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WALLPAPER 9/9

Charlotte stayed at the hospital overnight. As soon as the moon rose and that poor thing began to crawl and shake the pattern, I got up and ran to help him.

I pulled and he shook, I shook and he pulled, and before morning we had peeled off yards of that paper. A strip about as high as my head and half around the room.

And then when the sun came and that awful pattern began to laugh at me, I declared I would finish it today. We go away tomorrow, and workers will move all my furniture downstairs so as to leave things as they were before we moved in. Soon there will be nothing left but that great nailed down bedstead, with the canvas mattress we found on it.

To keep the movers out I have locked the door and thrown the key out the window. When Charlotte comes home I want to be able to show her what I have been talking about, the proof. I've got a rope up here. If that kid does get out, and tries to get away, I can tie him down.

I remove all my clothes in order to keep them for getting dirty from the rotting wallpaper. I folded them neatly to please Charlotte and put them on the bed. I feel incredibly free for the first time in so long.

But I forgot I could not reach far up the wall without anything to stand on. This bed will not move. I tried to lift and push it until I was exhausted, and then I got so angry I bit off a little piece at one corner, but it hurt my teeth.

Then I peeled off all the wallpaper I could reach standing on the floor. It sticks horribly to me and the pattern seems to enjoy it. All those strangled heads and bulbous eyes and waddling fungus growths. The paper pieces are stuck all over my body so I suspect I resemble a giraffe.

I am getting angry enough to do something desperate. Jumping out the window would be an admirable exercise, but the bars are too strong to even consider attempting. Besides, I wouldn't do it. Of course not. I know well enough that an action like that is improper and might be misconstrued. Charlotte would think I was crazy instead of understanding that I was angry and frustrated.

I don't like to look out of the windows anyway, there are too many of those men outside. They want to cover me in kisses but I don’t want their hands and mouths all over me. I stand in the window and shake my penis just to torment them.

Now I am securely fastened by my rope. I suppose I shall have to get back behind the pattern when it becomes night, but that is going to be difficult. It is so pleasant to be out in this great room and move around as I please. I don't want to go outside. I won't. Outside you have to lie on the ground, and everything is green instead of yellow. And the men with hot hands are everywhere.

But here I can slide smoothly along the floor, and my shoulder just fits in that long tear around the wall, so I cannot lose my way.

___


Oops, there's Charlotte at the door. “It is no use, Charlotte, you can't open the door. It is locked to keep the movers out.”

She is being so noisy. It would be a shame to break down that beautiful door.

“Charlotte,” I said in the gentlest voice, “the key is down by the front steps, I threw it out the window.”

That silenced her for a few moments.

Then she said, very quietly, “Open the door, honey.”

“I can't, the key is down by the front door.”

And then I said it again, several times, very gently and slowly, and said it so often that she had to go look for it.

She found it, of course, and burst into the room.

It was my mother and she was angry. She was angry that I was tearing off the wallpaper. That I was naked without permission. She demanded I put my hands behind my back where she tied and attached them to one of the rings on the wall.

I begged her not to bite me, but she did anyway. She bit me all over, and with long rough strokes milked me like a cow.

“I’m out,” I shouted at her as she licked her hand, “and you can't put me behind the wallpaper ever again.”

I lifted my head proudly and whispered, “I’m out, Charlotte, I’m out.”


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