In the cult

by Hollen Singleton


In the cult, we all stopped getting our periods (if we had them before). In the cult, we changed our names and didn’t judge the choices. We chose names like: Élan, Oubliette, Consequence, Karyn with a “y”. No judgement, just a choice in place of no-choice. In the cult, we washed our clothes in dishwashers and we washed our dishes rarely, whenever the laundry was not in motion. Dishes do not need as much washing as one might think. In the cult, we felt true happiness at times. Do you know what that even means? In the cult, grass grew in the house in corners and cracks in the walls. The bathroom never stopped being mouldy, a seeping black that would reach longer down from the ceiling in winter and then retreat again in warmer seasons. Looking at the mould, we thought about Brittany Murphy as she was in Clueless, young and in plaid, warm buttery brown eyes flashing as her lip gloss mouth moves to say that Cher is a virgin who can’t drive, which is true. Even though Clueless tries hard to be a modern retelling of the best Austen novel, Brittany—“the natural daughter of somebody”—still can’t date Josh. And I hope that it didn’t hurt, the pneumonia that came from the mould. We have so much sympathy for the truly beautiful, especially the woman beauties, even in the cult. In the cult, we let our hair dry naturally over time because it really is much better for the follicles. In the cult, we ate: bread, water, BBQ chook. We decided to only eat animals if we could kill them ourselves, be part of the process. We were vegetarians for a long time, henpecked by our vicious brood of ex-battery hens who were also fully retired from the egg-laying game. And then a particularly cutthroat spangled blue died of her own accord and we ate her with hot sauce. After that, one of the cult members found the core strength to hack the heads off the others. First the other blues, then the buffs, until we only had the rooster left. We still do not know if roosters taste any good with hot sauce. He is, perhaps, still alive. He can’t have gone far. He can’t fly, as anyone knows. In the cult, we looked for god in everything and found it in nothing except our own bodies. We grew our hair and fingernails, we caught falling eyelashes, bottled our evacuating fluids. We kept them. We were not the first religious sect to keep body parts, but we are the first to actually discover the true reason to do so, to keep our holiness whole. We are now so proud of and in touch with our bodies. We are lit up with a pulsating flow of swift light and energy—just as everybody else.


About the author

Hollen Singleton writes from Birraranga-Melbourne. They are online editor at Going Down Swinging and helper-in-chief at Meanjin. They make light of a bad situation @hollensingleton.

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