Purity Ball

When I wake in the morning I see her.

See her in the rift of my consciousness. Hanging like an angel. Rising above my body. Coming to wake me, at five, at 11, at 14.

I see her as a toddler, held in her mother’s arms. And she is beauty, beauty, and beauty exclaimed.

She cries. And when she cries, I wipe her tears on my shirtsleeve. She poops. And when she poops, I lay her down, remove her diaper. Unfastening those plastic straps. The smells of baby shit wafting up to my face. To my nose. The smells of death and decomposition. The smells of food transformed. Of her mother’s milk. Rotten. From an aged breast, damaged. Lengthened. Flattened. By years of feeding my son. Years of my squishing and biting and fucking between them. My cock glorified by their placement. Coming in her mother’s mouth. Holding her mother’s head down by the hair. Holding her in place as I pass the point of no return. Squeezing that woman’s jaw, held open, coming like a horse into her lips, on her tongue, into her throat, ruining her tits for that first baby and ruining them for every baby after.

My girl.

My baby!

Constructed from the drops at the end of my penis. From that sweatshop oven between my mother’s legs. My daughter’s name is Monday. My wife’s name is Sunday. Wife = mother. Mother = wife. And I am a mess of the week that happens in between.

Wrapping up my daughter. Her legs. Her puss. That tiny, tiny puss! Ripping wet wipes out of their cylinder. Attaching them to my Monday’s crack. And always wiping conscientiously, the way they taught me. Careful not to touch her the wrong way and always being watched my mother. Always being watched by Monday’s mom.

She hovered across from me at the changing table, holding Monday’s hands. Distracting our crying child and I wonder what sensation she feels with her hands entertained. Lights overhead. Mozart’s Requiem playing on the dot which I slash with my free hand. Switching through music. My Monday looks me in the eye and I swipe down through her crack toward her bottom and toss the wipe. Grab another one. Talking quickly with mother. Making eye contact so she misses my next swipe which presses between the red slit between my daughter’s lips.

I can’t help it.

I’m giving her something to feel.

And if I do this while she is still an infant, I’m told she will not remember. As she grows to three, as Monday’s tiny brain develops word skills, that is what allows her to recall events and blame me for her sexuality. I don’t want a daughter who grows up trans or gay or whatever new sex the population of the world has invented by then. But now I’m safe. Now this diaper change will only exist for me and hopefully not her mom.

I swipe upward between her kicking legs. Owning her. Feeling her. Slightly holding down her neck as I did while ruining her mother’s titties. Draping my thumb outside the wipe, sinking it, dropping it between those baby pussy lips, trying to comprehend her tiny anatomy, catching looks between holding her mother’s eye.

And what do I see down there? A system, already complex. Formations and ridges and perfect smoothness and holes.

I imagine my son as a baby. Fucking her.

Imagine coming up to my daughter’s door. It is open a crack. I push through. My son has Monday bent over Monday’s bed. They are children now. Four or five. My son has the vibrator from mother’s bedside closet. He pulls it from between Monday’s legs and puts all his weight on her. Loosening his legs. I see Monday’s hands on my son’s back. His shirt crumpled on the floor. Fucking her. He is too young to come. He fucks her only as exploration. Without even knowing what an orgasm is. Just for the pleasure and service of it.

And now time has rushed up to the present moment. Out of fantasy and I am standing at that same door. My daughter Monday’s. I push the door open a crack and Monday’s age rushes through from five. To 11. To 14.

My Monday’s back to me.

She is bent over. Adjusting her stockings.

Where stockings. Where stockings and footsies collide. Running upward over white legs. Running up between her legs and covering that gusset that extra pad of skin of cloth I think of touching her my fingers pressing in, roping her into a massage, inspiring that girl wetness, making it flow for me her lips developing with time her clitoris pumping up for me coddling my imaginary hand.

And as she’s bent over facing away from me I see that pussy cover hiding her. Hiding a daughter from a father. That shouldn’t be! Between her adolescent legs. My daughter’s pussy. Calling me. Calling me into her room, between the crack in her door. Setting up the invitation, responding to it. Answering my daughter’s call.

To cup her in my hands.

To shield her graceful hole. Through which I’m sure no cock has passed.

My Monday.

She stands and I take a step backward. Pull the door to almost closed.

Now she’ll snap her bra. Now she’ll pick a dress. Now she will stand at her mirror. Now she will be facing me. And I will stand in the darkness of the hall.

And I will see myself covering her. My body blocking her from any harm. From any boys who would use her and toss her away. As I did. As I did so many times in my childhood. Using her and tossing her away. Christian school. A girl named Maureen liked my haircut. She was dating someone else but after government class Maureen led me by the hand into the girls bathroom. She sat on the heater by the window pulled me close and dropped her stockings to the floor.

That was the first time I had sex. Maureen making encouraging sounds and me coming sloppily over her legs.

There were others, of course. And I remember their names. I made a list. It filled a page of my journal. Then it filled another. And another page. First it was 50. Then 100. Sometime after college I stopped writing down their names.

My daughter was special. To me she was. I think she made my wife jealous. The two of them didn’t get along. But Monday was my girl. She was mine. I didn’t want her to become just a name in someone else’s book.

2

I knock on her door.

Monday starts. Her 14-year-old body shivering with cold and alert to my presence.

Her arms cross, covering her chest.

“I’m not ready here!” she shouts.

Running for her bra, draped over the back of her desk chair. She snaps it shut around her developing boobies. Turns and looks at me.

“What is it?” my daughter says.

I push her door further open and step into her bedroom.

“Are you gonna be ready?” I ask.

“I’m gonna be ready!” she says.

“We’re leaving at five o’clock,” I say.

“Isn’t that kind of early?” my daughter asks.

“I’m taking us by the park before.” I trail off. Looking over Monday’s body. Making sure everything is in order. “Before.” I look at her white skin. Her beautiful side boob from a bra that is quickly becoming two sizes too small. Her top boob. Little zelles running, jumping. Sweater puppies. A universe of suggestion and sensation lying. Waiting. Underneath a white dress, lacy, decorated like a wedding dress. It’s laid out on top of her bed. “Can I see?”

“Dad! Why don’t you get out of here. I’m getting dressed. Surely you can see that.”

My eyes race over her from head to toe. Race between toes. Race up legs. Race along too-skinny legs, above her flat stomach. Racing. Race up to her chest and that so-plain almost training bra. Her breasts between needing one and not. Twigs of hands and arms attempting to cover her, to cover those growing nips, cold in her bedroom. I picture my wife’s pudgy belly, skin pinched and puckered, her button receded, hardly visible as it sinks deeper and deeper into what can only be called fatness. That fatness developing daily, destroying her form. And I think of my wife Sunday when we first met. Not unlike Monday. Everything tight and skinny and new.

“What are you having for dinner?” I ask my daughter.

“Aren’t you taking me out?”

“We don’t have money for that sort of thing,” I say.

“Not even for purity ball?” she asks.

“Purity ball is not a time for excesses,” I tell her. “It’s a solemn meditation on your—”

“Virginity,” she says.

“Right,” I say. “And mental purity in general. Purity ball isn’t only about technical, physical virginity. Although it is about that, too,” I say, going to her bed and sitting down next to the dress. I overlook her sheets, pulling down the top sheet, looking for signs of menstruation, drops of male ejaculate. Any symbols that Monday has begun sexual activity, including masturbation.

“Have you had any boys in here?” I stroke her bottom sheet with the palm of my hand.

“You know I have not!” she claims.

She takes her hands from over her breasts to motion toward me.

“Please get out of my room,” she says.

“Excuse me. Excuse me!” I say. “But who are you talking to? Who?”

“My father.”

“Who?”

“My father!”

I survey her breasts. Cheap little chest monkeys. Baby feeding spouts. And I imagine pressing my thumbs into those nipples, boring down, and scraping my fingernails across them.

“Father. I am trying to get dressed and would like to do it alone. Without you looking at me!”

I jump from the bed and grab her arm. I smell her armpits. Pheromones emanating. As the girl squirms to be done with my grip, a flash! Monday in her bed, shluffing off her hose. Kissing my neck. Ready for me between those legs. And me getting hard and sticking it between her legs. That first feeling of pushing into her virginity. Me or some guy I would treat as a second son. Coming in Monday’s perfect puss. Having her look into my eyes, subservient, almost a rape with this image of girlhood holding onto me with her sockets. Showing fear. Showing her pain. And I thrust and thrust again. Taking pleasure from that pain. Imagining babies coming from her spout, endlessly stretching her vagina until it’s of no use to anyone. Not me. Not the man she marries.

“Who am I to you?”

“My protector.”

“That’s right. Who else?”

“A gateway to the authority of God.”

I turn her around such that I’m behind her. Both her arms in my hands. Gripping her like the dying deer from my Christian Men’s Hunting Group. Shaking her until she resists no more. Until her body is limp in my arms.

“A what else?” I whisper in her ear.

“You’re a man of integrity and accountability.”

I shake her. Once.

“What else am I?”

“You’re the high priest of my home,” she says. “Let me go!”

Monday tries to get free of my arms.

I pull her back and hold her tighter. Her butt cheeks press to my dick, gripping me and throwing me into a new turmoil of fantasy.

Monday pretends not to notice.

I see her face in the mirror. Eyes averted. I press my face into my daughter’s neck. My mustache ticking. Stand up on my toes, hardness reaching into her. Exploring her. Reaching as far as I can go.

“You want me to let you go?” I shout.

“Yes!” she says to the floor.

“You want me to let you go?” I whisper into Monday’s neck.

She doesn’t answer.

“Who is the master of this house?” I ask.

“You are,” Monday says.

“And what does that say about the rules?”

“You make them.”

“Say it in full.”

“You own the house. So you make the rules.”

3

That’s right. I own the house so I make the rules.

Next was my wife.

The bastion of the house. The woman who made me. The one who made my daughter. Monday. The procreator of procreators. Creator of creators. The expert witness in all matters of life. Of birth. Of death. And the becoming. And of the creationist. The absolute kitchen of knives of the mixer the absolute of absolutionist the absolute abolitionist in tightness of God in absoluteness.

Of God is the family.

Of God is the family of the rightness.

Of God the father. Of God the wondeful, God the wonder, God Almighty. Of God. Family. God total. Of the retribution of terror in brightness. In terror of retribution. Terror in decision. Terror of the lovely clock. Terror within and without. Terror of terrifying love. Of love of terror. And before me a wife of my first love. My first love. Of the first time I have the loverness in my hand unduly pocketed that blanket of righteousness. Of the fall off your bike. Of the ring in your hand. The one and only. That righteous child of one becoming. That righteous child of one becoming France. One becoming like and above the French speaking total masses.

She spoke to my religion.

She spoke to my frankness to my elegy to my God.

My wife was in the kitchen. To the essential God-one. To my adoration. To the dishwasher, bling bling bling to everything. To the endless cycles of dishwashing endless cycle of alternating this and that of alternating cleanliness and dirtiness of everything kitchen. Everything dish and everything dirtness everything valued at spot and speckulation. At the value of faces brought forth in tones and trial. Tones. Trials. And the drink of my choices.

“Hello, wife.”

She mocks my motions coming near.

Mocking me in a moment. Of the resistance. Of thy elementary particles. Within and without. Absolute a child rocking me in the Deadalous faction. Stolen child.

“Hello husband. Are you coming to me to ask forgiveness? For what you will do to our child?”

“I’m not going to do anything to her. What do you mean?”

“I mean. With your withered cock will you fuck her gladly in this under-cover fire you speak of. Will you sneak into her bedroom cover her under the silence of speaking silence that moves over the top of my child without the traces and becoming of childhood coming from silence? Coming from silence masturbating yourself under and over the covers? Sneaking into the bathroom of a plane. Black cat uncovering the screen on a window. She needs to come in. Needs to. She needs to come right in! Blanketing forward the space shuttle. Terrifyer. That most perfect mirror in the world. Most intimate. Most perfect. Most darling. Most forgiving, mostly forgivable. Mostly daring.”

“Mostly my daughter unbelievable spike host elevation. My fantasy of her fucking godlike teenage elevation the six one four the body of my fantasy of myself the likeness well given to me but not my God. If I was given to me by my godness if I was given to me in a simple package the calling of my Lord. Given to me a perfect cock if I was given to me not my straightness. Not my angularity. Not the angles of the most crooked cock in Georgetown.

“Wife. Unholy wife. Will you grant me clemency? Show me grace! Show me elevation! And elevation of elevation! Will you bind me to the character of the special character to the Lord? Will you unholy find me being to that ground. Find me with unholiness in a brightness! Find me the cousin of my uncle. Find me hapless. Stolen! Of an uncle of uncle now.

“Wife. Are you stolen of stolen of wow? Did you love my cousin? Love me in an instant? Did you forgive my need to know your every inner thought? Did you cry out? Did you know me from the beginning? Scratch forgiveness on a toilet bowl?

“Call me duly, wife. Call me duly now.”

“But what with you withered, husband?”

“Not a thing,” I say. “But were you withered? My sweet nothing. My sweet sweetness, God! We’re you receiving me as I spoketh? As there were two in an impossible placating behemoth! That was the man! Those were the feminine wilds! If ever there was a possibility. If ever there was terror, and terrifying, and the infinity spoketh! That is this! That terrifying mouth of a hundred guns. Speaking to silence. To slam dunk servitude. And infinity of the God.”

“Infinity of the God?”

“Of that very one.”

“But which one? Which one of all the pantheon of Gods?”

“Of the original. Of the one true God. The one who white people worshipped in their youth.”

“I was white,” Mother says. “In my youth and years beyond. Do you really have to question it? Isn’t it obvious? Don’t you know that God is easy as pie? Don’t you know that Jesus is white and isn’t it so so comfortable to imagine him that way? Haven’t you seen the pictures of White Jesus comfortable on the wall stuck between the crown of thorns and a small day of crucifixion elevated to the status of jewelry elevated to the status of small beginnings elevated to the status of suchy Saint Bernards? To find my element in a kitchen, south of the border, and what is my daughter doing?”

“Thy daughter resides in Portland, land of duck, and with every porn and necklace shot, every sideways glance, with every butterfly shot from the hip. You have gained holiness, friend. Holy and holy and holy and hole. She prepares herself to panties and come. Lying face down in her bed. Fingers and hands between the legs. Exploring the space in between. Ticking. Tickling faster. And tickling once again. Drop ship sensation. Holy once again. And I come for you, Daddy. Come again and again. Subservience. The wetness puddle. Crux for giveness in duty stuck. Crux for giveness my soft vagina so so soft, living tissue handled in graces a tome of living water ever known to the churches we go. Touch forgiveness in the still waters given me by my maker. Celestial bombs. And the creation alternating between metal hands. Between skies denounced by a deadsome breath. Between forth and backwards. Elevating my breathing. And the skiffage inherent in 31 skies.”

4

Screaming.

From the kitchen.

Doubled down and where have I been? Mother and daughter in the kitchen and where have you been?

“How did you get here before me?” I say.

And Monday says, “I passed you in the hallway. Your head was pressed against the wall and you were mumbling. Mumbling. Saying it all in crypt and code.”

“So what’s all this crying about?”

My wife says the word. “She want to move to Portland.”

I say, “You’re not moving to Portland.”

“I mean after I graduate.”

“You’re not moving to Portland. Not Austin. Not New York! You stay in Colorado like the rest of us. Suffer your life here. Live here or die here. That’s the end of this discussion.”

Monday stamps her feet into the linoleum.

She leaves the room.

“Do you disagree with me on this?” That’s what I say to her mother.

“I don’t disagree. I do not. But I wouldn’t be working her up like that before the ball.”

“She’ll cool down in a moment,” I say. “When her little imagination remembers the white cakes. The brown cakes. With steak and carrots in between. When her imagination remembers the sparkling water. The three-course meal she’s about to have. She’ll remember that and she’ll come around.”

“I hope so,” says my queen.

“What do you mean to say, ‘I hope so?’”

“I just mean, ‘I hope so,’ exactly how I said it!”

“I think you forget. That tonight is not about hope. It’s not for fun. Tonight is a solemn ceremony of pledges. Of trust. Not hope. Hope has nothing to do with it.”

As I spoke I looked over my wife and took in the sight of her. All 300 pounds. All pessimism and grotesque fat. Skin. Folds but not just folds.

Elephant folds.

Wearing us both thin as occasionally I attempted intercourse with her in the dark of night unable to see the button I was looking for. Unable to stomach the taste of her distorted puss. Stretched out of every innocence. The gaping. I mean gaping. Hole fringed with tags of skin. Whose glory is gone. Who has nothing to give and presents nothing for me to take from.

“I mean hope as in hope. As in the optimistic. Forget it. Forget what I say.”

I don’t have to try to forget your insignificant remark. Words. Ideas. This is what I say to myself. I wonder if she can see in my eyes and my whole face this position of disgust that has been thrust on me. Forced me into such a position of hate with respect to my wife.

“Can you see the way I’m looking at you?”

She answers, “Yes.”

“I mean can you see exactly the way I am looking at you?”

“Yes. I can. And don’t make me say it again. I see your disgust today and I have seen it every day since our wedding day. Comprehensively. Totally. Your look is the worst thing in the world for me. They’ll way it shows your black heart.”

“Ok,” I say.

“It’s like you can only fuck one girl once in your entire life. Then disgust replaces your desire. Once you’ve seen us full and taken your pleasures you realize that you hate the smell and touch and sounds of us.”

“What are you blathering about?” I say.

That shuts her up. Shuts her like the claptrap nothing that she is. Her only function is a librarian. Washing the dishes I eat from. Taking care of our kids when they were little. Now all she ever does is read Robert Ludlum novels and mop.

