Step 1) Hannah releases the latch on the coffin, says: Breathe.
Breathe. Do coffins have latches? Is that what one releases on a
coffin, to let the stink out, to free the prisoners? Hannah places the
sole of her boot on the lip of the coffin, exposing what lives inside
of her but refusing to explain. Hannah undoes the fabric locks of her
corset, says: Quit breathing, I own you. Hannah, pale and opinionated,
slaps pasty thighs. You manage to operate legs. Hannah says: Legs are
mine too and did I say operate? You sit back down in your home,
knowing that too was against procedure. Hannah makes a collage from
the parts she doesn’t allow you to operate. The collage is the most
perfect collage in the last forty years. Hannah squints. Hannah thinks
the sun is not only stupid, but mean and unnecessary. Naked now, she
reaches for a velvet robe; it’s out of a movie. Hannah spits on her
index finger, asks you which hole, say mouth she says, you say mouth.
Now Hannah’s spit is your spit and it will build a small cottage in
which to create art. Hannah says: Back. Hannah says: This was fun.
This time next Sunday? Then she thinks about setting the cat on
fire.You lay down and watch the coffin close. Unlike Hannah, you think
there are at least three practical uses for sunlight but what you
think will not alter concepts.
Step 2) Hannah’s father looks very similar to a catfish. Because of
this Hannah has decided to play industrial very loud in her bedroom,
which is on the third floor of her Catfish-Father’s home. There home
is Tudor style. Hannah’s room is pink. She thinks pink makes women
appear weak but she never learned how to apply primer to a wall and
feels guilty when she considers asking her Catfish-Father to paint the
wall for her. She used to want the wall to be black but recently she
gets very wet when she sees maroon so maybe she wants a maroon wall.
She isn’t getting any hours at Hot Topic so how is she supposed to buy
paint? Catfish-Father has to buy the paint and do the painting. Hannah
shivers under a fan. Places a cat tail on her ass. Not a real
cat-tail, but a plush one she bought at Hot Topic with her forty
percent discount. Hannah watches a movie about the shadow of a witch
which has recently been stalking third graders in some Iowa field. She
breathes so heavy when one of the third graders in the movie appears
on screen wearing a maroon sweatshirt. It gets so cold in Iowa that
even the third graders often think of making two people one person.
Catfish-Father walks into the room without knocking. Upon seeing his
daughter dangling from the ceiling, ankles fastened to a metal rod,
and convulsing as though there is somebody really important on the
inside of her, Catfish-Father runs downstairs and watches home-videos
of Hannah playing in a kiddie-pool. Catfish-Father dials his ex-wife’s
cell phone. Ex-Wife’s cell phone says: Beep. Catfish-Father hangs up.
Forgets about the situation in the morning over orange scones.
Step 3) Hannah skips school to re-open the coffin. She forgets the key
to the latch. Did you look up coffin construction? Are there latches?
If there are latches dial 910-247-9901 and say: Yes there are latches.
Hannah did bring a knife and this is a poorly made coffin and so she
hacks the coffin open. You think: Where’s the sunlight? Hannah says
she demanded rain for the afternoon. Without rain she’s dry, almost as
dry as when there is no maroon. Hannah says: Viscosity. You stick out
your tongue and on your tongue arrives a small creature. You can’t
tell it’s a small creature because really it’s just pale-green phlegm.
Hannah says: Here now, Arial. Then Hannah scoops up the phlegm with
her index finger and strokes it just as anybody would stoke a newborn
turtle or an escort for hire. Hannah shiver but there is no fan.
Hannah says: That’s all. You nod and go back into the coffin, sporting
a half-erect something or another. Hannah says: Home, Arial. Then
places the phlegm into her mouth that knows it has tasted better food
but lacks the autonomy to argue with Hannah. Hannah will not hesitate
to whip creatures who descent. Back home Hannah grabs a mason jar from
Catfish-Fathers kitchen cabinet. Hannah releases Arial into the jar,
sets the jar on her nightstand, says: Breathe.
Step 4) Being proud of Arial, Hannah does not consider hiding Arial.
In the morning, when Catfish-Father comes to wake Hannah up for her
first day of 11th grade, Catfish-Father notices the mason jar 1/4
filled with phlegm. Catfish-Father says: Hannah, sick? Hannah says:
Happier than the last seven months. When Hannah closes her eyes she
returns to a dream she was having wherein there is a rabbit and the
rabbit owns a collection of axes and the rabbit captures rabbits that
are more stupid than he is and he ties them to the wall of his Alaskan
shack and he tosses the axes in their direction but always misses,
making him an even more contemptible rabbit. Knowing she’s in a
dream-state, Catfish-Father flushes the phlegm down the toilet. Hannah
wakes up, says: Fuck you and mom always said you diddled yourself too
often so you couldn’t really satisfy what lived on the inside of her
and needed satisfying. Hannah, over the next three weeks, contracts
some ailment no doctor can identify. She’s stuck in bed, becoming more
and more green, watching M.A.S.H. Nobody is around to open your
coffin. You are in need of Vitamin D. Hannah hasn’t forgotten about
you down there in that coffin but she’s simply too green to assist.
You bang dry hands on the top of the coffin, which is now just random
pieces of wood nailed sloppily together, the way any 11th grader would
build a coffin. All the vitamin D goes to others. Hannah is delirious
from way too many reruns of M.A.S.H. She keeps spitting in a cup
trying to manufacture another Arial but every time she’s caught
spitting in a cup Catfish-Father lowers her allowance by twenty five
cents and provides Hannah with (3) slaps to the cheek. Catfish-Father
continues to diddle himself obsessively and one day there’s an
accident involving a cheese grater rendering him useless. Being a
quiet house, Hannah is able to roll around in his screams. Even though
by now she’s pretty much totally green, Hannah smiles and succeeds in
prying her lips open with her fingers and says: Hi, Arial.