From The Pussy
She thought you were hot, my date told me. Well shit. Could I pull it off. I’ve beat off to her rape video 15 times. You stand on a plywood box; she stands across from you on another plywood box; there’s a painted line between you and you talk but you’re not allowed to touch her. Close by there’s a mannequin of her called Emmatron hooked up to an iPad with canned questions. If you ask about the rape she directs you to the mannequin. The iPad says why didn’t you go to the cops right away. Why did you Facebook message him: fuck me in the butt, and so forth. You pick one. Her recorded voice comes on. Fuck me in the butt is an expression like shoot me in the head. If I told you shoot me in the head, would you literally think I want to be shot in the head.
My date blew it with her. I couldn’t hear but you could tell Emma couldn’t stand her. I’m glad she went first. I had a plan for what I’d say. Bunch of banal shit then one real question.
Yes she does get tired. But she’s able to sit down. The show’s gotta be very different at 7PM the last day than now, I told her, trying to sound cool. At some point you must start thinking: oh, blow it out your ass. That’s why I made Emmatron, she said.
Yes people cry like with Marina Abramovic. People come up and look in her eyes and cry and also, a lot of people want to talk about their own rape. Just to tell somebody. It got to where she had to hand it off to Emmatron. Well your work is so much about people’s baggage, I said.
You ought to take this on tour, I told her. Colleges have money. Five grand a night and seems like they’d be into this type of shit. Maybe but I can’t spend my whole life doing this, she said. I said something about her in in an RV on tour, out in the Nebraska cornfields with the fuckin robot in the passenger seat. She didn’t quite laugh. But I got that feeling of making a girl laugh.
Have you been accused of rape, my date asked in the car. She reads the manosphere. Well no but the day is young. Really, I said, I’ve never raped anybody. I’m the world’s horniest man and I’ve been in bed with blackout drunk hot naked teens, drunk and on speed myself. I know I couldn’t do it. But then sometimes you don’t know. I keep thinking about one girl I fucked off OKCupid in 2014. When I looked down she was crying.
At lunch she asked why don’t you apply to the Iowa Writers Workshop. This girl found me when someone emailed her one of my OKCupid stories. Why don’t you submit that to Paris Review. I don’t want to be in Paris Review, I said. I want young girls to think I should be in Paris Review. And it’s working.
Really it hadn’t occurred to me. I think my work is shit. Later I looked at Paris Review. The first story is by Chris Batchelder. I remember a plaque with that name at my prep school. Flint Batchelder, captain of the 1902 lacrosse team or something. Now his descendants are in Paris Review. My father was a pipefitter. He did jail time for stealing tires in Alabama. I was at that school on scholarship, to get bootstrapped out of 10,000 years of pregnant teen alcoholics. I had impostor syndrome. And rightly so. Look at me now. My writing is bad and I’m bad and Paris Review would laugh at me. I literally want to be shot in the head.
Paris Review can suck my balls, I told her. More people read my shit than Paris Review. That night I took an at risk teen to a Clippers game. The Staples center is so big it gave me vertigo. Twice as many people as can fit in the Staples Center have read my story about an artificial pussy, which is in some ways amateurish but also ought to be etched into titanium and launched into space for aliens to find. But then that was 2013. What have I done for me lately. Can’t write good shit because now I have to work. I could barely do it unemployed.
Chris Batchelder does not have this problem. Emma Sulkowicz does not have this problem. Like Cat Marnell she’s the daughter of two rich New York psychiatrists. But also she’s brave enough to sleep in a garage. And look, I don’t know if she got raped or not. If it went down like the video then yes. That’s why it’s so hot. Even with the Shaw Brothers sound effect when he hits her.
Do you read all the shit about you on the internet, I asked. At this point is it white noise to you. Or can it ever sting. Well I do and the answer is yes, she said. She was telling the truth. I also put this one in Emmatron, she said.
I tried not to think: I’d like to put one in Emmatron. But I’m a robot.
I got the girl home and got a finger in her jeans. Her pussy was hard to navigate. I’m 40 and I still need the beginner model. Please stop, she said. I don’t want to sleep with you. It felt good to be surprised.
In conclusion: four stars.