Bad Witch

November 19, 2003

Bad Witch

Rachel’s nieces Sydney and Hannah were in town for the weekend, and Rachel and I babysat them. After dinner Hannah, who’s four now, insisted I play “bad witch” with her. I was to be the bad witch.

“What does the bad witch do?” I asked.

“Bad things.”

Fine. Bad things. I stuck her in the bathroom sink and told that if she tried to get down I would turn her into a bar of soap and wash the dog with her.

She liked that.

Then she demanded some bugs to eat, so I got her a handful of grapes.

“If you eat all these bugs,” I said, “you’re going to become the fattest girl in the world.”


“Because these bugs get really really big inside you, and you can’t ever get them out.”

“I’m going to eat them anyway.”

“You won’t be able to leave this bathroom if you do, because you won’t be able to fit through the doorway.”

“I don’t care. I’m hungry. Give them to me.”

“Suit yourself. Since I’m a bad witch, I want you to eat the bugs because it means more soap for me. I like soap.”

Chomping on the bugs, Hannah asked why I like soap.

“Because it’s made from little girls.”

I laughed demonically, brandishing my claw-like hands.

Hannah was unmoved. “You don’t scare me, you soapy witch. Now bring me more bugs.”

Drawing of me by Hannah, age 4

Later Hannah gave me a drawing she made. The black part, she felt compelled to explain, is my t-shirt.

November 11, 2003


I took a job writing spam headers. I won’t try defend this because I can’t. That’s my defense: I have no defense. Anyway I only wrote headers; no body copy.

Not that I was so great with headers. The guy who hired me, I’ll call him Josh, paid me by the header. He’d say, “Give me twenty headers about sucking c0ck” and I’d spend half a day writing the world’s best headers about sucking c0ck, which was ridiculous because he was paying me a flat rate and would use maybe two headers.

Anyway I quit writing spam headers when it became clear that Josh didn’t appreciate my work. The final straw was the aforementioned c0cksucking assignment. I wrote a header I really liked but that Josh considered “overly modest.” It went:

i am not perfect but i do suck c0ck

As I saw it, the reader would picture a woman who was trying to be realistic about her strengths and weaknesses. This made her compelling to me; in fact it made me want to know more about her. But Josh doesn’t care for subtleties. He wants the hard sell, as it were, which I find distasteful. So I quit.

I am not perfect, I told him, but I won’t whore myself.

November 5, 2003

The Obvious

E reported over dinner (excellent new Italian place on Vanderbilt) that it’s over between her and J, who has returned to a woman he had a long-term affair with years ago, under the nose of her then live-in boyfriend. E said that the former boyfriend, who is either an idiot or someone who gets off on being betrayed, once phoned his girlfriend at J’s apartment, right after she and J had had sex, to ask what she was up to. “Lying naked with J,” she said, as though joking, which in a sense she was, the joke being she wasn’t joking.

E ordered meat ravioli and I had vegetable polenta. The food was yummy and we both liked the décor, which made E think of a bed and breakfast, and me of the hull of a ship. We sat at a table for four. I noticed that you couldn’t fit two chairs under the same side of the table at the same time, that either the table was too narrow or the chairs too wide. I pointed this out to the waitress, who kept leaning over the table and tilting her head in a way that made E think she was flirting with me. I disagreed, or rather I thought that if she was flirting, which I suppose she was, she didn’t actually mean anything by it and was instead pretending to mean something, which to my mind made it different from flirting, which is all about possible, not feigned, meaning.

E said that her instant messaging program lets her know when J’s computer has been idle more than a certain number of minutes – information she uses in her speculations about whether J is talking to, emailing, or having sex with the other woman.

I suggested the obvious: delete him from the program.

She responded with the obvious: this is her only remaining connection to him.