Unknown Girl Gang: An Excerpt

Sasha Fletcher


Once upon a time there was an Unknown Girl Gang and they robbed banks and they robbed bandits and they robbed men of their dignity when engaged in acts of domestic abuse or also rape, which was a word they invented for when some guy decided to act like a bandit all over a cunny and other things that did not belong to him. They had all lengths of hair one after another in all sorts of colors, and they wore various hats, except when they did not, and everyone last one of them wore a kerchief with the profile of a real pretty lady with knives for eyes and a gun for a mouth. Were they fierce? O! they were fierce! Were they pretty? Yes! in their own ways! Some of them were the world’s greatest sword-fighters, and champion cellists, and expert marksmen, and they paid their taxes, but not to the government. The Unknown Girl Gang started a girl’s bank with the express purpose of taking care of people what needed taking care of. From time to time folks would come around and say Isn’t that the job of the government and then everyone would have themselves a real good laugh.

A scene: Three members of the girl gang on horseback, not speaking. K says to A I don’t understand. A says Well it is a certain sort of love. K says What sort of love? A says to K it is like the kind of love I don’t feel like talking about? D says to K or A What if we all just changed the subject? and then they did.

A scene: A and K and D on horseback, changing the subject. K says to D and A What should we talk about? D says to K and A How about that, and points to death, who has come a calling. K says to D That was an incredibly inconvenient subject change. D says to K I think A is dead. A says to death Ugh fine. Death says to us all One of these days, buddy!

A scene: J is speaking to her father. She says Father you are a good man, and I love and respect you a great deal and her father says I love and respect you a great deal too. J says to her father As you know father I am a member of an Unknown Girl Gang. I would like us to do something great, and magnificent, and of much benefit to our fellow people. Her father says In that case you should overthrow the government, and steal from the rich and give to the poor, not to excess, but just enough that people aren’t dying. J says to her father That seems both a moderate and extreme course of action. Her father says What in this life isn’t? and then sits down to the piano and plays the saddest and prettiest song J has ever heard. What is that she asks. J’s father says to J It is The Ballad of one person’s attempt to overthrow the government using heartache. It is beautiful J says. Yes says her father. Yes it is.

A scene: Let us go overthrow the government.

A scene: The Unknown Girl Gang camped out outside the White House, dreaming. In their dreams, the President. Hello he says. You are doing good work out there. If this was a better America, we would have a place for everyone. If this was a better America, when we died our ashes would be mixed with gunpowder to be used as fireworks. What is more ostentatious than death? It is life, my fellow Americans. And we should celebrate its insistence in every way. You are not the kind of man we thought to find here they tell him. He tells them You will have to leave. They will not understand. Change must come from within. Love is a process. And life? they ask. Life is the concern of the gods and the dead he tells them, and they can tell from how he says it that they should not have asked him. And what of America? they ask him. America is in the hands of the people he says. You mean these hands? they ask, holding out their hands, but he is already gone. In the morning their horses have wandered off. The Unknown Girl Gang goes back to their headquarters, the location of which is a mystery.

An interview: The Unknown Girl Gang has their headquarters in hell.

An interview: The Unknown Girl Gang has their headquarters in hell, where they belong.

An interview: The Unknown Girl Gang has their headquarters in hell is the story as it is told but some of us know better and by know better I mean that we feel that if the Unknown Girl Gang exists, and if hell is a real place, then there is no possible way that the Unknown Girl Gang would have their headquarters in hell, let alone have any real contact with hell, aside from whatever they get up to in private, which is really their own business, if they are even real, which who knows what is and is not provable these days, vis-à-vis science, and things like that?

An interview: The Unknown Girl Gang has their headquarters headquartered underground, in the center of America, accessible at various entry points throughout the continental United States. I once heard a story about them talking to each other in dreams but that is the kind of fucking fairy tale that is ruining the moral fiber of this country altogether. What do I mean? I mean that believing in the impossible is a good way of trying to not deal with the possible, with the actionable. I mean that living in hopes of your own private fantasies being reality prevents you from living the sort of life that is actually a life. I mean involved with the living. With the real. With the world. Yes I am single. My wife was murdered. I am sorry too. Every day. I think about her every day. It isn’t easy, but it seems like the honest thing to do.

An interview: Yeah I know the Unknown Girl Gang. I fucked every last one of them and they are all fucking dykes every one of them. Just a fucking pile of fucking man-hating cunt lickers.

An interview: What the Unknown Girl Gang represents to children? Hope. Could I elaborate? Yes. Yes I could.

