the text by gchatus
Thanks to mawbli for making this piece 1000% better.
the text by gchatus
Thanks to mawbli for making this piece 1000% better.
It was like she was living or trying to live inside The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Newsflash, hotshot — that was almost 40 years ago and I should know because I am almost 40. Its feminist ideals were built on a foundation of capitalist ideals, that a free marketplace could create equality, and it’s not that we disagree but more importantly, there is nothing free about our marketplace anymore.
You want to move to the Ozarks and find an identity for yourself in the middle of nowhere through being handed a job that no one wants, and through said job do you want to find both respect and self-respect? Good luck, pal. That job was taken by an intern in the time it took me to write that sentence, and it’s not because that intern is better or more privileged or spoiled rotten than you, because all things being equal it ain’t exactly like you’re hurting. Maybe as you age you also gain pride, and that’s why an intern beat you out, but that ain’t what’s important neither.
The thing is there is no Victorian house with a cute neighbor waiting for you to move in. All the Victorians around here are either sold or got put under the protection of the state. You throw your hat in the air all you want, friend, but it’s safe to say that we’ve gotten to a place in which the 70’s are actually starting to look pretty good, because at least then you weren’t aging and losing your teeth and sitting in endless heat on the internet waiting to hear back from the temp office. Back then it was better because it’s not like you’d been born; it’s not like you’d even occurred to anyone.
It got late and the night was looking. The space had emptied out and we moved to the street, and it was cool and empty and the sounds were far off, in other parts of the city. Everywhere we walked was in a bubble of silence, at the point in the evening when all nights connected and found you, when time became a circle pointing inward. This was my place, where I returned to. Where I had found you. In daytime, minutes and hours passed. This wasn’t true, the ruse of chronology. It was this central stillness, where the starless sky stretched. That’s where I lost you. That’s the place you looked for and could not access. You tried too hard. You bought the wrong shoes. You ran too fast. You couldn’t allow for intersection.
In Seattle they found a motel and maneuvered DoDo off the tiny streets. They had delirious sex for days, I think. The girl was a mutant now; she’d been converted by the sewers and her blood wasn’t true anymore. She’d been the android’s latest bounty, but the android couldn’t turn in the warrant. Her love was too deep. She’d imprinted on the girl.
At night as she lay with her, she would look at the stars. At the full moon. At the way the galaxy sliced across sky in a gash. She was running with her now, they were traveling through the deserts. She knew she might leave her soon. She held her together as the stars bled.
She was in the doctor’s room again, watching him inspect her pieces. Seeing the lights of the room reflect greasy off his head, where the skin flattened. She was stuck in that room now, trying to remove herself and could not. Stuck inside it.
At night the coyotes ran and the far mesas hung in shapes against the night, glowing red. It was no longer safe out here, if it ever was, for the mutants stalked this world.
In Seattle they had shared beds, had gotten drunken as they ran. But the girl had become obsessed, had decided there was someone they must find, and that this someone’s name was Laura. The android needed someone too, but could not name him. She was only filled with a burning need.
The women had searched for Laura, contacting seers and oracles. They had sat with readers and visionaries with little luck. The girl had gotten lost. She had been lost. She was of a time in which she was always lost. The android thought she could understand this but she in fact could not. She was on a mission to follow the will of an adolescent, could not understand that every choice was molten and on fire.
We changed our band’s name to We Are Not Babes in Toyland and embarked on a vineyard tour. I’m sure this was widely accepted as a good idea. It was through the vineyards when the van crashed and we lost our driver, a Muppet lizard named Leon.
You’d think he wouldn’t have been a good driver, being a Muppet, and also because he crashed our van, but I would argue both were patently true. The two or three muppeteers managing his upper body would cram into the space under the wheel and have cameras on him so they could see how their movements played, and maybe it could be argued that at least one camera should have been trained on the road, or one of them should have been sitting up and watching the road, or just driving because what was this Muppet thing anyway are you trying to be cute.
Look it up, I’m not cute, Leon was a Muppet lizard on the Jim Henson Hour in 1989 and if you have that specific visual this story works. Anyway we didn’t crash because he was a Muppet, we crashed because it was a vineyard tour and he was drunk on wine. The muppeteers tried to keep him off the sauce but it was like he had nothing else, no agency. It was like he was felt and plastic with bones in the form of hands crawling inside his ass.
As we pulled him from the wreckage we promised we’d love him forever and never forget him. We changed our band name to Jesus Lizard and wrote a lot more songs. Someday someone told us this would be a problem but we don’t care! We Are Punk Rock!