“You’re doing it now,” I say.

“I’m doing what?”

“You’re giving me that look.”

“I can’t help myself,” she says.

“Wipe it off your face before I come back.”

“Where are you going?”

“Upstairs to talk to Monday. What is it to you.”

“Don’t go up there.”

“Why not. I have to remind her of something.”

“What.”

“Something she needs for the ball. Don’t worry what it is.”

“Don’t bother her anymore. Please. What are you reminding her of?”

“I’M REMINDING HER TO TAKE HER MAXI PAD. Grief, woman.”

“You shouldn’t be reminding her of that. Let me go.”

“Why don’t you stay here. Woman. Pick up your book and read yourself to sleep while we’re gone. Pick up. Your book. Put it. In your face. Turn. The page. Digest. The story. And leave me to deal with our daughter. Who has. Behavior problems.”

“That’s only according to you,” my wife says.

And I jump into her. Rush her. Like the players on TV, I imagine Gatorade being washed down upon my post-game glory.

I hold my arms out in the front and tackle.

Blast that bitch against the sink.

Fuck up her neckline.

Destroy the collarbone–spinal cord connection. Of all tension. Of every electrical vice it knocks her to the floor.

Monday comes in behind me. Puts her hands over her mouth then rushes down the one-yard line to pick her mother from the floor.

“Are you ok? Mom?”

Her mother looks at me and nods she is ok.

I relax into a kitchen chair as the two of them cuddle on the floor.

Look around the room.

It’s nicely clean.

“Can someone get me a cup of lemonade?”

A pause.

“Can someone. Get me. A glass of lemonade!”

They’re both looking at me like I’m crazy. But they’re looking up, from the floor, to me, at height. So that makes everything ok.

Their eyes are rimmed with red. With fear.

I look at them pointedly. From my hand. To their hands. To the fridge.

Monday gets up.

Her mother stops her. She leans on Monday’s arm. Ratchets her bloated body into position by the fridge.

“Monday. Go upstairs. It’s ok. Don’t worry, girl. I’ve fallen down in the kitchen before. I’ll live. Ok? I’ll be alive longer than most women my age. Get dressed. Ok? Get dressed and go to your ball. You’ll have fun, alright? Listen to your momma and go on. Go on, now. I’ve got to make your daddy some lemonade.”

5

It takes courage.

Courage is what it takes.

To be successful in anything, courage above all. Above persistence. Even above skill. When you look the other man in the eye and you let him know. That you know. That you are not afraid of him. That’s courage. To step up to the plate of truth and you’re willing. God-damn willing. To go even farther than the plate of truth to trumpet your God. To let him know that you will go the lengths of hell to protect your daughter’s innocence. Her purity. Nothing but senseless courage can let the devil know that you’re for real.

Monday has snuck out of the kitchen by the time I finish extolling these thoughts to my now-cripple, obese wife.

“I don’t know how you think your example is going to fit her,” I say. “She watches you she’ll become a second-rate housekeeper who only fucks on anniversary night. The rest of the year keeping limited hours at the kitchen table. Running Sudoku and such. I have never met a woman who like yourself plays a mindless board game 18 hours a day at the dereliction of her duties. You know? House duties. Maybe we shoulda had purity balls back when you and I got together. I never was certain of your virginity on our wedding night. Looked like some extra flapperous waves of skin down there. Them coulda been portions of your clitoris destroyed by previous occupants.”

“I was a virgin then.”

“Didn’t bleed.”

“Virgins don’t necessarily bleed.”

“I went to the wrong school, then. Didn’t I?”

Sunday looks me in the face and says nothing. Yes you did go to the wrong school, she says in her silence.

“Don’t be a smart ass, Sunday.”

“When will you two be home?” she asks.

“I guess. We’ll be home when it’s over. Once all them girlies have signed their positions over to them men. Then I’s be drivin’ our little Monday over to that there Lovers’ Leap and parkin’ for a while.”

“You sound like a hick when you talk about this stuff.”

“What? When I talk about Monday. When I talk about getting’ that girl right and keeping her right?”

“When you talk about stuff from your youth. When what you say reminds you of your youth. You get all hicky/dicky/doo!”

“Oh, I do?” I grab Sunday by the ear. “I get hicky/dicky/doo? That’s a funny one. Why don’t you go do standup instead of rolling around the kitchen floor. You sure aren’t doing any good here. Go on into town and work on your fat stack, bitch!”

Sunday shakes her head.

“In case you were wondering what a fat stack is? That’s the set of jokes used by a fat comic. Stack of jokes. A fat comic.”

“I get it,” my wife says. “A fat stack. A stack of jokes.”

“Used by a fat person,” I say. And I flip a beer top with my damn hand and it hits the fridgerator next to my wife’s head.

She wipes up the blood from last chapter.

I look over that bitch with disdain. Somewhere after she had offered up her fake, nubie, anti-virgin pussy pile to my well-seasoned dick. I never claimed to be a virgin at marriage. Never lied to that bitch. But then I see that egg-drop puss in our motel on wedding night. And that motherfucker was stretched as if with a tennis racket. My God! Holy day of our Lord! To send a soldier into battle with such a crutched-out puss. I had to shake my head and Sunday saw it, too. Saw me crying between her legs spread wide so I could do what with this? Manipulate the madness with my fingers? Risk putting a whole cock, well groomed and ready for more, into what was more a foxhole than a glory hole? For what? To use it as a claptrap, in-a-pinch, training-wheels type situation?

“I wasn’t even sure I could slide it as that,” I said out loud.

My wife looks up at me. “You were talking out loud,” she says. “Either that or I hear every one of your fucked-up theories coming to me subliminal. You gotta watch the part where everything in your mind produces living testimony,” she says. “That part is visible to everyone you know. To our neighbors. To our children. To God.”

Well, I had to stop her right there. I slapped that bitch in the face with my foot.

There was good blood coming from her face and nose and she was much more gently subtle. Much more pliable. More on the defensive, shall we say, to use a metaphor from my favorite sport. Bitch struggled to see through her helmet. Running backwards. Tripping into the end zone. The ball hitting the one-yard line. I was there as referee blowing my whistle which was already in my mouth and piloting this balloon of a woman up, up, up into the stands. Up over their top. Bounding into the parking lot’s tailgaters grabbing a glass of wine to go.

I know. I know.

You always take your single glass of wine to go.

6

Did I trip upwards? Did I trip sideways? Was there the space for an oath between the bottoms of my feet and the steps of the stairs? Big enough for a promise keeper’s promise to protect his daughter’s warm little diamond. To love that hole as though it was in golf. As though it was pool. As though it was basketball. Get the ball in the hole with as little movement as possible.

Swinging my arms. Jolly! All the way up my master of the house! Bastard of the house! A louse! And pricking on my daughter’s door. My Monday!

Tipping open her door and Monday lies face down on her daybed. Her legs are folded up underneath her, knees to her face, with her toes wriggling a certain cadence. Fingers underneath her hose. Playing her pussy like a piano. Like a flute! I push the door all the way and slink into my daughter’s room. Sit myself at her desk chair and watch the all-to-joyful need of that self-made creature to bring herself off. To masturbate her hungry pussy and give the girl herself the sensation of cumming.

Uh! Uh! Ah! she speaks.

I sit most excellently quiet.

Sit looking over her schoolwork. Fingering myself through her Trapper Keeper through notes for history class saying Lincoln wanted to free the slaves: False! He wanted no such thing! And now? Worshipped by the left. Lincoln was a republican! A total rightist motherfucker, see?

I rip that page out her notebook.

Monday starts! She jumps up on her bed turning around to see me.

“Please!” she says. “Get out!”

“Keep doing what you were doing. I’m just editing a few changes. This history book is all wrong.”

“That’s the way they’re teaching us! Leave it alone!”

“Anyway,” I say. “As you were.”

“I’m not ‘as I were!’ I was ‘as I were’ before you came in here! Try finding your way out.”

I stand and come to her.

“Do you want some help?”

“Daddy! No! I want you to get your ass out of here.”

“Monday! Watch your language.”

“I’ll watch my language if you stop spying on me!”

“Monday, who’s my daughter?”

“Me.”

“And who’s your father?”

“You but that doesn’t mean you can watch me in my room!”

“That’s exactly what it means. Am I the spiritual master of this house you live in. Am I?”

She looks at her toes and says, “I guess so.”

“That’s right. And like God, I am omnipotent. What does that mean?”

“It means. You’re everywhere.”

“Close. Omnipresent means I am everywhere. Omnipotent means I can do everything. And be everywhere. So it’s like omnipresent plus plus everything! It means when you’re in here playing with your virgin pussy and I’m in your room or I’m in the kitchen or I’m in my bedroom that it’s just like I’m right inside your skin. Feeling everything you might do. Loving you even as you love yourself. Do you feel me when I’m watching you? Feel me looking at your body from behind your eyes? Do you feel that?”

“Yes. I guess.”

“Try it out. Go ahead. Touch yourself. Touch your little puss, my girl. Do you know that song? My Girl? By The Temptations?”

“Aren’t they black?”

“They are black. But singing and dancing is black people’s place! They sing to us for their supper. Even today, Michael Jackson has a place that’s special to us. I’m not sure he should make so much money. That’s all. I mean. How much money does a black man need? Anyway go on ahead and be My Girl. Touch yourself and see if you can feel me in your fingers. Feel me in your toes when you squirm them. Feel me inside your puss when you touch around your hole but don’t put your fingers inside! That’s God’s hole. And mine. Don’t you ever forget it. God made your pussy. He made it virgin clean. You save it! You keep it pure!”

“I’m trying to get dressed!”

“Go ahead. You can get dressed in front of me. I’ll help you if you need.”

“I don’t need any help!”

“Well get your fucking dress on! I ain’t stoppin’ you!”

I stand and throw her dress at her.

She catches it and holds it to her chest. The ruffles cover her cooch. Her bare neck, her face in an expression of shock, looks back at me.

“Right now?”

I nod.

Monday answers by dropping her dress to the level of her waist. Painfully adjusting her bra trying not to expose anything of her gentle chest. Sneaking glances up at me to see what I see.

“Feel me looking at you through your eyes,” I say. “Do you feel me?”

She pulls up her tights around her waist.

“Can you feel me looking at you?”

Monday casts me an icy glance.

“Can you feel my eyes behind your eyes?” I say.

“Yes,” she says.

“Touch yourself. Go ahead.”

“I don’t want to.”

“Monday. My hands are your hands. When I think of moving my hands, you move them. I’m thinking of moving your hands. Move them. Over your body. Where do you think I want to move them?”

“Over. My. Body.”

I shift in my seat.

“Go on,” I say.

Monday drops her dress on the bed before her. A short sleeve dangles off the bed. My little girl puts her hands on the waist band of her stockings.

I nod for her to continue.

She never makes eye contact with me. She either looks at the ceiling or to the floor below her bed.

“Monday.”

“What?”

“Continue, girl. We gots to go to this ball in a minute! Stick your hands down your stockings but never put your fingers inside your hole. That’s for me to watch over with the best of my intentions until the time at which you marry. Understood?”

Monday cries.

A single drop of tear falls off her cheek.

“Come on, girl. You got me excited. I’m about to bust a nut here.” I unzip and pull out my purple-head monster. Hold it in my hands. Squeeze it. Squeeze out a drop of precum. “See this?” I say.

Monday looks down and nods.

“This is the beast. This is what your husband will use on you. You’ll learn to love it. To worship it. Come here. Leave your dress behind. Kneel before me. Put your cheeks on it. Rub your lips right here. Feel that little liquid in your cheeks. Your lips. Learn to make it comfortable. Whenever my monster needs comfort, he will come to you. Your job is to keep your pussy pure so that. When the time comes. You can worship your master’s cock with the love and innocence you maintain within it. That is the purpose of tonight’s ceremony. Practice now with mine.”

7

“Please. Please. Leave my room now.”

“Why? You got things to do?”

“No.”

“Then I best be staying right here.”

“Please. Daddy. Please slow your roll.”

“Where did you learn language like that? From the Dominicans? From the blacks in your school? Tell me where you learned to say that.”

“I—don’t—it was—some kid.”

“I don’t want to sound racist but if those black Dominicans speak trash that doesn’t mean you can speak trash. You understand me? Now talk proper and tell me who told you to say ‘slow your roll.’ It sounds like a black thing to say. You’re my pretty God-given daughter. You can understand why I don’t want you speaking like a fucking thug. Right? You’re my Pretty Pretty Princess? Right!”

I overlook the girl. My chalky white girl. Subject to my mastery. My mastery alone. A thousand trumpets play each morning when she wakes. Choruses from heaven conducted by the Lord. Beacon of perfection. A pure cast in veined white marble. Commanding observation in a museum. Not even knowing her own commandment. Thou Shalt Not Stir the Desire of the Lower Classes. In doing so she allows desire from maggots and vermin to cover her in their minds. Filthy, overblown visages of faux intelligence. Her arms, draped with statue’s stone, not creamy colored enough to be ejaculate, nonetheless inspires it. Stirs it. Turns it in the lower minds of those blacks, those Dominican gangs running wild the halls of an all-white school. Used to be anyway. When I was a kid. Well. You’re not likely to be interested in that. But when I was a kid those hallways were negatively stocked with niggers and every other genetically inferior class of subhuman being.

I look her over. The class. The shape of her genes. She will attract all kinds. From the top of genetic construction to the most basal fiends. Fiends for drugs. For white pussy. For everything white about a white girl. Not just her lowly puss. For all puss is lowly. Vermin beast growing hair just when it becomes obsolete. Hiding away its supposed goodness under the pelt of a raccoon. A muskrat. Must be shaved to be of any use. Monday’s mother must be remiss in describing this practice to her child and I must step in as the father. As the master of the house. As the spiritual guardian for every soul residing under my roof. I must rear her. Rump her. And knock her on her ass until the child relents to clean her rusty puss.

I am the master and commander. The unlikely captain. My son is excellence in every form. My wife a proper rearing wench who keeps food on the table and her children clothed. Though I’m not sure how well she does at this last. She tries. And between episodes of American football (which has also come unpure due to the influx of niggers into the academic world) Sunday brings me beer after beer after beer. Never too many to seem imprudent. But enough that can after can I get a buzz. No one else drinks in the home. My wife sits in the kitchen after having cleaned our plates. My son sits in the couch and Monday lapses up to her room. When requested, she graces us with her presence. Always phone in hand. Chatting with her girlfriends. Of what? Of the size of their father’s cocks. Which we let them see on a daily. At night, when we say goodnight. Tucking them in their beds. In the morning. When I take my daily shit. Leaving the bathroom door open and asking my girl to bring me my phone. She approaches the door slowly. Reaches out my phone. Holds it for me to take. And I sit there. Squeezing out my asshole the most delicious turd. Stinking. Filling the air. It is then that I take my phone from the little girl. That is how a master and commander lives this life.

“Lick it.”

“What?” she laughs.

“Put your lips around it and lick it.”

She covers her mouth with a pale hand and giggles schoolgirl style.

“Come closer, girl.”

“No!”

“Don’t flirt with me, now. Don’t fucking tease me! Bring your bony ass over here and take me like a joystick.”

“What’s a joystick?”

“It’s a thing. From the olden days.”

“Did it give you joy?” Monday giggles.

There is so much she does not know. So much I could teach her. It is this differential of knowledge that excites me.

“Come here and put your hands on this joystick. Open your hands. Drop a little bit of spittle on there. A bright, bright spot. Watch me. When all this purity stuff is over, someday. Either with me or. Most likely with another man. You will want to know how to do this.”

I’m jerking my chicken head.

Pulling the ejaculate up to my tip.

Barely able to speak. While Monday watches me. Sitting with her hands covering her cut. I’m picturing those two dirty dirty lips. Shaved. As they should be. Plain to see. Plain to touch. Everything wrapped up inside her. No roast beef. And I’m lapping up looks like a dog. Her face. Her puss. Her puss. Her face. Horrified as I bring myself off. Coming on her desk chair. Knowing that we could be together. Once she pledges her hole to me. Standing. Looking over my girl. Knowing I could satisfy myself with her. Snapping pictures of her looks at me. And waddling out of the room.

8

I go to my office.

It’s not really an office.

It’s the closet in our bedroom. My man cave. It has clothes and a desk and a computer and on that computer is my Microsoft web browser with the sites and the things and the stuff and the other stuff and the things.

I close the bedroom door then close myself inside the closet. Open my Best Buy laptop. It’s already open to my page.

Click family.

Click daughter.

Click Monday. Click pictures. Oh, God, thank you Facebook. Photos I am tagged in? No. Give me all photos of my daughter. Time range? All. I scroll to the bottom of the blue and white window. Some message about privacy. I know there’s no way for Monday to tell I’ve looked at her pictures. Unless she’s standing over my back and watching me look. I look behind me but it’s just work shirts hanging up. Then back to the computer. Scrolling scrolling. Then check behind me. Work shirts. Face computer. Scrolling scrolling. Then a favorite pic of my daughter.

It’s Monday, about nine. She’s on the swing set in the back yard. She has a kitten on her lap. White cat. Yellow dress. A petting motion. White spots on the yellow dress. In a grid. But turned sideways. So gently. Stroking it. And Monday uncrosses her legs and re-crosses then, for an instant exposing her white panties we bought at Target I was doodling them in the cart after Monday picked them out looked them over turned them front to back placed them in the bottom of the cart while checking me out I’m turned the other way pretending not to see you checking me out I’m turned the other way pretending.

And between her legs!

Oh holy white wrap. Twist! Strip of cheap fabric doublet up at the best part.

