Girl Undrossed – Zach Dansie

it was the church’s last holiday this school year the last chance to do the student missionary service. five hours away, across the border. Sarah was extremely curious, extremely hopeful. she’d never been anywhere before. everything seemed new and consequential.

her mom and dad worked a lot for nothing, and for once someone offered Sarah a sponsored trip! Sarah was a scholarship christian. there was supposedly a lot of love in them mom and dad—to spare her ego they ignored the smelly prismatic fungus plastic container stuff like a long thin sponging like forty little boas strewn trapping her face and upper body.

Sarah showed up at Darby’s house the daybreak of their big trip. she was excited but still sleepy. the troop would be Sarah, Darby, Darby’s mom, Fiona, Fiona’s dad, Fiona’s friend, and Alex.

Darby’s mom expertly accosted her from the others. Good morning honey! we’re going to clean you up real quick. Darby’s mom was very caring and sweet. in the tub Sarah shed what she could and Darby’s mom hosed her down with the shower head. they had done this a few times before so neither of them were embarrassed. gloves on Darby’s mom picked apart some of the bigger more pliable gunk. close your eyes hun she said (okay) and she squirted soap all over. nice-smelling bubbles foamed up the tub’s gradual walls.

Sarah had this stuff on her from when she got caught up in some twiney plastic wrapping thing a year or two before. she couldn’t get out of it at the time and from there it rapidly grew dense and sticky and awkwardly tight. a committed bathing could stave off the smell for emergencies. most people couldn’t stand to be near her. the ones who liked her pitied her and/or took advantage of her.

they got on the road. the SUV was spick and span and smelled like new car smell. Sarah looked at her phone. her peers exchanged between themselves horrible devastating blows at dignity, ability, physiological charisma, etc etc. all quite cozy, each fell asleep quickly. Fiona’s dad took pictures of them resting like heavy blankets time annulled.

forever later Darby’s mom traded the wheel with Fiona’s dad. they all woke up and went to McDonalds. ate their burgers and fries and sodas and Fiona’s dad said behind the wheel if you guys behave on the field trip we’re having a pizza party on the way back! the class all cheered. then they went back to their phones and their barbs. Fiona’s friend kept laughing loudly and refusing to say why. Darby pressed her feet into the driver seat over and over firmly but not forcefully. Alex said stuff like You guys are so annoying. Why can’t girls ever shut up. Sarah saw that Fiona was posting and she excitedly went to Fiona’s profiles. a perfect girl. Sarah took some selfies and sent them to her parents uncharacteristically. there was no response, wouldn’t hear from them until she would have to call them tomorrow. she played games on her phone.

from constant wilderness came rather suddenly the tightest and tallest buildings Sarah had ever seen contoured by eucalyptus and buckeye. over an hour or so the towers got taller. lots and lots of small wires Sarah saw, and lots and lots of people walking or driving through them. wires straight between people and wires slack coating the ground. they talked about it in school but Sarah forgot what the deal was.

when they all got to the hotel room their little personal bubbles seized up again.

they set their territory their bags and treats and blankets. Sarah dropped next to the bathroom. Darby had her stuff all set in a poised and fitted still life by the door. she turned with a smile to pose for her audience but then no one was even looking it was only Sarah. Ugh! she frowned. she beelined to her mom by the fridge. she came back to dismantle the perfect display[1] evading eyes with Sarah completely. Awkward! Darby was a close friend before the dust up, and really only distant since. it would be one thing if she didn’t want to be seen with Sarah, but she simply didn’t want to be around Sarah.

on a remarkable oasis of an occasion though she left a note for Sarah in her locker, that said Sarah had an incredible beauty dormant and forgotten. some prince’d save her from the molding plastic stuff. or like Family Protective Services or whatever. Sarah didn’t write back. nothing happened.

nobody else knew about Darby’s secret “boyfriend” maybe, and despite their mutual coolness Sarah felt the kind of loyalty towards Darby that she’d never tell anyone. especially especially not Fiona and her friend. and of course Darby’s mom and dad.

from her suitcase seat she watched Fiona’s dad freshen up at the sink. Sarah loved his handsome kind joyful goofy face. Fiona: the prettiest girl Sarah had ever seen. Fiona’s dad: the prettiest man Sarah had ever seen. she always tried to impress them. he exited—something in the other bag—and Sarah darted in to pee out her entire insides. she was holding it for a while. sorry, I had to go so freaking bad she said when she came out. oh don’t worry he said, he winked and shut the door from her.

