Monday, June 2, 2014

Fifty Shades of Satire (Chapter 10)

"Christian, who's that queer little fellow?" I inquire about the odd looking creature I mistook for his mother.
     "That's Doobie, my man servant. And believe me, he's no queer. He keeps going on and on about some girl he left back home."
     "I can't believe you really do have a manservant. I thought it was just a dream."
     "Yes, I acquired him in England when I was going to college."
     "Hogwarts. I found him during Spring Break. He was buried by the sea in the gardens of Shell Cottage, a little place we rented on the outskirts of Tinworth, Cornwall. That's right next door to Plegm Falls. Some four-eyed hooligan had left him for dead, but I dug him up, gave him an aspirin, and he sobered right up. Aspirins are good for everything. Everything, except bringing a dead hooker back to life. Just ask my old college roommate, Dave Attell. Anyway, Doobie claims I saved his life and he was therefore indebted to me for life. Personally, I think he was just a doper who saw an opportunity for a free ride. Be that as it may, whatever you do, don't give him any socks."
     I wake up and realize that's the longest bit of exposition I've ever heard from Christian Grey. I wipe some drool from one corner of my mouth--the droopy one--and say, "He looks like Larry King with pointy ears."
     Indeed, he's even wearing suspenders to hold up the potato sack he was using for clothing. I find that... odd.
     "Don't be an idiot," Christian chastises me. "That potato sack is made from the finest imported burlap money can buy."
     We see Doobie escort Christian's mother off screen.
     "I guess we'd better get dressed, Ana," he tells me. "That is, if you want to meet my mother."
     Meet his mother? Meet His Mother? OMG! He wants me to MEET HIS MOTHER! The last time I was in this position... aw, who am I kidding? I've never been in this position. The closest I've come is when my best friend invited me over her house to meet her family. We played Hide & Seek. I hid for three days before I realized they had moved.
     I look at my inner goddess. Hey! Put that cucumber down! That's disgusting!
     "Christian," I say, "it's so soon. Do you really want me to meet your mother?"
     "Of course I do, Ana." he tells me. "You see, my mother fears I'm gay. She mistakenly got that impression when I told her Crocket won't stay on his side of the tub when we bathe. So, you see, you'd actually be doing me a favor, allaying my mother's suspicions and what not."
    Is this the Pillow Talk I've always heard so much about? If so, what a disappointment. Yet, in the few hours I've known Christian, I've never seen him so... so... talkative. Revealing little bits and puzzle pieces of his life, leaving it for me to put the picture together. I wonder if it's a picture of something to eat?
     "Now, be a dear," he tells me, "and get dressed. Let's see, where did I put my Haz-Mat suit?"
     He's ready before I am. My hair's a mess. It has the matted texture of a dead cat. I do what I can with it, which isn't much. Larry, the third Stooge, had more manageable hair.
     I pick up the same jeans and top I've been wearing for, oh, five days now. My jeans look as if they can stand on their own. I give it a try. They can. I smell the pits of my blouse. Hmm... why am I suddenly in the mood for a pepperoni pizza with extra parmesan cheese?
     As usual, Christian comes to the rescue.
     "If you like, you can pick something out of that closet," he tells me, pointing to a closet.
     "You bought me clothes?" I say, offended. "How dare you be so presumptuous."
     "Nonsense, they're Doobie's. He bought them for the day his girlfriend might visit."
     Oh, that's different. Wearing another girl's clothes isn't beneath me. I can do stuff like that ever since I got rid of two little things called pride and self-esteem. Just ask Kate. I see a robe and a scarf. Some black round-framed glasses and a stick. Hmm, not my style. I pick out a colorful summer dress. The perfect thing for winter. I dig around.
     "Hmm, this is a nice bra," I say.
     "It's Doobie's," I'm told.
     "Any panties?"
     "I'm afraid you'll have to go commando, dear. Unless you want to wear some edible panties I bought for you as a joke."
     "I ate those last night."
     "You'll really like my mother," Christian tells me, putting on the matching helmet to his Haz-Mat suit. "She's a feminist in the classic sense of the word. Feminista, from the Latin, meaning: To Hate Men. She likes to spend her time finding out what people are saying about her on Facebook, and then crushing them."
