When my dead friend and I were young and ripe, we double dated some twin blowholes, who we serendipitously dumped on the same night. I took her joyriding around the forest preserves, jiving from my pelvis up to Saturday night techno. She wore a faux silk kimono and no shoes, and she sprawled in the backseat of Mama Hondissima, feet black as coal, chugging a can of diet cola and giggling uncontrollably.
Jimmy's an Unknown. He's a tiny man who scrunches his sweatpants up to his knees, revealing milky white bird legs above his blue cowboy boots. When I first tried to shake his hand, Jimmy’s mouth churned like he was savoring some cud, and a noxious, painful sound rose. He was grinding his teeth. I watched him place his hands on imaginary handlebars and rev up. Standing in place, he rode a motorcycle, bobbing up and down. I could almost see the wind in his hair. Suddenly, he cackled like a cartoon witch, slapped his own ass, and rocketed to his room as if the slap provided the impetus. He trotted right back out, licking his fingers to flip the pages of a ragged catalog. It was a classifieds for motorcycles, crammed with tiny black and white photos.
“Ah-duh-duh-duh-dah! Ditta-dah-dah-dah-dah!” Jimmy’s speech was indecipherable; he sounded like a stump-tongued, apocalyptic Elmer Fudd. He flopped to his belly on the carpet. While gazing at his catalog, he swiveled his hips slowly, side to side, in the same fashion I used to make love to my stuffed animals as a child.
Herbalists. Head shops. Gun shops. Taxidermists. This is the frontier. Home of the atomic bomb, top secret military operations, and an annual hot air balloon fiesta. I have neighbors who slap their girlfriends and call them Bitch; I have neighbors who worship feathers and bury crystals in the earth under each full moon. I meet mothers who fill their children with soy milk and tofu turkey, and mothers who send their tiny sons to the rodeo in helmets and sequined chaps, to be thrown off bucking sheep in the opening rounds.
Inspired by the venerable ESQUIRE MAGAZINE
1. We’re just as nasty as you are. But we used to get burned at the stake for it, so we’ve been on our best behavior for the past four hundred years.
2. As a rule, we smile at each other in the ladies’ room. Usually we’re sneering inside. We’ve been conditioned to secretly scorn each other… and worship you.
3. As little girls we humped our stuffed animals, or we screwed down pillows and worried we’d give birth to goose babies.
4. What’s worse than the man who can’t find our clitoris? The man who’s so proud he can, he strums away like every stroke will bring him a million bucks.
5. We labored for Mohammed, nursed the baby Jesus, and taught Moses right from wrong. Abraham tugged at our skirts; And we whooped baby Adolf senseless.
6. Crying sheds multiple toxins and burns a lot of calories. It’s also fun! It is a major factor in our longer lifespans.
7. We wish you’d teach us more about tools. They’re awesome!
8. You may think our premenstrual chocolate cravings trivial, but the flavonoids in those bags of chocolate chips have been medically proven to help break the dam.
9. “Hee hee, shopping???”
“Huh huh, football! Fishing! War!”
It’s a tradeoff, boys.
We’re still gatherers and hunters deep in our blood.
*Kate Duva is not appearing in any upcoming miniseries.
Inside the shepherd's house, soup is bubbling, and we sit around a book of family trees. They're man trees: the descendomaster, his sons, and their sons. They don't bother to document the women.
But women have no names.
We shed family names as easily as we gain them, traveling incognito through the generations, leaving anonymous legacies.
On the road home, I decided to make my own name.
What's a self-made woman without a self-made name?
Ms. Duva is born.