?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Written On Skin

« previous entry | next entry »
Jun. 3rd, 2013 | 08:31 pm

“Should the dog have a hat?”

She knows the answer. “Ice Age didn’t have hats.”

She always knows the answer. She always knows a lot of answers, taking them to Pub Quiz victory, free pitcher and platter every Wednesday night, Pete saying from behind the bar, “Let someone else have a turn, Laura,” his exasperation as staged as his call back to the kitchen, “Platter, two extra blues, extra celery!” like a hash slinger from fifty years ago.

He throws himself back-first on the bed next to her, holds the tablet at arms length and squints up. “Will it sell plush toys?”

Laura puts her head next to his, ear to ear, cheek to cheek. Squints. “Mmmm. Shorter snout. Higher forehead. More kawaii.”

“Always with the more kawaii. Tell me we’re not talking about that again.”

“Asia’s a big market.”

“Asia’s gonna buy us a real house, with a room for all your books. Soon as I finish this project.”

Laura smiles. Laura believes.

He rolls off the bed, crosses the room to his desk, sets down the tablet. “Break.” Turns to her, tumbled in the sheets, always in bed first, always waiting to sleep until he comes. “Stay like that.”

She puffs her bangs with an upward breath, then turns her face into her left arm.

“No,” he says, “like you were before.”

She brings her arm down and turns the left side of her face away from the light.

“Laura.”

She turns her face back, the light from the bedside lamp—a knockoff of the Danish original they both love—shining on the puckered rope of flesh stretching its length from brow bone to jawline. Her right eye implores him.

“Leave it out.”

“Then it’s fake.”

“Dogs in hats are fake. Me—without—is still me.”

He sets pencil to paper and begins to rough in the ovals of her form in quick, easy strokes.

“Jeremy.” She says his name without moving, without disrupting the outline.

He looks up. She is as solemn as he has ever seen her.

“Make me pretty.”


* * *


“Nice job fixing her face. You think the doc took out her fucking personality, too?”

Jeremy heard, as maybe Pete meant him to, as the bar door swung shut. His stomach replaced emptiness with a rock. Laura teetered ahead on the silly heels she bought yesterday, more than they could afford, at least until he finished the project and the check from Pixar came. Then he’d buy her—he was going to buy her—whatever.

She turned, “Keep up, big guy! I’m not gonna walk home alone, right?”

He caught up, but just before he reached for her hand, she turned and started ahead again.

“Some dumbass contest! Who the fuck knows all that stupid book shit?”

“If you’d let me answer—”

“Yeah, you know everything, right? Not like your dumb girlfriend.” Laura turned suddenly, and he bumped into her. She clutched him to keep from falling over, pressed her breasts into his chest, her thigh into his groin. “Least I’m hot, right?”

Jeremy didn’t answer. She pressed her thigh a little harder. “Right?”

“So hot I want to draw you.”

“Ooo, kinky! Let’s do it here. Let’s do it now.” Laura let him go and wobbled toward a bench. By the time his pad was in his hands, she’d taken off her jacket, one dress strap falling over her shoulder, her face—perfect, beautiful—turned to what she knew was a flattering angle.

He braced his back against a lamppost and sketched, ignoring her little sounds, until her little sounds became little yips.


* * *

“Have a bite,” Jeremy said, holding out a cube of something—intestine? Uterus? You could never tell with cha siu, but he figured if Laura ate it, it wouldn’t kill him.

No Pixar check yet—he was so close. The project was becoming real. The day they approved the preliminaries he’d bought her a new bowl, and himself a stack of pads and pencils of every hardness, but he couldn’t get her back. The first Laura, not dumb beautiful Laura, not small smarter Laura. His Laura. He couldn’t remember the placement of the scar, the angle of her ear to her jaw. She’d never liked photos, of course, and he was too afraid to get it wrong again, to keep making it worse.

Laura whined by the door.

“Oh Lord, we’re not talking about a walk again, are we? You just had one, pretty girl!”

