The bar I frequent has a nice selection of greeting cards but I didn’t see one that said exactly what I needed to say. I flip through the blank ones but god, you know? Babies wearing fedoras and tinted lovers kissing in Paris or wherever? I can’t work with that.
So I stumble home and raid the wife’s scrapbooking nook. (“Our counselor says it’s critical that I have a place of my own, even if it’s crammed next to the Miata in the garage.”) There’s construction paper, Elmer’s, dull-edged scissors, the works. I put together something really cute with a penguin and a tree on the front, and inside I write Sorry your wife died while giving birth to my daughter and then a frowny face.
But I chicken out at the last minute and sign my brother’s name. My life is way too crazy to deal with this shit right now.
Because guess what there is a gift for you in the glovebox. Ha ha no it is not gloves! Your sense of humor is very refreshing, Maya. Eh? Maia? Ah yes. Maia, hearken: Most of the ladies I allow into the 240Z do not tell good jokes, Maia. Knock-knock, they say. Hello, who is this? I ask, delighted. They say they do not know, they forgot, and then they gaze out the window, at the world passing by.
But you, when you say knock-knock you know who is at the door. It is I, resplendent. My cape swoops around you, catching you like a thieve in a sticky net. There is no escape!
Open the glovebox. See what treasures it holds.
Yes, yes, maps. Yes, the tire pressure gauge. Is there not anything else? Didn’t I—I thought I put a little box with an anklet or some candy in there? No? Ah well. Does m’lady mayhaps want to see Saw VI? I think its terror may eject you out of your comfortable seat and into my expectant lap, no?
No. Very well. Next time, then, Mia. Maia. Whatever. Go, then. Flee! But know this: When the moon swells full and your womanhood cries out for massage, know that you have cast aside Heaven itself. By the by, canst thou direct me toward Venus Waterfallz or the nearest exotic emporium? Sir Miguel Longfellow here needs tending to, as you can plainly see.
My daughter says, “We need to talk.” I sit down and fold my arms and sigh.
She says: “Dad, you know how we got a bunch of peaches yesterday?” I say yeah I guess so, it’s not like I monitor the comings and goings of all the groceries (not true). She whispers: “OK well I ate three peaches.”
I start to get up, assuming this will go the way most of her stories go, i.e., a half-hour plotless stream-of-consciousness Woolf-esque yawnfest. She sits me back down and says: “I mean three whole peaches. Every part.”
My eyes widen in horror. You ate three peach pits, didn’t you! She nods and here come the waterworks. “What’s going to happen to me, Daddy?” she cries.
I tear away from her sweaty little grip. I ask the question.
"Yes!" she shrieks. "Yes I did just drink some water!”
I can’t bear to look at her as I tell her it’s too late, she already watered the seeds. Even now the baby trees are unfurling their tiny leaves in her belly. An hour from now, two at the most, they will burst forth in the grossest, goriest way imaginable. But at least she can die knowing that she’ll be providing her family with fresh, delicious peaches for years to come—absolutely free of charge.
"There must be something we can do!" she wails.
"All we can do is wait," I say, picking Entertainment Weekly back up and flipping through the pages, pausing for a moment to examine a photograph of Rashida Jones.
I was in the Mafia for like a week. Easily the worst job ever, you guys.
They’re all: Hey go shoot this guy in the head three times and once in the heart. FYI I don’t even know this person.
So he’s crying and praying, etc. He seemed like an OK guy aside from the hysterics. On the drive out to the swamp he talked about how much he liked The Offspring. And I’m not saying The Offspring is my all-time favorite or anything but they have some decent songs and this guy liked them, had fond memories of listening to them in his LeSabre, a nice Catholic girl at his side, and they’re driving to Reno for a romantic getaway or I dunno, I’m just making up a back story here.
Anyway I get back to the bosses and they’re like: Is it done? And I go: Is what done. Playing dumb but I mean c’mon, always with the What’d the guy say about the thing. And I’m like: The English language is rich with nouns and synonyms, help me out. And they say: Did you or did you not resolve the situation with Mr. Green Day. And I’m just horrified. It was The Offspring! He was a living, breathing man with a real love for The Offspring!
