Shauna arrives again

Jimmy stepped back from the kettle.

“I really cared,” he said, “But I didn’t get it.”

“Do you get it now, dickbrain?” said a woman who looked like looked like looked like.

Jimmy didn’t need to take this shit, Jimmy had dignity, credentials, and paid-up moral dues, Jimmy loved women, not these women, but other women, Jimmy had only to maintain a proud silence and leave. He could not leave. He could not move. He could only be saved by a woman oh my god.

“A revolution will come but it won’t be the one you think,” said a woman assuming the shape of Jimmy’s worst nightmare, a woman closing a door — the spiked door of the Iron Maiden. “The revolution will be of gender, and unlike your revolution which would replace the rule of rich men by the rule of poor men, ours will succeed.”

“Sisters,” came a voice from the kitchen’s far end, lit by incidental light.

Shauna. And wouldn’t it be?

“Sisters,” said Shauna, entering the overflow gleam, “You have made a category mistake.” Her eyes were silicate, her lips pewter. Jimmy feared for her; defending him must come at a price.

“And that would be?” said the odor of his long-left lover.

“Mistaking a member of a class for the class itself.”

“Men as a class are oppressive.”

“Indeed they are. And that property of men-as-a-class can no more be applied to Jimmy than can the property of wetness, a well-known property of water, be found in a molecule of H2O. Water is wet, a molecule of water is not.”

She never talked to me that way, thought Jimmy with envy.

“Sister,” said the elder of the group, “you speak of emergent properties, which this is not. Individual men are oppressive; groups of men (armies, fraternities) are oppressive, and the category of men as a whole is also oppressive. How can Jimmy be excepted? We conclude that Jimmy-in-himself is an oppressor.”

“That,” said Shauna, “is a masculine error, cooked up by Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) and passed down through generations of, need I say, male philosophers. Jimmy-in-himself exists only as a concept in your mind. Do you claim to know him as Idea, or as object of direct experience? For as you know, sisters, the only things that shall be debatable among us shall be things definable in terms drawn from experience.”

“Oh dear,” said the youngest of the group, “did we commit synecdoche?”

“Run for it, pet,” said Shauna to Jimmy, “I’ll hold them off.”

No one paid attention to the wsh-wsh-wsh of the swinging door.

“Your argument, Shauna,” said the milky smell of Jimmy’s college love, “is flawed. His reputation, which preceded him into this room, was drawn from experience and thus is a property of him as an individual man.”

“Be that as it may,” said Shauna, “and leaving aside the question of whether a reputation is the property of the person to whom it is applied or of those who apply it, what else have you been up to?”

“We did it for good reason,” said the youngest.

If you are of the opinion that all that hinders the triumph of women’s liberation is unethical and criminal,” Shauna said. “What’s in the pot?” She waved the steam to her; it smelled of the no name bar in Sausalito, Jimmy’s car, love in remission.

“Just stirring up memories,” said the nude.