Gone Lawn
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Gone Lawn 18
Spring, 2015

New Works

Ben Child

Ear Phucking Monkey


Cym is satisfied the coast is clear just outside of the front window. He lets the tan toned venetian blinds shut close with a tinny click. One final peek confirms his previous assurance that all is well. After one more parting look through the blinds he is finally satisfied that nothing untowards is happening outside the small apartment and turns toward the kitchen.
"It's all good." His proclamation is firm and authoritative relaying the comfort he needs to hear to allay all fears and misgivings that the safety and security inside the dwelling will not be soon disturbed. Completing just one more furtive glance out the window he turns, takes ten steps, strolls through the living room, past the couch; where the Old Man sits, past the flashing tv; which the Old Man watches, into the adjoining kitchen.
The Old Man's thin boned frame, all wrinkles and flabby splotched skin loosely fits inside his clothing. He appears cool and comfortable inside his large tank top and jeans. His appearance is far from resplendent. More precisely, he looks dingy and scuffed. The word "Californi" is written, in a curving mound shaped arc, across the top-middle of his tank top. The shirt, frayed and tattered, is so old the letters have partially rubbed away and the final "a" is missing. Directly underneath the letters is a picture of a surfboard, standing alone, resting in thin air at a right diagonal angle.
The lower half of his face is manhandled by a weak bloom of beard. His one saving grace is the warmth of his smile. But only when he is wearing his teeth, otherwise his smile is a gummy saggy mess. He rarely wore his teeth, now is not one of those times. The excuse he used, when pressed for a reason, is that his dentures did not fit well and that they make his gums ache.
Cym stops next to a partially disassembled microwave that waits for him on the kitchen counter. Upon arriving back at his station in the kitchen Cym states in a general informational tone.
"It's daytime."
Bell sits in a chair by the cluttered kitchen table. Well, not exactly a chair, more of a repurposed lawn recliner. His seat has no cushions but rather is constructed with faded, torn and splintering; red, white, and blue plastic strips strung across the structure of the recliner that supports his frame. And not exactly sitting either, more of a semi-rigid planked position; head and upper body cocked back as far as the chair will allow, one hand thrust deeply into a front pocket of his jeans and legs held firmly in front of his body as far and low as his feet will stretch. Using the least amount of effort possible his other hand cups his chin with two fingers, rests a thumb on his cheek and uses the middle two fingers to hold a cigarette close to his lips. He does not remove the cupped hand from his chin so the ashes routinely fall on his chest.
Bell, by all appearances, seems to be holding his breath, he has not taken oxygen into his body since Cym stood by the living room blinds peering out.
When Cym returns to the kitchen, before turning his attention back to the deconstructed microwave he had been working on fixing prior to his watch at the window, he makes mental note of the expenditure of will that is maintained and displayed by his friend Bell.
"Bell you sure are tense."
Bell ponders and muses why he would dedicate so much energy restraining the natural vibration that his body is invariably, undoubtedly, experiencing. His internal composure is so obviously askew. Why practice such resistance to what is occurring, the vacillations contained within his physical frame? And why work so hard to control his body in this rigid state? Why maintain the appearance of an illusion of control over his tremorous and unstable form? The only answer that he can give himself, why not? If it would not have been completely counterproductive to his purpose he would have shrugged in self acquiescence.
Bell draws from his cigarette, not moving his hand closer to his mouth but rather reaching with stretching lips that barely grasp the edge of the lip of the filters tip. If the cigarette was a woman's cheek, it would have been a dry tender kiss. After smoothly inhaling he doesn't blow it out of his mouth, as one would be expected to do. Bell true to form, does not exhale, the smoke drifts from his nostrils in fat lazy tendrils in its own time, under its own power.
Bell is sunken into and swaddled, like an undernourished fatherless waif, inside a hooded sweatshirt, that looks like it was borrowed from a church clothing charity donation box, after having been forgotten; hand me-downs that were cast away and no longer part of the past families frugal tradition. Bloodshot eyes, shadowed and far away, look out at nothing in particular from the shaded recesses of his hooded retreat. His pants are faded and torn, bagged, sagged and cinched at a level two inches below where they were meant to be worn.
Imprinted on his sweatshirt is a comical representation of a smiling blue stamened sunflower wending its way, with reaching white petals, towards a glowing benevolent sun. The scene would have looked more at place on an elderly womans crocheting project.