Oh! Skirmish of dirt. Playing at the shadows of the lips between your legs! Brown playground sand. Rimming the edges of her most delicate instrument. Designed to make me come. Designed to make men come.

Finally, her smirk. The look. It’s why her classmates call her, “The Pimp.” Though I doubt any of them know what that means.

But they play at what they do not know.

Those girls perfect the look of sluttiness. Which they do not know. The look of flirtiness, which they do not know. At 14, God! I hope they do not know. The goal is to get them to the Ball early. Right after puberty. As soon as they get horny because the goal is to get to them first, before that horny little boy gets to them ruins her puberty basically he don’t fuck right her purity will be wasted on him! etcetera etcetera and my daughter will no longer look up at me with those bright eyes such a spark she hath given up. Given up her youth. For what? For servitude. To slavery. To sex slavery. A man and a house and a gun on a lap on a porch on a lap in a gun on a house.

On a lap.

In a gun.

On a house.

You think of that when we’re apart, sweet Monday. Think of California wildfires and hurricane destruction volcanoes firing at midnight. Think of the Earth made whole. Made clean.

Click on Facebook.

The Earth made clean and whole, back to Eden before my wicked grandmom speaketh with the snake.

Click on Facebook. Pictures. More. Movies. More.

Monday at six weeks.

Click on more.

Monday, at two. Learnt to walk. Learned to swim (kind of). Learned to make the rules. Learned to break the rules! Learned the house, the gun, the lap.

My Monday last week at school. Main hallway. Monday is at her locker and a whole run of images filters through. Monday, wide-angle selfie from inside her locker. Friends approaching: That’s Morgan. That’s fishnet tights. That’s Margot. That’s seeing her maxi pad on the low. Hear my daughter talk!

Morgan slopes up like a gangsta. Her hands inside the front of her tights hidden by the gusset.

“Whassup my niggas! How is thy lives going?”

Margot steps into the frame. Turns her back to Monday’s camera. Lifts her skirt and bends over with her ass in our face. Maxi pad sticking out all over. She farts hugely, the wind blowing her skirt almost off her body.

“That was fucking disgusting,” my daughter says.

Margot turns to face us. She looks left and right then lifts her shirt, mock-Catholic-schoolgirl shirt, revealing a quilted bra that’s white with graffiti texts written over it in blood.

“I know it was fucking disgusting,” Margot says. “Tha’s why I bring it!” Then she laughs like an orc.

Pause. Get a good look a Margo’s face. The total cutie. Save a screenshot. Save. A. Shot. Save a shot!

It links.

It links to a Monday post.

Monday writes: “Ate lunch with Mr Smiley today underneath the auditorium stairs. Snoop Dogg renamed himself Snoop Lion and I think it was a positive change. He did it in Jamaica. He became Rastafari. I feel it was a good choice for him to make. The US isn’t good for individuals. Individualist. Activities. I might want to rename myself something other than a day of the week. Ha ha ha! Later bitchez.”

I log in as Monday and change “bitchez” to “bitches.” That was surely a mistake. I made Monday give me her password for safety. Me and her mother check all of Monday’s accounts for inappropriate messages, flirtation, and drug activity (though none of my kids would get fooled by something like that).

Once I’m done checking Monday’s Facebook I load my browser-based spy cam setup. I have cameras in Monday’s room and I check them daily for when she might masturbate or anything like that.

9

“Monday. Get in. The motherfucking. Car. You hear me? Get your white-dressed ass. In the motherfucking car! God damn that girl. What is she saying? What!”

“She says she’s looking for her shoes,” my wife says.

“She’s what?”

“She is looking. For. Her shoes!”

“Which pair?” I scream this out the door of our Land Rover.

“The silvery white ones that go with her purity ball dress. Which ones do you think?”

I lower my voice. “They’re underneath her bed. On the corner closest to her desk.”

Sunday goes back inside. In a minute she comes out holding Monday by the arm. Monday has her shoes on and I’m blaring on the horn for her to come to the Land Rover and “Get the fuck in the car, boo! Stop hugging your mom and get. Your ass. In! The fucking. Car!”

Monday pulls the door closed.

I say, “Are we ready now?”

Monday says, “Yes.”

She reaches over and turns on the radio. Bluetooths with her phone. It floods the car with gangsta rap.

“Whoah. Whoah!”

I turn the volume down.

Monday looks at me. “I thought this night was about me.”

“No,” I say. “Purity ball. Not about you. Purity ball is about me. The father. It’s definitely about the dad. Girl grows up in chaotic world. Bunch of gangsta dudes singing their gangsta rap wanting to get their substandard dicks inside my daughter’s panties. That’s definitely about the dad.”

“But it’s my.” Monday is embarrassed to say the word.

“It’s your virginity.”

“Right,” Monday says. “That’s mine.”

“But it’s yours to give away,” I say. “And since you’re not giving it away until your marriage night. You’re giving it to me to look after until then.”

“I would like to turn my music up,” says the girl.

“What is it, first?”

“It’s Snoop Diggly Dogg!”

“But what is the dog snooping?”

“What? He’s not snooping anything!”

“Ok ‘cause if I find him snooping around your fresh virgin panties I’m gonna put a stop to things. Are you wearing your fresh virgin panties?”

“MY WHAT?”

I reach over to her side and lift up her dress. Rooting around underneath the clothing feeling for the texture of those fresh virgin panties covering up that fresh white virginity my daughter carries around with her all her days.

“Is this them?” I shout.

“Get! Get off me!” Monday screams.

“Is that them?”

“Yes for the love of Our Lord Jesu. That’s them. Doesn’t the Lord Jesu—?”

I slap the fuck out of her. Leave welts on the side of her face.

“Fuck!” She grabs her face.

“Don’t ever disrespect the Lord Jesu,” I tell her. “You’ve got plenty of nice things you can do with that mouth of yours. One of them isn’t disrespecting the Lord Jesus Christ under whose stars we follow under whose wooden cross we live. Say it!”

“I have plenty of things I can do with my mouth other than disrespect our Lord Jesu!”

“Like what?”

“Sing His praises?”

“What else?”

“Sing. His. Songs of joy.”

“Girl, you better not make me look bad in front of these people tonight. None of your stories. Told with an idle tongue,” I continue. “Told of leisure of free time inventions of your witchful imagination. I’m going to read you the Tryals tonight. You may have forgotten their lessons. But when you and I get home from this modern ritual we are getting out the book. Not the Book of our Lord Jesu. But the book of the lessons of the Tryals which were conducted in Salem Massachusetts several hundred years ago. Stories of witches and madness and of one little girl who lied about her mothers and fathers. About who was witching. Who was not. Do you think you feel like witching your father tonight?”

Monday shakes her head, looking straight forward.

I put my hand on her knee.

“Tonight is our night, Monday. It’s for you and me. I expect you to sit at the table next to me. To dance the father–daughter dance with me. I expect you to take the ring when I give it to you and to put it on right and to wear it right and to never take it off until your wedding night with the man you pick and who I approve. Understand?”

I squeeze her leg.

“Monday. Do you understand me?”

“I was just going to pick some music,” she says. “Nothing to do with purity. Nothing to do with purity balls. We are taking a ride. Yes, to the purity. I love to dance with you, Dad.”

She looks at me.

“Daddy. I love our talks and our drives and I recognize that you are my father and my man and that you hold my. Virginity. In your hands forever. Forever, ok? I am forever yours.”

Monday blinks. A slow blink.

She holds my hand.

“I haven’t been with anyone. I’m not ready. I won’t have any intention of breaking our vow. I have thought about it. Written in my journal. Come around to seeing it your and Mom’s way. I know the world is dangerous and is especially designed to get me to drop my dress and be a panty-dropping freak.”

I cringe.

Monday grips my hand.

“But I’m not. Daddy. I’m not a panty dropper. I’m not an eager beaver who is eager to show off her beaver.”

Monday shakes her head.

“I know I have been given a special treasure to have and to hold until we pick my man. I know that.”

She strokes the back of my hand. Right where the hairs and the veins come together.

And she says: “Don’t worry, Daddy. I will save my virginity for you.”

I want to correct her. To say she has it wrong. To tell her she isn’t saving me anything. But I like the way she says it. So much. That I cannot bring myself to tell her she has it wrong.

10

Driving clench-jawed through Colorado streets. On the way to the purity ball. Passing through neighborhoods containing drug dealers containing drugs dealing to customers in our neighborhood customers containing the products of drugs, byproducts of diet pills and toilet cleaner. The other two of dangerous substances my Monday must avoid.

Thinking of a story my mother told me about her college professor who spoke outside. He enforced a strict rule that there was to be no Coke brought in coolers. He said nothing else about it. And on day three of that class, drinking her Coke out of a thermos, my mother realized that probably the reason he had said “no Cokes” was to get people not to carry alcohol. Get them focused on sneaking in Cokes and get them out of focusing on alcohol. She never was sure but it seemed like a cool deal.

Not being a complete idiot, I figured this might have been part of the purity ball’s deal. Get our girls focused on keeping their purity intact, the less likely they’d be to try drugs laced with fentanyl. The purity pledge doesn’t work. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned that. Girls who sign the pledge are exactly equal in chances that they’ll fuck before marriage as girls who don’t sign the pledge. So why are we doing all this shit? I couldn’t tell ya.

“How you doing over there, Monday?”

She stares out the window at some Snoop Dogg looking motherfucker.

“I’m fine.”

Conversations with Monday were in a delicate state when she said, “Fine.” If I dig deeper at this point, she would dig in deeper herself and it could be hours or days till she decided to dig herself out.

Monday has places she went. Places she liked to go. To cut out me and every other simple distraction that surrounded her. Even her mother couldn’t get her out.

I tried to imagine being Monday’s age. Being a girl. Having all these people try to control me. From my teachers to my boyfriend to my dad. To my brother. To my entire family. It must suck.

“Monday. Are you ready for the ball?”

“I’m ready for the dancing,” she said. “It’s somewhat the food. Somewhat the pledge. But mostly the dancing. How I might be wrapped around your ankle. Or your wrists! And my dress will spin out from me at the waist and that if anything else will symbolize my commitment to purity to show that from today onward I commit to live pure in the face of temptation. Pure in the face of sexual opportunity.”

“Wait what?” I stop her. “What’s this ‘sexual opportunity’ you speak of?”

“Chances to have sex,” she says.

“What chances?” I say.

“The myriad trap points along the maze of life,” she says.

I want to stop the car. But I don’t. I don’t want us to be late to the purity ball.

“Monday what are you talking about? The trap points along the maze of life? The myriad something?”

“Like parties and shit.”

“What parties?”

“Or like the auditorium.”

“What auditorium?”

“When we did the play!”

“What play? You mean The Miracle Worker?”

“Of course, Dad! When I was behind the curtain between takes this girl Jessica was there she was biting all the boys well not every boy but especially this one boy named Reginald K.”

“Wait wait wait. Stop stop stop. What does this have to do with Reginald K? What does this have to do with you?”

“If you’ll stop interrupting I’ll tell you!”

“Geez! I’m sorry kid! I’ll shut up and you tell me!”

Monday waits to make sure I’ve shut up. Then she says:

“Reginald K is the rap name of. A kid named Matthew. Jessica and Matthew bite each other on the necks. I was asking them if it felt good and Matthew like laughed in my face and pushed Jessica toward me and she like went to town biting my neck and shit like a vampyre.”

Monday looks at me before continuing. My eyes are safely toward the front. Where I cannot observe her. Monday says:

“It’s all for fun and games.”

“Was it fun for you?” I say.

Monday takes in a long drink of water from me. Then faces out the window.

“It felt good. Of course with Jessica doing it to me there wasn’t anywhere for it to go.”

“What do you mean by that?” I say.

“‘Cause she’s a girl!”

“Monday! Of course it can go somewhere. Even with a girl! You have a girl biting on your neck with vampyre claws there’s only one place for it to go!”

“Where is that?” Monday says.

“Monday! Monday my precious daughter! A girl’s desire to go places with you only increases with age. You may think it’s innocent but. No! No it’s not innocent. This girl Jessica, if she’s older than you, can take your precious V right from you just like a man!”

“How can she do that?” Monday says.

“She can do that,” I say, “by stripping you of it the same way a boy can do. Through hand work. Through mouth work! If y’all is playing around in your room, behind the auditorium or whatever, if she works your panties off your precious frame, she has got from you what the devil wants! If that girl makes you come she has gotten it! Don’t tell me you’ve played with girls. Please don’t tell me you’ve played with girls. Monday. As the spiritual master of your house, tell me if you’ve played with girls.”

We had just arrived at the dance hall. I put the Rover in park and looked at my daughter.

“Tell me, girl. Tell me no girl has been between your legs.”

11

The parking lot was one-third full of vehicles. I waited for Monday to answer. But she did not. She would not. In fact she waited silently facing forward waiting for me to open the door.

I got out my side of the Rover and went to her.

Opened the door.

Monday stepped out holding my hand and I closed the Rover door. Didn’t even lock it. This part of C Springs is so white you don’t ever need to lock it. Leave it to Texas to produce all those Mexicans. There’s a place you’d be scared not to lock your door.

Standing in the twilight. Looking over my daughter, part of the fathers’ pledge ran through my head:

“I, the Father of Monday, choose before God to cover my daughter as her Authority and Protection in the area of purity. I will be pure in my own life as a man..as I pray over my daughter as the High Priest of my home.”

Honor. Purity. Integrity.

It felt like a high school color guard. A bunch of teenagers playing at war so that someday soon they would actually go to war. And they would actually die at war. And their bodies would actually be shipped home in metal boxes and mourned by their peers.

But I knew that Monday was scared. Scared of sex. Scared to get out of the Rover. And she should be. I knew from my own youth that fear had been the greatest inhibitor of my dangerous urges. It had kept me safe when I did not know to be afraid. When I did not know that fear was prudent. And prudence, in a roundabout way, was the way of God.

I took my daughter’s arm in mine.

And we went through the parking lot.

Observing the cars around us, all the very expensive cars, of which ours was not the best, not the worst. I explained to Monday without her asking:

“We need the Rover to have room for the family.”

Monday went through the lot as though she was going to buy a car. Looking here. Kicking tires there.

“I know,” Monday says. “We need the Rover to make room for the family. Otherwise you would drive something more exciting. Like this little number.”

She leans seductively against someone’s Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. Her dress was tight and hot and the white tights ran so quick up two legs ending in that two-layer gusset a gusset I would eat with my eyes and run my fingers along in the darkness of the Cutlass in my imaginary date with Monday. In my dream I was the rightful male, her future husband, taking what would be mine as though it already had been mine but not taking as a treat from my future missus but taking as a gift is given from my hand to her crotch to her springtime loveliness from her hand to my mouth from my hand to her mouth and divided and divided from this little extra fabric to the stars.

To the universe. And throughout.

Throughout the stars in the sky.

Doubling me, tripling me. Many times-ing my experience in this small world. Many times-ing my innocent desire to the multiplicity of a universe. To the duplicity of a man and a woman on a rock after a dance learning to touch one another. Learning to make the shapes of love. Of tension. Security. And squalor.

“That’s what this is all about,” I’m explaining to Monday. “It’s about financial security. Your bottom line. Your future,” I say, like it meant something. “It’s expensive to have children. If you want to do it right. If you want your children to be woven into the fabric of society just right. If we were like cats and had our babies into the wild. If we had them wherever,” I said. “There wouldn’t be no purity ball! There wouldn’t be none of this. I know it’s hard to understand at all of 14 but these are the dangerous texts of your day. We.” I stop, broadening my arms to indicate myself. “Are running a game on you.”

“Running game,” Monday says.

“We are running game,” I say. “On you. We are setting you up with a career. One that makes money. In a world that has no care for you. And trying to seal it off before you graduate from high school. And if you don’t have a career, then hopefully you’ll find a husband who does. And he will guard your purity until your wedding night. Hopefully. And you will guard your own. Against encounters with other women, for example. With your brother. With the cat.”

“The cat!”

“Yes. You could have a sexual relationship with our cat. With Blackness.”

“How could I have a sexual relationship with Blackness?”

“I’m not going to tell you. But believe me. You could. But that’s why we’re going to the purity ball!” I say. “That’s what this evening’s all about.”

“It’s about me having a relationship with our cat?”

“Well. Partially. Yes.”

“No it’s not,” Monday says. “It’s about me pledging to you to maintain purity in my life and about you pledging to act purely in your life as an example to me! About you creating a pattern of pure behavior and purity in your thoughts. In your heart! It’s because you’re the example to me with Mom about what it means for a man to act purely in a relationship with her. It has nothing to do with our cat!”

“If you say so.” That’s all I can come up with. “I mean Monday. If that’s what you think it’s about then I guess that’s what it’s about! I guess. I mean if you don’t think you can have a sexual relationship with a cat then I guess. That half my job. Is done!”

12

I open the door for my daughter.

Usher her in.

And Monday grips the sides of her dresses and pulls them up, the cloth no longer touching the floor. And for that little instant of the night, she is royalty.

Then we are surrounded by the throng of fathers and daughters. Most of the fathers looking like shit. In jackets dirty with come stains. Most of the daughters looking like queens, princesses, and members of the royal court.

My eyes pass over the sea of girls. All here to make their promises. Each one comprehending their future act. Each one securely understanding what they will agree to this night. And each one as eager as Monday to make the pledge.

We step to a table where we register and receive our name tags. Each with a flower for the girl and some leaves taped together with Scotch tape for the guy. I pin the flowers to my girl, of course imagining that my pin pricks her in the chest and that’s how I can begin to touch her so early in the evening. It doesn’t prick, though, and Monday helps me apply my leaves.

“Hold still, Daddy.”

