John Knoll

Coyote Woman

A starless winter sky above Pojoaque Valley, it felt like snow. I walked into Jake’s Dirty Shorts Laundromat. It was around 8 p.m. Two people washing clothes; a woman with her six-year old daughter telling her: “Don’t try to blackmail me with Santa Claus mommy,” and a tall guy with long black hair, dropping quarters into a dryer.

I loaded a washer and sat down to read a magazine. The big guy came over and sat beside me.

“How are you doing?”

“Good. How are you?”

“My name’s Lucy Flowers.”

“Dwayne Evans.”

Lucy Flowers? I was shocked. Lucy had bulging biceps, stood about 6’5”, weighing in at about 235. She wore a New York Yankees baseball cap, a sleeveless black t-shirt with San Diego State in gold lettering and tattered blue jeans.

For a moment I wondered why she sat next to me and aggressively introduced herself. That moment didn’t last long.

“Tomorrow night,” Lucy said, “I’m going to commit suicide on stage at the El Farol Theatre. I’d like you to shoot the video and believe me it will go viral. I want you to memorialize me forever. But first you need you to design a web-site: suicide.com.

“Wait a minute. How do you know I make videos?”

“I watch you on YouTube,” she said. “I liked your last one, Coyote Woman Sings the Blues. I’ve created a design for the site. I’ve even written the advertising text for you.

“Basically, here’s the deal,” she said, “suicide.com will give anyone $1,000 for the video of their suicide. One-thousand dollars may not sound like much, but if you’re committing suicide you’re a loser, so forget about it. If you’re interested in learning more about our offer please go to suicide.com and we’ll have a counselor guide you through the process.

“After you get the suicide videos put them on your site and charge $5.00 to log on. You’ll become a millionaire within three months and then you can sell the movie rights to Hollywood.”

“And I go to jail and someone makes a movie about suicide. com and I’ll quote Lacan from behind bars and become famous and I’m still be in jail. Sorry Lucy, I can’t help you out. I’m busy tomorrow night.”

“It’s your choice. I’m committing suicide whether you video it or not. I just thought you might like to make some easy money.”

Lucy asked me if I’d like to hear about her last performance piece. I didn’t have anything better to do so I listened.

“I called the piece “Frozen Blood,” she says. “I collected eight pints of my blood, it took me over a year. I froze the blood and carved and ice sculpture of myself. Then I sat my frozen self at a computer with the icy fingers on the keys. The room was refrigerated but the blood slowly melted, leaving nothing but bloody fingerprints on the computer’s keyboard.”

***

Lights up. Bare stage, except for a full length mirror next to a small round table. Black flats enclose the actor in a 12’x12’ space.

Lucy dances to the Future of Radio, a Noise piece by Khlebnikov. The music is mechanical, a cacophony of cars, bombs, trains, honking, screaming, guns and machine orgasms sans melody, just a hint of rhythm.

“Have you ever heard the noise of a butterfly’s wing? The noise of a dying sunflower makes me cry.” Lucy chanted as she danced. She entered into a trance.

“I am giving birth to the dark waters of time…” She picked up a pistol from the table, aimed the gun at her image in the mirror. Held that pose for ten seconds then continued to dance, the gun like a magic wand.

“I am Kali, Isis, Persephone…” She holds the .45 to her head, her stomach, pauses and aims at her image in the mirror. “I am crow, cloud, demon, saint, virgin, mother, whore. I am trans-sexual and I am tired.”

She aims the pistol at her image, holds the position. Lights down. Five beats of silence. Loud gunshot blast. Future of Radio goes silent. Lights up. Lucy’s body splayed on the floor, blood leaks from her head. Lights down. One minute later, lights up. Lucy’s body’s not there. An empty stage. “Future of Radio” heard at a deafening level.

Dwayne caught it all on video. On his way driving back home to Pojoaque Valley he thinks about erasing Lucy’s suicide video. He doesn’t.

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