Monday, January 30, 2006

Pages from my diary of flamboyant untruths, part six:

(Pssssst! You! Yeah, you! The casual reader sitting there
reading this during some "downtime" at work, I'm talking
to you. You see, you might not know this, but this post re-
quires some serious "prep" work on your part. Let me lay
it out for you...

First, you have to read part one. Then you have to read
part two. After that, you should read part three. As if this
wasn't onerous enough, you'll have to follow this up by
reading part four. With this finished, you can move on to
part five and then, and only then, can you read this, the
sixth and final installment of a saga that went on far long-
er than was prudent.

Sorry about all that.)

In my part of town, all the sexiest women work at butcher
shops. This is why I don’t eat much red meat–I’m too
intimidated to buy any. It’s an unpleasant experience,
having to approach a glamorous, statuesque, blood-
spattered beauty queen and ask for “tenderloin” or “ fresh
ground chuck” or a nice, juicy “prime hock”. I’m not asham-
ed to admit that, under pressures like these, I don’t perform
as admirably as I might like. I’m too hesitant, too bashful
and–to compensate–I tend to giggle like a like a porn film
prison guard.

That was the old me, though. The new me had a mojo hand,
a whole bunch of John the Conquer root, and a pep talk from
my psychologist. I had nothing to be afraid of anymore: not
ridicule, not humiliation, not even a ten-gallon jar of goat
eyeballs. I was all confidence, charm and clean teeth. The
idea of failure was too abstract for me now. I couldn’t get
my mind around it. Fail? What does fail mean? Is that
one of the unfortunate things that’s always happening to
losers, wastrels, and dorks? Who knows! Whatever it was,
I certainly didn’t have to trouble my mind with it.

I had become one of those guys. You know the kind I mean.

It was exhilarating. I walked the entire eleven miles to the
biggest, most chic butcher shop in Minneapolis. This was in
the summertime, so I was fairly sweaty by the time I got
there. This caused me no concern whatsoever. To my
way of thinking, it seemed that a little whiff of my man-
musk would only enhance my appeal. Women like a man
with a strong, pungent odor. It lets them know that here,
at last, is a mate who doesn’t waste his time showering or
applying deodorant when he could be out there doing heavy
labor or participating in team sports.

The place was packed, as it always is, but that was no hazard
to me. I pushed past the thronging hordes of lesser men to
take my rightful spot right in front of the counter. Before
me stood such a vision of loveliness and grace that even
George Clooney would stammer in her presence. Her hair
was more lustrous than all the wheat fields in Iowa and her
eyes were like limpid pools of water so blue it was obvious
to all that they were the kinds of pools you find in your five-
star resorts, not just some dumpy, urine-polluted Red Roof
Inn pools. Her nametag said “Bernice” and her smile said

“May you?” she exhaled. She was holding a gory
cleaver in her hands, which was–at the moment–awesomely
arousing. I was glad I had spent the entire two-hour walk
there devising my “line”.

With unprecedented cool, I pushed my normal voice down
two octaves and purred, “You must sell a lot meat here, but
tell me this, Bernice: does anyone sell you meat? Because
I’ve got some meat right here. Some long, hard, smoked
meat. Are you interested in my meat? Would you like to
sample my meat? Please, beautiful Bernice: sample my

“I want you so much,” she said, “I want you right now.”

Could she have said anything else? Was there any other
possible response to such thorough and manly seduction?
I knew I could not rest on my laurels, however. Women
that beautiful must be kept in a constant state of awe. “You
know what?” I said to her as I leaned over the counter, “You’re
so fantastic I almost projectile vomited just then.” This, I
figured, would make me seem self-effacing and sweet. It’s
important not to come on simply as a one-dimensional he-
man, you also have to show some depth.

“Ravish me!” she cried as she ran her hands up and down
her bloody smock, “Bring me to the pinnacles of ecstacy!
Carry me to the forbidden palace of bliss!”

This is where I felt it necessary to “slow things down” a bit,
as the jostling crowd behind us was getting a touch impatient.
“Yes, yes. I shall do all that and more, fair Bernice,” I said,
“But there is one thing I must tell you before we begin. One
trifling thing, yet it embarrasses so much me to say...”

