Zag by Rita Bullwinkel

There was a small ball of flesh at the end of the cut where he had to put me back together.
Just take your thumb and rub it, he said. Rub it when you watch TV. See here? No ball of
skin there, no ball. It happened when they took the bags out from under my eyes. They
pulled my skin to my ears and gave me that gobble neck so I went back and I said, look,
you need to do something about this. He said, oh no. We can’t take that turkey neck
away. It will leave a terrible scar. Terrible, he said. So I looked at him and I told him I
work with fabric. I know the way that this is going to work. Have you ever worked with
Lycra? You have to cut it on the diagonal—you cut it straight and you’ll end up with a
mess. He said, oh no—can’t do that. It will leave a terrible scar and I said—just like I am
telling you right now—not if you cut it on the diagonal! Not if you do it zig-zag! Just
make a Z, you see here? You just zig-zag from chin to throat when you cut a piece of skin
and then it’s gone—the scar will never be seen. Take this as a lesson, my sweet, when a
doctor says anything to you, say oh no—I know better. And you do. You better believe it.
You know just as much as him. No—you know more then him! You know why? Because
you know about the bias. You know about cutting in a Z—about cutting in a zig-zag.
Honey, when the time comes you’ll know about Lycra and that, that honey, will make all
the difference.

Rita Bullwinkel’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in NOON, The Brooklyn Rail and the book Gigantic Worlds: An Anthology of Science Flash Fiction.