Laura yipped.

“Smart girl. You just had one, smart girl. Now your boyfriend’s going to take a long, hot shower, and you’re going to enjoy Iron Chef until he comes out.”

He clicked the TV on, the wide screen a benefit of drawing dogs without hats, and pressed buttons. He’d never have blown his up-front on electronics before—but he felt Laura needed “company” when he went to the studio downtown. Or spent the night walking and trying to picture her real face.

Laura yipped again.

“Yes, the original. You’re right, the American version is lame.” She was always right.

He came out of the shower to Chairman Kaga’s dubbed voice, “If memory serves me right…” He nearly slipped on a piece of paper on the floor before lifting the towel. Drifts. Fucking drifts.

“What the…”

Laura sits in the middle of the room, paper all around her, torn bits and tattered bits and shreds and the shards of his tablet beneath the desk, where she must have leapt up to the pile of the project…Jesus, the project…bits of dogs and squirrels and a surefire plush-toy-ready woodchuck for Brad Pitt’s voice, the carnage of their limbs and eyes and kawaii foreheads everywhere. Hours—the hours.

Laura knows. She looks up, looks please don’t be mad with brown eyes in a furry white face, and Jeremy keeps his eyes on her while he steps sideways to the desk, grabs a pencil and the biggest piece of paper left.

“Stay.”

He starts to sketch.


_____________________________________________________________

This is an intersection with <lj user=i_id>, whose piece may be read here.

Link | Leave a comment | Share

Comments {22}

☾

(no subject)

from: witches
date: Jun. 4th, 2013 04:18 am (UTC)
Link

This is beautiful! LOVE <3

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Jun. 6th, 2013 11:12 pm (UTC)
Link

Thank you!

Reply | Parent | Thread

Donna

(no subject)

from: dabhug
date: Jun. 4th, 2013 01:58 pm (UTC)
Link

Very intriguing. I am very, very curious about all of this. Your imagery is great, I was there with them all throughout.

Nice work.

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Jun. 6th, 2013 11:13 pm (UTC)
Link

Thank you! I want to take another pass at this - I don't think I got across completely what I intended. But I'm glad the imagery works, thanks!

Reply | Parent | Thread

MamaCheshire

(no subject)

from: cheshire23
date: Jun. 5th, 2013 02:47 am (UTC)
Link

In response to your concrit tag: I...was about to write that I wasn't sure they worked in the last scene.

Then I re-read it. And I see what you did there. And damn, that's brilliant.

I need to read slower. :)

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Jun. 6th, 2013 11:13 pm (UTC)
Link

Thanks! It was a really tough one to figure out!

Reply | Parent | Thread

Vice Captain of the Universe

(no subject)

from: sweeny_todd
date: Jun. 5th, 2013 03:09 am (UTC)
Link

I had to read it a few times, to understand what was going on. but! there was something very compelling, so I really wanted to know what was going on!

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Jun. 6th, 2013 11:14 pm (UTC)
Link

Thanks - yeah, I don't think I quite hit it with this one, I think I went too far into lack of clarity because I was afraid of being obvious.

Reply | Parent | Thread

similiesslip

(no subject)

from: similiesslip
date: Jun. 5th, 2013 11:54 pm (UTC)
Link

Man,now I want to read the other side. I love that he loves his art so much that sketching his dog overwhelms him more than the anger of the mess she made.

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Jun. 6th, 2013 11:14 pm (UTC)
Link

Thanks!

Reply | Parent | Thread

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors

(no subject)

from: halfshellvenus
date: Jun. 6th, 2013 06:21 am (UTC)
Link

I re-read, but I'm still a little confused at what happened at the midway point, where it seemed like a transformation took place.

I loved it, even without fully understanding it. :) The partner piece was gorgeous, too.

