Sparkle Plenty

by Mikki Aronoff


WTF? Still with the invisible gravelly voice? Come out and show yourself, I holler out the window, waving a fist in every direction and none in particular. Damn din’s fracturing the blue movies I’m looping through my head of last night’s knee-weakening tryst with the geek. Harry.
Shame on Y-O-U!

I push the control on my La-Z-Boy, stomp outside to the street. I twirl a 360°. Stop. Crane my neck. Wait for the voice to strike again. A kid on a bike speeds towards me. Spits. Spins a few wheelies. Speeds off. That’s about it. I go back inside, put on some music and my headphones, rewind the film.

*Harry’s a microbiologist who can’t find a job, so he helps his lanky dad run “Uncle Al’s Alligator Farm — Have Yourself Some SCARY Fun Today! — Families Welcome.” I met Harry the day I went there, the same day my therapist told me it was time I faced my fears in the real world. You be YOU! Time to dip your toe back in the water! Put your Sparkle Plenty back in the picture! She’s such a balcony person. Was she referring to chandelier cleaner or the Playboy bunny? I do remember a Sparkle Plenty kid from the stack of comics Grandpa left me when he died, along with those pencils that showed bathing beauties when you turned them upside down . Whatever she meant, I wasn’t ready to face those nitty-gritty fears. Not up for that much hurt in my head. But I could suck up to some sparkling. I decided to baby step, begin by hanging out with some reptiles that very afternoon.

And therein lay a problem. After forking over the exorbitant entrance fee, I really did stick my toe in that pool of alligators. Folks do tell me I’m too literal, but the fence wasn’t that high. Maybe I should’ve checked the feeding times. Going after would’ve been smarter. Those were some hungry suckers. But violet-eyed Hero Harry heard tails thrashing and my screams and rushed right over. I batted my eyelashes, he hoisted me up, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame! SHAME!

My skin’s pruning in the claw foot tub, and my whole body, minus some toes, is vibrating, and not in a good way. It’s that voice I can’t ever locate, that voice that seems to echo, ripple and boom every time I start to relive anything, well, juicy. I’m pretty sure it’s outside my head. But still, I pull the plug, watch the bubbles go down the drain, and call my therapist for an emergency appointment. And, what the hell, I’ve got Harry on speed dial, too. Fingers and lips that know where to walk.