this was a distressed neighborhood indeed, a rotten borough. there was something in the air not of man.
yes. definitely, i felt it, too. but as always in life, distractions come at right the wrong time. y'know when you come to, it's not the cute black irising you see in cartoons, you suddenly just be again. it's quite shocking actually. so who saved me from drowning?
i'm keeping my eyes closed.
male voice: stop keeping your eyes closed, this ain't a kiss!
could be a man. or a woman. or both. or neither. we are living in a strange age.
as he goes in for the kiss, i open my eyes strategically to only see the hair in his ears. and block letters THE. oh, it's the manager.
manager: you're fired.
i cough the last of my sand on a red crab (sorry about that, what you must think of humans) and collect the gold coin the crab leaves behind. since i'm free, i roam the coastal countryside looking for anything to keep me going. since i am an artist, i naturally gravitate back to the talking green face on that tree.
Green Man: mate you gotta listen, the other twolegs have forgotten how. they're too busy walking.
Green Man: sure, i can do one. there will be a reckoning.
me: the thing about reckonings is you're never quite sure when they'll come.
Green Man: tomorrow, Man. at least according to my time. you know your cats really talk to you, right? it's not the messy water talking.
me: no, it's the cats apparently. i always had a hunch. or a fervent wish. can people make their dreams come true?
Green Man: of course not. but illusion is needed to keep running. in reality there is no space, no line from point A to point B, it's all pointless. the beads of sweat on your forehead come from thinking too hard about it.
lifeguard: hey you! y'know you have no life skills at all whatsoever but i appreciate your humor. you have a wit about you which will guarantee you'll be clear-eyed as you watch your own doom. you didn't bring me back any mermaid tears cos you dropped them in the ocean, that's a good one. you appeared not sad about this when you returned cos you did cry but it was underwater and it's impossible to cry underwater. haha, get in my discontinued jeep.
me: only one has pulled it off, that's why Shailene Woodley is such a phenomenal actress. you're so cool it's rubbing off on me.
lifeguard: nah that's the Duluth Trading Armachillo shirt you got on.
me: oh is it? thought it was some vest new for the Rio Olympic swimmers.
lifeguard: i got an afternoon, closed the beach for mermaid sighting. where to? where's your sister i mean how's your sister?
me: what's that supposed to mean?
lifeguard: uh, BevMo!?
me: BevMo. never been there despite it being a block away from my house. never felt like home. yeah, the 1893's gotta be there! mo, that's what i need, beverage momentum.
lifeguard: take the shirt off before you enter the store, it's dripping wet. let me do the talking, i'm the adult.
me: ah, it absorbs, that's the secret.
first thing i notice is the giant exclamation point after BevMo on the sign. i take off all my clothes and enter. the automatic doors slide open just the same.
me: EXCUSE ME YOU GOT 1893?!!!
checker: bitch why you shoutin'?!!! can't you see this place is a library!
me: YOU'RE SHOUTING, SIR! DO YOU WATCH JEOPARDY WITH AN EXCLAMATION POINT!? hey, aren't you...?
checker: oh no. you. are you stalking me? this is where i work when i've gone to lunch at the Store. speaking of...oh never mind, i don't want to acknowledge you, it gives your display power. holding down two jobs until $15.00 is passed. not a fighter but i need to survive. voting for Bernie. if i can get a ride.
me: i do like stocking. excuse me, boss, do you work here?
checker: buddy i told you we don't carry that. get outta here before i call the manager. of security. didn't you read the sign? No Shirt, No Shoes, No Cerveza
the checker reaches for his security-guard hat...
me: i did read your sign. if a place like BevMo doesn't carry this Pepsi specialty drink, what's the point of your life? for shame, sir! it's of the utmost importance i drink this drink. i simply NEED to know what it tastes like. my life will be incomplete if i don't. it will hang on my tombstone. my grave will smell of day-old kola nut. it will haunt me. literally. i cannot let this go. i saw an ad for Pepsi 1893 on tv with a very handsome man in a sharp vest pretending to be a bartender. i need it for my tongue collection.
