Sunday, June 26, 2011
You know how when you go to mow the grass and you get halfway done with the front yard and run out of gas? You go into the garage and look for your gas can, but then you realize it’s empty. You stand there in the front yard looking at your trusty lawn mower. You reminisce about the many springs and summers it’s been with you, all the hard work you’ve done together. It really begins to tug at your already thin heartstrings and you’re suddenly showered with an overwhelming sense of duty to give it what it needs. So you grab the gas can, put it on the floorboard on the passenger side of the car, quickly turn on the air because it’s as hot as a whore’s pussy in hell, and drive toward the gas station with every intent of simply filling it up and returning home. But on the way to the gas station, you see a guy on the side of the road selling watermelons out of the back of his truck. You pull to a stop hesitantly at a yellow light. For some reason, you just really want to stop and look at him for a few seconds. The car behind you honks in exasperation. You ignore him. Watching the watermelon guy is worth every curse falling from honking guy’s face. And as you watch watermelon guy wiping the sweat off his brow with a filthy hand towel, you are suddenly gripped with a golden, glowing idea. When the light turns green, you ignore the insistent pleas of the gas can and make a right onto the curb next to watermelon guy’s truck. By this point, your idea is screaming and dancing the Nutcracker on your fused anterior fontanelle. Know what I’m sayin? After inspecting each watermelon with all of the prowess and watermelon-growing knowledge of a hedgehog, you pick out the one that you believe to be the best representation of green, oval, fruity perfection. You hand the guy a five and tell him to keep the change. You don’t wait for a response, but evict the gas can from its prime real estate in the floorboard, relegating it to the back seat instead. You ever so gently place your watermelon on the floorboard, concerned that if you place it on the seat and have to make a sudden stop, it could possibly roll off onto the floorboard and break its neck. For a fleeting moment, you consider the gas can and the half-mowed front yard. But it’s only fleeting. As you turn in the opposite direction of the gas station and begin to drive back home, your senses start to reel at the thought of unclothing this ripe, juicy thing of beauty rolling around on your floorboard. It’s almost more than you can handle. Almost. Pulling into your driveway, you see your lawn mower still sitting where you left it. So empty. So lonely. Dirty scowl on its motorized face. It’s been waiting for you. And you have only returned with disappointment and rejection in your arms. That is, until you retrieve your watermelon from the floorboard, at which point your arms are overflowing with wonder and brilliance, like a long, cold draught of ice water after a sweltering afternoon of cutting grass, but without the cutting grass part. Because you have no gas, remember? But to the lawn mower, it means nothing. No matter. You make your way into the house, fumbling with your keys for a minute because your hands are busy cradling wonder and brilliance. When you finally yank the deadbolt out of its warm little square-shaped slumber and sling the door back against the rubber stopper, you feel a rush of man-made refrigerant hit your face. Safety and comfort and silence. All those things your lawn mower has denied you, while in turn demanding to constantly be filled, unrequited and unreturned. The grass can wait. With all the ginger plucking of a 3-year-old in a field of dandelions, you unsheathe the sharpest most dutiful knife from the cutting block on the counter. Position its tip just right, intending to cut straight down the center, but the very second you plunge the knife into the bowel of your fruit, something happens you did not intend. The watermelon sprouts a leg. Just one. Kind of skinny, a knobby knee, 5 little gum-wad sized toes. It sort of wriggles the same way a granddaddy longlegs leg wriggles when you pluck it off. Strange. You stab again. And again, another leg, perfectly matching the first, muscles spasm the same. Interesting. And again, the knife cuts. An arm. And another. Another slice. An ear. And again. You stand in awe for a moment, in awe of this creature fluttering into existence upon your countertop, gaping wound from what has become, merely by location, a stomach of sorts, watermelon juice from each incision puddling underneath, flowing in a trickle down the side of the counter and onto the floor. You’ll have to clean that up with Windex or it will be sticky, you know. By now, its eyes are fixed on you, pupils pinpoint, orange irises, perfect contrast to the blotchy greenness of its hide. You consider for a moment the alternative, had you not spotted watermelon guy, had you not stopped at the yellow light, had you not ignored the incessant whine of lawnmower face. A giggle begins in the back of your throat. You let it escape unhindered. You know without hesitation that you will eat this alien anthropomorphism regardless of the questionable taboo of doing such, but first you must know. You must have answers. You must investigate just a little more. You must see the extent and purpose of its magic. So, with one last downward jab to the hilt, a mouth appears. It sputters and chokes on its own blood, the same that will soon be on a dead end journey down your gullet, and with a slight motion of one gum-wad sized finger, it gives you the universal signal to come closer. As well, you do. You bend an ear with the face of a child straining to hear the last words of her dying mother, but without the inappropriate smile on yours. And in your ear, with this strange being’s only few breaths it will ever take on this planet, it whispers to you the meaning of life. You stand mesmerized. The hair on your arms stands at attention. A surge of electricity begins at your tailbone, ascending through your lumbar spine with all the fury of a fire ant on a rampage, and exits in an explosion out the top of the dance floor of your skull. Confused for mere seconds, only the time it takes for you to stand erect again, hovering above this dirt-grown infantile sage lying dead upon your counter, legs it will never use limp on its body, eyes glazed with the sudden absence of life, mouth frozen in the shape of the last syllable of the only 4 words it ever spoke. You give it mere seconds of respect before you finish the halving, rabid, with wild abandon. You know. Now. You know. In a moment of utter primal regression, you plunge your hand into the bottom half of the melon creature you cradle in the crook of your arm. It had to be the bottom half. The face half would have just been too weird. You retrieve your hand. You feel the gritty texture of the fruit smooshing between your closed fingers. Your mouth takes the whole thing. You try not to laugh. You know, remember? As you run out the front door, bottom half of half-eaten melon wizard in hand, dripping juice blood in a trail of life behind you, flashes of moments begin appearing in the cinema of your mind. Like a Viewmaster, they cycle. Click. The lawnmower. You see it. You kick it. Laugh in its shaming motor face. Kick it again. You jamb your toe, but instead of pain, it’s goddamn orgasmic. Click, and you run. A stop sign. Stop? Click. Every face of every soul who ever told you to stop. They don’t know, but you know. Kick them. In their insignificant, deformed faces. Run. Scream. Laugh. Chunks of pink guts stain your shirt. Click, and again. The faces of those you lost but should not have. The life that was stolen from the deserving, the life that was given to those who waste it. Anger fades with every mouthful. Now, you know. What they would tell you if they could. Click, once more. The chain of consequences, the lock of fear, the key of chance, the freedom of the shedding of its weight. You run. You scream. You laugh. Asphalt. Bare feet. Now you know.