Fashionable TailsOctober 21, 2014
Twelve-year old Tabi says to her three girlfriends, “I don’t like having a tail.”
The four Middle School girls are sleeping-over together at Katy’s house. Katy is a happy hostess. Everybody calls her ‘Cat,’ and she even spells her nickname with a ‘C.’
Next to her, sharing a sleeping bag on the floor, Tabi repeats herself. “I don’t like having a tail because people can guess the color of my pubic hair.”
Cat answers, “You’re lucky you started puberty. You’re even getting your boobs.”
Late at night when the girls should be sleeping and staying silent, they keep a reading lamp on. It is mounted over the empty bed. Hardly any light reaches all the way down to the carpet. A plug-in nightlight by the closed bedroom door does not help at all.
Tabi whines, “I know. I just don’t like my tail.”
“I like my tail,” Julie tells her friends. No one acknowledges the statement. “It’s still small, so I don’t have to show it off. And there’s only fuzz on it.”
Riley recommends to Tabi, “Shave it.”
Tabi says, “No.”
“You don’t have to keep it outside your panties,” the meek Julie suggests. Everyone there in Cat’s room forgets the quiet girl is present, almost in the shadow under the bed. She touches the darkness and blends right in.
More bleak, Tabi states, “My parents say I should be proud.”
Accidentally mindful of her friend, Julie, and in agreement with her, Cat says to Tabi, “Put it away when you go to school.”
“I do,” Tabi says.
“She does,” Riley testifies. “We have classes together in the morning and in the afternoon. I see her.”
“I don’t pay attention,” Cat admits.
“Shave it,” Riley says again. “The models in New York shave their tails.”
“She’s not a model,” Cat opines.
Tabi tells her, “Thanks.”
“I mean you’re cuter.
“Thanks,” Tabi replies flat.
“Let’s see,” Cat pressures her friend. “Let’s look at the color of your hair. I bet it’s blond like your head.”
Riley tells everybody, “It’s dishwater brown. I saw it. It’s darker on the tip.”
“Riley,” Tabi gasps.
Sleepy and silly, Cat guesses. “Are you brown down there?”
“You know,” Tabi snarls. “Shut up.”
Defensive and full of adrenaline, she raises her voice and lectures her friends. “Not everybody has the same hair color all over their bodies. People around this town are mostly brunette. That’s fine.”
Riley interrupts. “It’s consistent.”
Without affirmation, Tabi practically yells, “And redheads don’t draw any extra attention.”
“I bet they’d look like they were on fire,” shouts Cat in laughter. Her parents pound on their shared wall then Cat giggles, “Shh.”
The girls go as quiet as Julie has always been. Almost below the surface of utter silence, the unspoken one hiding against the bed skirt says, “Most people just wear them in their trousers.”
“Trousers?” snickers Cat. She and all the girls keep their volumes low.
Riley whispers, “People have them cut off and bobbed.”
“Or,” Cat specifies.
“That’s plastic surgery,” moans Tabi. “And there is my Mom and my Dad.”
Julie tells everyone from somewhere unseen, “Those boys in High School cut theirs off.”
“Some of them,” Riley retorts.
Cat says, “The whole football team.”
Riley tells her, “Not all of the boys play football – three. I watch the news. And those were expelled.
“I’ve been in the High School,” reports Cat. “I’ve seen some tails there, boys show them off. The little ones are cute.”
Curious, Julie whispers, “What color were they?”
“I don’t know.”
Dismayed and wishing for the topic to quickly change, Tabi answers, “You can guess black.”
As if she has fumbled and she scrambles to recover respectability, Cat ponders aloud. “There’s like a bald spot at the base of your tail, huh? Tabi?”
More outraged at Cat then she was with Riley, Tabi exclaims, “Cat!”
“Shh,” Cat sprays back at her friend.
Once the room has been hushed, Cat says, “Everybody has one – a spot. It’s suppose to be sexually attractive, like ankles in the Victorian century.”
