Friday, November 21, 2008

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Online Psychology

(Young woman in web-cam held psychology session. She is sitting in front of the computer with an earpiece; the rest of the room is dark).

Well, I must have been nine. No! It was later. Yeah, I was a teenager, he was thirty-something. Tall, slick man with a sports jacket and jackass grin -something about him that one. Well, it doesn't matter what he looked like, I guess. I think we met at one of my dad's family functions. I remember being introduced to him, he took my hand with a little too much force, took a little too long to let go and I had to look him in the eyes. I could see he wanted something from me, that he wanted to shovel out my insides, latch onto my mouth with his lips and breathe in and out, inhaling and exhaling, and watch as my hollow self inflated and deflated, using me as a third lung. As a brown-paper bag. We might have been standing by the veranda that selfsame night when it happened. A knee grab, muscles flinched, sucked-off spaghetti straps, tug at an earring. Then someone opened a door and he looked like a rat caught in the garage under all that light. I was looking at his profile, his measly scruff, crater-face from bad acne abuse, weak chin. Then I crossed my legs and he stormed off like a tin soldier.

I don't think so. Every relationship since has ended more or less in the same way. Somehow someone else manages to hold them under a hot lamp.


(Overweight man in worn-out t-shirt, center stage, slumping in his chair)

Sometimes I'll just be looking westward, rather west I say, sitting up from having lain on the train tracks for, for a few hours, and watch as the sun set itself across the horizon like an egg yolk oozing from a cracked shell. And I would think that maybe the only thing in this entire universe that doesn't actually ever have it's own shadow is the sun. I mean, if you think about it, when is a dimmer sun ever going to come across a brighter one so that it would cast a shadow? And onto what, pray tell, would the sun cast a shadow onto? If not empty space, of course.
Then other times I’ll look into my coffee cup and see a galaxy of foam swirling therein. And how most of what's microscopic is mirrored by what is infinitely large. Then I get sticky wet thinking of what the universe could possible be expanding into? I mean, we hear, us that is, we hear often enough of the universe expanding, still expanding, ever expanding, but the way I understand it, you must expand into something, you must! Now, if the universe is mostly empty space anyways, dappled here and there a bit by some coma looking comets, or a spitting nebula looking like a percent sign, and empty space can't expand into empty space, what could be beyond that wall of an expanding universe? I don't know! I just don't know! I just don't understand it! So then dusk would fall, and the sky would yawn into this purple hue and would toss up a moon disk as if it were a vint-cinque sous. And then two sister moons would join me along the track, swelling and growing brighter. And I would say, “Hello sister moons!” And then, and then the ground would rattle something noisy and I’d be shaken off the tracks like popcorn off an aluminium pan held over a fire, and I would just laugh there rolling amongst the hawthorns and haycocks while this great heaving machine whizzed on by telling me to “PISS OFF!!”

Sunday Brunch

(Ostentatious man sitting at the table, outside on the veranda, of a chique restaurant. White tabletops, he’s wearing matching cream blazer with a lime green blouse underneath it. It’s a sunny day with mild traffic, and he’s on his cell phone)

Well, he was gayer than Clay Aiken on Tyra, unfortunate highlights, talked an awful lot about his mother.

I couldn't say, maybe it was something about the way he walked. His left elbow kind of jutted out so that the entire arm swayed with him so he looked like a post-cornea victim.

Are you sure it’s the right?

Anyways, it was distracting. Luckily, he's one of the few bearded men I know who can pull off v-neck; usually the facial fuzz casts this shadow just above the neck line so that they look like Arabian bobble-heads.

I know, materials weak today.

Well, I was thinking somewhere along the canal.

There’s this new place, relax! A friend of mine works there. Well, more like a third cousin. And what I mean is that I hope he's a third cousin. Did I tell you what happened a few weeks ago at the Ivy? Well, you are not going to believe this. I was just sitting by the bar, you know, tilting my head ever so gently to the right so the light overhead would fall on the better side of my face. It lures them in like park lamps do shadflies.

Have you ever wondered why bugs aren't drawn to firelight? I mean, you light a candle and it's not like a swarm of mosquitoes comes issuing past and suddenly there's this airborne fireball buzzing around.

