The Lisa Diaries

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The Lisa Diaries by Lisa Carver  

Greasy Overcoat

December 14, 2000

I’ve been going to cafes and bars and laundromats, spying on people and imagining sex things happening to them. Like this sulky couple last night and the old, smelly drunk who barged in on them. The cafe has the smallest of lamps at each table, making cones of light that cover plates and

hands but don’t quite reach faces. Still, from my fluffy chair with no light, I could tell that the woman had a cruel face. She was right on the edge of old, which is probably worse than having fallen in. Her man was scruffy, whipped, silent, younger. Underneath a stupid haircut, he was secretly handsome. Hot drinks made mist under their chins, and other people’s kids squeaked and tumbled right up to their still bodies (in matching cable-knit sweaters). The old drunk was trying to get a free coffee out of the counter girl. When that failed, he approached the couple and told the woman she was a pretty thing. “I’ve been trying to tell her that all day,” the young man said. The woman shot him a look. “Is Freddy bothering you?” the counter girl asked. The couple vehemently shook their heads.


I blinked really fast and then the old drunk was pointing his finger inside the pocket of his greasy overcoat (it really was greasy . . . was he carrying old pieces of pie in his pockets?). He told them it was a gun. “Don’t scream,” he said low. That is such a sexeee phrase. They knew it was probably a finger in there, but what if it was a gun? They looked not at the drunk, but at each other. They wanted it to be a gun. “Get up slow,” Freddy said next, and made them get in their Ford Focus and take him to their house, where he would force them to perform sex

acts for him. Really he was like an angel, because that’s what they needed — an interrupting force.


That night, a hole opened up in the ceiling over my bed, and snow streamed down like a waterfall, filling the room. Dave crawled under the snow and got in bed with me and used his laser penis to chemically erode a hole in my pajamas. He hates my pajamas — he calls me Flannimal when I wear them. I was snug and safe in my pajamas with all the blankets and a whole roomful of snow weighing me down, and I didn’t even have to move to have sex: it was the slow-burning variety.


As long as a thing stays frozen, it can’t rot. And so I’ve been going on with my day, watering plants and writing things down, putting all my hope in the imminent arrival of some impolite intruder, a stranger who will rush in and force me out of it all at gunpoint. And then I realized: I don’t have to wait! I can leave — walk away from all my troubles like I’m stepping out of a robe. It seems so simple — how did I never see it before? Probably because our troubles demand our attention, and we get used to them, until they are adhered to every bit of flesh in our life — ours and others’ — and to rip them off would be to leave everything bloody and unprotected. At first they get in the way of our true selves, but as time goes by, they come to be our meaning, weight, urgency, rapid brainwaves. They make us real. Could I really leave all this and walk into — what? As whom? That’s what I want — to walk into hotels and lonely restaurants, with people who have no memory of me and it’s all still waiting. Maybe I’ll go to France. I didn’t like it when I lived there before, but now I’d love to be where I don’t speak the language well and I have to drive on the wrong side of the street. I want to see and smell and know all the men and women who aren’t me.

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Lisa Carver is the author of the books Dancing Queen, Rollerderby, The Lisa Diaries and Drugs Are Nice. She’s written for Hustler, Index, Icon, Feed, Newsday and Playboy, among others. She lives in New Hampshire.


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