“Huh?” Riley questions.
“Touch it,” Cat instructs Tabi.
“Maybe it’s extra sensitive. Is it? Is it a Hot Spot?”
Tabi tells her, “Now you’re gross.”
Julie is genuinely sincere when she asks, “What is she talking about?” If anyone there could see in the dark, they would observe her nodding her darker head.
Cat volunteers, “Tabi knows, hair grows on a tail from the tip to the other end and underneath. But it doesn’t come together on the top near the spine in your back. It’s naked there”
Everyone is quiet while Cat chuckles.
“You said you were growing a tail,” she accuses Julie. “Rub it. Rub the base where there isn’t any peach down.”
“Where you got no hair.”
“Don’t,” Tabi demands.
Already, Julie reports, “I don’t feel anything.”
“Do it harder,” Cat suggests.
Joining the understanding again, Riley says, “She’s too young.”
“How old do you have to be?” wonders Cat.
“Stop,” Tabi issues. “This is sick.”
“I’m cutting it off. I’m going to cut off my tail.”
The other girls say in descending chorus, “What? No.”
Excited, Riley tells Tabi, “You can’t cut off your tail. That’s like cutting off your finger.”
“Worse,” adds Cat. ‘Worse’ is the only word of caution Cat gives her friend.
Decided, Tabi says, “I’ll try that first.”
Confused once more, Riley wonders, “What?”
Tabi asks her friend, “Katy, do you have any scissors?”
“No,” she answers. “Well, yes, but no.”
“You want to do it now?” Julie whispers with an encouraging tone of voice.
Tabi then says after nobody answers her statement. “If it doesn’t hurt too bad, we can do my tail.”
“I’m not helping you,” Cat asserts.
“It will hurt,” Riley says. “Let her try it and she’ll stop.”
Julie only nods her head and the room seems to grow darker.
Shocked by the ridiculous support her life-long buddies give their equally bound soul sister, Cat tells everyone, “I’m not stopping her.”
Immediately, Riley says, “The little finger. Try to take off the very tip.”
“I don’t have scissors,” Tabi states.
Riley urges their friend. “Cat, c’mon. Get the scissors.”
Katy’s resistance is broken once Julie whispers to her, “You can let her try.”
After an “Oh,” and being poked and hearing her name chanted, Cat gets up off the floor and leaves Tabi alone in the sleeping bag.
“Move over, Julie,” she solicits her friend. “I keep scissors under my bed.”
“Why?” Riley jokes. “Are you giving weapons to monsters?”
“Maybe its not for monsters,” Cat replies and straightens upright. A long pair of sewing scissors stays coincidentally concealed behind the young girl’s pale nightgown.
Before she hands the chrome surgical instrument to her friend, she says, “So we get to see it… your tail.”
Tabi seizes the scissors and admits, “If this doesn’t hurt.”
“It will,” Riley says again.
“Too much,” defines Tabi.
Un-synchronized with the conversation, Riley repeats, “I’ve seen it, her tail.”
“What do you think?” Cat whispers directly to her friend. The room is so still, she is unable to hide her voice from the other girls.
Riley sums, “It’s not bad.”
Tabi says more flatly than last time, “Thanks.”
“It doesn’t matter,” she states and sits down cross-legged on top of the sleeping bag. “If this doesn’t hurt too much, it’s gone.”
The same time Cat asks her friend, “What are you going to tell your parents?” the scissors make that distinctive noise, “Snick.”
A whole mute minute passes that not one girl remembers before Tabi screams. Her screeches rattle the bedroom window, Katy’s father shakes the wall. Tabi had ruined the first knuckle of her little finger on her left hand and her agony now summons her friend’s Mom and Dad.
The same time responsible adults enter the room, Riley advises her hurting friend. “You need a bigger scissors. You’re gonna need bigger scissors if you cut off that, you know, thing.”
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