|Английски оригинал||Перевод на български|
There was always room for more monsters in L.A.
“Isabel, beautiful. Time to work,” said Sierra.
- Изабел, красавице. Време е за работа - каза Сиера.
ava99s 3.02.19 в 16:17
I had been working, watering Sierra’s ridiculous plants..blush., the tiny, concrete-floored outlet for Sierra (no.last.name’s) clothing line, always contained more plants than clothing.
Sierra loved the look of the ferns and palms and orchids, but she never wanted to put in the effort to make them flourish.
Her talent rested more with the torture of dead things and inanimate objects. Things that you could stick a needle in without it getting angry. Things you could hang on a rack without violating human rights.
“I am working,” I said, stabbing a fertilizer spike into potting soil. “I’m keeping your plants alive.”
Sierra inserted two dried palm fronds into her updo, which was several shades closer to white than my blond hair. The addition worked for her; most things worked for someone who looked like her. She was a former supermodel. Former meaning last year. That’s seven years in dog years or L.A. time.
“Plants live on sunshine, gorgeous.”
“Sierra,” I said, “did your parents ever explain photosynthesis to you? It’s like this: When a plant and the sun love each other very much —”
“Christina is on her way,” Sierra interrupted. “Please, Isabel. Endless smooches. Thanks.”
Ah, Christina. The Christina. She was a very good spender when she was in the mood, and she liked to be waited on.
Well, really she liked to know that she could be waited on if she wanted it. She did not want to be hovered over. She did not want to be patronized. She didn’t want someone to hold a pair of leggings for her. She didn’t want to be asked if she wanted to see it in champagne. She wanted a selection of attendants to be present so she could make a point of not asking them for anything.
So Sierra sent us all out to lean on the five pieces of furniture and examine our nails and text our boyfriends. All of us blond little monsters. Bangs sliced jagged and frosty, eyes lined kohl-black-sinister, lips bubblegum or cherry, all of us kissable as a plane crash.
Although I had only been here a few weeks, I was very good at this job. It wasn’t that Sierra’s other monsters were bad at elegantly folding tunics or boredly adjusting tanks on hangers.
It was that they didn’t know that the secret to selling Sierra’s clothing was to lounge on the stool near the front, not giving a damn, demonstrating to every potential customer exactly what the clothing would look like if they were to buy it and not give a damn.
The other monsters weren’t good at this because they gave a damn.
I was mostly focused on opening my eyes in the morning and moving my legs and eating enough food to keep my eyes opening and my legs moving. That was enough. If I added anything else to my emotional workload, I got angry, and when I got angry, I broke perfectly nice things.
Christina arrived. Her hair was crimped this time.
“Is this a new plant?” she asked Sierra.
“Yes,” Sierra replied. “Isn’t it the lushest of lush?”
Christina touched a leaf with a manicured nail. “What is it?”
Sierra touched it, too, but in a way that told me she was thinking of how it would look in her hair. “Lovely.”
While Christina browsed around the store, I stretched over the stool on my belly, typing the names of famous neurosurgeons into Google image search on my phone. I wore two of Sierra’s low, see-through tanks and a low-slung sisal belt and my favorite pair of leggings. Metallic and shimmery-rainbowbeautiful until you looked close and saw all the skulls. They were not Sierra’s design. Not quite her thing in general. The leggings were a little ugly, once you got over how pretty they were.
I stopped looking at surgeons and typed in define friendliness.
My mother, who had no friends, kept telling me that I had no friends other than my cousin Sofia and Grace, who lived in Minnesota. She was not wrong. My friendlessness was for a variety of reasons. For starters, I had only been at the school here for the last five months of my senior year. And second, it turned out that it was a lot harder to meet people once you’d graduated. Third, most of the girls at .blush. were older than I was and had twentysomething lives and problems and gave a damn when I did not.
And finally, I wasn’t friendly.
“Everything she’s wearing,” Christina said.
Her voice was very close, but I didn’t look up. I suspected, however, that she referred to me because of the way she had said it. It was like when there were two Isabels in my class growing up. They called us Isabel C. and Isabel D., but I knew which Isabel they meant before they got to the final initial.
I glanced up just long enough to see that Christina was staring at me in a mistrustful way. The others slithered and crawled to get her the tanks and the belt, unaware that in order to really get my look, you had to accessorize with death in the family and generalized heartbreak. The bass of the music overhead pulsed and whispered. I began to close windows on my phone. So many neurosurgeons were weird-looking. Cause or effect?
“Isabel,” Sierra said. “Christina wants your leggings.”
I didn’t look up from the screen. “I’m not interested.”
“Isabel, precious. She would like to buy them.”
I flicked my eyes up to where the Christina stood. Some celebrities don’t really look that famous in person. They’re a little dustier or shorter when the camera’s not looking. But Christina was not one of them. You’d know she was someone even if you didn’t recognize her face. Because she looked on purpose.
It can be incredibly intimidating, even in this town.
It was clear from her expression that she was very used to this being the case.
But I looked from my waiting boss to beautiful Christina and I thought, I have kissed more famous lips than yours.
I shrugged and looked back at my phone. I typed in frontal lobatomy. It autocorrected. Turns out you can’t spell lobotomy without ooo.
I didn’t look up. “The Artemis leggings in charcoal sort of do the same thing.” When nobody moved, I lifted a limp hand and jerked it in the direction of the Artemis collection.
Fifteen minutes later, Christina had bought two tanks, a sisal belt, and two pairs of Artemis leggings, all for the price of a cut-rate tonsillectomy.
After she’d gone, Sierra told me, “You are such a bitch.” She slapped my butt fondly.
I didn’t really like people to touch me.
I shoved off the stool and headed toward the back. “I’m going to go sit with the orchids now.”
“You’ve earned it.”
What I had earned was a trophy for generalized disinterest.
It felt as if it had taken all of my energy to be so limply disengaged.
As I pulled aside the linen curtain to the back room, I heard the front door open again. If it was Christina returning to make a second effort at my leggings, I was going to be forced to get loud, and I didn’t like getting loud.
But it wasn’t Christina I heard at the front of the store.
Instead, a very familiar voice said, “No, no, I’m looking for something very particular. Oh, wait, I just saw it.”
I turned around.