part of the gorilla series

Bride of the Gorilla
for Barbara Payton

She was a bad blond: she understood the couch, its tender springs, the secrets beneath its cushions, what the padded armrests felt like pushing back her breasts.  What applying for a position meant.  In this scene, watch for the glowing cardboard meteor in the jungle sky. Her white nightgown stank by then, three movies old.  All the bananas came from the same little store, and the leaves were painted green in a cellar.

Her gasps half-hearted, they couldn’t even get her to put out the cigarette once the cameras rolled.  The meteor was like a large glowing mole, softly floating down to earth, like a jelly fish trailing light and debris. On the screen, the music rose, pitched like a leaking boat.   Landing in the jungle in a green blaze, mutating the ferns and cannibals. The impact was like a bad taste, fading only with repeated swallowing.  They released real rats on stage,  slung a few constrictors from the rafters.  Waiting to hear her scream, but she was bored of surprises.

An excellent cook, by her fourth husband, she had mastered the mushroom soufflé.  Cheesecake.  It meant different things at different times.  He believed she had fed him the wrong thing, lied about it.  He watched her with other men from the roof of a church.  He felt himself change, but no one believed him.  Jungle noises included hooting and the cough of a cheetah.

See his painted nostrils flare, the grease paint around his eyes oozing like an old rubber.   The suit’s zipper is stuck.  They can’t open him fast enough.  Large boxy chin, jowls that flap.   In her spare time, she tries to predict the weather.  Say booze, hag, drunk, addict, floozy, whore: say it till it’s funny, like a Three Stooges, like an Abbott & Costello.   Hard to move in this monkey suit.  Only pretending to film, they make her touch the mask like she means it.   Take 23.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cathy
    Apr 07, 2011 @ 13:50:43

    this is one chilling piece with its half-hearted gasps and its eyes oozing like old rubber and the insatiable thirst for shot after shot and the undeniable, magic-realist flavor of one ticked off south american poet


  2. downtherabbit
    Apr 13, 2011 @ 09:08:12

    Thanks, Cathy — magical realism? I guess that’s right. I love Gabriel Garcia Marquez — I always tried to imitate him when I was a fiction writer.


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