A casual observer would most likely think that Bell was too old to be wearing such a juvenile themed outfit.
This same observer, if they were imbued with even the slightest whiff of decency, would be shocked enough to look away quickly when noticing the image on Cyms sweatshirt. It is a graphic contrast to the image on Bells. One of a wild eyed homicidal nun, wielding a blood and gore caked machete, clad in a ripped and torn habit that was strategically shredded to brazenly expose a suggestive and highly offensive body hidden underneath. The nun's bra straps are torn off of one of her shoulders. Leaving the underwear hanging, exposing a massive curve of breast, with the upper hem of the cup just covering the unmistakingly outlined shape of the figure's lurid nipple, which is clearly outlined beneath the top edge of the bra.
The nuns lips are full and red, barely parted and moist, vividly garish for outerwear apparel graphics. Red and blue letters that run haphazardly underneath the figure spell "Killer Nuns."

"Bell, relax, you're gonna strain a muscle or something." Cyms accent is definitely midwestern, lacking the laid back pretense of the western coast, devoid of the brusque bluff of the eastern coast, and with an absent hint of southern twang. His words are delivered quickly, smoothly with a quiet suburban bucolic ease, running a bit too closely together. "Maybe even develop an involuntary twitch in your eye."
"Strange," is his last word on the matter, he has better things to turn his attentions and talents towards, more precisely, the microwave oven that he seems to keep getting distracted from.
Cym speaks out loud, elucidating to an unseen audience, who in Cyms mind, would be supremely interested, if they were actually there, impressed by his every insight about the inner workings of the internal operations of the microwave. "The microwave makes food that is cold on the outside and hot on the inside. It's broken, needs to be fixed, calibrate the heating coils inside the wattage element, to regulate proper and even penetration of the temperature balancing waves."
Mindfully tuning out the educational discourse being presented Bell takes one shallow gasping inhalation through his mouth, after a few seconds he takes another, then holds it, and continues to hold. After a few moments of absolute stillness he exhales with unconscious stilted expulsions, through his mouth, until all the air seems to be out of his lungs. After this he yawns, refilling his lungs, which brings moisture to his sunken red streaked, light blue and green speckled eyes.
Following this flurry of activity Bell resumes his motionless respite.
The cat jumps on the kitchen counter, next to the microwave and the bits and pieces of the uncompleted undertaking. Before the cat has the opportunity to satisfy it's natural curiosity as to what is so enthralling to one of the humans Cym pushes it off the counter onto the floor. The cat handles this ignoble treatment with it's normal sense of detached aplomb. Namely, by lifting its tail high in the air, pointing its clenched cat ass in Cyms direction and padding towards the Old Man.
The Old Man says "If cats could talk, we would know what they were saying."
"Put your teeth in when you're talking Old Man, show some manners." As a quiet afterthought Cym adds to the cat that trudges away towards the window blinds in the front room. "Disgusting."
The cat seems to have no opinion on the condition of the old man's teeth or to the personal grooming habits of people in general, as it exhibits no response to Cyms statement.
The Old Man, in the way of an intelligent thoughtful response, takes a stolid pull on the extra large can of beer he possesses. To ensure that his point has been received, he takes another deep slurp. He is satisfied with his position in the verbal exchange.
Cym is finally able to completely apply his laser like focus to what he has been trying to accomplish, for what seems like an inordinately over-extended amount of time. This should have been completed long, long ago, he tells himself. Realizing this he slowly shakes and bows his head to display that he acknowledges his responsibility in his part of the lack of a solution and reassemblage of the microwave oven in what could reasonably be expected in a timely manner.
Raising his right hand, and placing his left hand over his heart he makes a pledge to the cupboards directly over the counter that is holding the microwave casing and guts. "I am accountable." Before he can continue his reverent declaration that would cement his dedication to all present parties that the microwave would not end up like the toaster fiasco he is interrupted by a noise.
His hyper vigilant ears pick up the unmistakable sounds of the cat pawing at the living room window blinds. The cat, a questionable ally at best, is alerting him to something. Cym turns and rushes back to the window blinds. He moves much quicker than he expected and almost stumbles into the blinds. He rebukes himself as this would be most unwise, potentially alerting the unknown guests (intruders) to his presence inside the apartment.
When Cym regains his composure he sees what has attracted the cat's fancy. There is nothing outside, but inside is a spider. A spider in the blinds.