Good for you! It's not every day you see a moth dive into a fireplace. What I was saying though is that I was tilting my head when suddenly this kid, believe it, this kid comes prancing and plots himself on the barstool right beside me.

I don't know, scruffy, mid-twenties; for the most part I was impressed that he could somehow pull off Sean Penn hair. Well, he turns to me and says-oh and he was chewing gum, the arrogant twat was chewing gum like an absolute cow- and he says, now hear this out: “You're a walking gay paradigm.” Gay paradigm! How does he get off calling me a gay paradigm!? Now, before I went and got my tail feathers all in a twist I turned to him and said, calmly now: “What do you mean?” To which he repeated: “Gay paradigm.”
Now, he seemed to me to be one of those artistic, liberated fellows- his jeans were patched up and his shoelaces untied. And I wasn’t in much of a mood to tolerate, rather to interpret what it was he meant by “Gay paradigm,” so I slammed my drink on the counter and told him off, I mean I really told him off:

“Who do you think you are?” I said, “Who do you think you are you insufferable chump, getting off on calling me a gay paradigm?”

Now, I didn't want to copout like some Creatine-pumping bros with a few “Youdonknowme's” or any “I'lltellyouwhayouare's,” so instead I looked him dead in the eyes, and I said, with a deep breath:

“You, you, youuuuuu”

And then I breathed out, and then I breathed in again and said:


And then one more breath and with that:

“Well, I’ll let you know something, my gay paradigm certainly doesn’t include any washed-up, frowsy, freeloading, kid as some mid-90’s backwash. I work over 60 hours each week. I come home each night to a hungry, slobbering Doberman who knows more about my needs and wants than anyone else I know, or more than you for that matter. I am liberated, and competent. I might come off to you as some well-to-do dandy but hell if I’m going to be pigeonholed as any one thing or lifestyle in particular. It must be easy enough for you to slot any well-dressed pomp like myself as a “Gay paradigm,” which only seemingly makes sense, I though you should know. I'd rather not be reduced to a walking simplification.” And I hurled myself out of there.

And...his name is Ralph, he works for some publishing company and we’re supposed to go to the Y this weekend for date #3.


(Old lady on the telephone, gabbing, alone in her room on a hot summer day, dreadfully hot, she’s in her underpants and there’s sunlight poking through the blinds)

Well, yes, I think. Yes. Yes. Yes. Uhuh. You don't say. Well, that is something, isn't it.

Oh that's just dreadful, just simply dreadful. It reminds me of my conversation with Ms. Prgisdale at the elementary school a few days ago. It seems that one of her children had been holding a cat, fairly young one with wispy hair and a propensity for nosebleeds.

No, the child.

Well, he was just sitting there, petting this little beast, when suddenly his mother turned on the vacuum cleaner for some spring cleaning, frightened the cat who clawed the child's face and sped off.

No the cat, not the child.

Now the boy comes to school the day after with a torn upper-lip, and when inquired refuses to divulge who or what it was that inflicted the injury. The teacher, Ms. Prigsdale, immediately suspects abuse, what with a previous incident involving a flat iron and a booster chair -I can't remember, she was rambling at this point- and called child services. Upon meeting the mother, who had the spent the entire night sifting through toy closets and pantries for worn-out plush puppies and expired jars of pickled eggs, answered the door spent, fried, and agitated, and after much deliberation and interrogation, the child was taken into holding. It turns out that the child did not wish to protest throughout these proceedings on account of his lip smarting so much, keeping his face stone-still, not shedding a tear while his mother wailed in disbelief (it was quite a scene, I imagine) After a few days, once the lip had fully healed, however, all of that repressed anguish flooded from the boy for a solid four-hours of heaving and sobbing. The child supported the mother's version of the account, and was soon thereafter returned home. A rather touching end to things, might I add.

Well, yes, I think. Yes. Yes. Yes. Uhuh. You don't say. Well, that is something, isn't it.

There is something there that maybe your not considering. I remember him being well into his twenties when he graduated high school. Apparently, he just simply could not relate to numbers and letters the same way other people do, seeing only vacant white squiggles on a blackboard. Which would be quite frustrating, I imagine.

