[We’re dancing at the lima bean cannery that that has parties on the weekends. It’s me, Z, Georgia and a little girl who plays bass with Georgia when she has the time. But I hardly ever have time, she says, because I’m so busy with the Crafting Society. She’s wearing a tiny Care Bears sweater and yellow Keds she said she stole from a girl who was real low on an old roommate’s fuck list. So I didn’t feel too bad about stealing them, she says, and I was totally in love with the roommate at the time so I was like, fuck it, fuck this gay earth, I’m stealing this bitch’s Keds. Z and Georgia dance over to a couch and sit down and soon enough they’re all hands-on-thighs and Z is gumming her ear. The little girl says, They are gross like that all the time. Z is gross, and don’t tell him I told you but she only hangs with him because he gives her free oysters from Hey Jealousy. Didn't you used to go out with her? I say, Yeah. Didn't she write that You're Fun song about how you're fun? I say Who knows.]
[No one says anything for a while and it’s weird, and the little girl checks her phone and looks around the cannery for someone else to dance with. A tall dude in a raincoat walks up to her and asks if she was in his painting class at Hunter and she says definitely not. Didn't you go to Hunter? he says. She says, I definitely didn't. He says, Where did you go to college? Do you live around here? I go into “ask lots of stupid questions mode” to keep her attention.]
Me: What’s the Crafting Society?
Little Girl: Oh it’s real cool, all these folks who need space to work get together and make crafts. And we talk about crafts and try to find people to buy our crafts. It’s a great support system for crafters.
Me: That IS cool. What kind of crafts do you make?
Little Girl: It’s funny you ask because I’m actually between projects right now. I used to be into those gummy monster finger puppets. You know, those goblin-monsters that were big in the mid nineties. You’d see them while checking out at the grocery store and beg your mom to buy you one. We’d trade them at recess at school. Well, for my project I put them on big wooden fingers I made out of popsicle sticks and cover the whole thing in shellac. Then I photographed them and uploaded the photos to my ‘puter and silkscreen the images on shirts. And I’d sell the shirts on the street or at the flea or whatever. My friend who used to work for motherfucking GOOGLE was gonna make me a site to sell the shirts but then he went crazy and moved back home and married his high school girlfriend. He’s got a kid now and a Tumblr about mowing his lawn and pulling weeds. It’s like he needs the entire world to know that he takes care of his yard. What is the deal with people?
Me: That’s cool. Where did you get all those finger puppets?
Little Girl: I used to collect them, I started with about fifty, and then I bought more online. There’s an innocence thing there, it’s a theme. And I’m covering it up, I’m hiding my innocence, LITERALLY, with the shellac, and then I’m uploading my youth into the ‘puter, so there’s this digital childhood thing too, and then I’m LITERALLY wearing it on my sleeve, because it’s on a shirt. So it was it a rad idea. But after making three shirts I thought it was pretty busted. Number one bust. It spent a hundred dollars on it, and only made back ten dollars when I guilted a dude I was sleeping with to buy one. So I’m getting into something else now.
Me: And what’s that?
Little Girl: OK. So don’t tell anyone. Promise? I haven’t made any yet and I don’t want someone to steal my idea.
Me: I promise won’t tell anyone.
Little Girl: OK. So you know those cups that are on top of cold medicine bottles? The cold medicine shot glasses?
Little Girl: They are so cool, right? I just love them. I love them so much. See, I used to drink DayQuil. Like, DRINK IT, drink it, not when I was sick. I’d drink it whenever. This is when I was 18, 19. It made doing laundry more exciting, it made The Daily Show funnier. Honestly, everything was a little better when I was Quiling. But it wouldn’t make me freak out like coke or E would, so I convinced myself it was good for me. And it tasted good too. I rocked the orange flavor, always orange. Some nights I’d take a shot of NyQuil to fall asleep, but during the day it was all DayQuil, all day. One day I drank too much and got all hyper and decided it’d be a great idea to buy a kitten, because why not? What college girl living in the dorms shouldn’t have a kitten? I brought her home and named her – what else? – DayQuil. DayQuil was the coolest. Until she got sick. She got sooo sick. She couldn’t keep food down and some mornings she’d curl up with me in bed and I swear she was crying. or maybe I was crying so I thought she was crying too. It was so sad, and I tried to save her, I begged my parents for money so I could take her to the vet, but the vet said they couldn’t do anything. She had feline lymphoma. She was a goner. So they put her down. I only had her for two weeks, but because I was rolling on Quil the whole time those weeks were the best two weeks of my life so far: I had my kitten, I had my Quil, the semester hadn’t started yet so I didn’t have any homework, and I was fucking this rich dude who’d buy me things for no reason and leave them in my room. He bought me a body pillow and snuck it into my dorm room. And he was so well hung, it was inspiring. I was writing short stories about his perfect dick in creative writing class. I’m sorry, I’m talking way too much, it’s the drugs, I’m sorry.
Me: That’s OK. So what’s the project with the DayQuil cups?
Little Girl: I’m doing a series about that time in my life. I’ll take a hundred cups. No, five hundred cups. And the cups will be less than half full with an orange-y liquid, maybe Sunkist, and they’ll be stacked in… wait for it, wait for it… in a pile of cat hair. Z’s friend has a cat and he said I could shave it if I give — nevermind. He said I can shave his cat. The cat hair represents my sweet sweet DayQuil. And I’ll take pictures of it and silkscreen them on shirts and wear the shirts when I go out. The piece will be called All DayQuil. Want to pre-order a shirt?
Me: Yeah maybe later. Do you still drink DayQuil all the time?
Little Girl: No, not really. Only when I’m sick.
Me: That’s good. That stuff is nasty.
Little Girl: BUT I’M SICK ALL THE TIME!
[Little Girl reaches in her purse and produces a bottle of orange DayQuil and twists off the cap and takes a pull. She offers it to me. I shake my head and say no thanks. She pushes the bottle in my face and says Come on. So I take a pull, and it’s nasty. I wash it I down with my warm Schaefer which is also nasty but not as nasty as the DayQuil. She takes my hand and we’re dancing again, and she doesn’t dance like a crafter, not like the crafter I live with. She dances like I’d imagine a Bratz Doll would dance, all nasty, with her finger in my mouth, and she’s wearing fishnets, like a Bratz Doll.]
[I blame this line on the DayQuil:]
ME: You look and dance like a Bratz Doll.
Little Girl: Oh my God, I’ve always wanted to be a Bratz Doll. Those bitches get whatever they want.
Me: I know. And what do you want?
Little Girl: What do YOU want?
Me: I want whatever YOU want. What do YOU want tonight? Just tell me what you want.
Little Girl: I want what YOU want. Tell me what you want.
[The little girl says we should go, but what about Z and Georg? Z and Georgia are still on the couch and Z is doing the thing where he takes a few inches of the girl’s hair between his hands and gnaws on it like it’s corn on the cob. Georgia loves this. She's giving him a wet Willie and he doesn’t seem to mind. The Little Girl says they are so gross, we should leave them. And I’m like, Good plan.]
Little Girl: Where do you live?
Me: A few blocks away. Let’s go. But we can’t wake up my family.