Wes Lee


Joanna Mayflower

“Hi, I’m Joanna Mayflower. I collect pink flamingos in any form. From lawn ornaments to Christmas lights. Things with stars on them. Star objects and pictures of Courtney Love for my Courtney Love Shrine. You can sometimes see it on camera, it’s above my television. My Height is 5’3. My Blood type is B negative. The circumference of my left wrist is 6.2 inches. My favorite pastime is sitting on my bed in the dark with loud music playing.”

I was mesmerized.
The plump shoulders. The half eaten sweets. The dust settling when the door of her apartment closed behind her. Her inaudible breathing as she stared at her monitor for hours at a time.
I stared back.
Joanna continually hoisting her bra-strap over her shoulder. A string of her hair twirled into infinity. Joanna biting her nails while her bed sheets lay all day on the floor. Joanna moving towards me like an exotic fish behind glass.

“I love tacky plastic snow globes, cats, candy, fruity lip balm, Autumn and sleeping late. I hate being treated like a child, vomiting, doing laundry, actually any sort of cleaning, weird vegetables, red meat and being poor.”

At night I watched her sleep. My eyes drawn to the blue square of her television set in the corner. Half empty wine bottles, dirty plates on the coffee table, the remnants of her movements, the spaces where her body had been.
She couldn’t see me but my life reflected hers. It had the same stillness. The procession of leftovers. The soft buzz of technology flooding both our rooms. The cracks in my wallpaper would lead me to her, moving in and out of high definition, merging before entry.

“I once had a slug crawling up my leg.”

Joanna’s face as white as her pillow, sleeping with her teddy bear tucked up in her bed. The arch of her back. Her dragon tattoo a blur across her spine.
Joanna’s night-lights, pin-pricks in the dark. The translucent glow of a fluorescent Virgin Mary. An arcade of stars in the sky. The grainy images transmitted from her dingy bedsit had the quality of memories already formed. I didn’t need to invent them. Joanna Bigfoot turning back for one last look before she loped off into the distance - forever captured in a pixilated blur of low resolution.

“I have a complete and total HAIR FETISH. I’m not sure where it comes from. Maybe from the fact that I treasured my own hair and then started to lose it. But man, I absolutely CRAVE long, beautiful, dark hair. The way it falls across the face, the way it looks against the pale skin of the back or chest. Running my fingers through long, black hair. Ahhhh, pure heaven … I also have a small ‘thing’ for navels.”

Joanna: Can I send you stuff?

“Uhhh … No. Someone once sent me flowers without asking first and it really freaked me out. I don’t like that at all, and I’ll probably just throw your gift out.

Joanna: Do you get naked?

“Yes frequently. I get naked to go in the shower, and I’m often briefly naked as I’m getting dressed in the morning. But if you mean do I get naked in front of the camera, then the answer is NO. If you ask me to take my clothes off, I will laugh loudly at you.”

You’re my sticky candy center. The place I want to crawl into.
When you leave your apartment will you take me with you?

“Even though I’m an adult, I can’t let my feet dangle over the edge of the bed at night, just in case we’re all wrong and there really ‘is’ something underneath just waiting to grab someone’s toes.”

Used to be able to kiss her elbow when she was little.
Ice-cream makes her very very sick.

Can’t sleep in the dark or silence. Keeps Christmas lights up all year long as a night light.

Has glow-in-the-dark sea life on her walls. Loves the smell of sandalwood, cinnamon and vanilla. Loves good surprises.
Wants to be cremated when she dies.



Wes Lee is a published playwright. She has directed and produced the play Glamour at The Maidment theatre, Auckland in 1992. She also professionally recorded and broadcast Glamour as a Radio Play on The Green Room (BFM). Since then she has published work in Stamp, Trout, PopMatters, and Pleasures and Dangers, Artists of the 90’s (Wystan Curnow and Trish Clark, eds). Most recently, she won second place in the New Zealand Society of Authors National Short Story Award (2002). Of ‘Joanna Mayflower’, Lee writes: “I spent a lot of time researching 24 hour live webcam sites created by women on the Net. I developed a great deal of admiration for these women who freely give strangers an incredible level of access to the intimate details of their lives through continually uploaded images and in their online diaries. I was struck by the vulnerability of this position and created a fiction from the point of view of someone who sees no boundaries between himself and the woman he is watching on the Net. I wanted to create a sense of identification which probably would not exist if these two characters met in the real world. If Joanna Mayflower sat beside him on the bus she would be totally oblivious to him and in a way, of course, she is.”