On my way to saint Ives, I met a man with seven wives. He told me that he was on the run from the state police that were trying to enforce their laws of monogamy upon him. He conferred in me that this was not his only trouble. Each of his wives had been involved in illegally breeding and dealing in an endangered species of cat. If his wives were caught, the man told me, they would all spend the rest of their lives in prison, thus they were forced to hide their cats (about seven each) in the numerous sacks that they carried. Unfortunatly, it seemed that all of the cats had simultaniously had kittens and the sacks were becoming a little over crowded.
At the time, I smiled and wished the man luck, not knowing what else to do. As soon as he was out of sight, however, I notified the local police of the man’s whereabouts. It simply wasn’t safe or humane to keep all those cats in such little sacks. As for the copious wives the man had, well, that was just greedy. It also didn’t hurt that there was a large reward for any information leading to his arrest.
It’s Wednesday, and I’m a nervous wreck. Alicia told me her mother would be out of the house all day Saturday, and she would have the house all to herself. She said we could spend the time together. I knew exactly what Alicia meant; sex. Why did I tell her I was a stud when I have never had sex in my life? Now she thinks I am some experienced sex fiend, and if for no other reason, she is totally attracted to me.
Lying to her was a big mistake. How the heck was I supposed to know things would move so quickly? We just became a couple last week. I have only kissed her once, and it was so awkward.
This Saturday sex thing is full of problems. I have never seen a vagina, not even on TV. Sure, I have seen a woman with all that bushy hair in some movie I watched when my parents were not around. But I have never actually seen what a real vagina looks like. I know it has holes, but I have no idea how many. Is there a hole for peeing, one for babies to come out of and one for sex? How will I know if I am in the right hole without appearing like a dork! Oh my God, what do I do? I have not slept well since she told me of our sex date on Saturday. I am totally stressed. Maybe I should come clean. How can I be so dumb about a vagina?
On Thursday, I started a casual conversation during my walk home with Pete and Oran my best friends. I got the conversation around to girls and gradually to vaginas. Pete said there was no hole to begin with, you had to poke the hole open with your penis and then it stayed that way. That is how he had done it with all the girls. How did the girls pee I asked him. He said they did everything through their butts until you busted their vagina open. It sounded terrible and painful. It scared me more than ever. I did not want to be busting open any hole on anybody. Oran my other friend said he hadn’t done it yet, but had touched a vagina once and it felt like a slippery fish, and smelled like one too”. He didn’t like the feel or the smell he said.
I was almost on the verge of tears. A slippery, smelly vagina that I had to poke a hole in; and I was not sure it was even one hole, maybe I had to poke three holes. Oh my God, I am thinking of running away from home.
Friday morning I couldn’t focus. I walked like a zombie to school. I looked at every girl I passed wondering if her hole had been poked open yet. I wished I could ask if it took more than one poke and how many holes had to be poked open.
I dreaded the thought of even talking to Alicia that morning. Joy of joys, she was not at our usual meeting spot when I got there. Then Clarissa, Alicia’s best friend came running up to me and asked if I had heard. I looked at her puzzled. She said Alicia was taken to the hospital. She had fallen and broken her ankle coming down the stairs in her house.
I tried to look upset, but my heart was busting with happiness. I walked away from Clarissa feigning grief. Around the corner, I did a full spin and some fist pumps.
1. So you’re walking your banana when a pirate ship flies by without a turning signal. If the duck stays the same, how many barrels of vinegar will it take to burn the American flag?
2. So you’re climbing a tree without a bicycle and a Walmart associate asks for a price check. Do you change into another pair of dive fins or continue teaching a classroom of elephants?
3. So you’re on the loo. Why is there a homeless man on the corner watching?
4. So you’re stuffing a Beanie Baby with tater tots when the phone rings in your stomach. A golfer swings his club at a watermelon till a garden gnome loses his fishing license. What is the chance of rain?
