She, Mara, was walking through campus one night many years ago, this was many many years ago, when a shadow stirred in the bushes, a gray flicker among the gray leaves, and a man leapt like a momentary star and held agun to her jaw and dragged her into the eucalyptus grove over a ground loose with leaves and told her that if she looked at his face he would blow her brains out, and if she screamed he would blow her brains out, and if she didn't do exactly what he told her, if she didn't do what he said down to the letter then he would most definitely have to blow her brains out I will blow your fucking brains out lady you understand me lady you understand what I'm saying?
Money, she said, I have money, and shoved her purse out in front of her, her floppy denim purse, because maybe it was money he wanted, she still hoped it was just money he wanted -- or if not, then at least she might buy a few seconds, she might buy enough time for someone to walk by and see what was happening here, so she waved her purse her floppy denim purse -- take it here take it -- which he took, and flung, and as it flew she saw its contents (lipstick in a chrome tube, two loose cigarettes, her one good pen) float gleaming through the dark air and suspend like satellites above her head
until she floated up
she floated up and up and looked down and saw herself kneeling there crying while a man stood slid agun into her mouth saying nice and wide just like that keep it nice and wide for me lady until she finally Alright OK understood what in fact was happening to her and would happen and happen and happen Oh she begged him
please don't hurt me
nice and wide for me lady God Oh
Jesus somebody help me somebody please help me please don't let him do this to me lady
gun brains me me don't you please don't do this to me --
Gun gun brains gun brains brains gun brains gun --
Grove dark grove dark gun brains campus help lady Dark Scream. run run scream No no he'll shoot you Agun agun agun Gun.
Open your mouth open your mouth
NO NO NO
Oh for God's sake have a brain for one second of your life He's got a gun in your mouth What are you doing
Don't talk to me like that Don't tell me this or that
For Chrissakes Mara.
I'm not gonna let some scumbag stick his cock in my mouth
You've done worse
I beg your pardon
You heard me
I said open your mouth
Hold on a minute there alright
I don't wanna blow your brains out but God help me if you don't open your mouth right this minute --
For God's sake Mara just blow him just do it
Of course he is
I am not going to be a victim
Who said anything about victim don't be dramatic you're always so dramatic Mara.
Face fuck fuck your face fuck bushes in the bushes gun lady gun brains me me don't you please don't do this to me I'm GOING TO blow your brains clean out the top of your head lady OPEN YOUR MOUTH I'm going to fuck that pretty face of --
Until she look up and away, up and away, and saw the speck of herself tiny as a pearl disappearing into the tops of the eucalyptus trees swaying, how beautifully they swayed, like arms at that distance, like slender moonwhite arms, but on closer look their white bark in fact mottled, afflicted with some active decay which quickened while she watched, she could not help watching now how this grove of arms twisted and bucked and released their white bark oh god oh jesus somebody help me somebody please help me please don't let him do
hell have you been do
hat the hell hav
he garden al afternoon with the toy pal and shove --
lights, sirens -- these are the signs of safety, these are the signs of rescue -- hard plastic cupping her nosemouth, oxygen hissing her lungs and frantic cloistered ride emergency room while voices -- flat staticky voices -- White female late-twenties head trauma severe hemorrhaging possible rape semi-conscious white female late-twenties head trauma severe hemorrhaging possible rape semi-conscious.White female late-twenties head trauma severehemorrhagingpossiblerapesemi conscious
What the hell have you been doing out here?
Five five five
When in fact she had been in the garden all afternoon with her toy pail digging up worms and there is Daddy in the door, there stands Daddy on the front porch, with his hands on his hips, with his hands on his hips, looking cross. Look at your clothes, he says. Dirty, dirty, dirty -- Off with those dirty things -- Little sneakers -- they go clompclomp by the bathroom door -- then the little slugger shirt over the head and little pants down the legs, how adorable they are, like clothes for a doll, then the little pair of undies, those underoos Mara remembered, printed with dinosaurs or safari animals -- oopsie! Dirty, dirty, her father went on saying, how did you get this dirty? Five years old she is five years old. Sound of water running in the tub, clear blue water in the tub, hot but not too hot, water filling the tub -- and her father lifting her tiny body Look how tiny you are beneath the armpits and sliding her expertly, noiselessly, into the water, the way he slid chicken deftly into oil, but this is not oil, keep your facts straight, you are not a piece of chicken, you are a child in a bath, you are a dirty five year-old child in need of clean water, which is hot but not too hot because he had made sure of that, your father, it was just right -- the water was just right. And he washed you What big hands he has, how impossibly large as they washed you, caressing the dirt from your tender kidskin. How they lingered as they worked, knowing and commanding, those hands of his, lifting your arms to wash your sides, running down the length of your little spine. You like Daddy washing you O yes O yes Bubbles on your head smelling like grapesoda you try to see yourself in the mirror on the back of the bathroom door, you try to see the bubbles on your head, but you father is washing your hair and wants you to keep still, he wants you to keep still but you can't you can't you want to see yrslf in the mirror Now you've done it you got bubbles in your eyes, you got shampoo in your eyes See? Don't cry neether you have no one to blame but yourself. Nowholdstill. Another toy pail, this one pink, which your father dips in the water and pours over your head covering your eyes. How delicious it is, to sit in water and have water poured over your head at the same time. How everything disappears, and there is only water, water, there is nothing but the pleasure of being washed washed washed --
Flush of air as doors open, hands reaching for her, covering her, glide down noisy narrow hallway Bright lights, bright lights Lift on three. One, two -- three.
Someone slides a hand into hers and squeezes.