An interview: I would say that the Unknown Girl Gang is as much an idea as anything else. Just the notion of not so much vengeance as retribution?, of not so much retribution as a sort of balancing? There’s that sculpture outside some courthouses. Of a blind woman holding the scales of justice. Well apparently a penis weighs more than the capacity to grow a child inside of yourself. And it is just good to know that there are people out there, people with guns, who find that notion to be ridiculous. And even if they aren’t, if the idea of them is out there, is burning its brand on the brains of men, such as they are, then that is something, that is the kind of story you want to knit into a blanket and wrap your children up in at night, so that they take it to heart. I am sorry if I am not explaining myself well. I am doing my best.

An interview: I was just kidding earlier, about the cunt-licking. I’m sorry. I feel like if maybe I say these things then maybe something in my life will change? Like if I say something mean then maybe I’ll have a kind of power over my life? Fuck you for looking at me like that. Have you never felt fucking powerless? Well?

An interview: The Unknown Girl Gang will never die. I don’t mean it like it sounds. Every member will die, just like every president will die, and every American will die. But America won’t die. Or, if and when it does, it won’t be because the people in it died, but because the idea of it died. I mean that amber waves of grain, I mean that maybe not actual freedom and democracy, but the idea of it? Just. Listen. The American dream is a powerful concept. They call us The Land of Possibility. Do you understand what that means? I mean really. I mean really consider what that means, as a human being alive in this world. Possibility is defined as being unspecified qualities of a promising nature. This is the stuff that dreams are fucking made of. And I am saying that when possibility dies in America, then probably America will die. I am saying that the Unknown Girl Gang is like that. That America is here because of an insistence on possibility and also a refusal to pay what was considered by some to be an unjust taxation considering more or less their lack of any real or at least palpable sort of representation. And the Unknown Girl Gang is around because we live in a world where things like the Unknown Girl Gang are necessary. When I say necessary I mean absolutely needed I mean being essential, indispensible, or requisite, I mean of an inevitable nature.

An interview: I mean who hasn’t, in their hearts, done something they will never forgive themselves for?

Bit by bit the Unknwon Girl Gang met their end. L became a concert pianist of great renown. J removed her hands in a mistaken bid to give something back to America. Her father made her new hands out of piano wire and dreams, and she got married, and had thirteen babies, and loved them all very much. G died in a gunfight but not like you think: G was sitting at a bar having a drink and some drunks decided to have a shootout and, being drunks, their bullets took first G’s eye and then her heart and then they lodged themselves in the hearts and minds and other soft spots of a few small children. A died just like we said she did, and K also died in a gunfight, but it is probably exactly how you imagined it, if you imagined it as being pistols in the moonlight on the beach over a matter of principle. H became an ambulance driver in Mexico and married her nurses and they set up an underground lesbian society. W became president of Mexico for one day and then abdicated the thrown in a fit of fire. I was a volunteer firefighter and amateur romantic whose death escaped the notice of our eyes, keen as they are to loss. B got malaria and F got tetanus and R got her lungs full up with fluid in such a way as to render them unfit for lungs and Y was kidnapped and brainwashed and raised as a princess way up in Canada and she had a husband and a family up there and then one day it all came flooding back and knives shot from her eyes and her mouth became like unto a gun and this both is and is not a metaphor and after that she commandeered a brigade of Mounties and set off for the tundra and nobody has heard from her since. C went down into the grand canyon to figure a few things out. She invited some birds to live in her chest and periodically sent them out into the world to carry on whatever it was that they had inside them. P became a mediocre boxer and died of blunt force trauma to the head attempting to stop a bank robbery in that she punched three robbers in the face until their faces made the shapes of the dead and then a chandelier fell on her and she said Seriously? and the chandelier said Seriously and death said Hi there darlin’ and P said I am nobody’s darlin’ let alone yours and death said that is fine but you’re still dead. And L’s father killed her out of spite and to fulfill a contract and then wept every day for the rest of his life which was about five years, and he was very dehydrated, and people were always bringing him glasses of water, and then his heart just gave out. And V left her husband and B killed her children and O practiced witchcraft and J destroyed capitalism (in her own way) and D started a movement towards getting women the vote but then she got lynched and that was really unfortunate, and when they died, when every one of the Unknown Girl Gang died, their ashes were mixed with gunpowder to be used as fireworks, because your modesty is a lie, and death is not the end.

And the last member of the Unknown Girl Gang wore a wolf on her head for a hat and it was not so much that she wandered the desert as she moved through it and through towns and their ghosts until she was not so much the last member of the Unknown Girl Gang as the patron saint of all girl gangs to come, from that moment until such a time as girl gangs are no longer necessary, in this world or the next.