Joyland

The Midwest |

Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid

by Tan G. Digger

“So I was reading this article in the Times about how, apparently, there’s like way more people who want to write books nowadays than actually read them.”

As I spoke, my wife was texting.

“Man, how depressing is that?”

“What?”

Infuriated by her inattentiveness, I slid under the bed.

“Honeypot, why are you hiding down there again?”

“Because it’s safer down here.”

“Then how come you’re crying?”

“I dunno, sweetness.  I’m sad, I guess.”

“And why are you sad?”

“Jesus fucking Christ, what’s with all the questions?  Why were you texting when I was talking?”

“I was texting you, idiot!”

“Bullshit.”

“I swear to fucking God.”

I burst out from underneath the bed and dashed over to the drawer where my cell phone was stashed.  Squinting, I read the screen.  There was a text.  From her.  It said: “I ♥ U!”

“Happy anniversary, honeypot.”

“It’s our anniversary?”

“Screw you.”

 

The days just seemed to roll a lot like that lately. There was so much to do and way too much to say. No matter what, though, we both ended up saying the wrong things at the wrong time. Like that day at breakfast, we were sitting across from one another in a moldy booth. I swear, sometimes, when I close my watery eyes late at night, I can still picture that wobbly table, the place’s aroma of patchouli, Canadian bacon, and stale coffee.

“So you wanna do it?”

“Do what?”

“Move to Santa Cruz.”

“Why would we wanna do that, honeypot? We have a kick-ass place in Oakland.”

“But everyone down here seems so goddamn happy, sweetness.”

“That’s just cause they’re stoned.  What happened to you, man?  You used to be angry.”

“I’m sick of being angry.  It’s so. . .   It’s so. . .”

As I blew bubbles in my OJ, my usually tender wife ripped the napkin I’d been twiddling with right out of my hands.

“It’s so what?”

“I dunno, exhausting?”

My wife scooped up a spoonful of eggs. “There are people starving in India,” she told me.  “And this new fucking president of ours is still bombing people over in Pakistan with those Predator drones. I mean, how fucked up is that shit? If you’re gonna kill people, you should at least have to get your hands dirty and send over some poor dumb redneck to do it.  Like the way it’s always been done. This is not the change I voted for.”

“You know what’s weird?”

“That no one can agree how to spell, ‘omelette?’”

“No. Well, yeah. But what I was thinking about was the fact that marijuana is basically legal in California now, right?”

“Pretty much. What’s your point, honeypot?”

“My point, sweetness, is this: why hasn’t anyone thought to open up a place that sells weed and food?  I mean, when I get high, I want to eat.  Seriously, you could sling dope and nachos. You’d make a fortune and serve the community. It’s absolutely genius!”

“So did your mom drop you on your head as a child or something? Or, perhaps, she drank a little bit too much white wine when you were in the womb. . .”

“My brother was a few days late and my ma got so pissed at still being pregnant with the bastard that she drained like a whole bottle the night before he finally popped out. Or so the story goes.”

“That explains it.”

“Explains what?”

“Why your brother is the way he is.”

“How’s that?”

“I dunno, like all intense and shit.”

As my wife dropped her fork with a clang, I demanded to know: “And what exactly do you mean by ‘intense?’”

“Oh, nothing really, honeypot. Just that the guy seems to particularly enjoy administering noogies.  Not to mention his penchant for asking people to pull his. . .”

“Well, your mom’s intense.”

“No, she’s not!  My mom has leukemia and sleeps all day. That is, when she’s not trying to kill herself by ODing on pain meds.”

“Sometimes, I wanna kill myself.”

“That’s not fucking funny! I thought you promised that you wouldn’t make those BS threats no more.”

“It’s not bullshit if it’s how I feel."

Thrusting her butter knife at me menacingly, she exhaled: “Okay, fine. Go ahead and do it already then. Quit pussyfooting around and make me a widow!”

“You know what? We could call it The Hasherdashery.”

“What?”

“The marijuana dispensary slash diner. Yeah, I totally dig the ring of that: The Hasherdashery. What do you think, sweetness?”

“Well, first of all, a haberdasher is someone who sells men’s clothing.  What the heck does that have to do with weed?” Delicately licking the jam off the edge of her toast – like the most adorable creature on the planet – she mumbled, “Or food for that matter?”

“No shit?  I always thought a haberdashery was a hat store.  Wait a second, that actually would be kinda cool.  People could get high and try on different hats.”

“Have you ever seen the hats that stoners wear?  I’m thinking court jesters here.  As in like very Ren Fair.”

“You’re very Ren Fair.”

“No, I’m not.  I don’t even like vampires.”

“And what the fuck does that have to do with anything?”

“Just that there’s two kinds of people in this world.  Those that like vampires and those that like zombies.”

“Brains!”

“Jesus Christ, honeypot, will you please put your pants back on?  I mean, can you even imagine the type of assholes that would invariably end up loitering around a place like that?  You’d never get those assholes to leave.  It would be just like Kyle’s apartment.  One giant stoner pit, full of smelly pricks talking shit about the hemp revolution and playing skateboarding video games.  All day long.  Fuck that noise!”

“Whatever, man, fuck your noise.”

“You wish.”

“But don’t you see?  That’s the beauty of it.  People will get high then eat.  And get high again and eat again.  It’s like a perpetual motion machine.  We’d never have to close.  We wouldn’t even need locks on the doors.”

“So when would you sleep then?”

“Who cares?  I hate fucking sleeping lately, what with all them awful dreams about planes crashing into buildings.  Hey, maybe that’s what we should call it.”

“Planes Crashing Into Buildings?  Isn’t that kinda in bad taste, honeypot?”

