This morning, there is no skin. No callous, no glove, no covering, just pink, flayed tissue with no granulation and white tendons barely holding everything together.
I am a study in vivisection. My obicularis oris twists wryly. This just won’t do. No amount of Lydia O’Leary’s Covermark will hide this, so I rummage through the couch cushions for spare change.
Finding none, I resolve myself to placing a new set of skin on the credit card.
By the time I reach the boutique, my surface is dry. Dog hair from the last time I took Bunny to the vet sticks to my meat. I will have to scrub with a wire brush to remove every little bit of dirt and debris.
Anyone who’s skinned something can tell you that.
The sales clerk approaches me. He smooths a wrinkle from the corner of his Pretty Boy(TM) eye. They must give him a discount to wear a second skin, even an irregular, of that quality.
More than likely he keeps a plain old sack back in the employee locker room and just wears this nice one to work in.
“Madam, you appear to have misplaced your skin,” he says, displaying a knack for the obvious. Perhaps the very reason he works in retail.
I frown at him, my Corrugator supercilii spasming.
“Just point me to a dressing room and bring me a selection and a latté.”
He hands me a key, points to a door.
The room is bone white, benched and mirrored on every surface.
I peel my clothing off and place it neatly on the chair.
The clerk brings three skins through the door, hanging them on a hook.
“If you don’t mind my asking, ma’am, what happened to your previous skin?” he asks.
I take the first skin out of the bag. It has an olive skin tone, a dark tan and brunette hair. It also has too much body hair.
“Not this one, too much upkeep and it’s a bit, well, dark for me.”
He takes the skin and puts it back in the hanging bag. I look at the next one and find it more to my liking.
As I tug on the pale, freckled skin, I say, “Well, I was out at a club last night. I believe I brought someone home with me. I think we had sex. I must have been too aggressive, because this morning he and my skin were missing. It’s all a blur really.”
He nods as though such indiscretions happened to him all the time.
I pat the freckled face into place and smile — rake my fingers through the red hair.
I think I like this skin until I turn to look at the rear.
“Oh, no, no, no. This skin makes my ass look fat.”
The clerk clucks in disagreement, but I can see in his eyes he thinks so too.
Rosanne Griffeth has stories published by Mslexia, The Potomac, Now and Then, Pank, Night Train, Keyhole Magazine, Smokelong Quarterly, Thieves Jargon and Six Little Things, among other places.