Fall 2009, #16
       "Woodchuck vs. the Hank Williams Zombie"

Fuzzy Liberty

     by Dipika Mukherjee

She was a widowed sister of a friend, visiting New York for the first time. One child in Kota; she had to leave him behind. My friend emailed me her introduction picture in which she wore a mustard yellow sari with blooming red poppies on the border and her eyes were lined with kajal. She was 32.

I had a grocery store with ethnic knick-knacks and pirated movies not-so-hidden under the counter. I was 41 and tired of American women who gave too much and then gave up, too soon.
She showed up for our first date in her brother’s jeans, tugging at the collar of her shirt and smoothing the bulge at her crotch when she thought I wasn’t looking. She had small ringless hands...they looked naked and very smooth.

We went to this Indian bar where they served gol-gappa shots; you know, the kind with the puffs filled with vodka and rum and pretty much any kind of alcohol you want mixed in with spicy chutney. I don’t think she even realized they were spiked -- she probably thought they tasted foreign-funny when she choked on the first one. Then she ate more, many more, the potato filling dribbling down her lip and she licking it all up with her pink tongue. Her eyes started to glint at me.

She wanted to see New York. So there I was, freezing my butt off in a bloody park, my hair getting tossed in the wind and my moustache losing its curl and what does she do?

“Smile,” she simpers, clicks, then pukes all over my camera.

When I got home, I downloaded the picture. Fuzzy Lady Liberty. Next time, I should just stay in the bar. But she says sugar like it’s a name. Sue Garr. So sweet.