Words of Color
By Carl Foster

There are three things you need to know. One of them you may already know: you may know it so well that you actually know it twice. The meeting. I mean the meeting this morning at Chillicothe Hall, which used to be called the Van Roysterer Syndrome until common sense got the better of the administration and they changed it. The meeting in which they chose the new name was peaceful and clean, and everyone parted with a mind full of love.
But this morning’s meeting, this was worse than letting a Mexican man get the last laugh. It will be a few weeks before I forget the first announcement: “My name is Dwight, and I am addicted to foam.” The man sat down, wiping frothy tears from his lips and muttering to everyone in the room about the composure of rectangles. I shook my head and listened to my thoughts, for I had pegged him as a senescent: Those goddamn fearful, funny polygons will never save you, old man. You can keep making new ones, big ones, every day, with a squeegee in your sand pit; or huffing on a window and drawing them with a q-tip, or screaming them like a folk tale into the plastic slides of every playground we know of... but God will not save you like He will save me. Shapes notwithstanding.
Now I have been around the block. I have been married four times and each time my husband died I draped a cloth over his limpness and sang the Bill of Rights–the long version if he was over sixty. I never thought I would get addicted to heroin, but that was before I had learned how use it. Then it became like my sister, one who is brown and expensive.
Words of color and sensuousness need to be in the back of your mind, just like they are in the back of this memo. Blue, yellow, onion sage Japanese, get out of my face and let me get to work. Good words, like dolorous drifting smoke rings, can stay at the top of your head and look out the windows at the city below. That is why I want them where you can see them easily. Ah, the privilege of composure: does it make any difference whether I enjoy it or not?
The phrase “it’s not” next to the phrase “it isn’t.” While this separate-but-equal negativity encourages the public to direct its own history, to keep threading their lines around the bell of freedom to soften the tone of its death-toll-tolling, it makes for some ungrainy rhetoric.
After a lot more meaningless banter, someone asked me why I was at the meeting. I stood up and looked around with one angry eye fixed on the triple-hued flag by the door. “I’m here to steer this thing out of the hay. These meetings have become long and pointless, like children tend to do. So I want to cudgel you all in a more relevant direction. May I have a volunteer?”
The crowd was silent, not that I didn’t get my share of nods. I asked Louie, “How’s your crow, Louie?” I expected him to say, “Crowy,” but instead he got up and left. He was staggering like a man with a relentless erection who had been summoned to the front of the room. Oh, well, you might say.
It’s good that people pretend not to notice things, which was the case with this heated debate between two sides who were equally powerless to change anything. Internet meals for the handicapped pilots of our corrupted airline system will never work without three congressional decisions, and it does not matter who is talking about them in the meantime.
In the first place, congress must decide whether old people should be mummified alive and then mounted outside the nation’s steak houses, where children will try to land nickels in their eye sockets to get a free horseradish glaze on their chicken strips. And then that money tossed in nickel-form will go towards paying off all footwork done to investigate phony magazine subscriptions.
Second, all the members of congress must spend an entire day learning to watercolor paint so they can be like the Japanese congress–who solved this problem before a sack of meat could fall six feet. By which I mean Jimmy Hoffa should be assassinated immediately.
I would end this memo as I do all my correspondence, with a transcription of the Pledge of Allegiance. But I do not think it is appropriate anymore. I know full well why men don’t want to stand up during it.
That is the third and final report from the hateful little girl who just drank some e-coli on the pier of Delaware.

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Carl Foster is a native Texan who was born in 1984. His favorite book is also 1984, and when he wonders how many people he has met in this life the answer inevitably comes back: 1,984. He lives in a tiny apartment in New Orleans and is currently at work on another chilling tale.

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