Snowed In, Cashed Out

Writing? What's writing?

Oh, right. I remember. That what when I type like this. I've been too busy to type, lately. It's been all clickety-click this and draggity-drop that, my brain serving as the wet engine behind a tiny pixel factory, triple and quadruple booked day and night, week and end.

It's almost made up for what a terrible month January was, revenue-wise. But my brain is burnt out, with an icky skin like old fondue through which only the pointiest of stimulus penetrates.

Still, I remember the alphabet. And this gives me hope.

* * *

Yes, and I'm taking a bath in the laundry room. Soon this laundry room will be a bathroom. Hence the bath tub -- claw-footed, scratched, heavy as sin. All we need now is a wall.

I am turning the water grey. I smell. I've been lazy about washing, because it's such a chore. The hot water's on the fritz, so I get my bath ready by boiling four pots of water in tandem, with a jug heating in the microwave for good measure. Like a pioneer, I ferry the steaming pots into the laundry room and pour them in the tub.

The microwave beeps: bath's ready!

This tub is long and wide. Whereas most very old things are small, antique bath tubs are huge. I roll over like a crocodile, scraping my elbows on the delaminated sides. While I scrub my armpits I wish that I shaved them, like a nineteenth century whore. It really would make cleaning simpler.

* * *

There's a back log of dirty laundry, so I have trouble finding clothes. I wade into the master bedroom closet, a wooden nook full of odd angles and corners and a tiny window that looks out askance over our snowy balcony. I hit my head on a shelf and find a pair of pants that are ill-fitting but clean. Brown chords, so tight they make me feel like a pop star from the eighties.

With a deep Zen breath I manage to zip up the fly, and mince out of the bedroom. LittleStar calls out, "I like those pants, baby."

"My testicles can't breathe," I say, padding with tiny steps into her studio where she sits surrounded by a nest of papers as she attempts to get our little corporation in shape for our year-end accounting inquisition.

"But I can see your cute little bum," she tells me, patting it with one hand as she pulls open a letter with the other. "Aw shit," she comments. "We were late on our last tax installment, and our payment plan's defaulted."

"Goods and Services or Revenue?"


"Sweet mother of puss."

It never rains, but it pours.

* * *

I walk around to the village's general store, which is located right next to our old schoolhouse. I dodge a departing snowmobile and open the door for a dottard and then wander in past the Wonderbread and Doritos to the Post Office counter. "Where's this going, love?" asks the senior mail lady.

"Los Angeles."

"What's inside? They make me ask now, love, just in case it's a bomb."

"It's not a bomb."

"I don't hear any ticking."

"It's a DVD."

"Declared value, love?"

"Five dollars."

"Is it another film festival?"

"No, Cable Access TV." I wink. "We're in the big leagues now, eh?"

(If you live in the Los Angeles area, a couple of my short movies will be shown on The Mark Hopkins Show community cable comedy cavalcade sometime soon. Watch for them or don't.)

I also buy a bag of cat litter, a handful of caramel squares and a lollipop. The little Korean girl at the counter is flipping through the Toronto Sun with her goofy but affable white boyfriend, trying to find better pictures of Mounties being shot by an insane marijuana farmer in Alberta. "God," she says, "so he like just came up and shot six of them?"

"No," says her boyfriend, pointing to the text. "It says high-powered rifle, so he was probably far away with like a fucking scope -- I'm sorry."

She hits him. "Jesus, don't swear in the store."

"I'm sorry."

"Jesus," she says again, and then apologizes to me.

"It's okay," I assure everyone.

The senior postal lady rolls her eyes and comes over to join them in pawing through the newspaper. I pop a caramel cube into my mouth and wander away, taking little waddly steps across the parking lot, around the fence, past Old Oak's "Project: Doghouse" and up the steps home.

Already my wedgie is severe. I try to cross my legs, but fail. These pants suck.

* * *

I have thought up a number of stories while I was busy, but now when it comes to sitting down to tell them I feel a little flummoxed. What about Hugo and his heroes? Do I still care? What ever happened to that pompous Self-Interview, anyway? There was that science-fiction short story that came to me in a dream, too -- gotta right that sucker down.

Here's a question for you -- any of youse. I've been trying to make time to work on the slow, careful production of Fish's Wishes...a project which will be interesting in its way, but I don't predict will be very popular. On the other hand, Space Attack! is very popular. Should I be devoting time to making a sequel, or a similar movie instead of frittering away time on some gay-assed fish movie nobody's even going to want to watch but me? (H'm..asked and answered, I reckon.) Fock. I can't abide abandoning a thing once undertaken. Yet resources are limited, and I am being squeezed. I'm already thirty. Soon I'll be dead. Can I afford not to waste my time on this bottom-feeding satirical tripe?

Request for comments: Space Attack 2?

* * *

Popsicle peed on the couch, though she said she was sorry. "I'm peein'!" she reported as the act was in progress, which is her current version of letting us know she needs to go sit on the potty.

"Sowwy Mama, sowwy Papa," she said, and then added, "Sowwy couch."

When we take her up to bed these days I tell her a story. In these stories her bear, Bo, wakes up in the night and goes to hang out with our bitch, Persephone. And they have adventures together. In last night's adventure they conspired to let the cat in; the night before that Persephone taught Bo that being farty was a sign of having to go potty. Very educational. Popsicle was rapt.

On my way out of the room I made a farting sound with my lips, and the kid giggled like magic.

* * *

Next week we will speak of frankfurters. This much I can promise.

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