     "What's Facebook?" I ask. "Is it that book with a face on it, like on The Evil Dead?"
     "What's Facebook? Ana, where have you been all your life? You don't own a car, a computer, or apparently a hairbrush. You don't have a job, the internet, or a clue. You barely know how to use soap. And now you're telling me, you don't know what Facebook is?"
     "Oh... Facebook! I thought you said: Tastebook. A book you, um, taste. You know, like Scratch & Sniff." I was bluffing, but I think he bought it.
     "Anyway, she's a doctor. An OB-GYN."
     "An... Obi Juan Kenobi? That old guy from the Mexican version of Star Wars?"
     "Don't tell me you've never been to a gynecologist? That's a doctor for your hoo-hah."
     "Christian, I've never been to a doctor, period, much less one for my hoo-hah.. My hoo-hah's never been sick a day in its life."
     "Surely, you're joking."
     "I'm not joking, and don't call me Shirley."
     That Christian, sometimes he makes me so mad. He is such a Control Freak, and dang skippy I'm capitalizing those two words. First he wants me to get dressed. Then he wants me to meet his mother. And now he's telling me I need to see a doctor?
     I shouldn't be surprised, though. That's what a control freak is, a freak who controls. He's such a freakishly controlling control freak, and I won't ever stop calling him a control freak. Mainly because I've misplaced my thesaurus.
     I look at my inner goddess. She's serving my subconscious a cucumber salad with a nice vinaigrette. They think he's a control freak, too.
     "Ana," he coos apologetically. "My dear, sweet, dumb-as-a-stump Ana. At the very least you should give your hoo-hah an occasional self-examination."
     "How often should I do that?"
     "At least as often as I get a colonoscopy."
     "Once a year?"
     "Once a week. You'd be amazed by how many shiny new pennies my proctologist finds."
     He gives the top of his helmet a jaunty tap.
     "Do think about what I've told you," he tells me, and then leaves. "Ta-ta! Cheerio! And all that."
     When he's out of the room, I think about what he just said. It may seems odd at face value, but when you think about it, it makes perfect sense.
     Hmm... I have a little time.
     I look around. There's a circular mirror hanging by the door. It's about the size of a manhole cover. That would work.
     I carefully take the mirror down and lay it flat on the floor in the middle of the room. I squat over it, lift my skirt and, feeling awkward, check out the view.
     Just as I'm getting a good angle to the dangle, the door swings open.
     "Mother, let me introduce you to Ana," I hear Christian tell her.
     I don't want to, but I look up and give his mother a crooked smile. Christian stands there, shocked into silence.
     "Hello," I squeak from my squatting position.
     His mother eyes me coldly.
    "Hello, dear," she finally forces herself to say. "Do be careful not to fall into that hole in the floor."
     Meeting Christian's mother, Dr. Grace Transylvanian-Grey, is like meeting the queen. I'm talking about the queen who performs in the drag shows at the Old Plantation, a gay nightclub in Downtown El Paso. She is aloof. She is regal. And she smells of mothballs, but the expensive high-quality ones you buy at Target.
     "Mother," Christian tells us, "I'd like to introduce you to Ana. Ana, this is my mother."
     I give her a classy salute, accidentally poke myself in my eye in the process, and say, "Dr. Grey, I am so sorry."
     "Nonsense, my pretty," she assures me. "It's every mother's dream to find her gay son in bed with human toilet paper."
     She's about to say something else, but my cell phone rings. I put up a finger. "Shhh!" my finger says. Thank goobers. It usually says, "Pull me!"
     Crap! Crap! And double-crap! It's José. That pansy's timing is worse than Kate's period's. What kind of worthless information is this loser going to bore me with today?
     "I better take this," I say, politely. "It might be important."
     They assure me it's perfectly fine by standing there with their mouths open in disgust. I press several buttons until I hit the right one that answers the call.
     "Hello?" I say into the phone. "Oh, it's you. What do you want, José? I'm busy. That's none of your business and I'm not going to tell you. Okay, I'm here with Christian. Yeah, we did it. No, I can't tell you how big it is. Because I'm standing by his mother and everything. I also signed a contract. Who? No, she's not. She's quite lovely, in fact." I give Christian's mother a wink, letting her know that I've got her back. "You're such a jerk for saying so. I'm never going to talk to you again. Okay, I'll call you tomorrow. And the horse you rode in on. Bye."
