by Tantra Bensko
A dysmorphic Lucky Lavaggio travels ahead in time on the Equinox, using her scrying mirror to foresee her future as an opera singer and jilted lover. Meanwhile, a male Lucky Lavaggio battles the void.
Chapter 5: Lucky Goes to the Costume Store
He gets stuck in the gorilla costume, of course. He’s already tried on everything in the StageCraft store that might possibly work for trying on who he might be, what kind of person he might turn out to be, if the particles sort things out to solidify him.
He likes the waiter outfits, and the clergy, the pinstripe suits, and the fireman outfit OK. The policeman’s outfit is a bit much. He just can’t see anyone hiring him as a policeman.
He wants to show up at someone’s house, walk up to the door wearing it. He hopes the police don’t think he’s dangerous if he walks down the street like that. Maybe he should buy the policeman outfit anyway.
He has some vague concept of himself having friends. Friends who have their own costumes they wear to work. He just can’t quite remember where they live. George, the banker and Julio the baker are somewhere in the neighborhood. Maybe he should pop in on them and remind himself about them more, in detail. Details fade. Their faces seem to be converging.
He doesn’t want to ask the owner of the costume shop to help him get unstuck from the gorilla outfit because he’s naked underneath. He sits down in the dressing room on the floor. He curls up in a ball, and rests. He’ll figure it out later. Maybe once the store closes, and the lights are out.
* * *
Lady Lucky scrubs all the available areas with pumice, because she doesn’t like the molecules of her tenants mixing with hers. She doesn’t like the auras of the meter-maid’s finger residue on the parking tickets she gets if she goes out without her driver on those special occasions when she doesn’t want him to see her buying hair dye or sharpening her nails on her bedside manners.
She adjusts the Mirror, that two-edged sword-in-the-lake. The Mirror is the key for scrying, to see visions of other people at a distance, other directions she could have gone, quantum stories that each molecule dreams.
Each one a dot in a matrix. Skipping from dot to dot, she flies over the empty space between them. She lands on her butt and bounces into the sky. So far away, she goes, she becomes a dot. It’s all the same.
She wipes her scrying Mirror clean with a cloth and vinegar. She likes to keep hers nicer than Dungeonella’s, who has a mirror of her own in the oubliette. Lucky spits onto the cloth aggressively while grinding her jaw to the silent words “Nothing is reflected in it other than dirt on the floor and dust bunnies.” She uses it to wipe the hardened spots of dirt on the Mirror and then looks up and sees the reflected image of her pores and almost falls into them.
She looks instead at the earrings she always wears; they are round mirrors with colorful stitching around the edges. These are her powerful scrying tools. She holds her head steady looking into the Mirror, reflecting the tiny mirrors moving with the tiniest breath that she takes, like tea leaves swirling to the exact pattern on the bottom of a cup.
Like an Indian woman’s garish garment full of tiny mirrors sewn onto the shining fabric, some of the walls in the rooms in the boarding house shimmer with tiny round scrying-surveillance mirrors she has embedded into the walls. Lucky’s room is the hub, with tiny round mirrors scattered here and there, “windows” into the tenant’s worlds. She suspects the dreams of things that can sometimes give hints, added up, to something. Something that is making her shake her head and pace around in circles, talking to herself.
She can’t glimpse their lives quite as well if they are out of the house. They’ve been throwing her off the track. Why can’t they just stay home and talk to her, eating nice meals together, good friends, with warm laughter, and chili peppers lining the walls red and jolly cheery?
She consults the Mirror after searching at length through the engraved pages of the Dysmorphic’s Grimoire, in order to see her tenants. She has sewn tiny round mirrors on their clothes for just this purpose, over the weekend. She knew they would take off just when she had the most time in the day to socialize.
This becomes a peak experience for her, the clearest she has ever seen into anyone’s lives. She can hardly contain herself. She can hear their conversation. Clearly, she needs to sew the small mirrors into all their clothes quickly, as they will inevitably be noticed before long.
* * *
She “sees” some of her tenants on the beach, holding flashlights, along with some other youth, in colorful wet clothes scrunched in the rain tent, which dripped on them profusely. They pass around a bottle of local fig wine, with a picture on the bottle of a giant California shaped fig leaf on a naked man.
“Ahhhh...there goes a big pool of water under my butt,” says Neener. Neener is a man’s man.
Rain is dripping in on all eight people in the four-person tent, their feet overlapping the center of it, which is filled with fine goat cheeses, kumquats, and a birthday cake in an amorphously hand-shaped giant pie tin. Some bread and dates are in the food crevice in Neener’s angular lap.
“No, that was me. I didn’t want to get up, you know. Considering it’s raining,” says the impish Nimling, who gives Neener a pseudo-convincing look of a young man who has just peed. He sighs and settles exaggeratedly. He pulls his head farther in under the rain protection he’s holding over his head: an extra jacket he was using to keep the pools of water in the tent off him and to keep the rain off his back. It covers him from behind, as if he were a humpbacked huddled in the twilight.
Andrew the Little Person with long grey hair sticking straight up was not invited to the tent party.
“No, that was cold water coming under my butt.”
“Don’t worry, just wait a minute. It’ll be warm.” He leered, as if waiting for the pee to get to Nimling’s section.
“Oh, ahhh... yeah, there it comes. That’s more comfortable, thanks.”
