>>> The Lady's Shave
By staff writer NG Hatfield
April 3, 2008

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The first poem rhymed, poorly. The second poem rhymed, poorly. “Rain” and “pain” for one. Then “God” and “rod.” Then “law” and “jaw.” After ten poems of the same rhyme scheme and terrible Bible fucking poetry, I had enough. The port was giving me a mild headache and the three Kleins were staring at me from their leather chairs while I read at their lacy dinner table.

Finally, I just looked over the pages, ignored the words.

“All done,” I said.

Louisa perked up. “What do you think, lover?”

I felt awkward for her and the use of the pet name, but I ignored it and decided it best to bullshit. And I bullshitted. The best bullshit I ever came up with. “This has a wonderful voice,” I said. “And great subject matter.”

“You think so?” Doug asked.


“Really?” He looked to Karen. She was smiling, holding a glass of wine close to her face, nodding.

“Yes. I would use this to preface a book,” I said, “if I ever get one. And if you’d be so kind as to let me have it.”

“You’ll have to cite me,” he said.

“Oh, but of course.” It was the most hilarious joke I couldn’t laugh at.

“Well then. I never knew.”

“I told you, Doug,” Louisa said.

Doug Klein sat back and stroked his walrus-tache. He was very pleased and I very pleased too. I had passed. I was going to fuck Louisa when we got home. I was going to think of her mother the entire time.

We got back to Louisa’s place around ten and we were both pretty drunk. I grabbed a beer from the fridge and cracked it open. Louisa laid down on her bed and put her arms behind her head.

“Don’t you think he’s just marvelous?” she asked. She was staring at her ceiling like it was a Michelangelo.

“Who? The guy who spackled your room?”

She laughed, flipped on her belly. “My father. He’s such a great poet, isn’t he?”

I laughed and beer leaked through my nose. “Are you fucking serious?”

Louisa pushed herself up and glared at me again. It was a hard look that usually had a strange, breaking effect on me. Only, not while I was drunk. “Your father is the worst fucking poet I’ve ever heard of. He’s so fucking bad, I’d rather drill a hole through my ear and pour boxes and boxes of angry fire ants into my brain than read a word he’s ever written.” It was hyperbole, admittedly, but I was very drunk.

She shot up and poked me in the chest, “Listen here you son of a bitch–”

“Get your fucking finger off of my sternum, goddamnit.” I wasn’t much for anybody poking my sternum.

She poked again. “No! Not until you fucking listen!” She kept poking with each syllable.

I grated my teeth, hard. I felt them rubbing all the way up my cheeks, into my temples.

“Oh, you’re tough now, huh?” She began screaming, “You’re not my little bitch?!”

“I refuse to group myself in any fucking category related to your shitty father. And your little bitch? Who is the one moaning every night? Not fucking me!”

“Get out!” she said. I figured, at this point, that she should have been crying. And she wasn’t. Not even close. I realized that she had no idea what was good. She called me a good writer because it was what I wanted to hear. She wasn’t crying because she wasn’t hurt.

But hell, I thought, I might as well try to fuck with her before I actually leave.

I tore the gold chain from its runner and turned dramatically, “You know what?” I screamed, “For not having much in the tits department, you smell awfully like cottage cheese!”

“Fuck you!” She screamed. The door closed in my face.

And I got out.

Continue to Part 5 »