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15. Your Mother Never Did This with My Belt

Gone Joe was like a man half-buried in the sand. He had grunted himself into the hairline fissure between Izzys bung and the lip of Shamans puncture. The tip of one fingernail?the ring finger of his right hand?was actually protruding from my mind. It dipped in and out of my field of vision like a phantom scimitar, like a crescent moon, or like a glint off troubled water, half-hypnagogic, half-real. Sometimes, pressing hotly against Nora, my cheek slid against her cheek, and I was lost in the jungle of her wavy hair. I opened my eyes, as if to breathe through them, so breathless did normal air leave me then. I blinked out the window into the daunting black, star-speckled and streamered with burning lights, and I caught Gone Joes moon, at home in the cosmos and traveling with me as the moon follows a traveler on Earth. It seemed distant and large; really, it was near and small.

Gone Joes nail scratched things. It scratched Noras long, perfect flank. She seemed to like that. She uttered a small cry that I could feel vibrating right through my breast bone as we undulated together. I was straddling Nora on her chair, like Ganeshas shakti. I lapped her and thwucked breast to breast and belly to belly with my shirt pulled off. We were tongue and palate smacking. I tore her T-shirt up over her head; during the seconds of eclipse, when Noras face was inside the T-shirt, I was panic-stricken, desperate to see her again. Without her eyes, I was perdu. Embracing her, I tried to swallow her through my whole skin, to engorge her like an amoeba. It enflamed and infuriated me that she was outside me. She groaned and kissed.

Gone Joe kept appropriating parts of Nora. He was superimposed on her, like shower screen lilies on a bather. Once, when she smiled and blinked?I had made hungry babies mouths of my palms, pulling at her breasts?the movement of one eyelid was Gone Joes mouth: "Run!"

"What?" she said.

"Nothing," I said. "I love you, Nora. Ive always loved you."

To Gone Joe, inside, I said, "Stop it! Shut up! Go away."

"Youre crazy," he said. "This chick is a geek. You saw her brother. Shes a pit viper inside, and yellow! Not to mention, were in outer fucking space. Shes using you."

"What do you want me to do?" I said inside.

"Is something wrong?" Nora asked me. She started unbuckling my belt.

"Kill her. Strangle her. Get away. Get that boa constrictor in the kitchen and run us home with the automatic dishwasher, right? That what she said, the dishwasher? You know how to use a dishwasher?"


"Dont call me that. Whats she doing with your belt? Pay attention to me, will you? Get control. Pull your pants back up, damn it all to hell! Hers, too! Whats she doing with your belt? Your mother never did this with my belt. Mel, if you dont stop this and get us out of here, Im going to give you a headache youll never forget."

Suddenly, Nora jerked backward, toppling the chair, with me on top of her. "Theres a finger in the air," she shrieked. "Its pointing at me!"

14. So Was the Sphinx | Izzy and the Father of Terror | 16. Planting My Flag