There are things whizzing around — misshapen puzzle pieces from old grandma Milton Bradley bridge portraits never completed, little scabs of a torrid history and fresher blushes of sexual embarrassment, empty suitcases from mental holidays — all composing a cantata of loose ends on fire and forming a Saturn-like ring around my head. It's as if an industrial-sized Acme Brand elbow has pounded in out of nowhere and made intimate contact with my right temple. What is this, Tuesday?
"What are we going to do?" whinnies Angela, my gregarious forever gal-pal freshly teleported out of the hot lava of Hawaii.
"Do? Well, I don't do things so much anymore, as doing things can leave you susceptible to the appearance of things that get done, knowing full well that often times they are accidentally being done to you," the crypt-door of my mind makes an awful logical noise upon being heaved open. "What do you want to do?"
Something about food happens, but is swiftly mooted.
In fact, we are already doing something in seeing each other. Just being in the same room together sends our anxiety disorders into a play date with teething concerns. Taking all of that out of my musky vacuum of solitude will probably end badly: three tears, a bloody earache, apologies for inadvertent copulation with a four-legged animal. We are bad parents to our self-made messes. Snowballing them out on parade is bound to attract remnant bits of the worst in everyone.
"I know! We'll go to the Arte Faire at Will's," a midsummer dream's nightmare makes a noise out of my mouth.
"Arte Faire!? Will's!?" Angela's throat winds through several registers of sonic amazement. "What do they sell?"
"Candles," I melt. "Sadness. We can go collect things!"
We're in the market for sharp-edged distractions made for holiday hotlines, and if the first face with which we're confronted is anything to go on — the bearded countenance of one Jason Ferguson — we're in luck.
"I just dodged a bullet for you," he didn't die, but somehow makes me feel like I did.
"What did I do this time?"
Turns out that either I sliced a blade across the dead face of Les Paul himself, or, in some collective guilt of Weekly-dom, I managed to piss off the brass of the imaginary Gibson Guitar Showroom. Six of one. I'll just add it to my spinning ring of hate.
"That's funny. I was just explaining to Angela why I don't go out anymore," my tail tucks like an ingrown ass hair. "Amazingly, I don't even have to!"
A drop of prescription red wine later and our funnel cloud of misspent thoughts has grown to include an old acquaintance and her twin regaling stories of past glories involving a little, yellow, different mayoral campaign and/or an incident detailed in this very column about bad boyfriend retribution via "lost dog"-style flyering. One of the twins, now dating a fireman, says I look like her ex-boyfriend.
"Why ex?" I mistakenly engage.
"He was living with his babymama and his babymama's mama at 41!"
Eww. Anyway, the real tchotchkes on display at the Arte Faire aren't much better: tiny photo magnets, Rice Krispies treats, clocks made out of leopard-print plates, sad hippies behind folding tables. It's like the same Hoarders episode that pre-empts my very own headspace programming, really, just one puzzle piece shy of a full bridge. This is going nowhere. Stasis. Thankfully, an irreverence reprieve is in order.
"You should really go to the nude beach in Maui," Angela weaves a Hawaiian TripTik around the celebrated, line-drawn hairball of artist Andrew Spear.
"With my parents?"
"You fuck your mom what?" One of my disorders climbs out of my jaw.
"'Andrew Spear Fucks Mom' is the headline of the night!" I hop off Saturn and onto Uranus. "I am so happy right now."
"I also don't drink beer, so you guys should meet me over at Wally's." Andrew fucks his mom!
A bad karaoke reading of Stevie Wonder's "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" greets our entrance — perfect for mom-fucking! — as does some tightly packed mound of meat named Mark. He knows my name. He may know more.
"I'm not his mom." Angela is now officially in on the game.
"He knows," I don't know anything anymore. "He fucked my mom."
"I'm still wearing her underpants." Mark is a gift from heaven.
It's almost too much to take; all this talk of mom-fucking has the heady quality of being caught in nitrous oxide balloon, throbbing wah-wahs and cracked-tooth laughter included. It's only mildly sad that the missing piece to my evening's puzzle involves parental incest of the worst degree. Actually, it's not sad at all: just some grand admission that there really is nothing to casual conversation in smoke-stenched watering holes at all. We are but sums of our scattered opposites, shadows etched in the absurd. Dumb. Dumb is good.
We finally bump back into Spear's spear of self-promotion over at the Peacock Room, but by now our plume of obnoxious transcendence has drifted into even more ridiculous territory. Angela's friend Nick — who literally is an Alabama twang — and his girlfriend Heather — A Chorus Line with Pat Benatar's kick in it — are rattling on about DJ culture and "left-handed cigarettes" and nothing makes sense at all. This is the way I like it: all my doubts and disorders and devices passed out together in a heap on the floor. Everything is just that — everything — and I needn't try to wrap my skull around it.
"I'm fuckin' this dog, just hold the legs!" Nick squeezes out a dueling banjo.
You got email@example.com