Funny enough, she looked just like Tipper Gore from the PMRC days. The short blonde bangs worn with the shoulder length hair parted down the middle. And she was certainly dressed more conservatively than anyone else in the bar with the dress slacks and the top, which could have been shirt or sweater—it was hard to tell in the dim light. But yeah, she reminded me of a budding politician’s wife. Those bags were already forming under her eyes from having to care too much about other people’s problems.
“What do you do,” I knew it seemed a bit obvious of an introduction, but I’ve always found those work best.
“Well, if you mean to ask what is my profession honey pie, I suppose I do things a librarian would since I am one,” which seemed odd considering who I later learned her to be, but I don’t know. I guess it’s sort of like that saying keep your enemies close.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, what’s a guy like me doing hitting on a woman like her? I mean, we were probably somewhat close to the same age. She might have been a few years older, but nothing too extreme. Still though, she dressed as if she were twenty years older, and she looked to be drinking an old-fashioned. I couldn’t quite explain it, but I guess it gets boring hitting on the same type of lush chick every time I go out. Again, I know I sound obvious, but there really was just something about her. I had to ask, “So what’s your name sweetheart?”
“Don’t worry about that right now darling. Why don’t you just purchase me a fresh libation? Oh barkeep, may I please have another?”
Before I knew it, we were back at my place. And believe me, if it doesn’t sound like she’s the one-night stand type, well, let me cue you in on a little secret, every woman likes a little controversy every now and again, and well, as I would soon find out, she seemed to like it more than most women.
As I began to pull her sweater-shirt off, I noticed some fuzzy blurry dots coming from underneath her bra. When I removed it, I literally dropped my jaw. In the flesh, she had those censor marks like they use on television. I jumped back. As weird as it was, it felt like I was witnessing a miracle. I said the first thing that came to mind, “I don’t think I ever caught your name.”
“Oh [bleep], I guess you were bound to determine my origins sooner or later, but I am the personal embodiment of Censorship.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?”
“Well, darling, this sort of occurrence happens more regularly than you would think. I’m an agent of the one true God.”
“You gotta be shitting me?”
“I wish you would watch it with the language, but I guess I just slipped up myself.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. So, what, are you like Jesus or something?”
“Well, no, I’m not like that [bleep], I’m sorry, do excuse me. What I meant to say is that yes, he is my half-brother.”
“So, what do you want from me?”
“I want to have intercourse with you, what else?”
“But isn’t that like against your law or something?”
“Honey, I couldn’t do my job if I didn’t get to practice a little perverse act manufactured by my own repression every once in a while.”
And so we had sex, but you know that was just as weird as the rest of it. Even though you could feel her nipples and her wetness beneath her fuzz, it just felt like most of the pleasure had been removed from the act, and despite later going to visit a shrink to try and figure out if I was crazed and experiencing some sort of insane hallucinations, deep down, I knew her story checked out, and undeniably, I came to believe that day.
The collective unconscious
takes Zoloft in the morning
and feels like Novocain all day.
He prays along
with the daily meditational
on the top of the toilet
while he practices the first ritual S
of his morning routine.
He packs a briefcase,
which is always heavy,
and yet, he can’t help but feel
is always missing.
He drops the kids off
at the prep school
and tries to ignore
the three older boys
standing around the corner
He could say something,
but he’s running
late for work again
and he’s got an important job
to do, but he can’t really explain
exactly what the description is,
let’s just say,
he’s a servant
The bank sounded its alarms
like clock radios
to murder dreams in the morning
with no warning,
a bright sunrise exploded
like a nuclear bomb
evaporating any chance of the same sun setting,
betting the future on double zero,
the hero will have to learn
what it means to be tragic,
there’s no magic left in the script
so we ripped it to shreds
and acted out an improvisational sketch,
the antithesis of rough onion cuts,
it was hard to shed tears
when the worst of our fears
were captured on camera.
I peeked through the venetian blinds
to view an apocalyptic green-grey sky
and heard the whistling hum
of a million flying locusts.
It was hard to tell
where the funnel cloud ended
and where the billow of debris began
as I heard the rattle
of too-thin window panes
and traveled the emotional road
from awestruck to terrified
as my parents scooped me up
and took me into the hallway,
shutting all the doors.
There we sat waiting for our questions
to be answered.
I don’t want to die.
We’re going to be just fine, her reply
in a pitch just a little too high,
and as I buried my head
deep into her chest,
I heard a tempo beat prestissimo
and felt the thud hit my face
like a speed bag.
