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!”

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