"A spider" he says, stating the obvious. "Where did you come from? You were not here before."
From his vantage point, behind Cym, Bell can see that it's a large orange spider, not an ordinary brown wolf spider, hairy and bristling but smooth and sleek. Its body is the size of a small orange currant tomato. A reflection of light sparkles on a spot of its large bulbous body, like a jewel, the patterns on it's body form a distinct black and brown marbled pattern that follows the sacred geometry of the golden mean.
The abdomen is large, swollen, a beautiful bloated lump transported and supported by the segmented frame of legs underneath it.
It scuttles back into its tiny web and sits in silent oppositional indifference to the human world around it.
Bell is drawn into a reverie of thought about the spider. Immune to the motion and bustling around you, outside the lines of your little web. Waiting, still waiting, for what the world will bring you, at odds with no one thing, nothing. Just waiting for what the bounty of universal providence will bring and then deposit in your web. You ruminate, wait for the vibrations, the subtle shakes of the entangled prey, the enticing throes of the fly, the buzzing bug. You are that which waits and takes what is given, seeking only what falls into your web; wanting nothing more, nothing less. Then still you wait, wait and watch, as a patient observer secreted in our normally hidden corners.
No, this was no ordinary spider, it was different, different and out place, it did not belong, did not belong here. The tides of fate are changing, the winds of fortune have different plans for you, my little watcher, watcher in the web. Out of place, beautiful and doomed thinks Bell with an abject anxiety.
Cym purposefully walks back to the kitchen and retrieves a mason jar with a layer of white powder on the bottom where lies the desiccated and withered balls of a small number of spiders that shift slightly with the movement of the jar. They are all preserved in the same state, resting upside down with all eight legs curled back inwards and folded down so the tips of their legs all rested snugly against the bottom of their bodies.
Cym walks back to the window blinds and stops right in front of the spider again. He holds the jar up to the spider and looks at it though the glass he holds in his hand. The spider appears distended and magnified in a misshapen representation of its usual dimensions when spied through the glass jar.
"Do you know what this is? No? It's diatomaceous earth. That mean nothing to you? Well, this powder is basically fossilized remains that act like particularized razor blades. Once this shit hits you It's like being covered in microscopic cutting grains. Small spiders can take up to twelve hours to die. You my large orange beastie should live a good day and a half as these tiny razors work there way into the chitinous cracks of your exoskeleton and wiggle and worm their way into your insides and cause your liquids to drain until you completely dehydrate. A slow, unavoidable end, once you go into the jar and the dust touches you, you die; slowly in great pain."
He scoops the spider into the jar with no further ceremony; where it lands in the chalk like substance. The spider sprints in a circle around the bottom finding no exit, it halts short of where it started, having run almost a full turn.
Cym shakes the jar causing a cloud of the flour looking material to billow and envelop, then coat, the entirety of the spider. It's bright orange color is now matted and drab, the diatomaceous earth has settled; leaving the spider looking like a sugar dusted treat, with legs. The spider has no idea it has twenty nine agony filled hours of life left to live in its new home. A torture chamber that does double duty as a tomb.
"Think of that next time you wrap up a fly and suck out its insides while it is paralyzed and still alive in your web. Oh yeah, there will be no next time for you said the fly to the spider. The scales are balanced, justice is served."
Cym returns to the kitchen and replaces the jar in its customary place of honor atop the refrigerator.
The Old Man lights a self-rolled filterless cigarette, scratches his tuft of whiskers that are wanly rooted into his chin and speaks.
"Did I ever tell you boys the one about the ear phucking monkey?"
Interpreting the utter silence and lack of response as an invitation to proceed the Old Man begins.
The Old Man starts his story with the words "back when I lived back in ------," neither Cym nor Bell bother to listen to or remember the city name that the Old Man gives them, as it invariably changes with every story he prattled on about. The cities were usually located in southern California, although sometimes he would throw in a city from Oregon. Probably to see if they were paying attention; they weren't. Their obvious lack of interest however never dampened his enthusiastic yarns.
The Old Man staunchly continues with a curmudgeonly sense of entitlement. He operates under a tacit belief that when he speaks Bell and Cym are obliged to listen. Part of the unspoken contract of the living arrangement they share. This stodgy sense of commitment to his cause could be seen as admirable, unless a person happened to be on on the involuntary receiving end of one of his rambles. Then it just made the Old Man seem overly obstinate and needlessly chatty. He could easily give one the sense that he was talking at them instead of to them. One of the unique talents the Old Man was blessed with was a seemingly complete inability to pick up on basic social cues. For example, listeners rolling their eyes at him, excessive yawning or abruptly and without explanation exiting the room in which he was speaking.
