The following is an excerpt from my unpublished/unfinished novel TUTTI, Chapter 4: “Bastard Mounds”.
Mary Beth stood in front of the bathroom mirror, entranced by the new day?s pimples. Some, like that nasty whitehead on her forehead that appeared only the day before, had disappeared all together, leaving no trace of their existence. Others, like the cluster on her right cheek, had been present for weeks and showed no signs of packing up and leaving any time soon. She felt her chin, throat, and nose, searching for ?mounds?, those zits that formed deep beneath the skin and became very large and painful and proved notoriously impossible to squeeze, but were almost impossible to detect before they became painful. Mounds were the bane of Mary Beth?s existence. Ordinary pimples could be squeezed or simply ignored, and they were not painful when left alone, and squeezing them didn?t hurt either ? well, it hurt, but in a good kind of way. And while she took some solace in the fact that regular pimples tend to pop on their own, opening up the possibility of an unsightly trickle of blood and pus coming down one?s forehead, while mounds were largely invisible until they were at their apex, she still wished that she only had normal pimples instead of the addition of the incessant infestation of mounds. She singularly placed blame on the mounds for the drop in her grades and social standing at school, her inability to get any boys to like her, her constant mood changes, her inability to get along with her parents, and basically anything else that was problematic in her young life.
She felt a bastard mound beginning to form beneath her right temple. A few days, she thought, and that?ll be a lump the size of a tennis ball. Of course, since it was deep below her skin, there was not much she could do about it, except wash her face, use the medicated pads, and pray. That was another problem with mounds. God seemed to reject any and all prayers having to do with them.
Mary Beth forgot about the mounds for a moment, and started looking for patterns in her new surface acne. Ever since she had found what appeared to be, in her opinion, a pentagram, she had been interested in exploring and seeing if other patterns may have emerged. There were two triangles on her face ? a large one on her cheek, and a small one on her chin. There was a straight line running somewhat diagonally up her forehead with a smaller line running parallel beneath it. She turned away from the mirror and looked back over her left shoulder to find a circle with a dot inside. A wheel? A donut?
She looked again at her face. Her eyes fixated on the tip of her nose in the mirror and her focus blurred. Suddenly, her entire face was revealed to her in breathtaking close-up. Her eyes became time-lapse cameras and she saw the various tectonic plates that made up the surface of her face drift and collide and separate and collide again over the course of millions of years, causing volcanoes, earthquakes, whole mountain ranges to form in a matter of relative seconds; the flesh immediately beneath her skin, among which the mounds resided, swished and swirled almost imperceptibly, carrying blemishes from her chin up to her forehead and back around to her chin again, crossing the bridge of her nose and her upper lip in the process. Looking closer, she could see deep inside her pores, in which the same phenomenon was occurring; and inside the pores were more pores, which held more pores, which held more pores, and so on. In that instant her face was a kaleidoscope of motion and a fractal in form, and it was the most glorious thing she had ever seen. Falling through series after series of pores with lumpy flesh swirling endlessly around them, eventually she reached a point where she fell no further, and came to rest just short of another large hole with contained nothing but blackness and void. She threw her arms over her head, twirled around one hundred eighty degrees on the tips of her toes, and, keeping her body stiff as a board, let herself fall backwards into the hole in her brain.
Daily Hey Magic Number: 8