I liked her, but I didn’t know her. A friend of a friend. Kind of punk and butch. An open face. I was distracted easy chatter when she took my arm and brought it to her lips. A gentle sucking. Light. I said what are you doing? Trying to give me a hickey? She left a tiny kissed outline. So light that when the knife came out I trusted her. I noticed the nose on the end of it turned up like a Persian slipper. A silver bead. Just an underline she said. For the blood sisterhood. But the knife was blunt. “DO IT!” I said. I had to close my eyes. She was too gentle and sawing. UGH and when I peeked there was a deep convex cone of flesh missing from my arm.
Up at the T., where the most ardent students plant themselves. Ravi. With her anti-vivisection tee screaming on her back. I take note and fold up a sloppy crane. Nudge the shoulder in front of me to pass it up.
She turned. I grinned. Gave her a thumbs up. Waving.
At lunch I told her everything. Hating people. Except one homeless looking actor. But that I wanted to kick him too. We began meeting between classes daily in the upstairs lounge trading smokes. Studying.
I love plants. I tell her, animals too. That I’m depressed, a mope. Incapacitated. This bird just died that the cats nicked… Too terrible. The mighty spotted nape dove. Heroic measures failed. Droppers of flax seed didn’t work. Sugar water. I even tried cat pain meds to make it comfortable.
For days I watched it cripple and die. In rigor, I was the stiff, curling up with it into a maze of dust.
“Hmmmmmmmmm. Leslie you need to swallow. Find the spider the snake. Eat your fear without pause. Speed’s the trick to killing.”
Mother yelled that I was a wild Indian. But Ravi was the nickel, the real mccoy. Not only could she poison a samosa, she had an army of zombie male slaves. They surrounded her bed. Slept on the floor. With her long black slick of hair, she whipped up a house. And we stepped in.
She did tricks. Stuff with her tongue. When guys wanted two women. The air between them. How easy it was to feign.
She thought I needed to buck up. And she was going to teach me.
“Les listen. Your not listening. We will begin at the bottom of the food chain, slowly with ants and Arrowhead water and sticks.”
I barf. Guzzle water. Nibble on ginger. I starve myself. Ravi has 15 cats. Mining food is as easy as attraction.
Simple recipe: Very hot pan. Off the cooker. Toss ants 1 cup of showered and strained ants. Toast quickly just a nano-second. Add salt and out.
“Just like vinegar and chips, only crunchy no?”
I wait for Ravi’s voice to waiver from the coo of seduction.
“All ants are one. So that if you nibble off a few, it’s like a fingernail.”
I feel better manicuring one disembodied monster.
“Look here Auntie. I am potentially assisting your soul in the reincarnation hierarchy. If you are a good ant and very delicious. With an especially peanutty flavor and just the right tang who knows what cast of Hollyworld?”
“You might get him again as a crab.”
“Thanks for saying him.”
My final ant I take slowly. Mindfully with a magnifying glass. I pick out Mr. Perfect. He had a soul. Or was part of one according to Ravi.
“Aren’t you a dear thing? A hard worker no doubt. A family ant?”
Ravi is impatient. “Jesus Lesss…”
No condiments, tongue. Slowly I allow him the baptism of my saliva.