Friday, May 20, 2011

Pills for Valentine's Day

I haven't finished a comic again for this week. I know...slacker, right? Sorry. I know I've let my blogging duties slide down the priority list. I've had a lot going on. What? Thanks for asking.

I built a playhouse for my sister and her kids. See. Bask in its awesomeness that flows from it in rippling waves.

Designed myself, insulated, solid, and pure awesome.

I also created four mini lightboxes for my wife to give to several girls who are graduating from high school. My wife teaches them at church, so she wanted them to have something unique and personal. I did little landscapes of the St George temple with Dixie hill in the background. That way they remind them of home wherever they go.

They were my first attempt to go cordless. These have batteries and an led. The back is frosted plastic so they can tape a picture to it and have that glow too. I like them, kinda retro modern. I hope the girls like them too.

I also changed out a toilet all by myself. Seriously, do you know how disgusting that can be? I only gagged a couple time, but managed to hold it together and get the job done. Here is my new dual flush space toilet that I picked up for just under a hundred bucks at Restore. It qualifies for a seventy-five dollar rebate too. I rock.

So, yeah, I've been busy. This isn't even counting all the hard work on my novel. That project is nearing completion and gets harder and harder to do the closer I get, like running a marathon uphill during a hail storm on the hottest day in July. No wonder most people who start a novel never finish. I will finish though, conquer, stand proud atop of the hill of my manuscript...and then start the rewrite process. Painful.

I also got a stain out of my wife's pants that she was sure would never come out. I am that awesome.

In place of a comic this week, I leave you with another bit of short fiction. I wrote this around eight or nine years ago. I know it is rough and lacks a lot of the elegant prose you have all come to expect from me...right? But, it is one of my first real attempts to get into the head of my character. It gave me chills as I wrote it and, in my opinion, nailed the voice down.

I don't want you all to think these bits of writing are in any way a consolation prize. I work hard on them too, often much harder than I work on my funny comics. This one is in no way funny, just to warn you.


Pills for Valentine's Day

I sit on the bathroom floor, head against the cupboards below the sink, feet against the door. The old, metal bends near the bottom, dented over the years by my pushing against it. I kick when I’m frustrated, but usually I just hold the world outside. This bathroom has always been my escape. I remember when I was little and had to lay down to be able to keep my feet against the door. Now I have to kick off my sandals or high heels to be almost comfortable.

I actually don’t know whether I’m holding something out or in sometimes. The first minute is always the worst, heart pounding as everything piles against the door. My legs shake and burn, but I have to keep them tight until the pressure against the door stops. Only then can I relax, feel sane, feel real again. Then I sit inside for hours, calmly breathing the cooled air as it slips over the cold ceramic sink.

Lately I’ve been holding my past in and the springtime air out. Spring disgusts me. Everyone triumphs the renewal of life, ignoring how dirty this renewal is. Mold, rain, pollen, dust, heaving liquid filth, frolicking. I don’t ever remember frolicking or wanting to for that matter. Rot and decay start in springtime, winter is clean, without smell.

That and everything yells during spring, birds, cats, dogs, people. Twitterpation season. And what is the beauty behind a baby flying around, shooting people with poisoned arrows? Doesn’t anyone else know that Cupid rhymes with stupid.

I hate Valentine’s Day. Some people call it “Single Awareness Day,” but I don’t hate it for that. I always seem to have a boyfriend, just never good ones.

I once ate a whole bag of candy hearts, not the ones with words on them, nasty things made out of eraser dust, but the little, hot, red ones. I locked myself in the bathroom to hide from Momma holding her out with my feet. When the shaking stopped I crawled into the tub and ate the hearts one at a time.

The tub was dirty. If you squinted hard it looked like black ivy climbing all over. I chewed each heart for the first half of the bag, but my mouth was burning too much to chew the second half. I swallowed what was left one by one. I didn’t like them, they hurt, but each one made me feel real again. So, I kept eating them even when the tears came, making the ivy sway and crawl along the walls of the tub. Each little heart was a pill, making the numb go away for a few seconds, making me a normal little girl.

Momma’s current two-week to three-month boyfriend had been babysitting for a while. His name was Jake and he decided to “share something special” with me for Valentine’s Day. I ate a spicy heart and could focus on the heat gliding down my throat instead of the things he’d had me do. My tongue burned and my nose dripped into the filthy tub, keeping me alive inside until the bag was empty. Then I was forced to think again.

I puked fire onto the bathroom floor. The candy clawed its way out like each heart had hundreds of Momma’s fake fingernails. Twisted, sharp debris swam with whole hearts in a bloody lake on the curling, yellow linoleum. I covered it up with toilet paper and hid in a closet the rest of the day, until Momma found me. She beat me with a fly swatter, not the rubbery, swat end, but she turned it around to use the wire handle. I welcomed the pain that made me real once more. I thought I deserved it for what I had taken from her. She made me clean up the bathroom floor, but I cleaned the whole bathroom instead, tearing down the ivy walls. I scrubbed for hours, drowning myself in the chemical air.

Launa was smarter than me then, though she’s probably dead now. She ran away. I think she was fourteen or fifteen. She thought that by leaving she wouldn’t end up like Momma. Maybe it worked, I haven’t heard from Launa in three years.

Momma got herself beat to death about two years after Launa left by some new boyfriend. They found her in the trash behind a bar after she was missing two days. My sister came home from somewhere that spring to take care of me. I don’t know how she knew about any of it.

She disappeared four years later. I was completely alone before I even graduated from high school. Momma and Launa at least left me the suffocating house and, with it, my bathroom. So, sometimes, when things get numb again and I need to feel real, to feel sane, I sit on the clean bathroom floor, feet against the door, and trace a pink stain over and over again in the linoleum with my left hand.


mark said...

Don't you know any happy stories ?

Michael Offutt said...

Awesome toy house. I could never create anything that amazing.

Candice said...

Awesome toy house!!! Could you come and build one of those for my kids? You can? Awesome! I'll see you this summer!

Good luck finishing your novel! That's exciting! The rewrite process can be hard, but it's so worth it in the end.

Wow. That is a dark short story, but I liked it. It's very well written. Thanks for sharing!

Chanel said...

Very well. I commission you to build a playhouse for Choo Choo. She would like a Choo Choo sized sofa inside of it to lounge on.

Also, I would like a light box thing, too, but musically themed. You may make it with a cord because I don't like batteries.

In exchange for these things I will never ask you to mess with my toilet. :P

By the way...why did it have to be sad? Doesn't anybody write happy things anymore?

Doug Stephens said...

I'm going to jump on the "Comment on Charlie's Tree House" bandwagon.

That is pretty dang awesome. I want one for myself. Not my kid. For me.

Charlie Pulsipher said...

@Mark - No, no I don't.

@Michael - Thank you and I doubt that.

@Candice - Yes. This summer will work. Thanks about the novel. I should be working on it right now...

@Chanel - Okay on all of that except the couch. I haven't taught myself upholstery yet. Happy things are less intriguing.

@Doug - Me too. I am a little jealous of those kids. I would love to have a playhouse to sneak into and write, read, or take naps in.

mark said...

It is now Wed .... WHER IS MY NEW FUNNY.

See funny being the opriative word

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