Rebecca Păpucaru,
"Introducing Miss Zelda Zonk"

I leave my agent's office with a pair of black eyes and a socialite's nose. A blob of bovine matter no bigger than a sleeping capsule now corrects my recessive chin. The lye permeates my hair at the antebellum level, drugging every fibre, transforming my head from pulp to paper.

I mince past pyramids, court house, Fifth Avenue, saloon. My acting coach, lost light of Yiddishkeit, says, forget you have feet or a mouth. Like a jug of warm cream, I should just be at hand.

I reach Kresge's drugstore, sit at the counter. Trapped like a pet chameleon pinned to a carnival-goer's sweater. Me, a prophetess fresh from the Mojave Desert! Pulled up by the roots of my hair to take my place among the pantheon of gods and call girls. That firmament of lingering earthbound stars who only wanted space at the counter.

Introducing the new Miss Zelda Zonk. My first blond afternoon: trembling like a poodle on a drugstore stool. Trying to sizzle.


Please note: Rebecca Păpucaru's "Introducing Miss Zelda Zonk" was published in the Summer 2016 issue with a typographical error in the title. We post it with the mistake corrected, with apologies to the author.