This month’s fur-free topcoat.
NORA REACHES BEHIND HERSELF
to place her hands on her ass cheeks. The inside of her belly button beats against the white-terrycloth-covered table as she inhales through her nose and exhales through her mouth. She looks to the far left of the room, away from the near-stranger dipping tongue depressors into a wax warmer. Its tangled electrical cord... Nora can’t bear to look on this gruesome side.
There is a circus border halfway up the wall. It is splitting the deep blue bottom from the rising yellow top. Nora fixates on the cartoonish characters parading around her nakedness: a ringmaster holding his coiled whip high while tipping a crimson top hat, a tigress hot on his heels, licking her lips, followed by a pair of scantily clad ladies, trapeze artists perhaps. Nora thinks they are drawn falsely merry—that the cat best eat this gaudy front-line fellow before it’s too late. Free them all from this deceiving impersonation of an entertaining promenade.
Or she is beginning to think these thoughts when the woman launches into a diatribe about men. Her ex-husband. Words knot around Nora’s throat like a noose strangling her body privacy. Evening sun flashes through the basement blinds, lighting and dimming the room. A tree waves new leaves like a child boasts about a new tooth.
Nora catches a glimpse of the woman twirling wax around the tiny wooden paddle and turns back to her tigress. She will not watch the woman make slow honey-coloured wax rings in that gummy pot.
The room is full of hot words and air freshener. Both are intended to cover any trace of pussy.
Big-top ringmasters prefer tigresses. Nora read this in a children’s book once. They made the best tigress leap over the backs of her cat friends who were forced to stop steady and endure the frightful humiliation. If the best tigress fell, the ringmaster would drag her away by her tail to prevent a bloodbath. Later, he would beat her for disappointing him before replacing her with the next best tigress. (Nora learned this last bit in adulthood.)
Nora feels lightheaded now, trying to focus on these modern circus tricks as the woman roars that her ex cheated on her with some skinny bitch. Left her in this poorhouse. Skinny bitch and poorhouse loop Nora’s skull circumference as she recalls every time a woman commented on her sharp parts or some monetary value. She feels that malicious envy has been sewn into her every follicle, and she wants it shorn clear. Nora wants to raze this ingrown jealousy and stride sheer into a new spring. She wants more than anything to claw her way through her fear of the other tigresses. She is starting by trusting this hurt woman with her most vulnerable bits.
The hurt woman growls, “Can you believe that fucker?” And Nora can. Nora can totally believe that some man ripped out this woman’s heart and fed it to the next best cat. She doesn’t rightly know how to articulate her full support and utter comprehension so she hisses back “Total fucker” in response. They are both eased in their agreement as the woman slides in over Nora and whispers, “Ready?”
Nora shakes her head yes because she is ready to be ready. She pulls her ass cheeks apart and bares her teeth until it’s over.
EVE RY MONTH HAS A MOOD, a feeling, some combination of memories, moments and nostalgia. You know it—you feel it—even if you’ve never really thought about it. To help encapsulate the moods of the months, we’re asking novelists to take on the calendar and evoke the feelings of each season through fiction, memoir or some mix of the two. Megan Gail Coles is a writer and playwright in Newfoundland. Her latest novel is Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club.