– KEITH WALDROP
HOW LOVE GOT ME OUT OF THE BUGHOUSE
I’m the Bogeywoman. Maybe I belonged in the bughouse. Anyway it was Doctor Zuk who got me out, and then the fuddy dreambox mechanics kicked her out right behind me. But first she saved me, and that’s when I lost her-if I ever had her-unless I am her. Am I Zuk?
HOW LOVE GOT ME INTO THE BUGHOUSE
I mean how I ended up at the age of sixteen in the loonie bin, when I wasn’t even buggy.
It happened at Camp Chunkagunk,
At Camp Chunkagunk I had been the Bogeywoman ever since I dropped a black snake, during Quiet Hour, through the roof of the counselors’ cabin.
Then at sixteen I found out my love of Camp Chunkagunk was a hunger. And always had been, I guess, only in the beginning I ate like a bird. Now I saw the same things I had always seen, but I was afraid to leave them alone with me.
I was a Big Bear now myself. I was an older girl and a so I did not. Was mad to but would not. Lemme die first. Yvette Deaux never even knew. I have always been the boss of my hunger, the chef of my starvation, so to speak. I can read the sign. Does it say DO NOT TOUCH? I don’t touch. I have never (except that once) driven away a scared girl with a stray hand across the border. She’s gotta put a hand on me first.
And she does. That’s why my luck is good. That’s why I’ve had nothing, well, almost nothing, to do with craggy-jawed bus station hags, broken-toothed gym teachers with whistles around their necks, or crewcut WACs. I prefer ladies-like Margaret, my first love. Margaret loved me. Margaret, you might say, trained me to be loved. But I am seldom as shocked by the sheer piggery behind fine fingers and fluted hipbones as anybody would be with old Margaret. Ladies are prone to first touches and second thoughts. I am not a lesbo, they announce, and I say, a?! Whaddaya mean? Me neither-I, er, just kinda like you.
Yes, it’s a tracker’s nightmare, girlgoyle sex, and naturally the great wood wizardess, Willis Marie Bundgus, forgot to leave me a map. A girl floods, to her own surprise, in some forbidden place (like my mouth) and ducks underground. A lizardly muscle, a girl’s love, strong but small. Small but strong. How to get her back? I try to know where she is even when she isn’t here, isn’t mine, that’s wood wiz, but I never was the wood wizardess. Still, there must be sumpm about me, at least at first. At first I had sumpm-even if it put me in the bughouse-with Lou Rae Greenrule.
So. That last summer at camp. The girlgoyle in question. To start with, her hair. Her hair was the kind that requires an engineer of a mother in the wings, or so I had always thought. At P.S. 149, a few girls came to school day after day with heads piled in ringlets sky-high-jiggling towers of them that ambitious moms had whipped up. This mother had taste Merlin regarded as sugary, it is true. We, motherless, were raised to despise that, and so were only distantly covetous-compared to girls in boiled-icing ringlets, Margaret and me were of some third sex and we knew it. Us Merlin’s Suzette swept off to the barbershop once a season, got rid of the stuff. But Lou Rae Greenrule had hair a hundred times more
Besides the hair she did herself, Lou Rae had amazing breasts for such a small girl, not only real but hard as babies’ heads. You’ll want to know how I found that out. I’m getting to that-how I found out.