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Jun. 6th, 2013 11:16 pm (UTC)
Link

Thanks - yeah, I didn't quite hit it with this one. The intention I was working with was, Laura wants to be pretty and without her scar, so he draws her that way...and she transforms, but now she's also stupid. He gets sick of her being stupid so he draws her into a dog. The dog wrecks his work, so he draws the dog into something else, leading to my partner's piece. And I don't think I wrote those things in there clearly enough - I was trying not to be too obvious and I think I was instead just unclear!

Reply | Parent | Thread

Jemima Pauler

(no subject)

from: jem0000000
date: Jun. 6th, 2013 07:02 am (UTC)
Link

Oh, yikes. I hope he gets her back properly this time around....

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Jun. 6th, 2013 11:16 pm (UTC)
Link

Thanks :) I'd like to revisit this one and fix it up and figure out what happens next!

Reply | Parent | Thread

Jemima Pauler

(no subject)

from: jem0000000
date: Jun. 7th, 2013 08:21 am (UTC)
Link

You're welcome, and good luck! I reread a few times and looked at the tenses specifically, but I have no idea if they worked or not, honestly.

I did click to the transformations, but I definitely think it could have been clearer. I found the girl-to-dog one easiest; but it was on the reread that I picked up that he was the one to cause it. And I did not get that he was turning her to something else at the end; I thought that the dog had been an accident -- in frustration, he had started drawing the dog instead of her, and because he was thinking about her and wanting her smart again, he got her as a smart dog instead of silly human -- and that the other attempts had just been more permutations of "beautiful" Laura. So I thought, with the similarity in him noticing the tilt of her head, that he had suddenly remembered where the scar went.

I want to say that the tenses probably did work (the tense shifts did, because I didn't notice you'd changed it up until I reread looking for them, and I would have caught a flopped tense shift), so I would definitely keep them in the rewrite. :)

(Sorry, I did think to leave you concrit originally, but I didn't want to spend too much time on one entry when I was hurrying a bit to get them all read.)

Reply | Parent | Thread

n3m3sis43

(no subject)

from: n3m3sis43
date: Jun. 6th, 2013 12:12 pm (UTC)
Link

Ohhhhhhhhh. Wow.

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Jun. 6th, 2013 11:16 pm (UTC)
Link

Thanks :)

Reply | Parent | Thread

Myrna

(no subject)

from: myrna_bird
date: Jun. 6th, 2013 03:54 pm (UTC)
Link

I'm not sure what this is all about but it was fun to read and be surprised that Laura is his dog.

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Jun. 6th, 2013 11:16 pm (UTC)
Link

Thanks - yeah, I didn't quite hit it with this one. The intention I was working with was, Laura wants to be pretty and without her scar, so he draws her that way...and she transforms, but now she's also stupid. He gets sick of her being stupid so he draws her into a dog. The dog wrecks his work, so he draws the dog into something else, leading to my partner's piece. And I don't think I wrote those things in there clearly enough - I was trying not to be too obvious and I think I was instead just unclear!

Reply | Parent | Thread

Laura, aka "Ro Arwen"

(no subject)

from: roina_arwen
date: Jun. 6th, 2013 09:40 pm (UTC)
Link

This was very intriguing, I liked the different "takes" on Laura. :)

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Jun. 6th, 2013 11:17 pm (UTC)
Link

Thanks - yeah, I didn't quite hit it with this one. The intention I was working with was, Laura wants to be pretty and without her scar, so he draws her that way...and she transforms, but now she's also stupid. He gets sick of her being stupid so he draws her into a dog. The dog wrecks his work, so he draws the dog into something else, leading to my partner's piece. And I don't think I wrote those things in there clearly enough - I was trying not to be too obvious and I think I was instead just unclear!

Reply | Parent | Thread

tatdatcm

(no subject)

from: tatdatcm
date: Jun. 7th, 2013 02:14 am (UTC)
Link

I liked the imagery and understand the transformation of Laura, but I was a little confused as to whether they were three different entities or one who morphed into something different.

Your commentary above cleared it up a little for me. Either way, the concept is amazing.

Reply | Thread