Wonder Woman, Hungry
(After A.M. Homes’s “Chunky in Heat”)
Copyright © 2004 by Alan Wade. All rights reserved.
She would feel better if she could just hide out inside her invisible plane, but since she herself is not invisible, everyone could see her rummaging around inside it anyway. Steve Trevor hasn’t called her back for years, and from two doors down, the sticky sounds of sex are overwhelming her senses. She forgets about the plane, the phone, and Steve, as the glucking noises grow louder, louder, then louder still, engulfing her Pink Flamingo room.
“Great Hera!” she cries, reaching for the remote control to crank up the volume on The Simpsons and upsetting a dish of bon-bons on her nightstand.
She grunts as she fumbles with it, taking great pains not to pulverize it like the kitten she recently tried to rescue from a burning house. The newspaper headline read “Unidentified Obese Woman Sets House Ablaze, Kills Little Girl’s Cat.”
Answering the child’s cries from miles away, Wonder Woman had braved the furious flames, determined to save the animal’s life. As fire swirled all around her, she found the creature cowering in the kitchen, scooped it up and, cradling it abreast her bosom like a football, exploded through the dining room wall in a daystar. The little girl looked on in horror as the scary fat lady in a navy-blue skirt-suit and sensible shoes, standing before her atop a pile of smoldering rubble, plucked out the kitty-cat that had been sucked up inside the folds of her armpit by the blast, then dropped it, lifeless, to the ground. With tears streaming hot down her jiggling cheeks, Wonder Woman escaped that place vowing never to be heroic ever again.
Cranking up the TV volume, she hopes that Marge and Homer’s argument will drown the sexing sounds out, but no. Her super-sensitive hearing filters, a little out of whack now like most of her powers, involuntarily target and amplify subtle background noises to the Nth degree. So she concentrates on food: Baked Alaska, Napoleons, Spotted Dick. Cherries Jubilee. Her innards make a great roaring sound. The walls of her cheap motel room rumble; the windows rattle. From two doors down, the terrified lovers, frozen and wide-eyed mid-thrust, hold their breath, and all grows quiet now as Mr. Burns says, “Excellent.” Taking advantage of this peaceful moment, she ingurgitates three nearby Twinkies®, dabs the corners of her mouth on a paper doily, and belches.
Obsessed with the fact that no Hollywood producer will cast RuPaul in a halfway convincing portrait of her life and career (for she sees Antigone in his eyes), convinced that no new doll will be fashioned after her image except for what she sees as that Barbie fiasco, Wonder Woman has turned to food for comfort, and it helps. What with the CIA, Neo-Nazis, deforestation, presidential pardons of rich white-collar criminals (just like that cock Kreon, she muses; always getting his way), and rigged elections in the Deep South, she just doesn’t give a damn that her costume doesn’t fit her anymore.
No wonder Medea flipped out, she thinks, remembering.
So she leaves behind her bullet-proof bracelets and tiara-boomerang-thing (they make her hands and head swell, turn purple), forgets about her false-front, non-prescription lenses, stuffs the magic girdle that reanimates her powers into one of the huge pockets of her Diana Prince disguise, and hopes for the best. Since she uses her golden lie-detecting lasso as suspenders now, she ends up blurting out the gods’ honest truth where ever she goes. Unawares, social workers treat her for Tourette’s syndrome.
Soon, her tympanic membranes pick up the lovers’ glucking again, but she doesn’t feel like taking off her Diana Prince disguise to remove her magic, hourglass girdle from her person, restoring her hearing, along with the rest of her powers, to that of a mere mortal. Instead, she considers dinner: lobster tail dripping with butter, freshly seared asparagus, and mashed potatoes, laced with whispers of bacon grease. Imagining this meal eventually deadens the glucking noises, but she ends up truly hungry. She attempts to click off the TV to make a food run, but crumbles the remote in the process. Ignoring Lisa Simpson’s screams, she digs up what little cash she has left and lumbers off to a nearby Quicki-Mart, ready to compromise.
As she wanders deep inside the frozen dessert aisle, Wonder Woman’s supersensitive hearing filters kick back in again. From the register at the front of the store, she hears familiar voices speak the command, “Stick ‘em up!” She pictures lurid grins behind aviator sunglasses and black matching fedoras, and faint glucking noises as the couple sort of vogue-gesticulate with chrome-plated handguns.
“Jesus Christ!” shrieks Wonder Woman, whipping her head in the direction of the trouble. “I just need a little Peace!” she bellows, and shoppers in her vicinity start laughing
Thinking immediately of Steve Trevor’s safety, she instinctively lifts her arms up, out, and away from her body like a ballerina. She begins the twirl into her supernova transmogrification to her costume, but already feeling dizzy she stops short. She realizes that Steve Trevor doesn’t exist, that even if she’s successful this time, she will not be able to breathe. Her ass will bulge out the back of her indestructible star-spangled panties; her breasts will spill out over the top of the spread-eagled armor that she fucking hates now anyway.
Wonder Woman screams.
Our heroine conjures the sound from deep within her diaphragm, casts it up and launches it fortissimo at the top of her lungs. Registering somewhere beyond high E, the Amazonian note she nails pierces the air, ricochets off all generic and name-brand objects in the supermarket, splitting eardrums, bottles, and every set of lenses. Fluids spew, and slivers of glass and plastic hurtle in its wake, spearing almost everything: the chocolate eclairs she was eyeing just seconds ago, various giggling consumers as well as the armed couple up front, and the expired Hostess® apple pie she would have ultimately settled on.
As clinking sounds tumble inside the final silence, Wonder Woman slumps to the floor on her knees, and weeps.