, BUT SOMETIMES WHEN IT GETS TO THE GOOD PART THE FANTASY GUY WILL LOOK DOWN AND SUDDENLY IT'S NOT JOHNNY DEPP ANYMORE, IT'S YOUR MUSHY FACE! AND THEN YOUR CHEST HAIR GROWS LIKE A TIME LAPSE VIDEO OF CHIA PETS AND WRAPS AROUND MY THROAT AND CHOKES ME TO DEATH!
I didn't realize it then, but I had broken a toe kicking the door. The man from upstairs backed away, so scared I couldn't help laughing. The neighbor across the way was leaning out of her apartment and they were whispering at one another. Well, fuck them, I thought. Let them talk! They all hated me anyway, calling the cops everytime I invited more than five people over. They both looked at my door then cautiously came forward. I stepped back and hollered:
I CAN SHOOT LIGHTNING OUT OF MY CUNT SO STAY AWAY!
I pressed my eye to the peephole again. They were shaking their heads, looking from each other to my door. After a few minutes they both went into her apartment. I hopped back to the bathroom on my good foot. Diane was still sitting on the toilet, unaware of or just not caring about the incident. I sat on the edge of the tub, absently pulling the plug, watching white and black strands of hair swirl down the drain.
'What am I going to do?! How will I ever sex again? How am I going to explain these burn holes to the landlord? Is my hair going to be like this forever? What if it turns all white? I'm only twenty-six! Omigod. OMIGOD. My life is over!'
Diane looked over, flashing her teeth like a silverback gorilla on the charge.
'SHUT UP! I have a plan.'