Introduction, by Jessica Anne

Introduction

So, you have this mother who is, and always will be, a monster. And you have this temper. Well, it’s more of a ribbon than a temper. It’s a red velvet paper puppy dog ribbon and it runs right through those ballpoint lungs of yours. It yips and pisses on everything. It coils round your spaghetti western loins and lights you all the way up. Gives your words a chewy conch shell cadence. Beats your ideas into soft sprawling dandelion dough, the kind you can’t eat. Raw. Whoosh. Explodes out of you in bright Michigan streams. Michigan means nothing to you, but the commercials are amazing. You want to go there. You want to take your shoes off and fish there. You are an angry person. You have left the theatre. You listen to NPR. You are in love. You have two cats. You are wildly un-educated. You are a waitress. You are rich. You like to start rumors, and spread lies, and tell the truth, and help the boring, and confuse the every single body.

Then

there is a you. See. A two legged you. A you. You. A you that is, and always will be, a very little girl. A girl so tiny she couldn’t breathe on her own till she was ten years old. A girl born without virginity. Into a place without power. Without humanity. A place where the walls painted themselves half burnt sugar brown, half ruby shoe red. Beautiful on their open. Toxic behind their ugly linoleum door.

It was bad until you asked for help. Help. Whoosh. Fire. Murder. Maroon. Rescue.

Behold.

They take you to the north. Hover above you in the very early morning with flashlights, tell you you have ten minutes to pack. You think this must be one of those expensive wilderness behavioral camps, you wont see your friends or your family for at least forty-one months. On your knees. Helicopter. Goodbye.

They take you to a top-secret live music working place, first name hide, last name out. They feed you dark lager under bright billowing loops of year round white Christmas light. The beams are exposed. The pretzel rods are thick and four for a dollar. There is a stage in the back to make you feel comfortable. But you don’t have to mount it, unless you want to. Which you do. On the weekends. In your own clothes. With your own voice.

There is a Home Depot across the lot. You exist on steamed hot dogs and economy sized bags of peat moss until one day you are strong enough to hammer your own lean to shelter shack out of unpainted birdhouses and hollowed out paint cans.

So, here you are a little drunk. A little girl. Carving your place in the sand with pointy sticks and amazing shoes. Your shoes are amazing. Your clothes are ratty, and frayed, and thin as onion skin, but your shoes are amazing. Patti LuPone visits you on a Tuesday, in a dream, and she says to you, girl, your shoes are amazing. She explains to you that not everyone is able to keep their shoes on their feet in times like these. She says your close. You’re very close. So very close. Almost ready to tie the bonnet under your chin and inherit the entire farm. She gives you a mesh bag of sour fruit and spiced nuts. She gives you a few months. She gives you a box of pen and some ink. She says believe it or not there’s like a million of you out there. So, girl, make it interesting. Call it fiction so you don’t get in trouble. Change the names. Pick a form. Run. Help. Fire. Murder. Rescue. Maroon.

So

to begin

lets call you you. And lets call me girl. And lets call this a manual. And lets get you out of here. A manual. For you.

JESSICA ANNE has made the Neo Futurists her artistic home since 2006. She’s also worked with The Hypocrites, The Paper Machete, Write Club, The Drinking and Writing Theatre Brewery, and Shattered Globe. She is currently an MFA Creative Writing candidate at Roosevelt University.