Friday, January 20, 2006

Pages from my diary of flamboyant untruths, part three:

(If you're going to read this, you might as well start at
the beginning.

And if you're committed enough to read the be-
ginning, why not read the middle while you're at

Because otherwise I worry that this won't make
much sense.)

“You’re not bringing that up here,” came the voice from the
peeling pink porch. The sun was half-way down and I had
neither the energy nor the inclination to argue. I was tired
and in a foul mood. I had just rolled a ten-gallon jar of goat
eyeballs from one end of town to the other.

I set it upright on the sidewalk and climbed the short flight
of stairs to where my friends were lounging, half-drunk, on
overstuffed sofas. “I had sort of a weird day,” I explained to

Tr-y, my friend who rented the squat, salmon-colored house
we were staying at, was bent forward and studying the object
sitting in front of his home. “I hope,” he said, “You haven’t
been tampering with the unknown.”

“Me?” I protested, “No, no, no. Of course not. I got that from
some chick. It’s like a tradition down here or something.”

Gr-g piped up here. He was–and still is–a long, lean fellow and
he could be quite charming when he wasn’t pointing out how
short I am. I am not short. I am somewhere between five-foot-
eight-inches and five-foot-nine-inches. Any scientific journal
will inform you that this is precisely the median for males in
this country. So there, Gr-g. Anyway, I was going to tell you
what he said. He said, “That looks like a bunch of sheep eyeballs
to me.”

“It’s goat eyeballs actually. It’s a Creole thing. It’s like the
New Orleans version of a bouquet of roses.”

“Bullshit,” said Tr-y, who had been living down there for
awhile now. “I know hoodoo when I see it. Keep that out
of my house.”

“No problem, man,” I said before I went shuffling inside.
There, after hiding my brand new mojo hand in the mar-
supial-style pouch located between my diaphragm and
my navel, I slumped onto the nearest couch and fell
immediately into a very deep sleep.

The next day, I awoke before the sun rose. On the couch
across me, my friend R-g--a swashbuckling accountant of
fearsome reputation–was snoring at his usual awesome
volume. It wasn’t long before listening to this became un-
pleasant, so I got up and went out onto the porch. There,
in the day’s weak first light, I yawned and stretched, exult-
ing in the beauty of a New Orleans morning. My reverie
was interrupted, however, when I stubbed my toe on the
ten-gallon jar of goat eyeballs, which was now resting in a
shadowy corner of the porch.

Oh, I thought, someone must have brought this in from the
sidewalk. I didn’t think much more about it that day, though,
because a few minutes later, my friend Er-c came out in his
bathrobe, holding a steaming mug of coffee.

“What’s up, man?” he asked.

“Not much,” I said.

He took a long sip of his coffee, peered out over the silent
Uptown street, and said, “You want to go to the strip club?”

I patted the mojo hand secreted deep within my marsupial
pouch and I said, “Yes I do. Very much so.”

Three or four days later, we had to leave Tr-y and New
Orleans behind and return to the upper Midwest. By this time,
I had mostly forgotten about my ten-gallon jar of goat eyeballs.
So, when we were packing up the car, it wasn’t exactly that I
was trying to leave it behind, it was more that I simply ne-
glected to bring it with me. Besides, at the time my heart
was overflowing with sorrow at leaving that beautiful,
beautiful city, so I feel I was justified in being a trifle

The drive back, I’m afraid, was more eventful than it
should have been. The first hint of trouble was when we
stopped for gas in Meridian, Mississippi. This was before I
came to understand that the effects of my mojo hand, while
impressive, were also highly indiscriminate. It was, as I
believe I have noted previously, almost bursting with John
the Conquer root, which–as any hoodoo practitioner or
botanist will tell you–makes a mojo hand quite potent

Still, I couldn’t imagine that it could provoke cashiers at
out-of-the-way Southern filling stations to assault me in
the men’s room, especially given the strict sodomy statutes
they have down there. This was a eye-opening experience,
to be sure, but what was even more ominous was what she
said after she had peeled herself off me and started to re-
arrange her clothing. “I think I love you,” she twanged,
“But you smell like formaldehyde...”