     I try to find the right button to end the call. It doesn't take me as long.
     "I'm sorry," I apologize to Christian and his mother. "I had to take that. It was my grandmother..." I don't know what to say. "...she died."
     "That's quite all right," the two of them say and offer me their condolences.
     Dr. Grey turns to her son.
     "Your Ana is quite the catch," she tells him. "I can see why you're so taken with her." And then she turns to me. "I do hope you'll forgive me interrupting your breakfast."
     Christian and I look at each other. We're perplexed.
     "We weren't having breakfast," I quickly correct her. Oh, great. Now she'll want me to serve her cereal.
     "Nonsense, my pretty. Then why does it smell like bacon grease?"
     Our looks of perplexity turn into looks of embarrassment. I can feel my cheeks turn beet red. Mmm... beets.
     "Because grease is the word, mother," Christian tells her, saving the day yet again. "Grease is the word."
     Mercifully, my phone rings again. It's Kate, the whore. No, really. That's what it says on my phone.
     "I have to take this," I say. "It's, um, my grandfather."
     "Dear me," Christian's mother says, giving  her son a look, "I do hope he hasn't died, too."
     I lift my phone, look at it, and press the answer button on the first try. I guess I'm getting the hang of it after all.
     "Hi, Kate. What do you want? I can't talk, I've signed a contract and everything. Also I'm meeting his mother and I'm trying to make a good impression. That's just plain rude, Kate. She's old, but she's definitely not a hag. Far from it, in fact." I give Christian's mother another comforting wink. "I can't tell you. I can't tell you. I can't tell you. Okay, I'll tell you. You know how a woman has an entrance and an exit?"
     I hear Christian loudly clear his throat.
     "Oh-oh, gotta go. I'll talk to you later."
     I receive five more phone calls. Three are from telemarketers. One is from Publishers Clearing House. Wow! I may have already won a million dollars. The last one I can't make out.
     "Does anybody know what 'hep' means?" I throw out there.
     Nobody does.
     Well," Christian's mother tells me, "it was certainly interesting meeting you, Ana, but I must be leaving."
     "So soon?" I say. "It seems like we barely had a chance to talk."
     "Does it now?"
     "You'd better let my mother leave, Ana," Christian breaks in. "Otherwise she'll turn the conversation, as she always does, to why I'm not married yet."
     "Darling," Dr. Grey tells her son, "you say 'marriage' as if it's a bad thing. Your father and I were happily married up until he had his horrible accident."
     "Father's had an accident?"
     "Give it time," she tells him, and dismisses it with a wave of her hand. "Nonsense, marriage is a fine institution."
     "Mother, it's no coincidence that the word you use to describe marriage, i.e. institution, is the same word used to describe prisons and insane asylums."
     His mother ignores that. She says, "You'll find out that one of the pluses of being married is the pleasure you'll have day-dreaming about being single."
     She holds out her hand to me.
     "I'd like to invite you to lunch some day..." she tells me, "...but I don't want to."
     She turns back to her son.
     "Come kiss mommy goodbye," she tells him.
     Five minutes later, they're still kissing each other goodbye. I guess the filthy rich are different than you and I. Mainly you. Doobie and I are standing there, awkwardly shifting from one foot to the other.
     When did he show up?
     Doobie looks up at me with big watery eyes and offers me a hand-rolled cigarette, like the kind John Travolta would smoke in the movie Pulp Fiction.
     "You wanna get high?" he asks me in that high-pitched English accent of his. "It's... magic."
     "Uh..." I say, taking a step away from him, "no thanks."
     "Abra-ka-dorky," he says, giggling. He takes a deep drag, holds the magic in his lungs for more than a few seconds, and then lets his breath out in a contented exhalation of smoke. He looks up at me again, his long nose pointing at me questioningly.
     "Do you have any socks?" he asks, his eyes giving the impression that he should be building a railroad in the old west.
     "No," I tell him, discreetly taking another step further from him. "Sorry."