there was a crappy pool Alex was dying to go to.

he was an epically freckled redhaired boy amiable and pending some fearful transformation. curious and rude in a way Sarah liked. til this occasion he never spoke to her. he told her in the car I’m going Godzilla with my cannonball I am warning you now. it was a random comment to no one almost but it felt like a gift. she was primed for her access to the pool lest someone spook about her presence, she donned her flowy one-piece swimsuit as soon as he did his trunks. she was eager for Alex to disaster her. or maybe they would team up and double tsunami the joint.

they went to the hotel’s courtyard and Sarah listened and watched. Fiona’s dad unlocked the fenced area–alright guys here we go!–and the moment came, Alex’s long yelp and bolt Sarah tossed the towel (where? who cares!) and ran after the shrieking kid to the salty pissy water. she heard his “cannonball!” and she flipped herself after him curled and compacted. she was smiling and holding her breath. somersaulting foam.

no one even said anything about her being in there!

the girls dipped their toes in the kiddie end.

the chaperones wore their sunglasses together reclined.

Sarah and Alex ferociously splashed at each other and raced from one end to the other. neither of them could toe the bottom of the deep part but Alex’s ease and repose down there gave her confidence to dive despite the wicking garbage around her neck. they held at the pool’s ridges for a rest when they got sore and breathless. Sarah had never been so close to Alex before. he looked stoked. a mud trail or something smeared along the curves of his nose. he squeezed out some of her gunk shit bubbling water so that it was easier to float. no one else had ever done that before. you’re pretty good at swimming tricks she said. Alex: my brother is way better he’s a competitive swimmer and he shows me the real crazy stuff. he’s my hero pretty much. does he coach you? yep. close your eyes she said. why. she said 123 and sent a little tide right upon his face the dark stuff washed away. he squealed.

Sarah almost drowned once, when she was little. the beach line fell steep at some unpredictable places and walking about she slipped struck dumb onto the next shelf down. couldn’t come up. her mom’s mom and dad unslinked from their seats to grab for her. she puked up water a lot and someone gave her CPR completely without invitation.

the girls were making annoying kissing sounds at them. stop it said Sarah. stop it! said Alex. he splashed like Seaworld at em. it was awesome. the girls Screamed at him, like what is your fucking problem you are so pathetic you fucking jerk! Ouch. and then unfortunately Darby’s mom approached, unbecomingly sopped, and she beckoned them out in this silent scary fury.[2] Alex avoided Sarah for the rest of the night.

revenge came at dinner. the chaperones were outside the restaurant talking or something, whatever. across from him nose smoldering Fiona said do you stick your dick in the gunk holes too Alex? it was quiet and then he said yeah bitch better than yours. Fiona’s friend made a sickening gagging impression stop she said I’m throwing up right now don’t say stuff like that. leave him alone said Sarah. leave him alone Fiona said in an ugly whiny voice. Darby was minding her own business / actively evading attention. the splash had dried. she felt extra nervous and feverish, and extremely vulnerable. she went mute and thought about how to glow with maturely-rendered emotionality and charisma.

Fiona’s dad came to the table and Alex told him what Fiona said. his response was do you guys want the pizza party or not. Darby’s mom followed after, she sat and she stared hard at her daughter. What, Darby said.

they tipped well, the chaperones oiled the wire their waiter came along, and they left.

the wires were like peristaltic infrastructure here, most or many people moved along them. it made some kind of chemical reaction when rasped through their insides. or maybe it rasped them along itself. Sarah had the impression that it was painful and awkward. the chaperones kept pretending to fall and blaming the wires and swearing and laughing.

their “job” was to oil the wires and to share God’s word. the oil was blessed. of course some of them couldn’t give a shit about God or God’s word, they were on vacation as far as they were concerned. Sarah wasn’t sure who was a believer or a convert and who was just roped into it like her.

in the morning Fiona’s dad went up to Darby’s mom like you know after that long drive I think we need a break. we being Fiona’s dad, Fiona, and Fiona’s friend. this would be very lucky.

