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I do not wallow in my solitude, I do not shroud myself within its miasmic sanctuary, but I do sometimes wear it like a badge of honor, an epaulette, as if it is something I earned through the perdition of lost love. And since I have been recently told that I have grown into someone who could give Quasimodo a run for his money, it is, I trust, a state in which I will hereafter reside. My life with David has become ephemeral, ethereal, a soft glimmer receding quietly into my increasingly distant past.
Sorry/grateful, 100Words, for such maudlin excreta.
We had settled at our table and had been handed menus for dinner at ‘Sawney Beane's House of Gastronomical Delights.'
"What are you going to have, Mom?" I asked. She peered over the menu with squinted eyes and said, "I'm not sure … everything looks so good! I might try the Braised Gladiator Testicles, served in a garlic-ureic-wine sauce, with Shaved Penal Shanks on the side."
Pop's menu closed with a clap. "I know what I'M having," he announced.
"We know," we recited in a bored chorus. "Fried Playboy Bunny Boobies and Tubies!" Sis added, "Honestly, Pop, you're so predictable!"
Dinner at Sawney Beane's Conclusion.
I took a big gulp of my Frozen Fecal Slushie, trying to make up my mind what to order. Sis closed her menu and pronounced excitedly, "I'm trying something exotic tonight! I'm going to get the Convict Entrails Mash with Crumbled Baby Brains over the top."
Mom smiled sweetly. "That's nice, dear. Still," she continued, fussily, "the prices at Sawney's are so exorbitant."
I chimed in. "But isn't it nice to know that a portion of the proceeds goes directly to Catholic Charities?"
"It sure is, honey," Mom beamed back at me, her kind-hearted baby.
Several years ago I attended a fireworks display at a local lakeside. Some drunken maniac was lighting firecrackers and cherry bombs and indiscriminately tossing them over his shoulder. They could have landed underneath someone's car or inside a baby's carriage for all he cared. At one point he lit an M50 that immediately fizzled out. He studied it closely, and—yep—it went off in his hand. I saw fingers whiz by; I think he may have also lost an eye, but I couldn't tell for sure through the burn marks on his face. I haven't been to fireworks since.
Mr. Blighton was admonishing me in his clipped, controlled British accent. "Don't get yourself all in a fret, lad. Why, you're not happy unless everything's all a bunch and fuss, are you?" I had been inspecting the head table for the Kreelman wedding reception just moments prior to their arrival, and had expressed my outrage that the florist had not kept true to the color scheme we had discussed. My ire inspired Blighton's snide observation. I imagined removing the rose thorns and piercing Blighton's uppity pupils with them. "How's this for ‘all a bunch and fuss,' you fucking Limey snot?!"
Today is the fourth anniversary of my Dad's death, a sudden, appallingly unexpected death; he literally was gone between one breath and the next.
David died two years prior to my Dad, and the way Dad carried on, more grief-stricken than even me, you would have thought he had lost his own son. In a way he had. My Dad knew David carried pieces of me to the grave with him, and that was what my Dad mourned so passionately. It was a breathtaking revelation for me—when David died, I suddenly knew how very much my Dad loved me.
When I was seven years old I was scared witless by the sight of a man's face staring at me through my bedroom window. The head was bald and very round; the face, extremely white and whey-like. The large, empty eyes followed me intently as I slowly moved away, although the head never moved on its invisible neck. This, combined with the vacant, staring eyes, terrified me utterly and I ran screaming down the hallway, peeing hysterically in my pajamas during the entire mad stampede. Unbelievably, the description exactly matched my father's late, great-uncle Callum, who died insane. True story.
- "…so we had walked for over two hours, thinking we were lost, until we got to the old train trellis…"
- (interrupting) "
- "It's a train
, not a train
- (angry) "I HATE it when you do this! You're always correcting me, like I'm some kind of moron and you're some kind of genius! You love to show off that fancy college degree, don't you?! Just forget it!"
- "You're right. You're right, I'm sorry. Go on with your story."
