Jill Wasteful exited the confession booth. It was apparently not a sin to grow mushrooms in her vagina. Though the persistent thoughts of displaying herself, cost her four Hail Marys.
You must be 25? It made her head turn.
Yes, of course, she said, glancing at the man standing beside her.
I’m 47. But he didn’t look a year over 27.
So you do it too...?
Nodding on both sides.
Treatments are a life-saver.
No, I meant prayer.
Ha-ha, Jill laughed. Yes I suppose that would work too.
I’m more confident than I am filled with botox, she said. It’s not what you are but what you do.
Looks actually matter to me.
No, that they’re God-given.
What about art?
It’s a waste of space.
Jill and the young-looking man stared at the gigantic white canvas hung on the curved whitewashed wall of the gallery. At the far end of the piece, it slowly crumbled like cottage cheese, into a large glass dish.
I guess this artist knows something.
The man smiled.
I may be immortal but I’ll never know.
I may be immortal if I ever know.
They stared at one another.
I like your beard and glasses, and the way you’re built. You’re a thinker. That’s a plus.
Thanks, he said. I like that you’re honest enough to do what you want to do and not let anyone tell you otherwise -and it works for you -great.
Can I see you sometime?
Same place, here, same time, tomorrow.
You know, Gillian, the more I think of you -the perfect antithesis to my immortality, the more I want to change you. Yet to change you would destroy me. What do you think of that?
I have mushrooms in my vagina, she replied.
Would you like a look? Hail Mary.
No, I would like a taste.
Then you’re an artist.
And Death is a blond white middle-aged woman.
Jill Wasteful lived in the space between time. In the instant after her botox injections and firming gel massages; in that fleeting glance of her “young” body in the windows of the subway train. In the superficiality of a man’s appreciation. Likely, she shouldn’t need to exist who needed so much to have it!
He waited for her to emerge from her intensive oxygen treatment, in the frosted glass pod that stood by her condo’s glass facade. Her skin was silky white and her strawberry blond hair perfectly held its shapely bob.
He wondered if she wore a wig or transplants. But so much didn’t matter to him anymore. A shoulderless puff of crepe pink and cream laced her body down to mid thigh.
How about those mushrooms?
Their “moment” was a brief one. She felt so soft, so perfectly tender, yet real -unlike a toy or doll. That the capillaries in her blushed skin were probably 80 years old and maintained by Reservatol and every chemical from there up to formaldehyde. She should come with laundering instructions. He hadn’t the slightest hesitation to look for. But the mushrooms in her vagina, he uprooted. They were like inoki. Stringy with small caps and plenty of mycellium.
He pressed the fungus to his beard, to his nose and breathed of them. They smelt like a larder of cured meat and Christmas pudding.
And she straddled him, left helplessly in love.
They saw one another more times than they could remember and talked long into the early hours of the morning.
Why we exist, is for the pure worship of God -He who gives all.
Why I exist, she pondered for a second, is my insurance premiums keep going down.
I should have guessed.
A smile played on his lips.
Trade, he said.
I knew you were smart, she replied.
Due to medical innovation, the switch was trivial. Robot surgeons lifted flesh and bone, nerve and vein effortlessly from Jill to her lover and vice-versa without spilling a drop of blood.
They woke up switched.
Do you want to see my mushrooms? He said.
Only if you say a Hail Mary.
It was late in the evening. And that night, Gillian Wasteful and her man, call him Hank Chaffer, married, legally, to a packed hall of well-wishers and numerous friends.
“And they shall be one flesh”
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