THIS SKANK WOMAN
This Skank Woman is dirty. She’s so dirty she needs a lot of support to get anywhere.
Nobody knows she’s dirty because she can play quite well by the rules of society, thanks to the book How to Talk to Anyone, 92 Tricks for Big Success, gifted by a doctor who said this would help her get rid of her social phobia. Also, she has nice shoes, which helps. Nice shoes can help, really, to get into cars, discotheques, and into a man’s life.
How to Make Your Smile Magically Different
Technique: The Flooding Smile
Don’t flash an immediate smile when you greet someone, as though anyone who walked into your line of sight would be the beneficiary. Instead, look at the other person’s face for a second. Pause. Soak in their persona. Then let a big, warm, responsive smile flood over your face and overflow into your eyes. It will engulf the recipient like a warm wave. The split-second delay convinces people your flooding smile is genuine and only for them. (From: How to Talk to Anyone, by Neil Lowndes)
At the café, lots of people are busy chatting, coughing, gulping. This Skank Woman is busy on her phone; How does it feel to wear a perfect panty liner? says a commercial on YouTube, forcing its way in before the video on violence in Kabul, and now
This Skank Woman is sobbing, while a little girl keeps smacking her green toy with
a spoon, smacking smacking while marching between the tables, waking everybody up.
Still at the café, This Skank Woman is eavesdropping on a fancy housewife talking to another fancy housewife:
‘I have to remind myself to be kind to children. I mean,
This Skank Woman doubles over, laughs and laughs and rolls over, a skank
ball, this sick social-pariah. Dirty dirty
woman, look at how she eats her croissant with thick red myrtle jam, her hands sticky. Watch her,
stone her, zip
How to Strike Everyone as Intelligent and Insightful by Using Your Eyes
It’s only a slight exaggeration to say Helen of Troy could launch ships with her eyes and Davy Crockett could stare down a bear.
Technique: Sticky Eyes
Pretend your eyes are glued to your conversation partner’s with sticky warm taffy. Don’t break eye contact even after he or she has finished speaking. When you must look away, do it ever so slowly, reluctantly, stretching the gooey taffy until the tiny string finally breaks.
On the bus, This Skank Woman sits squeezed between a teenage boy with smooth skin, full and blistered red lips, biting into a banana; and a lady with tiny glasses, low on her big nose, busy correcting papers. Both humans look very clean, smelling of washing detergent, while This Skank Woman feels so dirty. She sits on her hands so she won’t touch her skin, as dandruff would start flaking. Oh, this woman is so dirty. She knows inside it’s all rotten eggs. But she’s got great shoes.
How to Look Like a Big Winner Wherever You Go
When the doctor smacks your knee with that nasty little hammer, your foot jerks forward. Thus the phrase knee-jerk reaction. Your body has another instinctive reaction. When a big jolt of happiness hits your heart and you feel like a winner, your head jerks up automatically and you throw your shoulders back. A smile frames your lips and softens your eyes. This is the look winners have constantly.
Still on the bus, This Skank Woman writes with her index finger in the orange seat:
Free All Farts, pressing her dirty fingernail in the hard seat.
It feels amazing. No one knows, not even This Skank Woman, what she has gone through oppressing all the farts inside her that wanted to escape. She used to hold them in, which caused severe kidney damage. She doesn’t mind too much, This Skank Woman. She was quite useless before she fell ill, but now she’s an expert on the life of a dialysis patient. And that suits her fine.
At the hospital, This Skank Woman is lying in a bed next to a very very
old lady with a bloated face and liver spots all over her skin. The old lady talks with a high, nagging voice about everything playing on TV.
‘What animals are those? They look like pigs!’ she says, ‘Such ugly animals.’
This Skank Woman doesn’t know what to offer the old lady, so she just
‘It’s time for foot control!’ the nurse announces, dressed in a white coat and medical crocs, hair tight in a bun. A young, matter-of-fact nurse. She
picks up This Skank woman’s left foot. Then the right.
‘You have some calluses. But everyone has a callus. I have a callus,’ and she drops
the foot. Writes something in a file.
Then moves on to the very old lady. Takes off the support socks.
She holds the white foot with brown liver spots up in the air.
‘Wow, that’s swollen,’ she says about the left big toe.
Then she moves on to the man in the last bed.
He has the best feet. This Skank Woman can see it all the way from her bed; a clean, small man’s foot, hanging in the air, held up by the nurse.
This Skank Woman is cold.
This Skank Woman is bored.
This Skank Woman has no choice but to surrender to the hospital ambiance; the noise and patronizing nurses with good intentions, most of the time.
The TV is showing the treatment of rhinos in Africa.
‘All those animals!’ the old lady yells. ‘Why do they keep them alive? Why don’t they take care of the people!’
This Skank Woman shrugs, then,
‘to make money,’ she blurts out.
A few seconds later, the very old lady is snoring.
Meanwhile, the man’s feet are perfect hills under a white blanket. A perfect patient. Quiet. Invisible. A ticks-all-the-boxes kind of guy.
Few minutes later, the old lady is chatty again.
‘I have all these blue marks,’ and she shows This Skank Woman her arm. ‘This happens when you get old.’
‘Yeah. I have it too,’ This Skank Woman responds.
‘My hair is falling out,’ the very old lady sighs.
This Skank Woman turns to the very old lady, and smiles; a flooding smile with sticky eyes, a winner’s smile.
How to Trick Your Body into Doing Everything Right
Technique: I call it “Hello Old Friend.” When meeting someone, play a mental trick on yourself. In your mind’s eye, see him or her as an old friend, someone you had a wonderful relationship with years ago. But somehow you lost track of your friend. WOW! What a surprise! After all those years, the two of you are reunited. You are so happy….
This Skank Woman has lost her way home, beaten
up by her mind, in a big puddle now,
missing a shoe, one boot
they’d stolen. Who?
You stole that spoon, remember?
I do. I use it for many many things.
To scoop dirt.
Scoop the RAGE.
A raging smile in a yoghurt face, eyes covered with cucumber.
Now – eating
the cucumber, and
napping. Sometimes shoes grow
right back on. You don’t resist, don’t get fuzzy, with the necessary time, and –
Other social pariahs have begun to gather, from corners and holes, as it’s getting darker, but not fully dark yet, just enough to feel less scared.
One pariah’s dressed in a green, sun-bleached fisherman’s coat (lots of pockets, looking heavy, making him walk slow). He tells This Skank Woman: ‘when I go to the grocery store to buy my sandwich, people almost faint from disgust. They have to catch their breath. Sometimes I say something to them.’
‘Then what happens?’ This Skank Woman asks.
‘They drop dead.’
He laughs, a big laugh, celebrating life
as a pariah
– you burn in shame, until it burns up, never again
afraid of what people think, just, I’m gonna sit here (with only one boot on)
and order my sandwich anyway.
Chloé Cela is a facilitator, translator and former dialysis patient. She lives in Belgium, writes in English, and swears in Italian. Her work has been published in magazines like The Nervous Breakdown, Lit Cat, Hip Mama, and The Sunlight Press. You can find her sketches on Instagram.