I catch a glance of skin down my daughter’s chest. See the pinprick stubble of tiny bumps across her breast. That stubble you associate with vulnerability. The kind that might exist on a girl’s furry mountain thing (her mons pubis) as it awaits the holy touch of a budding priest as the priest, in his car, reaches over and under the girl’s dress in search of a pubic examination from 1822.

Monday pins the shrubbery to my chest pocket.

We hold hands and enter the dance hall. Tables, each set for six, line the open middle of the room and each table supports not only dishes but a four-foot centerpiece containing the holdings of joy—that is, subtle ornaments of God, images of his crucifixion and such. Subtle, probably, in case the Godless Mexicans attend. Subtly, probably, due to the de-God-ification of our once-great country.

“I’m not gonna hide it,” I say.

“Hide what?” Monday comes.

“My bushel, baby. You know the song? This Little Light of Mine?”

“I know but why are you talking about that here?”

I wanted to say, “Because of the Godless Satan of the Southern Immigrant!” but I didn’t say that. “You’ll learn about it when you’re older,” I say. And I picture in my feeble head the infiltration and ruination of the white races by boards of the uneducated, the rapist criminal Mexicans attacking our border from below.

This country was once pure.

I can hardly walk it makes me so angry.

I scan the tables for Mexicans or Hindus. Certainly no blacks would be here. Certainly no blacks would consider the idea of purity important enough to meditate on. Not important enough to come to a purity ball. Not important enough to celebrate the moment of a daughter looking up into a father’s eyes and saying, “Daddy. I want to live a pure life. Daddy. I want you to lead by your example. Daddy. I want to give my virginity to you, to hold for me until I’m ready. Until together we’ve chosen my husband for me.” No. Black people in America were most likely members of gangs dealing drugs to unfortunate white daughters whose parents didn’t give a shit about them. I didn’t see any black people here.

Monday leads me by the hand to a place at a table which has only two people seated. It’s one of her friends. The girl stands up to hug my daughter.

“Emmy!”

“Monday!”

Then they’re sitting next to each other and I’m facing off with this dude across our two children.

“Hi.”

“Hi.”

He says his name but I forget instantly. I tell him mine. Futile! And he and I back into silence. We both loom over our daughters virtually reading their phone screens which they use to chat with each other even more than their mouths. Even seated right next to each other! It’s the intermediate step to telepathy. They use it so we can’t hear them. They can talk about us. Their impressions of the dance hall. Boys. Everything.

“They’re all about their phones at this age!” says the other dude.

I look at him. His tux is tattered at the seams. His daughter’s dress looks somehow cheap. He probably isn’t from this neighborhood. I wonder what kind of lower bar is set economically for these things. These events. These farcical dances of supposedly virgin girls and their pervert fathers. I look at his daughter again and am surprised to see this other father is looking at mine! But then, seeing that he’s not looking away, I steal a long look at Emmy and her movements, her demeanor, her character, and her body invite me to look more. I’m in a fantasy of me and Emmy meeting up in the bathroom and her sitting on top of the radiator. Legs spread. Pulling me with her arms inward and me unavoidably getting hard pulling off her panties throwing them on the floor and fucking. Fucking. Fucking her until she screams out. In pleasure or in pain. Either one is good for me and afterward she would leave me in the bathroom wondering if that had been her first time. Remembering her pussy, tight as a fist. Soft as the space between a baby’s legs. Emmy letting the bathroom door close behind her and I’m standing, leaning on the sink, looking in the mirror, back at the purity ball table making the quickest possible glance at Emmy’s dad then looking in shame at my place settings. And all the while wondering where his thoughts had gone with respect to my daughter.

13

Kitties and animals.

Tiny children, babies.

This is what Monday and Emmy produced on their phones. A parade of cuteness. Endless marching of hilarious animals supported by hilarious phrases.

One would show them to the other. And they would both laugh and laugh and laugh as if a puppy forging through drywall was the funniest thing to ever come from the net. A dog perched on top of a sign that says, “Keep Off.”

This is what they used the internet for.

If they had had the internet when I was 14 I would have had my browser permanently pointed to Pornhub. That or some tumblr list for “girls getting hardcore fucked by their dads.”

I guess that’s the difference between guys and girls. Girls aren’t truly interested in sex. Only for baby making. Guys, we take sex as an art to be mastered. And girls as a quantity to be mastered. Sexualized. In every position. For every purpose of pleasure. We are maestros of the un-faked orgasm. Masters of the technicalities of the feminine body in all its forms. In every value and variation. In every estimation. In every manipulation. And. In every age, from the infant to the old maid.

“Ha ha ha ha ha!” That’s Monday laughing.

“Hee hee hee hee hee!” That’s Emmy laughing.

“What is so funny,” I ask. “Put your phones away and let’s review the purity pledge.”

Emmy and Monday instantly place their phones face down on the dinner table and step over each other’s words while reciting some sort of purity pledge, though I’m not sure it’s the one that goes with this particular ball.

“I am making a commitment..to myself, my family, and my God, that I will abstain from sex..sexual activity..of any kind. Before marriage. I will keep my body and my thoughts pure..as I trust in God’s perfect plan for my life. Is that it? I don’t know. Is that it?”

Monday picks up her phone.

Scrolls. Finds her place.

She holds her phone between Emmy and herself. And they both read:

“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified. That you should avoid sexual..immortality? Immorality. That each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable. First Thessalonians four verses three through four.”

“Do you want us to read the father’s pledge?”

“Ho—hold up. Don’t read us the father’s pledge. Do you understand the meaning of your own pledge?”

The girls are quiet.

They look one from the other.

“What is sexual immorality?” I ask.

Both girls’ faces turn red.

“Monday. What is it?”

“Sexual immorality? That’s when you’re amoral about sex.”

“What would be amoral sex?”

“When you have sex outside of wedlock.”

“What kind of sex is amoral? What kind of sex is impure?”

“I think it’s less the kind of sex,” Emmy says, “than it is when and where the sex takes place. For instance, sex on your wedding night is ok because. It’s between you and a man you’re committed to. For a life of service in the Christian stead. To have and to hold and so forth and so on. Am I right?” Emmy looks at her father.

He puts his hand on his daughter’s knee.

He nods that she is right.

“How shall we guide you? As your fathers and as the high priest of your homes. What can we provide?”

“Purity of mind body and soul,” our girls say in unison.

Then there is that bright-eyed look from Monday up into my eyes. A look of admiration and trust. A look of love. And Monday takes my hand in hers and the look she’s giving me, in any other context, would be the look of a girl whose virginity I was about to take in the back of a car on the top of a hill somewhere. In total darkness except for the headlights and the control part of the dashboard. A look of an entirely different kind of trust. A look of fear and seeking. Of seeking trust in me. Of her being compromised and at my whim I could throw her off or provide her refuge. Like God. Like a God. Like her god, that beautiful girl I created looking at me for someone to trust. And she has nowhere else to look in he case that I am bad. In the case that I am mad. Her survival is so determined on my whim that if I wanted to fuck her. If I wanted to kill her. I would make that happen and she would have nowhere else to go.

That is the look Monday gave me, then.

And I started to see what this purity ball stuff was all about. It was about establishing a trust between my daughter and me. A trust where she promised not to have sex with anyone. And to come to me, her father and the high priest of the home, for her relationship needs. Instead of having sex with some rando, my daughter would come in complete trust to me. Only me. And I would somehow magically have some kind of nebulously unspecified intimacy with my girl. Providing her what no boyfriend ever could. A pure Christian intimacy that could take place in front of my wife in its subtle sexuality and that could take place in front of her while Monday would fulfill that emotional dependency in her fear of sex with other men, in her fear of sexually transmitted diseases, in her fear of the world she lives in with its ravenous sexuality, its sex that permeates throughout its music. Through every bit of culture she could get at through her phone. At every bit of culture at school which distracted her from her studies to thoughts of boys, through thoughts of girls, through that obsessive focus on the virginity she hides between her legs. That obsession about which another man’s cock can pass between her gates. Between and through the castle, the house, that forms the innocence of my daughter.

Monday, read these words carefully.

Read them at your peril.

Once you let a man fuck you. You can never go back. That is the point of no return of your innate purity. Your holy goal. Your righteous muffin. Your warm little diamond. Protect them with your life—and I will help you—protect your body, mind, and soul from the evil that is in this world.

14

Protect yourself.

Protect your delicacy, darling. Protect your delicacy, dear.

Protect yourself from foreign men. Protect yourself from anal sex. From the touch of harmful girls. Protect yourself from Mexican drugs coming into this country via plane. Via tunnel. Via boat and drone.

There are so many things that could attack your purity, Monday. So many things.

And if you do drugs. If you do heroin or coke. If you do molly. That could be your end. You may never be able to work, to love your children or your husband. And just one taste can ruin your body. Can ruin your God-given mind. Just one smoke. One toke. One syringe. One line. And you ruin your purity forever.

You can never look back.

There is no “un-do.”

There is no return from using satan’s candy. Only the souls who are already impure in thought can be tempted to follow the dark path by turning your back to the light.

Do not ever let anyone convince you this ceremony isn’t a Christian one. We changed the names from “God” to “Creator” but if you scratch and sniff the surface of the word you will find our God’s name barely underneath the surface. Government funding restored. This was supposed to be a Christian country. It was founded as one, anyway.

“And what will you do once your fathers have signed your pledge? What then?”

“We will dance like ballerinas up to the cross. The holy cross upon which Jesus was crucified for our sins. We will drop a white rose at the foot of Jesus’ dying. His injuries visible to all. Each of us will pull the white rose from our hair and place it carefully at the foot of the cross (who died for our sins).”

“And what will that symbolize?”

“Purity,” Monday says. “Purity in mind body and soul. A pledge to keep my treasure to myself and a pledge from my father to watch over and protect that treasure.”

“I love you, Monday. A good Christian father and high priest protector and spiritual head of your house. Master of the house! This is my house so I make the rules,” I whisper to her. “You make me proud with your purity pledge. A father could not be as happy with his daughter as I am with you.”

“Thank you, Daddy.”

Monday looks up at me with those big brown eyes, glistening in the candlelight at our table. My hand on hers. Her hand on mine. Petite woman of 14 years giving me her attention, her allegiance. And yes, her idolatry. Monday loves me like a capitalist loves the dollar. Like a subject loves his king. Loves his every word. Loves every speech and every word he says. Bows to me like a slave. A slave of the mind, first. Of the body, second. How can you measure the value of your 14 year old. Looking up into your eyes momentarily we clumsily learn to fox trot together. With innocent and uncontainable joy my daughter will say, “Daddy! I’m so excited!”

Dear reader. Dear, dear reader. Upon my attendance at this ball. I have seen many girls. So many girls just past menstruating. From ages 11 to 14. To 16. The cuteness! Oh, that cuteness of youth. Of those who lie on the line between child and adult. Of those bearers of purity waiting to be discovered. I have seen them. Seen them dressed in white. From the outside to the inside. Girls. Virgin children. Each of them carrying that weapon. That gift.

Each of them carrying it between their legs.

Unused. Pure. Having never used it for its purpose.

Carrying that sting of an asp. That warm, tasteful pie. That hot glove. Envelope. That meat wallet. Beef cooked to perfection. Medium rare. Extra rare. The beautiful taste of that steak between my daughter’s legs.

She hides it by crossing her legs.

Exposes it, accidentally, by accidentally leaving them uncrossed when when she sits. And that one second, showing powerful baby treasure, can lead to her impurity. To her demise!

It’s impossible to convey to you what I have seen in their sweet spirits.

When Emmy sits one seat away from me I find a way to look underneath the table and as waiters serve us from above I am looking between her legs. Tender meat. Her delicate, forming soul, as Emmy’s daddy takes her out for their first big dance. As Monday’s hand reaches to run her fingers through my hair. As Monday’s hand moves to my leg and grips the muscle. My whole being absorbs her loving attention, which should be given by my wife but who hasn’t touched me since Monday was born. Monday’s touch electric. Resulting in me a sense of self-worth. Refreshing my identity. Radiating from the deepest parts of myself.

And the girls?

The girls!

Think of it from their perspective: My daddy thinks I’m beautiful! That I’m unique! That I’m his. My daddy treats me with respect and honor. Can they say that of their boyfriends? Of horny teenage thugs? Of Mexican drug dealers? How can scum like that even pretend to love my daughter? How can he ever learn to fuck a white girl? How can he ever? And yet in this context. In the context of this purity ball. My love for her is clear!

Monday drags me out on the parquet floor.

Her tight hot hand wet with perspiration.

As we stumble through the steps, she gives me the classic purity ball look. The look that’s why I came. The look that supposedly makes this all worth while. It says:

“My daddy has taken time to be silly. He has even made a fool of himself as we learn together how to dance.”

And there is, in the middle of all this, a forbidden glance. Where Monday wonders what it’s like to have sex. Where I wonder what it’s like to have sex with Monday. We explore those desires safely. Unspoken. But how can I not think of those things. How can I keep my dick from getting hard as I imagine pushing in through Monday’s legs. Past her roast beef curtains and up up up! Inside her virgin hole. So tight Monday asks me to stop. But so tight I cannot make myself pull out and I cannot help myself but lock tight with her eyes, blinking in time with the rhythm of our dance. Monday’s face looks up innocently at mine as I stumble, as I fuck her like an animal, and as I cannot help but fill my daughter with come.

And Monday’s eyes read clear. They say:

“My daddy really loves me!”

15

Step ball change. Flap ball change.

All the pretty movements from a youth of Monday’s dance classes.

Forty pairs of us swinging in pairs on the dance hall floor. Monday leading me through steps. Combinations. As I cannot help but imagine scenarios like the ones outlined in the last chapter. As I look into her eyes and try to keep up with this angel/devil before me. As I am consumed by the conflict between these alternate views of her. My little angel/devil before me is really the angel and the devil within my own mind. My own soul. With personages crouched on each shoulder of mine. Whispering code into each ear. Left and right. With a goal of programming me with either good or evil depending on the shoulder on which they sit.

Monday isn’t really involved, I see.

She is at a grown-up dance for the first time.

Dancing with her father in a graduation of sorts. Invited to eat with the grown-ups at the grown-up table. Her thoughts as simple as that. As young. As immature. And as pure as possible.

If she’s ever touched herself to the point of orgasm I’d be surprised.

Ever kissed a boy? I would be surprised.

My thoughts color the room. Making this dance into something for me that for her it’s not. I cannot help that I have brought with me this panoply of dirty thoughts. Wicked associations that I cannot free myself from! Driving me away from the Purity we’re supposed to be celebrating. Cementing. Donning like a robe. Clearing away every other possibility and every other intention. All this meaning and symbolism intended to drive out impurity! The devil! And I am clothed in it. Drenched in physical succulence! Soaked through and through with what we claim to these girls will expunge them from their fathers’ love! From God’s love and God’s protection. From the acceptance of their families. From that tight circle which, formed of their virgin friends, protects them from the division of others. Those who would not remain pure. From sex. Drugs. Rap. Those who would not go on to college to study the disciplines set by their fathers.

That path of purity is the safe route.

The other route? I guess that’s moving to New York to sing on Broadway.

Our girls would stay in Colorado. Attend state schools. The Broadway girls, once gone, might never come back. Might never be found by their parents and friends. The New York they went to would fill them with illegal substances. Tempt them daily with impure sex. Godlessness. And the desire to perform immoral plays. And through all of this, the theatre would not reward them. Instead of offering our girls parts it would punish them to work as waitresses until they turned old and gray. And, family-less, our daughters would die in New York, pushed to suicide in front of an oncoming train.

“Daddy,” Monday says.

“Yes. Baby?”

“Where are you? You’re not with me!”

“I’m sorry, baby,” I whisper in her ear.

She stops dancing. “Where did you go?”

“I’m just thinking,” I say.

“Stop thinking and dance!”

“Look, dear. I apologize. I was just thinking of the horrible fates that might befall our family if you and I hadn’t come here tonight.”

“Well here we are! Are you afraid I won’t sign the promise?”

“No, baby. Not at all.”

“Well what?” Monday continues. “Are you afraid I won’t sign it? That I won’t accept your ring?”

“No. Dear. I’m not afraid.”

“Then what are you thinking about?”

The two of us are the only two standing still amidst all the other dancing couples.

“I’m thinking about New York!” I sob.

“What about it?” Monday says.

“I don’t know!” I say. “I’m thinking about prostitution. And you going there to act and sing but instead you never have kids. You never get married. Your chaste treasure is thwarted and used by boys. Who are not men! Who do not deserve your purity! But Godless city boys who only want to fuck. And fuck! And fuck you till your clitoris is ruined! A mangled bit of flesh hanging from within your beef curtains. And you with a needle in your arm. In an apartment somewhere. Not even in one of the good parts of New York but north, or south. In Brooklyn somewhere. With tunnel people! And some guy who doesn’t even love you! Pumping black tar into a vein in your arm. And him on top of you at the same time as you’re trading sex for drugs! Sex for drugs. None of this purity ball. Purity pledge. Even the goddam ring will mean nothing! You’ll probably drop it on the subway tracks and some rat will carry it away into the tunnel darkness. Into its lair. Into its wrath!”

And at that, Monday dropped my arms and let my hands go limp at my sides and she ran from the dance floor, crying.

16

I admit I stood there, dumb.

For a second, waiting for everything to work out.

And when it didn’t work out. When Monday didn’t come back to me, it took the nudging of my daughter’s friend Emmy saying “Go to her, Mister. Go to her,” to push me off my center and leave the dance floor in the direction that Monday had left.

Snaking through couples. Father/daughter, every one. And by the time I got to the outskirts of the room, none of them had seen the tragedy of Monday and me. They were oblivious. And to them I was just another anonymous father. Slinking away to the bathroom.

