Illiana Rasputin
And the Depressing Diet of a Demon Supermodel
by Corey Saucier

I
am stuck here in Purgatory. Well I’m not Catholic, so let’s try Limbo.

I’m stuck here in Limbo. In Limbo there is no sun, no laughter, and no sweet-tasting things. If I were a comic book geek (which I totally am!), I would introduce you to Illiana Rasputin, the little, (more powerful) sister of Colossus of the X-Men, who uses her mutant power as a gateway to teleport between this world and a hell-like location called Limbo. She like me is a magical, gorgeous, blond, female mutant who rules her own domain. But every once in a while poor Illiana (also known as MAGIK) sometimes loses access to her soul and becomes a creature called Darkchild, a tragic creature lost to the madness of her dark dimension of Limbo. I too have become Darkchild. I am not in a good place. Horns have spiraled from my crown and I have a long, coiled black tail spindling against the concrete like vipers. Don’t get me wrong, I still look amazing. I’ve lost forty pounds and have the flat stomach of a Russian supermodel. A supermodel with horns and deep black circles around the eyes—but gorgeous nonetheless—like the heroin-chic models of the late nineties, with their splashes of running charcoal mascara and ribs that were too painful to look at. But I still have no taste buds! And not being able to taste sweets is slowly driving me insane.

And making me lose faith.

But at least I’m not dead. As far as we know, the chemo and the radiation has done what it was supposed to do, and the cancer has receded back to the hell that it came from. (Or so we think, until I get my final scans). But the treatment also eradicated my T cells, so that last we checked I have fewer than 200 T cells. Which puts be back at a term that in the eighties we used to call “full-blown AIDS.” I’m on Boost again, you know, to help prevent “wasting,” you know, something that you don’t see in HIV patients anymore in the so-called developed world. So when people stop me on the street and tell me how good I look in my new slim body, I want to pull out my soul sword, open a teleportation disk, slash them across the chest with my black talon claws, and educate them on the horrors of Limbo. But instead, I smile, and say, “Really you think so?” Put my hand on my hip, and hope that they never have to take a compliment for undergoing a painful and debilitating treatment that has almost killed them and taken away their joy.

It’s not really their fault; so I try to keep my tail from wrapping around their necks…our culture is obsessed with skinny. I am no exception. Just a few months ago I thought I was too fat. I was thinking of ways to go to the gym more, change my diet, and eat fewer sweets…but now. I take it all back! The world gives us so few pleasures: There are diseases that are always growing in foreign sludge ready to blossom into our atmosphere and take us out, there are natural disasters biding their time until they crack open the earth and send the ocean ashore to swallow us whole, there is violence and crime—and shady characters hiding in alleyways with sharp blades and semi-automatic weapons, there are evil political moguls, and best friends turned enemies, and wild dogs roaming our neighborhoods, and spoiled milk all just waiting to catch us off guard…. There are so many terrible parts of life right on the edge of our eyesight, and yet we focus on denying ourselves the joy of a simple ice cream cone.

I take it all back! I repent my hubris! I pray to the tastebuds gods for my forgiveness and hope that they see a way to return me to grace. Never again will I deny myself simple joys. Never again will I barter my pleasure and joy to save a few calories. Never will I assume that the health I have now. I will always have. If he who is holy decides to give me back my tongue, I will eat all the things!

Give me all the things that taste of butter and lemon and cheeses and cream and savory and sweet, and umami and salty and sour and bitter coffee, and sumptuous steak, and ice cream. I want all the ice cream!! Every flavor. Every color. Every brand! With rainbows, chocolate chips, sprinkles, and glitter! I want to indulge like my five year-old self; and make every bite like a child’s delight: Like me and mother did in Mexico while watching the sun set purple and gold into the boiling azure sea, as we ate blueberry snow cones and homemade spaghetti on the roof!

Diet be damned!

You never know how many more moments you have.

Take them all.

Swallow them up.

Let them melt in your mouth.

And do not ever spit them out.

Love and Light.


Corey Saucier is an artist and writer living in Los Angeles. He is a Lambda Literary Fellow in Fiction and Non-Fiction and is currently looking for a publisher for his first novel. His musings and wanderings on Love, Life, and Nonsense can be found at www.justwords.tumblr.com.