“Narcissus”
by Trisha Low

What does Narcissus do? In this respect, few can rival the thoroughness he displays in addressing skin-deep problems by nature of his morning routine. Anxieties about any image in a Girl’s Mirror – whether the meanings of noses and of names, secrets of blackheads and freckles, the nuance of blushing in and around superfluous hairs or any other questions will be addressed in his optimised process. Referred to on page 4, when cut from this issue, your personality can be pinned to any fan letters to be returned to him, marked ‘In Confidence’. Narcissus wants you to feel that he is really your friend. After all, his mass bench press is 200 lbs and he doesn’t drop any dead lifts. Although he hasn’t been tested, it is almost certain his body fat is less than 10%.

When it comes down to it, the wisdom we can glean from Narcissus comes from no fewer than three diaries that he felt constrained to keep, just as his cleansing routine began in earnest. One can only speculate as to how many hours were devoted to compiling these meticulous records, but there can be no doubt that he seriously intended to methodically document every last one of the thirty or so unsuspecting female victims that feature on his macabre list of routine-makeover deliveries (Read this in our next issue!) These documents still exist for us to make smalltalk with our keepers – You know, Moisturise! Don’t touch your face! Drink water! These diaries prove that mothers have good reason to keep the heads and shoulders of their young sons safe and off the streets – particularly away from devil love worshippers hiding at makeup counters and enemy haystack gun nests outside Bloomingdale’s. When read out, Narcissus’ little books should be aptly referred to as the “Diaries of True Action: Where nude is a colour that is always willing”. In the first, with a light blue cover, he gives short, factual descriptions of his search for the perfectly indifferent facial in which he takes no captives, resulting in tight skin, red lips, bright eyes, and a flexibility of limbs and morals.

On March 17th, he commenced the second diary (this one had a dark blue cover with these words: What would Narcissus do?

7. 50 am:  Pull hair back from face. Narcissus starts thoroughly by cleansing because filth is filth even when living in a post-post age dictates how being into post-bondage means you don’t actually tie each other up, you just like, pretend you do.

7.52 am: Narcissus showers with the curtains open so the mirror fogs over, only because he likes no one. He reassesses his sexuality by making sure all the cleanser is removed with tissue especially in the creases at the sides of the nose and the center of his chin. This means his anxiety is reduced to when Sex and the City comes on Comcast and he remembers the leftover macaroni and cheese in his refrigerator.

8.00 am: Narcissus is so mad at his nose and head that the next step is to massage his face. The dressing table he usually sits at has his name carved into it, so he has to sit a small distance away – on the chaise longue directly in front of it. Making sure his hands are clean he engages by confronting his face in the mirror and wondering which one of the two boys visible is the one whose name and address he has not yet been able to establish.

8.01 am: Narcissus begins the massage by placing the pads of both thumbs firmly between the eye-brows. Using firm and even pressure he slides them slowly down either side of the nose moving out from its base over the cheeks to the jaw bones, in a shape reminiscent of strangling himself on his blog with his own overuse of scarequotes.

8.04 am: Narcissus ensures his blood circulation removes deposits of lactic acid that will eventually be washed out by his muscles, a process replicating being punched in the face by his clone, finding out he’s the clone and being punched in the face again, Doing this for five to ten minutes is an attempt to smother out the other American stereotypes otherwise trying to emerge.

8. 08 am: Narcissus covers his clothes with a dressing gown because he just can’t stand the use of sentence enhancers. A morning routine is supposed to indicate a narrative of boots stamping on a masked human face for infinity. But Narcissus wants to be the whole world’s boy.

8.11 am: In order to begin reading his character by his features, Narcissus dabs a soothing cream on his skin and rubs it evenly over his face. He practices his expressions, indulging in crude pantomime post-application including finger gun, which when pointed to oneself, may indicate boredom or awkwardness; when pointed at another, it is interpreted as a threat of violence, either genuine or in jest as if to say “Bam”.

8. 15 am: Starting at the base of the throat Narcissus works upward, using the backs of the hands moving to the point of the chin. He makes his Pathos face which is a bonus because this ensures that everyone he encounters is extra accommodating and helpful. Remember: Sadness is Safety.

8.18 am: To exercise the necessary muscles, Narcissus massages the sides and the back of the neck with the fingertips using upward circular movements, making his Puppy face. This consists of tilting the head down with eyes looking up. It has a number of unmentionable uses. As such, the skin under the eyes is gently patted with fingertips, and not massaged.

8. 22 am: Narcissus does his own plating, beginning from the nose, working under the eyebrows with the fingertips using tiny circular movements, patting the skin very gently working towards the nose. He strokes his forehead lightly in any upward direction. He thinks about how he literally can’t look at people for prolonged periods of time any more. It makes his childhood terror of getting a Speak N Spell for Christmas just that much stronger.

8.25 am: Working from in-between the brows, Narcissus employs small movements out, and over the eyebrows, patting over his face lightly. This mechanical curiosity makes him think of a 16 year old girl’s dead body found in a wooded area by a turnaround near his house a few years ago. He dreamed that her ghost came home with him in the car like “a dead girl that was alive with him”. He wonders if this is why he is certain there is so much Freud between his ears and too much Marx between his legs.

8. 29 am: The last step is to apply a face pack. Narcissus mixes about one tablespoon of Fuller’s earth with a skin tonic or astringent. Since facial muscles function daily like rooms to terminally lose oneself in, the purpose of applying a mask is to relax these and draw out impurities to close the pores. Before he does this he rehearses an ironic look of confusion “That’s crazy! Wow, I can’t believe that.” Narcissus places his emphasis on the word “believe,” raising his eyebrows and his lips into a smile.

8. 33 am: Narcissus thinks about disseminating his cleaning routine to over 30 boys, after which he will begin a campaign against women. He won’t set a maximum limit for the number of women and girls that he can cosmetically alter but he would rather set a minimum limit. Surely he must change the lives of at least six girls and women between about 8 and 50 years if only with routine. As long as they look attractive, it can happen before or after they’re dead, age doesn’t matter!

9.00 am: Narcissus removes the mask with warm water and cotton wool. He remembers not apply makeup immediately after, since he wants to spend some time feeling daisy fresh, like a forever 21 t-shirt. Now he is ready to join the mannerisms of the processual masses.

Narcissus writes on April the 2nd in the light blue diary of a promise to himself to smile more like a Precious Moments greeting card. He wonders if his personality is making him put on pounds. Please note that as of this time Narcissus owes the St. Kilda’s Hotel six weeks rent at about 35 pounds per week. Records show that he frequently objected to how much it smelled like Columbine in his room and that his catchphrase became ‘Look how much semiautomatic kind of rhymes with sweetheart.’

In a last description, he regrets his cleansing routine and writes ‘I only wish I can undo what I did. It’s really a dreadful thing that I did. I never want to do such a thing again. To impose this aesthetic on any innocent person is not a good thing to do.’ The inscription in the black diary reads: Just add water. Narcissus’ face will still be functional and beautiful when he wears long sleeves.

 

Trisha Low appreciates the difference between restraint and restraints, and she’s talking about poetry, okay? She is the author of Confessions [of a variety] and Target Is Bustling And Friendly with Tyler Antoine (both from Gauss PDF). Some other things have appeared in some other things like Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing, Artifice magazine, and Elective Affinities.