When I found the bathrooms. Down a long uninhabited hallway. I first knocked and asked for Monday to open it. Then I opened the door and went in, following Monday’s silence. And I found her locked inside the last stall in a row of three.

Looking under the door to see her stockings and trying the door to know that it was locked were the only ways I knew she was in there. Except for the tone and timbre of her sobs.

Funny how you can recognize a person’s voice by their sneeze or cough or by some other nonverbal voice activity like a cry or a moan. Or by one of those tiny vocal cues we don’t even have a name for.

Monday made those cues and that is how I found her. Hiding in the bathroom at the purity ball.

“Honey. Open the door. Darling. Open the door please.”

No response.

“Monday. Girl. Monday girl. I apologize for telling you my fears. I do. You going to New York scares me.”

“But you know that’s where I want to go. To New York or Portland. To either be in the theatre. Or in improv. You know that’s the best place for me to be.”

“Your going to New York. It keeps me up at night with fear, Monday!” (I said “Monday” like “Mondee.” Always had.) “Monday! You’ve never even been to New York!”

“Neither have you!” she says.

“I know but I’m an adult. I’ve seen pictures.”

“I have also seen pictures,” she says.

“But the pictures I’ve seen are scary!” I say to her. “And I know how the world works. It’s not friendly to pretty young girls who move by themselves to big cities. Colorado Springs is a certain size. You developed your meeting-people strategies in Colorado Springs. If you take those strategies to New York they’re not going to work.”

“I’ll learn new strategies,” she says.

“Baby. Look. I know you want to. I know you’d try. But rebuilding your people-meeting strategies at the age of 18 is more difficult than you’d think.”

“How do you know? You’ve never done it!”

“I have. Baby. I have. After college I lived in Houston for a while. My strategies developed in Colorado Springs didn’t work in Houston! I couldn’t meet anyone to have a decent relationship with. A proper relationship. Until I went to El Paso and met your mom. Besides. The east coast follows a different set of rules. You have to trust me on that. Monday. Please open the door.”

She kicks the metal.

“I’ll come out when I’m ready!”

I adjust my tux, my legs, so I’m sitting on the floor. Rapping my knuckles on the stall door.

“Stop that,” Monday says.

“You want me to leave you alone?”

“Wait,” my daughter says. “Just wait with me.”

I wait with her for what seems like an hour. Outside the bathroom, down the hall, into the main hall of the place, I imagined 50 girls and 50 dads. Minus one and one. So 49 and 49. Holding each other tightly. With the girls giving their fathers that signature “purity ball” look. Staring wide eyed and grateful, trusting, loving. Up in their fathers’ eyes. And the fathers looking down into their daughters’ trusting faces. Ready to guide them safely into the world.

Then Monday speaks: “I read the purity pledge,”

she says.

“What’s that?”

“I read the purity pledge,” she says.

“Oh!” I say. “Did you like it?”

“I didn’t like it. I loved it. It speaks to the epitome of my generation.”

I don’t say a thing. Monday continues:

“Don’t you think so?”

“Yes. Sure.”

“I thought so too,” she goes. “I thought it made particular sense to me as. A. Member. Of whatever generation we’re called now. Do you know it?”

“No. I don’t.”

“Well. Whatever generation we are. I thought it spoke particularly to us. To me. To people in my school. Because we have a solution to everything else. Don’t we? With robots to clean our floors. You know, with computers throughout the house answering voice commands. And Black Friday being all online. I’ve seen videos, you know, of people killing themselves at Walmart to buy a PlayStation.”

“I know, Monday.”

“Anyway with everything done for us. Which is all we’ve grown up for it to do. With things that way the one thing we have left is our purity. And if you think of that in terms of the future of robotics. Organic robots. When will the first hybrid baby be born?”

“Hybrid from what to what?” I say.

“From computer to human!” she says.

“Why are you worried about it?” I say.

“I’m not worried!” she says. “I’m thinking about it. That doesn’t make me worried.”

“Ok. Well. Can you finish up? I’m worried we’ll miss the ceremony.”

“There you’re worried again! Why is every thought a worry to you?”

“It’s not every thought!”

“Look how often you say ‘worry,’ though! If I move to New York you worry. If I lose my virginity you worry! What can I do that will make you not worry?”

“Monday, look. Everything you do worries me! That’s what parents do. Is that why we’re here tonight? I guess, partially, yes! If you have kids your life will go one way. If you don’t have kids right away. If you go to college. Your life will go a completely other way.”

A long silence.

The my 14 year old opens the door.

She’s sitting on the toilet. Phone in her hand. Record light on. Taking video.

“But it’s not about me having kids, is it? That’s not what this night is all about.”

I shake my head at her.

“No,” I say. “It’s not.”

17

“What it’s about. Is purity. It’s purity. You know. Like a floor that’s never been stepped on. Or dishes that have never been eaten off of. Your body is a temple, Monday. A holy temple created by our God as the home and birthplace of your future family. Which is an extension of your mother’s purity. When I first touched her. You don’t want to come home and wipe your feet at the door and then. When you step inside the house. To have the house be dirty. Do you?”

Monday sits looking at me through her camera lens. Everything she’s recording being bounced around the world. Repeated on screens of everyone watching her channel at this time. I imagine myself being watched this way by girls I do not know. Will never know. But I have this chance to reach them all with my message. Either that or be laughed off the world stage.

Probably laughed off the world stage.

But it didn’t matter.

If this was my chance at reaching the world of girls, across the world, then I would take it. Take it like I once took Maureen’s VJ in a bathroom just like this one. Took her panties off and fucked her. So good. So innocent and pure. So ignorantly, too. In the way I swashed her in and out, took her for the ride of her life. Maureen didn’t walk away from that event unchanged. And neither did I.

“Monday. Look. I don’t even believe in the idea of purity. Truth be told.” I hold up my hands to show the palms are empty. “Purity is a myth. Ok? It’s a myth!”

“Then why are we at the purity ball?”

“It’s just to get you to take your first time seriously. Ok? Having kids would ruin your life. And also the man of your dreams deserves a tight pussy. Ok? That’s it, Monday. And the more dicks you host up there in your dick hostel, the looser that shit’s gonna be!”

“That’s not what I heard,” Monday says. “I heard that pussies come in all shapes and sizes and even old lady pussy is still tight even after they’ve had a lot of babies. That’s why people still rape grandmas.”

“Who people rape grandmas?”

“People on TV. Psychopaths.”

“Well. For now, let’s limit our discussion to non-psychopaths doing non-psychopathic things outside of television. Alright? The fact is, pussies get destroyed with fucking. They get destroyed with baby making. A man with his pure white knight of a cock wants to storm your castle and know that the drawbridge and portcullis have before this point been hermetically sealed. Understand?”

“We’re listening,” she says to her screen.

“And it’s not just that,” I say. “There is a complexity to this world that sex plays into. If you let me guide you. Hold you. And guard you against the troubles of this world. You can imagine yourself proceeding with more confidence. Yes? Imagine me as a giant tank. Sitting behind you. And you can feel my turret pressing against you from the back. And you can know. That I will back you up. That if some guy tries to take your flag before you’re ready. That I’m guarding you. All day. Every night. And I’m ready to shoot down anyone who attacks your flag before you’re ready. Hopefully that’s the night of your wedding. That would be the most pure way.”

Monday looks at me above her camera.

I feel I’m getting through to her. We are connecting. I doubt any other father out there has had a conversation so intimate with his daughter as this one I’m having with mine.

“But even if it isn’t on your wedding night. I’m not telling you it’s ok to have sex before you’re married. But even if you don’t wait. If you can’t wait. If you need that cock in your antsy little pussy tomorrow! I hope we’ll be able to talk about it. Gender-free. No offense to your mother. But this really is a matter for the high priest of the family. So if you do it. We’ll talk about it. I’ll ask you for the rundown on the guy and if need be we’ll pick him up. Check him for drugs. If his punk ass has cannabis on him you and I will run to the nearest police station and have them check the color of his skin. If he’s white we’ll take him with us for a simple slap on the hand. If he’s black we’ll leave him at the station for the police to deal with in whatever way they see fit—rules are not an object!”

Monday interrupts. She says, “Dad. What does this have to do with—”

“I’ll tell you! It has to do with your safety and your feeling of safety. Don’t you want to be a little kid for as long as you can? Don’t you want that for yourself? Once you start fucking. That’s growing up right there. That plus getting a job, paying your own rent. That’s being an adult! What I’m offering you. What every dad in this building is offering you. Is an extension of life. Life and life itself. Why wouldn’t you want that? You can’t get childhood back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone! Just a pale thread of memory and all the while you, as an adult, are growing far, far away from it. And it being left far, far behind. The purity pledge we make tonight is your way—and my way of helping you—to hold onto your childhood as long as possible.”

18

“Isn’t it your own come that bothers you?” asks Monday.

“How is that?” I ask the phone.

“You come in me. You consider that I am made dirty,” Monday says. “Is it not the ejaculate of your own kind that, when touched by me, makes me impure?”

“You mean isn’t it the pre-presence of one of my own kind that grosses me out, when it comes to fucking you?”

“Right,” she says.

“Not exactly. It’s the psychological presence of another on your brain print. The need to be the first one to walk on the moon. So to speak.”

“To go where no man has gone before!” Monday cries.

“Yes, I mean. Sex is no big deal after the first time you’ve done it.”

“With Mom?” Monday asks. “Sex with her is no big deal after the first time?”

“I’m hesitant to answer that one live. Can we go offline?”

Monday stamps her foot.

The camera light stays on.

“Don’t you want to go back to the group and get your purity ring?”

“I’m not even sure I am into the purity ring at this point,” says Monday.

“How ‘bout some cake? More dancing?”

“I’m interested in you answering my question. Since this is my purity ball and the purity ball is for me. Supposedly. Do you have my answer?”

“Monday. I can’t answer that one live.”

“Subject is unwilling to go on the record. What about the first time you had sex. Was it ever special after?”

“It’s different for guys,” I say.

“What is different about it?”

“The anatomy! Monday, when a guy does it, there’s no. Disturbance. Our parts don’t change. There’s no evidence except psychologically. And it’s no big deal for the guy!”

“Is it a big deal for the girl?”

“Yes!”

“How do you know?”

“For the guy it’s pleasant. For the girl it’s devastating.”

“Example.”

“I don’t have an example. Just. Trust me.”

“Did it devastate Mom? The first time you two did it?”

“From the look on her face. Yes.”

“It devastated Mom.”

“I think so.”

“Do you mind if I ask her?”

“Sure, Monday. Ask her wherever you want. I don’t know if she’ll even talk to you about it. But. If she does, keep in mind—”

“That it might not have been as devastating to her as you remember?”

“Monday.”

“I mean I’m sure you’re right. I’m sure it was devastating. As you say. As you remember. Is that certainly the point? Not that you pleasure her and she pleasures you but that you devastate her? That a woman can only be devastated once. Is that the purity you’re talking about? The mental purity of pre-devastation versus post-devastation? Is that the virginity we’re all worried about? Who devastates who? I mean. With an orgasm? I’ve already felt my orgasm!”

“Monday girl. Don’t you tell me that. Please say it isn’t true.”

“It is true.”

“Who gave it to you?”

“I gave it to myself!”

“Monday. If I were you I would pray to God that he forgive you and stop the masturbating right away. Your purity may already have been sacrificed. Say a prayer with me now.”

“No!”

“Monday. You are testing my nerves. God has placed me as the spiritual high priest of our home and as such it is my job to watch over your spiritual self. My own. Your mother’s and your brother’s. Pray with me now.”

I bow my head.

Monday remains upright, filming.

I grip the sides of the toilet stall in which my daughter sits.

“Dear God. Glorious Christ Almighty. My daughter and I come to you now to ask forgiveness. For her misdeeds. For her steps along the lower path. She has used her hands—Lord I pray it was her hands—to manipulate her chastity. Her flower you have given her. To bring about an orgasm for her greedy material self. She is sorry, my Lord. And I have failed you as the spiritual high priest of this household. I have failed to maintain the purity of her bush. Dear God I pray you will forgive me and her of our dalliances. We pray for your forgiveness that we’re wasting our time broadcasting our lowly opinions on life and on the miracle of Monday’s fur mountain thing as opposed to being seen among our equals out on the floor. Bathing in your light. Amen. Monday say amen.”

“No.”

I squeeze her leg. “Say it!”

“Amen!”

“Now let’s get going from this place! Turn off your phone and come with me. We’ve got your purity ring to get you!”

I stand.

“I will come with you,” she says. “But not before you tell me what it is. This devastation. On the face of a girl who has never felt it before. What was that like with Mom?”

“Monday! I think some things are meant to be known by the men in a society. That aren’t meant to be known by the women.”

But Monday sits. And waits. And records.

“You want to know what it is?”

Monday nods. She holds her phone so steadily and looks at me through its screen.

“Psychological devastation?” I breathe out. “It’s when she needs you. So much. To make her come. When she holds you. As a dependent. As your child. Your baby infant girl. Capable of nothing. She has to come to you. The spiritual high priest of her home. And she nudges you. Wordlessly. Asking you to make her come. She has no other way to get off. To truly make her pussy come. She comes to you. Shamefully. And she begs you with her eyes to enter her. To disturb her. To make her feel the things that she herself. In her most quiet moments. Cannot make herself feel. And to come away transformed. Maybe not by the hand of God. But by his humble servant. And he shall know she is transformed. By the look of total nothingness on her face. It is a look beyond passion. Beyond any sort of sexual satisfaction. It is, shortly, a look of total devastation.”

I look at Monday’s phone. The broadcast light is still on.

But Monday looks at my face through the air. Bypassing her screen. It is clear by her expression that I have told her something new. Something she’s never heard before.

I hold out my hand to her.

“Is that enough for you? Come on. Let’s go back to the ceremony.”

19

“A look of total sexual devastation,” Monday whispers to herself as we walk down the hallway.

“Monday. Stop that.”

She says it again: “A look of. Total. Sexual devastation.”

“Monday. Stop. You don’t want the founders hearing you say that.”

Monday continues: “A pure and total look of devastation. What kind of devastation? Sexual devastation.”

“I swear to God if you don’t stop saying that I’ll smack you on your—”

“Will it give me a look of total sexual devastation?”

“No. Nothing like it. It will give your brain a mixed pleasure/pain signal like it’s never felt. Not in 14 years of your precious life. Will you follow in silence like a good nun would?”

“Since when am I a nun?”

I stop and turn. “I said you were like a nun. Can you leave the total sexual devastation thing alone until we get you your ring and get out of here? Please.”

Monday makes the smallest possible nod.

Right as we are about to enter the hall she says: “But it will be a look of. Total. Sexual. Devastation.”

“Shut up, brat.”

I grab a tuft of her hair and it’s the closest we are all night. Maybe the closest we have ever been. It’s like she is a boy child and we are just fucking around. I wish I could give up sexualizing Monday and go camping with her. Instead of going to purity ball. We could sleep in the same tent. Fish. And I would never know she was a girl.

I march into the room.

Gripping Monday’s hot hand behind me.

Into the center of the room. To where the high high moral priest of the century has one more ring and two more pledges for us to sign.

The priest hands me the ring. Which I scoop up. Hold to the sky rubbing it with my shirtsleeves. It shines like the brightest star in our skies. Fits my daughter’s finger like the fit of a good cock and a good puss. Loving each other. Interlocked. Interlochen. The fathers and daughters seated around the edges of the room stand in unison applauding my little girl as I’m certain all she’s doing in her 14-year-old head is repeating the phrase, “total sexual devastation” in every possible accent she can find.

The priest reads me my pledge line at a time and I repeat after him. I don’t remember the exact words of the father’s pledge but its essence is:

“I pledge to protect my daughter’s purity in body, spirit, and mind.”

And the priest says: “To live pure, myself. As an example to my daughter.”

And I repeat him.

Then the priest says: “I applaud my own courage to look my daughter in the eye and tell her how beautiful she is.”

“I applaud my own courage. To look my daughter in the eye. And tell her. How beautiful she is.”

There is a smattering of applause from the onlookers. The priest turns to my daughter. My only girl.

“Go ahead,” the high priest says.

And Monday (having memorized her pledge) says. Slowly and carefully. “Believing that true love waits. I make a commitment to God. Myself, my family, my friends. My future mate. And my future children. To a lifetime of purity. Including sexual abstinence from this day until the day I enter a Biblical marriage relationship.”

“Give her the ring,” the priest tells me. And I want to slap him in the face for telling me what to do. Outright. Without even phrasing it as a question.

But I decide there are better times to set this priest in line with his supposed morality. His supposed belief in the occult.

So I bring Monday’s left hand to mine and I shove the ring on like she’s likely going to be shoved on her wedding night. If she makes it that far! Shoved right up her purity puss with a hard cock—probably mine! Turned it like a screw. Hoping to tighten the knot. Tighten the promise. Make it hurt so she’ll remember.

At the same time I pull her close and whisper in her ear. Loud enough for the priest to hear. “You are a come-sucking slut was always and ever shall be a girl whose open legs and open cunt called forth armies of Sodom and Gomorra peeled the color from Abraham’s hair. Created. With her innate unholiness. Traps for all moral men. We were pure—before we ever met you! And the sight of the woman turned us! Into. The grody rats we are today. The way you stand in front of the refrigerator when you sleepwalk. The way you eat ice cream. We fall to our knees to worship you. To lick your toes. Goddess!”

And here I could see the priest was trying to hurry me so I made the rest of it quick business. Holding Monday with both arms her squirming to get loose but me having one more bit of knowledge to impart her.

