She told me, “A woman needs to smell you—you must have a seductive scent.”
She gassed me with one perfume, after another, like an intoxicating toxin
that would linger for hours, like a loitering prostitute.
“What’s wrong?” She asked.
“You’re tearing up. It’s okay for a man to express his feelings. What’s going on? It’s toxic to keep emotions bottled up.”
“We should keep them in the bottle. A man needs to keep himself, to himself.”
“That leads to suicide.”
“Suicide is okay—then he can die with honor. Take that away, and he’s got nothing.”
She screamed, and cried, and pounded my chest with her fists. “It’s not okay to say that!”
“There, there—I didn’t mean to say anything.”
“But you did—and it hurt me!”
She looked cute when she was mad, like a little girl. I felt like a monster, and it felt good.
She got me a bottle of cologne, shaped like a lightning bolt. “This is your scent,” she said. “For the bad boy.”
I saw that she got one for herself. “Are you a bad girl?”
“No—this is good girl cologne.”
“Clever marketers,” I commented.
Then, she started to notice things about me, that needed improvement.
“When was the last time you changed your sheets. There’s a big hole in this one.”
“That’s where the wire sticks through,” I said. “I position my body just so—so it doesn’t stick me in the night.”
“You need a new mattress.”
When we went to look for one, I caught her looking me up and down. “You could dress better,” she said.
“I’m a writer—we’re allowed to look like slobs—it’s a style. Just be thankful I didn’t wear my bathrobe in public.”
“You act like you don’t want to get better.”
“It’s just that we’re all dying—I don’t see a need to cover it up.”
“Well—if they make corpses look good—you can look good.”
“This is what it comes to? —make-up, fine suits, and fancy cologne?”
“This is what you have to do— when you get a girlfriend. Most men are failures, until their women teach them, basic hygiene.”
“I want to break up.”
“Yes—you haven’t seen my toenails yet—and I don’t want to get a pedicure.”
“Mister—you’re already scheduled for one. Ling, has excellent acid that kills fungus.”
“If things are growing on me, they’re meant to.”
“Then, you have a whole ecosystem down there—good luck, being alone!”
She stomped off—and I could smell her lingering perfume—her presence, that didn’t quite go away.
While writing this, I got poked twice by my mattress. It belongs to me—just like my life.