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Do it quickly, do it quickly, do it before you talk yourself out of doing it. Don't think, don't analyze, don't stop, just do it. Do it before you don't. Don't think about it. If you stop for even one moment to weigh the pros and cons, to deliberate each side of the equation, to even consider that there IS an equation in the first place and that you must come up with the answer, then you already know what your answer is going to be. And you know you won't do it. So what are you waiting for? Go!
He stood on my block, a few doors down from my building, and squatted. Filthy pants around his ankles, ass (and worse) surely exposed, but thankfully his shirt tails or whatever he was wearing obscured the body parts that for some reason I found myself seeking like the victims of a hideous car crash. He was old. Dirty. White hair. Scraggly beard. A little stocky. That's all I saw. I asked my friend, "Hey wait. Is he taking a shit?" "Yes," my friend said.. "Yes, he is." But we felt no compassion for him. And didn't care that we didn't.
Don't tell anyone, but I keep a tiny "secret friend" in my pocket at all times. If I don't have pockets, I tuck her inside my bra, where she has a better of view of all that's going on outside. But usually I wear pants with pockets, so she is safe and comfortable there. The only thing I have to worry about is rain. Because, you see, this secret friend is compressed like a sponge, and while she is only the size of a pea when carried in my pocket, she expands to full-life size when she meets water. Shhh.
A tiny boy whose name I don't know lives under my bed among the unused Rollerblades, empty mail-order boxes, and errant fuzzy slippers. He lives on dustballs. Cat hair. Packing peanuts. The occasional pretzel crumb. He never speaks, coughs, or sneezes, or comes out to show himself. He doesn't know I know he's there, and the only way I know is that once, when I retrieved a heads-up penny from just beneath the bed, I saw him curled up in the corner, sleeping. And sometimes at night, if I listen really carefully, I can hear him singing me a lullabye.
What they don't know about Ellen is that after she leaves the house to meet the school bus, she splinters in half, and one half instantly resumes full Ellen size while the other shrinks so small that no one can see it. The full-size Ellen-part boards the bus. The other scurries, spider-like, to wait in the driveway. When Ellen's mother comes out to drive to work, the tiny Ellen hops into the car, perches, hands-free, on the rim of her mother's coffee mug, and dangles her tiny white Keds near the surface of the coffee. Somehow she never falls in.
Lila's nose escapes her face some nights after she goes to sleep and goes dancing with the prettier girls in Apartment 6-F. Lila doesn't know, and her nose knows better than to tell. After all, it's not stupid. It saw what happened to the blue sweater after Lila discovered it'd snuck out to a party one night. What was the big deal? So it wanted to unbutton more than its top button. Was that really enough reason for Lila to abandon it at the Salvation Army, where a ugly woman bought it ($1.00!) and then used it as a diaper?
No one in Swanky's office knows he isn't as tall as he appears. He brags that he's nine feet tall, and no one doubts it. When he began vertically stuffing his socks with tissues, in eighth grade, he didn't have to worry yet about his arms appearing disproportionately shorter. He just bought longer-sleeved shirts. Waved his arms around a lot. But now that he's 30, he's not thrilled about the balloon hands dangling from the ends of yardsticks under his cuffs. Because now he's a big shot in a law firm and someone might notice his less than firm handshake!
One day when Mike was in his office waiting for his boss to charge in to seethe about Mike's flimsy report (the client was going to be very mad!), he took out a stapler remover (he'd swiped it from Jean, his secretary's, desk), opened its tiny jaws against the softish spot on the back of his head, and started gnawing through hair and warm skin. He did this for about 20 minutes – just long enough to tear out a chunk of squishy gelatinous brain and place it on a crisp water cracker. Oh, how Mr. Swenson loved exotic hors d'oeuvres!
When Lola was six, she scooped her eyes out with a melon-baller and replaced them with giant gumballs she'd found in an old coat pocket several days earlier when she decided to undertake this project. She'd placed them on the shelf next to her bed, so that after she was done removing the eyes, she would know where to grope. What she didn't know was that her brother discovered her plan and replaced the gumballs with plastic ice cubes that reveal naked ladies when immersed in water. So now when Lola cries, people laugh. But she has no idea why.
As soon as Laura leaves his apartment every weekend on Sunday evening at 8:00, Randall collects every towel she touched, strips the bed of the past two nights' sheets, corrals a stray sock, and crams everything into the washing machine. Sets the controls to HOT, pushes the button, and as the machine fills with hot water, adds a dash of salt. No detergent. Once the water reaches capacity, he turns off the machine. Ladels some of the hot Laura soup into a bowl. Sits down at the counter. Closes his eyes as he brings the spoon to his lips. Finally: relaxation!