Mom, are you scared?
Then why’s your heart beating so fast?
And it was in that moment
staring into her searching eyes
I came to realize,
I like being lied to, but
I need it to be
We got stranded in the murky purple
and blue night
somewhere between the red light
and the winding wheel
of the sleeping captain,
captives to the life boat with no engine
and as the daytime turned green,
you stuck your arm into the debris
of bobbing weeds
as we searched for a shoreline.
I found one in your hairline
while my fingers flew across it
on the skid board of my palm
gently through the accumulation
of damp sandy grains
of disheveled sleepless rocking,
and when we fired our last orange flare
a spark caught the end of my threadbare
I threw it into the water
to extinguish the flame,
but the energy exchange
must have left it defunct
for it slowly sunk
to the muddy floor.
Survival depended only on my ability
to salvage energy
for the swim
if the vessel were to capsize
because holding on to you
would only drag us both
to an eventual demise.
Jimmy dropped the needle on the first track to the B-side of the Beatles’ Revolver. The record player in the living room was their most valued possession. Sure the digital age had ushered in more accessible forms, but the grittiness and popping of old vinyl sounded so much more soothing especially in the morning hours. Eddie heard the first note and fired up the bowl of White Widow, which had been freshly packed into their favorite smoking apparatus. A Roor bong, Germany’s finest, made of thick and solid etched glass, an air-tight fitting between the stem and the bowl, and also with an ice chamber for only the smoothest taste and most gut-punching hit. It was a morning like any other, the only way to start the day as far as the two roommates were concerned.
“Good Day Sunshine” blared through the speakers as they greeted their hangovers with nature’s antidote for all the ills in the world. Jimmy played an air-guitar while singing along between coughing fits, “I feel so good in a special way…hack, hack, hack…Good day sunshine…hack, hack…Good day sunshine.”
Eddie scanned the room, a profusion of the previous evening’s decadence—empty beer cans hiding every visible surface, a small mirror with white residue and a half-rolled dollar bill on the arm of the couch, their Goodfellas movie poster hanging all blowzy by just one tack slightly torn from a friendly bout of fighting amongst friends in the living room, and ashtrays packed like luggage for a month-long vacation. I could use a vacation, Eddie thought as he looked at the muted television’s pictures of what appeared to be a resort in South America somewhere—tanned skin, coconuts filled with red frozen beverages and tiny ornate umbrellas, beach volleyball, and a behemoth skyscraper hotel almost looking as if it were photo-shopped onto the beautiful white beach surrounded by flora.
They finished the bowl midway through the first track, and Jimmy disappeared into his bedroom to finish getting ready for work. It was Eddie’s day off. He walked to the refrigerator, grabbed one of the leftover tallboys of Pabst Blue Ribbon and three eggs. He cracked the eggs—only after cracking the tab on his beer—into a frying pan on the stove that may or may not have still been dirty and put two slices of wheat bread into the toaster while he waited. Sunny-side up suffocated in black pepper and Tabasco sauce with wheat toast to collect the yolk. His favorite economical breakfast.
The record transitioned to “Eleanor Rigby” as he cooked. He listened to the lyrics booming from the speakers in the living room—all the lonely people, where do they all belong—as he noticed the picture on his fridge of his buddy Steven. It was one of Steven’s favorite portraits of himself, a close-up of his face taken in a graveyard while wearing aviator shades with a tombstone clearly reflected in the left lens. There was a time when Steven would be sitting at the kitchen table many a morning with the two roommates listening to this same record. That would never happen again. A tear began to streak down Eddie’s face as he pulled a swig from his can.
Eddie jumped and spit out a little beer. He hadn’t noticed Jimmy emerge in the doorway wearing dress pants and a wife beater while carrying a white oxford shirt on a hanger, almost ready for another day of slangin’ pasta at Da Vinci’s, an overpriced wonder-wop Italian joint with domesticated cuisine for suburban families. It was always funny to Eddie to see Jimmy’s transformation every morning from a grungy looking rock n’ roller wearing ripped jeans and T-shirts with the sleeves torn off to a debonair gentleman in a pressed shirt, black tie, slacks, and finely polished wing-tips, but Eddie hadn’t noticed so much today as he was embarrassed to get caught crying to himself.
“Yeah, man, it must be the pepper,” Eddie lied and avoided further interrogation by whistling to the melody as he heard the last verse echoing off the scuffed linoleum tile—Father McKenzie, wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave. No one was saved. He couldn’t wait to eat.