Eight stories for EI8HT, continued

Seven

I come into the studio and he’s tearing old photographs of me to shreds and mixing them with his saliva,

masticating them into a sticky pulp which he is then using to sculpt his own likeness

and I don’t know whether to slap or kiss him

so I just laugh nervously and pick my nose

he kind of ducks his head like he’s embarrassed to have me see the unfinished papier maché torso

before all his lats and deltoids are sort of fleshed out and bulging

and I can tell he’s wondering to himself, “Do I have shreds of her baby pictures sticking out between my teeth?”

because he’s sucking them and spitting and looking around for his highball of bourbon

so to put him at ease I deliver a flirtatious blow to the side of his head

and he laughs and turns to me and headbutts me hard in the gut and knocks the wind out of me

and I’m choking and trying to laugh and tears are streaming down my face

and he’s clutching me around the waist and nuzzling my stomach with his bristly chin

and I box his ears just to sort of lovingly daze him a little

and he reels back shaking his head and grabs the seltzer bottle of battery acid

and lets fly on me, just a little baby spray really

“Cut it out,” I’m whining as the drops sizzle on my sweater

cuz it’s one of my favorite Comme des Garçons pieces from the late eighties

and he knows that

and he seems to sense that maybe he’s gone too far with the sweater

so he drops the seltzer bottle

and comes close to me

and we kiss

and he backs me into the unfinished torso and sort of sandwiches me between him and his statue of himself

and even though I know the soggy masticated shreds of my baby pictures are insinuating themselves in the weave of the sweater,

I’m immensely excited and direct him to take me right there on the worktable