Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Grow Your Own Witch Redux

Hi readers! I promise to show the scar when it is not a gaping open wound. Hope you're gearing up for Christmas and being both naughty and nice. Here's the next excerpt as first published in Iowa Review:

My friend refers to me in written correspondence as Girl. That is some fucked up creepy shit, Girl. I once bought this man a present, a tiny little Grow Your Own Witch! that would expand to six hundred times her size if you put her in water. Even so, she’d still be pretty tiny. He once bought me a T-shirt with a stick figure on it, holding a bloody knife. The caption read, I hate waking up. I hid the T-shirt in my basement in a small room with a bunch of other clothes I no longer wore.

When I was a teenager, I used to go to a haunted house in an old army barracks on a decommissioned army base on the edge of west Texas. Edgemeade, a residential dumping ground for “disturbed” adolescents—a term that could mean anything from mildly touched
to convicted of criminal behavior—sponsored the house, their primary fundraiser for the year. The locals called it “retards with fake chainsaws.” The chainsaws were real, though. They just didn’t have a blade.

By the summer of the rape, my romantic relationship with the soon-to-be rapist was grinding to a halt in that I’m bored, there’s got to be more to life than this, you weren’t who I thought you were kind of way, a job that was winding down with only a few more weeks left. It was the bittersweet summer between my junior and senior year of high school, that time when a restless fever begins to spike. The man who raped me attended the same college I planned to attend and was back in the old hometown for the summer, doing nothing while I lifeguarded at a public pool on a decommissioned army base, right near the haunted house. For one hour a day, the Edgemeade kids got to swim in the pool for free, and you could hear them running down the street a mile away. The nearby but not too nearby college was the only game in town for me, given my dreary financial situation. Even so I knew he wasn’t the only game in town—I wanted to be free. But before our inevitable collapse, he broke into my parents’ house with my one pair of pantyhose over his head, fed our German shepherd a Gainsburger to ensure her silence, stole some electrical tape out of my dad’s garage and attacked me as I stepped
out of the bathroom after taking a shower. I did not know it was him until it was over, and he pulled the tape off my mouth. What didn’t get used in the attack was thoughtfully returned to my dad’s garage where it stayed until it was all gone, and he bought another
roll. They have a saying in Texas that you can use duct tape to fix anything.

(to be continued).

Cocktail Hour Reading suggestion: Savannah Knoop, GirlBoyGirl: How I Became JT LeRoy, 2008.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!


Scott said...

Hi Michelle!

Your writing is as strong and emotional as ever. I missed reading your stuff!

Hope you get better soon. Heal up and take care, and if I don't post again before then, have a great holiday!

-p.s.-nice pic. :)

JR's Thumbprints said...

Hey Michelle,
That hidden T-shirt is bringing back memories of a certain game: Head on a Stick. No one should have to play it.

Glad to be reading you again. Have a peaceful holiday.

the walking man said...

I wonder if in Tiny Town Texas the cactus weep. Do the spikes penetrate inward causing them as much pain as the spikes that penetrate the skin of them forced to rub against the cacti? I don't know, there are no cacti in the north except those small ones found in glass bowls, mounted in colored sands trying to imitate desert scenes. If all cacti were found in bowls no one would rub against them, but it still wouldn't stop the inward pain of the desert growth.

Anonymous said...

Our floor cleaning guy has a t-shirt that says: I can fix anything(just provide the duct tape). Have a joyous and happy holiday season, Michelle, and remember that Kroger is the right store with the right price!!!!--Mr. Whipple and Artie the bagger

Heff said...

Merry Xmas.

Laura Benedict said...

I'm so glad you're posting this....

Tim said...

It's hard to read this without wanting to get that guy in a locked room and show him what we country boys do to those kinds of people.I feel so bad that you had that awful experience and I hope writing about it helps heal your wounds.
Merry Christmas, beautiful lady, and I hope you're getting stronger and feeling better. It's good to see you writing and I hope you're not exerting yourself any more than that... I'm sure you don't want to end up back in the hospital! :)