     He's busy contemplating the drifting smoke. I don't even know if he heard me.
     He takes another deep drag, holds it even longer, and then empties his lungs in a slow, satisfied puff. He takes his time and dreamily considers the burning ember in his hand.
     "You know what makes me hungry?" he finally says, with eyes that would look quite natural behind the counter of a Chinese laundromat in the 1800's.
     "Smoking that" I say, pointing to his joint. The one between his thumb and forefinger.
     "The smell of bacon grease."
     Thank goobers my phone rings yet again. This finally causes Christian to end the goodbye kiss with his mother. His mother seems a bit miffed, as opposed to muffed, which, Kate tells me, is some kid of fun smothering act you do to your soul mate du jour.
     "Hello," I answer, and then listen. "You don't say. You Don't Say! YOU DON'T SAY!"
     I hang up, and put my phone away.
     "Who was it?" Christian demands to know.
     "He didn't say."
     "Crocket," Christian orders, "bring the Weinermobile around."
     Thank goobers, for a second there I was afraid he was going to ask for the Batmobile.
     "Oh, Christian," I say, and giggle affectionately at his little joke, but when we get to the ground floor, dang if there wasn't the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile parked at the curb, like a hot dog waiting for its master.
     He holds the door open for me and I get in. Christian, always the gentleman, pretends not to notice the Weinermobile tipping in my direction from the added weight. Christian gets in from the driver's side, which makes sense since he is the driver, and the vehicle immediately rights itself from the more even distribution of weight.
     He puts a CD into the stereo system.
     "How 'bout that Slim Whitman," he says as the music comes on. "Did you know he's sold more albums than the Beatles?"
     "Well, that's what it said in the commercial." He begins to sing. "I remember you-ooo!"
     I didn't know he could yodel. Is there not nothing this man can't not do? Wait, how many negatives is that? I think I'm okay.
     "Why me?" I suddenly ask the question that's been on my mind, stuck somewhere between the bratwurst and the polish sausage. "Why not just hire a prostitute to service you when you get your sick urges?"
     "I thought that's what I was doing."
     "Huh? Ah? Wha?"
     "You see, I care more for the produce I grow in my garden than I do for the produce I buy at the grocery store. I feel with you the kind of closeness you can only get in prison with your cell mate."
     I don't know what he just said, but I think it means we're going to eat soon. And we do.
     We stop at El Paso's world-renowned Chico's Tacos for an order of their specialty. A double order of rolled tacos in a tomato-y sauce and topped with a small mountain of cheese.
     "Can I have a hot dog, too, Christian?" I say, my stomach growling in agreement.
     That's too bad, because their hot dogs are a specialty, as well. They're made using hamburger buns. Yum.
     As we sit down to eat, we engage in the normal kind of small talk that normal people talk small about.
     "Why are you such a pervert?" I ask him, sticking the rolled taco in and out of my mouth suggestively. Mmm... tacos.
     I take a sip from my soda. Hmmm, diet. I open four packs of sugar and pour the contents into my drink. I stir the soda carefully to dissolve the sweet granules without disturbing the amount of carbonation in my drink. Christian is saying something. I guess I should pay attention.
     "It all began with my father, I suppose," he confides in me. I look over at the next table. Hey! That girl got a hot dog. It looks good, too. No fair. I grab two more packets of sugar. "I was a mere lad of four or five, when I accidentally walked in on my father masturbating. I was shocked, needless to say, but my father, the loving parent that he was, saw it in my face, called me over and told me, 'Son, this is a perfectly natural thing for men to do, and you'll do it soon as well.'"
     "Because that's what boys do?" I ask.
     "Because his arm was getting tired. Growing up, I had the kind of good looks that attracted come-ons from my mother's friends. Unfortunately, her friends were Michael Jackson and Jerry Sandusky. If that sounds pathetic, let me assure you that it is. Getting women in bed has always been easy for me. I have the looks, the charm, the Vulcan nerve pinch. The problem has always been that these women then try to attach themselves to me the way plaque tries attaching itself to my arteries. I'm on my third heart now."
     "Can I have one of your fries?"
