I heard over and over how glamorous and rocking Catwoman was, but I was the one that clipped her nose hair and whiskers from her chin before anyone got a look at her. I bound her in her girdle first and then her rubber suit. Believe me, it was no easy task. Her flesh was loaded, packed with days away from the gym, smacking on McDonald’s drive-thru. I zipped that zipper with extreme caution and it took every bit of muscle and grit I had in me to hold it all together, like sitting on her luggage before I was able to snap it shut when we left a hotel. Catwoman did not travel light. Zipper teeth had bitten her more than a few times and she had scars to prove it. She kept her fingernails long and jagged to scratch me. I had the scars to prove it.
How much Botox can a post-menopausal superheroine endure? Time doesn’t care if you used to climb the sides of buildings, whip arch-enemies, or shoot darts at them. Batman wore hair plugs and took Viagra when he needed to lift off, and things that used to ignite on their own needed a little nudge. There was some beauty in growing older. I did Batman and Robin’s hair and makeup when they finally got married. It was a quiet wedding. The Joker was their best man.
Catwoman had her moments when she was called to action. It used to be a lift-off straight from cement to villain, but now we took the elevator to at least the third floor before I sent her bloated body into space.
Most of her gigs were in malls now. Kids waited in line to get an autograph and a photo of her sneering and hissing at the camera. I won’t even go into how many liposuction appointments she had. She was the bomb. I had always lusted for her. There was no pretense that she was the hot Catwoman everyone believed existed when I situated her spandex so airtight that there was no fat leakage visible and her schedule so she always had another event to keep the money dribbling in. She was poor and lumpy, but so was I.
One night she snagged a sleazebag before he grabbed an old lady’s purse. The lady thrashed him unconscious while Catwoman held him down. Catwoman always enjoyed audience participation.
Once, she blasted in on a gang about to initiate a girl into heroin and rape. Catwoman powed and kazoomed the beasts, then flattened the girl against her, flew her back to her house intact. “Keep your panties in place and your brothers in space,” she said, before hoisting herself up onto a brick wall. She always loved a good rhyme, visualized a rocket before fluttering off in a butterfly haze into the shadows.
How do you tell a superheroine you love her? I washed her delicates by hand for decades. I sent her favorite chocolates anonymously. She assumed they were from The Green Hornet as she stuffed them in her mouth while lying on the bed watching episodes of “The Bachelor.” The Green Hornet had been after her ass since 1999. I’d been after her ass since 1986.
So we’re in this hotel room in Rapid City, Iowa. Not a lot of action for Catwoman, except for the college campuses; date rape and drunken coeds who couldn’t find their way back to the dorms. It was a slow night. I was sweating and shaking like some kind of vestal virgin as I came out of the bathroom wearing a towel. I was tongue-swollen by all the years of misuse, lack. I stood there while Catwoman sucked in Cheetos and flipped channels on her bed. Of course, it was always a room with two doubles.
“What?” she asked.
“What? I asked.
“Hey, I was just thinking.” She crammed a fistful of Cheetos in her mouth. “Get me a gig on ‘Chelsea Lately.’ She’s getting big and I could get some serious coverage with her. Plus I think she digs the tough chicks.”
I had a bewildered look when I dropped my towel. I smelled of hotel products, hair uncombed, rabid. My body displayed all its dimples, cellulite, and strange corners. I inhaled deeply and threw myself on top of her. It was a leaping lunge. More than she had been capable of in a long while.
She stared at me while I dripped down on her, looking into those hollow, hound dog eyes that were usually hidden beneath a mask.
“Holy Torpedo!” she gasped and dropped her bag of Cheetos. She didn’t say another word all night.
Meg Tuite lives in Santa Fe and rides a Honda XL 100 motorcycle on the back roads. She still can’t figure out the gears, so her body mass has made an imprint in the red dust on many occasions. Tarantulas, stink bugs, and bull snakes scuttle or slide over these canyons, often finding themselves entrenched while trying not to get crushed by the wrath of dark skies, rubber insomniacs, or Meg hitting neutral instead of third. Her blog: megtuite.wordpress.com.
Lead image: “Catwoman” (via Flickr user Andrés Nieto Porras)