The van broke down again outside Detroit, which is what they called Pittsburgh in those days. We all gave up and got jobs, made families, died poor.
There were two mouthbreathers at the end of the yoga line. They did “yoga before yoga,” flipping around on their heads and falling over like well-muscled pelicans before the instructor even arrived. During the class they breathed heavily, trying every advanced pose the instructor suggested, falling overthemselves with loud grunts. One of them had a European accent and they both had funny hair. She wondered if the instructor purposely suggested impossible advanced poses just to watch them fall over. That’s what she would have done.
I can rarely remember what happens each year on the Fourth of July. I remember I knew someone who hated the holiday, who insisted terrible things always happened. I have narrowed it down to two people in my life who this might be attributed to, but no farther. I remember walking through a suburban town toward fireworks, looking for open street corners, finally finding one and watching the show. This is the last Fourth of July I remember. My girlfriend and I turned to each other the other night and realized we couldn’t even remember what happened to us last year. I’m sitting at a table next to two full bottles of lighter fluid. In San Diego there are fireworks every night at 10pm from SeaWorld, so the Fourth ain’t no thing. We’re America as shit. Let’s just say it won’t be ho hum this year, let’s just ask if you’ve ever upended two bottles of lighter fluid on a neighbor’s dog that doesn’t know the meaning of late night quiet hours.
"I wish I brought my gum" she said loudly to no one in the waiting room. In response, a fly buzzed into one of the fans and the blade hiccuped, then kept spinning. A woman reading a magazine looked over the top of it, then glowered at her, then looked away again. An overweight man slept into his chest a few seats away. When a shark drifted past the window, no one looked up.
"Oh doctor!" she said, upon being thrown into the maintenance closet. "I cannot for the life imagine how safe it is to get troubled on the day shift!"
"Ain’t no birds troubling you," said the doctor, unzipping his forward thrust. "This whole hospital’s naught but maintenance closets, so’s the likes of you and me can do the middling crimes."
And it was true. On this floor alone forty-seven closets waited, all unassembled, for the rigor to be affected during lunch breaks on the day shift. Somewhere someone said this was a hospital, but it were not lest you know of a hospital ain’t got no beds. I came here for a bed once and only found me here, in a closet, shackled close with many womens and the mens doing terrible, fraught and frenzy tethered, finding these exaltations of the middling crimes.
I’m not gonna say the head scientist wasn’t a skeeze, and I wish you wouldn’t put words in my mouth. I’m just saying it was weird, him drooling all over that bioroid.
Like he’s always weird. One time I heard him following Shirley out to the parking lot. You know Shirley, she’s that cute toaster they got working the front desk down on 2. Yeah, so she’s motoring along to the tram, just minding her own what have you, and she hears this squeek-squeek-squeeking as she’s going under the hospital. You know, where it echoes?
And she turns around and he’s just breathing and wheeling along after her, in that, in that creepy, you know, chair? I’m sorry, this isn’t funny — but it’s kind of funny, right? I’m sorry. So he’s just — right? He’s just wheeling along and I guess he was coming up to tell her she’d left her locker open in the changing room, and he wanted to let her know. But — RIGHT! How would he know? What’s he doing, he’s sneaking in on toasters now? I know, I shouldn’t call them toasters, oh my god. But she is, she’s a toaster! She calls herself that all the time! I wouldn’t — I think she is the cutest thing!
But that old man is a freak, I’m telling you. If I ever have to get this arm lopped out and replaced — oh, it’s coming! It’s not morbid — it’s the truth! And I’m telling you, when that day comes, that old guy better be dead. If they try to stick me with him — NOPE! NOPE! I’ll tell them, I’ll tell them what happened to Shirley. I’ll tell them what happened to Marjorie on 1.
Oh my god, you don’t know? She woke up from surgery, swear to God, she might have been on drugs — I love Marjorie, but she might have been on drugs, but even if she’s not. EVEN IF SHE’S NOT, okay, this is weird, who would fantasize this? I don’t know, maybe Marjorie is crazy. She could be, she could be!
So allright allright! Let me finish the story! Marjorie wakes up after that last bit of work she got on her stomach — I know, she looks good right? Anyway, she wakes up and he is. Licking. The. Biofeed.
I KNOWWWW. I KNOWWWW. And she wakes up and she clears her eyes and she looks at him and she says, “Uhhh, what are you doing?” and he says, I swear to god, he says, “Checking your temperature. It’s the only way to know for sure.”
THAT MAN IS THE DEVIL. HE’S COMPLETELY THE DEVIL. I don’t know how Marjorie even kept working there. God yeah, the toaster benefits. Probably. Jesus, what a world.