Yes, well, he was different. During organic chemistry class he would always tug on my sleeve and whisper how this or that carbon chain looked like some intergalactic spaceship, or how that polypeptide chain was like a can can line of Vegas showgirls. I never saw it, and would just idly smile, nod, and turn away I tell you.

He was troubled, though. Went to a private high school, had wealthy lesbian mothers. You know, I was watching Family Feud just before, and one of the top answers for “What are you grateful for having only one of these” was “Mom/Dad.” Now, I don't know if that was a direct jab at lesbian and/or gay parenting, but I swear I understand the mentality in some cases. I hear he would walk into class blubbering some days, after a wretched session of schoolboy teasing. Once, he even stormed in, took his seat while throwing his bag onto the floor when a great crash was heard. Some yellow liquid started seeping from bellow his desk and stretching itself across the linoleum tilling, which ended up being the result of a broken glass bottle of apple juice from the toss, but from that day on he was known as “Piss,” just simply “Piss.” I can only just imagine how horrible it must have felt to have a janitor mopping the floor beneath your feet in the middle of class, while the other children snickered and the teacher tried his best to keep his composure.

Yes, the bottle was inside the bag…

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


(An awfully old and androgynous woman sits center-stage on a French-embroidered chair; beside her is a small table whereon an old-fashioned telephone lies. She is in her living room, which is ornately decorated with teacups and knick-knacks scattered everywhere amidst many frilly things. She dials and picks up the receiver. )


Well, yes, I know. Yes. Yes. Yes. Uhuh. You don't say. Well, that is something, isn't it.

Remember that time we went to The Ivy wearing these matching sequin-studded little frocks we got on discount from that-place-there, you know, the one with the cute balding twenty-something with all that unnecessary v-neck. Well, it turns out the owner had been using what seemed to be this well-to-do Venetian furnished hotspot lounge as a cover for a relay station for parrot smuggling operations originating in Ecuador.

Yes, parrots honey.

They’d force the gaudy buzzards into cylindrical tubes, and pass them along to sleeper-cells posing as prim and dandy architects and artisans in the bar itself, who would otherwise not seem altogether odd with tubes slung around their shoulders, what with the stencilling papers and blueprints they’re always lugging around. Anyways, it turns out that fanciful girl with the wispy hair who looked suspiciously like Paul Dano, well, she was in on this machination and all that gabbing over coolers, of her instillation piece with the wind-up dolls and hairy pot-bellies; well, let's just say all that wheedling and talk of private studio backroom tours was for naught I say, for naught.

Well if it was Paul Dano, we have other things to worry about.

That reminds me, Dan, you know Dan?

Yes, exactly, spoke an awful lot about pathology.

No, I don't mean the one who had that terrible reaction to the hair dye and had most of his hair transplanted from his back to his scalp to replace what was otherwise burnt off.

No, not that one whose great-grandfather invented The Whippet.

No, not that one either -plaid can only ever go so far anyways…

Yes, deary, he was 5`8`` with handsome Dock’s and a cashmere suit, spoke like he was sucking on cough drops, and was born without incisors, apparently.

Hell, I don’t know which ones are incisors- I think the ones further back made for mincing. Well, apparently, my friend Lindsey walked in on him in the coat room, waltzing with a portrait of his late wife at the end of a house warming shin dig on 49th.

I can’t remember whose house.

He was so flustered that he tripped over a footstool, clipped his elbow on a wall fixture, spun-round and fell straight through the open window of the duplex.

Yes, still clutching the photograph.

No, of course not. You can’t die from jumping off a duplex, maybe a triplex or a quatroplex, but a duplex is just simply not high enough off the ground. All this to say, I went to see him at the hospital a few months ago to find him with his arm in a sling, his head all gauzed up, and with most of his nose broken off. An awful scene, an awful scene indeed. During his fall he apparently tried to pucker up to the image of his wife, but upon impact had the frame slam right into his nose and shatter the thing itself. And you know how it worked out. A bit of rhinoplasty here, a few dark sunglasses and low swooping hats there, three weeks of rehab and he was well on his feet, looking like the American Dream. I heard they're dating now, he and Lindsey, both chipper like Chip and Dale. I mean, who isn't a sucker for a widower.

