|Foxavier & Plinka, Chapters 1-3
Author: Scott Talbot Evans PM
Can a man overcome OCD and the mental health system to find a good job? Can two people with emotional challenges be the perfect couple? Can art change the world? Can food kill you?Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Parody - Words: 10,198 - Published: 11-20-12 - id: 3076023
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"
a href=" . " imageanchor="1" style="clear:left; float:left;margin-right:1em; margin-bottom:1em"img border="0" height="171" width="114" src=" . " /a/div
div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"
a href=" . " imageanchor="1" style="clear:left; float:left;margin-right:1em; margin-bottom:1em"img border="0" height="136" width="112" src=" . " /a/div
div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"
a href=" . " imageanchor="1" style="clear:left; float:left;margin-right:1em; margin-bottom:1em"img border="0" height="139" width="186" src=" . " /a/div
div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"
a href=" . /-_EF6snNP-Do/UJx8tFKCsAI/AAAAAAAAAHw/jpxlGiy1hV0/s1600/blog% " imageanchor="1" style="clear:left; float:left;margin-right:1em; margin-bottom:1em"img border="0" height="307" width="320" src=" . /-_EF6snNP-Do/UJx8tFKCsAI/AAAAAAAAAHw/jpxlGiy1hV0/s320/blog% " /a/div
Is it possible for two people to be perfect for each other? div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"
a href=" . " imageanchor="1" style="clear:left; float:left;margin-right:1em; margin-bottom:1em"img border="0" height="194" width="259" src=" . " /a/div
Can one man fight Big Chicken? div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"
a href=" . " imageanchor="1" style="clear:left; float:left;margin-right:1em; margin-bottom:1em"img border="0" height="195" width="258" src=" . " /a/div
Can anyone read those labels? div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"
a href=" . " imageanchor="1" style="clear:left; float:left;margin-right:1em; margin-bottom:1em"img border="0" height="181" width="278" src=" . " /a/div
a mainstream literary contemporary psychological humor romance novel.
READ MORE AT .com
WARNING: STRONG MATURE CONTENT. DISCRETION ADVISED. INTENDED FOR HUMOR. ALL CHARACTERS ARE FICTIONAL.
Thank God, Hymen & Bessie Elinoff, Ben & Ida & Arnie & Ken & Lisa Moskowitz, Gene & Mimi & Stacy & Shannon Evans & Leah Guidry, Edie & Larry & Michael & Missy Rice, The Bode Family, The Grupp Family, The Baynes Family, Ken & Dorrie & Mark Goldstein, Warren & Marcy & Brayden Goldstein-Gelb, Frank Michaels Family, The Weiss Family, Walt Whitman High School, The South Huntington Public Library, Carol Fine, The University of Rochester, the City of Rochester, Jim Sherman, Marc Barron, Captain Bill Jensen, Faith Yando, Mark Moss, Pete Shaw, Kerin Gould, Rob Vermeulen, Tom Kaempfen, James Taylor, Leslie Wright, Cynthia Tacaks, Bob Wong, Dr. Miron Zuckerman, Harvard University, Dr. Ellen Langer, Andrew Pratt, Dr. Martha Tappen, Dr. Blanford Parker, Richard Hernandez, Dr. Brett Rhyne, Sam Abrams, Lorraine O'Sullivan, Joel & Freddy, The Rochester Public Library, Strong Ties, Eric Klein, Tyrone Smith, Dennis Lowenstein, Tim Bornhorst, Darlene Zaza, Sonia Gutowski, Bryant & Stratton College, Mark & Vivian Small, The Hanrahans, Rochester Institute of Technology, Delores Florio, Dick Dermody, Sharon Altman, Doug Rice, Donald Stafford, The Creative Wellness Coalition, Sam & Maeve McLean, Laurie Jenkins Gil & Billy, Steve Huff, Doug Shirley, Liesl Ann Gaesser, Lindsay Woods, Joe Flaherty, Martin Naparsteck, Len Messineo, The Mental Health Association of Rochester/Monroe County, Writers & Books, Mieu-san, Kevin Browne, The Welcome Project, MassCOSH, The Medfield Press, and Sarah Stephens.
Your Comments are Welcome.
Here's my lousy book no one's ever going to read. It's about a total jackass and a completely mucked up world.
Scones are evil. Apples are good. Fruits and vegetables are good, unless they're not organic, in which case they're evil. Cake and cookies are evil. Fast-food is evil. Anything addictive, potato chips or cheese is evil. Boring is good, oatmeal. My life is not so much a life as a series of awkwardnesses.
"I'm The Pretty Pie Girl. I'm The Pretty Pie Girl," the TV blares her chipmunk voice as she waltzes with a chocolate cookie. Her adorable face sirens, "You're my Ookie Ookie Cookie," her computer generated smile happier than human. She's a pie missing the bottom slice, with tiny arms gloved to the elbows, and cute legs booted to the knees. She twirls, "You're my Ookie Ookie Cookie."
Her dark partner croons in lowest bass, "I'm your Ookie Ookie Cookie."
Select a box from the cupboard, The Hexachocolator, a six sided cake with six kinds of chocolate. In bright yellow letters it proclaims, "Zero Grams Trans Fat."
She's slides down a ladle, "Capsulsgrave Confections are Deeeeee-licious," and splashes into a bowl of milk. Look at all the subliminal sexual cues. Borders on child porn. Anything to sell as much poison as possible.
My heart dried up from no love.
Crack two eggs. Measure the oil. Use olive oil not grease. The box says one cup, but use half. One cup, crazy. Beat the mix with wooden spoon.
The "real" children, one tenth as cartoonish, are banging their spoons to the musical on their breakfast table chanting, "Ookie Ookie Cookie." How many impressionable minds are watching this whorescrappening? Pour the batter into a stainless steel bowl and bake at 380.
Go upstairs, to my room. Barry is on his bed. I sit on mine. He's so fat he has to struggle to keep from rolling off. He makes me feel skinny. Next to him, my movements are lithe and fierce like a tiger.
Do logic puzzle. Blue pen, low on ink, make chart in bent spiral notebook. My system makes it too easy.
What can I say to him? Good luck with your operation? He's so fat he can't walk anymore. They're going to cut his legs off. He's going to be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. I am not going to end up like him. I will eat normal portions. No extras. No seconds. I get up. "Good luck with your operation."
He says "Thank you," between breaths, with his oxygen hose in his nose.
Go to the hall, and look down at my coat hanging at the bottom of the winding bannister, see Burt in the pocket taking a cigarette. Go to office and tell, perfect face and body, no chance she would ever want me, Diane. Staff can't date residents, but even if she could, she wouldn't. Her baby doll eyes and button nose and plush lips tell me official West House policy is not to leave things out.