- (placated) "Well …okay. So anyway, the denewment is…"
- (interrupting) "
There are many things I dislike about myself. My apologias often seem endless. But one thing I do very much enjoy about myself is the unique quality of my laughter. It is loud and distinctive; I'm told it is quite infectious (a word I dislike in this context—I associate it with something communicative in the negative sense, like gonorrhea or herpes). David loved my laugh. He always said if he could follow it backwards inside of me he would emerge at the best part of my being, at the core of my humanity, the place most cherished, most blessed.
There were two sites that became sacred grounds for us as children. One was a large tree that had been toppled by a forgotten storm, its roots rising up at a 90-degree angle from the ground. We christened those roots "Golden Eagle," and spent many hours climbing and negotiating its networks. The other site was where my cousin Jack had buried his hapless chickens that had been, one by one, done in by neighborhood dogs. A small path essed through a tangle of woods for approximately 100 yards to a circular clearing, a cemetery for fowl, as venerated as Stonehenge.
Kendall Mesh was born with an unusual deformity. He had a large amount of loose skin on the top of his head, a head that never grew hair. His skull was perfectly shaped; he simply had this flap of skin that hung down to the nape of his neck. As he grew older this skin mass grew more ponderous, and Kendall suffered violent headaches as a result. So when he was eight Kendall's father gathered the skin together and tied it into a big knot that rested on the top of his head, alleviating Kendall's headaches and eventually growing hair.
Jesse Helms was a sorry-ass sight. He had telephoned me in a convulsion of hysterics, begging me to come over at once. Upon my arrival, I was confronted with the freakish spectacle of Jesse outfitted as Dorothy Gale—complete with a pigtailed wig, gingham dress, and ruby-red pumps—nursing the black eye Mike Tyson had administered before leaving Jesse's life forever. But beyond the garishness was the utter simplicity—the comprehensive totality—of his sadness at that moment, this shriveled old man who had once again chosen unwisely in love. I held him in my arms as he wept copiously.
Jesse Helms as Dorothy con't.
Once Jesse's weeping abated somewhat, I asked him to tell me what had transpired between him and Mike Tyson. He related the following narrative:
"I thought it might be fun if Mike and I did a little ‘Wizard of Oz' scenario, where the Scarecrow proves to Dorothy that he's not ALL soft and limp. Mike said, ‘Why do I have to be the Scarecrow?' and I said, ‘Well, Honey, it only makes
. I mean, the Scarecrow WANTS a brain, and God knows you NEED a brain …' Well, it just got ugly after that."
Jesse Helms as Dorothy III.
I was exasperated. "Jesse, how did you EXPECT Mike to act after implying he was stupid?"
Jesse responded instantly. "I thought he'd spank me! I always loved it when he'd put me across his big black lap and paddle my wrinkled fanny." I thought about the innumerable times I spent over my husband Tom Cruise's knee and could only nod in appreciative commiseration.
Jesse, near tears again, pointed to his swollen, contused eye, now the color of spoiled pomegranate seeds. "This is what I got instead!" and he dissolved into an avalanching fury of tears.
Jesse Helms Conclusion.
I telephoned my husband Tom Cruise to discuss Jesse's plight.
"Honey, don't you know ANYONE we can fix Jesse up with? If he attends the gala premiere of ‘Minority Report' without a date, he'll never live through the humiliation! … Well, hmmm … Didn't Will Smith and Luke Perry split up? … Oh, I see … well, Tommy, find Jesse SOMEone, please! Just remember, he likes his lovers masculine, black, and with a bubble butt … okay, honey, thanks … I love you too …"
Imagine my horror when Tom introduced Jesse to his date—Tracy Chapman!
A most disturbed and disturbing few days.
I have been detained and actually in gaol for two days, interrogated until I thought I should be driven mad. And all because I had been his friend. It was due only to the separate testimonies of Mr. Paine and Mr. Herold that I was released.
It is now clear why Johnny had not invited me to join him for all those dinners at Mrs. Surratt's. He wished, undoubtedly, to protect me.
