REPORT A PROBLEM
Snakes dream of walking upright and giraffes long to slither through tall golden blades of grass so they can sneak up on lions and bite them on the tail. Below the muck that surrounds the rainy-season lake, the unhatched frogs wait patiently for an invitation to emerge while unfertilized fish eggs celebrate the fact that they’ll never be fodder for the gaping mouth of a cichlid. The distant grunts and howls of carnivores announce a fresh kill and death floats in the hot air. Wild dogs lick blood from their lips while, above, a slow circle of buzzards hovers eagerly.
Various reasonable authorities agree that frivolous lawsuits bolster the personal economic standing of those who now must sit always because of a possible soft tissue injury caused by a collision that cannot be verified by X-rays and the injury has compromised the quality of life not to mention the fact that there is loss of sexual congress with his or her alleged domestic life partner who may be on the verge of getting the boot because he or she gets on his or her nerves because he or she won’t commit to him or her “in sickness and in health.”
Nice room. Single bed. Two friends. Front desk. Change rooms. Somebody smoked. Front desk. New room. Mix drinks. Skyy Vodka. Hedwig flask. Fresh popcorn. Digital “Signs.” Fell asleep. Breakfast buffet. Sleep again. Pouring rain. Lightning storm. “Full Frontal.” Stupid audience. Found umbrella. Five lanes. Heavy traffic. Hot engines. Hotter tempers. Reckless merging. Brakes slamming. Fender bender. (Not me.) Disney Village. Deli sandwiches. Running late. Phone call.
late. Change clothes. Drive fast. Buy tickets. Standing room. Persistent John. Find seats. Hedwig rocks. Drag show. Glow sticks. Walk around. Drag show. Grab shirts. Fast asleep. Orlando Museum. Go home.
: It’s not that it’s that bad; there’s just not anything to make it that good. Think a two-hour episode of
The X Files
without the thoughtfulness and scientific inquiry that dominated that program’s early years. Following the film’s premise (that there are no accidents and everything happens for a reason) to its natural and logical conclusion leads to a silly (and illogical) theory: that a deadly accident was necessary to provide the advice to hit the alien with a bat. Someone has to die for that golden counsel?!? Why? Sadly,
The Sixth Sense
may have been Shyamalan’s 80-yard run.
Jeb Bush has invited me to a party. But this is not like other parties. I am not honored by the invitation. I am offended because, in order to attend this party, I would have to pay $500. This party is supposed to support his Party. If I had an extra $500, the last thing I would do is give it to him so that he can continue to ruin Florida (just like his brother is ruining the country). Right now it seems like there’s no possibility that he will lose the election next year, but a girl can dream.
Lies pour from the smile-strained lips, icy lips frozen in false hope and eyes saddened by expectation. More than love itself, they seek a perfect image of themselves adorned by another who’s as counterfeit as they are. What fear leads them here? Is it I-solation, the unbearable likeness of being seen and laughed at by others who have given in to the lie of perfect two-getherness? Here’s a clue from me to you: no one will see you as you see yourself. This can be good or bad. You will have to figure that one out on your own.
Donn and Rumor
As the fits and starts of evolution hurl us toward the certainty of change in an uncertain future, sadness and happiness punctuate the numbing tedium of each passing day.
Standing on the shore, boundless dog energy rumbling around my feet, I realize how this moment juggles the unspoken conflict: she is happy to be here, with you, moving easily through the water; you (and I) resent the fact that her days are growing shorter.
I see you and her wandering far away, a silhouetted tableau against the fading sky, an exclamation point whose dot is getting away.
Insomniacs dream of sleep, the sleep of careless days and ages. When the frozen gaze falls upon you, what will it unleash? Will the throes of peaceful memories catapult you into whatever’s next? Or, will the steel jaws of remorseful guilt bind you like gravity to this spinning sphere?
We are all tethered (like the miners or like mountain climbers) to each other, whether we like it or not. That connection will either save us or drag us downstream into the chaotic swell of time and tide and ebb and flow. Just remember one thing: Nothing is up to us.
Gunmetal tastes sweet, but let it touch a sensitive filling in a molar and it will hurt a little as electric impulses bounce between cold, hard surfaces. Sometimes, there’s a pain in my head that feels like emptiness. Filling that space with a bullet will make it better, but for just a split second. Then comes the silence.
Do suicides ever hear the gun blast? Bullets move faster than sound, so the damage is likely done long before the bang pierces the silent dark. Perhaps the final sound is the back door creaking then slamming shut after hope rushes out.
Things to do
1. Weedwhack the sidewalk. (But what has happened to the ants whose home I’ve destroyed? Now I have festering bite wounds on my legs, cruel reminders of the tiny brave warriors that sacrificed their lives to defend their society.)
2. Mow the back yard. (But what has happened to the flowering weeds, the pale and delicate lavender flowers as ornate as they are small? They have been ground up in the mulching blade.)
3. Take the dogs swimming. (But what about the sandfleas whose lives were squeezed away by the weight of us walking along the shore?)
