chapter fourteen: vamping romeo
from GIRLY, a novel by Elizabeth Merrick

When he got the bill the next day from the escape clothes I had ordered up through roomservice—you know you’ve gotten yourself somewhere when you can order jeans and stillettos and someone in a uniform brings them to your door inside a half hour—I was truly stuck, he put a ban on me ordering anything but food and videos. And you know, my little strolls too far down Sunset weren’t even all that. The first few minutes out of the cab were a rush, but then the dirty heshers, hair hopelessly teased, leather pants worn gray at the thighs, really didn’t do much for me. I craved the suits. I craved the martinis. I craved the $500 bottles of Scotch, the weed that didn’t once leave a hangover. I knew nothing about this shit a month previous, when I was happy drinking a six of Mickey’s wide mouths, anything above 20/20.

My flesh grows raspberries, hot blushes where I can see it, maybe bruises where I can’t.

A flame, tattooed in reds and blacks, wriggles, writhes, snaps under his belly button. It makes me hate my own sad, thorny rose, so uninspired, done when I was thirteen, on my ankle. He tells me his wife’s intuitive instructed him on a focus, and then this flame came to him in a dream, strangely coincidental with the sex/money chakra. Whatever. It always just looks like a cunt, though, to me, churning half open on his hard skin.

I turn over and over in my mind: what could my plain rose become? I bring my stained ankle just inches from my eyes and imagine on it faces, landscapes, symbols from a language that never existed, but whatever I come up with, I know that cheap flower will not let itself hide.


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