Take the application for the Office of Disabled Services and sit on TV-room couch to fill it out. Get out of here soon as possible.
Pat sits on the other couch with her blonde French poodle hairdo and smokes, every so often turning her head to the side and back, like a chicken.
Oh boy, here we go, first question: ETHNIC GROUP. They don't even ask name first. Two boxes-one for white, one for black. Draw in a box, down and to the right, and label it, "1/16 This." Then up to the left draw another box,"1/16 That." Then draw a third, "1/16 The other."
Pat snores, cigarette in mouth, burns.
"Thank you." She taps off the ash, turns her head, and puffs.
Second question-Age. Write fast and legible, 28.
Third question-Describe how your disability prevents you from working? You're asking me? The doctor has a file cabinet full of records. It's hard to put in words. I think and think. Crumple the paper in a ball and throw in basket. Nice shot. JORDAN!
Step out for some air. A group smoking. Davey, skinny, can squat; my legs would snap. A rollie burning between his blackened fingers, he spits mucus on the blacktop between his legs. Isn't he disgusted? Spit to the side.
Burt smiles and says, "What's up, man?"
Dennis is extra large, tall, big, and deep voice. He offers me a Red Pyramid 100. They're awful cheap cigarettes, mostly cardboard.
"Thanks Dude. I try not to buy cigarettes. It helps me cut down."
Chubby cheeks Nate says, "He just mooches off of other people." Burt and Pretty Tony laugh.
Burt has a long handlebar mustache and bushy black hair, "I've got five women in Canton."
Pretty Tony says to me, "I can get you ho's." He and Nate and Davey laugh.
The others stop, but Davey is still laughing. He has a boyish face and manner. He doesn't care about shaving, but does when Vivian kicks him in the butt. His voice is pleasant and rhythmic, "God bless you, Fox."
"How are you, Dave?"
"Oh, fine. Fine. Fine."
"What you up to?"
"Trimmed Miss Martha's bushes yesterday." His face brightens, "Oh, Miss Martha is a pretty girl." He giggles and mumbles unintelligible syllables as he brings his face into my face. I back up. Do you mind notspitting in my face?
"She gave me five dollars."
"I hope you invested it wisely."
"I got these and a pop."
"So, what are your plans for today?"
"Oh, Nuthin. Nuthin."
Why does everyone keeps saying, "Nuthin."
"What ya doin?"
He smokes more than anyone would possibly need to. Shouldn't criticize, but it's my nature. The fingers closest to the cigarette are stained darkest. Same pattern on his teeth. I've got to quit. His father nagged him to quit for years, then died from lung cancer. You could say it matters, you could say it doesn't. Is one death better than another? Why live at all?
Loucarla, a hot girl, comes out the screen door and announces dinner. Pretty. Petite. Skinny legs. She's got the Snowchester farm girl look. Blue jeans. A mane of curls and bangs. She's got the accent. Pronounces Snowchester in one syllable, "Snochstr." Have no chance with her either.
Dennis says, "Kiss it."
Pretty Tony says, "Bust out da frame."
Burt has trouble pronouncing certain sounds, "Ihave a gir-frien in Can-ton O-hi-o."
In the 1920's, this house was a mansion. You can tell by the enormous rooms and fancy moldings meandering the walls. The ceiling has ornate ridges making beautiful circular patterns around the real crystal chandelier with four energy saver bulbs. One rich family lived here. Now seventy years later it's a luxurious group home for twenty. Same pattern in the neighborhood. Every twenty houses or so is a mansion. Used to be a super rich area. Over the years, divided into smaller properties. But even the small houses are mansions.
Three staff and fifteen residents are eating at the long antique table. Rich, the director, tall, with black hair and beard, says, "A secret Manicotti family recipe."
Pat asks, "You made the lasagne, Rich? It's good."
Burt says, "Very . . . good, Rich," pronouncing the 'ch' funny.
Pretty Tony is next to me. He glances at Loucarla and whispers, "I tapped dat in the phone room." He smiles big. "Went right up to her and pulled down her pants." He isn't serious; I don't think.
I say to Loucarla, "The tuna is good."
"Thank you. The trick is fresh garlic. . . The hot dogs have half the fat."
Morality compels me to speak, "And what about carcinogens? Do they have half the carcinogens?"
The table gets quiet. Bingo.
Burt says, "Car-in-o-gen."
I hold up an imaginary pack and say loud and sarcastic, "Hello. Carcinogens. . . Sodium Nitrite, Sodium Nitrate. I rest my case."
"Hot dogs don't cause cancer," says Hippo slow with his big round face.
Pat clucks, "I'm going to be sick."
Burt says, "Say goo'night."
Tall Rich says, "The hotdogs are fine, the best, Roscoe Mueller."
Say no more, not to make a scene, but sneer. Oh no. They wouldn't put anything bad in something people eat.
Lindsay says, "Do you freak out every time you eat?"
An attractive girl is talking to me and smiling. Has to be a set up. When we go back to her room her boyfriend will jump me. Why even get my hopes up? She's not into fat guys. "Well not every time. Well pretty much, yea. Most times."
She is staring.
"Probably a few times I didn't."
She says, "So, yes."
"So pretty much everything causes cancer." She laughs.
"Hydrogenated oil is heart attacks, but pretty much. Hot dogs, cold cuts, fruits and vegetables with pesticides, anything in plastic, and of course coffee stirrers."
"Well yeah, think about it, you're put a strip of plastic into piping hot coffee and swirl it around. Do you have any idea how many thousands of carcinogens leech into the coffee? A lot."
"They wouldn't use harmful substances."
I get louder, "You would think! Sounds like a good rule. Death, take me now! . . . Are you kidding me? Please tell me you're kidding. They don't care if they kill people. They only care about one thing"
She cuts me off, "Follow the money."
"Yes." I chuckle.
Loucarla can't see Pretty Tony thrust his hips like Michael Jackson. Look back skeptically. He laughs. Pretty crude table manners. No one else notices.
"What they don't tell you, is to dial 9-1- and then take a bite and then dial the last 1.
Pretty Tony, interjects, "Birds dropping from the sky."
"It's a pyramid scheme. The dollar bill, a pyramid. They're all in on it."
"Foxavier, do you want fries?" Shouldn't, but take some. Don't do evil. It tastes good. You'll feel sick after. I feel sick now. Try not to take too many.
Burt pushes the mashed potatoes towards Ralph who has a David Niven mustache, "No you finish your ve-ta-ble."
Ralph smiles. He pushes it back, "Have some more potatoes. You're a growing boy."
Burt, "You-r a gro-ing bo-y. . . don't want any more, Ralph. had a whole bag of chi-ps." He's always got his big bag of barbecue tortilla chips with him. Look at Ralph. He could be a serial killer. It would be the perfect opportunity, a counselor in a group home. No evidence, just a hunch.