"I do know this, he did get it as a baby monkey, maybe from a rare animal dealer who also imported drugs or something. It was an...um... I think a rebus monkey."
Cym, with his back to the Old Man and his hands holding a pair of pliers and the rotating platform that should have been safely stowed inside a working microwave, states "you mean a Remus monkey." Then inwardly curses himself for fanning the flames by showing any interest to what the Old Man is sputtering on about.
After Cyms innocent response the Old Man begins to lean forward, his enthusiasm builds, they were actually participating in his tale. "Yeah that's what I mean the little ones, maybe they have red butts. But what's interesting about this monkey is they have no sense of dignity. They will have sex with anything; food, baby monkeys, gay sex, orgy sex. They are little monkey nymphos, world class copulators."
Bell silently thinks the correct name of the monkey is Bonobo, but doesn't say it out loud. He knows better than to show any encouragement.
"Well what's also interesting about this monkey is that, well you know how some dogs will hump people's legs, well this monkey would hump the side of his head." After a brief pause, "whose head you say?"

No one had said anything.
"Well that's a whole different story, but I will tell you this about that. He was a bad man. A drug dealer. A raper and abuser of woman. A murderer and all around criminal." Pausing to gather his thoughts the Old Man takes a mouth wetting sip of beer. "Now this little bugger would wrap his legs and tail around his neck, bear down, and start slamming his hips into the side of his head in a downward and thrusting motion, tangling his little monkey paws in his hair, pulling it in, really grinding, you know."
Bell slides his eyelids shut. They feel gummy and sticky when they touch together. He resists the urge to raise a finger up to rub the inner corner of his left eye. He sighs with a stoic resignation that this spiel could be a genuine corker.
The Old Man is picking up steam. "The funny thing is he would never complain about the fact that the monkey was phucking him in the ear, he would always tell the monkey to stop pulling his hair or that his tail was wrapped around his neck too tight and was choking him. This guy was all sorts of squirrely, he would get mad about his hair getting mussed up, but not the little red monkey dick attempting to penetrate his hearing hole."
Cym has the countenance of someone that is slowly thinking, then says "I mean it would be cool to have a monkey and all, but I would not let that monkey have a go at my head. I would not be that monkeys bitch. Could you pull its tail or something to get it off? Or at least to make it withdraw from your ear?"
The Old Man beams a toothless, sort of, grin; which could only be called a grin with a great degree of charity and interpretive flexibility and tipped his beer can at Cym with a wink that suggested a message of 'now your thinking' and continued "Ahh, well, a sexually frustrated monkey could be pretty physically aggressive, what could you do?"
Cym still tries to wrap his brain around the conundrum "I mean I feel for the guy, I do. Once that monkey is sunk in and wrapped up in your hair how do you stop it? Would it bite you? Or do you just let the monkey go to completion? I guess you would have to you wouldn't want the monkey to bite you or rip off your ear or something."
"Don't know if the monkey ever reached completion; I never saw that. Who knows what happened when they were alone or behind closed doors, if you will. Now if it did, reach completion that is, now that would have been a real mess." The Old Man's satisfied sense of self importance is clearly evident on his face now.
Bell with his eyes still squeezed shut and trying his damndest not to listen is assaulted with an unwelcome thought. Can you imagine trying to get monkey love cream out of your aural cavity with a q-tip? The thought is obviously obscene. Bell is secretly disappointed in his own imagination and that it is choosing to participate in anyway in this awful monkey tale.
Anyone with a middling understanding of the basic morality that keeps society moving and conjoined, would understand, with no further explanation, that an ear phucking monkey, is without a doubt, and with no need for further details needed, perverse and immoral, not to mention really gross.
If Bell were able to conjure up people he used to know, things he used to do, places he had been, this could have been a way to distract himself. A recollection of past memories and old ideas could help put everything he hears into a single cohesive frame of absent reference. At the very least he could have used past experiences to help put this monkey madness into context. With outside influences to compare it to it could give meaning to the things he couldn't help but hear.
