She considered fashion a matter of survival, and she was so glad that she had brought along her fishnet stockings and high heels on the flight to Australia. Her friend Gloria, whose body was now stinking up the airplane along with the other corpses, had said that Leslie looked like a slut. Leslie’s face must have shown her chagrin because Gloria had quickly added, “I’m just joking.” Leslie had known, though, that Gloria was actually serious. Yet, it was Gloria who had spent most of the flight batting her eyes and stretching her long legs for the rugby player sitting across the aisle.“Bitch!” Leslie muttered silently at the fish. “Go into the net.” A twenty-centimeter silvery fish swam into the opening of the stockings. The stockings were tied to the fork of a three-meter branch. She lifted the branch triumphantly and brought it carefully to the rocky river bank. Leslie grabbed her left Armani shoe and brought the seven-centimeter heel sharply down on the head of the flopping fish, which shuddered at the impact and then ceased moving.Leslie took Gloria’s long silver necklace that she had used to tie the other fish together and slipped it through the gills. Slipping her feet back into her heels, she lifted the fish. “Thank you very much, Gloria,” she laughed and headed back to the cave where her new boyfriend was waiting. She knew he appreciated a woman like her, one who could take care of him until he recovered and could play rugby again, and who also had a good sense of style.
She knew she was a fetish item. Albeit a loved one. So, it was important that her collar be made of good leather and more importantly marked with abstract flower petals and the letters LV, which her master seemed to have a peculiar attachment too. No matter. What was important was keeping up appearances. Today it is raining, so take for instance her Burberry trench coat- another brand master has an attachment to but of which she better understood due to its practical qualities and because it made possible walks on rainy days. The coat was cut to cover her long body from neck to tail. It had short sleeves for her stubby legs and was open appropriately on the bottom at the area of her hind legs and crotch. The designer had included bands for the hind legs to make sure the coat stayed put on her rear and kept it fairly dry while not getting in the way of nature’s business. After all, one wants to protect as much dignity as possible when at one’s most obscene and vulnerable.
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She considered fashion a matter of survival … …but he didn’t. He thought fashion was a bunch of snooty bullshit. She liked him, and they dated and had great sex etc, but all the while, even in the heat of passion, she accepted that it would never last, due to the fashion thing. Nevertheless, after some years, she married him, they lived happily ever after, for 70-odd years, then he died, then she died. They left behind a groovy art-deco midsize house in the Valley, recently renovated, and a modest pile of money, which their kids fought over and quickly squandered, and a dog, Blackie. Blackie was a thoroughly mixed 47 flavor of a dog, more than a mutt, more like a Being that Expressed This Like Extreme Muttiness. But a good dog, the best. Didn’t shed, thanks to his maternal grandfather, a poodle. Good with kids, despite his crazed paternal German Shepard great-grandfather. Had a tail like an Irish policeman’s cosh (matrilineal recessive Doberman gene), all muscular and hairy, and irresponsibly unbobbed, inadvertently dangerous, ready to clear a coffee table at the slightest hint of joy, or cheese. He wagged; he destroyed. Mostly, he did both; for Blackie, joy equalled destruction. That tail could send a highball glass hurtling like a bullet through a plate glass living room window, like a missile from a catapult. It could take out a knee, of friend or foe or girlfriend or oneself, tolchok a set of nuts till their owner was writhing in agony. Had to keep him off the couch, or your guests would lose some teeth. All because he felt good.Except for all that, Blackie was an excellent dog. Good with children, except for near braining them with that stupid tail. You’d have a birthday party or something for the kids, and in would come joyful Blackie, knockin’ ’em down like tenpins. Later he died, was long gone, off sweeping clear coffee tables and sending shit hurtling all over in the living rooms of Hell, by the time his progeny, the Dog of War, still a puppy, contracted rabies and sent humanity blithering into extinction, leaving planet Earth to its thing, its equilibrium.
She considered fashion a matter of survival on Saturday afternoons, when her mother would summon her for a cup of tea. The usual place was the Betty’s, where behind its creaking glass door, everything looked plastic. But her mother would always say, “I’ll see you at the corner of Park and Union.” Apparently, it reminded her of New York City that she had visited once in her early twenties with her fiancé. “I don’t understand why you actively put yourself in a situation that reminds you of the..you know, he left you in the hotel and never came back.” “Well, baby, you will understand when you go to N.Y.C. You must go. But you certainly won’t be going even out of this town in that distasteful summer dress. Brown? It doesn’t flatter you one bit.” Mother, who accentuates her deep blue eyes with a turquoise scarf over a little black dress she swears is different each time, quickly scans her daughter from head to toe. “What are those butterflies doing on your hair? I don’t like it. Denim jacket, well, is alright but don’t you have something lighter in color and more in style, preferably from within the past year or so? OH, you still have that bag. Trust me, this earthy look is not you.”“I have to dress really properly for work. Can’t a girl relax on weekends?” She used to try to reason with her mother, but soon found out that the more reasonable the daughter, the more quickly and definitely her self-esteem was shredded into pieces. Lately though, thanks to the opening of Forever 21 in the neighboring town, she had been able to afford looking like celebrity snapshots out of her mother’s magazines, and that had shut up the mother for a while. Then, one Saturday, mother cocked her head to the left after setting the coffee cup on the plate with a clink, “Have you gained some weight?”