June 18, 2013
Posted on Jul 7, 2011
By Mr. Fish
“Wait a minute, I don’t have a chessboard. How about Parcheesi?”
“Mom! Dwayne’s gay! He’s going to march in a parade! Without an instrument!”
“Four of us can play. I’ll go knock on Mrs. Murphy’s door across the street. She and her son can play.”
“You’ll like him. He wears a wig with a chinstrap and he never stops hiccupping.”
Just then, the alarm on my mother’s wristwatch begins chirping. It is an alarm set years earlier by the watch’s previous owner, my grandmother, as a reminder for her to inject insulin into The Magnificent Stacey, an 80-year-old parrot with cloudy eyes and BO who was being kept alive for the mere sport of it. “Oh,” says my mother over the chirping, “that’s the door. Excuse me.” She sets the phone down onto the counter and stands, pressing the creases from her clothes and smoothing her hair.
“Mohmmm!” shouts my brother into the Formica.
My mother walks across the dining room as if she were walking across the deck of a ship trying to keep itself upright in the North Sea, her watch still chirping. “Coming, coming,” she says, stopping in front of a narrow cabinet in the kitchen and opening it, releasing an ironing board attached to the inside wall which falls and smashes her on the head, collapsing her like a pyramid of cantaloupes onto the kitchen floor.
“Hello?” says Mr. Banana.
Just then, startled awake from my daydream by a sudden miniature explosion of motion at my feet, I looked down to see a tiny white piglet wearing a black brassiere burst through a trucker’s mud flap that had been crudely nailed over an 11-inch square cut into the bottom portion of the door. It was Eddy, the house mascot, although I doubted that it was his brassiere that he was wearing because it needed to be crisscrossed several times over his slim shoulders to avoid dragging on the floor. Our eyes met and, just as quickly as he’d appeared, he scrambled back out through the hole, his feet spinning like a cartoon character’s, his hoofs like itty-bitty high-heeled shoes with all the traction of plastic knitting needles. Kneeling down and lifting the mud flap, I caught a glimpse of Eddy’s apple-sized rump rocketing down the stairs, his unbridled mania for nothing in particular sending something like real excitement through my whole skeleton. Doing my best to size up the opening in comparison with what I imagined my shoulders capable of compressing to, I tore off the rubber flap and tossed it into a corner of the room and sighed, getting down on all fours.
Would this, I wondered, be a long and painful birth that I would eventually forget about as the richness of my new life as a college dropout flourished so remarkably that it would lift me high above my previous traumas? Or would I discover, much to my own sorrow many years down the road, that instead I’d struggled this cold November night to force myself, uninvited, through the furious sphincter of a fate that should’ve never been mine? Was I preparing to live the rest of my life inside the bowels of a world hellbent on trying to shit me back out, feet first, into the past where me and my ridiculous misreading of everything and everybody belonged, or was I doomed to suffer the much more gruesome fate of just being a normal kid trying to squeeze his gargantuan normalness through a tiny door?
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