Monday, February 16, 2004

I Heard Something Day!

A rustle. Say it was a rustle. In the bushes. When he goes outside in his slippers to check on the noise, do your cocaine.

Outside, he'll find nothing, no one, nowhere. He'll walk around the house. He'll shine a flashlight around the back of the shed. He'll say, "Anyone there?" Then he'll realize that you only sent him outside so you could do your cocaine.

He'll fall to a seat on the top-step of the rear porch and light a cigarette he fishes from his robe pocket. He keeps a pack there, since you keep on sending him outside late at night so you can do your cocaine.

"Why does she have to keep on doing her cocaine?" he'll ask the honeysuckle bush. "She says she won't ever do it again, every single day she says, 'Honey, never again. No more will you find the grains of that cursed powder spilling over the edge of our night-table. I've just been so sad now that I don't have my teaching.' And the very next night, here I am. Pretending to go and look for imaginary intruders because I'm too exhausted to go inside and slap that mirror away from under her nose. There's all the shaking of the shoulders. The grabbing at the shoulders and the shaking and the screaming, 'Goddammit how many times are you gonna give in? Is it worth it? Is our marriage worth it?'"

Inside, you'll be doing your cocaine, trying do it all as fast as you can, unaware that you're fooling no one. He's just waiting for you to finish up and get into your chair to start reading with that mini-book light he bought you last Christmas after he realized how much you like to stay up and read after doing your cocaine.

Outside, a man will come walking down the middle of the street. He'll stop when he sees your husband coming around from the back of the house in his bathrobe. He'll say, "Friend?"

Your husband will stop and shine his flashlight on the man. A couple of flannels and some workpants. Clearly a vagrant.

"Friend, have you something to eat? Or do you know where an able-bodied man such as myself might find a decent day's work for a decent day's pay?"

Your husband won't be able to swallow his smile. I found her intruder, he'll think.

"Do something for me," your husband will say. "I'll give you fifty bucks."

Inside, you'll be packing away your mirror and you'll get up to wipe your nose in the bathroom and marvel at the Grecian magnificence of your physical presence in the bathroom vanity. You'll hear your husband shout.

"But I made it all up," you'll think. "Or by making it up, did I will a murderous intruder into being, sending my husband out to a doom of my making? Motherfucking cocaine." You'll say that last part out loud to the drawer of the night-table. Then you'll hear your husband shout again. This time he'll shout your name.

You'll run out to the front step and you'll find your husband on the lawn, bleeding from the forehead. You'll see a silhouette running off down the street.

"Oh honey, oh my baby I'm sorry." You'll cradle his wounded head in your lap on the lawn.

"Call the police," your husband will whimper.

You'll suck in some air and try to curb the rocking in your cocaine-charged knees.

"Go on," he'll say. "He's getting away. Call the police."

"He's already gone," you'll say. "In fact, he was never there." Now you'll start crying.

Your husband won't let his face show how pleased he is with his ingenuity. He'll clench his features up in feigned agony. "What are you saying?"

"That man who hurt you," you'll sob. "I brought him to our house. When I sent you out here, I had heard nothing. I just wanted to do my cocaine."

"You were doing your cocaine?" your husband will shout, with a little too much shock.

"Yes, and that man that hurt you. He was just a manifestation of my addiction. A physicalization of the hurt I'm bringing upon those I love by doing my cocaine. He wasn't real. Or at least, he was as real as the wedge I'm driving between us. Oh honey, I promise, I'll never do my cocaine again."

"Shake on it?" your husband will say from your lap.

He'll hold his hand up to you. You'll hesitate for a second, but you'll take his hand in yours and you'll shake. Therefore, you'll never do your cocaine again.

Happy I Heard Something Day!