5. So you’re snacking on a newspaper when suddenly the light turns off. You tell yourself to quit it and turn the light back on. Do you comply?
6. So you’re riding a horse with no legs when a tidal wave knocks the baguette from your holster. Do you call customer service and hang up or bury a Happy Meal toy in your neighbor’s yard?
7. So you’re explaining a differential equation to a ferret when a werewolf knocks on your door. You open the door and tell him he doesn’t exist and shut the door in his face. Where was the snow shovel?
Community peep hole
In cleaning the new apartment I found a hole in the wall. The landlord came by, looked at it and said he’d return to fill it, but so far he hasn’t.
One day I put my eye to the hole. At first I thought it was maybe the beers I had with the guys on my way home. I rubbed my eyes and looked again… A big fat tattooed butt crack looked back at me.
I jerked back.
“Come over here and look through that hole” I called out loudly to my roommate.
“Whose hole?’ the roommate inquired.
I pointed to the hole.
“Oh, yeah, that hole. I looked through it earlier and saw some weird dude” he said.
“Oh you saw it too?” I asked relieved.
“Yeah, I’ve seen weird ass shit before, but man, that’s the weirdest shit I I’ve ever seen, sick man, just freaking sick. I ain’t looking through that hole no more” he said as he walked out the room shaking his head.
I couldn’t help myself, I looked again. A man was having his butt crack tattooed. The actual spread the cheeks crack. TATTOOED!
“What the hell! You have to be pissing drunk or stark crazy to do weird shit like that.” Then I felt a ripple of pain in my butt.
I rose fearfully, walked over to the mirror and nervously removed my boxers.
The peeper jerked back.
“Come over here and look through that hole” he called out loudly to his roommate.
“Whose hole?’ the roommate inquired.
He pointed to the hole.
“Oh, yeah, that hole. I looked through it earlier and saw some weird dude” he said
“Oh you saw it too?” he asked relieved.
“Yeah, I’ve seen weird ass shit before, but man, that’s the weirdest shit I I’ve ever seen, sick man, just freaking sick. I ain’t looking through that hole no more” he said while he walked out the room shaking his head.
the candle flickers; the light grows dim
the shadow figure walks slowly down the hall. blood still running down his face. the jingling of the lock; the creaking of the door. five bloody razor blades fall to the floor
the bitter taste still remains on his lips. strands of her hair caked on his fist. he stumbles over piles of garbage, trash, clothes for his release, his happiness, his utopia
the urine stench in the room made him want retch. he went to the bathroom, opened the medicine cabinet looking for his ambrosia looking for his sweetness
past scores of needles and broken glass, bliss was found. he marched back into the kitchen. the pills seemed to grip his throat like a stranglers grip on virgin necks; he reached for a drink
the sweet alcohol washed the pills down. the silver gleam of heaven moved with great ease. not horizontal or vertical, but a happy in between
a thin sly grin crossed his face. a sigh was let out and the word ‘happiness’ was etched into the darkness
his body fell to the floor twitching and convulsing. a low stuttered laughter stained the bloody scene
the candle dissipates; the light burns out
Mr. PK and Mr. JL are sitting at a cluttered table in a crowded cafe. Ms. CR sits to Mr. PK’s left and Mr. JL’s right; nobody is situated across from her.
PK: I didn’t really expect them to bring one of everything…
CR: Didn’t you?
PK: I can’t decide. What do you want for nothing, a rubber biscuit?
CR: Well who’s gonna eat all this? I refuse to set my genitals on fire to pay the bill again.
JL: Guess I’ll be eating it then.
Mr. PK’s breath rejuvenates a pail full of desiccated invertebrates. A waiter walks past and Mr. PK throws his ale on the poor man.
PK (frothing): If I’m happy the customer’s happy!
A Sporting Fellow and his Toddler are at an adjacent table. The Sporting Fellow pushes his Toddler to the floor, where the boy laps at the spilt ale.
CR: God damned communist lap dog.
JL: (eating tostada): I guess that’s what you call a tree falling in the forest.
