HOLIDAY SEASON BLOCKBUSTER AVAILABLE NEXT MONTH FOR ONLY $49.99! (on a sign outside, emblazoned with glittering holly sprigs and falling red-orange-yellow leaves, a model’s face, digitzed, demure, and smiling).
I had run out of my coral-red semi-matte1950s starlet lipstick (the name of which I’d unfortunately forgotten), so I dashed into Sephora, paramount luxury cosmetics supplier. Blinded by space-age lighting bouncing off innumerable reflective surfaces, I scrambled around overly-manicured sales associates in sleek pantsuits, their eyes spidery with mascara. I shielded myself against strategically-placed pyramids of shiny glosses, eyeshadow triads, and exotic, heretofore unmentionable brands like Makeup Forever (forever?), tooth whitening promotional kits, and celebrity-endorsed lip plumping serums designed to create an incessant, indefatigable pout—words like “buxom,” “venomous,” “fusion,” and “immortality” bombarding me at every turn.
Circumventing Dior, I was blocked by a woman—early thirties, at the latest—her shopping bags strewn across the aisle, trampled by bow-legged pre-teens in miniskirts as she frantically slathered her cheeks with a cutting-edge polypeptide moisturizer promising to regenerate the magical underlayer lurking beneath the lackluster, inadequate surface, eradicating wrinkles within three days, tops.
“Excuse me,” I said, shuddering as I turned to face the display of French brand NARS—
“—has the most concentrated pigmentation of any makeup brand in the known world, and you really must try SUPERCLIMAXXX blush, the new take on the beloved original CLIMAXX, imbedded with mirrored particles that really enhance your skin’s natural brightness in ways you wouldn’t even understand,” bellowed a tall saleswoman, lacquered pixie haircut sparkling.
I caught a glimpse of myself in one of the many mirrors lining the walls, and I was aghast at my flattened hair, my uneven complexion, my chapped lips. The perfect red lipstick would help, I thought, and I began snatching different sample shades—reptilian massacre, lucifer’s embrace, razorwire, suicide—“try me,” said suicide, on a sticker, and I opened my mouth, drew on color, puckered, blotted, when I felt a man’s hand on my shoulder.
“I prefer rape myself, as it has bluer undertones,” said the man as he wiped suicide off my lips with a gilded handkerchief, applying glossier, hyper-satured rape with abandon. “Such a velvet quality, in a far more flattering hue!”
I faced the mirror again, and smiled at the perfection achieved, the improved replication of my original coral-red semi-matte1950s starlet lipcolor. He stood next to me, and I marveled at our side-by-side reflections.
He was very small—many inches shorter than me, with a pinched face covered in whitening powder, dotted with pencil-moles shaped like stars. His powdered wig stood nearly two feet tall, and was interlaced with gemstones and Flanders lace and box tortoise combs, dripping with ringlets, and I noticed he was no ordinary man; he was Alexander Pope, arguably the greatest English poet of the 18th century!
“Mr. Pope!” I said, blushing, “it’s an honor, an absolute honor.”
“It is no matter,” he said, “applying cosmetics is a great pleasure of mine, crafting creations with the sweep of a brush, a squirt, a spurt, a dash of a single color manifesting epic loveliness. Your hair, for instance, is lovely but desperately needs enhancement.”
He produced a bottle of volumizing sea salt spray from an embroidered leather pouch attached at the hip to his fitted chartreuse brocaded trousers —“to feign the tousled effects of a stroll along a seaside promenade”—feverishly sprayed the strange faux-salt-air substance, running his tiny hands through my hair.
“But truly,” I said, “Rape of the Lock has always been one of my favorite poems, the mock epic being one of the most intriguing genres, and I’ve always wished I could—”
“Nonsense,” he said, “tilt your head back,” dipping his emerald-ringed index finger into a miniature urn of fig-pear eau de parfum, which he spread liberally all over my neck, unbuttoning my yellow dress to expose my clavicles, shoulders, dripping fig-juice between my breasts as a timpani-rich remix of an early-90’s classic blasted from iridescent speakers designed to blend in with the overall ambience.
“Are you sure this is a good idea?” I asked, clutching at his hands, stop, but we were already on the ground, legs splayed between Bliss™ and Urban Decay, and as he struggled to rip off my dress he kicked cosmetics out of their kiosks with his satin buckled pointed-toe shoes, blending brands, travel-size nail polish bottles raining over our heads, a flourish of body glitter pouring from an overturned vat, further powdering his already-saturated wig. I tugged at his curls, pulling him closer as he drew around my nipples, chest, stomach with electric blue liquid eyeliner—hearts, constellations, half-poems. I applied false eyelashes to the corners of his eyes with a minute tube of glue included in the package—“don’t blink,” I said, but before I knew it, he’d slipped off my polka-dotted underpants to get inside me, rubbing his made-up face against my breasts as he pumped.
“I want to ride,” I said, spitting out one of the star-shaped moles that had fallen off his face and into my mouth. I forced him onto his back, maneuvering myself up and down when I noticed a box of brand-new SUPERCLIMAXXX had fallen near my thigh, so I figured what better time to try it, opened the compact, equipped with a well-rendered miniature synthetic-fiber brush, which I rubbed into the pink, spreading it all over his cheeks, “to create the most natural, healthy flush,” I screamed as he pulled my hair. Sweating, he picked up a full-size pony-hair foundation brush, and shoved the long, rounded handle into my mouth. I bit down against the wood, groaning as he resumed his position on top and then proceeded to turn me over, “indeed, from behind,” he said, restraining my wrists. His heavy silk stockings created an almost unpleasant friction against my bare legs.
“I’ve always wanted to know,” I gasped, “how you managed five cantos, from lapdogs to spleens and back, letting tea-kettles walk all the while.”
He pulled out and came all over my back.