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