Barry walks very slow carrying his oxygen tank, and is last to take a seat. No seconds.
Sonny is in her seventies. She shakes. She takes a bite of my cake and says, "Mondays at six," talking about her free painting class. She's not shaking. Her face is asleep. Her body drops. Pat calls out, "Oh!" Everyone gathers around and Rich tells us not to touch her and calls 911. We stare. Diane takes everyone in the backyard. The ambulance takes her away unconscious. She's lucky we're so close to University Hospital.
Did Sonny have a stroke? It couldn't be the cake. The box said, "Zero grams trans fat." Get it out of the trash. See, "Zero grams trans fat per serving." Per serving? Why is 'per serving' in small letters? Read the ingredients: Water, bromated flour, hydrogenated rapeseed oil! Hydrogenated rapeseed oil? Those sneaky bastards. It was the cake. Read the word "hydrogenated" one more time.
After dinner a bunch of us sneak out the bedroom window and sit on the roof. Dennis looks like Hank Hill. He is the biggest with a deep voice. He smiles and giggles, "Kiss it."
Pretty Tony states with confidence,"Pimps up. Ho's down." How do you even respond? Shake my head. He laughs, "You're problem is you need some pussy." He's right, but I don't agree with his terminology.
Baby face Nate chuckles deep and passes to Burt.
Burt takes a long drag, coughs it out, sour face. " got... my gir'friend...in Can-ton O-hio." He smiles with his long sloppy handlebar mustache.
Dennis says, " I was a mechanic, stationed in Germany. . .I was married for a year . . ."
I take as big a drag as I can, and pass it to Tony.
Dennis says, "Intercourse," and chuckles.
Nervous about getting caught. "I'm going back in." Climb in.
Burt says, "Say goo'night."
Brush my teeth. Can hear Ralph downstairs announce with heavy Indian accent, "MED-I-CA-TION!" Go down. First.
Hippo comes up, so big I look like a troll. "I was here first." Say nothing.
"My place," he says with his big dumb face.
He yells at maximum volume turning his whole head red,"I WAS HERE FIRST!"
Everybody looks at him. Let him go, just to be the bigger man. This isn't the money line, jackass; it's for medication. Guess he needs his. Can you blame him for being born and raised a pig?
Take two green and yellow capsules, Noeffenwayazil, just featured on the front page of The New York Times with headline, "The New Miracle Drug!"
Read the ingredients on the cake box again, "Water, Bromated Flour," How can water be the first ingredient for a dry mix? Hydrogenated rapeseed oil. Just another code name for trans fat. It's my fault for not having a microscope.
Rich makes an announcement, "Guys, I have some sad news to report. Sonny passed away."
I'm a murderer. A person is dead because I didn't read a box.
Life is an ocean of sorrow and I don't have a paddle. Oh the bastardtution of my birth. The devil wants me to think evil thoughts, but reject them. Fugtropolous. Reject them. Dirty. Everything is dirty, the whole world, soil, the thing rich people fight over, without which nothing could grow, composed of corpses and manure. You can't get away from it. It's everywhere. You might as well lick the floor. Life is dirty. The earth is dirt. It's not necessarily meant as an insult. The Earth will burn, I mean in the best possible way. It's a compliment. Stinking, filthronicus, filthitution, lousy nippin', jiskertutional, son of a spuchite—sometimes just can't make up words filthy enough to express the utter lowliness, the destitution, the unbearable darkness of being. It's not even them, it's me. Angry at the world. Angry at me. Just angry, afraid, and sad. Don't want to be.
Next morning rise and take shower. For some strange reason can't ejaculate. Give up after twenty minutes.
Descend the stairs dressed, Theresa cheers, "Yippie. We're going to Schwegman's." Rich counts the people, twenty, plus three staff. He drives one van. Diane the other. Theresa sits in front. Three people per seat in the back. Two Partridge Family buses set loose among the rich.
Schwegman's is like Disneyland. Imagine fifty stores put together, for movie stars, with nineteen restaurants, a fish market, rows of salad bars, a whole cheese shop, a pet store with animals manicured in beauty salon chairs with hair dryers, a wall of live sushi chefs, too many kinds of bakeries to name, a car dealership and repair station.
Remember: Stock up on fruits and vegetables, but not too much, because it goes bad and you'll have to throw out half a cabbage. Buy a wedge of Stilton. Just what you plan to eat in one sitting.
A whole aisle just for cat food. Buy meat, but not too much. Too many choices. A whole aisle for bottled water.
Theresa is in the paper towel aisle, her face up against a wall of napkins.
Everything looks good. Don't buy too much. My budget is eight dollars a day, but I already have fifty in my cart. Everywhere you turn- gourmet cooking demonstrations and free samples. In the middle of the blue cheese aisle, a performance of Romeo and Juliet.
Want to eat everything. Feel bad I can't. Have to choose. Yogurt has good bacteria, but a single is so small I can finish it in my mind, before my hand can grab it.
Pretty Tony is at the little McDonald's. I say, "We're at Schwegman's, man. You can get any kind of specialty food in the world, and you're eating here?"
"Niggas don't eat specialty food." He takes a plastic tray with burger, fries, and drink. "I know what I like." Sit with him a minute, then shop more.
Where else could you find a three ounce loaf of millet/hemp bread cooked by real monks in Uganda? It comes in a burlap sack so you know it's authentic. Twenty dollars? The great whore of stores. A sign of the end times. An abomination. Overload.
Read the labels on everything. Don't forget the budget. Remember everything has to be exercised off. I have to walk an hour for every cookie I eat. Not worthy of love unless have six-pack abs. Feel bad knowing it will all be gone by tonight. If I can just stick to an impossible diet for a year, then I won't be disgusting. Once they remove the excess skin.
It must be nice being one of those people who already is okay. Why do I have to exert such effort while some people look good without having to do anything? Some people aren't meant to be happy. Why did You curse me? Is this a test? How long will the test go on? Did I do something bad in a previous life?
So many hot successful women in here it's pathetic. Don't get bitter when their eyes shoot out "Don't bother me" rays. Thin people think they're superior. One day, justice. The law will require skinny women to date fat men. They don't have the right to think fat people are disgusting. Their cruelty is disgusting.
And stop being so obsessed with food. Exercise three hours a day. Must try harder. Must be entertaining. Under no circumstances be yourself.
When I'm rich and famous people will want to be my friend. Then I'll say, "Too late!" You had your chance. You mocked me. Now, who's better? Anyone who likes you because you're famous isn't your real friend anyway, especially me.
I'm on to their little game. Less than .5 grams trans fat, they can call it zero. You think you're eating zero, but you're eating .49 grams. Bastards.