Hairdresser on Fire
The thump thump resonates in my lungs; I inhale rhythm. On the way in, we encounter two leaving, smug in slinky black. Inside, a hag criticizes my hair and presents me with one complementary drink coupon. (The insult alone warranted at least two.)
Through the curtains, the room is mostly empty. People are there, but their vacuity sucks the essence away. Here is one of the hosts: a Charles Nelson Reily knock-off (a little younger than his Match Game years). Thank God, we showed up two and a half hours late. Is this what fun looks like?
When you run out of money, you’re broke. You don’t work right. You need to be fixed. What fixes broke?
Payday-This fix works for about three days. Then you’re broke again for another 12 or 13 days. At least you know that you will get fixed eventually.
Side job-This is a good fix if you can find it. What’s best is that it’s usually in cash and, therefore, not reported to the IRS.
Loan-This would be good if you didn’t have to pay it back. But then it would be called a gift.
Lottery-Simply the best fix of all.
It’s a throbbing, a burning that won’t go away. The hot, wet heaviness that begs to be stroked. It makes you think differently. It makes you act differently. You want release. You want relief. It makes you want to be penetrated and probed. Your holes need plugging, stretching, a bit of delicious stinging. You need it now. Now. N. Ooow. Yes. Yes. That’s it. Don’t stop. Don’t. Stop. A little further. A little harder. Faster. Yes. I’m close. I’m close. I’m. Yes. God.
The rhythmic throb pulls you deeper. Squeezes you. Makes more fiction against the slick hot wetness.
The periods at the ends of street are bloody red and octagonal. Octopussy tried to kill James Bond; then she fucked him. When feminine napkins slip, pussies drip red blood at periods out of place. Napkins dab at morsels of saucy Italian food guarding the corners of your mouth. Red is the color of pain when patience runs low and the kitchen is too small. It covers the table and drapes over the chairs lined against the cruel wall. The rumble rises and the feeding frenzy begins. Don’t take my seat at the end of the table because I’m right-handed.
To John (on his 33rd birthday)
Thanks for salt, hot peppers, good cooking, movie hops, fun with swimming pool jets, crosses as art, London, too many pain-in-the-ass drawings for a still unbuilt garage apartment, Puppetry of the Penis, Mamma Mia, believing in true love, karaoke at the Blue Penguin, Stonehenge, lots and lots of days and nights at The Hub, Tate Modern, High Art Museum, Clairmont House, backstreet, Madonna, reading my soft-core (sometimes hard-core) porn, La Terisita at 3 a.m., comforting me when I was scared, trusting me when you were hurt, and sharing some of your life with me.
Frenzied roosters perched atop the fence posts crow to the heavens to help the sun awaken from its slumber. Somewhere below, the worms conspire for their fair share of the spotlight. A slug prays that the saltshaker, haphazardly left in the barn, won’t spill over with catastrophic results. The dogs are hoping to break the monotony with a bone or a ball. The horse doesn’t want to be ridden today. The cows agree that the farmer, with his strong, sticky hands, is guilty of sexual harassment. All the while, the cat sleeps on a board that’s wedged in the eaves.
Hey you. One of the 15,000 best teachers in the world. Let me tell you something, Missy. You’re not. We were so bored during your 15-minute presentation that adults were misbehaving. So there.
And you. You tell us how important we adjuncts are to the success of the college. You tell us that we shouldn’t even think of ourselves as part time employees. But then you hiss rules and regulations to us like we’re reprobate fifth graders.
Why say that we’re equal when you know it’s not true? We all appreciate the absurdity of the event. Do you?
Why do you think you can fucking talk to me like that? Just because I’m dependent on you for the roof over my head does not mean you can treat me like shit. But I bite my tongue and bide my time. One of these days you’ll regret it. I promise you that. You’ll see. You just wait.
Until then, I’ll be good. I won’t make waves or talk back. I’ll do as I’m told. I’ll be your slave.
One thing is certain: If the shoe were on the other foot, I would treat you better than you treat me.
You want to know why I’m acting like this? Really? I’ll tell you why. I am deeply hurt by what you said to me that time. Do you remember? If you don’t, I am hurt by you not knowing what you did to hurt me. Is it because I didn’t say anything at the time? Is it because I acted like it was my fault? I guess it doesn’t matter much now anyway.
Oh, by the way, I recall both times that I hurt you. Once was a mistake, but I’m not telling you which. Chew on that for awhile.
42 and 43
It’s better for the President to get blown than the rest of the country to get fucked.
Is anyone paying any attention whatsoever to what is going on?
Why is Martha Stewart getting in trouble while W got away? Why isn’t anyone asking how a FDA report was leaked?
“I promise you I will listen to what has been said here, even though I wasn’t here.” -W
At least Chelsea behaved while her father was President.
W proves one thing we always heard:
can become the President.
There are 884 days left in W’s term. Hallelujah!
What costs more: the beliefs of a heretic or an ounce of homemade evidence? The structured outpost of killing, the setup of stripped minds, a realm of nutritious majority, all serve Hollywood like stickers of teachable pumps and pouty prefixes. The shashlik is repellent. Its nucleon Nunc Dimittis. Midbrain pent up, reordered and reopened, loosed upon this unsuspecting line, drawing strength from fear and thaumaturgy. Satisfy me, powder monkey. Internuncios, Juggernauts exact from us the hypogenous morality that will save or damn us. Until then, goat your consciousness into a blissful drawer and hustle the crank away from the innocent.
