• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 10
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Red and White

I sat under the sails with their Dr. Seuss hat stripes and rubbed my lips together. They slid past each other with greasy unfamiliar thickness and I fiddled with the tube of lipstick, knowing I had painted them the same red as the sails. It seemed fitting somehow, to have perfect femme fatal smile when they found me.

There was a certain red and white symmetry to the whole boat: the white hull, the white yachting clothes and the red sprinkled everywhere like Jackson Pollock had come through with a knife. I opened the tube and applied another layer of grease paint and cow brains and whatever else they put in this stuff. That my hand was shaking seemed only natural.

There was a hushing quiet to the open ocean, a maddening reminder that you have nowhere to go if you step off the deck. It was only broken by the screaming gulls, their cries telling me I shouldn’t have come, shouldn’t have gotten on the rocking prow with people whose barking laughs sound so much like the calls of carrion birds. I popped my lips apart, making that bubble-like sound that spreads the color into the cracks and crevices as if proper coverage could fool the eye into seeing this red as my natural color. It poked holes in the quiet around me.

When the white shape and distance buzz of its engine crested the horizon, the color on my lips was layered so thickly, I imagined it gave me one of those pretty pouts girls resort to needles for. When the wake rocked my white hull and added wind to the sails, I pasted on my smile and waited.

When they stepped into my red and white symmetry and saw me, I like to think they felt welcomed before the horror set in.