Friday, August 30, 2019

2 Minutes. Go!

You tap into it and the whole world turns brown, man. Like that color you get when you mix all your paints up. A thick color. A heavy color. That brown is like heartache. That brown is pulling you down. When you were a little kid and you didn’t understand? Straight, gloopy brown. You know that brown; you grew up choking on it.

Yeah, it’ll change you and it’ll spin your brain right out your skull. Set yourself free. See Jesus. Don’t look him in the eyes or you’ll turn to stone.

My eyes are dilated on brown, man. My pulse is racing to the sound of the brown. I ate the brown, rolled in it. The brown dripped into my eyes and healed me. I set up a tent down at the revival meeting. Brown is the body and blood of Christ. Brown is hope. Brown is killing you slowly but you don’t know it.

Some folks smoke brown. Some snort it. Some carve it into the insides of their thighs. Some find it in a church and some in a bank and some in sport and some in solitude. Don’t touch my brown, man. I don’t have enough to share. You’ll get too much light on it, light it up. You’ll break my brown and then I’ll kill you. That sound extreme to you? Sounds extreme to me, too. Almost God-like. 


  1. Part 1
    All I ever asked for was a little understanding, but let me tell you, if you’re looking for some emotional support, don’t go asking the Sisters of Justice of the Honeyvale Junior League.
    And maybe it was all my fault and maybe it wasn’t. Me and the ladies were having our quarterly get together and I’d put out my usual refreshments of a bucket o’ Mimosas and a platter of Krispy Kremes after, because I already knew from experience that when a meeting took place at Greta Dillard’s all you get is bottled water and cheese nips while Jessica Hennessey, who likes to think of herself as a some kind of chef, can pretty much be counted on to serve you something strange. Last time it was deviled eggs with little emoticon faces. All very cute I guess, but you don’t necessarily want to put one in your mouth.
    Anyway, after we’d cleared up the business of the day and started pouring, I don’t quite know what got into me. The boys were back at college by then and my dear husband Ronald Bosier who’s a practically famous osteopathic surgeon was busy as usual, and I was feeling, I don’t know, like I needed to be back on the map, somehow. So when I read that the Comic-con cos-play things was coming around, getting all dressed up and going off to Memphis seemed like it almost sounded like fun. I mean, me and Ron used to go to those Renaissance Faire things and battlefield re-enactments all the time until that kid accidentally shot him in the elbow with an arrow. Sometimes, it was even a little romantic.
    So I was in the middle of telling the ladies how I pitched the idea to Ron the previous evening and asked him if there was a particular fantasy type woman he thought about, he’d just looked at me, snapped shut his tablet and said, “Wonder Woman,” before he rolled over and went to sleep.
    Along about then was when Mama came in from the in-law casita where we keep her and pulled up a chair at the end of the table. I swear, that woman can smell a Krispy Crème from down the block, bless her heart. She’s from New Jersey, did I mention? Still wears her jewelry to the beach. Anyway, she was sitting there pretending to mind her own business but of course wasn’t, when Greta pipes up and says,
    “Divorce him, he’s a perv. Probably some kind of porn addict, too.”
    I stared at her, shocked. She’d just had her eyebrows dyed and micro-bladed which somehow made her look even more disapproving than usual, so it took some getting used to.
    “Why, Greta Dillard, you hush your mouth. My Ron is no such thing. He’s practically a pillar of normalcy, especially when it comes to…” I quick picked up a raspberry bismark and stuffed it in my mouth before I said too much else. But I could tell from their faces it was already too late.
    Right then, Marybeth Littlefield says, “Sex? TMI, Missy. I didn’t come here to talk about sex, I came here to talk about social issues and have a mimosa.”
    “Oh don’t be such a prude Marybeth,” Sara Singleton puts it. Fantasy and role play in sex is perfectly healthy. It says so in Psychology Today.”
    Marybeth put her hands up over her ears. “La-la-la.”
    “Be quiet, Marybeth.” Sara went on. “I think it sounds like fun. Oooh! And we can make your costume! Some sparkly lycra stuff and some silver pleatherette…sequins…We’ll go to Jo_Ann Fabrics next week. I’ve got a 50 percent off coupon. Anything they don’t have we can find at Hobby Lobby. You got any red fishnets? Thigh high boots? We can paint ’em red and white.”

