Colson says he believes in aliens. I’m not so sure. He says they are crawling around the beach. I don’t believe that, not even for a second, but he says it is obvious aliens are real because when they wear bikinis, they have hair on their tummies and under their arms, and even on their legs, like really gross and stuff

I wonder if Colson knows he has hair on his legs, too?  But I don’t say so because I don’t want to be, like, mean. It’s not much hair but I think it is growing.

In the garden I saw a daddy long-legs and watched it run away. I also saw a tarantula and thought it was a new-born kitten. My mummy says NEVER TOUCH A RED-BACK! But my big sister says her pimples are normal, they’re just hormones, and you can get them not just on your back, but on your face and chest, too. 

My big sister talks a lot about hormones. She says when I grow up into a lady there will be a big hairy beast in my panties. 

My mummy says that her past haunts her in her sleep. All the share houses and unpaid bills. I say but you still share a house with me and Gabby and she says that is not what she’s talking about. She’s talking about fungus and winter and leaking roofs. I tell her that one thing is for sure: a leaking roof would scare me, too, because Santa breaks into all the houses with holes in them. She says HO HO HO! I remind her that Santa has a red back and she shuts right up. 

Santa comes in fourteen days. I’m going to hunt down all the holes in our house and make sure they are sealed real tight. Mummy always says I have to protect my privacy. I don’t know why Mummy doesn’t properly barricade the house if she knows someone dressed as an ugly old man is going to break in.

Colson says his brother is an astronaut and that, apparently, there is a lot of curve appeal in space. He says especially on Uranus and he cracks up laughing like a pig. I tell my big sister about it and she says Colson is a slimy lying insect who wouldn’t even be able to stomach R18+ Blood and Gore. I tell Mummy about Uranus and she says that I must never get caught in a web of lies. Speak straight and speak true. Don’t swim in murky water, muchacha! 

Mummy talks a lot about the good old days, too. She talks about kayaking with the homies and dancing in the dark. She doesn’t even let us do any activities because they cost, like, an arm and a leg! But she says kayaking is different, it’s gliding across the big unknown, muchacha, and your arms burn like they’re on fire. Sounds like hell to me. 

Update on the beast in my panties: it will look less like a beast and more like the face of a cat.

Colson says we should go alien-hunting at the beach. He says he has a laser gun and binoculars that his daddy never uses. So what did he buy them for, anyway? Colson says spiders and stuff

Mummy says that if she kills three husbands she can be a black widow. I ask if she would ever kill me and she says NO! which is a relief. How many have you killed so far? She says none, because deep down, she is soft. Soft! Soft as my elbow.

Mummy says kayaking is cool because you have, like, two extra arms. 

Today at school there was a tarantula in the canteen. Everyone was screaming, but I had already seen one before! The teacher on canteen duty said don’t get too close to it, missy, or else its big fat poisonous hairs will shoot all over you and you will die. I picked the spider up and put it in my lunchbox and made it promise not to eat my sandwich. The teacher snatched my lunchbox from me and threw it against the canteen wall and it exploded. The tarantula crawled right past the teacher in a flash and she screamed so loud that her face caught fire. She needed to calm right down! I swear it just looked like a new-born kitty!

I found a trap-door at the back of the kitchen today after school. I unlocked the hatch real easy and crawled through. I felt like a secret agent. But it just led to the garden. My big sister says that the door was probably a booby-trap in the good old days. Gross! Anybody who traps boobies is a sicko. 

Today Colson says he once saw my mummy and he thinks she has a moustache. I told him that he is a slimy lying insect and his daddy has a moustache so there.

Mummy says that when she was in her youth, she was walking through the desert and tripped over a placenta buried in the sand. She says how dumb it was to bury it in the sand and not in the soil. But I thought that burying it in the sand was smart, so all the creepy crawlies can’t come along and infest it. Mummy says, no, muchacha, if you are in the desert and you have a placenta on hand, you may as well go ahead and eat it.


Yesterday at school we extracted the DNA from a strawberry. It was so gooey! Extract is a new word that I learned. Extract my tooth for the tooth fairy. Extract the secret agent. Extract a hair with the tweezers. 

Santa comes in twelve days. I hope he shaves his beard right off. Santa has short legs and probably couldn’t run away if I chased him with an axe or a laser gun so that is good news. 

Update on the beast in my panties: my big sister says that if anyone tries to knock me about, all I have to do is lift my skirt and BAM! The cat is out of the bag. But I still have a while to go before I am a lady and can use this secret weapon.

Mummy says kayaking is cool because a big rogue wave could come and wash you right out, itsy bitsy spider!

Today in school we had to write an acrostic poem. I chose the word CAT: C for Colson, A for Arachnophobia, T for Trap-door. 

Mummy takes me shopping and lets me buy a bikini. It has frills on the edges. In the changing rooms, she makes sure that my bottom isn’t totally hanging out and tests to see if the straps will fall off my shoulders if a big rogue wave comes crashing on top of me in the ocean. 

