Girl Lit 3: 'Fuck You Too, Pixie Meat' by Kirsty Logan
Below is a story of teenage self-destruction, rock and roll, drugs and punch ups – a fairytale of all these things, from the hand of Kirsty Logan, fellow The Female Gaze Review writer and inhabitant of Scotland. She writes lustily and skewed, injecting old forms with modern feeling. And in her explorations of marginal spaces, female and often queer experience, is both fantastic to read and a prime writer of our genre-in-question, Girl Lit.
- dramatically strums guitar *
Logan’s first collection of short stories, The Rental Heart & Other Fairytales comes out from Salt in March next year, giving you the chance, should you buy it, to support a smaller press and get a book with a very pretty cover and much wilder, squidgier contents.
Fuck You Too, Pixie Meat
(After Hole’s ‘Rock Star’)
It went like this: the sky was glittering, the dancefloor was throbbing, and every single goddess there was looking at the way –
Once upon a time there was a girl, and one star-strewn night she met a boy who was a bite of perfection, all lipstick and bones, and they lived happily –
Fuck it. This is how it really was: Wednesday night at the Olympia and everyone looked the same. Some girl was up on stage doing her thing, standing on her tiptoes to sing because it hadn’t occurred to anyone to lower the mic after the boys had played. Her band was Bitches on Acid, or Cuntfight, or Slit, and they had red glitter drumskins and Hello Kitty stickers on the bass. You know exactly how they looked: pink hair, smeared lipstick, and muffin-tops anchored over the waists of their jeans. There was even a plastic unicorn standing guard at the front of the stage. You know exactly how they sounded too, but who needs more than three chords anyway?
I was lurking near the back with a couple of girls I barely knew, girls I wish I’d known in high school but I was too much of a loserfreak then so I had to be friends with them now, when they only talked to me because I bleached my hair and always had pills to share. A few months ago they’d seen me holding a baggie in a bathroom and called out a name that wasn’t mine, but I pretended it was and fake-remembered all the things they were talking about. School, classes, graduation. As if I could have gone to that school. They hadn’t caught me out yet. I’d done some research and dropped some names at the right time, and they were too stoned or self-involved to notice if something was off.
They were both whining over some guy, some dickweed with artfully tousled hair and hipbones that could cut glass. He hadn’t shown up yet, but every girl’s eyes were pointing straight at the door so they didn’t miss a second of his performance. Him just walking in is a performance, him ordering his drink and paying for it and slouching to the corner of the room and watching us from the hooded arch of his eyelids: all a performance. All just total fucking bullshit.
The next band is up: shoeless, tights torn, vintage dresses taut over their little pot bellies. The singer pulls the mic off its stand and wraps it around her arm so tight the flesh puckers out, drowned white against the leech-black wire. I sigh and flip my empty beer bottle into the corner, sneaky-like so the bar guy doesn’t yell at me.
Jennifer’s pulling on my elbow, whining they’re gonna be on soon as if we actually came here to see Do It For The Kids and not just stalk some chunk of pixie meat, and I don’t know why I never noticed before that Jennifer’s got on so much eyeliner that it looks like her eyes are wearing mourning veils. I know what she wants, and I link my arm with hers and stick out my other arm elbow-first so that Tabitha can hook onto me, and I lead them into the girls’ bathrooms.
We spend a few moments playing with lipstick and eyeliner – red, black, sex and death – then cram into a cubicle. The door won’t close right around Jennifer’s arse and Tabitha and I swap glances over Jennifer’s bright-red tangle of hair. We don’t get to eat cherry-nut sundaes, but we can slip into the smallest of cubicles. Jennifer breathes in until her ribs stick out and she can get the door shut; I slip my hand into my boot and pull out a tiny plastic bag. I count pills into their waiting palms, saying one pink, one blue, one for me, one for you, and they never take their eyes off the bag, and my rhyme falters when I realise that I don’t know when we last met each other’s gaze.
Back out by the stage the loserfreak pixie meat has arrived. He’s leaning one elbow on the bar, eyelids at half-mast, plastic cup of something in one hand. If Tabitha and Jennifer didn’t already have pupils the size of pennies, they would have widened at the sight of his t-shirt-draped bones. They hold my arms tight enough to bruise. I glance over to Tabitha and I swear to christ I can see her left tit vibrating with the pressure of her heartbeat. Fuck this shit.