everyone else scrubbed up. all polished and cute they took to the city. there was a korean karaoke bbq across the street quiet and unseen. they saw a pharmacy convenience store with ugly wood panels barring its massive face. there was an expensiver taller handsomer hotel. a negligible variety of repeating clinics, coarse shat and hopeless uniforms wired out front some comatose each in their own limp web. there was a theater and a salon and a cafe and a laundromat and an electronics store. Sarah was thrilled by all the stuff, by the complex shapes alive with traffic. they stayed close to each other and walked somehow quite unobtrusively

like there weren’t wires in their path as they went along, like the wires were alive and they had a distant etiquette.

they were ignored or photographed or gawked or screamed at. Sarah was agitated at what she heard but satisfyingly so, there was a lot to listen to. she lived in a place that was whites only, short and hairless almost all related. here was like a vibrant stained glass scene flindered into sands of amusing intimidating noses and eyes and shoulders, funny tones, disturbingly large and small frames. everything quick. there were other tourists loosed too. they looked very different from anyone on the wires. some people not on wires looked like they walked them nevertheless.

Alex told her sorry about what Fiona said. I don’t think about you like that. like what? said Sarah. like you’re not my type he said. your type??? of girl he said. be cool. okay… she didn’t like where this was going. I get you, you know. no one else gets you. it fucks me up what people say. oh man please spare me she thought she tried to smile lightly. like they all have the wrong idea about you! they don’t get me either so fuck em, said Alex. like… you’re not stupid you’re clever! you’re not ugly. you can fix your teeth. everyone has to pretend that they wouldn’t want to get inside you and now that I get to know you… look they let off steam by making up gross and fucked up and impossible stories about you and obviously none of it’s true or really associated with you. you’re pretty even-tempered I think considering what you’ve gone through and all. he thought he was being totally smooth. it’s not my fault I have, like, a fucking situation here! said Sarah. what else am I supposed to do! the sudden annoyance and frustration were making her cry. well fuck said Alex I didn’t want to make you feel bad. you don’t have to cry about it. i’m just saying it’s not a big deal. do you think about my pussy? said Sarah. or is it just the gunk holes for you? if that’s what that’s about, we don’t have to talk about it and we should move forward from the subject okay? dude Sarah don’t say that, said Alex, girls shouldn’t ever say pussy.

excuse me??? said Darby’s mom. what did you say??? Darby’s mom was willing to have misheard anything but there was a chord in Alex’s voice that she didn’t like in general especially in the moment. come here Sarah she said, and she gave the girl a hug. what did he say to you she asked. nothing said Sarah mortified. this is what i am talking about said Darby, it has nothing to do with you so why don’t you mind your business. at this point of their parched and darkening life together it was the mode for one to simmer and hint and the other to beg, always switching the role. one day fibromyalgiad in bed about to be euthanized Sarah thought of this girl and her mom both suicided by the same man. barking sobbing and swiping at each other in heaven or the other place or wherever. what a wonderful welcome relief Darby shut the woman up. So, Anyways said she.

they came upon a market street. it was like the fair. there was some kinda festival going on. ebullient wires loused wires families suits and coated rags and weeds. tables and tents of wares dancing informal stages groups and splatter. they compressed to themselves against the surges. it was smelly where they were and Sarah kept stepping in stuff. Yuck.

alright boy scout where’s the oil said Darby’s mom. Alex who was doing his pack mule merit badge withdrew the short jar. it was a little slippery. wait a second, what? said Darby. right now? yep said Darby’s mom. the lady liked to play the perfect missionary and they had a guaranteed audience. well okay, said Darby.

Darby’s mom globbed oil onto her hands, it was almost solid enough. here she said and she dropped some onto each of their little left palms. then she put the jar back in the pack.

watch she said and she rubbed the grease pile in those hand wrinkles and held to a fallen rusty string and walked.

from nowhere came a very young lady holding ahead her baby through the fresh string right up to Darby’s mom. there were people clapping and taking pictures of this. thank you so much, this mama said, thank you. Sarah looked at the wire after the lady passed, still shiny and wet. others queued for leftovers. Darby’s mom took her hand away 50 yards down her face struggling not to grin. the mama was so young Sarah saw paused all sad and saying ? no more? Darby’s mom ignored her. she turned to the class all satisfied and yapped you’re up Darby Barbie!