His dead-wife was something else altogether, though. She was frumpy like a couch on rebate; they say their marriage became something of a stalemate. It was twenty-or-so-years of one-upmanship, the poor kind-hearted fellow never really got a grip. They say that towards the end her hair was perma-fried, dry like flowers pressed between book pages, face matted in cover-up looking like old paint, and developed a penchant for kicking back cold ones with liquored-up poolside boi-oh's.

Yes, really.

But then she died during childbirth and was martyred thus, a selfless woman from her womb to her tomb. Her boy dresses like a queen, he must be nine? No, nineteen. Sometimes I see him walking mid-afternoon in the mid-week heat, up then down again and round our street, as a drunkard gadabout gutter-kid. A fitting funeral march for his mother, I say, circling high and anything but dry in a type of mourning disbelief. Someone should say something.

Well, yes, I know. Yes. Yes. Yes. Uhuh. You don't say. Well, that is something, isn't it.

Actually, I did see them snuggling round by the waterfront after mass last Sunday. We had all decided to walk down to the park; the church was anything but well ventilated all throughout the service despite the high ceilings. I swear, our priest's accent is so heavy, half the time I think there's been another Vatican reform and we've gone back to preaching in Latin.

He might be from Bulgaria.

Well, they were wrapped loosely round each other, looked like preening geese, or gnat-plucking apes, I haven't decided.

Well, no, I thought. No. No. No. Nuhuh. You can say that again. Well, I wouldn’t fret, it can’t be.

That just might very well be his problem. These days you need to schedule a wedding one-year in advance, and there are even these new-age Internet almanac’s that can filter sunny days from rainy ones for you. But then you need the one-up on next season’s –sorry- a four season fore-notice prediction of sorts on veil sales, and frock thoughts, and tabletop costs, and whether any toddling tot can take the waddling spot of flower girl, with the all but important anticipation of related maladies and allergies that might involve either the child or that season's in-season species of flower.

No, I don't think I'm suggesting flowers can be allergic to small children.

Well, yes, I think. Yes. Yes. Yes. Uhuh. You don't say. Well, that is something, isn't it.

Tea? Well, I did hear of this truck stop that opened somewhere overlooking the underpass where moonish-belly-jelly-donut-popping-back-crass-country-crooning-catapillar-crustache sporting men, looking like IRA gangsters, go for the brew. It's a bit of an operation, this one, as if anyone's heard of greasy gossoons on the long haul from country tip-to-tip stopping over for tea.

Well, it's become quite the thing in this niche of a community. Unbeknownst to themselves, or anyone else for that matter. They can't seem to face-up to the situation, and spend breaks bent-over beer mugs concealing chamomile before the miles awaiting them, belying of something more robust I imagine. It becomes rather unfortunate, however, when football jeering and cheering and clanging cups causes scalding tea to spill over onto their laps, and what would otherwise be passive fretting over soggy pants becomes an all too painful effort to keep from screaming. Stifled screaming, imagine!

Well, no, I thought. No. No. No. Nuhuh. You can say that again. Well, I wouldn’t fret, it can’t be.

Did you hear of my two-houses-over neighbour single mother Sue's son Sam? Well, what happened is that after his birth she became a high-end Expat associated with an Airplane insurance firm, and spent five years travelling across the world and left the child in the hands of the household's French nanny. The mother, having missed those imperative first years of development came back to a young boy fluent in a language she couldn't speak. A burgeoning career kept her from attending language classes, and so to this day the only conversations exchanged between the two consist of “bonjour’s” and “au revoir’s,” because who doesn't know how to say hello and goodbye in French, really. The mother would be stationed in Bangladesh, the son still back here, she would say “bonjour,” over the phone, and he likewise. She would say “au revoir”, and he likewise. They would hang up the receiver contented on having spoken, and go on with their daily affairs.

Why didn't the boy learn English. Something to do with a learning disability, or autism.

No that's the thing, according to the nanny who I spoke with, God knows how long ago, there's no real resentment between the two, no frustrations whatsoever. Apparently, they are perfectly fine, just happy with their situation; no other affection needed asides from that expressed through a “hello” and a “goodbye!”

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Wednesday, June 18, 2008