Hey I yell across the floor hey you goddamn it and the pixie meat looks up and puts down his drink and stands there staring at me and before I can think I unhook myself from those bruise-tight grips and I march over to him, feeling fifty feet tall in my torn babydoll and untied boots.
Now that I’m so close to him I don’t know what to say. I wait for him to call me out on cussing at him but he doesn’t. I’ll have one of those, I say, nodding at the plastic cup, and he turns to the barman and points at the cup, then takes the new cup off the bar and puts it in my hand. It’s that quick, that smooth, all one motion like a bird opening its wings. I take a sip even though I don’t really want it because I don’t know what else to do and I’m scared that he knows somehow, that the lies I told to be here are written on my clavicles for him to read. He just stares at me with his eyelids so lazy-low that he barely has to move them to blink.
I’m a rockstar he says and keeps staring at me like I’m the doll inside a snowglobe, like I’m the angel on top of a Christmas tree, like I’m fascinating. Like I’m someone.
Bullshit I say I never heard of you.
Well I’m practically a rockstar and I can’t even tell when he’s blinking and when he’s looking, and then he says any day now and normally shit like that would make me laugh and move on to the next guy but there’s something there, something I can’t even say, and it’s not just that he stares. It might be the pink pill talking or maybe the blue one but he makes me feel like I’m the girl with the most cake. If he can fake it this good then maybe it’s not faking.
The band has come out by now – We are Doing It For the Kids! – they whine into the mic before the drummer taps them in and it doesn’t make sense to mangle their name like that but whatever, what the fuck ever, because now my heart is thumping so hard that I bet my own left tit is vibrating.
I think the pixie meat can probably see the vibration so I lean away from him, just a little bit, because I can’t see whether he’s looking down my dress or not. He just leans closer.
I don’t know why but I glance up then, across the floor to where I left Tabitha and Jennifer, and I guess I thought they’d be flinging their limbs about to the band by now but they’re not. They’re looking at me. At us.
And Tabitha has never looked more like what she is, which is a beauty queen gone bad, all honey-smooth vowels and a blowjob mouth, and I know she is going to fuck me up. Oh mother mary, she is going to fuck me up good because she knows what I am. She’s always known, but she didn’t care because I had baggies in my boots and I was always there when she called.
I have to, I say to the hood-eyed boy, I have to, and he knows because he’s looking over at Tabitha too. At least I think he is, it’s hard to tell if there are even eyeballs under those lids. He takes my drink and says I’ll hold this till you get back, like I’m coming back, like I’ll ever be in one piece ever again, and I head straight for the door. Do It For the Kids are playing some whine-rock and the crowd are swaying like the lungs of a beast, a mass of hair and cloth and scar-shining limbs. I wish I’d laced up my boots because those motherfuckers feel heavier than coal.
As I elbow through the crowd I think, there was never going to be a revolution. There can never be a girl-revolution because we’re too busy arguing over who gets to be the queen. This thought makes a hell of a lot more sense to me than that slice of boy who can’t even lift his goddamn eyelids.
Outside, the air tastes like gin. Everything is a tangle and the stars are blurring but I finally feel like I can put my boots flat on the ground. I know the shape of my feet, the thump of my heart.
I take a lungful of the thickening city air and I go to shout out my own real name but before I can remember it the stars have flickered to black and there’s grit on my cheek and my boots are up above my head and it’s Tabitha, that goddamn fucking cunting oh –
and I’m over again, the kerb by my jaw, and I’m up on my feet and I can see the smear of her face so I put my shoulder into it. There’s an oooof of breath and I catch the scent of her skin, booze and sex and sugar, and a shiver runs through me. I hold out my arms until I can get my balance, and I look over at the tangle of Tabitha on the ground. She’s perfect. She’s a goddess. I want her oh god oh fuck I want to be inside her and I want to be her and –
Why are we even fighting? What the fuck are we fighting over? Some slab of pixie meat who can’t even open his goddamn eyes, just a t-shirt full of bones and fingers on guitar strings? Which girl is the thinnest, which girl has more sugarpills, which girl swallows more, which girl is the girl, the best girl, the one with the most cake boys tits pills love love love and it’s stupid, it’s so stupid, I never wanted to do it. I put one boot in front of the other and I walk. I walk as fast as I can without falling over.
Goodbye! I yell over my shoulder Goodbye, motherfuckers! and I keep walking because I don’t know how to come back.