Miranda the Marby

February 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

By Katherine Proctor

Lying on the bench and pretending to be asleep, Miranda hears a man say that whores make him uncomfortable. Incredulously, his friend asks him why. I don’t know exactly, the man says, but I think it’s something about the way they carry themselves. You mean the way they carry diseases, the friend says, laughing wheezily at his own wit. Miranda hears the man give a cursory chuckle and then say no, that’s not it, I just don’t like the way they just walk up and say things to people. They just walk up and tell you what they’re selling, he says, it’s like they’re car dealers. The friend says hmmm, to indicate that he is thinking about this. I don’t know, the man continues, I just don’t like that, I don’t like that they can just do that, like they’re car dealers.

The pair’s voices get smaller, and as they do, Miranda decides that she could be a successful whore. But first, she must not call herself a whore, because the word has come to refer to a woman who has sex for money. Of course this is what Miranda will be, but she would like to call herself something that does not immediately inform people of that fact. She will call herself something else instead. She will call herself a word just as arbitrary as the word “whore.”

A marby. Miranda will call herself a marby.

Miranda decides that tomorrow she will run into the streets and shriek into the night, “I am a marby! I am a marby!” A man—the man from earlier, maybe—will approach her lustily.

“I am a marby!” Miranda will shout in his face.

“What is a marby?” he will ask, hoping it means a horny woman who will have sex with him free of charge.

“A marby is a woman who has sex for money,” Miranda will reply.

The man’s face will shrivel up.

“So you’re a whore,” he will say.

“No,” Miranda will say, didactically, “I am a marby.”

The man’s face will shrivel even more, and then he will back away from Miranda slowly, and then he will run into the street, crying, and he will almost get hit by three cars at the same time because his tears will obstruct both his vision and his knowledge that looking both ways before crossing the street is essential to survival, and this near-death experience will make him cry even harder. And Miranda the marby will remain on the street, grinning but also scared of her own power, because she made this man so uncomfortable it nearly killed him.

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