"Don't mention Paris, its bad salesmanship..."

I realized tonight that I need a Rick it my life. Someone sensible and pragmatic. Because if it had been me, instead of Ilsa, I would have said "Fuck Paul Henreid. I'm gonna stay here and be a bartender's wife." That is what distinguises me from the fresh-scrubbed, vetted, well-qualified masses. I'm all brains and no fire, no discipline.

I am pleased, however, that the angry, insistent little voice in my head is swelling. The voice that opposes the rest of me (read: vast majority of me) that complains about every hangnail and missed meal. This is the voice that yells, repeatedly, "You will not be beaten." This is the voice that has been missing all of my life, the one that wasn't there every time I threw in the towel after a few preliminaries.

This is the voice that got my biology homework in on time today. When the wimpy, fey version of me, with the squat, dumpy body and the receding hairline told me that I didn't have time to finish a cladogram. But I could finish a little more Borges, get a good word high going, check my e-mail, waste time, ect. The pasty version of me swept his greasy hair back, and nearly convinced me: "After all, what's the use of trying, if you'll only fail?"


"Shut the fuck up, fatty!" The voice appears, and his hair isn't greasy, its short and spiked, with mottled highlights. This guy could be the cold emcee at bondage orgies, or the headmaster at a Draconian school for blind children. He's read everything I've read, but he likes Kurt Vonnegut. He is smoking unfiltered Luckies, and his pink t-shirt says "I burned the Reichstag."

He disengages himself from the wall he was leaning against, and walks toward my alter alter ego, with more swagger than Genet's Querelle. He yells at greasy for a bit, and tells me to get to work.

I do, and I finish with time to spare, not hating myself. I go to Biology and my lab instructor, a delicate woman from South India, lectures on Domain and Phylum, spouts endless taxonomic markers, varied characteristics and reams of statistics. It is as if a porcelain figure is lecturing, with perfect diction, and grace. She does all of this while wearing a lime-green shirt that reads:

"Remember my name, you'll be screaming it later."