Trying to remember old images of the past is too much work, he gives up. He sits passively, absorbing what is being said. Hell, for all he knew the story wasn't really about the monkey anyway. Maybe it was about the man, or something else entirely. Maybe there is a hidden meaning; like in an allegory or parable.
That is way too much thinking, he thinks. The story is most probably about the monkey.
Bell also decides that if anyone happened to be surreptitiously listening to or recording them, which could be possible with the state of things nowadays, that they would think this was the stupidest story ever told. And that it should in no way ever be repeated or remembered for posterity in anyway. As a matter of fact, he continues in his own mind, if this inane story somehow made it into some kind of book of nonsense, a collection of the world's worst writing, it should be disregarded as no better than common drivel. It is all utter nonsense. It is far too ludicrous to be believed, absolute malarky.
The Old Man oblivious to the Bells true feelings is hitting his stride. "He raised this monkey from a baby monkey, cared for it, nurtured it. He did try different methods to get this monkey that lived on his back from not phucking him in the ear. He would dip his head in a bathtub full of water when it started. The monkey would just pull his other ear and put his fingers up the guys nose. And this monkey could hold its breath as long as the man could, so the monkey would just wait him out. The man would scold the monkey, insult the monkey, cajole the monkey, bargain with the monkey, all to no avail. The stubborn monkey simply would not leave its perch on his shoulder and then when the urge struck it would line its hips up with his ear and wham wham wham, that monkey would try to get up in that ear."
The Old Man extinguishes his cigarette in a convenient ashtray before continuing. "The only time the monkey would get off his back was when the man would lay down to sleep, then the monkey would lay in bed next to his head, coo at him and stroke his hair till he fell asleep, then the monkey would go forage in the kitchen for fruits and berries that the man would leave on the counter for the monkey to eat. The monkey would also use this time to take care of its own personal and grooming needs."
"The man eventually resigned himself to the nature of the relationship. But when the monkey started, the man would always try to distract him so the monkey could not finish himself inside the man's ear. These were two very frustrated beings. The monkey and the man who the monkey loved."
At this point a switch has gone off inside Cym, he has had it. Where before he was slightly inquisitive now he is very irritated and combative. "I might have to kill that monkey, once a monkey goes bad and balls your brains out - enough is enough. The line has to be drawn somewhere, it's vile. Of course monkeys are hella way cool. But there has to be that fine line drawn in the sand. It's beastiality rape, where the beasts are raping us when we don't want them to. It's abominable. It's a sad state when a monkey can just use a man against his will."
Cym gets a large carving knife from the silverware drawer in the kitchen and says. "I would kill any monkey that tried to get on anybodys back and tried to and phuck him in his ear. There could be no other ethical choice, that monkey would die."
He waves the knife at The Old Man. Once having made this decision he calms down a little bit "This goes without saying, I'm just saying. Why would he keep that twisted monkey and let it sit on his back?"
The Old Man is recalcitrant "Rehabilitation maybe, protect it from someone else who was less understanding and might hurt it."
Cym paces between the kitchen and the the living room blinds. Ten steps one way, ten steps back. His mind chews the intricacies and full meaning of what this monkey story could imply. He holds the knife in his right hand and bangs the blunt edge repeatedly, mechanically, into his open left palm.
He mutters to himself, "these monkeys will engage in disturbing rampant sexuality, these slutty indiscriminate creatures; no sense of boundaries, decorum, modern decency or shame.
I'd probably have to kill that monkey."
Cym is done muttering to himself. His voice raises to a stern matter-of-fact tone. His audience is Bell and the Old Man, his diatribe well emoted and passionate as he rants about his unwavering moral and philosophical viewpoints regarding mating habits, as they relate to a monkey and the side of a human head.
Bell condensing the whole tirade in his head sums up Cyms opinion as this; interspecies monkey-human sex is wrong any monkey engaging is such behaviour would be killed.
Cym gives both of them a glaring stare, allowing a moment of silence to let everything he has said sink in, he is satisfied that his point has been driven home, "good and good, let's have no further talk of this perverse practice, that I'm sure is just a fairy tale, meant to get my goat. I'll put up with no more such depravity after this; agreed?"
"I have seen it myself" says the Old Man.
Cym raises one stern finger at the Old Man, clenching his lips to convey his mounting frustration with the topic being discussed at any further length.
After all this talk of monkey sex the trio are compelled to go outside for some fresh air.