History's scorch-marked memory and my own have split paths. I shall remember sadly, unfailingly, my dear, misguided friend, John Wilkes Booth.
Whenever my friend Greg and I talk on the phone it is like therapy. We're both compassionate listeners, we offer each other valuable and objective perspectives, and we're empathic to each other's situations because we both possess our own dark realms, places not to be touched. After pouring through some old papers, Greg realized I had loaned him $1000 six years ago that we then both promptly forgot. He wants to repay his debt, which I respect, but how lovely for me to have a friendship within the throes of which I could misplace such an exorbitant amount of money.
It's no wonder most of the planet hates Americans. We're one fucked up nation. On the one hand, our current regime enjoys the pretense of being a global bully, rife with chest beating, posturing, and dictating who should and should not be elected leaders in other nations. On the other hand we have this group of sniveling, bigoted, homophobic nellies who are having conniptions because PBS wants to introduce an HIV-positive character to a version of Sesame Street broadcast in South Africa. Please forgive PBS for introducing the word "tolerance" to young children, you repressed, self-righteous fucks. For shame, U.S.A.
Chris came sailing through the front door, his face a thundercloud. He strode up to me and demanded, "Let's fuck, Fag Boy!" I looked down at his feet. "Chris," I exclaimed, exasperated, "I know it's tough being a celebrity, but either put on your shoes or go barefoot. You can't keep on running around outside in just socks!" I pulled them off him and went to retrieve a clean pair. When I returned he was posing, holding his crotch and wearing a Sylvester Stallone-like expression on his face. "Chill out, ‘Mr. Big,'" I said, "you're not on the set now."
David and I had often discussed going on a cruise, but somehow in our fifteen years together we never managed it. We actually booked passage when we learned David had brain cancer, but by the time the ship sailed, David was too debilitated to travel.
So recently I decided to take that cruise for both us. Imagine my chagrin upon learning that the fare, for which a coupled party would pay $1000 each, prices out for me traveling solo nearly three times as much. It seems patently unfair that, amidst its other salient indignities, being alone should be so costly.
Host: "Welcome, Sir Mack Travers!"
Travers: "Thanks Guy for having me on ‘Wake Up America and Smell My Asshole!'"
Host: "You have led a rather charmed life, haven't you, Sir Travers?"
Travers: "Please Guy, call me Mack. I'm not so sure I'd say …"
Host (suddenly serious): "So would you mind explaining the following video we have of you engaging in sexual intercourse with a ten year old Croatian boy and a ferret named Twink?"
Travers (suddenly off-guard): "Guy, I … I don't know what you're talking about …"
Host: "Roll that beautiful bean footage!"
[Travers bolts the staging area.]
The day had arrived for David's parents, brother and me to board a plane for Ireland, to begin the longest journey of our lives—releasing David's ashes upon Slea Head. Alone, prior to leaving for the airport, I summoned my courage.
When David expressed his wish to be cremated, I jokingly told him I would boil his remains into a hearty tea. We both laughed, honestly and heartbreakingly; he then suddenly became pensive and, his eyes watery and aglow, he nodded to me in loving assent…
…a bit of oolong plus ¼tsp of David, sipped from an antique porcelain teacup…
I was in a production of "Jesus Christ Superstar." During the final performance, Jesus' diminutive understudy was replacing the much larger and heavier original actor, due to the latter's illness. At the end of the show ‘Jesus On the Cross' was supposed to ascend slowly and reverentially off the stage and into the rafters, a solemn, show-stopping event. Unfortunately no one calculated the weight differential between the old and the new Savior; when the appointed moment came, the thimble-sized ‘Jesus On the Cross' catapulted like a rocket into the air, screaming like a woman in childbirth throughout the entire "resurrection."
I used to sing at weddings, and, after three successive renderings of Schubert's
that culminated in disaster, I became convinced that particular piece was cursed.