So I storm out pretty dramatically and head back to the temp agency and that’s how I got the job at Kinko’s. Now I’m assistant manager and my hands barely even shake anymore.
Why did you decide to live on a car? To make your web? We have a garage and eaves and whatnot seriously like six feet away and there’s plenty of space for spiders to hang out there and just do their thing. Other spiders have done this successfully. But instead you decide to “kick it” in my side mirror and make webs all over the driver’s side door. And so a) your whole construction gets messed up every time I drive around, and b) I get all panicky every time I see you because you’re just a little bit bigger than I’m comfortable with. And I’m sorry, Spider, I’m sorry that I was driving down the freeway and you were all “WTF” as your web blew around and I’m sorry, I’m not proud, but I rolled down the window and plucked at your web to release it from my side mirror, sending you to your doom. I’m sorry for doing that. But then I arrive at my destination and what do I see but YOU, Spider, still hanging on for dear life! And I’m all: Dude, you’ve got the goods. You are a fighter, dude. And I will leave you to your home on my car, Spider. It’s as much yours as it is mine.
Today I posted a Twitter thing that went: “I like to shriek and brandish a trident while peeing in a mailbox. It keeps the weirdos away.”
If my Monday morning brain (Mondays, you guys, am I right) had bothered to think it through a little bit, my intent would’ve been clearer: “When peeing in a mailbox, I like to shriek and brandish a trident to keep the weirdos away.”
I have a lot of work to get done today. My anniversary’s this week, I need to be planning something for that. The cat needs to go to the vet. My unfinished novel sits in a dusty, forgotten folder on my computer. My parents aren’t getting any younger; I should reach out to them, tell them I love them before it’s too late. I need to do the laundry.
But what has been gnawing at me all day? The grammatical structure of my mailbox pee tweet.
“Walls of translucent white jelly-beings undulating around an unseen cameraman who we must assume never stops screaming. Vertically hovering whales gesturing a fin toward beams of light somehow shining up from the deep. And everywhere fish, terrible fish — they breathe liquid, they never blink. Accompanied by one or the other of the Aphex Twin discs, glacial swells and pulsings of evilly hushed machine-born flesh-creep music.”—Scott David Herman listens to Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Vol. 2 while watching Planet Earth on mute. I’m hard-pressed to think of something more up my alley than this.
Mishap with the pleasure harness over the weekend. Let’s not get into details. All you really need to know is it wasn’t performing as promised and this resulted in a pulled hamstring and a humiliating conclusion to the evening’s festivities. Don’t make me paint you a word-picture.
But as always I got the extended-coverage warranty from Best Buy so I head over there and endure the formal interview with Amy the Customer Carer [sic]. She goes: “Do you go on record saying that you used the device according to the instruction manual provided on the included CD-ROM?”
And as always I launch into my whole thing about human sexual response and how consistent adherence to dictated rules can, in some scenarios, have the opposite effect than what was intended, and surely the manufacturers understand that and encourage creative and out-of-box applications of their products, etc.
And Amy says: “I am extremely familiar with human sexual response, but I’m compelled to point out page 34 of the manual, which explicitly lists the items that are forbidden by the FDA to use in conjunction with this product, and look here, what does it say right here in the top spot?” And I say: “I don’t know how to read.” And she says: “It says extra-virgin olive oil.” And I’m all: “Do I get my refund or what.” And Amy says: “You get store credit.”
So I stock up on power strips and hot stone massage DVDs and at the door I fish through the bright yellow bag to find the receipt — it is my duty as a consumer to confirm that I have been accurately charged — and notice that Amy has hidden her business card inside. Shameless! And … filthy. No way. I’m not going there, chum. I made a new year’s resolution.
I carefully tear her card into two pieces and put them in my coat pocket, the pocket where I put things that I definitely plan on throwing away later.