by God’s mercy Sarah never had to actually attend church, so she wasn’t sure what the deal with the oil was. her hypothesis: a metaphor or euphemism? it was actually actual oil though. lubrication? seemed less about easing the wire than conditioning it.

they crowded around Darby, who was radiating displeasure. she wiped off globs on the span of two feet of metal, the closest one possible. Darby come on said her mom. with her fingers she pressed away someone from going for it. spread it. the girl took the wire and plodded along. someone came up to them all with ice creams which they took gratefully. how does it feel? asked Darby’s mom. this is the best day of my life said her daughter. well you’re welcome for the opportunity, you’re helping a lot of people. these people are disgusting Mom and frankly we’re probably just feeding the bacteria and parasites this wire thing goes through you know like with so many people it’s just completely covered in germs Mom! Darby took away her hand and wiped it on her jeans. yuck. I’m done. change your fucking tone right now whispered Darby’s mom.

Alex took his turn. there were like 60 people on a bunch of different wires come close and smiling to him. he gave a manic little laugh.

a tall dark man came to his side and said I have 20 In My Hand if you will do it right here right now. Alex: ??? the tall dark man put the money from his hand into Alex’s and then he guided the grip of the other to his wire. there came throated bickers, people in a quilt of wires. please hurry said the tall dark man. Alex was charmed but also scared. the tall dark man had a tall dark family parallelly behind him. they looked handsome and well off. he pressed upon Alex’s shoulder to get him applying the oil, please, and in turn Darby’s mom intervened, Do not touch him sir. come on Alex honey, green light.

he got going.

Sarah tried to get closer but she didn’t want to get too far from Darby/Darby’s mom. there was suddenly a lot of people between them as Alex got along lol. Darby’s mom was thrilled, she was videoing the whole thing. Alex smiled and gave her a thumbs up

a wretched SCREAMING! 

Sarah turned around to see.

silence chilled air. everyone looked. who was that.

and when they should have they saw them, there were people in masks with large cutters going at one wire to the next.

