Thursday, August 7, 2014


Mirror Tattoo
By Tantra Bensko

Somehow, it looks like water. You approach it, and it waves, it sparkles. More like mercury, liquid silver, something impossible. Something undeniable.

Her secret tattoo artist does very good work. If she let on who he was, he would be killed.

She can only pass on new business for him by literal word-of -mouth, to people whose aural style shows they are trustworthy. Vulnerable, and safe. Only through something akin to a “shotgun.” His identity has to be spoken within your mouths, passed from one to the other, so nothing escapes through the air. You have to feel it from her tongue's articulation against your tongue, your cavities of shining darkness flesh, your soldier row of teeth, your lurking uvula. They must be upstanding.

You wish you didn't bite the edges of your cheeks with your own teeth so much, and leave their sine-wave imprints. That throws off your acoustical extrapolation of the words she presses against your mouth's cavities and extrusions. You wish your tongue wasn't swollen from some Chinese Medicine god's curse. The pillowy teeth marks on the side of your fuzzy tongue give her meaty tongue-thrust words a confusing accent. You need to find out who gave her that mirror tattoo on her shoulder.

Because you want to kill him.

You eat a macro-biotic diet and wear a mouth-guard. You try not to suck your cheeks. You position your tongue's tip to the top palate with all your attention on letting your mouth become a clean slate. You wonder why it's called a palate if it's spelled like pal ate. Your pal ate your mouth. You can't stop moving your tongue as you think these very words. Tiny involuntary movements of inner-speak. That's what gives spies away.

You practice holding your tongue with your fingers at night.

When you see her next, she has gotten a new mirror tattoo -- on her shin. You really hate to talk about it. But, the mirrors reflect, in particular, all those things you accuse her of wanting to do, that you, “Mr. Monogamous Transparency” in fact, want to do yourself.

You hate her more. And that's the worst thing you could do. That makes terrible reflections in her shin tattoo. Growling furry slobbering teeth. You want to never look at her but she means too much.

HaHA! She says. She is being proactive. She is being firm and aggressive. She is no longer taking the stance of dissociating. When people project their shadow sides on her, she doesn't just take it any more. She kicks ass with those tattoos. She is a firm bitch. Makes you want her more.

You find it most interesting when she wears panty hose, refracting the reflections of your psychological projections. Shimmery!

OH NO, you yell, next time you see her. No that's not OK. Not OK!

Because she has a mirror tattoo -- on her face.

You have been dreaming at night of her leaving you so you could use your victimhood to rationalize dreaming of orgies with other women.

Every night, you dream of cuckolds showering her. Her sexing up hitch-hikers. You glare across pillows. You shout that you know she will do these things! You can tell from your dreams she is that kind. You earned dreaming revenge-sex with sexy chicks again. It's only right, after what she did to you in your dreams. Only right.

Your accusation-dreams now carnival-ride through the fun-house mirrors of her forehead and the ridges of her nose. You see your own desires for other women coming out her nostrils like mucus. They slide along cheeks, short skirts flying up in the air as they land in shadows. She swallows her grin sickeningly, her tongue lolling across her lips, the only things not tattooed except for her eyeballs.

When you try to kiss her, you see reflected the cross-dressing Pony Girl's face that you pretend is hers when you make out. And the Pony Girl, isn't she/he under-age? To actually have to see the Pony Girl laughing at you, on your girlfriend's body, is just wrong!

Your girlfriend sports a better posture these days with more of your weakening projections of bad behavior reflected away from her. She is strong enough to work more than she was able to before since you've started dating. And save up money for a full body mirror-tattoo.

She is going to shave her head.

You resolve to track her when she drives anywhere. This mirroring can't go any further. You will be the invisible face in the rear-view mirror, hidden in the bushes, following in the rented car, in a wig. You will find this tattoo-artist of doom. This --- metal-man. You will shoot him, or you will shoot her in the face, one or the other.

You notice the revolving door motif tattooed around the edges of the face-mirror. Hm. You like the roses around the Victorian mirror on her thigh much better. And the mirror tatt on her shoulder. With your hairstyle inked around it so flatteringly.

Then, you two go into the bathroom together. You've both always loved kissing her while she pees. You crouch down and sit on top of her lap. And when you both glance sideways, into the large mirror on the wall, you notice her own projections on herself reflected in her face-tattoo. Poor girl. Her face looks like some sort of baboon butt. Really raw raggedy red.

She breaks down crying, on the toilet, while you are straddling her tan legs, licking her tears coming out of the metallic inked holes, your hand reaching down feeling the wetness of the pee coming out of her slit. She sits straight, and tall, and laughs at you, and inside your mouth, you see your eyes reflected at you, winking like rain.

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Tantra Bensko teaches fiction writing through UCLA X Writing Program, Writers College, and her own academy, including the online class Interstitial Fiction Genres: New Wave Fabulism, Magical Realism, Slipstream, Surrealism, and Weird. She lives in Berkeley.

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