The apartment dwelling denizens head to the front porch, conferring on the need for refreshments and snacks. Bell and Cym both grab sunglasses off the table to hide the truth they believe their red-rimmed, glassy, dilated pupils revealed to the rest of the world.
The front porch balcony is the standard sort that many apartments of this type have, a six by six cement landing bordered by a black metal railing that stands about waist high to an adult.
Bell listen's to Cym and the Old Man discuss the next plan of action; more so Cym telling and the Old Man listening. The gist of the conversation is that since Cym and Bell have not eaten for a couple days the Old Man should give them some money so they could buy food.
The Old Man can not fault this logic so he walks back into the apartment to retrieve his cash.
Cym in the way of making small talk asks where Cobra and his mean-ass bitch girlfriend are.
Bell shrugs in way of an answer, although he is pretty sure they are off looking to get their shit. Bell knew those two had to have it or they both got pretty sick. It was not like his shit at all. He was also pretty sure they were meeting the Mexicans who usually operated under a dependable schedule, not like the white boys. But in this life things were never certain, anything could happen. Cobra would be back when he had what they needed.
The Old Man returns and brings out the pair of pants that had been laying on the ground next to the couch, he starts pulling out and emptying all the pocket till he gets to the last one and pulls out a few waded up dollar bills.
"I knew I had some money. Glad no one stole it." He hands them the money.
Cym tucks the large knife into his pants and covers the bulge with the lower hem of his jacket as he starts down the concrete stairs to the grassy common area of the apartment complex.
The Old Man yells at them "Bring back some ice cream, it's perfect weather for something cold, and don't forget the beer."
As the duo walk alongside the black top road on the cracked concrete sidewalk Cym is saying to himself, "I am a good {censored}-fearing {censored}. And in my specific religious faith, which is the one true faith, it did not put in for animal's raping humans. It is plainly listed as a sin in the {censored}. Our book that came straight from {censored}. It's just wrong and should not exist. And because of my faith, which I won't name again since it would be redundant and repetitive, I would never let some monkey hump my ear, or any ear for that matter; it's unnatural, immoral, wrong, disgusting, I'd kill that phucking money. It shouldn't exist, in {censored} great firmament, it's an aberration and abomination in {censored} great nation. It would probably also shit on my shoulder after it was done."
Inside the fast food restaurant, the glow of the interior neon decorative lights casts an ambient joyous hunger inducing glow over the crowded herd of people, many of them huddled together as family units.
Seconds after Cym and Bell enter a very fat woman follows behind them and jostles them as she crowds in, to allow the door to gently, slowly close. She is draped in a barnyard themed tent of a sun dress, happy skipping pigs and docile cows are repeated in the same pattern over the entirety of her outfit. Her skin is so sun-burnt it is almost orange.
When Bell sees her bare arms he thinks of a balloon animal a birthday clown might make; large round tubes with small knotted joints.
Cym is scowling, looking at the floor "It's too noisy, stuffy, people too close, pressed together."
Bell nudges Cym with his elbow and nods his head towards the bathroom to let him know where he is going. He walks towards the corner, shakes his right arm from the elbow down, tenses, clenches and unclenches his fist before quickly shaking his wrist once.
Right after he walks away, before turning the corner of the lobby to the restrooms, a man standing in line directly in front of Cym gets his hair pulled by the little creature that he is providing a piggyback ride to. "Ow," says the man, "quit pulling my hair you little monkey". The little monkey laughs at his father's joke, the laugh sounds like a chitter to Bell.
Another person enters the restaurant and the fat woman is pressed into Cym.
Bell enters the bathroom, his thoughts random, able to only hold one cohesive idea at a time. I need to sleep, foot itches, bang it on ground, in stall, trying to pee. His penis is shrunken and shriveled, he says "cold" to himself "It's ok", as an inner explanation in defense of it's drastically diminished state. The spoken reassurance buoys and bolsters his deflated lagging spirit.
It takes an eternity for Bell to pee, but once he starts he goes on forever, his foot itches again, he bangs and scrapes his foot on the ground to try and scratch the itch that crawls around his foot. This motion makes his stream wobble, he splashes off the toilet.
When he is finally done, he walks out of the stall scuffing and dragging his itchy foot, scratches again. The irritation moves to his neck then thigh. No matter what part of his body he tries to trap the offending sensation on it quickly slides to another section of skin. No amount of scratching provides more than a fleeting illusion of relief.