it’s like the people exploded. they ran. bolting up the wire while they could. they charged right over Alex and they pulled Sarah right along with them. etiquette right out the window! the class had practiced terrorist attacks before but she didn’t know that this was a terrorist attack until people told her much later and plus she remembered the drill’s rouse and thrill over anything useful to her now each and all running funnily enough no one touched her just shouting and trying not to fall over something she lost sight of Alex somehow but she saw an end of the wire he walked there were people sliding off the barbed tail they were screaming and bleeding destiny exceeded Darby and her mom were gone no one saved him probably they cut the service! someone was saying and she thought it was what they were calling the wire, “the service,” but she checked her phone and it was this No Service imaginably. she pressed along a family, a bunch of kids and like three adults who didn’t look back at her they were freaking out they looked extremely unlike Darby and Darby’s mom what the fuck where were they!!! what now help! but from who? she looked at one of the girls in the family. who looked back at her. very pretty and awkwardly in heat. Sarah held out her hand and the girl wiped off the oil. who was it she needed help from? she went along almost blind with tears where they went. hoarse and grunting. she had nothing. she couldn’t possibly recognize anything. there came and went phalanges along their wires holding guns like Don’t Even Think About It! wires raise and flail and taut. she tried to pause she couldn’t breathe past the door of a corner shop. only briefly though, someone then lifted her by the garbage mass. felt like hooks from her shoulders smothering her more. she let out a crazy new pitch and was swung against the sweaty stinky concrete wall. a man was covering her mouth with his hands one of the wire people or whatever she could tell even if he was sans the wire beyond the frame of his glasses he had deeply tan arms jagged shadows of wrinkles a rude brazenness shut up shut up shut up please stop please he said. I’m not going to hurt you you’re okay. he lifted his hand and out escaped Sarah’s little moans. my friend got hurt she said. where’s your mom and dad the man said. they’re not here they didn’t come I was with my friend’s mom. she breathed and breathed. I’m going to take you somewhere safe, the man said, do you want to go somewhere safe? I’ll see if I can find your friend’s mom. and then my other friend’s dad is at the hotel. okay the man said I’m going to take you somewhere safe right now and then we will go there okay? okay Sarah said (uh oh!) and the man swung her down the street some, ladies yelling the wires randomly stiffening or dying guns somewhere behind them . when she could gasp an inhale Sarah screamed I can walk perfectly fine!!! Stop!!!  everyone looked at her and her screech at the the man’s grip pinched under her chin. let go of me! oh sorry he said. he dropped her. don’t run. he took her hand and Sarah went with him. stares dispersed. some guy fell over them but they used their conjoined hand to push him off. it was kinda funny. the herd changed direction. some cars came past it was scary almost running down anyone. her neck and chin were swelled and unfurled. it stings so bad! Sarah cried. I’m really sorry said the man. he looked convincingly really sorry. what’s your name? Sarah. what’s yours. Yan. listen Sarah I am so sorry, I didn’t know that would hurt you. I would never hurt you, I’m a doctor. if you will forgive me, I have what is probably a perfect present waiting for you. Sarah never got shit, she perked her ears and put her frown away. a present?! she said. Yan led her with the current across street some alley steps a park. Sarah saw dust everywhere. muting the blue paint on the tight tall building they entered. he let go of her hands at the staircase and he bolted down em like a monkey. come on! she was so out of breath. wait a second. she kept going though, took the railing where he waited below. it’s right here he said. she stumbled along kind of limping shins begging to contract. Yan was at the slender door of a basement apartment. it’s right here he said. he opened it, inward, and held it for her. there was a hallway with one portal spaced from the other on the other side, and a door at the end. bathroom the man pointed at the door. bedroom, right. living room, left. there was someone in there. they took a left, into a kitchen divided from a larger living room with a sofa brimmed with other girls. they stood up. where’s my mom have you found her yet i’m so hungry where were you where am i they said. for god’s sake, Yan said, if you’re hungry get something out of the fridge. he went over and surveyed the interior of the refrigerator and then pulled out a pizza box. we got a ton of pizza right here he said. Sarah had no appetite. the girls were younger than her. there was one wire with two girls on it and then four more girls on wires of their own and two girls without a wire. she had a bad feeling. I’m tired of waiting! one of them said. you’re lying to us. you’re a whole lot safer in here than anywhere out there, said Yan, especially right now. have a slice and i bet you’ll feel better. he brought the box to the coffee table. the pizza slices looked dehydrated. you’re going to cut us aren’t you said one of the girls. relax the man said you’re panicking. what are you guys watching. the girls picked at the box. what the hell is going on around here thought Sarah. they were watching a fantasy tv show. the two sharing a wire looked at Sarah all repulsed. this was the kind of thing to be trusted. listen guys I’m in the middle of something else said Yan so I’ll be back shortly. he took Sarah with him to the other room. a bedroom see the twin mattress and nightstand but there were cabinets and tables bearing bottles at another end of it. there were what looked like car tools. you are real stuck, said Yan. he took her to a spinny barber’s chair and pored over her trash mess. I’m going to treat this right now he said and then he rifled himself through the cabinets. Sarah was totally clueless about any of the tools. but anyone would be clueless really.

one time Sarah was with Fiona’s dad in the massively reverberant foyer during a school fundraiser and he pried at the stuff by hand. he thought it was abusive how no one had cleaned up this girl. obviously Sarah didn’t want to react badly to this kind of effort Especially by Fiona’s dad but it hurt horribly how he pulled at her skin and pressed indelicately at her bones and a few times she couldn’t stifle herself. he stopped and said not working huh. she put her arm through the head spot of her tshirt so he could maneuver her head and arm out the ring stretched at her neck and armpit. and then that wasn’t really feasible. he took out his pocketknife and sawed at the ring, which gave some, but so slowly it was invisible. let’s get you to a doctor, said Fiona’s dad. he fixed her shirt. it’ll be okay he said. she hoped she hoped so direly that he would hug her and kiss her until she was a dry rotten husk dismantled.

