Tiger Lilly: she has been a-rubbing so much of the lard of last month’s boar kill on her
bosom. See, there, they’re all a-shiny, all a-glistening underneath the Neverland sun. Tiger
Lily: her thong is all encrusted with the little shells from the sea shore: a little sand dollar
here, a flake of oyster there, a scallop shell, a baby oyster, a clam broken into a myriad of
sandy flecks, a little barnacle to show where. Tiger Lily: she doesn’t shave her pubes, and
they’re all sticking out and out. But not too much, not very many: it’s just a light crow-down
feathering. And will you, Peter, will you say to her, when her father isn’t looking: let’s go to
the lagoon, and let’s play pretend that I save you right before. We drown.
Hook: his beard all a-sooty, all thick and black and damp and curly, all sort of pubic-y. The
girl Wendy, the girl Wendy, looks about for a darning stone. The curling knife, the curling
knife should want to tickle your funny bone. Let me show you, girl Wendy, what this
compass, what this isinglass is for. Should you not like this bunker? Should you not like this
cannon fire? I should lock you, leave you alone among our preserves of apples and cider.
Smee, his fist so far down the salted fish barrel; his fist so full; he thinks no one should be
The Home Under Ground
Say, Wendy! You’ve white cotton panties! Rufflely and lacey. Say, are they bloomers, maybe?
But they are her only pair, and they could, lately, use a real rather than a pretend washing.
They have attracted all manner of clawing: scorpions roost there; crabbies dig there; sea
turtles lay there; little hands reach up and grab there. So, sometimes, when you want to get a
whiff of her, she will glare. What lately has gotten into you, old lady?
Not rum, but rather, the miasma of night (116); that’s all the pirates drink and need to stay.
Alive. Over the bulwarks, they drink. And Hook, so dejected (117), so horribly alone. He’s
all alone, he thinks, because no one, not even the Flint, can take on a good form. How shall he
address the envelope? How to word the invite? Dearest Wendy—I am inviting you to sup
with. . .Dear Wendy, your presence is . . .Should he have little Tootles deliver? Poor kind
Tootles, there is danger in the air for you to-night (44). The big thing will happen; it will happen just
as you step aside. Dear Wendy, please come; Hook would like. To see you. He takes on the
third person, the third form. Her little ankles, all dirty with Neverland dust.
Dearest, I will arrange the teapots so that they are just so, just so. If the water in there is all
a-murky, it’s because it was collected back then; can’t quite remember just when; the pond-
skater all at home in it just now. As for the little tadpole—he’s gone away; he’s gone away
into a belly. No tea, but rather; that’s all we children need to stay. Alive. I do believe that
there’s a little mole scratching up there. A badger, a claw-y glow worm. There are tree
branches and tree roots somewhere down there all a-meshed with the hair of our newborn
The Home Under Ground
Come autumn, should we plant a grove of peaches and pears and red delicious? Perhaps,
perhaps the food could be less non-existent? I think that Slighty’s teeth are falling out quickly
due simply to malnutrition, mal-eating. But Peter simply doesn’t want to plant anything.
Permanent, he says. Then maybe, then maybe, says Wendy, maybe we could plant some
bulb flowers, some perennials so that come spring, come spring, you will know that you will
have to come for me. And should the bulb and the bulb’s offspring live quite way well into the
miasma of night and some spring when I come for to find that you are there no more, what
then? What then, girl Wendy? The spring blooms: they too will outlive. You.
son. Get me the scissors, but the cord is up there, way up high, there between the space of
those two stars. Perhaps, perhaps, Peter, you could. Take. Me. Dearest, I will brew the
medicine so that it is just so, just so. If you think there’s a sort of metallic tinge, if you think
there’s a certain bitterness, it’s because the root was collected way back when; can’t quite
remember just; the little bean sprout all at home in it just now. Oh, look! Look! Dig up the
root: it’s all a-hairy! Dig up the root if already you don’t know how.
The miasma, the miasma of night is between your legs, Wendy. I do say! Do you think
Hook can have a look? No little children love me! (118), says he. Why, Hook. I do. I do love you.
And that is why the answer is in the affirmative. You see, Wendy, I must put you in chains so
that you don’t fly. Away. Because you might, that is, fly away. (The line seems unconscious
of her presence.) But only, only if you love me only. The plank, all slick with salt water—
what if, what if I should slip? Johnny Corkscrew: all a-twisted and a-curved, feeling out now
that certain funny spot. It will make you laugh but just a little. A second time and then a third
and then the unhappy Hook was as impotent as he was damp, and he fell forward like a cut
flower (119), his eyes all a-glistening with Neverland mist, Neverland byes. And now, oh
dear!, how he snores, how black flags and stormclouds fly.
The Home Under Ground
Wendy may like Hook; she may have mistakenly left her pink sash out there for him to find
come high tide. Hook, your belly is all a-hairy; it’s a little distended there from all your whale
eating. He suggests that maybe perhaps he go on a diet different from his other men; he
says he should like to eat a little muscle, a little muscle with nary a beard. Wendy, grown oh
so rebellious now from having flown out the window, says, I will dig the hole, Hook; I will
start making the rounds.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
(All italicized portions followed by a page number are taken from J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan.)
return to SHAMPOO 35