Bell looks into the mirror and jumps back startled. Old when, what? Is something there? His thoughts don't make sense to him. Even though he knows there is nothing, he believed there was something. When did he stop understanding his own thoughts, he wonders.
On closer examination at his reflection his skin has a pallor that is tinged yellowish and slightly piebald with a viridescent accent. This cursory examination gives him the distinct feeling that he is not well, sick even. Bell also knows it would be mentally distracting to stare at his own image for too long, who knows what he would see?
He knows he needs to sleep, maybe after they get back to the apartment; maybe not. He knows at the point he is at sleep would be a distant escape, more of a dream that an actuality. The fan inside the bathroom is loud. He feels detached, like he could drift away and disconnect from everything
He cracks open the bathroom door to re-enter the dining area of the restaurant.
Undulating mewling lamentations roll over him in short separated waves, a peppering staccato of verbal anguish. Broken by intervals of static, disjointed white noise, permeated with single words that stand with a seeming lack of purpose or will. Words that should be supported by facts that would explain the exact meaning of what is happening.
He sucks back to the present reality, Confusion is the master here, chaos has had its due, order is broken, the rules as of yet are unknown.
Bell hears noise, yelling, screaming, call the police, loud swearing, the world doesn't make sense. The words don't connect, nothing makes sense, you'd think someone killed somebody.
Clarity and comprehension currently elude him. The most he could hope for was a focused perception of enough scattered information to decipher scraps of the disjoined, disconnected, discordance to try and guide himself to the logical mysterious whole.
He is no dummy he tells himself.
The noise, the sound, is overwhelming and unilluminating. His senses take in volumes and masses of input and details but he can not process or make sense of it quickly enough to understand.
He needs time.
Permeated by words that, by and in and of themselves, do not have the strength or singular will to reveal everything that currently transpires. There should be supporting words, on both sides, the front and the back, before and after, these single (stunted)(shortened)(shouted) words to explain the entirety and breadth and width of the current situation, to give -him- a better and more complete understanding of the situation, in that, he is, just now, at this present moment facing.
Bell's mind is overwrought and deluged with images of wars, crime, death, screaming, violence, hatred, anger, weeping mothers.
Nothing means anything.
The world has gone insane.
Bell stands by the exit door, his body jerks of its own accord. He holds his breath for a few seconds, doesn't breath until his lungs make him. Stretches his fingers, then knuckles, then wrist, scratches his neck, rubs his thigh through the front of his jeans. He looks at the walls. Red everywhere, splattered and painted on chairs and walls. Had there been a food fight? A war waged with condiments as armaments? Ketchup sprayed far and near, pooling on the floor.
All the information that has engulfed him sickeningly clicks together in his muddled mind. He silently cedes to his deepest self, a single cogent thought, it is not ketchup.
Bell fills with a sense of fear and trembling, such as which he has never known. A sinking fathomless despair grips him and his chest tightens with a suffocating sense of finality.
The airy space between him and the action slowly seems to change.
Everything his eyes can see is blurred by a shimmering wall of distortion in the air that rises from the floor and stops approximately six feet up, suspended with no attachment to either the floor or the ceiling, maintained with no bearing to gravity.
Similar, but stronger still, to the bright visible waves one would spy dancing above a sidewalk on a scorching summer day.
This ethereal field does not obstruct his view of the events that unfolded, but rather lends a ephemeral opaque quality to what he perceives, a temporary grace his mind provides to dampen the shock.
The scene in the restaurant appears unearthly to Bell, viewed through this veil that only exists in his perceptions of the moment.
A corrupting dread infects his awareness, as an inner voice that he seems to recognize as his own, but of that he is unsure, tells him; If you had a soul, it is now and forever stained. For some reason this thought causes Bell to crack a broken smile out of which leaks a whimpering chuckle; this saves him from falling to his knees and weeping.
Bell turns and walks out the side door, unseen he hopes. As soon as it closes behind him the noise and screaming stop, to him everything is now blissfully quiet.
The volume has been muted.
The last thing Bell remembers hearing is Cym screaming about the phucking monkey.


Ben Child currently resides in Happy Valley, Utah. Objectively speaking, his life, in terms of business ventures and romantic relationships, has been a resounding flop. His sole ambition is to be an amateur iconoclast. The fact that Mr. Child learned the word iconoclast from a cartoon in no way diminishes its significance.