During the first episode, I was positioned in the front of the church, piously warbling away as the mothers were seated. The groom's mother entered without incident; however, as the bride's mother was escorted to her place of honor, radiating pride and elegance, the usher managed to trip on his own feet and fell forward in the aisle, dragging the startled mother down with him in a confusing tangle of arms and legs.
My next adventure with
occurred two weeks later. This time I was positioned at the back of the church, where I learned with dismay that the regular organist with whom I had rehearsed was ill and was being replaced by an elderly nun with cataracts and two fingers missing on her left hand just above the knuckles. At communion I sang the accursed
, which may as well have been played by Helen Keller with her elbows. After the wedding the bride asked me what on earth I had sung during communion. Shrugging, I nodded towards "Sister Amputee."
My last encounter with
was by far the worst. The organist arrived for the wedding twenty minutes late, apparently on the heels of a momentous bender, totally and staggeringly drunk. Things started badly and careened rapidly downhill. Halfway through the song, the organist accidentally activated the electronic percussion feature of the organ, and I was now chortling to a meringue beat. Obviously inspired by this, he attempted a complicated arpeggio, hand over hand over hand, when BOOM!, he soared completely off the organ bench and landed on a bass pedal that reverberated with teeth-chattering volume throughout the church.
There is an epilogue to my
saga. Several months later I was once again hired to sing various songs at a wedding ceremony, the dreaded
among them. I fairly bleated it out in a panicky tremolo, expecting the roof to cave in, but the song came to an uneventful end. Later I sang a John Denver ballad with a lusty confidence borne of the wresting of my former nemesis, during which the church fire alarm inexplicably went off, followed assiduously by the sprinkler system.
Ergo, ‘twasn't Schubert's lovely
that was cursed—it was ME.
Perusing other 100 Word entries for inspiration this evening, I came across Andie Miller's contribution of 5/29/2002, and was reminded with smiling fondness my introduction to Glastonbury Tor. I had driven southwest from Greater London to Glastonbury, and upon my approach I was impressed how much the Tor resembled a giant breast from afar, the Tower of St. Michael's its life-giving nipple, and I wondered if I had indeed arrived at the heart of Mother Earth. I spent hours atop the Tor, picnicked beneath an apple tree at its base, surrounded by black-faced sheep, and felt exquisitely peaceful.
I found out today that my cousin fervently believes David died of complications from AIDS and not from a brain tumor, and that we're all keeping it a big secret. The ignorance that still abounds out there about HIV and AIDS boggles the imagination. This same cousin, upon hearing that a woman she worked with was diagnosed HIV-positive a few years ago, couldn't understand how it was possible. "I thought she was straight," my cousin said. "She IS straight," I answered. My cousin looked perplexed, and then suddenly aghast, exclaiming, "You mean she took it up the ass?!"
Although we speak the same language, the English are a wholly different species from us gits in the states. I watched a British film this afternoon, and while the emotional values were universal, the way it was presented was not. There was a different cadence—a subtly unique rhythm—at work underneath; the strophes and antistrophes were foreign and quintessentially English. I've always believed the Brits are better educated than we are; they certainly have a more proficient capacity for verbal language. And for a country reputed for being uptight (undeserved), they cut loose in ways Americans never dreamed of.
I've always loved the names of villages and towns in England. They are often evocative and poetic, imaginative and literate. Get a load of these locales, all within 35 miles of Stratford-on-Avon: Bishop's Cleeve. Hook Norton, Over Norton, Chipping Norton. Steeple Barton, Middle Barton, Wescott Barton, Barton-on-the-Heath. Buckley Folly. Butlers Martson. Canons Ashby. Moreton Pinkney. Aston Blank, Aston Magna, Aston Subedge, Aston le Walls. Pillerton Priors. Brockhampton. Childswickham. Addlestrop. Piddle. Brackley. Bidford-on-Avon, Welford-on-Avon, Weston-on-Avon. Sibford Ferris, Sibford Gower. Upper Weedon, Road Weedon, Weedon Bec. I could go on and on. Charming, stately, lyrical names (with the possible exception of ‘Piddle').
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