Inside Simon's head is a tiny racetrack around which tinier horses run for several hours a few Sundays every year. He never knows in advance which Sunday the races will occur or at what hour. All he knows is that it involves eight tiny horses, eight tinier jockeys, and eight tiny tinny voices yelling "Yah!" Sometimes he welcomes the interruption. Other times it's a rude invasion. But every time it happens, he must take pains to keep his mouth shut for the duration so the tiny horses and tinier jockeys don't spill out from his lips and into his feedbag.
Monica knows it's not her fault she was born a green pepper. It doesn't stop her from trying to fit in with the kids in her third grade class. Nobody asks her to play, though, so during recess she sits in the shade and tries to stay crisp. One day the prettiest girl in school asked Monica if she wanted to trade her chocolate cupcake for what she had inside her lunch box. Monica shyly accepted. Inside was a tossed garden salad, complete with sliced green pepper strips. But that was OK. The cupcake was made of Ex-Lax and mud.
I told him I'd write about what he did today. (He knows who he is, so I won't bother saying hello.) This is what I know. He had lunch with Jeff, a co-worker. He had a salad. He updated links on his site. During the afternoon a partner came into his office for some reason. He came home. Napped. He was on his computer. Watched "Curb Your Enthusiasm". He chatted with me. He doesn't know it, but while he napped I implanted a chip in his brain. I won't reveal what that chip will do. Maybe by March he'll know.
Last night when I was in your bathroom, I licked the soap hanging in a little caddy in your shower. It wasn't wet (you'd taken a shower that morning, I'm sure), so it didn't taste as bad as the other time I did it. Still, I cursed both times, so I forced myself to lick the soap again to wash my mouth out the way my mother did when I was little. I licked the soap so that when you used it on your body later, a very small part of me would be trailing along every part of you.
Jeffrey's left hand is made entirely of marzipan, so whenever he has a hankering for something sweet, like at 3:30 in the afternoon (when he typically experiences an energy lull), he casually brings the back of the hand up to his mouth and pretends to wipe it as he yawns. But what no one sees is that for a split second, his lips close around his hand and he nibbles off a little piece. It's OK, though, because it doesn't ruin his appetite for dinner. And marzipan, as you know, can be molded back to its original shape with ease.
Please Note: If all of a sudden you feel something warm trickling out of one of your nostrils and down onto your upper lip, and when you tentatively touch the tip of your tongue to your lip to see what all the hubbub is about, and the trickle tastes thin and metallic and sweet, like – what do you call it -- blood, and you touch your fingers to your nose and then pull them away and see the pretty bright red dripping from your fingertips, well, chances are it's not a Diet Coke that lost its way. Today's Special: Brain Soup!
Every time the light burns out in Susan's bedroom, she cries. It's not that she's scared of the dark or anything. After all, she's five now, and she's too old for that. No, she cries because when the light goes out, that means the old bulb gets tossed into the trash along with the used tissues and her brother's diapers. But the last three times, Susan managed to sneak into the kitchen to rescue the worn-out bulbs, and now she keeps them in a felt-lined shoebox under her bed. She's so happy that Cindy, Melanie, and Maggie have been saved!
When you're lying in bed trying to fall asleep, try hard not to think about all of the little bugs that live all over your body. The little bugs that, when you shower, multiple like mad rather than wash down the drain. Try not to think about how they live on your eyelashes. How they don't just live there but congregate. How, if you had magnifying vision, you could actually see them dangling off the very tips of your eyelashes. You might be surprised to see them waving hello, but really, all they want to do is be your friend.
I am a spoon. An ordinary spoon that you can find in your kitchen drawer. Please do not take my photo with your digital camera, using the "macro" setting, and post it on your "blog" to show how even the most ordinary of household items can be made into art. Or write a limp treatise to accompany the photo, explaining how we never really take the time to appreciate the little things in life. Really. I'm just a spoon. I like to hold your soup. I like to dip into ice cream. I like to stir things. That is all.
When Marcy was four, she sliced off her fingers with a paring knife that her mother left atop the kitchen counter after peeling an apple. The left hand was quite easy to do, since she was right-handed. The right hand was more difficult, since she had to hold the knife between her teeth. It took longer too. It hurt, but not nearly as much as what her father had done to her the night before. That was the year Marcy started wearing little white gloves every day, and everyone remarked about what a fine young lady she had already become.
I'm stuck under a chair in the public library. No one ever notices me. No one ever looks under the chairs, and if they did, they wouldn't think there was anything unusual about me anyway. So the forensic experts have no idea I am here. If they did, they would chisel or pry me off the chair, place me in a plastic baggie, and take impressions from my hardened surface to determine if the gum-chewing dead girl had been in this room. But they don't know I'm here, so they'll never know if she was either. (She blew great bubbles.)
