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Author Talk > Dark Comedy about Mental Health and Food

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message 1: by Scott (last edited Mar 21, 2013 01:04PM) (new)

Scott Evans What do you think about this?


CHAPTER 1


My life is not so much a life, as a series of awkwardnesses.
“I'm The Pretty Pie Girl. I'm The Pretty Pie Girl,” the TV blares her chipmunk voice as she waltzes with a chocolate cookie. Her adorable face sirens, “You're my Ookie Ookie Cookie.” Computer generated smile happier than human. She's a pie with tiny gloved arms, and booted legs. She twirls. “You're my Ookie Ookie Cookie.”
Her dark partner croons in lowest bass, “I'm your Ookie Ookie Cookie.”
I select a box from the cupboard, The Hexachocolator, a six sided cake with six kinds of chocolate. In bright yellow letters it proclaims, “Zero Grams Trans Fat.”
The giggling pie slides down the side of the bowl, and shouts to the world, “Kooky Cookies are part of a nutritious breakfast,” and splashes into the milk.
Crack two eggs. Use olive oil not grease. The box says one cup, but use half. One cup, that's crazy. Beat the mix with wooden spoon.
The “real” children, one fifth as cartoonish, bang their silver to the musical and chant, “Ookie Ookie Cookie!”
How many impressionable minds watch this whorescrappening? “Ookie ookie cookie!”
A woman's voice says, “Capsulsgrave Confections are made by mothers, for mothers.”
The Pie Girl squeaks the last word, “For the love of food.” The commercial is over. The volume drops to inaudible. We now continue with our regular programming.
Pour batter into stainless steel bowl. Bake at 375.
Go upstairs. Barry is on his bed, so fat he struggles not to roll off. I feel skinny by comparison, lithe and fierce, like a tiger.
Lie on my bed. Open the logic puzzle magazine. Draw chart in bent spiral pad, low on blue ink, which makes solving puzzle too easy. Bored. Get up.
What can I say to Barry? Good luck with your operation? He's so fat, they have to cut his legs off at the knees. He's going to be in a wheelchair. I will not end up like him. I will eat normal portions. It's not that hard. Work out an hour a day. No seconds.
Get off bed. “Good luck with your operation.”
He says “Thank you,” between breaths, oxygen hose in nostril.
Look down at my coat at the bottom of the winding banister. Burt is in my pocket stealing a cigarette.
Go to office and tell Diane, perfect face and body, no chance she would ever want me. Staff can't date residents, but even if they could, she wouldn't. Her baby doll eyes, button nose, and puckering lips tell me, “Official West House policy is not to leave things out.”
Sit on couch in TV-room to fill out an application for the Office of Disabled Services, so I can go to school.
Pat sits on the other couch with blond French poodle hair, and smokes, every so often turning her head to the side and back, like a chicken.
Oh boy, here we go: ETHNIC GROUP. They don't even ask name first. Two boxes--one for white, one for black. Draw my own box, up and to the left, and check it.
Pat snores. Cigarette in mouth burning.
“PAT.”
Nothing.
“PAT!”
“Huh? What?
“Your cigarette.”
“Thank you.” She taps off the ash, turns her head, and puffs.
Second question-Age. Write fast and legible, 40.
Third question-Describe how your disability prevents you from working? You're asking me? Ask the doctors; they have file cabinets full. It's hard to put in words. I think and think. Crumple paper in ball, and throw in basket. Nice shot. JORDAN!
Step out for air. The guys are smoking. Davey is squatted down with his back against the side of the house. He can stay like that comfortably for a long time, because he's skinny. If I tried, my legs would snap. A rollie burns between his blackened fingers, he spits mucus on the blacktop between his legs. Isn't he disgusted? Spit to the side, numb nuts.
Burt has a long handlebar mustache and bushy black hair. He smiles and says, “What's up, man?” He talks funny.
Tall strong Dennis offers me a Red Pyramid 100.
“Thanks Dude. I don't buy cigarettes. It helps me cut down.”
It tastes awful, cheap, and mostly cardboard.
Chubby cheeks Nate says, “He just mooches off of other people.” Burt and Pretty Tony laugh.
Burt hesitates when he talks,“I … got … fie women … in Canton … Ohio.” He has trouble pronouncing certain sounds.
Pretty Tony raps, “I can get you ho's.” His camel face drools, when he laughs and grins. Nate chuckles, and Davey guffaws.
Nate and Tony stop, but Davey is still belly laughing. He is a boyish forty. His voice is slow, pleasant, and rhythmic, “God bless you, Fox.”
“How are you, Dave?”
“Oh, fine. Fine. Fine.”
“What you up to?”
“Vivian kicked me in the butt.”
“I see. You shaved.”
“Trimmed Miss Martha's bushes yesterday.” His face brightens, “Oh, Miss Martha is a pretty girl.” He giggles and mumbles unintelligible syllables as he brings his face into my face. I back up. Don't spit in my face.
“She gave me five dollars.”
“I hope you invested it wisely.”
“I got these and a pop.”
“So, what are your plans for today?”
“Oh, Nuthin. Nuthin.”
Why does everyone keep saying that?
“Nuthin.”
“What ya doin?”
“Nuthin.”
“What's new?”
“Nuthin.”
He smokes more than anyone would possibly need to. Shouldn't criticize. The fingers closest to the cigarette are stained darkest. Same pattern on his teeth. Got to quit. His father told him to stop for years, then died from lung cancer. You could say it matters, you could say it doesn't. Is one death better than another? Why live at all?
Loucarla comes out the screen door. Pretty. Petite. Farm girl. Blue jeans. Mane of bangs and curls. No chance with her either. She announces, “Dinner,” in Snowchester accent.