“At the head of the table is the father and the foot its mother holds. Keep this ring on your finger until the night you marry. Never forget its meaning. Never forget its power over you! When a boy makes moves on your pussy. Show him the ring! It will guard our shared virtue. Father and daughter! To the end.”

And with that I swatted Monday’s ass as though she had done something wrong.

Even though I couldn’t think of a single thing she had.

20

We walked to the edge of the room like Vegas newlyweds. My arm around her shoulders. Her arm around my waist. Both laughing at our imagination of a secret future. Leaving our jobs. Our school. Never returning home. Having already tasted the marriage bed, we were in no hurry to go anywhere. Except the car. Except the road. Except to return to Colorado Springs. To drink. Collapse on the couch. To fall soundly asleep in one another’s arms.

We made it to the table like drunks. Which drinks I was sure were not on the purity menu. But somewhere in the back of the lazy Susan I was sure my wife had hidden something of this type. Of the alcoholic type. Of the vodka type. And of the Absolut type of vodka, of alcohol, of lovely lovely yummy yum yum.

I held out Monday’s chair (as I thought this would indicate purity). Monday sat down. So did I. And thus began the conversation:

“I didn’t think that was too hard. Did you?”

“No. Let me see your ring.”

“They’re exactly the same. Ha!”

“But still. I want mine back and you can have yours back. Still.”

“Do you girls want to dance? With each other!”

“Sure! Could we?”

“Could we? Sure!”

Then it’s me and Emmy’s dad and a couple other impure gentlemen seated together, uncomfortable, talking football, climate change, and other statistical events. It seems even the purity of this very Earth has been called into question by this evening’s events here under the big top.

“I don’t. Believe in it. Do you?”

“No. Of course not. No. Absolutely not!”

“I’m talking about football.”

“Oh, yes. So am I.”

And I watched the girls dance. Holding each other by the waist. By the shoulders. Spinning off a Lindy Hop. Mostly silent, with the love of teenage companions. Occasionally bringing the other’s face wildly near and power whispering teenage gossip in the other’s ear.

What those whisperings said I could only guess at. Even after the dance, questioning aimed at cracking this secret came up empty. Nut uncracked. Secret intact. But as it happened on the dance floor there, I imagined a catalog of wet and sticky suggestions. Commentary on their dads. Hard cocks—whose was bigger? A blessing on my Monday if she convinced Emmy that mine was the more stately. A yard over David. Then I realized Emmy’s dad. Seated closest to me. Might be wishing his daughter to the same task. Envisioning Monday wanting his cock. Hunting his cock. Emmy’s dad and I averted from quick eye contact with each other and went back to watching our daughters. Any suspicion of the other wanting to fuck “my girl” was carried out without looking the other in the eye.

We did not look at each other.

We did not turn to look.

We sat there in silence, our visible senses pointed at the two girls. I undressed Emmy with my eyes, taking her right there on the dance floor, her pale skin and red hair, my cock entering between spread legs, with a caption over the whole image that said, “Oh Daddy! It’s SO big!” Even though it wasn’t all that big. Even though the head had grown smaller around than the shaft somewhere between adolescence and here. Even though I couldn’t get it up for my wife. Even though I could hardly get it up to masturbate. Even though I was a man. Who was so past it sexually that it was laughable to think that Emmy would go for me. I thought of perverts from my youth who liked young girls and how we all laughed at them. They always thought they were younger and cooler than they actually were. To us. Who were young at the time. To us. Who had our finger on the pulse. To us. To whom the stratifications of love were more apparent. To us. Who knew when a simp was a simp. To us. Who knew when a girl was likely to say, “Daddy it’s so big.” To us. Who knew when a girl faked sex from the back door closing. Or when a dude lied about getting in. His lie like a thousand-story building to us when to him it was just a single-story bump.

I watched Emmy.

And Monday beside her.

I saw the three of us. (With Emmy’s dad watching from the sidelines.) With Emmy. Elbow crooked. Reaching down my pants. Unearthing my fat snake. Rippling her fingers along its sides. Emmy kneeling before me. Unzipping my khakis. Choking on my cock. Pushing it all the way down her virgin throat. Virgin/whore. Monday helping her. Monday my Monday! Scraping her teeth across the bottom of my dick. That extra-special flap of skin. Meant for my pleasure! Monday showing Emmy how to do it. Emmy’s turn. They take turns sucking my balls. And coaxing the come from my fat fat snake. Me in holy ecstasy. The purity ball a success! We have all ruined any chance of any of these girls. These dads. Of ever being pure. We have created masturbation fodder for a hundred dads. Here. Watching us on the internet. Jerking off in secret after this attendance. Picturing our daughters when fucking our wives. Feeling the pussy of the daughter while fucking our mothers. A simple trick of closing the eyes while fucking Monday’s mom. Open: Sunday. Closed: Monday. Open: Desired sex. Closed: Illicit sex. Open: Legal sex. Closed: Oh so illegal sex! How can they do that? How can loving your daughter turn into incest and statutory rape?

“Dad.”

“What.”

“Time to go.”

“Is it. Already?”

“Dad come out of your trance I’ll be waiting at the car.”

Emmy and her dad are staring at me too.

“Dad!”

“What? Alright! I’m coming.”

21

Parking lot rush.

Goodbyes in fugue.

Monday and Emmy dancing like a date couple. Emmy’s hands dripping dangerously low. Precipitously. To the ass line. Bungling the move, the younger one pokes her friend in the butthole as a joke. Both girls laugh.

I find it hilariously funny myself.

Remembering some time at the doctor’s office. With Monday lifting up her skirt for the doctor to see. His hands all over my daughter’s budding chest. Totally a violation! And Monday laughing!

“It’s so cold!” she says of the scope.

So. So. So. So fucking cold you elevate the nips of a prepubescent girl. See them growing large. Growing past the point of an accidental touch. Growing so large and so stiff that even a sweater would stimulate them if she went without a bra.

The girls dance in a circle around me and Emmy’s dad. As we pretend to have a conversation. As my mouth works in excess of my mind. Saying things instantly forgotten. Things so well thought out to make my intentions hidden. And those intentions thus? Thus revealed. Thus made public. Were simply to have his daughter’s cunt.

Spirals, I thought of it. Thought of embracing it. With fingers. Tongue. And cock. Thoughts of its design. Hopefully (as a present to me!) it would twirl and unfurl so simply. Such a holy slit. It would be the ham and cheese pussy. The cheesecake pussy. It would never be the roast beef curtains. Never in a thousand years would Emmy surprise me with roast beef curtains. I look at her and smile.

And she smiles back. And I know deep in her rouge head she is thinking of me. With that impenetrable/shallow/innocent/happy expression, she hid what is beneath us all. Every one of us desiring and requiring and when it is impossible, every one of us conspiring to take it in our sleep. Praying to dream of her tonight, my subconscious running a bit wilder than the above-board mind. Praying she’ll receive me. Gratefully. Her back on the floor boards of the Range Rover. There! There! Her dad only drives an Audi. A fucking Audi TT. What a fucking girls’ car.

“Goodnight Mr Emmy.”

“Goodnight Mr Monday.”

“Come on, girls. You’ll have plenty of time to protect your purity for the next one to 10 years of your lives. Monday. Get in the car.”

Then a bunch of sloppy goodbyes between the girls. Kiss kiss. Smooch smooch. I’m not sure if I’m disgusted or turned on. Then Monday’s in my car and I touch touch! Vroom vroom!

“Pretty successful dance, if you ask me.”

Monday answers me. “Nobody did ask you!”

“Did you get what you were looking for?”

Monday says: “Did you?”

I shrug. “I guess. Don’t you think the Walkers. As a people. Are a little too into the purity thing?”

“No,” Monday says.

“Well. Don’t you think the Walkers. As a people. As a tribe now. As a clan. Have purity on the brain? Like they have some extra reason to be interested in it?”

“Like what,” Monday says.

“Like their family may have started out a little less pure than the rest of us? Such that they have more reasons than you or I have? To claim that we’re pure?”

“I don’t see them as any more or less pure than us,” says Monday. “Have you ever seen an eye chart for kindergarteners?”

“No,” I say.

“It’s all pictures instead of letters and numbers. In place of that huge E at the top of the adult seeing chart, the kindergartener one has an icon of a duck. You’ve never seen that?”

“No,” I say.

“Oh,” Monday says. “I guess they didn’t have those in your generation.”

“I guess they didn’t. Monday. Why are you telling me this?”

“Telling you what?”

“About the kindergarten eye chart!”

“I don’t know. Just thought of it.”

“Well we were talking about something. That something is purity. As a concept. As a law. As a thing that certain families are more. And certain families are less. Susceptible to talking about. As a theme.”

“As a theme?”

“Yes. Don’t you think. Thematically. That the Walkers are more apt, thematically, to focus on purity than our family?”

“As a theme like the theme of a book?”

I slam on the car brakes and Monday and I are stranded on the side of the highway.

I yell.

“AS. A MOTHERFUCKING. THEME! As a theme! Like the crack that runs through the center of your life. You have. A theme. Don’t you? When you look at your life doesn’t it all boil down to one. Particular. Thing? Doesn’t it? Doesn’t it boil down to one thing.”

I put my hand on Monday’s thigh.

She pulls it off.

I slap her thigh where it’s uncovered by her dress.

Monday looks there other way.

I grab her by her neck.

“Monday! Look. At. Me. Look at me. Look me or I’m gonna slap your face. When I tell you to look at me. You look at me. For your safety! I am the master of this house and you are my subject. Understand. When I say look, you look. Look! You are such a stubborn girl. And that stubbornness will be your end! I swear it will be your end.”

Monday looks at me.

Eyes welling up.

“A theme,” I say. “A simple theme! It is the struggle underlying any story. Any life. Are you going to sit there and tell me you don’t know your themes? Your own fucking themes. Of your own fucking life? Are you going to sit there and tell me you don’t recognize the Walkers’ themes?”

“Who are the Walkers?” Monday says.

“Who are the Walkers? The Walkers are the people who started this purity shit in the first place! They decided to give their daughters purity rings and make them sign a pledge that says they won’t fuck nobody till they marry. Now we are gonna sit here until you tell me what the Walkers’ themes are.”

22

“Uh. What?”

Cars fly past us on the highway.

“Walkers themes. Quick.”

Monday turns her body to face me. It exposes the underside of her skirts.

“Purity. Obviously.”

I scowl at the girl.

“Obviously,” I say. “Go deeper!”

“Their. Themes. Are. Things that were just born. Or just conceived.”

“That’s good, Monday.”

“Also. Things that have never been touched.”

“Good! Like what?”

“Honestly I can’t think of a single thing in this world that has never been touched.”

“Good, baby. Good!”

I rub my hands over her knees and squeeze the bottom part of her thigh.

She retracts from me. Then lets my hands stay.

“By that same rationale, what else has never been touched?”

“I guess. A baby. Or a seed. Except both of those have already been touched. Inside the womb or the creator of the tree. What else has never been touched? Mail inside an envelope? That may never have been touched by human hands. Only by the envelope itself and the robot that packed it.”

“What else?”

My hands massage her thighs. Like a father. Like a lover.

“What else has never been touched? Anything manufactured. Does it count if it was touched by a computer?”

“I don’t know, Monday. It doesn’t matter. We’re brainstorming. It doesn’t matter. There are no wrong answers. What else? Walkers’ themes.”

“Walkers themes are things that have never done anything wrong. That have never made a mistake. How about a baby’s bowels? A baby’s digestive tract when that baby is first born? It’s never been used. That baby has never digested anything. It’s never taken a shit. That’s pure.”

I clamp down on her thighs to signal my approval.

“What else?”

“Anything you consume. Most things you consume. Like a box of cereal. Most likely nobody’s ever touched that. Apples. Probably somebody’s touched those before. How about a lightbulb?”

“How about a penis?” I say. “Is it pure?”

“I guess not. Because you touch it every day. But do you touch it in a sexual way?” Monday blushes. “Does it matter how you touch it?”

I nod.

“When I was little,” Monday says. “Did you and Mom both change my diaper? You did, didn’t you?”

“But when we touched you then. We didn’t touch inside you. We didn’t touch you with sexual intent. Often we were both present. Or it was just your mother who changed you.”

“So does that mean? You consider that my body is pure. Or was then? Do you say that I’m pure in the sense of an unopened package. Assembled by machines in a factory? Whose touch is ignorant to my sensations? To my feelings? To my beliefs?”

“Yes except I don’t consider the machines are oblivious to your feelings. If a machine made you. If God made you,” I say, “I don’t think God abused you during your making but I don’t think he sees you as a being outside sexuality. There must be a place where I can touch you that is aware of your sexuality where for me to touch you isn’t abuse. You follow?”

“You mean. A part of my body. Where you can touch me that is sexual but isn’t abuse?”

“When I say ‘part’ here. Or ‘place.’ I don’t mean a part of your body. I don’t mean a place on your body. I mean a conceptual place. Where in. In that zone I might touch you. And I might be aware of your sexuality but I would have such a high knowledge. Of you. Of everything. That I could physically touch you there and it wouldn’t be abuse. To me.”

“Would it be abuse to me?” Monday says.

“I don’t know. I haven’t thought that through.”

I brush my fingers over Monday’s stockings. Over Monday’s gusset. I feel the thin material. Hiding her cotton panties from my touch. Is this abuse to you, I ask? I want to tear them off her. Stick my tongue between her lips. Lick her. Consume her. I want to own her with my mouth. My teeth and tongue. Lick her till she gets uncomfortable. Lick her ass. Lie there with a cylinder of sterile wipes. Clean her asshole like I did when she was a baby. But this time with an adult reaction from Monday. I want to hear her cry. Cry out. From pleasure. From pain. From the awkward introduction of my tongue into the holiest spot there is. Monday’s pleasure centers firing. Monday’s pain centers firing. The two of them firing together. Confusing her. Conflicting her. Making her wish for simpler times. Before she bled between her legs. Before she twirled her first tampon between her fingers. Striving to do it right. Mopping up drops of blood from the bathroom tile. Wrapping the whole mess up with wads of toilet paper. Stuffing it in the toilet. Flushing it. Watching it go down. Down. Down.

“Themes!” I say.

I crunch my thumb down on top of her pussy.

“Purity!”

I’m rubbing her clitoral area. Pretending it isn’t happening. Never quite making eye contact with the girl.

“Integrity?” she asks. “Clarity? That moment when you wake up. Before you open your eyes. When you can’t even remember who you are. When all your systems come back online? Then? Is that pure? What about when you’re dreaming. When you’re fast asleep? When you’re dreaming you don’t even know who you are. Isn’t that a pure moment? When you’re unconscious. When you don’t even have a body. When someone else could touch you? And you would never know. Their touch might affect your dreams. But wouldn’t you never know? Unless you woke up. Right then. Wouldn’t you never ever. Never even. Never even know that someone’s hand was on you? That’s the purest theme I can think of, Daddy. Oh Daddy! Daddy, make me come!”

23

That wasn’t exactly the way of it but that’s how I like to remember. Monday wasn’t coming to my touch but she did feel good—that was clear from the essence of her face. The expression was like if you were trying on a shoe that was too tight for your foot but putting it on scratched an itch on your heel.

“You feel that?” I ask.

Monday nods.

“I’m getting through to you?”

She nods again. There is that little bit of pleasure on her. Not knowing if she’s coming or going.

She pushes my hand away.

“Monday. This is it. This is the cut off. This is where you leave the old Monday behind and you pick the new Monday up off the concrete. Understand?”

She covers her mouth with her hand.

“Let’s have some more themes,” I say.

“I’m done with themes.”

“When did you decide that?”

“Just now.”

She says it so deadly serious that I dare not ask her another question, touch her, or even look her way.

“I’m sorry, Monday.”

“Let’s just go home.”

“You want to go home?”

Monday nods.

I put the car in gear and hold my foot on the break.

“We sure had a night at the ol’ purity ball, didn’t we?”

Monday doesn’t answer.

“Learned a lot listening to those Walkers!” I say.

But I get no reply. Monday is set in her bucket seat like concrete. Her hands grip the seat’s edge. Knuckles white. Red. Her cheeks void of blood. She is like a bomb. A balloon. One prick and it might explode. My dear girl is like a delicate instrument. Something orchestral. With keys so intricately woven about her surface. Only playable by a few people around the world. She is a booby-trapped safe. The movements used to play her are only one or two key presses away from the movements required to set off an atomic explosion. But as long as it’s me and her in the Range Rover, it doesn’t matter if she explodes. I can take it. I even like it. Is that weird if making my daughter angry gets me off?

I put the Range Rover in park and exhale.

“Well, Tuesday—”

“It’s Monday! God! You can’t even remember your daughter’s name!”

“I was joking, Monday. Dear.”

“It’s even worse if you are joking,” she says.

“Look. Tuesday. Monday. There is one more thing we want to discuss before we go home.”

“Who is ‘we?’”

“We. Is you and me. Who else would it be?”

“There could be two of you. Talking to the one of me. It could be you imagining Mom was here.”

“It just means that there’s one more subject. That we. You and me. Want to discuss before going home. It’s a tad bit delicate. It’s about the female anatomy. And don’t worry. This doesn’t require you to do anything differently in life.”

Monday waits.

“Don’t you want to guess?” I ask.

“No,” she says. “I do not want to guess.”

“That takes some of the fun out of it,” I say. “I had hoped tonight would be more open for us. Both. I want to get through these blocks of yours.”

“I don’t have blocks.”

“Yes you do, baby. I wish you could see it. How closed off you are to me. How much clearer our communication could be if you would. Let me in.”

“Let you in where,” she deadpans.

