Here's my crappy book no one's ever going to read.
"I'm The Pretty Pie Girl. I'm The Pretty Pie Girl." her chipmunk voice sings as she waltzes and twirls with a chocolate cookie. The TV is blaring, "You're my Ookie Ookie Cookie." She has the head of an adorable girl and the body of a pie, with one slice missing at the bottom. Her computer generated smile is happier than humanly possible. Her tiny arms have gloves and cute legs have boots. She sways and sirens, "You're my Ookie Ookie Cookie."
"I'm your Ookie Ookie Cookie," the dark cube croons in lowest bass.
I 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." That's good.
Now she's going down a slide, "Capsulsgrave Confections are Deeeeee-licious." I crack two eggs. Look at all the subliminal sexual cues. This borders on child porn. Anything to sell as much poison as possible. I measure the oil. I use olive oil not grease. The box says one cup, but I'm gonna use half. One cup, that's crazy.
I beat the mix with a 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? I pour the batter into a ring pan and bake at 370.
I go upstairs and get the logic puzzle magazine I bought with my allowance. I make a chart in my bent spiral notebook with a blue pen low on ink. The system I have makes it too easy.
I look down at my coat hanging at the bottom of the winding bannister, I see Burt in the pocket taking a cigarette. I go to the office and tell Diane. She has a perfect face and body. No chance she would ever want me. Besides staff can't date residents. But even if she could, she wouldn't. She tells me not to leave things out. That's what they say? That's the official West House policy? Anything left out is up for grabs.
I take from my coat the application for the Office of Disabled Services and sit on one of the couches in the TV room to fill it out, so I can get a good job and get out of this institution as soon as possible.
Pat sits on the other couch smoking. Every so often, she turns her head to the side, then 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. I opt to fill in my own answer- 1/16 Light, 1/16 Dark, 1/16 Medium, 1/16 Medium Dark, 1/16 Medium Light, 1/16 Kiss, 1/16 My, 1/16 Sweet, 1/16 Fat, and 1/16 Ass.
Pat is snoring with a cigarette burning in her mouth.
I say, "PAT."
"Thank you." She taps off her ash, turns her head, and goes back to smoking.
Second question: Age. I write,"40," quickly and legibly.
Third question: Describe how your disability prevents you from working? I think about it. You're asking me? Ask the doctor. She has a file cabinet full of my records. Why are you asking me? It's hard to put into words. I think and think. I crumple the paper into a ball and throw it in the basket. Nice shot. JORDAN!
I step out for some air. Davey is squatting against the side of the house. Only a skinny person can sit like that. Both my legs would snap off. A rollie burning between his blackened fingers, he spits mucus on the blacktop between his legs. Doesn't that disgust him? Spit to the side. He doesn't care. Davey has a boyish face and manner. He doesn't care about shaving, but does it 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. Oh excuse me. Do you mind not spitting in my mouth?
"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 that?
"What ya doin?"
He smokes more than anyone would possibly need to. I shouldn't criticize. The things I'm not supposed to do come naturally. The fingers closest to the cigarette are stained the darkest. Same pattern on his teeth. I've got to quit smoking. 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, another super hot girl, comes out and announces dinner. So pretty. Petite. Skinny legs. She's got the Snowchester farm girl look. Blue jeans. A curly mane with bangs. She's got the accent. Pronounces Snowchester in one syllable, "Snochstr." I have no chance with her either.
There's twenty of us eating at the long antique table. This house was a mansion in the twenties. The frames of the windows and walls have fancy carving. The ceilings have ornate ridges too. We get to live where rich people used to live. Of course when they had it everything was new. This mansion was all for just one family. We have twenty people living spaciously.
You see the same pattern on the street, a mansion every couple of blocks, with ten normal houses in between. What used to be one rich person's estate is now split into fifty normal sized yards.
I'm sitting next to Pretty Tony. He looks across the table to Loucarla and whispers, "I tapped that in the phone room." He smiles big. "I went right up to her in the phone room and pulled her pants down." We chuckle. He's not serious.
I say, "Loucarla, this tuna is really good."
She answers, "Thank you. The trick is fresh garlic. . . These hot dogs have half the fat."
I am morally compelled to speak up, "And what about carcinogens? Do they have half the carcinogens?"
The table gets quiet. Bingo.
Burt says, "Car-in-o-gen," slowing down on the difficult letters.
I hold up an imaginary package. "Hello. Carcinogens. . . Sodium Nitrite and Sodium Nitrate. I rest my case."
"Hot dogs don't cause cancer," says Hippo.
Pat says, "I think I'm going to be sick."
Burt says, "Say goo'night."
Rich says, "There's nothing wrong with the hotdogs. They're the best, Roscoe Mueller."
