Making a Table

“This won’t work at all,” Benjamin said, looking at the table. David nodded resignedly. “You’ve made the legs about three feet too long,” Benjamin said. Dave nodded again. “I was worried you might say that,” he said.

Benjamin made a face like a deserted highway. “If we stood to eat,” he said, “it’d still be higher than our heads.” “I think I get it,” David said. He held out his hand to Benjamin. “Still friends?” Benjamin shook his hand and made them both lasagna.

They had to eat it from plates on their laps and David stained his favorite shirt. At home in bed that night, David told Gloria that he felt he deserved the tomato sauce stain.

Gloria agreed. She’d told him daily that the legs were too long.

Sometimes she worried about David’s ability to provide for their family. Actually, she thought, there’s reason to worry about David’s ability to do the the bare minimum to keep himself alive. The other day she’d come out to the workshop and found David stuck with his head in the enormous vise attached to the workbench. He couldn’t explain how it had happened, but he supposed that he’d been stuck there for almost three hours. Gloria allowed herself a moment to wonder if gross incompetence in a spouse was grounds for divorce, but cut the thought short before she could tell if the idea appealed to her or not.

She replaced that thought with an extended fantasy about being a personal trainer for singer-songwriters. After the death of Amy Winehouse, she found all other songstresses irritating and enjoyed the opportunity to push them beyond their limits. She fell asleep counting lunges for Adele, ignoring her pleas—but before unconsciousness overtook her, she allowed herself a vague awareness that the man struggling to complete two consecutive minutes on the stationary bicycle behind her bore a striking resemblance to David.

David didn’t sleep well. He turned in bed without tossing. Just rolled really. He rolled in very tight circles. He succeeded in not disturbing Gloria in the slightest. In the fever of his guilt, David thought to himself that he was not sleeping like a log, he was rolling like a log. David laughed at the trivial linguistic synchronicity. David’s laugh caused his rolling to shift. He rolled perilously close to the edge of the bed. Then he rolled off the edge of the bed.

Gloria heard David’s impact on the floor below. She looked over the edge of the bed and saw David clutching his ankle 12 feet below. She’d told him that the legs of the bed were too long.

Making a Table

Horrible Situation

“White chocolate mocha!” Stephen yelled. Morris, at the lectern, motioned sadly to the guards at the back of the church. “Peppermint Frappe!” Stephen blurted. The guards shot him through the heart. Morris watched his brother fall. “Pumpkin spice latte!” Stephen sputtered into a gathering pool of blood. Morris made a judgment call and decided to wait for the congregation to calm down before finishing the prayer.

Horrible Situation

The Enigma of my Feral Child

I take my feral child out walking. We stroll down the lane, my feral child and I. The sun drips flaming honey down the brick and mortar of tall buildings, early in the morning, and my feral child and I gasp at it, both of us. Presumably for different reasons.

I use hand signals to set him little tasks: nip at that over-frocked child’s heels, shake your negligible hindquarters at that vicar, cease tearing the tail off that squirrel corpse or at the very least don’t use your teeth. Some of the signals have become very complex. Some of the signals he pretends not to understand and he does a thing with his eyes and nose where one eyebrow shoots nearly to the matted hairline, and the other plunges pupil-ward, and the nose rumples like draped velvet. But he’s faking his incomprehension and just doesn’t want to snatch a gentleman’s silk hat, scale the high iron gate, and impale the wretched chapeau there—which is what two fingers swept briskly up and down my belly commands.

My feral child does not have a soul.

We walk to the park and he climbs trees. He descends, face a mess of egg yolk and bird-blood. I laugh, one hand covering my mouth for propriety, and the other resting on my belly, loose on the woolen waistcoat, to emphasize my mirth. I am nearly bent over backwards in my joy, and people walking by exchange looks which indicate doubts concerning my sanity. My feral child approximates a smile. The muscles all pull the right way, but the effect terrifies. I look away and ignore his attempt at humanity, suddenly cold.

My feral child once watched a peasant child drown in the Seine and, according to the papers, did nothing.

I do not hold him responsible when he tears apart the feather bed. When he escapes his room in the night and I find him slobbering at the foot of my bed with a death light in his eyes, staring at me through the dark, of course I feel a deep revulsion just as when he tore the pelt off a kitten, put it on his hand like a puppet, and crawled the empty thing back into the basket with its mother to suckle. Of course, of course. But my feral child is only a body, and does only the things that a body does.

I delight in my feral child, watching him catch trout in his teeth. The terror our city feels as he careens from brick to brick as we walk, he barely registers. I do, though. I sometimes let the lead play out longer than I should as he stalks some petite debutante down the cobblestone stairs. Further, I wait to pull it back until she has turned and come face to face with a snarling human absence, eyes only wild, never lit by anything but the fire of want. Her honey hair cascades and flops, her wet red mouth lets fly a shriek.

I love to watch the civilized as they flee my feral child while he, losing interest, stops to examine the way the sunlight falls on a patch of moss, leans in further, and licks up a spider.

The Enigma of my Feral Child

Guided Meditation: Trachea

As we start, clear your mind. Take several deep breaths. Make sure you’re sitting comfortably. Feel the weight of your body in the chair, some more than others. Big fat people will feel their weight more than attractive people.

Okay, nothing special about the inhale here. Don’t even think about it. Inhales are for losers and we don’t spend any time on them. But now on the exhale, you will visualize the stress leaving your body—you feel the stress flowing out of your lungs, starting up your throat. You feel the stress as it begins its way up your trachea. You forgot that your windpipe is called your trachea until right now. And right now, your trachea is all that exists. Just a trachea floating above a chair or maybe the floor if you chose to sit on the floor like an idiot.

