My heart still leaps at the thought of my spalding ball.
with pied-piper powers, it bounced, without social conscience, into new territories,
providing entreé everywhere behind the scenes.
My friend Rowena was instrumental in my education, when, at the tender age of five . . .
. . . she suggested I pleasantly surprise my mother by striding up to her to say, in a clear, bright voice: "fuck-you-mommy".
Thrilled to have a mission entrusted to me by the worldly Rowena, who, as you can see, had glorious red hair and a wide and generous smile;
yours truly, beaming with
pride, determination, sugar and spice, went to my mother and ceremoniously endowed her
with my new best word:
I hear a large "pop", then silence; suddenly not a sound from the motors. It seems the plane is going down and the pilot, copilot and flight engineer are making tracks all over the plane in a dither. Their pants are wet and they have totally lost control of the plane as well as their bodily functions. They are frantically looking for the exits, as if their chances for survival had ended, and it was now only a matter of choosing the least painful death; inside the burning wreckage or outside in the cold airless blue yonder.
I palpably f eel the descent of the plane - all of its weight seems concentrated in my own seat, and in me. My density is increasing by geometric progression, in leaps and bounds; it is overwhelming. At the same time I am shrinking and my seat is getting larger and larger. I try to tighten my seat belt but I cannot outpace the shrinkage.
"Funny", says my mind, stately couched in a center of calm in the tornado of panic, "the loss of power accelerates the speed - falling is faster than flying".
Her face became white, then red, and I was dragged off, screaming and bewildered, to the bathroom where she washed my mouth out with a sickly-sweet scented soap. She was so angry, she never said what was wrong, but watching bubbles emerging from my mouth and nose, I thought, while I screamed, that perhaps it had less to do with syntax than with something explicitly wrong with the content of what I had said.
Two main issues took precedence in my mind: Rowena's betrayal and my mother's willingness to misunderstand my motives...... my friend had used me to her own wicked satisfaction; and my mother had completely forgotten who
... the one who made snowhouses, paper hats and aprons; paintings of streams, trees, seeds, animals, busybumblebees and cocoons with little creatures inside them changing into butterflies and moths: beautiful grownups. I was the one who performed flinging dances while she smiled and clapped her hands.
With the foul stuff foaming in my mouth, horror seeped slowly into my system, leaving an indelible watermark wherever it settled.
My life was different than theirs in that it wasn't amplified in real time, but in PLAY TIME, and play, a source of intense rapture, WAS NOT REAL!
I was watched not because I was beautiful but because I lived in my imagination which was a dangerously NOT REAL PLACE.
I was not only a bother; but a bother that said "fuck-you-mommy".
"Jack, said my mother "you won't believe what she said to me today. I washed her mouth out with soap because I had to teach her a lesson."
So evidently, there were good words and bad words.
But why? Because I had never heard it before?
So then (I wondered): if a word is a new word, should one ask if it is good or bad before putting it to use?
I guess so.
Unless you like to eat soap.
The night of the soap in the mouth, I was tucked in rather coldly I thought. As usual, the big headboard and footboard of my little gray bed did nothing to quarantine me from the perpetual stream of unwelcome visitors during the night. Tonight it was the stewardess from the airplane.
"Listen", she whispered, pointing out the airplane window, "come with me to the battleship".
The plane was tilted in sharp descent and so even in my state of tiny density it was easy to see the ship perched on the horizon line. It was all of a shiny, iridescent metal, and every single square inch of its surface was covered with guns and cannon turrets and bayonets. There wasn't a space left where you could even put down a cup of hot chocloate!
There were letters on the turrets. I could read them one by one. They spelled out:
"This is where you'll get your training", she said, "and you'll be safe".
I climbed into her hand and sat there, a bit fearful and sad, "I have to be honest", I said, "I'm not sure this is the right choice"
"You don't have to be honest", she said, and was off to deliver me.
Nestling in her hand, I allowed her to carry me off to the battleship, and I never saw her face again as she deposited me there and flew off to her next mission of mercy.
Write to Dr. Musing, c/o:
The Casaba Melon Institute