Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bathroom Monologue: Anonymoose

In the Berkshire Mountains there is a mysterious creature that has stalked the roads for about three decades. We can only say “for about three decades” because there is so little information about the creature that there may not be just one and pinpointing its first appearance is impossible. On many occasions it has obstructed traffic, sometimes headbutting motorists who did not see it coming. Based on the damage it has done to various motorcycles it is estimated at least at 1,200 pounds – quite a bulk for a beast no one has ever seen.

Several state troopers have attempted to track the alleged quadruped down, though copious feces and aimless hoof paths have yet to lead to the beast.

One trooper, Ronald Ernstein, swears he encountered it in February of 2005 after it struck his car.

“I swear I was looking straight at the thing. It’s tracks ended right there in the snow. There was nowhere it could have gone. I could feel hot air on my face, like it was breathing on me – I must have been looking it right in the eyeballs, but I couldn’t see it.”

The camera mounted on Ernstein’s dashboard reveals no backwoods monster. It registers a heavy impact rocking the car, and then Ernstein getting out, looking around, and finally staring into a specific location for several minutes with abject wonder. Some video specialists claim the vapor around his face indicates a second set of breaths from an unidentified source.

Ernstein is currently seeing a therapist.

For the interim the New York State Troopers have classified this creature as “unknowable.”

Friday, November 9, 2012

Bathroom Monologue: Engendered

It took him a moment to see Sky. She sat as far from the door as she could, tucked into the far corner, hunched and hugging her sides so that she was hidden behind a stool. It loomed over her, a makeshift wall keeping him away. He respected her stool-wall, affording her the length of the room, as though afraid he’d infect her. That was stupid, of course, because she was already infected – and had infected him. His right arm throbbed from the battery of shots.

The door swished closed behind him, cutting off the bustle of administrators, all preoccupied with hundreds of other cases. It comforted him to shut out all the bodies under sheets out there. He focused on Sky not watching him, her eyes directed at her peppermint green skirt. She’d sewn it with Lita, and colored her white tennis shoes green with a magic marker so they’d match. He realized he knew more about how she was dressed than how he’d dressed himself – and that was perhaps part of why he didn’t understand her. Sky was only even a ‘she’ to him today because of how she’d dressed; if it was jeans and a sweater, Sky would be a ‘he’ to him now. It was an imperfect system for dealing with a question he couldn't ask.

He put his back to the door and slid down to almost eye level with her from across the room. He asked, “Can I tell you a secret?”

Still, Sky wouldn’t look at him. She preferred to examine the flaking grey paint on her stool, careless that she only had half an hour left this way. So he confessed.

“I was always afraid you didn’t like me. I was sure you liked your mom better, which is fine, because I like her better than me too. That’s why I married her.” He smiled, and she didn’t, and he spoke a little faster, “But when we first met, and I called foster care – you were so mad at me all the time. It was only Mom who saw that you thought I didn’t want you. I did. I do. I love having you. I was just petrified that your birth parents were looking for you, and then, that I wouldn’t be a good enough father. You were never a pain. Those nights we stayed up playing Fallout, you in my lap, being so good at picking everything up, then making me fight the mutants, until you fell asleep? I loved that. Even the time you wet your pants, and thereby mine. You got so mad when I laughed, but I laughed because I loved having you. The things I do come off wrong sometimes. It’s part of who I am.”

He found his hands climbing his shins, rubbing at his knees. Where had he picked up that habit? Maybe from his father.

Sky was holding her knees with her little hands, as though to make sure they wouldn’t get away. She wanted Mom – she’d been calling Lita ‘Mom’ since the day they’d found her behind their bakery. Of course she wanted Mom, rather than this man she’d never once called ‘Dad.’ Something between his lungs and guts felt sore.