“What? What is it, my love?” she asked me, and I could
sense the terror arising within her soul. I had to calm her
down quickly. I am not a sadistic man.

“We must construct our citadel of joy, our earthly pup tent
of delight, at your home, my truffle, as my apartment is
infested with a million deadly spiders. I don’t fear for my
own life, mind you, but the pain and guilt would be just too
much if I knew I had exposed you to their foul toxins!” I
said and she reached across the counter and pulled me into
her embrace, showering me with kisses and smearing my
clothes with copious quantities of animal blood. Somewhere
in my brain, I told myself that I had to remember to thank
my psychologist profusely. She was a true genius.

Bernice’s place wasn’t far away. The trip there was a blur
of groping, feverish grunts, and wet sensations deep in the
folds of my underpants. Like a true gentleman, I carried
her up the stairs of her apartment building and over the
threshold of her bedroom, at which point I threw her onto
the mattress and turned myself over to the age-old act of
“getting busy”.

Yet I had barely managed to wrestle my own shirt off before
we were interrupted by a very loud bang. It sounded like it
had come from far below us. “What was that?” Bernice cried.

“That’s the way my heart beats for you, my dumpling of
happiness,” I said and I could tell she wanted to believe it
but was reluctant to. I stuck my tongue in her mouth to
calm her down. I didn’t want her distracted by the outside
world. The poor dear was nervous. That was touching to
me. I would soothe her and protect her. I would serve as
her big, fleshy security blanket against the depredations of

I was really full of myself for a moment there. I didn’t even
hear the banging when it started up again. Bernice did,
though, and she grabbed hold of me. “There it is! Can’t you
hear that?” she whispered.

“Oh, it’s probably nothing,” I said, but dread was blossoming
inside me. Now, I know that “dread” does not necessarily
“blossom”, but cut a break on that. I’m writing this in a
frenzy, you see, because these events are deeply traumatic
to me. I cannot be troubled by niceties of style and usage
when I’m showing my most inflamed wounds to the public
at large. If you’re the sort of person who demands such
things, perhaps you ought to re-evaluate your entire life.
Take some time out and reacquaint yourself with what’s
truly valuable in this world. I’ll give you a hint, though:
it’s not style and usage. Oh no. They’re way down on
the list, Mister Grammarian...

But you must forgive me. I’m only unloading on you be-
cause I’m upset. I’m upset because the banging only got
louder and louder as it got closer and closer and, before
long, it had completely spoiled the mood I had worked
so hard to set. My sweet Bernice was, by this time, quite
distraught and in no position to be subject to the Kevin
Love. “What is that? What is that?” she asked, all frantic
and anxious and even prettier than ever.

“I’ll go see,” I said, and it was quite chivalrous of me, I
might add. Although not as chivalrous as it would have
been had I not known exactly what to expect out there.
Because there was nothing else it could have been besides
a ten-gallon jar of goat eyeballs. What else could it have
been? An army of angry bunny rabbits? A two-headed
dwarf? Jimmy Carter? That would have been absurd,
simply absurd. No, no: I threw open her front door and
there it was, my burden, sitting there on the carpet, look-
ing as guileless as ever. “Go away!” I hissed at it, but it
just tromped over my feet to get inside the apartment.

Have you ever seen a ten-gallon jar of goat eyeballs move
across a near-stranger’s apartment? Until that point, neither
had I. “Get out! Shoo! Out with you!” I commanded it, but
it wasn’t listening. It didn’t have ears, of course, but I none-
theless felt that its intransigence was willful.

This was when Bernice came out of her bedroom and asked
a question that, in retrospect, I must consider wholly legit-
imate: “What the hell is this all about?”

Surprised, I had no recourse but the truth. “Oh. That’s my
ten-gallon jar of goat eyeballs. It follows me everywhere I go...”

“I know what it is!” Bernice shrieked, “What, do you think
I’m stupid? Do you think I’m some sort of tart or something?
Is that it?”

I was at a loss. My jar had sidled up to her and was tilting
back a few inches to take her in, the eyeballs whirling around
with obvious excitement. She kicked it over and threw herself
down on her couch, tears pouring from her eyes. “Why does
this always happen to me?” she cried.

