Flesh Beat

January 17, 2009
By Anne Tan BRONZE, River Forest, Illinois
Anne Tan BRONZE, River Forest, Illinois
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Flesh Beat


Anne Tan

Black Leather Couch

372 Jalan St.

Desa Jaya, Malaysia

It's just me and my overheated black leather couch, situated in a place we should not be. My pores are erupting and sweat is dripping into the crevices between the pillows. The fan is at five—full speed. It turns its head back and forward, cooling the six feet black leather couch and the four foot me. Barney is on the twenty inch box, just as he always is at four o'clock in the afternoon.

His head is bobbing up and down. Not the dinosaur, the man inside. I'm not stupid—nope, I surely am not. Not like Wei Sung who went around telling people Barney and Santa were real. Who knows where she got that crazy idea. Barney never says, “Roar!”. And Dinosaurs died a million trillion years ago. The world got too hot. Just like today.

Mmmhmm. Yup. I knew all along Barney was just wearing a mask, just like some of the those Arab ladies we see. They walk around the markets with long black bedsheets with slits for their eyes. Those Arab ladies kinda look like ghosts, but the never say “Boo!” and they're wearing the wrong color bedsheet—somebody should tell them. Sometimes I want to pull off their mask. Just like the way American kids do in movies. The kid will be sitting on Santa's lap, and Santa will be asking them what they want to Christmas. The little elves will be getting ready to take the picture and the mother will be holding her hands next to her heart—as if it was the cutest thing she ever saw. All will seem well, nothing will seem wrong, then all of a sudden yank! The picture is taken, and it is coming out of Santa's mailbox. Santa's beard is embedded between the kid's jelly covered fingers. The other kids in line are crying. Christmas is ruined.

Barney is gone now. Some fat man in overalls is dancing around the screen. Maybe he's Barney; maybe he's Santa... Maybe he just took off his Dino clothes and pulled on some overalls.

Holly and Spot are sitting next to me. Spot's real name isn't Spot. That's just what we call her because she's got a big brown birthmark on her left thigh. Spot and Holly aren't talking to each other. They only sit by each other for company's sake. You see, I don't think Spot really cares for Holly. She thinks Holly is dumb.

Her whiskers hold the remnants of last nights dinner—the scraps from Petaling Street. Her belly is rugging up the dirt on the floor. Poor puppy. What she could use is a haircut. Yes! Of Course! A haircut. I fight to pull myself off the couch and run to grab my diggity-zagged scissors that still hold last weeks art project. I made a little white bird with wings that glittered when you flapped its wings. Everyone was jealous. Holly's hair is going to be wavy. Maybe then Spot will like her. My weight is balanced on my big fat thumb toe. It is weediling from side to side, but I will myself to stay put. Her hair is falling onto the linoleum floors. I am snipping off the edges of her fur—this is so much fun—clipping off millimeter by centimeter by inch, slowly moving closer and closer to her pinkish flesh. Yes! Yes! A shave will do it! It was bring out her eyes!

Spot is looking at Holly with disgust, greater disgust than before.

-Anne, what have you done?

-Cut Holly's hair.

-Thank god you weren't foolish enough to cut your own.

-Anne what have you done!

-Cut Holly's hair.


-She looked ugly.

-Part of her fur is gone!

-I thought she'd look better bald.

-She surely would not!

I can see Holly's flesh. It is pinkish and vulnerable. Her flesh is fluttering up and down. She begins to licking her pale skin, as if it were a wound. Dogs lick their wounds, you know? My dad told me.

The author's comments:
I stayed in Malaysia until I was five. Recently going back gave me inspiration to write this piece. My work is by no means directed at any particular ethnicity or race. It is merely a look at women in society. I am particularly fond of "A Woman's College From Outside" by Virginia Woolf. It was through that story, that I became more aware of how women are in society.

To editor:
Would you please contact me if you are to use submitted work (before it is used).

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This article has 1 comment.

on Feb. 17 2009 at 11:54 pm
This is an amazing piece! I just love it! Keep up the great work!



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