The Gospel According to Heather’s LiveJournal
And it came to pass in the year 1999, that there went out a decree from the National Retail Association that all the world should do their Christmas and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa shopping.
And all received promotional flyers advertising holiday sales, every one into their own mailbox.
And Kristie went up from Bethlehem, of the county of Lehigh, in the state of Pennsylvania, unto her favorite shopping mall;
To hang out with Heather her avowed BFF, being great with babysitting money.
And so it was that on their way there, they decided to pierce their bellybuttons.
And Kristie drove them in her mom’s Dodge Neon, and turned on its hazards, and parked it in the fire lane; because there was no room for them in the parking lot.
And there was in that same shopping mall a Piercing Hut abiding near the food court, keeping watch over glittering rows of cubic zirconium. But the line was so very long, and the two young travelers discovered to their dismay that the Piercing Hut only pierced ears; so they began to lose hope.
But lo, the angel of the Lord said unto them, Fear not these long lines: for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy.
For unto you is brought this day a Piercing Elf.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the Elf wearing a crop top, wielding a clipboard.
And suddenly there was the Piercing Elf with an official-looking clipboard, beckoning them inside a gleaming doorway, saying,
Welcome to the Tattoo and Piercing Grotto. Just sign this form and sit still, and verily, do not bleed on my crop top.
But your crop top is red anyway, said Kristie.
Just don’t, the Piercing Elf said unto her.
And it came to pass that Kristie took hold of Heather’s hand to give herself courage, and at this touch Heather felt a nervous, romantic flutter in her stomach, not unlike the sensation of Pop Rocks crackling; but she spoke not of this feeling.
And then the needle pierced through the top of Kristie’s navel, and Kristie screamed: Jesus Christ, this hurts like a motherfucker.
Upon hearing her lamentations, the manager came over with haste, and said unto the Piercing Elf, Why are you not wearing your elf hat?
And the Piercing Elf replied, For four dollars and seventy-five cents an hour I am so not wearing that stupid elf hat.
To which the manager said, It has been decreed by the state that this shall be the minimum wage. And if you like it not, go then to Claire’s and see how eager they are to hire a goth girl with a bad attitude.
And so the Piercing Elf donned her festive green hat, while Kristie continued to bleed and Heather began to reconsider that which they were doing.
Heather asked, How was it that you came to be a Piercing Elf?
And the Elf replied, I took a class for a couple of weeks and practiced on a Beanie Buddy.
To which Heather said, We are totally out of here, and Kristie paid for her stud of pink cubic zirconium while Heather pondered these things in her heart, even beginning to question the lowness of the minimum wage.
But still she led her BFF Kristie unto the nearby Cinnabon, where she purchased a repast for both of them, and they praised mightily the sweetness of the cream cheese frosting, agreeing that it was the bomb.
And they knew not that Kristie’s borrowed Dodge Neon had been towed away, but for the moment they savored their Cinnabons and the heavenly sounds of the latest Backstreet Boys album, now available on compact disc from the merchants known as Sam Goody.
Elizabeth Hart Bergstrom’s work appears or is forthcoming in The New York Times, Catapult, Post Road, The Offing, Fourteen Hills, and elsewhere. She was born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
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