checker: man cola commercials are getting out of hand. so you're either sick or crazy. it's good to lose every once in a while, gives you something to live for. drinks aren't that great. now food, food, food is where it's at.
me: i'm very honed it right now, mate. i'm fortified when i drink. i see clearly. every thing that happens to me is like a tick picking up the minimumest of vibration. every motion inflicted upon me, every word uttered to my neck, does NOT bounce off me for i have no butt. rather they all filter into the next scene i'm writing. in my head anyway.
i fly like a jaybird outta there, turning around to drop my final line like a hot mic which picked up too much:
me: this is NOT an exclamation establishment. i said that in my normal speaking voice to deny you an exclamation point.
my sister: where have you been, older man? thank you for dropping him off, officer.
lifeguard: just doing my job, ma'am. really quite the struggle dragging him up the stairs. i have gangly limbs you see. excuse my rays all over your face, just my bald head. that's why you should always wear sunscreen.
sister: we don't have stairs. you okay?
lifeguard: happier than ever. oh. bye.
me: loaded, but sure, sure. catching jokes.
sister: *Jenna Marbles face* of course the one time i come early you're late. listen to me. drop everything. take stock. and listen to me. look inside that white box. there's your cure.
there's a pungent odor wafting all around the mansion. it smells like cat-litter poop. turns out it's my poo from this morning. didn't stench clench, i was too late. i flushed but the stank will linger for eternity.
me: *rummaging* more pills? where do you find this stuff? haven't we been over this. Bryan Cranston has moved on and so should you. and to think we all thought he peaked on Malcolm in the Middle. i'd take a roof pizza but that's about it. i like these dark pink ones, though, they look so artificial and smuggled.
sister: it's gotta be there. there are twenty rolls all smashed into that shoebox. that's how i avoided suspicion, they were just my Imelda Marcos shoe collection. score one for girl. nevermind where i got them. i'm moving up at my job. the late nights are paying off with promotions. my position is higher and higher. take your time. we got all the time in the world. i wanna see you you again. whatever combination is the code to unlocking your potential.
me: better than swallowing them into. i worry, sis. by nature i'm a worrier and this isn't helping. the pitfalls of a big imagination.
sister: if nothing works, i'll get more. i can always get more. i'll never give up so please don't you give up...look bro, the truth is...i have a confession to make...my boss is...my sleeping partner is...we just sleep together, no sex...but i still get my face beat up...talkin' 'bout makeup...this is so cliche, but...i work for................where's Trinity?
me: *smiles* had me until the end. leave the drop-everything announcements to the expert in da house.
news scroll: plan to impeach backed CNN
me: they covered a word with their CNN logo! is this still a news organization or a cooking channel?! if that word was "out" it makes all the difference.
Wolf: the following match is really scheduled for one fall as they all are per the rulebook. and now the competitors make their way into the ring for this professional wrestling match. no theatrics, no loud music, no Dee Snider freedom-of-speech screech, just two professional wrestlers in monotone red and blue singlets who enter the non-squared non-roped circle, shake hands, rub the referee's bald head for luck, and get down to business. this takes me back to my college days.
and lo and behold, the audience in the arena and at home are treated to a wrestling match that is exactly like college or Olympic wrestling but done by two people not affiliated with any university or country who are being paid.
the coach of the Raptors is being interviewed by a pretty-corageous sideline reporter:
Craig: what's going on, coach?
coach: nothing much. how are you?
Craig: i hate when people ask me that. your team?
coach: they're executing my game plan.
Craig: not now they're not. they're turning the ball over and missing their slam dunks by a mile.
coach: that's cos i'm here talking to you. my team literally cannot function without my guidance. i have to lead them at all times. if i'm gone for even a second off my spot, they completely fall apart.
