The Funniest Part

The funniest part was when our toddler locked us out of the house.

It wasn't our house. It belongs to our good friends Mistress Bengal and the Scotch Museologist, who invited us over for red chicken and drinks. They've only just acquired their house, and we were getting the grand tour, Littlestar and me and Little Miss Popsicle.

We were admiring the deck out back when Popsicle discovered the joy of the sliding glass door. She opened and closed it with wild abandon until the door seemed to become stuck. "I think she's locked it," somebody said, and we all laughed.

Scotch Museologist and Littlestar took up positions flanking the door, speaking and gesturing emphatically what they hoped were useful directions to a two-year-old, who was cracking up laughing. We couldn't help giggling either. "I'll go around to the front door," I offered.

"In fact, the front lock is broken," reported Scotch Museologist. "It locks itself."

We all had another good chuckle. "Push it down with both hands," Littlestar advised Popsicle who, when both hands failed to yield the proper strength, took to gnashing at the lock with her teeth, her face smeared against the glass. Mistress Bengal howled.

"This is pretty funny, actually," said Scotch Museologist.

"It'll be less funny an hour from now," I pointed out.

The guffaws kind of died out, then, and we shivered against the chill of the spring night.

The second funniest part was when Mistress Bengal told us about orchestrating limousines for celebrities in Las Vegas after enjoying the now famous Lucas/Zemeckis/Rodriguez/Cameron presentation on converting flat movies into polarized 3D, complete with a showing of a force-dimensionalized scene from The Empire Strikes Back.

Mistress Bengal shot the shit with the stars about what they'd seen while they queued up for their limos. At some point she was joined in the parking lot by Mel Gibson and his entourage, so Mistress Bengal offered Mel a Canadian cigarette.

Intrigued, Mel accepted, and in turn offered up one of his American smokes which she choked back politely. "Thank you --" he said, eyes glancing down to her name-tag. "-- Mistress Bengal."

"No problem," she replied. After a suitable pause she added, "And you are...?"

To his credit, Mel was not offended. He and his party enjoyed a hearty laugh. He made up a ridiculous name, finished his smoke and climbed aboard his ride. Mistress Bengal tossed away the nauseous smoke he'd given her. "Next!"

The third funniest part probably cannot be properly recounted, for it involved people connected to us professionally. Suffice to say that somebody went to an important meeting and was...surprised...when one of the contractors erred when triggering a presentation on his laptop, accidentally treating all present to photographs of himself spread eagled and naked.

"It would be one thing if it had just been porn," somebody said, "but it was him!"

"Jesus Murphy Brown!" said somebody else.

"Imagine!" whistled a third party.

"Barbecue sis hot," pointed out Popsicle helpfully.

Popsicle eventually unlocked the door and, hyped up and giddy with all the excitement, ended up having to stand in the corner after ignoring admonishments not to throw food. "But I don't want it the corner!" she told me as she held my hand and allowed herself to be lead to the gate.

"You will stand in the corner until you calm down. And then I want you to tell everyone you're sorry for throwing your food."

"Sis bad."

"I'm glad we're on the same page about it. Face the corner, please."

"Aw, c'mon!" she cried petulantly, leaning her head against the fence and slapping at the gate in anger. "Come on Papa!"

I stifled my giggles as I walked back to the deck, where everyone else was trying not to crack up. "Aw c'mon?" echoed Littlestar. "Have you ever heard her say that before?" I shook my head.

"Come on," Popsicle muttered darkly at the fence.

We talked about having a painting commissioned for a wanting spot on Mistress Bengal and Scotch Museologist's new wall. I drank another Creemore. And then the toddler started to fade so we borrowed some milk and piled into the car. We waved and Littlestar steered us into the melee of megalotropolitan traffic, glowing lines snaking up north, out of the city and into the dark...

Spring is here. Old Oak is draining the swamp that steals out back quarter from us, and soon the messy work of unearthing the decades of broken brick, splintered glass and twisted metal will begin. We will order truckloads of fill when we're flusher, to bury the murk once we've flattened the hummocks of kipple. Old Oak guns the ATV and tries to dislodge a tree stump, and then sneaks off to take a nap because he's embarrassed and chagrined to be so old.

New buds are coming out. It smells like grass outside, and in the evenings now the air is loud with insects. I can hear them now, as I sit in my laboratorium, a dozen kinds of frog sounding out for love.

The War of the Flies is over for another season, so our sills no longer buzz. Neighbours burn the winter's clutter, so the air smells like char.

We are poorer than we have ever been, but richer too -- rich in good stinks and thick air, a chattering girl-child who has more fun minute to minute than any being has a right to, farting dog-beasts prancing and losing their cold coats, two kitten siblings exploring the outside world for the first time ever, and the wonder of being free in times of peace.

The cheque borrowed against my equity life insurance policy will arrive tomorrow. May it buy us all another month.


grape said...

Oh my god. Part of me wants to play the tiniest harmolinica for you in sincerest sarcasm, but part of me is Genuinely (that IS a capital G) worried about you. Holy crap, that makes me feel bad about my excessive lifestyle. You borrowed money against your OWN life insurance? That's only one step away from faking your own death for the rest of it!

grape said...

and also, Ha! about your professional associate who takes photos of himself nude and keeps them on his laptop for just such work-related blunders.

Cheeseburger Brown said...


What's with your obsession with pity? You and your tiny harmonica, indeed!

I'm here reporting on the facts from the front lines of being an opportunistic art-bum, not fishing for fiscal pathos.

Yeah, I borrowed money against my own insurance. Equity fund -- no interest, can be paid back anytime, the policy will still function to protect my family in the event that I should die.

Good news: last week we found a potential investor to bank-roll an animated production.

Bad news: this week he's been tossed in jail for drunk driving, possibly for an extended period of time.

You see? We *almost* had our asses saved. It didn't work, but the point is it almost did. So we have to borrow off ourselves to scrape by -- that's okay. It's only until the next "almost" is more than an almost.

We bide our time until something catches fire in a good way. It's just a matter of patience and diligence.

At any rate, it certainly IS NOT "one step away from faking [my] own death." It is thanks to level heads during flusher times that this fund exists to plunder -- something to be pleased about. It's a time to say, "Good thinking, that was," rather than "HOLY SHIT DEATH STALKS US!"

There is no poorhouse, these days, or debtors prison. Instead we have the nearly infinitely elastic tether of credit. Who could complain?

So don't be so dramatic. If being hard-up now and again wasn't part of being an artist, more people would make their living this way.

...And like I need the competition! Let them stay home and at their labour farms, I say, sucking back their regular cheques in exchange for their souls.

We'll survive.

Matthew Frederick Davis Hemming