“Inside your mind,” I say. “Where else?”

“I don’t want you inside my mind,” she says. “Not my heart. My mind. Not between my legs!” she screams.

“Hold on, baby.”

“Don’t call me baby!”

“Dear—”

“Don’t call me dear!”

“Alright. Tuesday. Monday. Just look at me when I talk to you. Ok? I want to know you’re listening. When you face out the window I don’t know if you’re listening.”

“How could I not be? Stuck in this car with you!”

“Let me see that purity ring. Ok Tuesday? Monday? Hold out your hand and let me see it.”

She does.

I take her hand and pull her closer. She goes limp and I jerk her body almost out of her seatbelt.

I stroke the back of her hand. Admiring the ring. Admiring my daughter’s white skin. Matching mine to hers. Seeing the DNA passed between us. From generation to generation. Avoiding impurity. Joined with her mother to create this container of genes. Tuesday doesn’t know about this, yet. But hopefully in her travels around the world she will easily recognize that she is to marry. And procreate with. A white man. There is no other choice. Else the bloodline of our family will be forever ruined.

You know those mulatto children.

I love their hair. In theory.

But in practice. It’s not somewhere a family like ours would ever go.

“You understand? Monday. You understand.”

“What?” she screams, pulling her hand away.

“Those mulatto children!” I say. Almost screaming it. Almost yelling it in her ear. At top volume! Hoping the point comes across.

“We’re not a family who says the n-word,” I say. “Not when other people are around. I can say it to your mother and even though she protests. She doesn’t stop me. Because she feels the same way. It’s like your obsession with Michael Jackson,” I say. “It’s ok with your mom and me because we know that you like him. As a performer. I’m sure you know it would be different if you wanted to marry him. You know that, right Tuesday?”

“Michael Jackson isn’t black,” Monday says.

“Oh but he is!” I say. “He is! That’s part of what you do not understand. He wanted to be white. So bad. That he bleached and surgeried himself so he could be white. He hated his blackness so much that he turned himself white. But that’s not what I wanted to discuss with you tonight.”

Monday looks at me.

“What is.”

“It’s your hymen, Monday. The precious covering of your crowning jewel. It may not break. It may not pop. But it covers the entrance to your bloody castle. And tonight I’d like to dispel a few myths about it.”

24

“Hymen hymen broken diamond instant karma pot of coffee burning blackness blackness darkness Africa Africa n-word supreme the double decker triple decker beef from Wendy’s Kaffir girl serving chili to me simply save the toppings loving lovely little stamp caused on you by God in the moment moment of your making finger finger up your lovely little nostrils searching for the golden ticket but there is none. Our entire world has been fixed so that you can get nowhere by picking nowhere by digging your puncture wounds ending up in outpatient with no insight no outlook nothing going for you ‘cept a medical jacket 9mm thick 45in wide with a thickness dependent on your skull. When you tell me Dunkin’ Donuts changed its name I say not the one you carry with you in your mind the doughnut-chaliced nut hugger of a Penguin breed. When I stick it, first I have to lick it. To get around that sticky dough. To get through it on the first try. To dry your hair. From behind. Like Jason Bourne with the sheizer girl in both hands born feelings of intimacy and I slide into your doughnut. First try. First light and final darkness. Sludge reanimation in a Play-Doh toy. And all this is the traffic of our stage. Light it up! LIGHT IT THE FUCK UP MONDAY/TUESDAY WILL YOU NOW LIGHT IT THE FUCK UP!”

Monday is typing furiously on her device.

Pretending to listen. Really everything is passing the fuck right through her pretty head her pretty ears and going straight in through her keyboard.

”Into the internet on some or other network not for the eyes of humans by some genetically distinct version of ourselves who has come back in time to look for the evidence. Evidence of our religiously. Evidence of our purity mistake. This is the fact by which every faction of our time at one moment or another considers itself pure, purer, and purest! Time for death camps. Time for genocide. Time for me to stamp out your genetic strains STAMP them out! Between the souls of my boots and the flatness and the hardness of the sidewalk concrete. There you will find a zillion ants. Everything conscious but not quite. Everything tethered but tethered to the crumble. The sugary crust of coffee cake. Stored in the mind of my grandmother. Who is dead. Now stored—where? I couldn’t say. Stored now in the stars. In geologic history. Stored in rocks, you see? In the most permanent medium we know. Reach down with a washcloth and wash the sand from between your legs. Reach down with a washcloth and wash the ancient pyramids. Wash Cairo off the map. There is no final resting place. Is no Indiana Jones. There is no Well of the Souls (bad news for all of us so used to Jones’ casual way of dropping the staff downward. Dropping himself downward and pinpointing all of our exact locations on the map. Drop it down, I say! Get up near that hole and drop it the fuck down!”)

“Yes,” Tuesday says. “Get up on me and drop it the fuck down!”

She alternates typing with one hand. Manipulating herself with the other. This is allowed in our family. Even encouraged!

“Drop the hammer, Tuesday Kid. You are in my world now. We have transformed ourselves in purity. Clarity. Tyranny. Anarchy.”

“Oblivion,” she says.

“Oblivion,” I echo. “The motherfucking oblivion of amorality. With purity and clarity inside. God is a psychopath.”

“You say God is a psychopath?”

“Very much so,” I tell her. “If God is the sea. If God is the fucking sea!” I tell her. “Then how could he be anything else. Other. Than. A psychopath. Sociopath. One who has no qualms about anything! Living in peace. Living at war. Every action requires its equal and opposite reaction, right? Does the sea care about killing 100,000 people in a tsunami? Does it even know? And isn’t God that sea? That uncaring force. Super force. Whose mere hiccup destroys cities. Who will crush a diver’s lungs. Swim too deep. Get your wires crossed. That sea will crush you whether you’re a president or a king or an innocent little girl.”

“But is she really innocent?” Tuesday says.

“Exactly!” I say. “Exactly. You know, some of your cousins may ding you for not going to New York to follow your dreams. They don’t understand, Tuesday, what you’re getting in return for staying in Colorado Springs. They’ve chosen risk. For fruitless ends! That’s their choice. They get lost in the process of thinking through their world. That won’t happen to you. You’ll stay here. You’ll be surrounded by family. You’ll maintain your purity. From that lovely head of yours—” I tussle her hair “—to that warm little diamond you carry with you everywhere.” I put my hand between her legs. “That is special, Tuesday. It’s more special than even you know. This is the birthplace of nations,” I say. “The home of armies. The source of all life. And like I said earlier. Like I promised to you. I will help you keep it safe. I will guard it. Stand between you and anyone who wants to defile it. I will help you not destroy your life, ok Tues? Tonight is a date. A proper date. Dinner. Dancing. Our pledges to each other. Compare that to some punk who wants to get lost in your puss. Who all he wants is to get his purple-headed dragon. To get it off. In your vagina. Tuesday. This is your vagina. It’s all yours. I’m just going to keep my eye on it for a while.”

I remove my hand from between my daughter’s legs.

Run it by my nose for a smell. It is salty. Stinky. Just like I’d expect my daughter’s puss to be.

“I thought you were going to lecture me on my hymen,” Monday says.

And I say, “I just did.”

25

“Could we have something less abstract?”

“Less abstract? I’ll try. Your hymen is a doughnut.”

“No!

“It’s a starfish!”

“It is not a starfish! Be serious now. If you’re the protector of my purity I expect honest teachings from you. Well polished and factual.”

“Your hymen is a sea monkey membrane placed inside you by aliens from the underworld. Future versions of ourselves who came back in time. They speak telepathically and warn us of a collapse in our environment. Once the Earth was pure, you see—”

“Stop it!”

“You stop, Tuesday. I’m telling you. Listen. These fuckers have been here for ages. They live inside their minds, mostly. But every night they come to getcha. Come to your bed and night paralyze you. Wrapping your legs in a paralysis. Lifting you with teleportation into their ships to fuck around with your reproductive system—genetics and shit. For guys they have a woman robot appear as a beautiful Earth daughter. They fuck.”

“Honestly. What does this have to do with my hymen?”

“Shussh! Listen between my words, girl. That’s what they do for the men. For the women they capture, they insert a tiny needle. A flesh builder. In through your vajayjay. To build in you with formulas. They insert the flesh builder in! A guy on a screen controls the insertion. He operates with a control of two spheres, set below the dash, and his hands are expert smooth. This is the hymen builder. And his exploits are unlimited. He places a slide on the screen. Selects a droplet tool. Dips it in a color. In your case: let’s say the color of Crisco. A very light, slightly pale, ink. He slides the dropper tool over the slide with his left hand. Presses the release button with his left hand. Drop. Drop. There it goes! You see? The forming needle drops that drop inside your real vagina, on top of your real hymen, behind him in the room.”

“What’s its purpose?”

“Its purpose, Tuesday, is to record the dicks, the fingers, the tongues that touch it. This ultra-reactive tissue sticks to a dick, say, maps it in three dimensions, and returns that information to the mothership. Cc-ing a copy to your mother and me. Via email.”

“It cc’s you a copy of a dick?”

“Of whatever you put in there, Tues. Dicks, fingers, tongues. Whatever you put in your VJ, the hymen sends me a copy which I review, thoroughly. And in time. As the high priest of the home you were born into, I review and reject each object. Designing to accept or (most likely) reject the object. The hymen, you may have heard, does not break tear or pop. By the time you enter marriage your hymen will look nothing like how it looked at birth. Playground activities. Your own manual explorations. Whatever! It shifts. It recedes. You might bleed during your first intercourse but not from your hymen. Not likely. Any bleeding you experience your first time is simply wear and tear on the vagina. If anyone’s checking, you can cut your thigh with a sharp fingernail to get some pink in the panties. To make sure there’s no question you were a virgin. The aliens will take you from time to time to reshape the molding material which is transmitting dicks, fingers, tongues to the mother station. These abductions are usually not remembered. But you can tell they’ve happened by daily taking photographs of your puss. Lips spread. Like this. Two fingers. Spread. Shoot. Share with your mother and I. Better just me for now. Until your mother gets used to the situation. Got it? Click to shoot. No filters. Please. No stickers. Just the snapshots of your puss. In sequence. On the daily. Want to practice now?”

“Practice what?”

“Taking pictures of your puss. There’s no better time than when you’re fresh off the purity ball. High with that good-time Christian energy. If you want to spread your legs.”

“Daddy?”

“Yes dear.”

“What are the other girls doing right now?”

“I suspect they’re in their cars. Talking father to daughter. Just like this.”

“I just texted Emmy. She says she’s in bed at home. Her daddy’s not in her room.”

“He’ll probably go in there soon.”

“He’s not going,” Monday says.

“He will in a few minutes,” I say.

Monday peers into me. She can see something’s not right.

“Ok. Ok! I’m sorry, Tuesday. I might have brought this all up far too soon. I thought you were ready. But. It happens at different ages for different kids.”

“What age did it happen for my brother?”

“Oh, him? Around your age. Around 14.”

“But he doesn’t have. A hymen—does he?”

“No. He has his own special parts.”

Tuesday looks down. At the floor, not her phone.

“Yours are. A great deal more special, though.”

Tuesday brightens.

“Girl parts are more complicated,” I say. “I could never explain your parts to him. Do you two ever play with each other? Like doctor?”

“No.”

“Do you ever play like that with your girl friends?”

Monday looks at me and shakes her head.

“I’m gonna show you something now.”

I reach right up her skirt and cup her vulva with my right hand. I cover her right breast bump with my left hand. I do it so fast she doesn’t have chance to move. To react. She doesn’t have time to do anything. (Run! Scream! Nothing.)

I watch her face.

“I’m checking your hymen,” I say. “Stay still! My right hand crawls up up up. Pulls her panties down down down. Thumb and forefinger rooting around her plumbing swiping her clitoris a few times for good measure (I never did understand that thing). And by the time my index finger made its way up inside her glorious hole—so hot!—so, so terribly hot and ridged. So tight it sucked itself around my skin. So hot I had to finger fuck her a few times to convince myself it was real.

“Oh! Baby!”

But this time the girl did not look away. She met my gaze and didn’t cry and her look was so severe and also so soft and so allowing—questioning me, and what I was doing. Was I allowed to do this to her? Was what I was doing, right? She really was too inexperienced to know.

26

We drove home in quietus. Tuesday being the religious serf of the house. Me being its spiritual master.

There was doubt. Hanging. In the air once Tuesday and I entered our mother/god having been perched in the living room herself only watching Hallmark movies. The cleanser of the cleansed, no doubt written by people with serious life issues. A drug addiction. Maybe a spending problem that led them to eat one fancy meal outside the home. Then be dead broke for the rest of the month. Eating ramen noodles three times a day. Eating the fish food once she ran out of ramen. And of course I saw my wife in this capacity. The way she sat installed upon the couch as she was, to me she was a screenwriter of Hallmark. The only job I saw as suitable for her. A compromised writer of theater truncated from every crime. Therefore truncated of every human emotion. Especially the basest ones: Jealousy. Lust.

When Tuesday and I went in, Tuesday sampled the television and went straight to her room.

“Hey! Don’t I get a kiss?” my wife, my mother, says.

Tuesday’s door slams.

“How’d it go?” she asks me.

“Oh. It ain’t over yet,” I say.

Mother says: “The purity ball.”

“Oh, that? That was fine. Dancing. A ring or two. Contracts signed. Lots of purity everywhere. Purity coming out these bitches’ eyeballs.”

“What about your part?”

“I signed the pledge. I will remain pure and steadfast to my charge. To this family. As the spiritual high priest it’s all I can do!”

My wife turns to watch the TV.

“I wish you wouldn’t,” she says. “I wish you wouldn’t see yourself that way. I wish you would find someone else to play with.”

“What do you mean?”

“You know what I mean. You want me to say it? Play. To play. The spontaneous action of children. Not ours. Not with ours anyway. Find someone you can pay to play with. Or someone older. Someone who you’re not the spiritual high priest of.”

I look at her like she’s crazy.

She continues. “Someone who’s not your daughter.”

“Why shouldn’t I play with her? What is that to you, author of a thousand Hallmark movies? Do you know what that makes you? Nothing. You’ve sat on this couch. You’ve written your screenplays. Hallmark style. And none of them were accepted. You are the nothing author of a million words that no one will ever read! That makes your influence? Zero! Zero!! Even the Hallmark editors have a name for you: The Nothing. And every time you write another screenplay, the weight of your name. Drops. Making that ‘zero’ of your influence deeper still! And while you sit there in a puddle of your own fat watching the winners of the contest you forever lose! I will dalliance with whoever I choose.”

I grunt. To show my dominance.

To show this woman who is boss.

“Do you get this face I am making?” I ask.

“Baby. I don’t want to play these games.”

“Do you. Get. This face. I am making? Do you get it? Do you. Get—”

“I get it!” she shrieks.

“DO YOU GET THIS FACE—!”

“I get it! I get it! Stop! Get off me!!”

“THIS IS THE FACE I MAKE RIGHT BEFORE I STRIKE!! Strike you in your head! Strike you in your bed! Woman, listen to me. Listen to me read your sentence to the saints in heaven. To the saints at the holy gate! You amounted to nothing in this life—nothing! You created nothing. You produced nothing.”

“I produced these kids!”

“WE did. We did. Without my seed your womb is nothing. Inactive. A dead hole in the center of your body. Only by messing around did we find its use. Only by my messing you up did we make it come to life! You are useless without me. You are empty without me. A carrier of air! Woman pregnant of emptiness! Only by my spunk do you come to life! By my spunk!! Without my joy your problem equals zero. And you do not give me joy anymore. Not at all. Not. One. Little. Bit. You haven’t given me joy since you were a teenager. And even then, nothing compared to that I receive from mere thoughts of our daughter.”

“I know,” she says.

“What was that?”

“I know! I know. I know you like our daughter.”

“I am the high priest of our house! Its spiritual anchor! Why shouldn’t I like her? Why shouldn’t I test her? To make her good for her future husband? I have committed. Pledged to her in purity. That I shall sleep beside her. Inside her. To protect her virginal purity with my life. With my life,” I whisper.

My wife whose name is Sunday I decided right then to call her Monday which was ok since my daughter whose name was Monday I had already decided to call Tuesday.

“Monday. Monday Monday Monday. You underestimate the priest. This is my house. Not your house. Not Tuesday’s house. Not hers! Not yours. When the first brick went down. Where was I? Where was I?”

“I don’t know,” Monday mouths.

“I was right there with the bricklayer. Right by his side. And you know what he let me do? He let me lay the first brick. So, you see. When I say this is my house, that is what I mean. I mean I laid its first brick. And you know what that means?”

“What,” she says silently.

“It means that this is my house. And in my house. I make the rules.”

27

The high priest and spiritual master I am.

Of this house. Of any other that needs me.

I have a special place at my desk. A “high_priest” account for my laptop. Folders of hidden materials that could get me arrested, that could serve me as the local high priest. Folders whose contents belong to the resident man of this location. This locale. Of this house and homestead.

I go there now.

In the dark of my closet.

Typing my password. Pressing return. Seeing here those technically illegal pics of my daughter. Son. And wife. In the swimming pool. Swimming in the bath at three. At five. At seven. At nine. Those innocent pictures now made illegal by pornography laws. I don’t jerk off to them. They are simply the beginnings to a library which culminates in material I can jerk off to. And material which I do.

If I take my responsibility serious (which I do) I must keep this kind of record. So I may review. The purity I am protecting.

There is Tuesday seven months. Running in the yard. Exploring. Becoming familiar with the domain. Butting up against the fence. Trying to look through the cracks. Trying to see that next yard—that next set of possibilities. That next and nearest parallel universe. Where the family is the same size and the children are only slightly different raised. Maybe two girls. Maybe a bit older. Maybe they have a dog. Maybe there is no pool. But the generative process is the same. The need for a spiritual master is the same. The person who fills it? The same.