An overtly handsome waiter–disgustingly so–sashays over and places a new ale before Mr. PK.
PK (shaving own pubic hair): This is my lucky day!
JL (eating pickle): This is your lucky day.
Ms. CR plays with the resuscitated invertebrates from Mr.
PK’s pail, making a ‘house of worms.’
CR: So where’s the rubber biscuit?
PK: It’s up yer ass.
JL: (eating cranberry soup): With a piece of glass.
PK: With a rubber hose.
JL (eating mayonnaise): With my nose.
Ms. CR crams her fingers into Mr. JL’s nostrils; after a vigorous session of rummaging she comes out with a pina colada.
CR: So they didn’t bring us one of everything! The cheap bastards!
She sets to downing the beverage.
JL (eating cheese sticks): Somehow my sinuses feel ten times better than tomorrow’s polls should indicate.
Mr. PK is riding the Toddler around like it’s a bucking bronco.
PK: I guess this is what you call a tree falling in the forest!
CR: That should do something for his bunions.
JL (eating salad and potatoes): Damned polls…
CR: Yippie-ki-yay, motherfucker.
JL (eating salami): Fucking polls!
Mr. PK lassos a low-flying bird.
PK: How ya like me now, ya vegan sumbitch!
CR: I guess this one gets the worm…
She begins to shove the Lazarus worms into the bird’s beak.
Meanwhile, Mr. JL has lifted the skirt of a female diner and is on hands and knees, face-to-crotch with her.
JL (eating snow cone): Bush? Bush?!
He rips away the panties.
JL (eating salmon cakes): Hey Georgie Boy, we need to bomb Poland. Pronto!
PK (proffering bird): Eat the bird, JL! Female Diner: Is it suddenly drafty in here?
CR: I refuse to accept your pretense of spontaneous lividity. Now hold that bird still so I can feed it!
PK: Eat the bird, damn your eyes!
JL (eating female diner): The Pols! The god damned bitch-titting Pols!
Sporting Fellow: I was known to give MacEnroe quite a nuanced game or two in my day.
PK: Right here’s the intellectual dishonesty of veganism, shit for brains! Now eat the fucking bird!
In his desperation to get JL to eat his prize catch PK shoves the bird irretrievably far into the Female Diner’s nether regions.
JL (eating keilbasa): That’s it for Warsaw, baby…Chopin is fucking history!
CR And the punk ain’t usin’ a condom…
Female Diner: Whoever smelt it dealt it.
Buffalo Wings begin to squirm their way up through her esophagus, exiting between her lips. Ms. CR is keen to catch them in the vacated pail.
CR: It’s a boy!
The Sporting Fellow reads a newspaper bearing the headline: LOINS OF A GENIUS — CHOPIN STILL HAS WHAT IT TAKES. He then rolls up the paper and beats the Toddler with it.
CR: That’s a fairly nefarious interpretation of the spread of European culture.
JL (eating cream pie): This is your lucky day.
The amazing finger
He looked at his new finger. He automatically reached up and scratched his head with it.
“Hey, this is great!” he said as he looked at the louse crawling down from his finger. He shook it off and stepped on it.
He rubbed his nose then reached in and plucked a booger with his new finger.
“This is a great tool, look at this, just look at this!” he said excitedly as he proudly displayed the large booger under his fingernail. The room filled with learned men and women looked at each other a little anxiously.
“This is a great finger” he repeated, and he shook the booger outward then proceeded to remove a lump of wax from his ear and placed it in his mouth.
He lifted his shirt and scratched his belly with the nail of his finger. Tiny scabs floated in the light.
“Wow! Before I couldn’t scratch so well, and now, look!” and he proceeded to drop his pants, open his legs, cup his balls with his other fingerless hand, and proceeded to scratch his balls back and forth with the nail of his new finger.
“Ooooh, ooooh, this is incredible, fantastic, you cannot imagine the torture of scratching without a finger” and he smiled broadly at the observers; dismay clearly written all over their faces.
