After the Robing of the Bride
Nuptials. Bird-Woman and Decomposing Wooden Post are tying the knot. To their story a tragic denouement lies remotely tethered, but we are at the happy beginning. Now there is only a young nectarine-skinned griffin lady in love. Her six-breasted pelican-faced midget is the flower girl. Wooden Post's vulva-shaped sea-glass prairie fish is the ring bearer. Best man and bridesmaids stand in pink-footed attention at the top of the stairs. The lips of each are sown with purple string for the occasion.
The couple's wedding planner has done a bang-up job. Oil paintings of horse hooves in thundering gallop, skeletons swanking in black bowties, and luminescent red mountains hang in gilded frames on tents of air. Majestic: a ceremony above the measureless sea. Company entire floats several meters over the waves, under gardenia-soaked tents of linen and air.
Before vows, tradition stipulates that the bride-to-be wrestle a host of drooling, gamey-mouthed sea organisms. For example: giant clams and sea pigs and starfish. Bird-Woman has been practicing her Indiana Hook, her Cement Job, her Three-Quarter Nelson. She'll never be more ready than this moment. Creatures fly up from the sea to meet her – first to attack are the mollusks, who clamp to her calves with moxified vim. But Bird-Woman karate-chops and they fall, barking out reproaches. Jellies, puffers, baby crabs continue the assault, but she repels them with equal dignity and grace. Hoards of angry animals tumble, clacking to the paved stones that hover above the ocean's pellucid skin. Inspired by such ruckus, the band sets in, and Bird-Woman dusts herself off in preparation for the long walk up the staircase to her future.
Suddenly, the lady is beset by last-minute doubts. With each step, she whispers… Mistake? Mistake? Wooden Post is a gentleman… but does he supply the spark? The spontaneity? The sexual prowess? His bark is mannishly rough, his embrace comforting… but is that enough for a life?
She arrives at last at the top. From under the fluttering awnings of the white pavilion, Decomposing Wooden Post takes her hand. She gazes deep into his decalcomania'd eye-knots, and her doubts fritter away like horseflies in the hot sun. Green-Billed Ninja Hunter officiates.
"Do you, Bird-Woman..."
"Do you, Wooden Post..."
They kiss. Love melts, a pendulous orange fondue. Both now are poised for the Flight of the Newlyweds. Guests look on with interest as husband climbs atop his new wife's back. Amidst tossed rice and cheers, they glide swiftly into the wide afternoon sky.
[Inspired by surrealist painter Max Ernst's "The Robing of the Bride," 1940]
Hannah E. Phinney recently received her M.A. in linguistics. She is currently slinging booze and writing surrealistic flash fiction while deciding whether to spend another decade in school. More of her stories can be found at http://kingzoko.wordpress.com/. Hannah lives in San Francisco.