The worst is over the worse has passed. You have been found and we are taking care of you the worst is over now OK OK
the bath is over and your father has left you standing dripping wet on the bathmat while he goes in the bedroom to fetch a clean towel. While he is gone you look at the water draining in the tub. It makes circles as it goes down, you see strands of your hair in the water, making circles as it goes down -- where does it go? What a scary thing a drain is. Circles, circles, and then -- nothing. I don't want to look at it anymore what a scary thing a drain is you can't look at it anymore, and there is the long mirror hanging from the back of the bathroom mirror all milky with steam. You are five years-old, and you are standing naked in front of a mirror, drawing lines in the steam with your fingers, because you are an artistic child, and there is a steamy mirror, and like any child you will use your finger to draw lines, first a little circle, and when you are bolder, bigger circles, you make lines like the letters you are learning to read -- A, B, L, M, S -- the S is the most delicious it is a little dragon, and as you draw it is you that appear in the lines you make on the mirror, it is your body, tender and pink, tender and pink, and now you don't care about the lines, now you are drawing on your own body as you draw on the mirror, you make a little bow in your hair, you draw a little -- yikes! -- dress on your self. But now there are too many lines. You can't tell what's what, and so you use your palm to clear away wide strips of steam, you wipe away the steam, because you want to see yourself now, you want to see all of yourself, and you wipe and wipe until you appear, all at once, the full of you, the all of you -- what was there, before what else was there. Look at yourself. You never look at yourself, no one does, and certainly we must never never never never nevernever look at the bodies of children -- What is so terrible about a body? They are the same, they are all the same, they are skin and hair and nipples and shapes and genitals. Of course there are genitals. How rosy they are on a child, a child's genitals, how innocent and illicit and sickening to think of, this rosy ache between the legs. That is the meaning of this memory.
Fingers sorting her hair, looking for semen.
Is there someone you want us to call?
Can you talk?
Scissors moving against her skin, cutting clothes away.
Can you hear me? Nod if you can. Yes? What did he look like? Did you see anything? What did you see?
Mara. Mara. You must learn to look.
What did you see?
I saw myself, I saw my body for the first time.
What can you tell us? Something specific. Hair color? Height? Race? Tell us anything you remember. Anything will help. What do you remember? What did you see?
But at that age, all children's bodies look the same.
Not the same. Not really. Not quite. There are differences --
Step back please --
Hands parting her legs.
Don't do that.
She's trying to talk.
What is it?
Don't touch me.
You're OK now. We have to make sure you're OK. We are nursesdoctorsnursesdoctors I am a crisis counselor I am a policeofficernurse nurse
Hands along her thighs, pushing her apart --
The mirror gave way. Because it is attached to the door. Because the door opened. And her father stood before her. And for the first time in her life, for the first time in her life --
As they discovered her now. The doctor, the two nurses, the female police officer, the counselor -- Parting her legs whoa there whoa there see I told you not to touch me now you've done it now you've done it there is Daddy in the door there is Daddy please don't look at me Penis.
What did you do?
She had done what little boys do, surely all little boys do it. She had tucked her penis between her legs and shut her thighs and admired herself in the bathroom door. That's all she had done. Admired herself. Admiring herself in the mirror there even as it gave way, as the door opened, and her father appeared before her, wordlessly and towering, frowning, frowning, a look that Mara already knew, as children do, that she would never forget or forgive --
What is his name do we have a name What is your name? Mar -- Mar -- Mara. He said Mara.
You're safe now Mara you're safe, you're safe Mara. Clickclick of a camera then the low sucking of a flash bulb recharging Fingers, nursedoctor cold and jellied, lifting her testicles Let go of my fucking Hold him down! Scream. Scream. Scream. She closed her eyes. so much blood blood everywhere everywhere there is blood blood blood all over her they think it is hers but it is not all hers because She had bit down on him. kneeling there in the eucalyptus grove She had bit down on the part of him that was in her mouth, his filthy fat cock stubborn squish between her teeth, and did not let go she did not let go even when his blood filled her mouth the salt and iron of him even when she lurched and gagged and vomited she vomited violent crimson lurches and still she held her jaws tight A bright light exploded in her right eye -- he had shot her. He had shot her see? and don't cry neither no one to blame but yourself had blown her brains out just like he said he would there in the grove there in the grove where the trees swayed like arms stalks of lilies and she had closed her eyes she closed her eyes and fell and fell through the cave of herself like a tiny pearl where inside she huddled tiny and hushed as a fetus, a nothing, a not-yet, yet-to-be, she was yet to be oh where are you Mara where did you go to where have you gone?
But he hadn't shot her. He couldn't have, with no bullets in his gun, dumb pecker didn't have no bullets so he'd bludgeoned her brow instead with the heel of the gun instead when she bit him instead gash of blood sheets into her eyes and still she held on even as she thought she had been shot when she hadn't, she locked down on her jaw and nearly severed his cock so that he had to hit her again, and again, until she fell through the cave of her body this darkness that was like cream from a bowl swirling drain and came to rest at the bottom of this black cream this place of no place where she does not exist where Mara does not exist beyond the reach beyond the reach what sirens and lights moaning through the cream trying to rescue her and her father's voice quite clearly now sighing Daddy's not angry look at me Daddy's not angry but you must not ever do that again OK not ever or Daddy will be very angryAlright Alright Oh what a bigboy you are what a bigstrongman you're going to be
just like Daddy
do you understand me Mark yes I
understand One more time yes I understand
Daddy yes I understand
completely good Mark
a good boy Oh Daddy I'm scared
I'm scared and sorry too Daddy I'm sorry
Gun gun brains gun brains brains gun brains gun --
Grove dark grove dark gun brains
campus help lady Dark
No no he'll shoot you
A gun a gun a gun
and everybody already dead the Father's
grove slender white arms worms all afternoo
already dead so what's the point of blaming him, huh?
What is the point of bla
ming him? and the self I meant to be