“No, sweetness.  I’m talking about The Perpetual Motion Machine.  I mean, it’s got a nice ring to it and it’s kinda trippy.  Also – when we do move down here – we should like totally run for City Council and pass a law that says every store in town must sell bongs.”

“That’s rather fascist of you. Plus, you don’t even smoke weed anymore.”

“Yeah, but in a place like this…”

“Sorry, but I really have to go to the bathroom.”

When the love of my life returned, I’d already asked for the check and put on my favorite black hoodie.

“What’s up, honeypot?  Are you cold or something?”

“No, I was just getting ready to leave.”

“How come?”

“I thought you wanted to go.”

“I still have to finish my coffee.”

“Jesus, sweetness, this isn’t a First Amendment issue.  There’s no prior restraint.  Who the hell are you, Walter Sobchak?”

“Phone’s ringing, dude.”

I looked down.  She was right, as always.  My cell was vibrating.  There was another text from her.  It said: “The Hasherdashery?  Are you fucking kidding me?  Dolt!”

“Did you even have to go to the bathroom?”

“Can’t I text and pee?”

“Oh, that reminds me, Kyle needs to crash at our place for a few weeks.”

“A few weeks? What’s the matter with his place?”

“They’re fumigating it.”

“Figures. Wait a second, how does peeing and texting remind you of Kyle?”

“I was just kinda thinking that when we get home today, I should probably clean up the shower a bit.”

“What’s wrong with the shower?”

“Well, there’s a bunch of stuff in there.  Shampoo bottles, soap, shaving cream, razors, that type of thing.”

“So? It’s not like Kyle’s a neat freak. I’ve seen him wear the same disgusting pair of sweatpants for like two weeks straight. And, let me tell you, that shit dangles. . .”

“Yeah, I know, but he gives himself enemas in the shower.”

 

If you’d please indulge me, a rhetorical question at the outset here.  I was just wondering, is it possible to fall even more in love with someone you already absolutely adore?  If so, is it possible to do so when that person spits a large amount of coffee out of her nose and all over your plate of partially eaten pancakes?

“I’m so sorry, honeypot.  Were you gonna finish those?”

“No, I really thought we were leaving.”

“Well, I thought I told you that we were staying.”  

Raising her hand, she politely shouted: “Miss, could I get a refill over here?  Please.”

“Are you sure you need more coffee, sweetness?”

“I’m positive. So why the fuck does Kyle give himself enemas?”

“I guess he’s a bit plugged up or something.”

“And he would do this in our shower?”

“I assume so. I mean, he does it everywhere else. He’s like got this whole weird routine where he goes into the bathroom with a beer and shits and showers and then shoves something up his ass.”

“Yet, he’s still your best friend?”

“Hey, it’s not like I had any choice in the matter. He lived down the street from me when were twelve and he showed me how to smoke weed out of a Coke can.”

“Well, he can’t fucking stay at our place.”

“Why the hell not?”

“Because, apparently, he’s gonna shove my shampoo bottle up his ass!”

Ignoring this rather odd sequence of words, the waitress brought my screeching wife some more coffee and casually dropped the bill onto our rickety table.

“Not if I tidy up a bit.”

“But he will shove something up his ass and shit in our shower. I mean, that’s essentially what you’re telling me, correct?”

“I suppose, if you put it that way, I never really thought about the fact that he’s actually pooping in the shower.”

“Are you serious?  How did that crucial fact not cross your mind?”

“I dunno, sweetness. If you’re so adamant about this whole thing, I can try to ask him to please refrain while he’s staying at our place.”

“Or – better yet – you can tell him to stay somewhere else.”

“You know, the funny thing is that he has this whole OCD thing where he insists that anyone he sleeps with take a shower. Which I’ve always thought would be rather awkward if he ever had a one-night stand.”

“I dunno, if I slept with Kyle, I’d definitely want to take a shower.”

“Well, duh, but he insists that they both shower before they do the nasty. And knowing Kyle, I’m pretty sure he goes first. Which, as you’ve so eloquently pointed out, basically means that he makes anyone he humps bathe in his own poop.  So if he did hook up with Kathy that means. . .”

“Whoa, wait a second there, buckaroo! Who told you that he hooked up with Kathy?”

“Nobody. It just seemed like they kinda hit it off the other night at the party.”

“Who could possibly hit it off with Kyle? I mean, besides my loser husband.”

“Okay, fine, let’s just put it this way. She was totally wasted and he kept offering to smoke her out. So I just assumed that. . .”

“Well, that’s fucking romantic.”

“You know what’s really weird?”

“The fact that all of our friend’s names start with K?”

“I was gonna say that when I was looking on Yelp for a good place to eat down here, it was practically impossible. Every single place had like four and half stars.”

“I dunno, this place ain’t too bad.”

“Yeah, I suppose we got lucky.  Or maybe – and this is what I’m getting at – maybe this whole town is just so fucking chill that everything is about four and half stars down here.  It’s like you got the mountains, you got the beach, you even got a famous hippie college.  I mean, we’re basically in mellow fucking central.  So I’m wondering if every day in Santa Cruz isn’t a four and half star day?  Which is why I kinda want to move here, sweetness.  It’s like look at that dude over there with the dreads at the counter. The one wearing the Korn shirt. I don’t even think that band exists anymore.”

“I heard the guitarist became a Born Again.”

“Just look at that dude.  He seems so content. Just once in my life, I want to be like that. Eating the whole wheat waffles with organic syrup.  That dude’s definitely having a four and half star day.”

“Does it work that way?” my wife asked, throwing down a wad of crumpled bills.

“I dunno, that’s what I’m asking.”

“Me too,” she told me.