This struck me as odd, but I was willing to write it off as a
charming Dixie send-off that my Yankee ears were unaccus-
tomed to. I took my leave of her and walked crookedly out
to the idling car, where my friends were waiting. “Took you
long enough,” Greg said as I climbed in beside him.

Our next stop was Memphis, which was the site of a pro-
tracted, exhausting, and almost violent tryst between myself
and Marianne, the French maid at our hotel. In retrospect,
we probably should have retired to a linen closet or an ice-
machine room or somewhere like that instead of just availing
ourselves of one of our room’s queen-sized beds, especially
since my three good friends were all crowded together on
the other, taking turns pressing the two flimsy pillows to
their ears in a feeble attempt to blot out our relentless
crescendi of ecstacy.

When it was all done with and we lay spent on the sweat-
drenched sheets, Marianne whispered to me, “Mon amour,
vous satez comme une morgue!”

J’taime, toots,” I whispered back and promptly fell into
a refreshing slumber.

The next morning, as my friends and I prepared to con-
tinue our journey north, I was made the butt of many
hurtful comments. This abuse continued all the way
through Arkansas, didn’t lessen a bit in Missouri, and
actually got worse as we entered Illinois. Here the dis-
graceful attacks on my dignity and character reached a
climax of sorts. The worst moment was right after Er-c
made an idle comment on how we weren’t making good
time. “Yeah,” chimed in R-g, “We’d be in Chicago by now
if monkey-dick back there wasn’t weighing down the trunk
with his collection of cow eyeballs...”

I’ll admit I was a bit stunned at this. I certainly didn’t re-
member putting the jar in the car. Somebody else must
have. “They’re goat eyeballs...” was all I could offer in my
defense at the moment, I was so baffled.

In my shame and befuddlement, I came to the opinion that
decisive action was what was necessary. An hour or so after
R-g’s idle (if cruel) comment, we had to pull into a rest stop
to let Gr-g go pee. While my friends were busy studying the
snack machines, I popped the trunk and peered inside. R-g
wasn’t lying. The jar sat there amid our suitcases and sacks
of dirty clothes, its thousand eyeballs gazing out at me with
as much innocence as disembodied goat parts can muster.
Marshaling my strength, I picked it up, brought it to a near-
by incline, and sent it rolling down into a drain culvert. I then
went to go buy myself a Bit-O-Honey. Those things have a lot
of calories, I realize, but I felt I deserved a treat for coming up
with and executing such a crafty solution to the whole ten-gallon
jar of goat eyeballs problem.

The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful, except for when Er-c
got stabbed by a band of violent, scooter-riding midgets outside
of Beloit, Wisconsin. A little hydrogen peroxide and he was fine,
though, and we didn’t even have to take him to the hospital.

This was lucky, come to think of it, because hospitals in south-
ern Wisconsin are known to be involved in that whole black-
market organ trade.

It was a relief when we pulled up at my apartment. My friends
are fine men one and all, but being crammed in a mid-sized
American car with them for sixteen days can try anyone’s
patience. I said my goodbyes, locked myself up in my room,
and sat for awhile admiring my mojo hand. “Sweet mojo hand,”
I said to it, “You and I are going to make a great team. I’m so
happy I found you, darling lil’ mojo hand, filled as you are with
John the Conquer root. I love you. I really, really love you...”

I was just about to shower my mojo hand with a series of passion-
ate kisses when there was a rapping at my door. It was Gr-g.
“What is it?” I asked, perhaps a trifle rudely, as I yanked open-
ed the door.

“You forgot your stupid pig eyes, asshole,” he explained as
he shoved the jar into my arms.

I looked down at it. It was looking back at me. “Wha-wha-
wha?” was all I could say, but it didn’t matter. Gr-g was
already stalking back to the car, shaking his head in disgust.
They pulled off down the street and I haven’t seen them since.
I hope they’re all alright.

As for me, this was just the beginning of my dreadful ordeal.