I don’t fucking owe you anything. I don’t owe you happiness. Or security. Or pardon from debt. I shouldn’t generate excuses for you when you act irresponsibly, prioritize pleasure above commitment. But those excuses shield me from the criticism I deserve for trusting you.
I feel like such a chump.
But here I sit. Blind with rage. Clenching teeth. Venting privately, secretly, silently, slamming my fingers against the benign keys instead of confronting you with the truth. I should lose my temper. Demand to be dealt with. Be deaf to excuses. But I won’t. What am I so afraid of?
Why do you think I’m mad at you? Did you do anything? Who were you talking to? If you can do that, why can’t you pay me back? Where the fuck have you been? Do you ever think about anyone else? Whose number is this? Who was that on the phone? Why are you whispering? Where do you think you’re going? When are you going to be back? Where were you? Whose perfume is this? Where did this stain come from? Why didn’t you answer the phone? Why didn’t you call me back? Who does this belong to?
Squeals and screams. Running barefoot by the lake. Taking a ride in the paddleboat and sweating like crazy. Sitting on the dock. Slapping at mosquitoes. Dad grilling hamburgers. Bon fire. Loud music. Opening presents and acting pleased. Blowing out candles without spitting on the cake. Primping and pimples and glancing into every mirror. Rounding up on your age. Grown-ups around the table pouring grape soda into plastic cups. Sleeping bags and pajamas. Whispering secrets in the dark. Promising to always be friends. Giggling about boys. Chocolate ice cream. It’s your birthday. Enjoy it. You won’t remember 13 when you’re 45.
A half circle of good will in the whispering heat. The machine in the corner groans and whirls, dropping ice and shooting out hot air. Sad balloons, drooping toward oblivion, see their chance and make for the door. The spinning fan blades cut them off at the border between room and ceiling.
But it’s the faces that give it away. Between smiles and stories, the locked stare of reminiscence betrays the gravity of the moment. It’s the last lazy Sunday afternoon of drinks and music and Braves games and respite and comfort within these walls. A familiar friend is gone.
Hey, true believer. You know who you are. You’re the by-the-book, tight-assed bitch that applies rules equally to everyone. Except yourself of course. Why touch the playing field at all if you can rig the game while hovering high above? You wouldn’t want to dirty yourself now, would you? I’m sure you’d drop to your knees in front of Jeb or W, but it wouldn’t be to pray. Maybe to pay. But then again, it’s they who owe you a debt. But you did what any good woman would do. Stand by Your Man, as Tammy Why Not would say.
The waiting is the hardest part. What will the response be? I won’t even guess. But one thing is certain: I feel better for having done it. I think it was overdo.
One thing continues to vex me: What am I so afraid of? I know that people think of me as forceful and demanding, and in some cases that is true. But only with strangers. When it comes to my friends I find it cripplingly difficult to discuss my feelings. So I end up either making a joke or keeping my mouth shut. Either way, I choke on silence.
People everywhere recognize its smooth, elongated shape. Its hard, yet pliable, and perfect cylindrical shaft rises high above its rounded base. It belongs to me. Sure I have had others, but I dispose of them when they stop pleasing me. Right now, I like this one the best. Most women have several, but they prefer one over the others. Few men possess even one. When I stroke it correctly, a soft, luscious, red tip emerges slowly. I bring it deliberately to my mouth, slightly part my lips, and press it to them. Afterward, I feel ready to face the day.
Fuck me. It’s 4:15-almost time for me to leave work-and I’m just now getting around to writing my 100 words for today. It’s not like I’ve been busy. I spent most of the day preparing for class tonight, recycling, surfing the Internet, reading about Texas Death Row inmates (last meals, last statements, crimes), writing an episode of cyber porn for my friend John, checking Lottery numbers, and brushing up on what Florida’s new Secretary for the Department of Children and Families thinks about “Biblical spanking.” I did take my plant outside for its weekly field trip since I’m off tomorrow.
Tomorrow night, I’ll see the live production of
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
in Orlando. I saw it a few weeks ago and it was so well done that I wanted to experience it once again before it closed. I have watched the film dozens of times and it never fails to touch me. Live, there’s a special immediacy. The actor who plays Hedwig, David Lee, intrigues me. I want to see what he looks like without all the makeup. Maybe I’ll get the chance tomorrow. We are planning a fun day trip; I can’t wait. (more later)
I get to be a bit obsessive about things like this. After I saw the show the first time, I spent an hour or so Google-ing him and a theatre group he founded years ago in Orlando called Per4mAnts (this information was in the program) and could find only one document that mentioned him, a local gay weekly. When I went to the Web site, however, the issue about him had been replaced with a newer one. Foiled. Then I found the actual paper; the photo showed him in his makeup. Foiled again. Will my curiosity be satisfied tonight?
The Tip Jar