orange_leaves.png

1 story
by The Cyborg Jillian Weise

The Cyborg Jillian Weise's novel is The Colony. Cy's chapbook, Give It to Alfie Tonight, solicited by disabled publisher Red Mare, is sold out. Cy's next book is a memoir forthcoming from Mariner. Cy directed the film A Kim Deal Party starring Eileen Myles, Gertrude Stein, Alice Wong, and many more. The film screened at Public Space One in Iowa City. Cy makes snow globe rings and very disabled things on Etsy at www.etsy.com/shop/borg4borg.

The Cute Little Rental in Marfa, Texas

I have a hard time talking to strangers, so I was timid when you made the reservation. Now I have you all to myself. When you turned the knob to the bedroom, I went through you. You were thinking of Lisette, Lisette, money, Lisette, and does she love you? The mirror is too common; the bed is too crowded. Doors are my preference.

 

The resident before you bought me this doorknob. I begged him and begged him to buy it. He kept coming back from the mailbox with all the wrong things. He ordered a set of shot glasses and a decanter. He ordered a copperhead with a terrarium. He ordered a Beretta from a guy in Odessa. No, no, you’ll get us in trouble, I kept saying. This was back in May. He was online, frotting, in the bedroom. As he clicked and clicked, I begged him to order a new knob for me. I was a getting a little impatient, so I set the door on fire. This is that new knob I wanted. Then I figured out how to change colors. Because I made no mess, I changed everything to red. I started with the rug in the living room. It was good practice. Next I did the kitchen: the dishes and silverware, the clock over the stove, the ice tray and soap. You are my first new resident since the renovation. I will call you Poppy.

 

* * *

It wasn’t very nice, Poppy, to run off like that. You dropped your suitcase by the closet and then, alarmed by what I consider my standard greeting, you ran off. But I heard all about the trip when you returned.        

 

It is not your wife who concerns me. I gather that long ago she stopped concerning you too, and you have traded her in for fantasies of her mistress, Lisette. She is the most beautiful woman you have not met. You have watched all her posts and seen all her pictures. You feel proud of your wife for her taste, but also a little nervous that Lisette will tire of her and, by extension, you. So you are letting them have the weekend.

 

I’m stuck with you. It does not matter if I’d rather think of something else. I’m with you now and you have Lisette in mind. So I have to know all about this woman as you denigrate this town. You opened up the marriage, the marriage, waited all that time for the State to approve of the marriage, and then Lisette walked right into it. Seems desolate. One paved street and all the others dirt. Is she still a mistress if it’s open? How much do you want to know? At first, everything. You want to know everything. You tell your wife, “I’m fine with it. I want to know all the details. We’re all women here.”

 

So you find out Lisette booked the hotel. She comes from money. She kissed a girl in college. This is the kind of town Lisette would visit, on a whim, and decide to buy some acreage. The adobe houses would fascinate her.

 

That is one of her favorite things to say: “How fascinating.”

 

What did your wife say? What did they do?

 

They ate dinner at a restaurant. Then they went back to the hotel and Lisette grabbed your wife’s cock in the elevator, just like that, no asking after pronouns, no filling out of surveys like the ones you swapped before you ever dated—soft boundaries, hard boundaries, aftercare. Lisette held your wife’s cock in the elevator. Have you ever—why darling—are you shy? Your wife wanted to wait, maybe listen to some music, pull out the survey, but Lisette was demanding. She sat your wife down on the sofa and said, “Stop talking to me about your goddamn version of polyamory.” Then Lisette straddled her.

 

No, Lisette would never visit this town: it is too quaint, too written up in Texas Monthly. Only people from Austin visit this town and crash on couches on their way to somewhere else. Lisette is above this town. To show off her superiority, Lisette wears a bun on top of her head. Lisette kissed a girl at Yale and you went to Auburn. In some alternate world, if you had gone to Yale, if you had just applied yourself a little more, if you hadn’t followed your high school crush to Auburn, you could’ve been Lisette’s first kiss. Then by kissing her first, and with a little bite to her bottom lip, you would’ve slipped under her skirt and said, “Okay?” and Lisette would’ve nodded, and up up up the two of you would’ve gone, all the way. She has a tattoo on her wrist and you think tattoos are elegant.

 

Lisette is elegantly sleeping with your wife.  

 

At the Dollar General, flush with joy at something capital and familiar, you pretended Lisette was the cashier. It was as if Lisette said, “I love you. Nineteen dollars and twenty cents.” And what did you buy? Red bubble bath and sunscreen: the first item to appease me, the second item to abandon me. But I have you all to myself nights.

 

* * *

Can’t sleep? The last resident never had any trouble. Then again, he is no longer with us.

 

* * *

Good morning, sunshine. Check your shoes before you put them on. We’re in the desert, after all. I’m sorry I was so impatient about Lisette. I can tell she means a lot to you. There is coffee in the kitchen and all the exits are jammed. I had to dispose of your phone, also, what with all those ridiculous texts you were sending. What do you think of your new hair? I wanted to give you something that would make you feel more comfortable here. Oh, don’t cry. Poppy, you are so distraught. Come here and lean against me. She is beautiful, of course, and you’d like to make love to her. You shouldn’t, right, because Lisette belongs to your wife, but you’d really like, just a moment alone with her. You’d like to at least be in the room. You’d like to at least meet for coffee. Consent! Why should she get the choice of consenting to meet you? You are the wife. Of the wife. And the wife has rights. You do not like this one bit. Though we know that even what you do not like you can play with. Last night, against me. Lisette kissing you. Lisette’s breath on your neck. Lisette’s bun bouncing.

 

Your wife told you everything until you said, “That’s enough.”

 

You cannot remember buying the hair color and you cannot remember getting up at four a.m. to apply it. You must have done it. How did you do it? You must have done it.

 

I relished every moment of it. But all you can think about is Lisette and how, before Lisette, you were not alive, not really alive, not pounding.

 

You dreamt about her last night. In the dream, she was wearing knee-high socks, a raincoat and earrings made of teeth. “Are you mad at me?” she said.

 

“No,” you said.

 

“Are you sure?”

 

“I could never be mad at you.”

 

“How fascinating.”

             

* * *

 

I’m sorry about all the tarantulas. But I can’t help it. It’s mating season. They were outside in the yard and they wanted in so badly. They’re not poisonous, so I don’t understand all the fuss. Besides, I felt you were not taking me seriously. I felt I was not being acknowledged. I felt we could use some distraction from all these doors and all your memories. We can get through this. If you’re careful, if you’re considerate, if you’re attentive, we can get through this. I won’t put them in your bed anymore.