>>> The Lady's Shave
By staff writer NG Hatfield
March 13, 2008

« Back to Part 3

I finally came across somebody: a trainer, I guessed. She was sitting on a bench, smoking near the impromptu stables that were put up for the Extravaganza.

She was sexy, maybe twenty, brunette, wearing a black rider’s cap and tight, red equestrian gear. I scanned my head for all of the fetishes, fantasies I ever had and quickly recalled that she fit two or three of them.

I walked up and introduced myself. She told me here name was Tory. I asked about the horses, how she liked her job, general bullshit. Then, the conversation came to a hollow place and I began to sweat. At first, around my temples, then above my lip. The salty, damp brine of August tinged under my armpits and finally, around my balls. I was high, never much of a conversationalist when as smacked as I was.

“I wanted sex and sex only. I considered our casual conversation as worrisome.”

Tory validated my concern. She got up and walked over to a young pony she had told me earlier was her “first actual horse.”

I watched her ass.

She said, “Aww. Willy-Nilly are you hungry?”

It was a name that gave me the impression that Tory was a slut. I don’t know why. Was it an innuendo? A penis joke? A horse penis joke? Whatever it was, it was important, that pony’s name. It confirmed an idea that I had heard once about at the college: that at some age, girls decide boys or horses. I could tell that very recently, Tory had picked the latter.

I tried to see why. I mean it was a cute thing. Very small, white, spotted black. It grinded up a dirty carrot Tory held by its mouth with two dull-looking teeth and a nibble that caused the back of its massive lips to quiver.

She pushed the carrot along as it ate, looked at it lovingly, “You like horses?”

“Sure.” I held in a laugh, thinking of the possible meanings.

She eyed me. “Uh-huh.”

“I do. I really, really do.”

“Then what do you like about them?” She was either flirting or fucking with me. Probably both.

I thought for a moment, then with the straightest face I could muster said, “They’re pretty. So very pretty.”

Tory laughed. A polite, therapeutic giggle.


Around 1:00, we were sitting on a dark, tacky, concrete stoop in some alley behind a Subway, smoking a joint and drinking warm Everclear out of a flask that she had pulled out of some canvass pouch that hung beside Willy-Nilly’s ass.

I wanted sex and sex only. Even though things had been going decently well, I forced myself to consider our casual conversation as worrisome. She hadn’t touched me, I hadn’t touched her. There was a thin, counter-magnetic aura between the two of us. She had looked into my eyes a few times, quizzically maybe. Her hand had grazed my thigh once or twice.

I came to the conclusion that she was either very shy or a really good tease. Luckily, the liquor tasted like jet fuel, burned long enough that I didn’t have to think too often about the general differences between sluts and virgins.

“So…what do you think about this fiber optic cable thing?” I felt ashamed that I had resorted to trivial bullshit as a means of getting laid. I had friends back in Morgantown who I distinctly remembered telling them not to do what I was doing then.

She ignored my attempt, grabbed my hand without looking at me and said, “Do you believe in the dark arts?”

Her question might have scared me, I think, had we not been stoned and drunk. “The dark arts?”

“Yeah, like…voodoo and moonnacks.” She turned to face me and very much in a staid manner said, “Speaking to Him.” She pointed straight down. “Speaking to Him.”

I was more humored than curious. “I don’t own a Ouija board, if that’s what you’re asking.”

“No. Goddamnit. Not that.”

“What then?”

Tears welled up in her eyes as she pulled from the joint. “I can talk to Him.” She pointed again. “I can hear Him, too.” She exhaled, forceful and sad.

“Right now?”

“Yes.”

“Shit.” I took the joint, then a long, thoughtful draw from it and looked down at the street. Little swathes of gum stuck between the cracks, to the bricks and mulch beside it. I grated my shoe over a clump and decided to go along with the whole demon thing. I told her I practiced conjuring spirits myself.

“Isn’t it terribly burdensome?” She grabbed the joint and hit it like I had seen other rich, confused, rebellious, insane girls take in smoke at parties. I could tell she was at least rich. The pony.

I was much more hopeful then. “Oh, yes. Yes.” Though I was happy, surprised that she had bought the whole lie face value, I tried like hell to think of something poignant, significant to say. “It’s like I’m cursed or something.”

She whispered, “Exactly,” the smoke leaking out as she opened her mouth to speak, “Exactly.”

A cold, early morning wind pushed the plume from her face and brought the acrid, metallic odor of fried crab cakes to mine. The bars and restaurants were still open, I guessed, so it wasn’t too late. I decided that I had to make my move within the next few minutes, or else I would be inquisitioned when I got back to my parent’s house. I said, “It’s like everything is so black and–”

Tory startled and let the joint fall to the ground, “Did you hear that?”

I had heard a clanging of trashcans, thought it to be the wind and said so.

“The wind is gone,” she said, grabbed my arm then let go, “Maybe it’s a demon.”

“I think you’re just really stoned,” I laughed.

“No. Please check.”

I stood up and realized she was right. I squinted, saw something human stirring at the far end of the alley. It hobbled closer, in silhouette, mumbling. The dark figure more near, I saw in its hand a small knife.

I heard it address me—us—as Buckwheats.

Continue to Part 5 »

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