It's not murder if you can't prove a specific biscuit caused a specific heart attack, so flood the market with GreesBalz. It's hard to sue when you're not rich, and it's even harder when you can't move one side of your body, so poison away. If we're stupid enough to let them then we deserve it.
Those companies feed off us, but then larger companies feed off of them...so you see: it all works out.
Look, a big heart shaped box of chocolates. Try to read the nutritional information, but can't, because a seam in the plastic wrap is concealing it. No accident. They don't want people to read the ingredients. This injustice shall not stand. Get the manager. "Excuse me. I can't read the ingredients." She can't either, so peels the wrapper off. I say to the cashier, "Gee, do you think they have something to hide?" The manager hands it to me.
I raise my voice so all the customers can be educated, "Thank you. . . . Ah hah! Fractionated Palm Seed Oil! They didn't want anyone to know a SCHWEGMAN'S PRODUCT CAUSES HEART ATTACKS."
The cashier looks at the manager. "What are we going to do? I'll take it." She reaches in her pocket for change.
"I wouldn't. Hydrogenated oil."
The manager walks away.
So, this is what it's like being a nut. The cost of being a pioneer. How else are people going to learn?
In the pharmacy, the tall, silver hair, man behind the counter is standing at attention in a white lab coat.
"You guys have quite a racket here."
He says, "Excuse me?"
"You sell food with trans fat in the front, and when people have heart attacks, you sell them medicine in the back."
He just looks at me.
"Thank you." I leave.
It's my fault for listening to a crazy person. But who says you're crazy? I do.
Food does not equal love.
You have emotions, you are not your emotions.
Men have eating disorders too.
I have a big heart, but nobody sees, all they see is a fat guy. Maybe they're right. Maybe I'm evil for hating them. People should see my quality. Nobody said anything. You're talking to yourself.
Meet the group at check-out. Diane is wearing stockings with a pattern. She asks, "Would you mind helping us carry these?"
I retort, "If I do, will you sleep with me?"
Pretty Tony hears and exclaims, "Ha," with a big winding grin.
She gets Rich, who says, "You're suspended for three days."
"What do you mean?"
"It means you can't come to the house til Sunday."
"Where am I supposed to go for three days?" Walk away. Into the ice cream aisle. Where the hell am I supposed to go for three days? In the toilet paper aisle. As a kid I used to build forts here. I used to hollow out a cubby hole, like this, and go inside, like this. Then use more to build a door.
Happy in my igloo. Free to think my thoughts and be alone with God.
They are not doctors. They are not licensed to practice psychiatry in New York State.
My life is the worst hell a man can know. No. Remember the wheelchair rule: You're not in a wheelchair, so be happy.
I can see a lady's legs pushing a cart go by. After twenty minutes somebody lifts away my door. Two cops, the store manager, Rich, all the people from the group watching. Pretty Tony holds up his fist and says, "No justice. No peace," as they take me away. Good one.
Outside the city limits of the metastasizing neon sin of the Nevada desert, is a factory big as a fleet of Naval destroyers. Blocks of buildings connected by ducts, walkways, and cables. Forklifts and conveyor belts, trucks and hard hats, transporting crates, and palettes. Many drums are labeled, "WARNING BIOHAZARD."
Inside, the machines produce, package, box, and crate thousands of cookies and candies per second: Biskit Buddies, Ga-Ga-Roos, Hexachocolators, Lezmends, Skuzzles, Yummer-Gummers, Mommy Munchers, GreesBalz, Gooey-Gummies. Thousands of packages being loaded onto trucks, trains, and ships, flowing together into an Amazon, then dispersing all over the world.
A thin, strong man with long stubble is wearing a Harley-Davidson T-Shirt and carrying a box with machine parts, "Hey Reynolds, I hear your old lady was out last night."
Reynolds laughs. His hair is Jheri curled. He wears the uniform sleeves rolled up, and the buttons undone down to his navel, showing his nice sweater and gold chain. He mans a desk with hundreds controls and numbers, but pays more attention to his paper with the headline, "BUSH FATHERS CHILD WITH QUEEN!" He chuckles, "Never mind my old lady. You better keep your eye on your old lady."
Neither notices the rat walking on the control panel. "If my lady looked as good as yours, I wouldn't take my eyes off her." The rodent runs across the top of a keyboard, changing one of the numbers on the screen from 155 to 284. The animal disappears into a space between computers.
Wires run to the main computer building then out to the 'Oven,' a massive building where the home cookin' happens, into one of the mixing rooms and through a complicated tangle of pipes leading to the Mixelator, a giant machine controlling hundreds of nozzles which spray low frequency pulses into the giant churning bowl of purple batter. One of the numbers on the BCAD screen goes from 528 to 1937, increasing the pulse rate for a nozzle connected to a tank with no label.
White flour is constantly pouring in from one conveyor belt, and white sugar from another.
It goes through a pipe to a nozzle. Dots squirt onto a conveyor belt. Machines faster than the eye, dry, press, add nuts, mold into a ball with starburst points, add red, white, and blue sprinkles, and harden into the final product- a Ga-Ga-Roo. A soon as it is born, it is individually wrapped and boxed, then stacked in crates 13 by 13 by 13. A team of forklifts loads them onto eighteen wheelers all day.
What makes this batch different from other batches? Levels of 3-glycyl, 4-ethyl delicioustase benzene seven times normal. An impressive network of trucks, ships, trains, and more trucks, like a giant circulatory system, distribute these among the millions of packs going to every corner of the world. A fleet of Tasty Bake trucks travels the open roads as do their rivals, post office jeeps, beer trucks, package trucks. Going to all the stores in the city, to sit on shelves and wait for people to buy them. The chain ends in our mouths. Shouldn't say 'ends.' Our bodies convert it to manure, which becomes soil, and then grows into more sugar cane!
Told the doctor I was going to jump in front of the first bus I see. He wasn't going to admit me at first. I ask, "You don't think I have a serious illness?"
"On the contrary, Mr. Jostleplume, I think you're one of the most ill people I've ever seen."
He's playing mind games. They end up admitting me.
Sign in at the nurse's station. "Name?"
"The biggest pain in the ass."
"If they try to put a chip in your hand, don't do it. It's the mark of the beast."
"Who knows? It could be in the Pig vaccine, a nano-chip. They've been working on it for years. They put a micro dot of chemical on a postage stamp-"
"Mr. Jostleplume." The nurse is holding a mini clear plastic cup with a half-green-half-yellow capsule. Swallow it.
"-and when you lick it, you go on a twenty-four hour killing spree and the next day you don't even remember." drink some water. "Makes you think about licking a stamp doesn't it? Any hoo."
Secretly take a metal fork off the dinner cart.
"And what about high frequency light pulses in TV signals? The military has been doing it for years. It was first used to sell beer. It worked too well."
