Three Fictions by Megan Martin

Way Beyond Good and Evil

I should be admiring and appreciating the Cloroxed whiteness of the shower curtain you Cloroxed yesterday. It certainly is a miracle: the whitest, most disinfected shower curtain upon this rotten earth. In Cloroxing, you have protected me from unimagined dangers like shower-bound disease.

Instead, another man—an exciting one—is here in the shower with me. It will never work because we’re both selfish Capricorns and between us we’ll have seventeen cats minimum that we won’t be able to afford litter for because we’ll work “rewarding” low-wage jobs that allow us the time to make shitty art. To make matters worse, my exciting man does not enjoy amusement parks or other forms of leisure. He spends his life marching against terrible atrocities that nobody, including me, knows exist.

Okay, the exciting man in my shower is imaginary—but he is based on a real man. I have never met the real man; I Googled him. Because I saw him on television at a protest for a political cause—he was one of a number of intense-boy-activists screaming into megaphones. I watched him while I imagined holding a sign with a generic political phrase and singing political songs although I am too introverted to ever be publically political or to sing outside my own home. He had a fiery, sexy, heart-attack look as he yelled phrases, timeless ones that had been yelled all over the country and world for decades.

Since I saw this man on television, I have been seeing the world differently. I am unhinged about the shower curtain because the corporation that produced it supports asshole rights, as do the owners of every bleach company. Plus Clorox is evil on the water supply and poisons cats and babies and the Dalai Lama alike. There is Clorox deep inside the meat clogging your intestines, too. And somebody will garnish my whole bank account with Clorox for saying such a thing in this tiny little story that four people will read.

I am uncertain of how to proceed on a planet where everyone is hiding inside a sneaky, Cloroxed shower curtain that goes way beyond good and evil. Later I’ll sent an email I shouldn’t, asking my exciting man who he is when he doesn’t have that sign in his hand; I will ask him to have coffee. I’ll tell you I love you. I’ll think about how I’m running out of eggs.

 

New Shiny Fucking Fishes

He was terrific! you were saying about the loveseat salesman.

I wasn’t listening again.

My hair smells funny like an attic, I thought. My teeth feel incorrect in there and wobbly. My teeth are no bueno. Either I am dying now or I will kill myself in a bathtub at some later point.

Wasn’t he terrific? you kept saying, right after a leg and an arm had fallen off.

I don’t want any furniture in my home ever, not ever, never, I thought as we moved the loveseat in. All my life I’ve believed I am a person who should live in a treehouse in the South of France, having thrilling, drunken affairs and eventually plunging to my death!

As you nailed a leg on and an arm on, the living brightness of our aquarium was so dissatisfying.

Why do your fish look so good and energized all the time, like tiny fucking pulsating suns? I said.

You said something about their planty diet and the kindness of light and spacious purified water and safety from predators and not having to be anywhere but there as you nailed happily and with pride.

You: you were good as gold, and pretty like a collie! Some night at an earlier point, your beauty had assaulted my mouth until I choked on the goodness of you! You’re terrific! you’d say to me over and over again. Even when I’d stand in the shower all day, wasted water sliding over me.

That thought should have made me feel better, should have refreshed me like a beer. But I left you there on the loveseat, nails secured in your sweet lips. Your fish looked so good because they weren’t people, because they were yours, because they weren’t me.

 

A Pink Anything

That celebrity-kid is named Gandhi and he certainly is a Gandhi—see how that teen-superstar haircut tries to eat his face from all sides? He came out of his superstar mother’s miracle of a vagina not so long ago.

But there is another marvel over here. It is me watching television. I have lost one dangly earring but still wear its mate. I am what my mother calls a “trooper.”

You’ve canceled again. You’re feeling self-important enough today that you believe I’m a “total bitch” who’s beneath you in so many ways.

A pink anything can revive sometimes—how is it that you can’t and everyone else can’t? I said to you on the phone.

All day I had been on the couch looking out the window. Before you called, I watched a sparkling woman and her rose-colored baby walk by, having what looked like a mystical experience. It seemed possible that there could be a magical something out there waiting to lift me up that wouldn’t be there waiting on any other day. I remembered that time as a kid, that rabbit’s foot in the gumball machine so fresh it was still leaking blood. I wanted it; oh, I fucking wanted it. Right then something was happening meant just for me!

I explained it into the receiver, despite my understanding that we had now reached what my therapist had designated my “bottom line.”

When it came out it bloodied my hands, I said. It was so soft, and so warm.

***

Megan Martin is the author of Nevers (Caketrain Press, 2014) and Sparrow & Other Eulogies (Gold Wake, 2011). She lives in Cincinnati with her boyfriend and a bunch of cats.

Photo credit: Jacqueline, morguefile.com

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