As she applied her brand new lipstick, it dawned on her that it was the same shade as hotdogs. . .
This made her frown which didn’t help the appearance of her mouth.
Her father named her Purity, but her mother never liked it, she finally confessed to her like it’d been pent up and pending on her bucket-list. So when Purity was old enough to know the truth and several years after the divorce, her mother said she had wanted to name her Susan, you know, after the the Lazy-Susan her grandparents kept on their dining-nook table, that spun circles of sweet pickle relish, cold butter and mustard within reach. Her mother said, “But your father wouldn’t let me. He had too many horror stories from the pickle factory.”
Her father explained that he had wanted to name her Chipko when he found out about the tree-huggers and how “Chip” for short felt like a chip off the old block, but her mother drew the line. “You are your father’s daughter.” He told her, “And you’re braver than your brother. When he was a toddler he’d crawl on his hands and knees backwards down the stairs, but you just held the rail and took ’em in stride.”
At about age nine her father had given them a basic self-defense lesson. He said, Fight to win. Don’t be afraid to pick up a two-by-four and bollocks to honor. You wanna maim and run like hell. He then proceeded to show Purity the vulnerable points that would incapacitate a larger foe. The heel of the palm for instance, with a quick straight jab under the nose would theoretically shove the attacker’s delicate bone into the brain. A key between the knuckles, held flat inside the fist for grip, and a thunk to the larynx was another effective method. He said to take that one to heart being it was a tip for a latch-key kid. After a series of mock sparring bouts with an emphasis on sustained eye contact and accompanying poker-face, Purity’s father instructed them to come at him. They pretended to be bad guys and took turns failing to resist their headlocks.
Purity’s brother said, “Papa never did let us win.” He said, “We’d jab, he’d grab. And Lock. We’d stab, he’d grab. And Lock. We’d be bad, he’d grab. And Lock. We’d be mad, he’d grab. And Lock.”
Purity’s father’s move was literally called the Prison Cell Block.
She found herself busting into the pop ‘n lock as her brother’s cheeks flushed with red determination to free himself from his father’s grip and her father said, “Stop that and pay attention, Purity. These are battle tactics, not tap dance lessons.”
“um… I was using my arms, Pop. Not my feet.” Purity clarified.
Occasionally Purity and her brother would watch their father do sit-ups with a twenty-five pound weight on his chest. After his reps, he’d face them, suck in and tighten his abdomen and say, “Go ahead. Punch me as hard as you can in the gut.”
Her father said, “You see, culling is the instinct for basic symmetry, which is not the foundation, but the evolutionary cornerstone of all animal attraction. . .”
He said, “And that’s why you can Never truly trust hotdogs.”