Yan sharpened some big shiny scissors and then sliced right through the ring with them. take your shirt off he said and she did. Sarah had little boobs and a hollow ugly bra, her parents never got her shit and she never had money. she stole a bra out of a locker once, very cute but it didn’t fit her at all and she threw it in the river. Yan spun her around and went to work on the wrapping material. this didn’t take long at all. some of it would require unzipping her bra. do you have something i can cover myself with? she asked. yes, he said, and he gave her a cosmetological cape. thanks she said. she unzipped and held her bra on her lap with the cape at her tits. the plastic stuff came away like spiderwebs. watch out for the spray now said Yan. he misted all around her with something, she was closing her eyes and trying not to inhale. then starting behind her he scraped some tool from her neck to the end of her scapula. the gunk papered on the floor. she looked when he did her front side, the stuff came off in sheets. the stuff on her face and neck he pulled with tweezers in each hand. this was on for longer than I was thinking huh he said. yeah. he spun her around, they looked at each other in the mirror. you look so much better he said. is there anywhere you want me to look at? Sarah looked. Yan brought out another mirror to reflect the back of her. I don’t think so said Sarah. she didn’t see anything but she felt he was expecting her to see something. okay, said Yan then, I’ll be right back. give it another good look. he walked away. Sarah looked at her small arms and sharp face. her legs were long and she didn’t have like a thigh gap but she still liked looking at them. she had pink toenail polish, her favorite color. the space of her boobs and her tummy didn’t look so skewed as when the stuff gloved her upper body the two looked even given their own limited space. she smiled and her teeth were still ugly. revolting at the edges. she smiled without teeth. her hair was kind of dry from all the overwashing. she posed with her chest and ass out. good. Sarah was disappointed that she wasn’t as beautiful as she was hoping to be but she couldn’t be mad because it was good enough. she put her clothes on and when Yan came back in she did a funny little runway walk for him.

something happened then which we will skip. enthusiasm completely voided. it wasn’t scary or painful but it was shocking. the girls and the tv were abuzz in the other room. she was confused and upset what would she say when they asked about the trash. she wouldn’t tell anyone. her phone read Opportune when she looked she said I have to go and walked out the open doors.

she emerged from the stairs and the building to cratered disquiet on the street the furor upturned. no idea where to go. she ran for a few blocks. lone wires. they gave her nervous glances so she slowed down. she walked up a hill. she felt her hair growing. at some point her phone !!! started blowing up !!! with notifications. something warm rushed inside her chest. she called Darby’s mom it took like five rings. Sarah honey? hi! Sarah said. she started crying and crying. oh honey you’re okay said Darby’s mom, she was crying and crying too. where are you honey? I don’t know Sarah said. send me your location honey. Sarah gasped again, it was like two buttons away. okay honey I’m coming. we’re not that far away from you. where’s Darby honey, is she there with you? Sarah’s heart felt like dropping a baby into ice. oh no! I thought she would be with you. Darby’s mom went kind of static and then she said I’m five minutes away, I want you to keep walking straight okay? are you going to hang up? said Sarah. yes Sarah I have to go now, said Darby’s mom. and she went. Sarah pulled up social media. Nothing from Darby. Fiona had been busy relaxing with her friend and her dad they were cute at the pool at a salon having a yummy meal, And Then there was a picture of Sarah! when she was younger and trash free, smiling with Darby and Fiona. captioned my friends are missing please share. it was stunning that Fiona had a picture like this and that Fiona had posted about her at all. in fact there were three or four she’d posted, from years and years ago, who knows where she got them. some of Darby too which were really cute and sweet. she was still walking along but totally unaware totally blushed with pleasure. she wondered what to post. she realized she saw and heard nothing regarding Alex.


someone said straight ahead. She was saved. it was Fiona, and Darby’s mom. she ran towards them all upset all over again but fevered with relief. Fiona was sobbing they met in the middle and Fiona gave her all sorts of hugs and rubs she was sweaty and crying she said I kept thinking she’s dead she’s dead my friend is dead I’m so glad you’re okay Sarah Sarah Sarah Sarah. Darby’s mom gave her more of the same, but less of it. she said have you seen Darby? no… let’s keep going then said Darby’s mom. she set off.

they had moved to a whole other neighborhood when Darby’s mom did a pirouette to stare into Sarah. she said Sarah the trash stuff is gone! it was quiet the street was shadowed. Fiona studied her face. surprised with surprise. then she gave Sarah kisses all over her cheeks and another round of hugs. you are so pretty she said. Sarah was thrilled. they took Darby’s mom’s hands. Darby! Darby!

[1] To join with her mother’s, whose was rather unbalanced and distasteful

[2] they did it, they tsunami’d the joint