“Ummm...” I said. I was watching the jar as it rolled around
on the floor, trying to work up the momentum to set itself
upright again.

“If it’s not goat eyeballs, it’s sheep testicles. If it’s not sheep
testicles, it’s chicken spleens. If it’s not chicken spleens, it’s
toad gizzards...why is that? Why? Why?” Bernice moaned
before her voice broke into heartbreaking sobs.

I didn’t know what to do. I patted her on the shoulder and
said, “There, there...”

She let out a single, unpleasantly loud sniffle and said, “I’m
going to have to kill you just like all the others...”

“Oh. I see,” I said. I took my hand from her tender flesh
and placed it firmly in my pocket. Tiptoeing to the door, I
said “I think it’s time for me to go...”

“Just give me a second,” she said, wiping her achingly beau-
tiful eyes. She stood up and, trembling a bit, went into her
kitchen. A second later, her voice came calling, “I just have
to find that one knife I like to use...”

“Take your time. That’s cool,” I called back and then bolted
through the door, down the stairs, and out onto the street
below. I ran for as long as it was possible for me to run. I ran
past fancy new condos, decrepit old slums, smokestacks, fact-
ories, renovated lofts, quaint ethnic business districts, not
quaint ethnic business districts, and finally right back to the
fancy new condos again. I was running along the banks of
the river when I finally ran out of breath and collapsed in a

That’s where I was when my ten-gallon jar of goat eyeballs
caught up with me. It came thumping down the jogging
path and nudged me once, twice, three times and then
rested there, gazing down at me with something not
unlike pity.

“Hi,” I croaked and it just rocked back and forth. I’ll
say this for it: it can be patient. It waited until I was
rested enough to stand up and then it followed me down
to the riverbank. It was very trusting. I don’t think it
had any idea what I was thinking, though.

I took my mojo hand out of my marsupial pouch and held
it out so that at least a few of the goat eyeballs couldn’t
help but see it. Spilling John the Conquer root everywhere,
I shook it in front of the jar and, with my voice made raspy
by desperation and exhaustion, I said “Is this what you
want? Is it?”

The ten-gallon jar of goat eyeballs gave no reply and I took
that as an abashed affirmative. Without really thinking too
much about it, I hurled my mojo hand as far as I could and
smirked with satisfaction as it struck the surface of the river
and sunk below, leaves of John the Conquer root scattered
on the current like rose petals in some sort of far Eastern
funeral ceremony. I took a deep breath and turned to face
my jar, which was watching all this with an air of subdued

“Well, go get it, then!” I told it. “Go on! Go get it!”

Its eyes looked out at the water and then looked back at
me, looked at the water and looked at me again. And again.
And again. And once more. Then, after a pause in which
all my hopes and dreams of a better life fizzled out with a
weak farting sound, the eyes turned to me and stayed there.
The jar rubbed up against my leg like a tabby cat and I could
do nothing but say, “Oh, okay. Okay. Okay then.”

I walked home and it followed me at a respectful distance. I left
the front door open for it and it scooted in after me. From the
vantage point of my barca-lounger, where I sat bereft and
gloomy, I watched it crawl up onto my coffee table and make
itself comfortable there. It had won. I had lost. It was up to
me to accommodate myself to its presence.

I was still trying to do this when my phone rang. It was M-l,
of course, calling to chat about the human cadavers she had just
been mucking around with. I felt like a cadaver myself, but
cadavers probably smelled better than I did. I was really ripe.
I smelled like sweat, river mud, and about a gallon’s worth of
prostrate secretions. I was also strange and excessively emot-
ional but, of course, I’ve already told you about all of that and
there’s really no need to hash it all out again.

Put plainly, I have no more mojo hand. I don’t have even a
scrap of John the Conquer root left. All I have is a ten-gallon
jar of goat eyeballs. A ten-gallon jar of goat eyeballs that
follows me everywhere I go. People are generally wary of
guys who have ten-gallon jars of goat eyeballs following
them everywhere they go. I guess this means my life is
pretty much ruined.

But maybe I’m too pessimistic. My Craigslist ad has been
getting some pretty good responses.