  2. Part 2
    “Bet you can’t make a lasso.” Greta said dourly. “Doesn’t Wonder Woman have a lasso?”
    “A lasso?” I said. “I don’t know how to use a lasso, for heaven’ sake.”
    Mama stopped chewing for a minute. “How about a whip? That’ll work. Might even be better when you think about it.”
    “Take that Solo cup away from her, Marybeth. I think maybe Mama’s had her limit.”
    Mama closed her clawlike fingers around the cup and flashed one of her Jersey girl smiles. “And I guess I know more about my limits than you do, baby doll.”
    I poured myself another mimosa and took a long breath, wondering just when I’d lost control of this particular situation. “The point is, not the costume. I mean it is—but it’s not. I figure whatever goes on between me and Ron is one thing behind closed doors, but the more I think about it, I just don’t know how I feel about strolling through the Marriot with hardly anything on. I’m not as young as I used to be y’all.”
    “Oh you can’t worry about that, Lucille.” Jessica said. “Besides, they have shape wear now that can make you look like practically anything. Just push up them boobs a little. You’ll be okay.”
    “Besides, “ said Marybeth. Nobody’s going to be looking at you. I bet there’s lots weirder people who come out for those things.”
    Greta was eyeing me more critically. “How much time have you got?”
    “It’s not till next month. And I do still have my Thigh Master. Right in the guest room closet. At least, that’s where I think it is.”
    “You shoulda seen baby girl here, back in the day. Did you know she was a Jane Fonda instructor before she got married? Man, she was so damn fit she could crush a personal sized watermelon between her knees.”
    She glanced at me. “Well it’s true! I seen it with my own eyes, didn’t I?”
    “Never MIND, mama. Besides, that was a different time.”
    “Boy I’ll say, “ Mama chuckled appreciatively. “The eighties.” She placed one finger delicately against her right nostril, gave a little snort, just in case she’d somehow failed to make my humiliation with the Junior League complete.
    At that point, Jessica came back from the kitchen with a bottle in each hand. “You’re out of orange juice, “ she told me. “But honey, just between us, you shouldn’t keep out those empty bottles of Prosecco out on the counter, if you’re just going to use that cheap Andre stuff. You’re not fooling anybody. Sooner or later, your secret’s going to come out.”
    But even at that, whatever god’s in his heaven wasn’t done with me, because at that very moment, Ron, my Ron, my pillar of normal or whatever you want to call it, burst through the back door, yelling, “Did you leave me a donut?”

  3. Part 3
    An utter, deadly silence fell and one by one, the collective jawbones of the members of the Justice Sisters of the Honeyvale Junior League, including Mama, dropped in sheer amazement. For there in my kitchen stood my formerly known as normal husband, wearing nothing but some stars and stripes Speedos, a red leather corset with fake bosoms inside, white satin evening gloves, and some kind of blue leather headgear that made him look like a medieval executioner.
    Well, he blushed from hairy legs to head gear and backed slowly out of the room, dropping a lasso on the floor, mumbling something about how he didn’t know I still had company. And the ladies stood almost as a congregation, gathering their pocketbooks and car keys and flat out refusing to meet my eyes.
    Finally, just me and Mama were left, so I emptied one of the Andre bottles between us and sighed. “I swear to God, Mama. When he said Wonder Woman, I thought he meant me.”
    “No need to explain, honey. We were just a little surprised is all. Hard to unsee something like that; almost reminds me of that time your dad came back from the shore with a tattoo of---well no need for you to know that, either. But I sure got to hand it to you two. You sure keep it interesting…”
    Like I say, all I really wanted was a little understanding. I guess sometimes an old Jersey girl is the best you can do.

  4. The Ballad of Annie Wade

    Annie Wade rose up to heaven on a bright beam of light
    From the middle of a cornfield in the dead of the night.
    It took her to a spaceship where
    The aliens embraced her and gave her a kiss
    To show her a world that was better than this.
    Well, Annie couldn’t help but return their affection
    When she caught her first sight of an alien erection
    But her husband didn’t believe her
    And he commenced to leave her
    For fear of contracting an intergalactic
    Venereal disease…
    But she made him sorry when she wrote down her story
    And rode onto glory in Beverly Hills

    Now Annie’s a starlet she’s walking the red carpet
    And her movie Space Harlot is a box office smash
    She’s withstood the backlash
    And grabbed her some cold cash
    Now gives TED Talks on her ascended consciousness

    So let us all take a lesson
    When booty calls, it can pay to listen
    And every woman’s got a choice over her own destiny.
    In the end, you could make a friend
    You could learn something you never dreamed.

  5. “Come here,” she says, her voice a raw husk, the echoes corvid dreams cast like corn-fed larvae over panoramic fields.

    Sullen, you think.

    Bitch, you decide.

    She’s forgotten who she is, but she knows the river churns below, a cascading foam of milk, of frothing milk, of chocolate incursions. How is she able to sit, to let this unfold, while the angry faraway men gather in Armani to strike?

    “Is my presence in your life becoming oppressive?” That’s Roxy. She’s from Dumfries. Her words never err. She once considered escape but now prefers the yanking of chains.

    “It always was. And for that your glimmering skin will fetch top dollar.” I can’t match her.

    “You’re funny.”

    Dutifully I nod, but I’m not that funny.

    The sun sets on a season, leaves like brittle cuticles crunched underfoot.

    Another turn of the creaking world, another and another.

    The wintry scrape of a dry bow across catgut. The sound of a glacier withdrawing into its own tears. A full-on retreat. A place so cold your eyelashes think they’re weapons. Serious men on a serious stage, you seriously might think. But this isn’t serious. It’s the final laugh of the last good girl stationed on a headland over the last great tide. It’s a hankering. An ache. A flash of loss. A bafflement.

    Roxy knows most things.

    How does she trawl the world? Her mouth must be wider than all the oceans on our earth.

    She reads the vast indecipherable room and wonders briefly about tears.

    “You wished I’d gone away?” she asks.

    “I wished you’d stayed.”

  6. You two guys...I swear each time I come and read pieces like these, I see you getting closer and closer into Rumi territory, but from entirely different directions! Bravo!


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