portion of A.E. Reiff artwork

The Dame of Guapa Pop
A.E. Reiff

Her name was Myth.
Her pop was Guapo Myth.
In his life as Turk Musselman he was an all night party poop along the Scottsdale border.
Susan looked like him, but she had hair.
Sidewalks cracked when they stood together.
Depressions left by their feet in the park drowned little dogs.

Nobody connected Pop’s disappearance with Dame Belcher’s purchase of a walk-in freeze. Presumption credits that the Dame, Turk’s second spouse, had too much brew the night that Myth got shanked and smoked. That was three full years before Susan entered the same.

For all they were nice folks. Goats populated piles of debris.
For all they were quiet folks, never a loud noise unless you count the chickens or the occasional gaseous emission.
The belches anyway were pleasant, made you think you lived on the coast off Hoboken where ferries and tugboats echoed by night.

In this world, home from the bowling leagues, came Sue. She rented balls and shoes. Crowds gathered. Men pinched women and shook hands. Traffic beeped for blocks.

Sue Myth had had the front seat of her car removed so she could drive from the back. Not that she was tall. She was wide. Blocks on the pedals enabled her to pump them up and down.

What are you waiting for me to tell, that Step Dame ate the Musselmans?
This is no joke, but odious as all decay that stops a hole to keep the wind away. Women doing what men have all along, a sign of the time, quartering purple mountains, packaging fruited plains?

There’s an excuse for eating Susan? The profit of developers? Who pays the taxes, gets permits? Neighborhoods are zoned for cannibalism?

Smoke poured from the gingerbread chimney.

She ate Pop.
She ate Sue.
What are you waiting for me to say?
Him and her? That’s all there is.
It’s a case of provocation and murder.
One day she was there. The next day she’s gone.

                          “She’s gone, she’s gone, when thou knowest this
                              thou knowest the swell carcass Sue Myth is.”


Sue Myth went her way o’er hill and dale, in wagon and under arm to the Frigidaires and stewpots of the Danger Mountains.

The dark moon of January,
cool breezes of light,
porch slivers were quiet,
Susan had not been seen in weeks.
Chickens were silent as canal ditches.
The homeless drifted home.
Dame Fortune wrote on the canvas of unmaking.
Freezer humped a blues.
Sixty Watt tramped out the back of Belcher’s hutch. That sissy bulb was smashed. Hedgerows ran unbelieving. They came in through the bathroom window.

Shout, cuidado!

You’d think the glass would tinkle a warning, but it was new safety glass, no louder in breaking than fir trees that put their feet in plywood sheets last summer.
How many came is anybody’s guess.
A syndicate is implied for the body to spread so far.
Wagons and bicycles if not trucks and trains backed up.

What did the bandits do when they came to that massive barred door, the freezer room running off the entry?
Look out! Look out!
Go fast, room to room, poke closets and open the cold door?
Sides of beef, chickens hung from hooks?
Or was it packed in white, labeled by compartment like Glendale housewife, roast under veil, loin in the defroster, and veal?

You only see it dimly.
Freezer light’s not bright.
You best see it quickly.
No place linger winter nights.
Quick hands roust the white packs.
Up on boxes, down the hooks!
Fat sausages or arms?
What hams?
Dread Gorgon!

Susan of the smoke and a cloudy day! Susan who stood the walk and could have been a ghost of hundreds who never dreamed their expectations this-a-way. Guapa Susan.

Relays boost to pickups.
Wholesale all the day.
Others rush to grandma’s house.
Slam girlfriend’s fridge.
Bang Susan in ice chest.
Sneak her in Mom’s Westinghouse,
wrapped as a decorator might.
White paper covered the deed of the Dame, who called police for the missing, freezer empty, her bead collection on the floor that night.


Patrolmen filled out the case card, took figures for insurance.
Next day, Dectective Dave Cash came, with nothing left to do, peace broken out. That night’s initiative? Step Dame let him in.
No warrant was needed to investigate a crime.
Living room led to dining, dining room to kitchen, en passant to freezer, solid eight by ten.
Officer hesitated entry.
“They took all your meat?”
“Yes, they did! My daughter’s missing and I can’t find my plates!”
“Have you filed a missing person report?”
“No sir, she’s gone! After all the trouble I took in getting her right! What can I do now?”
“Well, Ma’am, you can file a missing person report and if she doesn”t turn up in thirty days we can give her to the FBI.”
“No, no! She’s not missing like that! She’s gone!”

The officer advised Step Dame of her rights. Alarm spread our city. An APB for meat.
Freezers were sought by mothers seeking Susan.
The purveyors thought it a joke.

Weathermen puzzled the news:

“What goes east and west
and north and south
but never stays the same?”

Children riddled at bus stops:

“One, two, three, four
Who’s behind the white door?”

It was the eighth wonder of the world in a town that had a spa.

This is a true story. Dame and Susan came over and sat on the berm. They had a basement in their adobe. Guapo, Guapa, Damer, Turk, SueLit are mythogemas of publishing. Phobias turn out to be large mythogemes, lakes as eggs, oceans as eggs, derangement fueled by atomic sprees of eating.

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