It was Kali’s birthday and no one remembered, unless you count the endless whiners that are constantly asking for things, burning stinky smoke in her general direction and basically annoying her. It was her anniversary, and Shiva forgot, or didn’t mention it or most likely was getting high on Thandai with all the men at a festival somewhere. This pissed Kali off. A lot pissed Kali off; she was usually disgruntled, uncomfortable, and nagged by the self effacing population of un-evolved wackos that walk the earth in force.
Nothing seemed in its right proportion. And she had to do all the dirty work, all the time. So, every once in a while she liked to treat herself to a little relaxing manicure and pedicure.
She put on a large muumuu to cover the skulls around her neck and the belt of severed hands around her waist. She travels at light speed to Culver City, to the strip mall. A painted white hand on the window, with red, red nails invites her inside. She sits, relaxed, in a black leather chair as world-weary feet are scrubbed by chicken-voiced women, women who smile but have the most contemptible conversations in their Viet Cong language, smiling as they comment on the customers, the smell, the deep black of Kali’s feet. Though Kali could understand every hateful, smiling word, she ignores them, closing her eyes and letting the chicken-sounding words lull her into a lovely rest. Then, white women behind her grunt in American English, that language that always sounded of pigs to Kali. She looked at their fear-filled faces, seeing their history, wondering why they torment themselves with an unhealthy preoccupation of men. In their world, men are gods, hated, loved, and feared. This generation strive to keep the attention of them by any means necessary. Starving themselves and maiming their feet in twisted footwear, distorting their faces, coloring their eyes, stretching the shape of their breasts, rejecting their natural form. It was disturbing to a being of any understanding.
These sad incarnations did many things to be noticed and touched. Always fearful of numbers, clocks and things that are ordinary, like age. Always changing their scent, fearful of their bodies' girth, they intentionally starve themselves. Their intentional starvation was the strangest feature. While other mothers in the world fight and suffer to bring their families food, these women teach their daughters to starve. Their worship and their need for the approval of men was strange and demonic. Tragic, their battle of unfulfilled perception. Kali felt sorry for them.
Entering the salon that day were the loud, thick, need-based women, large women, whose broken language rebelled against the pale American English. Their rage was too familiar to Kali, their love/hate worship the same. Their rituals were different; they fed and treated their god men like children. Hosting, doing all the work, they became angry due to lack of rest and fear of separation. They were sad children, they that worship western men. All the women in Culver City and the West sick with their religion. Sick in competing for the approval of men who were infantile, spoiled, and in need of beheading.
But Kali let it go as she handed the nail girl her hand, and then another, and another.
The nail girl clucked in broken American, "Extra hand. Cost extra."
Kali smiled and turned the cotton balls on the table into gold coins.
The nail girl smiled larger and said. "You want neck massage too? We give it to you for a very cheap price."