Every surface in the ladies' room at
Hartford's seemed to reflect and gently focus the light
radiating from a chandelier that looked like a gigantic
diamond exploding very symmetrically into countless tiny,
even pieces suspended like an angel's ghost in mid-air.
Every feature of the room was made of polished marble,
silky brass, burnished hardwood, or gleaming porcelain
with indentations of jungle scenes stamped into it.
Sasha Kimmel entered the clean, cool, fresh-
smelling lavatory and found it empty -- except for one
stall, in which she glimpsed large, slightly muddied
boots. This unlikely sight did not interrupt the
flow of her thoughts: she had stroked, smelled, and
studied many fabulous articles of clothing over the
past three hours, and their respective qualities and
prices were rushing through her head like a perilous
stampede of horned, boulder-like creatures braying
and panting, whipping their tails about, splashing
drool and the rarer juices of their wild, globe-like
dark eyes everywhere. Sasha wanted a thousand breasts:
she wanted to wear in one huge moment every stylish bra
that had ever been sewn -- and, in fact, she wanted to
feed every loose child on the planet. She wished her
legs were like spokes on a bicycle wheel, so that she
could slip into dozens of pairs of stockings. For as
soon as one article of clothing is taken off, its exact
feel has left the body; as soon as the next one is put
on, the memories of the former are prejudiced. No
comparison with history -- even the history of a
clothing fit two seconds ago -- does history justice.
Sasha entered a stall. Making sure the toilet
seat glistened as purely as Bridget Fonda's lips, she
unzipped her skirt and sat down.
The person in the stall next to hers rose
quickly, opened the door of that stall, and --
"You flaming one, you eruptress!" A dramatically
stretched, masculine voice boomed at Sasha from just
outside of her stall. "You, flashing at the stony, dead
sky, at the dying, choking sun -- I adore you."
A hand reached up over the edge of the stall and
tossed a red rose into the stall. It landed on Sasha's
"The universe revolves behind you," the voice
continued, "a black spill, a colorless, bleak code of
perpetual darkness: meaning has left it, pouring like
a thousand restless hearts into your voluptuous image."
About a dozen more roses flew at once upon
"You are everywhere, omnipresent, but still
eluding me. I adore."
This time an expansive box of chocolates -- its
lid removed -- was tossed into the stall. The chocolates
flew everywhere; several bounced off Sasha's head.
"Your wit tears me open and leave me in a
desert. You are the oasis somewhere else."
A bottle of red wine was set on the corner
where the door hinged with the stable side of the
stall. Sasha stared at it. A finger appeared;
nudged the bottle forward. It fell; smashed
on the floor. Burgundy splashed across Sasha's
"Your laughter ripples across the earth like
wandering rivers. The wooden vessel upon which I
should sail through you? It is a forest of saplings,
tender sprouts, newly-cracked seeds -- unmoistened,
the dew falling somewhere else."
An uncooked slab of steak -- filet mignon,
Sasha hoped -- leapt over the door like its soul
was still with it. It clung, bloody, to Sasha's
"But I cannot have you: no, no. You are
the lock that even God cannot pick; you are a puzzle
with pieces that are like living creatures, all
living at different times, one dying when the next
appears. You are the pastry that cannot be
unwhirled, kissed with succulent cheese. I? I am
a fly on the filthy, stained counter that you spit
upon! You, you sadistic, female demon, you cruel,
arrogant djini, I give you the blood of my dying
Two hands appeared over the edge of the
stall holding a gallon-sized bucket of red paint.
Sasha closed her eyes. The thick acrylic goo
drenched her. She felt it soak into her scalp.
She heard the empty tin bucket clang off
a wall, then collide on the floor. She heard the
door open and, slowly, close.
And then, her head swirling with emotion,
She wept, for her heart was profoundly
moved by the Asp's serenade.