“OK, who wants some vaginasaurus?” Pumpkin, the young woman wearing a fuzzy round hat with ears held out the chocolate cake in the dinosaur shaped pie pan. The colors of the cake matched her multiple layers of clothing, all exciting to an eyeball, which enjoyed taking rests on the edges of fabric before partying on the next fabric over.
“It was partly eaten by zombies!”
“No, that’s just how Neener made his eye.”
“Yeah, anyway, ’saurus is a guy.” Neener sticks a candle in the cake’s pelvis.
They belted out “I’m an Alligator! I’m a MamaPapa comin’ for you ou ou. I’m a space invader. I’ll be a rocking rollin bitch for you ou ou.”
Nadia’s crutches prevent anything organized happening in the tent’s amorphous space.
Nadia takes a drink of fig wine from the bottle, passes it on, and exclaims: “Oh my God. I can’t believe what Lucky did yesterday. She grabbed a big hairball off the kitchen table, and shoved it in my face, saying, ‘Blablablablha!”’ Then without washing her hands, she grabbed the bread that had been sitting out for days, and a nasty knife, and cut some bread and held it up to my mouth. And said I needed to care about myself more and get normal.”
Lucky’s house is an eye’s throw of the tent on the dunes on the beach, so they all tilt their heads a little in the direction, where the yard is covered with objects Lucky put there like a rocking horse hanging from a tree, to ward off demons.
“Yeah, that was my hairball,” says Narwhal, the blond with a dress full of little strings and doodads. “Lucky grabbed it out of the sink after I washed my hair and said, ‘Look. This proves you have demons living in your hair. They want to mess up the drains. Then, we have to use Draino, and they eat that stuff. They huff it like drugs, and it makes them go Bloelhaohoihgoh!”
The partiers laugh and drink more fig wine and eat more vaginasaurus cake.
“And, Andrew! God, Andrew!” says Nimling, out from the dark corner of the dripping tent. “I can’t believe I’m living in his closet still. I don’t think he’s ever cleaned his room. And he’s lived there, what twenty years? And just yesterday, I said, “Eh. Andrew. You should clean. Yo.
“So, Andrew disappeared. He brought out a moldy yogurt container, and opened it in my face, holding his arms straight up, and said, “that’s enough cleaning, right?”
“And yesterday, Andrew came up to me, and said, ‘hey, Neener, do you want to see what’s in my box?’ He opened the box right near my face and stared at me really hard, said, ‘Look! It’s Narwhal’s hairball!”’
“Yeah, Andrew really likes Narwhal.”
* * *
Obviously, the Equinox Mirror is not quite right. Surely it’s reporting wrongly. Lucky moves it around just a little more against the wall, checking it out from farther back, and to the side, walking past it, back and forth, watching herself from straight on, and from the side, with her peripheral vision secret to it.
The places where the Mirror is more liquid begin to slide more, time speeds up, elongates and thickens. She can see where the places are moving, slower than she should be able to see. She can slow down her vision.
A fiery rash creeps up her right side like a vine growing in the tropics. She feels liquidly squirting up her vertebrae, what Dr. Malanga says about the holographic universe is 10-33 centimeters long, and lasts 10-44 seconds. It’s all the same thing. She shakes the mirror to make the pain stop, like shaking a little snow scene.
* * *
The mirror first became a magical object when Lucky was thirteen. One morning, at breakfast, she was looking down at the plate, her eyes noticing her newly growing breasts poking out into her vision. She blushed, seeing the bottom of her rib cage sticking out. She wondered, “Will people see those ribs sticking out and think I have four? Will they think I’m like Anne Boleyn? She pulled the thick baby pink hand crocheted vest together around her shoulders, and tied the thick strings.
Her father said, “Are you really going to eat that?” pointing to the sweet potatoes on her plate.
“Don’t say that again.” said her mother to her father. “How many times have I told you that’s a bad idea? It’s give her a complex.”
“But she’ll gain weight if she eats that.”
“Look at her!”
“Don’t get mad.”
“I’m not mad! Well, I’ll just never talk again.” Her mother stood up and went into her bedroom and closed the door. They kept eating breakfast.
They knew the mother wasn’t wanted around anyway. Probably because she was too big. No one wants anyone who is not thin. The maid came in and cleared off the table. Her father slid his hands up the housekeeper’s skirt, looking the other way, and the housekeeper looked the other way. The girl’s eyes followed where they are looking. There was nothing there.
The girl stared at the nothing. She planned her suicide that was to occur when she got to be her mother’s age, if no one wanted her because she was too big. The most important part was that it would be a closed casket, so no one would see what her tummy looked like when she wasn’t holding it in.
Afterward, she sat by the door in her room, with the mirror attached to it. She pulled in her 18-inch waist, pushed it out. “Papa says I’m fat. How am I fat? Where am I fat?” she asked the mirror. She stared at it, imploring, trying to see what it was he saw.
Lucky never saw her parents kiss. And her father was so kissable. She imagined what her future life would be like, in detail, using her Troll, her airplanes, doll house where the Troll and dolls inhabited every room, doing what she told them to do as she watched them day and night, even in her dreams.
Lucky’s mother’s housekeeper got how sexy her father was. Lucky would see her pull on his hair in the hallways, and press him up against the wall. He would push her away at first. Eventually, he didn’t. Eventually, his hand would press itself up against her erect nipple, showing through her dress. His mouth would pull on her earlobe, and bite onto her skin slightly, leaving little soft red marks there that made Lucky’s mother belch when she saw them.
Copyright © 2014 by Tantra Bensko