Then he proceeded to reach behind his back, turned his body, and in a slight stoop produced a piece of dried poo. He held it out in his hand. The gathered observers looked at him with utter revulsion and horror.
“This has been annoying me, I am so thankful to you all for this finger, it’s like a corkscrew. Did you see how the poo just POPPED out?” a look of sheer delight was on his face; a look of total disgust on the faces of the observers as they all squirmed in their seats.
Then he jumped off the stage and ran around trying to shake their hands in gratitude.
There were no takers. They fled the room almost trampling each other to get through the door.
Christmas Eve in Purgatory.
They’re ringing the church bells, Mum says as she hangs a little plastic Santa Claus on the Christmas tree that we have had for a week and took three hours to get it standing up but still have not decorated yet despite the fact that it is indeed Christmas Eve, after all.
Pepsi? My sister asks around to see if anyone is thirsty for the next generation despite the fact that I very clearly am carrying an ice water in my hand and have no intention of even finishing it.
Listen, Mum says, jostling her hand but not knocking anything loose or causing her to spill her drink. Church bells.
Sounds like an open car door to me.
It’s the bells, at the church. Listen. My mum hangs a tiny ceramic bear with a little red scarf and a green elf hat on a particularly barren branch of the tree. I try to help her decorate but I feel crowded in when I stand next to her and attempt to hang things in places where she will just get frustrated and move them around anyhow. So instead I sit at my laptop and write useless notes on things that don’t belong in a memoir but that gets tiresome after a while because I have carpal tunnel syndrome.
My sister makes a face. Those are high pitched church bells.
Go stand outside and you’ll hear them better. I can’t believe they’re still ringing them now. My mother hangs the last of the ribbons on a lonely branch.
I am holding the plastic star for the top of the tree in one hand while I pick up the glass of ice water that I had set aside when I went to type and sipped from it again. What I have referred to as a Christmas tree star for all of my life is really not a Christmas tree star at all but rather a small plastic candle holder that my mother likes to put on top of the tree because it refracts the blues and greens and pinks and yellows of tacky blinking Christmas lights.
I sit down on the couch and my mother glares at me. You aren’t supposed to have a drink if you’re sitting on the couch.
Those damn bells are still ringing. My sister snarls as she hands the start that isn’t a star that I handed to her up to my mum, and she puts it onto the top of the tree.
You’d think there was something important about it, Mum says as she perches the out of proportion not-really-a-star star at the top of the tree.
‘What if today was the best day of your whole damn life and your whole existential mudslide came to a screeching halt?’
If it were anyone but Izzy I’d have known what to say or how to say it to him. Instead, I stared off into scraps of fraying country sky as the mayflies smacked the windshield and came skittering one by two by six across the Objects in Mirror which were Closer Than They Appeared but still felt distant and remotely removed from the world where I sat. I did my best to ignore Izzy’s question completely.
But something stuck. Maybe it was the last straggling mayfly clinging to the mirror or the lackadaisical hula dancer frozen on the dashboard in her hesitant hip-sway or maybe it was that eternal stoplight, the one that seems to have been stuck on red from the dawn of stoplight evolution, the one that can drive anyone insane, the one that hangs on the same baited breath as the drivers below and teeters on the precipice of steering its drivers insane until just when it knows they will crack, when the stoplight gives way to the sky unraveling around the stars.
‘So why are you so afraid to say that you aren’t happy anymore, Sophia? It’s not like I’m asking you to pull your own teeth.’
Am I lost? I don’t think I’m lost. The frazzle of stars and the glimmer of hope shall guide me home.
The mayflies skittered, one by two by six, in the gleam of the eternally red stoplight out on a distant country road where the calm and sterility of death hung perilously close to the curved sliver of moon. I stared at the hula dancer, her spring disjointed and her tyrannous reign of the dashboard with her swaggering hips reinstated as the light finally turned green and Izzy pressed the gas pedal.