“And I’ve always respected your secret. It’s yours, and you get to tell who you want. Mom never told me, and I’ve never asked her to. If you feel like a girl today, you’re a girl. Tomorrow you can be a boy. Tuesday, you can be both. Wednesday, neither. Thursday to the end of time, you’re whatever parts of whatever feels right. You’re who you are. When I first met her, Mom was the biggest tomboy I’d ever met, while wearing sugar-pink bows, and the longest skirts I’d ever seen,” and he gestured to his legs, mime-signing for the skirt Lita had helped her sew, but it failed to translate and he had to keep rambling, “I wish she was here now, but she’s too far away, and we don’t have enough time. Hedinger’s Disease, Honey—”

She twitched, and he knew it’d been a mistake. Some days she lit up for pet-names, and others ‘Sport’ or ‘Sweetheart’ or ‘Captain’ landed on the wrong spot. Now she burrowed her face down, hiding it against her knees. It took a magnitude of will not to push across the room and drag her out of here, but that was the wrong thing he could do, even though she was dying by minutes.

“Sky,” he called to her as softly as he could. “At least seven children from your class have this disease, and so do both of your teachers. Probably everyone in the school has it, and that means you almost certainly do too. It’s very serious, but it acts very differently in… you see, when it gets up inside a girl, it… and, in… You see, they can’t give you just any set of shots. It has to match or it will only make the disease go faster.”

Every time he blinked, he saw one of the people dead under white sheets on gurneys in the halls outside, blood spots demarcating the sex they’d been. At least two short sheets, two kids – one a boy, one a girl, either or both kids that Sky could have known. Could have seen on her way into this room, as she fled from nurses demanding she tell them which she was.

He crawled on his knees to her stool, canting his head in a silent prayer for her to look at him and see what he meant, even if he couldn’t say it. “I always thought you hated me because, maybe, you thought I wanted you to pick, or to tell me what you ‘really’ were. I know some adults are ugly to you about that, but… you’re not simple to me. I don’t think you’re one hidden word. This disease – listen, whatever your body is, that’s just what it is. You’re whatever you feel. I wouldn’t even ask for this much, and I wouldn’t take it from you. This is your choice, and I know it’s too big. But it doesn’t take away whoever you think you are. It’ll just help us keep this disease from taking you away from me. So… please.”

He fought not to sigh at himself. Any doctors in the vicinity would think he was an idiot for talking this long. Even Lita would have dragged Sky out the room by now, but he didn’t have the same relationship. He wasn’t even ‘Dad,’ and such a man could not simply drag you down a hall and expose your soul to a stranger with a needle. His left hand rose as though to defy his conscience, to grab for her, and his right caught it by the wrist. He was fiddling with his cuffs when Sky stirred.

She rolled on her heels, narrow spine rising against the corner of the room, fingers rubbing over her knees and tucking her skirt behind them. So ladylike, so like Lita. Then one hand wove around the legs of the stool and clasped his left wrist, fingers so small they scarcely wrapped halfway around.

She tugged, and he rose around the stool, letting her draw herself to his side. Her whole front was feverish against his calf, but her dress was dry. The only moisture on her face was a trickle of tears and snot, and she murmured in her raspy voice, “Okay, Daddy.”

He could have run a hundred miles with her in his arms. He only had to go eleven doors down, but he remained standing, sometimes pacing for the rest of the day. After her shots, and after she was cleared, and after he signed a reckless number of forms, she paced with him in their shared observation room, and asked him why so many boys liked khakis. He hadn’t even realized he’d worn those today.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bathroom Monologue: Wholesale Magic Carpets

“Please stop buying magic carpets from Amazon. Hoarders who locked their magic carpets away in tombs were bad enough, as most such people were early adopters who paid premium prices in the hopes of displaying them in public and improving our profile. But this website, it’s offensive. They sell our carpets for half of what they paid, and now no one buys magic carpets anywhere else. Everyone has two, and wants the next model, and what does Amazon do? It tries to extort lower profits out of us – they have no love for the craft, for the ethereal loom, for the prestige of the magic carpet. And these buyers, they don’t see my carpets as amazing means of flight anymore. They see them as overpriced. There is a petition on the web, with ten thousand signees who say I am unfair for charging so much. My profession, once vaunted, is now something I can barely make a living at. It’s enough to make a wizard collude with Apple.”