Folsky girl singers, you're all alike. I close my eyes and listen (and no, I'm not doing it in some sort of rapture; just as an experiment), but cannot tell you apart. Your tiny girlish voices, lonely and forlorn, pure and Ivory soap clean, are that of countless sexless Girls Next Door. You stare off into the hazy distance, wind ruffling your hair (just undone from braids?), peasant blouses skimming your too white skin, singing the puerile poetry of your secret diaries. I'm here to tell you that you suck. Sing in women's voices already. And brush your fucking hair.
Henry's imaginary friend gets all the attention. Just yesterday when Henry's mother was making sandwiches for lunch, she called out into the den, where Henry and Ike were playing video games, and asked Ike if he wanted mustard. Ike did. Henry didn't, but his mother didn't even bother asking him. Next she called out and asked if Ike wanted white or rye bread. Ike wanted rye, but only if it had seeds. Henry wanted white. When they went into the kitchen to eat, Henry's mother smiled as they sat down. Henry took a bite of Ike's sandwich. It was good!
Sometimes when Carrie gets bored she sneaks into her father's closet and sits in the back with a flashlight and reads his magazines. She's only six, so she doesn't read the articles, but she can sound out the titles. HOLE. PUSSY. SKANK. CUNT. She doesn't know what some of these words mean, but they're fun to say, and she whispers them to herself in the dark. One day she proudly calls her pretty teacher a cunt and a skank. But for some reason she gets in big trouble. And her mom and dad don't talk to each other all night!
Last Saturday afternoon, Lisa made herself small again and flushed herself down the toilet. It was hard to execute, but she managed anyway. She balanced on the toilet handle, jumped high in the air, bounced back onto the handle, and then dove over the toilet seat rim and into the water. It was colder than she'd imagined. The swirls were stronger than she'd anticipated. Once she was all the way down, she came face to face with Goldie, her fish, who wasn't really dead after all! Lisa ignored her mother's wedding ring, and she and Goldie lived happily ever after.
The way I want you to die is not quickly and painlessly. I want you to die painfully slowly, with as much awareness of your fate as possible. I want the circumstances of your death broadcast on a huge screen with narration and applause from the audience. I want you to squirm, writhe, and slip and slide in a pool of your own hot, just released blood. I want you to taste, smell, feel, see, and even hear it. I especially want you to hear how no one fucking cares that you're dying, you worthless waste of carbon and hair.
Today I wish your death to be a fiery one. I want you in a car, in a crash, off a cliff, down an embankment. Sound effects. I want screeches. Explosions. I want your primal screams wrenched from your throat just moments before your neck snaps. I want to hear the silence that remains when you are still alive but cannot shriek in pain. I want the sound of your looming death to fill your head. I want you to be incapable of screaming as you witness the melting of your putrid flesh. I want you to hear me laughing.
Today I want you crippled beyond repair. I want your legs twisted and your right hand (the one you write with and jerk off with) curled up against your chest that is now concave with the weight of your scoliotic spine. I want your mouth in a permanent gnarled grimace and your eyelids to flutter uncontrollably. I want spasms to rock your entire limp body. I want drool. Snot. Incontinence. Flatulence. I want you mortified, in a huge, loose diaper that leaks constantly. But your ability to recognize all that has happened to you – that, I want to remain untouched.
Is your voice in real life as whiny as I imagine it to be? Is it as thin and tinny? As depthless and one-dimensional as your online writing? Do you stutter and stammer because when you peel your spongey, squishy, misshapen lard-ass from your cheap leatherette chair (with wheels, so you don't have to get up all day, you leaden lump of trash) and actually venture outside of your shabby apartment where you're forced to make actual contact with real live people (they exist offline!), you're terrified that they will immediately realize you have absolutely nothing of worth to say?
Your poetry makes me cringe. You are not deep. You are not special. Just because some dickless bastard has broken your little heart is no reason for you to think that the world wants to hear how your soul is bleeding and there will never be another One So Special ever ever again. No one cares, even if they say they do. No one cares in real life. No one wants to hear it. And I'm sure that the paper that you wrote it on isn't that interested either. The words themselves are embarrassed. You are not a poet. No.
You are not a special snowflake, unique in the universe, the world, the galaxy. You are not different. You are a clunky, leaden automaton, full of rusty robotic faux emotions. Your thick limbs flail with creaky inelegance. You are not one in a million or one in six billion or however many people inhabit this planet. You are not out of this world. No. You are just another vapid version of the same mass-produced, shoddy, shabby, dull-faced drone, another snore-inducing collection of pores and skin and hair and bodily fluids. Now come over here and give Mommy a big kiss!
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