I was going through some writing and found this which is a scene from a story that has now been cannibalised into something different. I thought I'd put it here so the original isn't lost for ever.


Dell’s last tutorial of the day at this windy, nasty little art department of the ex-polytechnic in N.. It doesn't look good. She’s wearing a green polo shirt which apparently is the uniform of the Polish restaurant where she works. She has a big nose like a hawk or a French person and she doesn't have any artwork in her studio. Though Dell notices that she does have nice eyes that look hazed and drugged, and full lips, which she teases with her teeth. And then also she has looked at Dell’s website and brings him a photo of her bedroom which she says reminds her of his work. She has a slow, low voice and he warms to her because it’s the end of the day and he likes it when people go on his website. She says today she has invented a new type of dumpling. Dell laughs but she is deadly serious and so he feigns interest. Apparently she has invented a Thai sweet chilli Polish dumpling which frankly sounds disgusting to Dell, but in N. Polish food constitutes a major breakthrough in local cultural relations.

Dells ask her to talk about her work and she shows him a Poirot magazine (the type where you buy a magazine + DVD every week and build up your collection of a famous TV series. They are a purgatory for cancelled TV programmes.) and tells him she found it and wants to do something with it. Dell gets all excited because he has a friend in N. who used to dress up as Poirot to go to school from the ages of 7-10yrs and he is a performance artist and although he is currently in L. running away from a drug debt, Dell is certain that he would want to be involved with the student's project as long as she had money for alcohol (later on Dell realises what he has done re:the student’s safety because his friend has a habit of coercing vulnerable young women into letting him commit unspeakable deeds and who is more vulnerable than a second year art student with a big nose and good lips? The next week Dell will actually contact the University and ask the lecturers to keep an eye on her, e.g., follow up any unplanned absences and ask about any suspicious bruising).

Dell is actually enjoying talking to her, and she has a good childhood story about how she killed a rabbit because her grandma had two rabbits, one white, and one white with black spots. Granny is off round the house, cleaning and hoovering and singing old granny songs to herself and having the TV on at an extreme granny-appropriate volume while our little future-art-student child is frolicking with the two aforementioned rabbits. Future-art-student child decides that the black spotted rabbit is dirty and that it needs to look like the white rabbit (racial undertones here, in the student’s story, that also say a lot about N.’s attitude to race/ethnicity, but actually the girl is originally from the South West. But then actually the South West of England isn't exactly diversity central either is it...) and, thinking that she is doing Granny a big favour by saving her some time by finishing up one of the smaller cleaning jobs, she gets a bottle of bleach, pours it all over the black spotted rabbit, and starts massaging the liquid into the fur and skin of the rabbit. The rabbit dies an indescribably painful (and, luckily for the student, unremembered) death, and future-art-student child goes to hospital with chemical burns and scarring + ripping of her vocal chords because of the screaming she did when she realised what she had done i.e., killed the rabbit. These broken chords account for her now low, husky voice, but also, apparently (also unremembered, but confirmed by both Granny and Mum) it meant that for a few months future art-student-child was moving her mouth but no words were coming out, and there were a few weeks where future-art-student child was so wound up and scared and angry that her face was constantly wrapped around a silent, screaming mouth because she was trying so hard to communicate via the broken chords.

Dell and the student laugh about the story, but it is hard for Dell not to keep looking at her hands for permanent scarring and then she starts telling Dell that when she was born, inside her right arm was a huge (apparently about ¾ of the size of her as a [relatively large] newborn baby) tumour. She was born via forceps (or rather, the tumour was born via forceps, and she was pulled out along with it), and taken straight into surgery, to have the thing removed (or perhaps, remove her from the thing), and as they cut into the skin of her arm (which she says, showing Dell her arm, has a scarred indentation from whence the thing came, a sort of gap in the muscle that she allows Dell to really push his finger into and wiggle around and she sort of laughs and sighs when he does this, which, frankly, is both arousing and disturbing for Dell and it’s hard for him to work out which feeling is which), the thing birthed itself out of her arm, and exposed itself to be:

1. Almost perfectly, Platonically, spherical.
2. Covered in thick, black, pubic style hair.
3. Containing moving eye + sets of teeth arranged in jaw-like formations (but not moving or gnashing), embedded within its hairy surface.
4. Pulsing, with blood + a seemingly self-contained vascular system, but no heart.

All this she tells Dell while his finger is inside her right arm and he is wiggling the finger more and she is sighing and laughing and letting out the occasional groan as she speaks and then Dell is sort of getting hard but then he hears another student coming around the corner. He leaps back in his seat, realising that this is not the way to end a day of teaching. And then when the tutorial finishes and he subtly suggests that he and the student go for a drink or something she looks at him like he is totally insane.