hands and Knees 

I read somewhere that Joni Mitchell used to get down on the floor, hands and knees, buttfucking naked, and just walk around like that. She said it was because she had Morgellons disease. It made her do cuckoo stuff. She was convinced that bluish purplish fibers were coming out of her hands and it was making her get naked and walk around like a baby or a dog. It sounded like a bad time. The medical community says it’s probably fake. I mean Morgellons.

“Googogooogogogoogogooooooo!” I imagine she was always saying stuff like this.

This is what I was doing: I was on my hands and knees, buttfucking naked in my college dorm room. It was a dorm room in a vegan cooperative house that always smelled disgusting and where I got a huge wart on my foot from one of the showers. I didn’t know how I’d ended up here. I’d taken nine Benadryl earlier but that wouldn’t have been the problem. That’s the amount I usually take.

A thing about me is that I love antihistamines. Did you know if you take about nine of them they will make you take a nap? It is amazing.

My roommate was a girl named Leah. Leah had amazing skin and acted in plays. Nothing I’d watch. I didn’t care for the theater. It was a disgusting place, and plus I wasn’t much of a fan of enclosed spaces or loud noises or harsh lighting. I also didn’t care for crowds of people or clapping. Don’t even get me started on honking horns and when someone yells “MISS!” to inform you that your food is ready.

Leah wasn’t around. She was at her girlfriend’s. Thank god. When Leah was here, she would always grunt loudly while listening to the Wicked soundtrack on her noise-canceling headphones. Sometimes I’d hear her humming. She would sit there and hum about the witch who wants love.

Or worse: she’d ask me how my day was going. Or far worse: she’d say in a tone of voice that implies concern “Sara, you really need to stop taking nine Benadryls as soon as you get out of your class on the Cultural History of Riga, Latvia. It’s freaking everyone out in our Vegan Coop.”

Without the terrible gaze of Leah, I could continue my buttfucking naked crawl on my hands and knees. I thought about where I could go. There were a few options. I could go downstairs to the kitchen of the Vegan Coop and see if maybe there was some leftover split pea soup and cauliflower from dinner last night that I could eat. There was also the option of going to the liquor store and brandishing my fake ID which said my name was Elizabeth and that I was ten years older than I actually was.

I didn’t even buy booze there. I really just went to buy scratch-off tickets.

I got my fake ID at my internship. It was a different time. Back then I wasn’t always taking nine Benadryl after my class on the Cultural History of Riga, Latvia! It was from a woman named Meg who one time propositioned me to have a three way with her coke dealer boyfriend. His name was Rick and he looked albino, but when I asked Meg if her boyfriend Rick was an albino she said, “Sara, he’s not my boyfriend and just so you know, he’s just pale.”

I did the three way and it was weird because Meg and Rick were on the cocaine and I said, “If you think I do drugs: you’re wrong.” Also, the other weird thing is that I had Rick’s dick in my mouth and my brain kept yelling: It’s the dick of Rick, the albino! Afterwards, when we were done, Rick kept telling Meg that I had a fire ass and I said “Rick, I can hear you.” And Rick said: “My compliments to the chef!”

I wasn’t an intern now. I was just naked and crawling around my room on my hands and my knees. I thought of more things I could do. I could go to Leah’s and surprise her while she made beans with her girlfriend who looked like an Old Navy brick lesbian, and tell her I didn’t like her whole vibe. I could also go clop around downtown and ask if anyone would like any horsey rides. I heard from a trusted source that children love it when you ask them if they would like a horsey ride.

I walked to the full-length mirror and practiced.

“Would you like a horsey ride?” I said to the Sara in the mirror.

Then I did my best impression of a kid:

“Yes pweeeaze I would wove a hwosey ride.”

“Ok, you got it kid. By the way. Name’s Sara. I go to the local college. You may have seen me in one of my numerous courses such as the Cultural History of Riga, Latvia.”

“Wow I twotally hwave. I did not know you were swo swmart in addition to amazing at giving a hwosey ride.”

