She wanted to celebrate the Fourth.
She put on her Stars and Stripes panties. Packed her toy gun, the one with the BANG flag that unfurled, into her babyblue purse with silver sequins. After waggling her hips to emphasize the patriotic flair and gist of her panties, she asked–Do you want me to put on my Dolly Parton wig?
You have a Dolly Parton wig?
What girl doesn’t, she giggled gremlinishly, bolted from the room, and returned carrying a starched platinum poofball of a wig.
Reminds me of something an alien would wear if they wanted to disguise themselves as a cheerleader.
Why would an alien want to do that, she giggled innocently.
Because–I paused, waited for the rest to catch up to my tongue–because the alien wanted to go undercover 21 Jump street style to see what kind of shit went down in an average Earth-American high school, wanted to know about opioids, cigarettes, kissing, jocks–
She snatched her gun from her purse and pulled the trigger, BANG unfurled the red flag.
Shootings, ya know?
She giggled again. This time, not innocently, not gremlinishly, something else.
We’re fucked, she announced, sadness smudging the edges of her bombast, then–But you’re here and I’m here so let’s celebrate the Fourth.
She fitted the Dolly Parton wig on her head.
How do I look?
Like a Cowboy cheerleader wigged out on pills.
Wigged out on pills, oh you, you’re so cyooot, so punny–
She pinched one cheek, then the other. Then she adjusted her wig.
Do I look any less pillwiggy?
I could see her face framed within the kinky platinum enclosure.
Your face is pretty, I said, like sad flower in the sand pretty.
Sad flower in the sand pretty? Oooohhh, I’d better take heed, Wordworth is trying to get into my panties, my God Bless America panties (there she hooked her thumb under the elastic and band and gave it a snap) with flowery metaphors.
She pinched my cheek again, giggled fiendishly.
Do you want me to become Dolly Parton?
Can you do that?
Sure I can do that, listen. Shoor, ay kin do dat. How was that?
Perfect, she said, and flung her arms theatrically into the air and pinwheeled with commensurate verve.
I’ll do my Dolly for you and then maybe you can do my Dolly for me, okay?
She began rambling and warbling in a high-pitched, shrillygirly, twangtrebled voice, a bluebird slathered in meringue kind of voice. She went on and on about being kind to your neighbors and about a crippled boy that she helped up the stairs and the importance of keeping America’s lawns pest-free, she sincered about how immigrants were people too, and don’t forget to water your plants and spay and neuter your pets, and she concluded with a puberty-meets-yodeling version of My Country Tis of Thee.
When she was done I applauded, she bowed, blew kisses, bowed some more, told me to tip my waitress, then took off the wig and tossed it off to the side. She began scratching her scalp profusely, as if the wig had shed fleas in her hair, and when she was done scratching, her mouth and eyes grew got serious, and she moved closer to me, saying–We’re here to celebrate the Fourth, right?
Right. That’s why I came to see you.
That’s true, you came all the way to see me, all the way from where you were to where I am, here in my living room, what do you think of my living room–
I think it’s perfectly lovely, I epsecially like the sliding glass doors that lead onto the patio–
Me too, it’s one of my favorite features of the living room, and from the patio you can see the sea, that’s pretty special huh–
It is, do you ever hear mermaid songs at night?
Wow, are they healing–
But enough about the patio and the mermaid songs, you’re here, me and you are here, on the Fourth, and we’re gonna celebrate, look I’m wearing Stars and Stripes panties, I’ve got the gun (she produced the gun, pulled the trigger, BANG), did you notice my earrings?
I did, they’re sea horses–
Exactly, they’re sea horses, do you like them?
They kind of go with the Fourth, don’t they?
I spoke the list aloud–Stars and Stripes panties, toy gun, Dolly Parton, sea horses. No, they don’t really fit.
Okay, then fuck the sea horses–
She removed one horse, then the other, and tossed them to where the wig lay in the corner.
Now my lobes are bare and pinkstained–
Yea much more Fourthy–
Good. Sooooo, here’s what I want you to do, what I need you to do. In honor of the Fourth, I want you to take me over, colonize the fuck out of me, like some colonial motherfucker with a hard-on for whimpering and scorched earth. Set aside any political correctness and liberal thisses and thats, say to hell with democracy, and become a flag-branding fascist brute. Will you do that for me? Sear your anthem into my skin, turn my body into your religion with missionary zeal, draw up a bloody Constitution from my screams, plunder, rape, pillage, wasn’t it Sylvia Plath who said–Every woman adores a fascist? Make me Sylvia Plath to your Mussolini, okay? Will do do that for me? Please? Let’s celebrate the Fourth with a —
(She whipped out the gun, pulled the trigger, the flag didn’t unfurl, pulled the trigger two, three more times, nothing, slammed her palm against the butt of the gun, still nothing)
Oh fuck the gun, who needs a fake bang anyway right?
(She eyeballed the underside of the handle)
Made in Taiwan, huh, God Bless America and its bangless toy guns, eh?
(She tossed the gun where the wig and sea horses lay)
Are you ready to colonize me? Every last inch?
I nodded silently, and moved toward her, zeroing in on the stars between her legs, while humming the Battle Hymn of the Republic.