Mummy says that this counts as a Christmas present so I can only wear it after Santa gives it to me. But I’m worried he will have to check if my bottom hangs out before he puts it under the tree. I don’t want his big hairy face in my swimsuit. 

My big sister plaits my hair into two big braids. Que guapa! She’s even better at braiding than Mummy. All my friends are so jealous of how tight and neat and sexy my hair is. Other girls have braids but their wispy bits fly everywhere. 

At school today we learned about fangs. In big cats and in poisonous insects and in sharks. Sharks! I told Mummy about it and she said that she kayaked over sharks in her youth.

She also said that she once shared a house with two skinny girls who never paid rent on time. The house haunts her in her sleep. There were cobwebs in every corner and bed bugs in her mattress. And those bugs don’t pay rent, either! When she got enough money she fanged it out of there and rented her own place by herself where she could keep a watchful eye on the cobwebs and brush them off the ceiling with a broom.


Santa comes in four days and all my friends are baking cookies for him. Gross! 


Today my big sister told me something very scary. She said that when I become a lady, I have to pour burning hot wax all over my legs and then plaster strips of paper on top and then rip out all my hair. I said that’s impossible! No way, José. But she said she does it all the time. She made me touch her legs. They were so slimy! But she was very proud of them, and she said that when I am a lady, I will braid my hair all by myself and wear big hoops in my ears, just like her. I asked if I could just wear the hoops now. She said ask Mummy

Colson is dying to go to the beach but I say we have to wait till after Christmas so I can wear my new bikini. I tell him I’m a bit scared that Santa is a pervert. He says Santa isn’t even real. As if I didn’t already know! Everyone knows, but they still send him sugar-daddy letters and everyone puts his chubby face in their houses and everyone sits on his lap in the mall and sooner or later he’s gonna quickly check if my bottom is hanging out from my bikini or else he has to take it off my wish list like mean, chubby God. 

Colson says that he doesn’t care about that, because he knows Santa isn’t real, because nobody he has ever known in his entire life has ever received coal except for the kids with parents who work in the mines

He also says he knows aliens are real, so maybe I should text Santa so he can hurry up already with the delivery. I don’t even have a phone!

I asked my mummy if I can wear hoops with my braids and she said NUH-UH, NOT TODAY, MUCHACHA! I was actually a tiny bit relieved because I don’t even have my ears pierced yet.

Today my friends secretly told me that a female dog is a very bad thing. I said not to worry! Sooner or later we’re all gonna have cats.

I saw a daddy long-legs again and decided to trap it in a jar. 

Mummy says that when she was a little chica there were spider monkeys swinging around her backyard. She says they were lethal and that she had to constantly have a watchful eye like a secret agent. Mummy says she learned karate. Mummy says she learned jiu-jitsu. Mummy says she can swat at anything and kill it instantaneously. Mummy says she lived very far away from the ocean so there was no such thing as kayaking or bikinis or rogue waves. 

I really think she might kill three husbands if she has the chance.

Santa comes in two days and I think we should barricade the house. I beg my mummy to teach me karate in case Santa crawls into my bedroom but she takes me kayaking instead. 

While we paddle across the ocean Mummy talks non-stop about the good old days. She chats about trekking through the desert and fishing scorpions out of her socks and camping in the moonlight. I think about if a shark leaped out of the ocean and started kayaking with us. Probably Mummy would karate-chop its head off because of its fangs. 

Mummy checks to see if my arms are completely burning up! No, Mummy, because why would I even want that to happen, anyway? She says paddle harder, muchacha! So I paddle like my life depends on it. 


Santa came but he didn’t check to see if my bottom was hanging out. He was probably scared that I would swat his red back instantaneously. I wore my bikini for the whole day because I think it really suits me, even though I had to wear my clothes over it because my mummy didn’t want me walking around like some Barbie blonde. Barbie! Blonde! All the blonde girls at school have the thickest and ugliest eyelashes I have ever seen. They are like creepy legs crawling out of their eyes. My big sister says falsies are en vogue, but I don’t even speak French! 

Mummy says my eyelashes are the prettiest because they are natural, que guapa! so I better not go running around gluing them together with that sticky black poison.

I finally went to the beach with Colson. He screamed ALIEN! but when I looked around I didn’t see anything. Then I realised he was pointing at my tummy where there is a trail of brown hair that goes alllll the way from my belly button down into my bikini. I looked up. Colson wasn’t there.

Update on the beast in my panties: people get one peek at its web and fang it!

Bruna Gomes is the author of How to Disappear and Triple Citizenship. In 2022, she was a Writer in Residence at The Museum of Loss and Renewal, Italy, where she ate copious amounts of pastries and saw fireflies for the first time in her life. Bruna was long-listed for the 2022 Future Leaders Prize.