Then I took in a deep breath and let out a NEIGH!

I could tell this would be a big hit.


I crawled out of my dorm room in the Vegan Coop and began to maneuver myself down the stairs. When you are naked on all fours in the Vegan Coop, it is really hard to go down the stairs. It took me about 15 minutes per my calculations, and at one moment, I began to lose my balance and became extremely worried that I would die at age 19.  

At the bottom of the stairs were my countrymen: guys with one long braid, women with flat asses wearing overalls, enough armpit hair to weave a beautiful scarf sold at the local fair. They were all sitting there on the couches. The couches had been there since the 80s. We found this out because some cheerful alumni came to visit the Vegan Coop and said:“Jesus fucking Christ no way they still have the couches.”  

None of my countrymen seemed to acknowledge me! I got sad. I was being ignored again! This kind of thing was always happening to me.

I coughed loudly to attract the attention of the various lesbians and the guys with one single long braid on the couch.

“In case you can’t see, I’m on my hands and knees buttfucking naked! I’m going to the fridge and I’m going to eat some of the delicious leftover split pea soup and cauliflower!”

“Wear a hairnet!” said one of the men with the long braid.

Then my enemy, who is named Leslie, locked eyes with me

“Sara, we have a no public tripping or stripping rule in the Vegan Coop. You should know this as you signed the non hierarchical compact of understanding and love at the beginning of the semester.”

“Leslie,” I responded calmly, “Do you hate women?”


I took some of the soup and cauliflower and poured it into a bowl and ate it like a dog on the ground. Or like a horse, I guess. Not that I’d ever seen a horse eat soup. It would’ve tasted better if I’d microwaved it but we didn’t have a microwave because there was a collective fear about microwaves giving you a Deadly Disease.


I became set on the idea of going downtown and offering people rides. This became extremely important. More important than my homework on the Cultural History of Riga, Latvia.


The college I went to was so stupid. When teachers gave you homework they would always remind you that it was optional and that there were no grades here and if you had a wonderful amazing meditation session that was the same thing as doing homework. I went there because I was so stupid. Most of my classmates wanted to either be death doulas or work at a health food store or be strippers at this one anarchist gentleman’s club in Bushwick. One guy said he wanted to go to law school and everyone called him a pig.


The walk downtown was really hard because my knees hurt from rubbing against the concrete.

“Ugh,” I said to myself, “This really hurts my knees.”

At one point I saw my professor from the Cultural History of Riga, Latvia.

She was standing at a red light looking into the sky.

“Down here!” I said to my professor.

“Sara!” she said, “I did not see you there.”

“It’s ok,” I responded, “Most professors probably don’t expect to see one of their students buttfucking naked walking around on their hands and knees.”

“You’re too funny, sweetie!” said my professor, “You're a real riot.”

“Anyways it’s time I’m off to downtown where I hope to use my body for the purpose of giving horsey rides to our nation’s youths,” I responded in a somber tone.

“Alrighty honey!” said my professor.


Downtown was where it all happened.

Downtown was my all-time favorite place in the whole world.


I stationed myself next to the yarn store. I was sure this was my spot.

Some potential customers walked by. It was a family who looked like they were enjoying the beautiful fall weather. And how could they not? It was so marvelous when the cool fall air kissed your skin, and orange and red leaves fell to the earth like some god-given miracle.

“Down here!” I said to the happy family.

They all looked at me at the same time.

“Ok so here’s the deal. I’m offering free horsey rides to our nation’s youths for free because I am a good citizen of this country and I believe in the promise of tomorrow.”

Then the father, a portly gentleman with a red face, squatted down next to me.

His face got close to my face.

I could feel the hot of his breath.

I wondered if he wanted to take my beautiful pink nipples in his mouth and suckle them like a baby.

Actually I was pretty sure he didn’t

“Miss,” said the father, “Stay away from my kids.”

Sophie Kemp is a writer based in Brooklyn, originally from Schenectady, New York. Her non-fiction work has appeared in American Vogue, GQ, the Nation, and more. 

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