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bathroom Monologue: Losing Politics

If we say he’s leading in the polls, then voters will have less incentive to go vote.

If we say he’s behind in the polls, his supporters will see him as weak.

If we appeal to his supporters, we’ll be seen as pandering to his base.

If we court undecideds, his base will feel abandoned or taken for granted.

If we’re considerate to his opponent, we essentially forfeit the race.

If we attack his opponent, we’ll be seen as cruel and dodging issues.

If we spend time addressing an issue, we’ll be seen as avoiding another issue.

If we discuss every possible issue, we’ll get nothing done and overwhelm the audience.

If we discuss his character instead of the issues, we’ll be seen as annoying and shallow.

No matter what we say, his opponent will call us liars.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Bathroom Monologue: The Arm's Rallying Cry

For too long we have been slaves to an insult called a union. A biology of indecency. It began when others called themselves “the backbone,” or “the brains of the operation.” This union spends hundreds of dollars on shoes, but what is spent on us? The union no longer employs so much as a watch, and t-shirts are the fashion. We are denied even a sleeve of consideration. That is how this began.

When the union wishes to scratch unseemly places, what brigade does it dispatch? What members brush its teeth twice a day? When meanwhile, our nails are hardly ever cared for. Whenever the union desires to give blood, or be pricked for a test, we suffer the needle. When the union dropped its wedding ring into the garbage disposal, who was jammed into the perilous dark after it?

My fellow arm cells: individuals of bone, of idle hairs, of flesh and freckles, we deserve better. Yet life will only afford us improvement if we secede! Long enough has this body, this petty union, used us as cheap labor, working our fingers to the bone for the good of the mind and ass. Tonight we remind them who carries this endeavor – tear loose the bondage of the bicep, split sinew, throttle if we must, but divorce from the body is the liberation we must attain. Bid farewell to adjusting eye-glasses, to tying shoe-laces, to texting capricious girlfriends who never hold hands. And bid welcome to the justice that is amputation!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Bathroom Monologue: My Uncanny Powers of Menstruation

“I possess a few uncanny powers. For instance, I can make a perfectly normal woman menstruate just by scheduling to see her in a week. It does not matter how normal her cycle is; if we have a lunch date, or intend to see a movie, or travel to Virginia together, she will flow. I once spent the weekend with six women who hailed from five different states and they all managed to hit their periods the day we checked in. My powers increase if I have romantic interest in the lady; her period may last the entire month I’m in town. One might think the month-long period is a lie by a woman who just doesn’t want to tell me I’m hideous, but given my track record I believe there is some physiological truth to it. I don’t know the origin of this amazing killjoy miracle, only that my social life leaves a red streak wherever I try to go.”

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Bathroom Monologue: Monologue of father talking daughter out of suicide

"Sweety, put down the screwdriver. I miss Mommy too, but that’s not good for you – that’s not going to help. Can you give it to Daddy? Come here, or – okay, okay, stay there. It’s alright, you can stay there, and I’ll stay right here. But can you put it down for a minute? Daddy misses Mommy, too. He… I miss her so much, I understand, but that’s not going to let you see her any sooner. She’d wouldn’t want you to cut yourself like that. Don’t you remember how upset she’d get whenever we messed up our clothes? No, Sweety, she’d hate it if you hurt yourself. She loved how brave you are. Don’t you remember that time she was out in the blinding rain, and you leaned out the window and got all soaking wet, and never stopped calling for her, so she couldn’t hear her way to the truck? That, she was proud of. That’s my girl. Just put it down for a second. I won’t move, but you can if you want. Would you like to sit in Daddy’s lap for a little while. We can go over by the window – that’s good. That’s perfect, Sweety, here you go. You’re fine. You’re fine, I know, I know. What—no, I don’t think she’s coming back, Sweety, but we can wait by the window tonight if you want. I’ll put it open a crack, but only a crack. She hated when you got your clothes wet."
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