Morning Cartoons, Age Five
I liked it when Oil Can Harry tied Pearl Pureheart to the railroad tracks. I liked the soft pink heart of her screaming mouth. I noticed Oil Can Harry’s rope work—the way he zig-zagged across Pearl’s fitted secretary outfit, the tidy tight knots, and the final big bow just underneath her chin. It was pretty.
I didn’t care so much about Mighty Mouse. I knew he’d do the job.
In my favorite Woody Woodpecker cartoon, Woody—who is trapped in a desert cowboy town—dresses as a saloon girl to hitch a ride out on a passing stagecoach. Somehow, in his infinite craftiness, he managed to create a decoy leg, with fishnet stockings and a garter belt that he uses instead of his thumb to trick male drivers into picking him up.
I love the decoy leg for its predictable and sexy readability.
I sat cross-legged in my nightgown in front of the T.V. and slid the crotch of my underwear to the left. I touched it. I rubbed it. I stared at my cartoons. I didn’t know what to call it. I waited for my mother to interrupt me with my oatmeal and that strange flicker of a look that passed across her face—the one that told me to stop without really telling me anything.