"Thank you." She throws the cup out and sprays her hands with sanitizer.
Go to the exit door and try using the fork to pick the lock.
Walk the hall. It's a near death experience. Maybe a full death experience. Sit in the TV room. It doesn't matter who I'm am. Watching the same show as a millionaire in his mansion.
Beverly Hillbillies is on.
A thin guy is watching with me. We're both in green gowns and brown booties. His hair hangs straight, trimmed straight across the shoulder. We're both born February 5, but he's two years younger.
He laughs. "Granny's wearing Army boots."
"When you're hiking, you've got to have good shoes. I was in the Snowchester Mountaineering Society."
"The mud in the trenches was so deep, it was over their boots. I know these things. I'm Jumping Jack Flash. I was a ranch hand at the Wind River Ranch.
"Mr. Jostleplume." The doctor interrupts us. "I am Dr. Patel. Can we talk? I believe you've been having a reaction to the Franafranil. We are taking you off it, okay? We're gonna try Querasil.
"You see, Fox, because I have good training I know about these things. They fired their machine guns so much the barrels melted." He shows a lot of teeth when he grins.
We watch the TV.
He perks up. "The Japanese had booby traps."
"If we ever got in a war with Japan all they would have to do is press one button, and all the electronic devices in the United States would explode." The results would be devastating. Or perhaps they just have tiny cameras. Unbelievable intelligence potential. Or perhaps its nanoweapons grade biospore with enough Pig's Disease to eradicate the world seven times over.
"Can you imagine what it must've been like?" He plays like he's spraying machine gun fire with a big smile on his face. "Their guns melted." It cracks him up every time.
The commercial comes on. Her again, "Take it from me, kids! Take it from me, kids. I'm the Capsulsgrave Pie Girl! I'm the Capsulsgrave Pie Girl! Take it from me kids!" It doesn't matter which channel; they're all in on it. "THE BEST WAY TO SHOW SOMEONE YOU CARE IS TO GIVE THEM A Capsulsgrave PIE." "Take it from me, The Capsulsgrave Pie Girl." "I'm the Capsulsgrave Pie Girl!" "I'm the Capsulsgrave Pie Girl!" "REMEMBER KIDS- Love Equals Pie!" "LOVE EQUALS PIE!" "I'm the Capsulsgrave Pie Girl!" "Take it from me Kids!" "Love equals pie!"
Did you notice they've been playing the same commercial over and over again?
Each computer generated orange hair glistening as she bobs up and down in fast motion, slow motion in my mind, with the music. She is a singing dancing pie- what a freakin' concept. A singing dancing pie- singing, "Eat me. Eat me."
"You know they designed the music to brainwash you?"
They know exactly what beat will produce maximum buying behavior in test subjects. Don't remember signing up to be a test subject? You did when you bought candy and didn't have your lawyer read the fine print. Have your doctor read them. Then your psychiatrist. If you still want it . . . you're me.
JJF, "The winter saved them."
"Love equals pie! Love equals pie! I'm the Pretty Pie Girl! I'm the Pretty Pie Girl! I'm the Pretty Pie Girl!" Spinning and dancing and singing to the music with her pals, biscuits and tater tots, in complex choreographies, harmonies, and frequencies, as only a computer animated burst of ESB (Electronic Stimulation of the Brain) can. "I'm the Pretty Pie Girl. Have a piece of pie!" Sure it's cute. It's so innocent it took a team of engineers, lawyers, and marketers four years and seventy million dollars to develop. Just the voice. "I'm the Pretty Pie Girl" It's no accident the song pounds at exactly 2.2 beats per second. You have no idea what kind of CIA/Water boarding went into finding the magic number. Didn't just pull 2.2 beats per second out of my quahahnya. Let's call it the 'buy a maximum number of cookies' frequency. For us lay types, let's just say it's a catchy tune. Oh it's catchy, all right.
"The Lucitania, Fox, the coal bunkers exploded."
Then a different voice, a motherly, wise, honest voice interjects, "Mothers will be glad to know all Capsulsgrave Confections contain zero grams of trans fat per serving."
I say loudly, "You've got to be kidding me."
She says the words 'per serving' just slightly at a lower volume. Could The Great Whore have something to hide? Then she lies again, flat out in your face: "Always have, always will." Dirty lying witch. How can they get away with this legally?
The spoons dosidoing with the butter pats, and the teapot playing tuba and the cookies playing trombone. First it goes to R&D which is code for Special Ops.
"I want my Mommy-Munchers!" Mommy-Munchers are some bastardtution of chocolate and cheese. "Take it from me. I'm the Pretty Pie Gir-"
"SHUT UP!" Strain my vocal cords. What I get for being mad. She got to me. The thought makes me even madder. Get so mad I scare myself. How to express such vehement hatredtution in human language?
The attendant announces, "SMOKING." We line up, each get one cigarette. Did you ever see chimpanzees smoke? It doesn't take any brains. But don't judge. If people weren't so busy judging people.
The smoking room is the most crowded, with more ashtrays than chairs. One has a huge mound of cigarette butts. It would make a sizable fire.
Timmy is standing and talking with the cigarette in his mouth. "I shot seven consecutive three pointers. I was the leading scorer." He looks like Tom Hanks with a blonde afro.
Darlene says, "Nice, Timmy."
"I was semi-pro. Triple A division. We were the champs for all of Albany and Schenectady region. You should have seen it."
I say, "They've got courts here."
"Three to four, Tuesdays and Thursday. I'll shoot with you Fox."
"Cool. I'm not good, but I try."
Timmy smiles and laughs. "A for effort." Takes a drag off his cigarette. "You're an Officer and a gentleman." Darlene takes a drag off hers.
A heavily grated window too high to reach lets the smoke out. Nobody could possibly escape out of it.
Timmy asks, "What are you Fox?"
"I come from a proud people." Did you ever hear anyone say they come from an unproud people.
Smoke. Enjoy fully. Must quit.
Timmy says, "Do you smell weed?" Yes. Is Jumping Jack Flash smoking pot? It's a roll up. It's hard to tell. The nurse is coming.
"What are you smoking?"
"They're just leaves." He got them off a tree outside.
Timmy says, "Give him one of mine."
JJF says, "Thanks, Tim."
The orderly comes up to me, "What are you doing?"
"What's this?" He gestures to my hand which is plucking a hair from my eyebrow, (using a twirling vibratory technique called a MacAllister.)
"You need to stop."
"I'm can't touch myself?"
"You're not allowed to hurt yourself."
"I'm not hurting myself. I've been doing it for years."
"You are not allowed to harm yourself."
"It's a complex motor tick."
"No, it's not."
"Well I like doing it, and I'm going to keep doing it."