     After eating, we drive the rest of the way to my apartment in silence. What am I to make of this man and all that he's told me? Yes, I have a lot to digest. Not food-wise, one order of rolled tacos by itself does not a meal make. No, I'm talking about the information he just parceled out to me like a rich UPS man. More pieces for me to assemble into the picture that is Christian Grey. If only these pieces would fit as easily into one another as that vacuum handle fit into my hand. So much emotional dandruff, so easily brushed away.
     He dropped me off at the front of my apartment building.
     "I'd see you up," he tells me, "but I don't want to."
     The apple doesn't fall far from the womb.
     And he drives off.
     In his Weinermobile.
     I walk into my apartment and Kate is busy in the living room packing her books into crates. You would think one crate would be enough, but you'd be wrong.
     Did I mention we were moving? Yeah, as soon as we graduate from UTEP we're getting the heck out of Dodge. Did I mention we were graduating from college? I think I did. That's why Kate's packing up. You would think she'd have furniture or something, but she's got nothing but books.
     Kate, meanwhile, is tying to find out all about my weekend with Christian.
     "So," Kate says to me, weaselly, "did he mention my name?"
     "I can't tell you," I tell her.
     "Did he do the nasty?"
     "I can't tell you.'
     "Did he mention my name while he was doing the nasty?"
     "I said I can't tell you. I..." I am almost ashamed to admit it. "I... signed a contract. A confidentiality agreement."
     "You signed a confidentiality agreement?" she sputters. "How... how... romantic. I remember when I signed my first confidentiality agreement. It was for my father."
     My jaw hits the floor, bounces back up, and smacks me in the eye.
     "Your father?" I exclaimed, rubbing my eye.
     "Oh, calm down. It's not what you're thinking."
     "It's not?"
     "Well... that depends on what you're thinking."
     I couldn't tell her the truth, but I had to tell her something. She has that kind of power over me. The kind of power where, if she asks me a question, I answer. So I say, "He wanted me to give him a toe job. He called it getting off on the right foot."
     The whole uncomfortable conversation is interrupted by a knock at the door. It's José.
     "OMG, girlfriend," he lisps. "Where have you been? I had a terrible accident last night and I needed a friend who could keep a secret."
     "An accident? Osh kosh by gosh, José. What happened?"
     "I sat on a cucumber by accident. Seven times! I needed someone who could take it out and not tell anybody. So I called Kate."
     Kate? Holy smokes. I look at her, my eyes as big as saucers. It's a medical condition.
     "It wasn't me," she clarifies.
     "So... what did you do?" I ask José.
     "Kate was kind enough to send over a midget friend of hers. It worked out for the best, because, if he tells, no one will believe him anyway. Nobody ever believes anything a midget says. Just ask Dave Attell."
     That's the first I've heard about it, and the second I've heard about this Dave Attell character. I look at Kate. She's nodding in agreement.
     "That's true," she confirms.
     "So... what happened?"
     "He took out the cucumber and now we're going on a romantic cruise. In fact, I just got back from the pharmacy. I get sea-sick, so I went there to buy some Viagra and Dramamine. Can you believe the pharmacist told me, 'Son, if it makes you sick, then why do you do it?'"
     So... how did my life ever get so out of control? Ever since Christian Grey entered it, I feel like I've been on a roller coaster of emotion in an amusement park of confusion in a city of turmoil in a state of bewilderment in a country of distraction in a world of perplexity in a universe of consternation.
     I turn back to Kate.
     "You're missing the point," Kate tells José. "Enquiring minds want to know: how do you remove a cucumber?"
     José goes into a detailed explanation that includes a pair of tongs, a turkey baster, and some cherry-flavored oven mitts. Thankfully, they're so caught up in the mechanics of cucumber retrieval, they've forgotten all about me.
     Speaking of forgotten I look at my hand and see the large manila envelope I'm holding. I'm only mentioning it now because my editor says I really need to eat up some pages.
     "Just write whatever piece of crap comes into your head," he told me. "It doesn't matter how outrageous it is. By the way, did you know that Bob Dylan once rhymed outrageous with contagious? That man's a genius. Like me."
     I tear open the envelope and look inside.
     Another contract for me to read and sign? If I wanted to read, I would have gone to a better college.
     Just ask Dave Attell.
Fifty Shades of Satire

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