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

I met the Muse and we fucked. Day and night. It was all like lavender smelled.

After, she rubbed her skin against my stubble. She said it felt Sumerian against her thighs, Ur on the eyes: those dark stakes that saw people and produced Stars, lucid and real. She said, Surrender yourself, then a black diamond ring! She said Each karat, a killer. She said Like cool tar, it feels, to raze the Effigy. Relieving, sublime.

I ate her words like Host, opened plaster to grave. And ignited, I carried my body into Hell, burning, then burning. She smiled and opened herself to fuck again. I loved it. But don’t you love it too?

-N.G.


The wind blew again. Through the window, it licked around my legs and pushed Louisa’s loose apartment door against its large, wooden, majestic-looking frame. It was like a very weak animal or some sly detective was trying to jiggle it open. To no success, though. It was very much locked. Two bolts and a thick chain dangled from its runner. The door held close, but not close enough. It rattled again. I kept thinking of a little slant-eyed PI shaking the handle gently, attempting to peek in just enough to see the both of us naked and high.

I laughed and took a hit.

“I was going to fuck Louisa when we got home. I was going to think of her mother the entire time.”

The building Louisa lived in was an old, remodeled place from the early twentieth century and probably a pretty penny on rent. It had thick, striking crown molding and shiny wood floors. The windows were very big and when I ran my hands down them, I could feel that they were slightly warped, the thickest glass near the bottom.

The wind blew again, harder. The joint kindled against my lip and the door and its gold chain rattled. Louisa stopped playing.

“Would you close the window, please?” she asked, pissed. She was practicing, for whatever reason. “Please?

I got up from her bed, walked over to the window. I placed my fingers on the shallow plastic rim of its border and pushed down. The sound of the moving window was elastic and a little comforting.

Louisa thanked me then returned to the keys. This time, Chopin.

She was frail, but lean. A dancer when she was younger, probably. Her hair was short and jet, it hung over her cheeks while she looked down at the ivory. She always insisted on paying for herself when we went to the movies or to dinner, and I took her for the short-term, draining type of woman.

I looked through the blinds. It was late in the day. Big, ominous clouds were blowing in from the west. A storm was fermenting. The first summer-like storm of April. I sighed and scanned the street, hoping that something would be brazen enough to endure the electricity building in the air. Near a yellow fire hydrant right below the house, a wrinkled old woman in some floral-printed babushka was hunched over, holding a small white umbrella over her head. It wasn’t raining, yet. I figured she was either unreasonably paranoid or just senile; I felt guilty for laughing but laughed until I couldn’t breathe.

She pointed up to me and yelled something. I couldn’t tell what, but she seemed very angry. She shot her middle finger at me, then both. The umbrella fell to the ground and skidded across the street. She hunched over and shuffled her little feet after it.

I laughed and then felt very embarrassed. I abandoned the window and felt a little shocked at myself.

Louisa stopped, “What’s wrong?”

The room was darkening and I could barely see her through the soft, purple light brought on by the gray dusk. “Nothing. Just creeped out by your neighbor.”

“Who?”

“The old senile lady.”

“Why?” She motioned for the joint. I walked over and carefully handed it to her.

“She pointed up to me and yelled something. I don’t know what.”

“Oh, okay.” She played, stopped again when I hadn’t moved. “Don’t worry about it.”

I sat down on her bed and took her advice. I threw a thin, comfortable cotton sheet over my legs and dick. It felt good to be stoned in the new warm weather. Even if it was going to rain and turn cold, it still felt good.

“Damn. I love the spring,” I said.

Louisa was completely immersed in the music, ignoring me. I didn’t really care. I hummed to the parts of the songs that I knew and made up other parts that I didn’t. I flipped around, got the joint back, finished it and flipped through some of her books. Conrad. Lawrence. Fitzgerald. Cheever. Oates. Updike. Hawthorne. I flipped pages and pages, wrote in the margins with the music. I had nothing really in my mind. Just some poem.

Louisa played Chopin, then Bach until it was so black in the room that I could no longer see her. I don’t know why she played into the darkness, maybe she was testing her ability to perform without sight. It was nice, regardless.

Finally, I got up, pissed, poured myself a cup of coffee and looked out the window again. The old lady was gone but the storm was finally beginning.

“Looks like its raining,” I said.

And there was Louisa sitting naked on this shiny, lacquered stool. She played against the night. It was all very beautiful and very sad.


Louisa finished playing around eleven. Her fingers must’ve been sore.

“Hey.” She shook my arm. “You awake?”

“Yes,” I said. I had only closed my eyes and was admiring all of the insane things I conjured up: a talking cherub statue who I debated the existence of God with; an alien invasion I foiled via the intricacies in the game of baseball; a dybbuk who only barked that I had no grip on my life, at least, until I mellowed out and thought of the pyramids at Giza.

“We’re out of smokes,” she said. “Go get some.” I felt a feathery piece of paper tickle the bridge of my nose. Money.

“C’mon,” she said. “I’m nickin’ terribly.” She kept shaking my arm.

“Okay, okay, okay,” I said. I got up, put on clothes and headed out into the hall.

I touched the outside door handle, realized I had forgotten my boots, went back in and put them on.

“What’s wrong?” Louisa asked.

“Nothing,” I said.

Continue to Part 2 »

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