"If you don't stop, we will be forced to put the restraining jacket on you."
So they put me in a straight jacket.
Sorry I'm crazy. Not half as sorry as me.
Your brain is in a loop of damaging itself. Brain: stop damaging yourself. Different kinds of damage. Anger, sadness. Still, damage is damage.
Picking, advanced picking,IAP (Instrument Assisted Picritution,) Olympic picking, the picritude of it all.
Nobody says, "I want to be mentally ill when I grow up." Nobody wants their daughter to marry a guy with mental illness. Don't listen to me, depressed. Pay no attention to the ravings of a lunatic. I'm happy with the simple things. Clouds make me happy. Helping the underdog. Try to make a positive influence on society. It's just I hate people so much. So happy going about their lives, not caring about the poor, chugging beer and yelling at sports.
Part of me is jealous, and part is glad I'm not like them. They're so happy to pay extra just to be away from the lower class. They give their kids all the advantages over the poor kids. They live behind gates, just to keep the poor from getting stuff they don't need or appreciate. If you can't tell your family what you did for the money, then it's blood money. Explain how everything was perfectly legal, and we have the best system in the world. Explain why everyone went along with it. Favors for your co-conspirators won't count for much.
I'm no better. Don't want to hate; want to love.
After about five minutes the guy says, "If we let you out, can you control yourself?"
After dinner go to my room. A girl with curly hair, four inches taller than me, slides the curtain door open. She is wearing a gown and booties too. She is standing close to me smiling. We kiss. Touch her large breast. Someone is coming; she leaves. Never happened before. If I knew being in a mental hospital was the magic secret to getting women, I would have lost my mind years ago.
The next morning in art group while drawing a picture, have to stand up. Some feeling has come over me. Have to walk around. Have to keep walking. The Querasil is making me antsy. Can't take feeling. Feel like I want to crawl out of my own skin. The nurse lets me take a warm bath to calm down, which helps. Pace the hall all day long reading the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-3, so I'm doing two productive things at once.
At nine, the nurse says, "You can't walk anymore today. It's time to go to bed."
"I need to walk."
"Everyone has to be in bed."
"I'll go outside."
"You have to go to bed."
"Sorry, but I need to keep walking." They call security. Now on Lithium.
They weigh all the patients on the floor. I'm the heaviest, 281. One meal a day. All you need. Go to a nice restaurant. The rest of the day drink water. Or eat two medium meals. One at 9am and one at 5pm. Or three. One at 9. One at 12. One at 5. Or better, one at 9. One at 3, and one at 9. Four meals is one every four hours. Analyze for an hour.
At night activity winds down. The lights dimmed. Playing cards. Two patients against two staff. My partner James tells me how to play.
The staff are bragging, "We got this."
I suggest, "If we win, we can have a soda."
James adds, "If we win, we can smoke a cigarette."
They're not allowed to bet, but they can sure talk. "Amateur move. Amateur."
"Send ya back to Arkansas."
We don't say anything. We're winning. They are quieting.
James says, "We could get a Boston."
"What's a Boston?"
"If we run all the tricks in a row we win the whole thing."
"Come on Boston."
James, "Come on Boston."
We chant, "Come on Boston." We keep winning. "Come on Boston." It's happening. Yes we did it. It's a Boston.
"Boston! . . Boston!. . .Boston!...Boston!" We're both yelling like maniacs.
Every day read, jog around building, do pushups. Lady wearing tag, "REC AIDE," tells me go to the work unit. Ten cents an hour. We take an elevator to the space big enough for a whole factory, but only two desks. She has me take a seat. Up by the ceiling, through the small windows, a clear view of bright clouds, the sunny skies of success. My table has stacks of paper- one white, one blue, one red, one green, and a stack of envelopes. A basket next to it.
"Please take one sheet from each pile fold together and stuff in the envelope, then toss in the bin."
It gets repetitive fast. One, two, three, four, fold, stuff, throw. One, two, three, four, fold, stuff, throw. One hundred percent enthusiasm. Brave new career. If I demonstrate superior ability who knows where it could lead? Jostleplume International Industries. Jostleplume Enterprises Unlimited. Maximize efficiency of motion and race as fast as possible. Throw last envelope and announce, "Finished!"
The attendant takes my bin. I'm breathing hard. Wait. She must be calculating my results. I probably set a record.
She comes back with the bin. "What we would like you to do is take these envelopes- in each one you will find four sheets of paper. Take out the pages and separate them into four piles-one for white, one for blue, one for red, and one for green.
"You mean the envelopes I just stuffed, you want me to unstuff?"
"Do you think you can?"
They have me doing a pointless task. Oh the uselessness of life! "No problem." I blame the lawyers, and of course the politicians. Most of all myself for being such a Big Blamer. Oh, the unbearable sadness of being.
After ninety days, the nurse finally stamps my hand, "SANE." Walk past the guard nurse displaying my badge hand with the letters upside down. She unlocks the door.
Demonstrate my sanity by saying, "Have a nice day."
Just a guy walking around a hospital. Feels good. Finding the exit is one last psychology test. Walk past a group. Zoom in on the one attractive woman. Hello Sunshine. Two security guards fifteen feet away. They don't hassle me. Just walk. Didn't do anything. Nobody knows I'm a mental patient. I'm not a mental patient. I'm a free citizen. Go through automatic doors. Outside. It's a beautiful day. Huzzah.
Life is good. Have my own room on a quiet clean street next to the expressway concrete sound barrier. The steps are newly constructed, unpainted. You can see the nails. Beggars aren't choosers. This makaloo puts up sheets of drywall creating five-by-ten rooms and is charging everyone three-twenty-five a month. We share the kitchen and bathroom. Not as clean as the hospital. My window faces the front porch.
Sit lotus position on the front step for hours. Watch the cars and people go by, watch the birds and squirrels, look at the intricate beauty of the clouds and trees. A car passes, radio playing a commercial for Lezmends, intense lemon, double-X-shape lady fingers.
Go for a walk and practice the ancient Chinese art of scanning ground for money. It's good when you have absolutely nothing to do. A whole Zen thing. Could write a book about the science of finding money, would be awesome, but would have to develop a system first. Best spot to look-sewer drains.
Every time anyone offers me a ride, alarm bells go off, "SERIAL KILLER SERIAL KILLER." Maybe I am watching too much TV.
If you took all the used drug bags and collected all the traces it would probably add up to a sizable amount of brain damage.
The Tao of Garbage Picking, a real religion. It's recycling. Saving what was lost. A way of life. Sometimes kids make fun. Stupid parents.
Try to walk at least a couple of hours a day for exercise. A beautiful day. Plenty to be grateful for. The lawns are well kept. The trees are varied each in its own way. Sidewalk is slate. A branch grows from a hedge blocking the way. Snap the twig, but leave it dangling as a sign to trim. Look over shoulder in case someone says, "Hey don't touch my tree."
