Maris Parings tied a small, quivering dog to a parking meter, gave it a kiss on the nose, and breezed in through the museum’s doors. Reena saw her gliding past the Artwork as if on little wheels. What was she doing here, and in the same soiled dress from the night before? Maris Parings was not here for the art. She slipped Reena a business card and was pointing at her organizer with a flexings vine of a finger. Her eyes were swimming all over Reena’s uniform and behind each smile she had another one waiting in reserve. As Maris’s eyes examined Reena she suddenly had a flash of the night before, hands rushing all over her body, grabbing flesh. Reena blinked herself out of it.
Maris plan was to use Reena for a fashion shoot, a last-minute brainstorm on Maris’s part, and she was more than willing to break her contract with Woman because she was so sure that Reena’s gawky, asymmetrical physique, day-old-bread skin (blemishes included), and somewhat lost-looking face would really make the underwear come alive this season.
This campaign would be their best ever, and would speak to a generation long numbed by swollen breasts and lips, jutting hips, machine-flattened tummies and picture-perfect hair. The fall-winter line would hit the market with a poetic-realist slant, and the bras and panties would come off even sexier if the body wearing them wasn’t so over-determined in advance by the product it modeled. It would have the energy of an encounter, and would therefore involve people and produce a more exciting, even catastrophic relationship between the skin and eye. The images would reinvent Reena as a knockout, in her own way, the kind that nobody saw coming. But most exciting of all, we would be making that once-in-a-generation leap into a seemingly unknown form of seduction. We will use very little make-up and flat, natural lighting. It will be photographed by that upstart son of a gun dealer, Bjarne Mayhem. If his naked party polaroids no longer wowed the art world, his almost-naked billboards might still cause a car crash or a crush or whatever.
Reena shrugged her shoulders and looked not entirely moved by the proposal; it seemed that deep down she had really only wanted to reenact the previous night. Nether-the-less she deliberated for a long minute, shooting glances at Maris figure as she thought it over. She couldn’t help wondering if Maris was insane. As soon as she got her yes, Maris was gliding out again, part curious museum goes and into the throbbing spring air.
Love is a red heart. And lust a bright red, sheer g-string. A single trumpet blare. In front of this panty, the brain goes right back to sleep. Little, low self-inflamed flame. Stamping out that space of itself in high wattage spectacle, shame and dollar amounts. While taking in the landscape, the eyes put their hands at the sight, blocking as if to stop the sunlight.
Was it true: did Reena Spaulings love Maris?
Reena decided to throw caution to the wind; she left her post, 15 minutes earlier than her break allowed. She was taking a big risk, a risk not only to her job, but also to her pride. Reena caught up with Maris just before she reached the main door and grabbed her arm,
“This way” she gasped at Maris, and pulled her toward the staff door down the corridor. Hurrying faster, Reena noticed that Maris did not even hesitate to question her actions; soon it was difficult to tell who was leading whom. Slamming through doors, sliding past other gallery workers Reena knew exactly where to lead Maris. There was a small back room near the staff locker-room that nobody used anymore, since the locker-rooms had been rejuvenated the year before; and most importantly, the room could lock from the inside.
They reached the room and hurriedly shut the door behind them the dull click of the lock weighted with so much expectation, anticipation; suddenly all of Reena’s courage began to fade from her and she stopped and stood still, as Maris backed away from her. Her chest was rising and falling rapidly, Reena’s breathing too, had lost all sense of rhythm. She takes a step forward, but Maris hand rises in a gesture for her to stop. Did she really expect Reena to take control of herself and this situation before it goes any further? Doesn’t she see that she can’t? Doesn’t she see that she has tried?
Maris can see in Reena’s eyes that she has no intention of stopping on her own. Her body shudders as her arms fall to her side. In two steps, Reena is standing in front of her, pulling her onto Reena, and kissing her with the hunger brought on by the hours she had spent thinking of her since last night. Hands inside her shirt, sliding up and around to her back, ripping her shirt from flesh, Reena’s mouth feasting on her nipples.
Reena realizes that Maris is pushing her. Not pushing her away, but downward. Reena knows immediately what she is asking for. Reena tries to take it slowly, she wanted to revel in this moment, knowing that tomorrow she would remember exactly every second of this encounter, but Maris wouldn’t have it, forcing her head down further. Without pause Reena slides Maris’s pants off, and slinging them away from her; somehow her trousers had got lost in the minute or so they had been in the room.