Raw Material

Creative Revenge Techniques

Excerpted from Pawholes

Bachelorette #2:

Sure, there are the basic little bits which make you feel all warm and cozy inside—throwing your (newly) former boyfriend keys from the Panther Hollow Bridge or bulk erasing a select number of your roommate's very favorite pre-recorded cassettes and carefully replacing them after she's used your turntable as an ashtray at yet another spontaneous late night party in your apartment.
But somehow, my favorite type of revenge has always had roots in the occult. Yes, friends, I like to make voodoo dolls. I have no formal training in the black arts (although certain former neighbors tend to quickly cross the street when I call out to them). I simply use my own intuition and common sense to construct these precious little beings.
voodoo dollThe first doll was lovingly crafted in the image of Joey Vert, Liz's boyfriend. Here I would like to point out the most basic rule of doll-making: Do not wait too long before construction, or at least the gathering of materials. Do not let the fact that you are presently blissfully happy stop you from keeping a sweaty t-shirt or plucking a few tiny hairs from your beloved's scalp.
Let's face it, how likely is it that you will have these opportunities once you've ended your intimate relationship? Better safe than sorry, I always say, and I can't even begin to tell you how many times it took me to learn this bit of advice (although those always embarrassing breaking and entering convictions sure helped to drive it home).
But back to little Joey. Liz had (wisely) made a fairly basic doll near the very beginning of their relationship. Standard stuff, I believe—dirty socks, pubic hair, toenail clippings—all wrapped up in a nice skin of old bed sheet which had recently seen many passionate copulations. Anyway, after a bit, the inevitable happened. Being fairly drunk, Liz and I decided to douse the little man in 151 and set him afire in the bathtub (note: a better idea here would have been a garbage can or maybe a grill—just be sure that someone keeps the shower curtain safely out of the way).
So after he had burned down to ashes and resinous goo, Liz went to bed feeling better. The next morning, Joey's roommate called to let Liz know that he had fallen in the shower the previous night, broken a leg and sustained a slight concussion. We were a bit disappointed that he hadn't (seemingly) spontaneously combusted, but we had caused real physical harm , and that was comforting.
That same year, our friend Solveig was having some problems with a boyfriend. He wouldn't leave her alone, and was always skulking around near her apartment. After idly keeping his effigy upside down in a vase of water for several weeks, Solveig answered the door to a tearful Mike, telling her that he couldn't keep up with his work, he was failing out of school and his parents were coming to take him home that very day. Again, not exactly the injury inflicted upon the symbolic doll, but still a very satisfactory outcome.
Still, my favorite doll is Christopher. Years ago, when I still panted after jerks, I became involved with a nasty, self-centered, egotistical, architecture student. One New Year's Day I was waiting in a friend's apartment in Baltimore for Christopher to confirm a scheduled date for that evening. As the day wore on, it became clear that this was not going to happen. So, with the help of two dear friends and a bottle of hearty burgundy, I began to construct the ultimate voodoo doll with the items from a special velvet bag where I had been keeping little bits of my boyfriend for just such an occasion.
His body (made from a forgotten pair of boxer shorts) was filled with hair, fingernails, half-eaten pork rinds, a sketch he had made on a napkin, bits of his washcloth and the bristles from a toothbrush he had been keeping at my house. Best of all, though, was his soft-squishy head which was formed with a semen-laden contraceptive sponge.
The simple act of making this Christopher doll soothed me immeasurably. I now had power and control, but unfortunately I no longer had any desire to harm the man (just a moment of weakness—it doesn't happen often). I half-heartedly stuck a large needle in his head, packed him away and returned to Pittsburgh. We did break up (he said that we had nothing to talk about and that he had only dated me because he was new in town and he thought I had interesting friends and might be able to help his social life), but I let the doll languish in the bottom of my file cabinet.
He's married now and has at least one child, and I probably will never want to hurt him, but why take the chance? Also, I'm really not sure about how to safely dispose of an old voodoo doll; I suppose I could dismantle him, but the insides are most certainly quite rancid by now. Anyway, he doesn't take up much space and who knows...you never know when I might need him...

photograph by Mary Horner

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