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Archive for Yawning Hellmouth

Death on the Runway


Inspector Chameau was front row at the Balenciaga show when they told him he was needed in another tent.  A model was dead.  “Seal the doors,” he said.  “Our murderer must not be allowed to escape.”

“There are no doors,” they said.  “It’s a tent.  It only has flaps.”

The good detective stroked his beard.  “May God have mercy on our souls,” said he.

The murder weapon was an eyeliner brush, lodged in her jugular.  With his magnifying lens, Chameau examined it closely.  “I can tell you right now who committed this murder.  She has left her calling card.  Officers, bring me Estee Lauder.”

When everyone just stood there, he said, “What?  Go on.  I’m not getting any younger.”

“Listen, lady,” someone said.  “Estee Lauder’s dead too.”

How convenient.  Inspector Chameau twiddled his moustache and gazed around the tent.  Then he saw her.  She was propped against a rack of clothing, drinking champagne through a straw, wearing a gown the color of ashes.  A vision from his past.  La belle dame sans merci.  She was gaunt, haggard, fabulous.  He remembered how it felt to have her sticklike limbs bent around him, the jabbings of her elbows, the way he used to eat grapes from the hollows between her vertebrae.

She walks for Lanvin.  She walks for Chanel.  She walks the cold hill’s side.

The case went unsolved.  Chameau was found a week later, horribly disfigured.  An APB was issued for Bobbi Brown.

Calf-skin jacket.  Bias-cut silk gown.  Style is a debt we must all repay.  Price upon request.


The Salem Bargain Hunt


My name is Goody Rebecca. I hath spent the summer months in penitence for a foolish daisy chain. This harlot wreath did add years unto my purgatory. What to do? You would be surprised to see me today, hair braided and tucked in a neat cap. Yes, I do toil in the field now.

What do I know about plowing? Not much. Daniel Putnam hath given me this task so that I might pay off my eternal debt in the yawning hellmouth of the beyond.

I lean far over my work, prideful in the new stitching in my shirt hem. Plowing is devilish work. Instead I dream of stitching a bit of lace to my cap like Lucy, the whore of Rhode Island.

I lay my head against a rusty plow and began to murmur holy words. Daniel does hear my whispering. 

“Goody Rebecca,” he said “did you just ask the Lord ‘What art oxen?’

The adventures of Goody Rebecca continue in Paul Rudnick’s “Confessions of a Pilgrim Shopaholic” from this week’s New Yorker.