Craig: don't you have an assistant coach that can take over while you're here contractually-obligated to talk with me?
coach: yes but he's Drake.
news scroll: Ohio State recruit commits.........................to Michigan.
me: phew! thought that was gonna be something else.
Talia: have you shown me the tunnels yet, fratrem? i forgot if you did. i'm too young.
Trinity: i think i did but maybe i just dreamt it, sororis. i'm too old to know better. i vomit for no reason. i like the change in scenery in food. my paunch is getting a paunch. whenever i go down there i immediately fall asleep cos it's so dark you can't help it. i feel safe all cramped and trapped in the tunnels. i'm sure i'll make it to the other side when i need to. instinct will take over, right? we have it easy. oh shit, amicus is coming over and you know how needy he can be. needs our full undivided attention. he loves showing off how much food he can carry in his mouth. typical mama bird. let's table this for later. for now. we'll pick it up after my third nap.
Talia: let's continue this scintillating discussion after my third nap.
me: there he is!
Talia: hey i'm here, too! i can't act cute anymore, i am cute.
sister: oh yes! before i forget, check out the box of bottles i got for you.
me: again? there's Trinity.
sister: the box of novelty bottles i ordered. i know how much you love your drinks. i miss you making castles of your used containers. it was an activity, inside but it got you out of your tower. all manner of assorted specialty soda and personal pop and fringe fizz. weird warped combinations. flavored rum and rough fruit juice and liquidated liqueur.
me: thank you, sis, i appreciate all you do for me. but there's no 1893 so there's no point. i'd rather you'd have gotten groucho glasses. or novelty slippers, at least those are useful. i'm full. i need to get outta here. it's too stuffy in here, i'm too comfortable. i need to run away to save my life.
Talia: *arches into a screeching hairball* beaglepuss! fratrem is learning me the classics.
i run to the only other place i know: the Store.
loudspeaker: california rolls aisle nine. bombay rolls aisle ten. for your fat rolls we recommend bamboo rolls aisle eleven.
i literally crash into my prayer. thought it was supposed to be the other way around. the standee knocks me from my standing position. and lo and behold, what is this standee? PEPSI 1893! standing next to a tower of beautiful long cans of special soda, both flavors, original and ginger, all sparkling like the water contained in them. riveting. i kiss the sky to dad, this was obviously his doing, and chug both varieties right then and there in the middle of the store. my tongue quickly forgets how they don't really taste any different from regular Pepsi after all.
manager: i thought i told you to...
me: it's okay, my sister used to work here.
back home, i have forgotten to eat.
sister: remember when i showed you that pyramid? the pyramid got too old so now it's a plate. circle is a more hopeful shape.
me: no, i don't know how to eat. i don't know what i should be doing from second to second. no plan. SPAGHETTI SIGNALS TYRANNY! do i eat the big salad next even if i get disrespected? then what? swallow a piece of burnt toast? with tons of butter? my heart hurts. what comes next? it could be literally anything. nobody ever taught me this stuff. someone needs to tell me what to do. do i eat this strawberry over here straight from the green basket?
sister: no, wait! wash it first.
me: *eats it* but does it really matter if i wash it? in the end? we mustn't be scared of nature. we mustn't be scared of the dirt.
i eat the calyx of the strawberry and spit it out.
me: food is complicated. so many choices, textures, shapes, and benefits. drink is easy, it's all just liquid.
Trinity and Talia curl up onto the back of my neck and lean their pusses into my face.
Trinity: got any food for us?
Talia: yeah, is that food?
me: awwww, they want kisses. *kiss you* and *kiss you*, my beautiful kitty family.
Trinity: is that food in your mouth? can i have some? just pass it down to me tongue to tongue.
Talia: food? just particalize it and blow it on my face like the female twoleg does to me when i scratch her blanket with her in it.
me: kiss? kiss?