I say no more, not to make a scene, but I sneer knowingly. Oh no. They wouldn't put anything bad in something people eat.
Loucarla says, "Do you go through this every time you eat?"
A noticeably attractive girl is talking to me and smiling. This has to be a set up. She cons me into thinking she likes me, and when we go back to her room, her boyfriend jumps me.
"Where do you think cancer comes from?" Why even get my hopes up? I'm sure she's not into fat guys. "Well not every time. Well pretty much, yea, every time. Well probably not EVERY time, but most times."
She is staring.
"There were probably a few times I didn't."
She says, "I'll take that as a 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 that comes in a plastic packaging, and of course coffee stirrers."
"Well yeah, think about it, you're putting a thin little strip of plastic into piping hot coffee and you're swirling it around. Do you have any idea how many thousands of carcinogens leech into the coffee? A lot."
"They wouldn't make anything that touches food with harmful chemicals."
I get louder, "You would think that! 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."
"That's right." I laugh. "They would sell rat poison and call it Ratty-O's."
Loucarla can't see Pretty Tony smiling at her, subtly grabbing and thrusting like Michael Jackson, suggesting sex. I look back skeptically. He laughs. Pretty crude table manners. No one else notices.
"The birds dropping. It's a pyramid scheme. The dollar bill, look, a pyramid. They're all in on it. Don't you see? Follow the money."
"Foxavier, do you want fries?" I shouldn't, but I take some. Why am I doing this evil thing? It tastes good. You'll feel sick after. I feel sick now. Try not to take too many.
Burt is pushing the mashed potatoes towards Ralph, "No you finish your ve-ta-ble."
Ralph is smiling. He's pushing it back, "Have some more potatoes. You're a growing boy."
Burt, "You-r a gro-ing bo-y. . . I don't want any more, Ralph. I had a whole bag of chi-ps." He's always got his big bag of tortilla chips with him. I look at Ralph. He could be a serial killer. It would be the perfect opportunity, a counselor in a group home. I have no evidence, just a feeling.
Sonny takes a bite of my cake and says, "Mondays at six." Talking about her painting class. She's painted hundreds of free portraits and given hundreds of free lessons. There is no expression on her face. She looks like she's going to sleep. Her body drops on the floor. Pat yells, "Oh!" Everyone gathers around and we call 911. The ambulance takes her away unconscious.
It couldn't be the cake. The box specifically said, "Zero grams trans fat." I'm positive. I get the box out of the trash. See, "Zero grams trans fat per serving." Per serving? Why is 'per serving' in small letters? I read the ingredients: Water, bromated flour, hydrogenated rapeseed oil! Hydrogenated rapeseed oil? Those sneaky bastards. It was the cake. I read the word "hydrogenated" one more time on the side of the box.
After dinner a bunch of us sneak out the bedroom window and sit on the roof. Dennis, the biggest, with the deepest voice, smiles and giggles, "Kiss it."
Pretty Tony states with confidence,"Pimps up. Ho's down." How do you even respond to that? I just shake my head. He laughs, "You're problem is you need some pussy." He's right, although I don't agree with his methods.
Nate chuckles deeply and passes the KOOL to Burt.
Burt takes a long drag, then coughs it out making a sour face. "I got... my gir'friend...in Can-ton O-hio." He smiles with his long sloppy handlebar mustache..
Dennis says, "Intercourse," and chuckles.
I'm nervous about getting caught. "I'm going back in." I climb back in the window.
Burt says, "Say goo'night."
I hear the guy downstairs announce with his heavy Indian accent, "MED-I-CA-TION!" I descend the staircase. I'm first.
Then Hippo comes up. "I was here first." He's so big, by comparison I look like a troll. I say nothing.
"That's 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. I let him go, just to be the bigger man. This isn't the frikkin money line, it's a medication line. I guess he needs his medication real bad. Obviously. Can you blame him for being born and raised a pig? My life is not so much a life as a series of awkwardnesses.
I take two green and yellow capsules, Noeffenwayazil. It was just featured on the front page of The New York Times with the headline, "The New Miracle Drug!"
I read the ingredients on the empty cake box again, "Water, Bromated Flour," How can water be the first ingredient? It's a dry mix? Hydrogenated rapeseed oil. Just another name for trans fat.
It's my fault for not having a microscope on me when I was reading the ingredients.
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.
Next morning, I take a shower for twenty minutes. For some strange reason I can't ejaculate.
"Yippie," says Theresa," We're going to Schwegman's." Julian counts the people, twenty, plus three staff. He is driving. Theresa is sitting up front. Three people per seat in the back. A whole Partridge Family bus of special people set loose among the rich. Schwegman's is the Disneyland of supermarkets. 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 being manicured in beauty salon chairs with hair dryers, a wall of sushi chefs, too many kinds 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 a whole cabbage. Buy meat, just what you expect to eat. Don't buy extra thinking you'll freeze it. You'll just microwave it three in the morning.