Walks can lift depression, but fast walks create road rage. A car pulls out of the driveway and blocks me. He didn't time his whole day just to cut in front of me. I should lose it. I should pound on his hood with my full strength and yell, "You son of a bitch!" Pass in front of the big car. If he floors it, I'll be killed. Of course he'll lie and say his foot slipped, but we'll know the truth. The smell of exhaust is sickening. It represents fire, warfare, hell.
A guy walks from the other direction, three blocks away. We are on a collision course. Is he going to pass on the right or on the left? With cars it's the right, but no rule for pedestrians. Signal my intention by getting over to the right. He is tall, in his thirties, dressed like a preppie. No hostility. He will pass easy. Look him in the face. Connect souls.
A young girl five blocks away, walks on the same side as me. Not changing course. Neither is she. Impact in ten, nine, eight. Neither of us is turning. We look each other in the eye. She goes around. I beat a little girl at a game of chicken. What's wrong with me? What's wrong with kids? Doesn't she know you're supposed to pass on the right? I should have turned. The incident is over. She has already forgotten. No harm done. Wanted to say, "sorry you were abused as a child," but thankfully didn't. People roaming like savages. The utter tragedy of the human condition. She's gone, but what if she snuck up and punched me in the back of the head? Couldn't argue.
I know I'm an idiot, but what good does it do?
People told me not to put myself down, but didn't listen. Why do I have these thoughts? It's like dissolving in a vat of acid. But so many hateful things going on. How can not notice them?
Pass a girl wearing a pirate tattoo, then a bar called "Nasty's." The church people were right, rock n roll did bring the moral destruction of society.
A woman walks ahead of me. Change sides so she doesn't think I'm following her.
Need to be more fun.
Stop by the store on the way back. Not going to Rick's Stupid Store. Could, but I hate that effen place. The meat is spoiled. Go to Wrong-Mart, the closest store that isn't Rick's, a national chain. At least their cans don't have dust on top. Hate shopping here too. The big corporation has robbery down to a science.
Can't buy apples, they have pesticides. Remember mostly grains. Everything good has hydrogenated oil. Hersey bars are the one thing I can have. Break down and buy a box of fried chicken with eighty grams of trans fat. I can get 99% of the oil by pressing it in paper towels. It's already illegal in California, why are New Yorkers so stupid. Why is nobody outraged?
Walk back home, read my loaf of 'Ancient Grains from the Bible' bread. "Ingredients: Flax seeds, whole grain oats, whole grain wheat, whole grain corn, hydrogenated Canola oil! SON OF A BITCH. They got me again. It's my own filthy fault for not reading every single word. Scatology 101: Those dirty scunspunsules.
The Pie Girl, on the corner of the bag, laughing at me. She got me. Righteous Farms is a subsidiary of Capsulsgrave Confections of North America. Stare her in the eye. It's all her fault. All of my life's failures are her 't believe it, but feel like saying it.
Don't blame her. She's just the pawn, the prostitute, a victim. The real villains are the pimps who get the big money. The ones who will burn in hell for a million years are those rich guys, smoking their cigars and laughing. Laughing at us poor schnooks gorging ourselves on slop.
Nobody cares about trans fat. They say, "But it tastes good." It takes years to cause a heart attack, so stuff your brains out.
Walked for two hours. Sit on the front steps and observe the universe. All is serene. A car pulls up. A guy about eighty gets out, goes to his trunk, takes out a food container and comes up the porch. "Howard Games?"
I point upstairs.
He announces himself, "Meals On Wheels."
Howard instantly opens his door. "Coming. I'm coming." Howard is beautiful, seventy, short, fat, and bald. His cartoon voice is slow, but loud, "Chicken and rice. Good. Did you bring the extra milk?"
"I just deliver the bags."
"Yes. They're here."
"Have a nice day."
"Thank you." Howard goes in his room. Meals on Wheels. Pretty sweet.
Watch people go by for hours. Have a perfect view of the expressway billboard. A white background with the gigantic symbols,
Stare at it for hours.
Scufo comes down. He has long hair and is tall and thin like a scarecrow, with a deep voice.
"You've gotta come see." We go up to Howard's Room. Rod, who has an afro and looks very strong, is laughing. Howard is standing in the hall, which is unusual.
Scufo opens the door and says, "Go in." The room is just big enough to hold a bed. You have to squeeze to walk around the bed. The top of his one dresser is packed with bottles of various cleaners.
"Why? What's going on?"
"Just go in." Stick my head in. Then it hits me, an overpowering smell, like chemical weapons.
Rod chuckles, "You can't mix bleach with ammonia."
Scufo is reading the label, "Bleach."
Scufo plays guitar and sings and scores with the ladies.
Notice empty crack bag in hallway. When you see droppings you know you have mice. Those guys are so stupid. They think they're saying, 'Screw You' to the world but what they're saying Is, "Hey police, over here." What they're saying is, "Help me."
Night. Finished the cheese too fast. A three pound bag should have lasted a whole family a month. Once I start, I'm obligated to finish. I say to myself over and over, "You don't need anymore, YOU FAT PIG," but it doesn't work. Every night for forty years. People are working and saving, having children and houses, and here I am wasting my life. Why? Why don't I just stop eating? Do you realize how much money you could save?
Keep eating, exercising, and planning new diets. Why does life suck? I have to change entirely, just to be okay. This stuff writes itself.
Nagging yourself doesn't do any good. Stop eating. Save some for tomorrow. Those cookies are burning a hole in my head. It's a choice. I didn't choose this.
Eat normal portions. No seconds. I can eat anything as long as I stick to one serving. Not two, not three. Not five. Why do I need five hotdogs to be happy? Normal people are happy with one. And then 'm still not happy.
Also, it's about the grains. Mostly grains, mostly rice and oatmeal, and corn and wheat, then vegetables, then fruits, then a little meat or cheese, and no sugar. And, of course, absolutely no hydrogenated oil.
Dodger has short curly blond hair. He's tripping. He's pacing around the kitchen clenching a hammer. Later he carries a big TV out of the house and goes down the street. He comes back with a blood covered face. Some guy hit him with a baseball bat. He's drunk, "Come with me Fox, 'm going to get those guys."
"Sorry man, way too violent for me."
These poor kids in the street. This is all they know. The mother next door slaps the little girl's hand. No wonder they kill each other.
Make a bow and arrow from wire hangers and rubber bands to occupy myself. With my door open, I can shoot my couch from fifteen feet.
Les' door is open. Ten people inside one room. A little guy on his hands and knees searching the floor. His big buddy tells him to stop and slaps his cheek, red. A few seconds later the small guy is down looking on the floor again. The large guy slaps him again.