Really focus on your trachea. What’s that thing made out of anyway? You don’t know. In this guided meditation, even if you do know, you don’t know, especially if you’re sitting on the floor, because, duh.

We are working towards ego death. We want to kill that bad ol ego, so that enlightenment can assume the throne, and make out with the queen. That is the point of meditation, finally giving enlightenment a chance to make out with the queen. Part of ego death is admitting that you don’t know what kind of tissue the trachea is made out of. Of course I know. I just don’t want to tell you because it’s an object lesson. You think you’re better than me? Then why are you doing everything I tell you to do.

That stress is still in your trachea. At least it’s out of your lungs, so that’s good. But sheesh. Still right there in the ol windpipe. Forget that you know the word “trachea”. Cool. Good job. Now remember it. Now forget it. This part of the meditation is about impermanence and the way things pass into and out of existence, constantly. Now remember it. Now . . . keep remembering it. Double remember it. Forget it. Remember. The matrix is real. Forget it.

The stress starts to travel up the weird, mucusy passage of the trachea. You just remembered it. Great work. The trachea is gross. Your stress keeps traveling up the gross trachea. At the top of the trachea, boom , that’s the larynx. Cool. Awesome. Check out that bad boy. Huh? What’s this? You have some scarring on your larynx. That’s weird. You should probably get that checked out. Eee. Uhp. You remember that it’s probably from when you were in your room, chewing on a lego, and your dad barged in to remind you that Princess Diana was dead, and it surprised you, remembering that, and you swallowed the lego—YIKES. (Quick update, during this memory you have completely forgotten the word “trachea”). But the lego just scratched up your larynx there, and *blurp* popped right out. Good job. Well done, but we’ll have to leave it here, that’s all the time we have. Good job on most of a single exhalation, but that stress is going to have to stay trapped in your . . . what’s the word? Windpipe? That doesn’t seem right, but you can’t remember any synonyms for windpipe. . . That stress will just have to stay trapped until next time.

Guided Meditation: Trachea

Around Town: Buying Alcohol from Scarlet

I live in such a charming little town with all kinds of quaint things happening around me all the time. I like to keep everyone up to date with the local happenings or my experiences with the crazy characters that make living here so interesting. 9 times out of 10, this is just about a funny interaction I had with a cashier. And this week is no different.

I find that cashiers love it when you do little bits that slow down the transaction, and which approximate humor. Whenever I buy alcohol for minors (I don’t drink), I get carded, because of my youthful appearance, and a full beard that makes it obvious that I’m hiding something. In this case I’m hiding a notable lack of masculine facial features.

Cashiers typically say, “Could I see your ID?” I think it’s funny to pretend like they’re just excited to see my driver’s license, not just dutifully enforcing the dictates of the State, so I say, “I’ll even let you hold it, if you promise to be careful.” And then I make them promise. They love this.

I pulled this bit with Scarlet, a cashier over at Sweetditch’s own Martin’s Country Market, and she was the exception that proved the rule. She refused to promise to be careful with my license, which never happens.

So I refused to let her hold my license. She said that if I didn’t give her the license, she couldn’t sell me the three 40s of Mickey’s malt liquor that I was apparently going to take home to my trailer to drink in order to work up the courage to kill myself. Scarlet was wrong, but pretty sharply spoken (if Scarlet’s listening, I actually live in a mobile yurt). The truth was that I couldn’t afford to be out the 10 bucks a few of my smooth-faced Millennial friends had promised me, so I had to acquiesce to Scarlet’s demands.

But I still wanted to brighten Scarlet’s day, so I pretended to not know how the credit card console works. I would get almost through the transaction and then cancel it. I did this three times in a row. Scarlet’s face was a papier mache mask of anger, but I could tell she was close to cracking. This time I fully intended to complete the transaction correctly, but I’d gotten maybe over-used to pressing the wrong button, and so when the machine asked if the price of 13.36 was okay, I pressed “No,” very confidently.

There are words that if you say them loud enough to a customer at Martin’s Country Market, your employment will be immediately suspended. Scarlet said most of those words to me. So when Jessica took over I did the license bit with her, and it went down really well, she really enjoyed it. So I guess Scarlet learned her lesson.

Around Town: Buying Alcohol from Scarlet

Gas Station

I borrowed someone’s car the other day, and when I was returning it, I went to fill it up with gas, because that’s how my family does it. When we borrow a pan from a neighbor we return it filled with pie, or cake, or—if it’s a bed-pan—urine.

When I went to fill the car back up, the Sinclair gas station writhed with business. Their logo has a dinosaur, some kind of sauropod, which I like. I like that they don’t hide their exploitation of extinct creatures, like other corporations do. That kind of transparency creates brand loyalty. The dinosaur in the logo does not have a face. I like that too. Sinclair is my kind of faceless, evil corporation.

I pulled up to a pump. When I came to a stop, I assumed that I had pulled up with the gas tank facing away from the pump. I knew in my heart that I’d pulled up the wrong way, but I checked to make sure. I had.

I pulled out, did a circle and came back to the pump. I had again pulled up with the driver’s side to the pump, gas tank facing away. I had a conference with myself. I needed to figure this out before I made a move. Continue reading “Gas Station”

Gas Station

Wikipedia Article: Instrument Destruction

I love knowledge and learning, and it will come as no surprise to those who know me that I love the wikipedia.com site. I like to choose an article that I found interesting in the past few weeks and talk about it expand on it here.

This week’s article is “Instrument Destruction”.

Some of the world’s greatest mysteries reside in the field of popular music. For instance, Pete Townsend of The Who smashed guitars as part of the band’s performances. He wasn’t Continue reading “Wikipedia Article: Instrument Destruction”

Wikipedia Article: Instrument Destruction