In Snowchester, they say Snowchester in one syllable, Snochstr, “I'm from Snochstr. Are you from Snochstr?”
Dennis has a deep voice. “Kiss it.”
Pretty Tony says, “Bust dat out da frame.”
Burt pronounces certain words funny, “I hae a gir-frien in Can-ton O-hi-o.”
The cake! Run in, and take it out. Just right. Dump it on a platter. It comes out in a perfect steaming dome. Cut it into two, four, eight, sixteen pie slices. Place it in the center of the long dining room table.
Get a good seat. Survey the room. This house is a mansion. Huge rooms. Fancy moldings. Ornate ceiling ridges ripple around the real crystal chandelier with four energy saver bulbs. A hundred years ago, one super rich guy had all this for himself. Now it's a group home.
The whole neighborhood was super rich. Each mansion had a whole block of land for itself. Over the years, smaller houses were built in between. But it's still nice, and even the regular houses qualify as mansions.
Ten people sit on each side. Rich, the director, tall, with black hair and beard, says, “A secret Manicotti family recipe.”
Pat asks, “You made the lasagna, Rich? It's good.”
Burt says, “Very . . . good, Richhh.”
Pretty Tony, next to me, glances at Loucarla and whispers, “I tapped dat in the phone room.” He smiles big. “Went right up to her and pulled down her pants.” He isn't serious; I don't think.
I say to Loucarla, “The tuna is delicious.”
“Thank you. The trick is fresh garlic. . . The hot dogs have half the fat.”
Morality compels me to speak, “And what about carcinogens? Do they have half the carcinogens?”
The table gets quiet. Bingo.
Burt says, “Car-in-o-gen.”
I hold up an invisible pack, and say loud and sarcastic, “Hello. Carcinogens. . . Sodium Nitrite, Sodium Nitrate. I rest my case.”
“Hot dogs don't cause cancer,” says Hippo slow with his big round face.
Pat clucks, “I'm going to be sick.”
Burt says, “Say goo'night.”
Rich says, “The hot dogs are fine. They're the best, Roscoe Mueller.”
Say no more, not to make a scene, but sneer. Oh no. They wouldn't put anything bad in something people eat.
Lindsay says, “Do you freak out every time you eat?” and giggles.
An attractive girl is talking to me and smiling. Has to be a set up. She lures me back to her room, then her boyfriend jumps me. Why even hope? No attractive woman is into fat guys. “Well not every time. Well pretty much, yea. Most times.”
She stares, eyes grinning.
“Probably a few times I didn't.” We take a few bites. “Scones are evil. Fruits and vegetables are good, as long as they're organic, otherwise they're evil. Cake, meat, anything that tastes good, is evil. Boring is good. Oatmeal.”
“So pretty much everything causes cancer.” She laughs.
“Hydrogenated oil is heart attacks, but yes. Hot dogs, cold cuts, fruits with pesticides, anything plastic, and of course coffee stirrers.”
“Coffee stirrers?”
“Well yeah, think about it, you put a strip of plastic into piping hot liquid and swirl it around. Do you have any idea how many thousands of carcinogens leech into the coffee? A lot.”
“They wouldn't use harmful substances.”
I get louder, “You would think! Sounds like a good rule. DEATH TAKE ME NOW! . . . Are you kidding me? Please tell me you're kidding. They don't care if they kill people. They only care about one thing”
She cuts me off, “Follow the money.”
“Yes.” I chuckle.
Loucarla can't see Pretty Tony thrust his hips like Michael Jackson. I look at him skeptical. He laughs. Crude manners. No one else notices.
“What they don't tell you, is to dial 9-1-, then take a bite, and then dial the last 1.
Pretty Tony, interjects in Reggae beat, “Birds...drop-ping... from da sky.”
“It's a pyramid scheme. The dollar bill, a pyramid. They're all in on it.”
Pat asks, “Foxavier, do you want fries?” Shouldn't, but take some. Don't do evil. It tastes good. You'll feel sick after. I feel sick now. Try not to take too many.
Burt pushes the mashed potatoes towards Ralph, who has a David Niven mustache, “No, you finish your ve-ta-ble.”
Ralph smiles, pushes the plate back, and says in strong Indian accent, “Have some more potatoes. You're a growing boy.”
Burt, “You-r a gro-ing bo-y. . . I don't want any more, Ralph. I had a whole bag of chi-ps.” He always has a large bag of tortilla chips with him.
Ralph could be a serial killer. It would be the perfect opportunity, a counselor in a group home. No proof, just a hunch.
Barry slowly pulls his clunky oxygen tank cart, and is last to sit. No seconds.
He sits and says, “It looks good,” and crosses himself.
Sonny, in her seventies, takes a bite of my cake and says, “Mondays at six,” talking about her free painting class.
She's not shaking. Her face is asleep. Her body drops. Pat calls out, “Oh!” Dennis and I look at each other. Then he stands up. Nate is still chomping down mashed potatoes. Everyone gathers around, and Rich tells us not to touch her, and calls 911. Pat says, “Don't worry Sonny.” We stare. Diane takes everyone in the backyard. The ambulance transports her unconscious. She's lucky we're so close to University Hospital.
Did Sonny have a stroke? It couldn't be the cake. The box said, “Zero grams trans fat.” Get it out of the trash. See, “Zero grams trans fat per serving.” Per serving? Why is 'per serving' in small letters? Read the ingredients: Water, bromated flour, hydrogenated rapeseed oil! Hydrogenated rapeseed oil? Those sneaky bastards. It was the cake. Read the word “hydrogenated” one more time.


FOXAVIER AND PLINKA


message 2: by Nishtha (new)

Nishtha Jindal (nishthajindal) | 26 comments Wow Scott, this is good! You really are a good writer! Great job done!


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