Les comes in the hall and says,"Call the police. I got ripped off." He goes in his crowded room. Jude throws him through his own front window onto the lawn.
Howard is moving because his Meals on Wheels have been stolen. "You guys want any before I throw it out?" Mostly junk. Several good butcher knives.
Rodney, "I'll take one."
Scufo, "I'll take one. You want one?"
I take one.
Scufo, "Look at the three of us holding knives."
Dodger and I play a game. I stand in front of the concrete barrier and he tries to nail me with the soccer ball from across the street. All I do is move out of the way like Kung Fu, but he got me a couple of times.
Turns out everyone here is a crack head, except for a couple of pot heads, and one glue head. Must write letter to hospital not to place those recovering in such a terrible environment.
Stuk walks quickly, sometimes dances, sometimes stiff, down the street his guitar in one hand, a tie dye t-shirt. His Einstein-hair head down.
"Pete just ripped me off."
"I gave him sixty dollars, and he goes in the house and never comes out. We saw him looking through the blinds."
Knock on Scufo's door.
Crack open his door. He is under the covers with a beautiful young black hair girl. Take a good look at her. She giggles.
"Hey Scuf, got a smoke?"
"Sure bro. Remind me to play my new song for you later."
"Thanks dude." Scufo is cool. He's in a band. Whatever.
Nothing to do one day I go over to the billboard in an area of grass between highways. It's a cool little world nobody goes. I touch the board and put my face close. I see little blue, red, and yellow dots. The heart is mostly red dots, but blue and yellow too. Even the white has all three color dots. The letters are taller than me.
Evening in bed. "Venus! Venus!" Scufo is pounding on my cheaply constructed door, "Have you seen my cat?"
"Let me in. Is Venus in there?"
"She's not here." I am not getting out of bed.
"Let me in."
"She's not here. Go away."
He punches a hole through the center of my door and sticks his face through just like Jack Nicholson.
"I can't believe you. Are you insane?"
"Just wanted to see for myself."
"What the hell is wrong with you?" Can smell the airplane glue. Walk to corner payphone. Call the cops. Scufo goes to jail, because he was already on parole. I end taking care of his cat! Life is sad.
I love Kitty. Kitty is my baby. My little Whiskanippins. Kitty is my Lady McLickins, my Princess Catatina. Miss Pink Lips. Kitty is gray and white like Bugs Bunny, with pink lips and toes. The prettiest cat in all the land. She's a little runt. Chicken Lickin'. Nipper mittens. Honey pie.
On a light pole, "Make your mark on Snowchester. Money Walk." An art contest. Cool. If you win they engrave your design on the sidewalk. Write down the information.
Got the runs, so they take me off Lithium, and put me on Normalcil.
Nedwina, my case manager, recommends a club, Operation Food. I can eat lunch and dinner, do chores, go to movies and picnics, play pool or bingo. Work units. Smoke and eat.
It's a mansion five times bigger than West House. Ten staff and a hundred members, ages eighteen to eighty, all types of dress. Den rides a motorcycle and wears a black leather jacket. He has a hot girlfriend. Sherri is hot too. She has a boyfriend too. He also wears a leather jacket. The big secret. Sandy is adorable. The hot ones never like me.
A miracle happens. For some reason I hit it off with Rosa. We talk and laugh. I don't feel self-conscious! We sit on the lawn. Talk and laugh. I'm relaxed and having fun with a girl. Holly the bookkeeper comes over and tells us, "You can't do that." Thanks a lot.
Went to a party when I was ten. Too shy to dance at first, but I talked myself into it. Eventually I built up enough courage to walk on the floor and dance. It was fun for a moment. The song ended. The party was over.
Over the years I had girls who liked me, but for some stupid reason I didn't jump their bones.
Julian announces, "We can't eat until someone takes mopping." He used to play pro football. The staff goes around nagging for ten minutes before Jerry finally volunteers. Always the good people. He looks like Bob Hope.
Theresa prepares to raise her hand. She has short black hair and wears a sweater. She is adjusting her body and making vocal sounds. She speaks in a loud, hesitating voice, "I...can...do ... the napkins."
"Thank you Theresa."
Theresa continues, "I like... to mop. I mop... all the time... at home."
"We need someone to sweep upstairs. We can't eat until someone volunteers for upstairs."
Leonard's voice is high-pitched and choppy. "I'll have to do it."
"Thank you, Leonard."
Leonard giggles. He's young, thirty, bald.
Theresa chimes up again, "Are we going... to Albany... again ...this year.?"
Robert looks like a banker. He answers, "Luis has the sign up sheet."
Theresa, "Good. Good. Oh I love going to Albany."
Leonard, "Maybe we'll see Governor Pataki." He emphasizes the tak in Pataki.
Julian, "Oh Leonard, go do your chores."
Leonard giggles, "You go do your chores." He giggles more, "Julian and I are friends."
Handing out trays, calling people's names. "Boris Garrett."
"Thank you." Boris is in his seventies, "Anyone who smokes is a suicide case."
"Theresa Hand," I announce, pronounce, and enunciate, at correct volume.
"Thank . . . you." She stretches out what she says. Her voice is clear and loud, maybe because she's visually impaired.
Would I want to be her? Would she want to be me? We can only be ourselves. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, the worst hell a man can know. Thank God it's not worse.
The principle of OCD is to suffer as much as possible without going to the point of suicide, which would end the suffering. OCD means you think too much. OCD means you spend all your time planning and none of it doing. OCD means being forty years old and never having a girlfriend. OCD means always having to say you're sorry. It must be a test of God. Your own mind tortures itself. I'm not the only one with problems. Stop being selfish.
Work in the kitchen. Stay productive and close to food. First thing every morning fill the stainless steel double sinks. The counters and refrigerators are stainless steel too.
We cook five trays of roast chicken. My job is washing the giant pans. I scrape them with a spatula, and eat a whole bowl of drippings. Awesome.
Don Ding is at one of the round six person tables. He's a hippy social activist. He wears a red headband. His hair goes down to the middle of his back. He says, "Remember to vote everybody. Keep those cards and letters coming."
Write a letter:
Dear Capsulsgrave Confections,
I am a regular customer of your 74-ounce Southern Bucket® chicken, normally buying three or four boxes a week.
I am appalled and outraged to discover it contains hydrogenated oil!
Please remove hydrogenated oil from all your products immediately, so I can resume buying them as soon as possible. Thank you.
Walk to corner mail box. The letter in my hand could change the world. Creak door twice to make sure it went down.
Back home, receive call-won contest. My drawing is going to be on the sidewalk. MoneyWalk is awesome, the nation's first Outdoor Museum of Economics and Politics. If I die today, at least I accomplished one good thing. A drop of water to the thirsty.