Draw Something Nice
Wendy E. Wallace
She still crutches out to the bar because she has the sort of friends who expect her to keep up or be left at home, and she props her casted leg up on a bar stool against the persistent throb and tells strangers who ask that she got bitten by a shark while surfing (even though she actually fell down her apartment stairs and has always been too afraid to surf), and when the friend she’s maybe a little in love with borrows a sharpie from the bartender she hopes he’ll sign his name or draw a cute porcupine or a sun with sunglasses bubbling Get well soon from its mouth but no, he draws a dick and balls and laughs because how funny that none of them takes anything seriously and especially not her, and suddenly she wants to grab him by the wrist and say Draw something nice in this cold commanding voice that scares him into saying sorry and meaning it and then turning the dick and balls into a dolphin frolicking in some waves, but instead she laughs too and sips her beer and wishes her leg could go back to being just a clean expanse of bright blue and also stop hurting hurting hurting so much.
About My Future
When my mother alludes to that time at all, she says, Someone had to think about your future, but I sort of wonder what she meant, since after we scrambled back into our jeans in the back of that Camaro she sent me to live with my great-aunt Irene, and while I graduated at the top of my class of fourteen, I didn’t have any money for college and she refused to give me any (and I sure as hell hadn’t had any internships in that one-turn-off campers’ retreat that could have become a job) so I became the assistant manager at the Food Lion by virtue of a diploma and an ability to make correct change, and now, seventeen years later, when I see you come in with your wife and tween children to buy graham crackers, Hershey bars, and marshmallows, I tell Jordan to take over the register, even though I know it means the drawer will be off and I’m already on my second warning.
From The Gospels of the Month Club…The New Adventures of Jesus
Entry “O”: “Ordinary Time” or “There Are No Exclamation Points in the Bible”
Jesus perused a grammar tutorial after mass and stopped reading after discovering the fourth punctuation mark that could end a sentence—a strange line dotted at the bottom as if the printer had wanted to make an l but ran out of ink or smudged the penultimate stroke with the heel of his hand—and egged on by its strangeness, the Son of Man consulted the only other book in the pew, a tattered copy of a missallette from the summer months (the only time he visited church, since, in Ordinary time, there are no periods, nothing to mark the end of one event and the beginning of another, which made him feel more alive; and then there was always the free air conditioning), in an attempt to find its twin, but it took a while and finally he had to bug a woman from the Marion Society, tugging on her pink beauty pageant sash, to catch her attention and ask where the beginning of the story was so he could start from a logical place, but she told him this was Ordinary Time, cycle C, and that they had carved up the stories so they made more sense and that she didn’t know if anyone there had a Bible, when from above in the choir loft, the choir director, a petite Venezuelan, a real beauty queen, (but then who wasn’t in Venezuela?), with dark eyes barely lollipopping over the rail, sang out that she had a copy of one that she used to sit on when she played the pipe organ, so Jesus climbed a back stairwell up into the loft and once there made small talk with the organist, who had indeed won the Miss Venezuelita Pageant 1991 (a contest, she noted, for women no taller than five sacks of coffee beans), and who repeated she knew nothing of such a mark in the Bible, that screaming was for putas (she blessed herself) and who then fiddled with an acrostic sentence that helped her remember the opening to “Silent Night”—(A)ll (Gb)uilty (C)atholics (E)xpedite (C)hurch (B)ulletins to (C)hrist’s (C)rib for (A)n (A)utograph (B)ut (F)ail to (G#)et (Am)ple (Pb)ostage—taped above the keyboard—a mnemonic device on a pneumatic device, Jesus joked but she did not find it as funny though she smiled anyway in that fake dead-eyed, beauty pageant way—and who changed the subject when Jesus asked her to show him a Pb on the key, taking the book from his hand and pointing with a cherry finger nail exactly where the first exclamation point was in Genesis, which she pronounced like a sultry soft “Y” (Sultry Pronunciation/Exegesis of the Bible being one of the most sought after talents for all Venezuelan beauty queens [church pipe organeering being second]) and who teased if he were really a holy man, he would know that the devil first uses it when he, disguised as a serpent, tells Eve, “You shall not die!” right after she eats that fruit from the tree of wisdom, and that this devilish mark having been revealed then only occurs afterward in situations where God is angry, cursing, damning, or smiting, which is quite often in the first part and not as frequent in the second, the final usage of the mark being used with none of those emotions, but rather, with grief, as when the Lord cried out on the cross that last time, and when Jesus asked her what his final words were, she wrote the sentence for him in Spanish there on the chorus book, turning the strange mark onto its feet before the first letter of the sentence, only to turn it upside down on its head after the last, and, once finished, handed him the pen, licked her teeth, and said: “If I had to give death a punctuation mark, it would have been a comma.”
The Weather of the Desert
A pilot arrives in town on foot and enters the only bar and when the other patrons in the bar ask about the pilot’s plane and ask about the passengers and ask about the blood on the pilot’s shirt and the dirt on his boots and the soot on his coat, he holds his glass of red wine to the sky and he sings a song in a language no one in the town cares to understand.
I tried to quit him, which I thought I could do because I had quit smoking twice before and since I wasn’t snorting or injecting or inhaling him, I figured it would be easier, except instead of quitting him, I: made him a jar of affirmations to cheer him up on a bad day, plucked beautiful smooth stones from a wet beach at sunset to give to him when I got home from vacation, gifted him a book of gourmet spicy chocolates for his big birthday, emailed him a song about vampires and how people should appreciate each other while they can because our time on earth is not infinite, undressed down to a hot pink bra and sent him a photo from an angle above, kept his secrets quiet and close, waited and waited and waited, ripped my own bloody heart out with my bare hands and placed it inside his chest so that instead of one beat he had two, one for him and one for the person I used to be.