Everywhere you look is gourmet demonstrations with free samples. I literally want to eat everything. I feel bad because I can't. I have to choose. Too many choices. Yogurt has good bacteria, but it's not worth buying just a single. I can mentally finish a single yogurt in my mind without even having to buy it.
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? This is the great whore of stores. A sign of the end times. An abomination. Overload. Don't buy extra, I'll just eat it all. Read the labels on everything. Don't forget the budget. Remember everything I eat has to be exercised off. One cookie is an hour of walking. I'm not worthy of love unless I have six-pack abs. I feel bad knowing that whatever I buy is gonna 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? I'll never be worthy of love. Why did You curse me? Where did I go wrong? Is this a test? How long will the test go on? Did I do something bad in a previous life?
There are so many hot successful women in here it's pathetic. Try not to get bitter when people avoid me. Don't take it personally. They just think I'm disgusting. Don't take it personally when pretty women shoot those "Don't bother me" rays out their eyes. Don't take the parents pulling their children away from me personally. 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 will say, "Too late!" You had your chance. I tried to be your friend and you mocked me, and talked behind my back. You thought you were better than me. Now, look who's better than who? If they like me just because I'm famous then there not my friends anyway. If I only like myself just because I'm famous, then...?
I'm on to their little game now. If there's less than .5 grams trans fat, they can legally 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 this specific biscuit caused that 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.
It's our own fault for letting the politicians be so corrupt.
Those companies feed off us, but then larger companies feed off of them...so you see: it all works out.
Look at this. I pick up a big heart shaped box of chocolates. I try to read the nutritional information, but I can't because the clear plastic wrap has a seam covering that exact spot. This is no accident. They don't want people to read the ingredients. This injustice shall not stand. I get the manager. "Excuse me. I can't read the ingredients." She can't read it either. She peels it off for me. As she's peeling I say to the cashier, "Gee, do you think they have something to hide?" She hands it to me.
I purposely raise my voice so all the customers can be educated, "Thank you. . . . Just as I expected, 'Fractionated Palm Seed Oil! That's just another name for TRANS FAT. That's what causes heart attacks. I guess they didn't want anyone to know THIS PRODUCT CAUSES HEART ATTACKS."
The cashier looks at the manager and says, "What are we going to do with this? I'll take it." She reaches in her pocket for change.
"I wouldn't eat that if I were you. There's trans fat in there."
The manager walks way. So, this is what it's like being a nut. But that's the cost of being a pioneer. How else are people going to learn. Revolutions start with the crazy people.
I better quit while I'm ahead. "Have a nice day." Why do I do these things?
I meet the group at check-out. Diane asks me, "Would you mind helping us carry these?"
I reply, "If I do, will you sleep with me?"
She says, "You can't say that." She gets Rich who says, "You're suspended for three days."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
It means you can't come to the house til Sunday."
"Where am I supposed to go for three days?" I walk away into the ice cream isle. Where the hell am I supposed to go for three days? Now I'm in the toilet paper isle. When I was a kid I used to build forts here. I hollow out a cubby hole and sit in there, and cover up the hole with more toilet paper packs.
I'm happy in my igloo. Free to think my thoughts and be with God. I was in there about half an hour before somebody lifts away my door. Two cops, the store manager, Rich, all the people from the group watching. Pretty Tony holds up his fist as they take me away and says, "No justice. No peace." 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, and box thousands of cookies and candies per second: Biskit Buddies, Ga-Ga-Roos, Hexachocolators, Lezmends, Skuzzles, Yummer-Gummers. 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." He doesn't see 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 steps on a touch display changing the number from 874 to 1696. The animal runs into a space between the computers and disappears.
Wires run from the display to the main computer building then out to the 'Oven,' a massive square factory where most of the 'home cookin' happens, and into one of the mixing rooms and through a complicated tangle of pipes leading to the Mixelator, a massive 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 control 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.
Once the batter is mixed it follows another pipe where it is squirted in dots on to a conveyor belt. The dots go through computerized machines moving faster than the eye, drying, pressing, dressing(adding nuts), molding into a ball with starburst points, adding red, white, and blue sprinkles, and hardening into the final product- a Ga-Ga-Roo. A soon as they are born, they are stacked, packed, wrapped, boxed, and crated. A team of forklifts loads crates onto eighteen wheelers all day.
An impressive network of trucks, ships, trains, and more trucks, like a giant circulatory system, distribute the cookies with abnormally high levels of 3-glycyl, 4-ethyl delicioustase benzene somewhere amoung all the other Capsuslgrave products going to every corner of the world, to sit on shelves and wait for people to buy them.
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