I should remember to talk to Mr Parsons about the purity ball next time I see him.

(“Have you heard of the purity ball, Mister P? Let me tell you.”)

Let me tell you indeed. Shout it from the mountain tops. Scream it from the roof of my house! Imagine if everyone was pure. I guess that’s what Jesus wanted, granting as he does titles of High Priest and guiding the Walkers’ hand in writing the purity pledges—version after version to avoid the slings and arrows of the government who if we say the word “Jesus.” If we say the word “God.” We are exiles. Unavailable for funding. But if we hide “God” underneath “Creator” the funding comes through fine. Even as we were in the day, Christians now are pursued by our government. Unable to pray in schools. Forced to celebrate purity ball in secret in secular spaces. Saying “God” in a hush. Afraid to let our neighbors see us take a knee beside our beds at night. And when company comes over, my children ask them if it’s ok for us to thank our God for the gifts he has given us.

I’m touching through the pictures. Using my left hand do its fumbling navigation. My right hand massaging my cock. Pictures of Tuesday in her one piece. Scrolling ahead: The moment she turns to a two piece. The moment in history she first shows her stomach to the camera. The moment she first cuts across the belly showing that ever-popular V-shaped undercarriage, visible in my dreams, visible behind every closed eye, visible from the straps around her waist to that very fine point it takes between her legs.

Sometimes a V. Sometimes a U with the thigh gap.

Always devoid of hair.

Her mother must be working with her to gather shaving materials and go to work on that bush. The only evidence I have that it was there is when I use the bathroom in Tuesday’s room. Toilet full of pubic hair. Un-flushed. Place smelling like piss and hairspray. Mirror full of fingerprints and notes written in dry-erase marker. Notes that say things like: “Finish parabolic curve homework.” She’s so smart. I can’t even remember what a parabolic curve is. When I’m there I sometimes add notes of my own: “Get off before school.” “Ride a fat cock.” “Please suck your daddy off I am the spiritual master and the high priest of your house throw me a frickin’ bone lady.”

But those notes are always wiped out when I return.

Erased from history. Carefully. With a cone of toilet paper.

And all it says now is “Finish parabolic curve homework.” But I know it’s still there. In the history of Tuesday’s mind. And that is where my attack lies: In the corners of her mind most recently attacked. Most recently assailed by me to fight against her feeble will as she questions and re-questions my words. I am the backslider. The mumble jumbler. The sickest clown in existence. If you come at me with questions, you will never get a straight answer. If you come at me with resistance, you will never fail to grow weak. I am the master of the house, kid. Been here since before you were born. When you shop with your mom, every item in the list, that you run away from the cart to get? Every item on that list was edited by me! In a separate conversation with your mother. While you were sleeping we made the list up. And every item I did not like was taken from the list before you ever saw it.

Every picture you removed from your albums, I saved it first. They’re in an album called “Best of Tuesday’s Trash” and they’re my favorite album.

Picture of you sliding down the slide. Such enthusiasm it becomes sexual.

Picture of you wiping your butt in the upstairs bathroom. Shit visible—just a tad around the side.

Picture of you and your brother. Hiding under the covers. Just your heads showing and the tips of your fingers pulling the blanket tight. I imagine myself there. Your brother gone. Me sharing the covers with you instead. Me being your brother. Crawling over you. Covering you. Covering your purity with my heart, soul, and intentions. And once I’m on top of you. Under there. Every brother/sister fantasy that was ever imagined, taking place.

28

This vision—I’m not sure where I got it—of me and my sister in early life.

My bedroom. She is underneath the sheets. A blanket. Covers her.

And I sit with my mother’s vibrator. It has attachments and I love the round flat one. I hold it against my dick, thinking of my sister. Wanting her to spread her legs at the vibrator’s touch. Wanting. At this early age. To buy my way inside her body. Wanting her to reach down with her right hand and spread her pussy lips apart. Wanting to see so deep inside her. So deep and so nice. The spiritual high priest of the family.

That secret ceremony that titles me thus.

A ceremony which never actually happened. Not in one place and one time.

But heralded here or there. Minced out in parcels. Given to me time and time again by a loose assemblage of ministers and youth pastors and my father and brothers and kin. I am crowned king by mice and morsels. But the title fits me just the same. That crown price archangel subservient muse atop a king’s head. Crowned by women in bathrooms. Women in their bedrooms. Making lustwise noises in bloom to wake the neighbors from their lustwise cares.

This fantasy wherein I climb atop my sister with my vibrator-hard cock and root around between her pussy neck (lips, mouth, and ages) is pure.

For we are pure.

As a factor of our age.

Nothing we could do. To try. To make our actions anything but pure would be called into question by our age alone. If we killed somebody in this youth of ours, it would be all forgiven. Brushed under the rug. Like a missed call as part of the game: Corrected on the site and the referee disciplined off-site. Later. In someone’s office who doesn’t have a name.

I considered writing a fantasy. Called “We Were All Boys and Girls Together” or maybe “When We Were All Girls and Boys Together.” It would be my creative masterpiece. Requiring the imaginative permission of everyone who ever raised me and everyone I ever raised.

The real reason I never write it?

That I just play with the title, here?

I have absolutely no skills in this life. Writing included. My daughter tells me that. That I have absolutely no skills in this life. That I am a dotard. A bumpkin. My son says my speech and writing are “too sentimental.” Which I’m not sure if it’s true because I don’t know what sentimental means. I looked it up but the dictionary definition is not how he means it—I don’t think.

A knock on the door.

Then a flash of light.

My wife pushes open the office/closet door and I swing around in my pendulum (which serves as a desk chair).

She is wearing a disgusting array of bath robe, earrings, a Good Housekeeping magazine. Mismatched house shoes. Scented by sandalwood oil. Her reading glasses covering her face. Tousled hair. Heating blanket over her shoulders. Her Apple watch (which is playing a game with itself). Today’s newspaper tucked under her arm.

“Are you planning on doing some reading?” I ask.

“I would like,” she says, “if you would sit in bed with me and tell me about the pageant.”

“Oh that!” I shout. “The purity ball. Yes. Of course. I can tell you about that.”

Soon we are in bed together.

“There was a huge array of girls there—huge! It reminded me of my own high school—age. Women wore dresses, men wore tuxedos. They were more girls than women, actually. Girls girls girls! And did I mention girls? We were standing in a veritable throng of them. All decked out and spiced up. Gussets largely visible. Tuesday (which name I’ve now taken to describe the daughter formally known as Monday) made hers visible from the start. That little cheese tart doing it to attract attention from the other fathers and me. She caught my attention—of course!—but caught the attention of other fathers as well. Just between you and me, I think those Walkers might be swingers. Ya dig? Anyway Monday and I were dancing and we danced our way into the bathroom. Nothing untoward. Just Monday broadcasting my likeness all over the internet. We made play like that for several intervals. God almighty! The neighbor girl Emmy dressed herself in fine robes. Had a tattoo across her forehead that said, ‘Oh God, Daddy. It’s so big!’ Of course I knew that had been placed for me to see. A secret message scrawled on her forehead to attract. My very self into her bed.”

After that my wife said something. A whole sequence of things, actually, but it all slipped past my ear as I was divining the purpose and the value of this woman in my bed.

I turned off the light.

Split my wife’s (now Monday’s) bedclothes in two parts.

Climbing on top of her as still she spoke. Rubbed my cock over the raw lips of her VJ picturing Monday (original Monday, now Tuesday) writing to my touch. Picturing Tuesday shutting her legs closed tight. Putting two fingers in my wife’s mouth so she can hardly breathe. Pulling a pillow over her head so she can’t even see my outline and I fucked into her without licking her VJ tight as a bear trap. Picturing Tuesday screaming as I fucked her.

Everything in pain.

Everything as it was meant to be.

29

Closed-eye fucking.

I slammed my body into—whoever—causing babies to come out in queue. The first one in is the first one out. Specialist data structures forged in logic’s dark. Structures implemented as a side effect of love, squishiness, and a complex evolution surrounding us all. Logic only built on top of every one of us. On top of every bacteria trap in the ecosphere.

I throw the blankets off Monday (my wife) leaving her body cold. Leaving her naked and exposed.

She lets out a moan. (A little one.)

Locking myself inside the closet/office. Unlocking the laptop. Special key code on top of that. Windows: On! Path finders: On! My cursor takes me live to Tuesday’s bedroom. Live to her bed. Live to her covers. Live to her head.

Cursor gleaming.

Click click click!

Zoom to her body. Scan her blankets. Detect detect! Motion here? Switch to heat map. Switch to motion detect! Here’s a hand! Examine it as you would examine the ultrasound of an infant. Where’s the heartbeat?

There.

There is she slightly moving. The paper-thin beating of a heart. That almost-undetectable clench. And thrunk of the life organ of the embryo.

Clench—thrunk.

Clench—thrunk.

Clench—every movement of everything in the universe—the world—thunk!

I remember her as a baby. As my doll! Seems so long ago. So minutely long ago when I held you in my arms. Face the size of my palm. Cleaning up your shit. The very beginning of arguing with your mom. Everything from the beginning of time. Of your time. Of time that was with you.

From the fourth dimension.

From the fifth! Sixth!

From the seventh! From the tenth!

I zoom along thy thigh. Rooting through the covers in retro-spade. In light! With a futuristic instrument. Made of bouncing light through your room, underneath your covers. Bouncing light effortlessly from a satellite. To your room. Invisibly touching you. Feeling you up with no contact. Touching you under the covers. Manipulating your mind. Feeling you inside everything that has come. That comes to me for attention. That comes to me from hither. From thither. That comes to me from the director of this world. From the director and the producer of this world. From common times common the bleepness of the bleepness of this world! From ancient grudge breaks new mutiny! We have a show! The extent of all that night. The extent of everything that took trillions of years to create. That is all the result of sexual reproduction and this tiny little light that pits itself against the darkness. That says, “I am here! I matter!” That says: “You cannot squash me without remembering me!” You cannot proceed in life without remembering me. It says: “I will not go alone! I will not die. Not even in your mind. Without such difficulty!”

That’s what it says.

Even though I am a pervert.

Even though I do not matter to you. Even though I never will. Even through my adult self will live in neighborhoods that would never be accessible to you. Even though in practice my bed sheets would never open themselves to you. I will follow you in darkness from my closet/room. My secret desk I suspect my wife has snooped around. But. Never having had the key. Couldn’t have snooped far.

I feel the locked door behind me.

Shut tight.

The hammering of Tuesday’s finger. She rolls onto her stomach. This is it! This is the action. Carried out in dark. This is my daughter’s hot sexuality. Telling her guy on the phone about her “hot jungle,” “steaming cave” all through and through with moisture. I listened to their call saying words like “suffocating.” Like “humidity.” Like “snatch” and “cunt.” Like “deep dick,” “fucking.” “Deep dicking.” “Fuck.”

There is no call now. No tantalizing another with her words. No boy’s imagination lapping it all up. Multiplying. Chaotisizing. Just Tuesday and me. Her saying nothing. Me inventing everything from there. Watching her and touching myself. Touching myself in the usual way. Approaching orgasm. Approaching a climax like the one I made myself feel in my wife’s bed moments ago. Imagining Tuesday. Imagining Tuesday’s antics which I watch now. At wrapt attention. Through a set of cameras and pulleys. From the privacy of my room.

She goes in for the kill and I cannot imagine she is not thinking of me. Thinking of the sexuality of the master of her house. Turned in by the structure of power she lives within. The comfort it gives her. The security. Who would not feel pleasure—sexual pleasure—at that? Who would not?

Tuesday is rooting.

Digging. Underneath her flat body.

It’s to me: To me! My daughter’s thoughts turned to her father. After such a strictly sexual posture. After such a strictly sexual pledge and ball and promise made to me. After all that, who else could it be? Who else could fill her mind? At this time? After such the sexual turn of phrase? It must be for me. To me. Every word. Every expression. Every twitch of the pale moon clock. Every synapse. Every little darling of that brain.

I am on top of her.

Inside of her.

She belongs to me. She’s inside of me. In every human way. In every way sexual. Every way possible. In every way I have never seen. If she turns into her shoulder blades she will see me (as she wakes) from her sleepyness daunting. From every sleepiness meaning nothing to the dreamer. Meaning everything to every observer.

She rubs and rubs. Tiny corner.

Of her security blanket. Forming.

Of the hot wash. The double time. She heats her puss practicality fucking her fingers. Fucking through mysteries. Memories I can hardly remember through confusing time. Up against arguments made by the women who are certainly not masters of the house.

Tuesday quickens now. Devastating her Amazon rain forest pussy to the words I have heard her say before. “I am a rainforest for you—I am a jungle.” As if that was enough to get her little friend off.

But it was.

Mr Friend came off like a slipper.

And just when I thought I’d hear her boyfriend’s name, my Tuesday surprised me, saying “Emmy!” as Tuesday shot her load.

30

I slammed the closet door.

My office open for all to see.

Ran to my little child’s room. Announced my arrival by banging. Loud banging on her door.

“Let me in, Tuesday. Let me in!” I stood gaping. Gasping. Not to be ignored. “Tuesday! Tuesday! Let me. Fucking. In.”

There was a flutter of footsteps—jumping off the bed. Cleaning. The blankets. The fuck. Up!

And then my man appears.

In a tightly open space between the door.

And she stares me down with a vengeance. With an unbeatable stare. I push her out of the way with the opening of the door.

She stumbles—she falls. She picks herself back up and comes at me. Blocking me from the bed.

“Nooooo!” she screams. “Nooooo!! You will not be here when I come. You will not. Be. Here. When I come!”

I stand next to her. With her on the bed and me beside it.

“I already have you,” I tell her. “Already. From hidden cams,” I say. “They’re all about your room in myriad form. Myriad nature. You can’t escape them while you’re here. In exquisite detail—when you do your trigonometry, I can see to the third decimal place. Every button you place with your calculator, I pick it up. Every text you write, I know. Every post you make.”

She lies down. Defeated.

My girl was always going to have to recognize the power of the high priest which is in her home.

“You were always going to have to recognize the power of the high priest which is in your home,” I say. “You’ve always been along that track. Now you have. You have recognized me as the high priest which lives within your home. Haven’t you?”

“Yes,” she mumbles.

“What?” I say.

“Yes!” Tuesday shouts. “Yes. I recognize your power. As the high priest. And everything! I recognize you, you old bitch!”

I would slap her if she wasn’t being so poetic.

“May I sit down?”

“Sit!” my girl says. “But don’t do—it,” she says.

I unbutton my pants. I go to her with it sticking out. Place it in her mouth. Cock my hips backward and press it into her glorious opening. Her teenage mouth. Let it get hard inside her. Then gently fuck her mouth. Hands on top of her head. On the sides. Pulling her closer. Making us fuck. Making us come together. The pleasure is all mine, I imagine—thinking of her red and blood-soaked panties. Welling up with her period. She hands them over to me when she is done bleeding, as a trophy—as a testament—of daughter/father love. Of teenage/adult love. Between the high priest of a family and its youngest member (love). Between the two most-likely candidates to have a baby together in unlikely sexual congress. Between a father and his girl.

I pulled my dick out and laid the girl down.

She was about to receive the wild-dick fucking treatment from me.

Pulled off her panties (so so wet from her previous excursions—thinking of Emmy and all!) with a scrunch of my fingers (so likely as an oddball moment) along her VJ hole and her upper clitoris—just a pinch like you’re checking the mail!

Pulled them off so fast—quickly, like an elf (delivering presents at night)—and I (for a moment, I) was Santa Claus with every girl on my lap. Every girl stripping before she sat down on me. Every girl squirming her little behind on my cock! And pulled off my pajamas so quickly I hardly had time to think. My cock still stinky from coming in my room to this very (well—little—clean) girl who was in the next room.

In her bedroom.

It was always best to fuck a girl in her own room.

In her own bedroom, when I was a kid, that meant in a girl’s own bedroom, in her parents’ house. As opposed to my room in my house or any other room. As her bedroom was part of the conquest. To fuck her was good—to fuck her in her room, on her sheets, increased the value of the quest. Her room was part of the girl’s purity. It was part of her purity that I took. That I got to be part of. And here, in Tuesday’s room, that purity was all around me. I had protected it all this time. By some matter of chance. Of mentality. Of everyone else pretending to be asleep. I had made it to this holy of holies. Into the bedroom of my so-pure girl.

Here I would cover purity. Cover the hole of my daughter. With my mouth. With my hands. Sidling my cock within her womb. Sliding it inward. Into her virgin puss. Inside that which had not been touched. Not yet! Inside the virgin holy of holies. Not so tight—“You haven’t been doing any fucking with this thing, have you?” I asked.

And she came back with—“No.”

And I took it out and played with the entrance to the hole. Determining that it hadn’t been played with. That I was the first. Feeling Tuesday’s cries along my arms. Hearing that little girl sob on my arms! My cock glorified! Made new by this contact. I cover my daughter’s purity. Cover it from all sides! And. In covering her, make her whole, make her a full member of our family. A fully righteous. Fully blessed. Member. Mother. My purest daughter. To serve me. To serve our pure and perfect God.

Tuesday’s face—frightened—as she feels my come inside her body.

She disposes the purity ring. Pulling it off and tossing it off the bed.

To roll for a second. Then stop.

I reach down and get it. Feeling alone, holding the ring in the palm of my hands. Hands that held my Tuesday when she was little. When she was a baby. Hands that used to grip my fingers when I held them to her. That she used to grip so tight, the reflex of her tiny brain.