Jim Jones Married a Nurse
She knew why, but it was useless to know why. What could that knowledge water? The thing people don’t know about Jonestown is that the children were dragged by their hair. The thing people don’t know is that they were threatened at gunpoint. And it started out with nice ideas that any well-adjusted person would have approved of. In May, her mother told her that yes, she was related to the famous conductor, the one who definitely conducted the Berlin Philharmonic and allegedly conducted the mass suicide. She stared at her hands then, wondering if that was why. Maybe it manifested differently in women. A trough, inversely oriented toward prostration, toward hell.
Gigi Joins a Coven
Instead of going to her tutoring session, Gigi joins a coven. Gigi hexes her tutor and casts a spell to steal government secrets. A woman with hair the color of birch bark shows her how. Together, they say the incantation, stir the pot. The first secret foams with green eagerness: Joan d’Arc tried to pray away her own mind. The second follows a few minutes later: Paint your faces and get in the Jeep. It’s divine inspiration, somebody says. No, says Gigi. It’s a pot. It’s a pot that we are stirring. It’s ours! Our spider legs, our snake eyes! It’s our vermin spleens that we are making glue out of, green glue to steal secrets from the Gouvernement de la République française. She and the woman with the birch bark hair get in the Jeep and head west, spear the sunset fierce as a fondue fork.
I pray to myself. I pray to God. I pray to everything, including all of you, because there is no reason not to love. I used to say it was a selfless act. I still think that. I regret the indomitable spirit of my good judgment, which hurts me like a cat scratch. When you are panning for gold in the trash heap, who do you choose? When you imagine your child’s calm, curious face, whose is it made of? I pray to my own body like a leaf, trying so hard to be gentle. You may find that excessive. I find it entirely appropriate, wrapping myself in my patchwork quilt, reeking of fortitude and the sweetness of my own hair.
Marianna Nash is a writer from Queens. Her work has appeared in Entropy, Cosmonauts Avenue, Litro Magazine, Punk Lit Press, Bridge Eight, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, and other places in print and online. She tweets @mariannanash.