The New Audacious Line
Dana is obsessed with finding the perfect pink lipstick. She has been watching enough TV for teens and women who like purses to have an idea of what she wants: a pink that looks like a fancy-named rose, that looks like the inside of a conch shell, that looks as if it could’ve fluffed out of a box of Lucky Charms. She takes a day off work and goes to the new restaurant/make-up store in the fashionable part of town.
First a gorgeous woman, one who is robot-bald and extra-sexy, hands Dana six different prosthetic lips. She places them over her own mouth. They taste like plastic. They make her feel like a living Mr. Potatohead. It doesn’t feel worth missing out on answering a phone and saying, “Hello. Janet Blair’s office. She’s not in right now.”
Janet Blair is always in. Janet Blair just prefers e-mails and texts.
Each of the replicas is a different shade of pink. Magenta. Gender-obsessed new parent pink. Pink Starburst wrapper pink. Audubon rose. The goth girl in high school algebra hair color. Knock-off designer purse lining pink. But none of them are quite right.
Dana says, “Think romantic. Think the look of someone who had just made out with a strawberry popsicle on a too-hot June day.”
The gorgeous woman takes off Dana’s real lips. She puts on new full plump lips. They’re a little smaller and fuller. Still the wrong pink. These are the pink of a strawberry milkshake with malt and whipped cream. She walks off to see what they have in the back.
A man comes over and tries to flirt with Dana. She pulls off the fake lips. They wriggle like goldfish in her fingers. The man drops his martini glass. Gin, olive, glass, and vermouth shatter. He goes back to his table. She knows her no mouth head will be in his dreams for the next month. The man lifts a fork to his mouth. There is no food at his table. He cuts at air, his eyes on her face.
“You’re more of a red anyway,” the gorgeous woman says. Her teeth shine. She hands Dana a new set.
She slides them on, pushes them in. Dana’s mouth looks like embers in a dying campfire. Not perfect. But beautiful enough to fade into ash.
Megan Giddings is an MFA student at Indiana University and the Executive Editor of SmokeLong Quarterly. She has stories are forthcoming from or have been recently published by Crab Orchard Review, Big Lucks, Day One, and Passages North. Her flash chapbook, Arcade Seventeen, will be published by The TAR Chapbook Series in Spring 2016.
Photo by Agathe’