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An alarm clock is ringing. The child it belongs to reaches out to stop it, and yawns herself awake. With a stretch of her arms over her head, she leans over and cartwheels out of bed.

As she skips down the stairs, she nearly slips on various wrappers and old clothes, but catches herself with cushioned giggles. Bits of lumber have fallen out of the bannister. Pictures of family that once lined the walls now line the floor. She kicks and shatters one with her last descending step, and jumps over her parents on the way to the kitchen.

Standing on a chair, she takes the last bowl from the cupboard and slams it on the counter. She fills it with bits of various cereals — Fruit Squares and Chocolate Zeros and Marshmallow Bystanders and Tiny Fiber Governments — that touch each other lightly, tenderly, in a bounded pile. She leaves the collection where it sits, and reaches into the refrigerator for an ice cold can of Coca-Cola. As she pours, the stack dissolves and condenses into a mushier stack. She scoops some into her mouth and laughs at the flavor, which isn’t real. Nothing is real. The bowl goes to the sink with the other bowls, and the girl heads out for school.

“Marisa, you’ve been wearing the same clothes all week. Is everything all right at home?”

“Yes, Mrs. Korkberkley.”

She comes home to a dark house. The only light she needs is in the refrigerator, and she opens its door. She leaves it open and sits beside it on the floor. The light reaches as far as her father’s face, and she watches his shadow as she pops the top of another Coke. “Not before dinner,” he used to say.

COCA-COLA: YOUR ONLY RESPONSIBILITY

#advertisement, #cereal, #children, #coca-cola, #disarray, #mess, #naive

Sketchbook (tattoo)

Jolie wore long sleeves. Everyone would laugh if they knew she’d been working on a dragon. So far, it was just an outline.

She was polishing windows when a woman in the waiting area asked her what was underneath her shirt. “Nothing,” she said. She tried to affect a blasé attitude. The woman smiled.

“Let me know if you want to show me.”

The woman was older, pushing forty, but she was in good shape. Jolie found her flirtations strange, but smiled back warmly.

Later, when Tom told her someone had requested her, she knew who it was.

“Listen, you can say no. I think you should say no, but this lady wouldn’t listen to me.”

Jolie did not say no. The woman asked her to draw anything she wanted, and it would be okay. She wanted the surprise, she said. “If you’re as inexperienced as they say, the surprise should be fantastic.”

She wasn’t sure where to begin. She sterilized all her tools several times as she interviewed the woman on her interests. Fish were a possibility. Maybe a whole aquarium of tropical fish.

“Just do whatever you would do on yourself,” the woman said as she pulled down her panties and lifted her dress. Jolie wasn’t sure. She leaned back in her chair and nervously tapped her thigh. The woman smiled, taking the gesture as an invitation, and crawled face-down on Jolie’s lap.

The woman’s butt pointed straight up. It was covered in doodles. ‘Stylex’ had signed his name. So many of the old designs crossed over each other that none were fully intelligible. As Jolie pressed the needle down, the woman moaned in a mix of pain and joy.

Jolie drew a dragon. When she made a mistake, she crossed it out and tried again.

#butt, #dragons, #hidden-talent, #intern, #lesbian, #microfiction, #naive, #paraphilia, #secrets, #tattoo, #the-fetishists