Places, Everyone, Please

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He stands the doorway while his parents go back and forth about the cost of living. Will they notice his fashion experiment? Pant legs pegged over pearly white tennis shoes? Collar of canary yellow flipped up for extra pizazz? He’s been at his hair with a wet comb all day long. Drying before he’s done with it, it falls forward into bullhorns, one says bullions, until he puts it back again with still more water. “Ahem,” he says. He clears his throat two times with a space in between each like negative space. “If you keep combing it,” his father speaks without looking, “it will fall out like a cancer patient.” “It will not,” says the mother. “That’s ridiculous.” “And put your collar down,” says the father. “You look like a fruitcake.”

When she asks him to take her somewhere nice, he reaches into his pockets to find half the money he thought he had and a piece of paper folded many times over and cut into the shape of a baby. Flap it open into a chain of babies festooned like a banner to include the negative space no one ever mentions, that space around and between the babies, when the cutout parts of each little guy, for there are nubby penises, gives fascinating glimpses of landscapes lovebirds pass through. Such a crude decoration for a shower!

Das Kapital. Karl’s father realized early on that his boy was a wicked genius. How he warned that his son would waste his talents if he did not foster relationships with the right, like-minded people in the highest and not the farthest reaches of society. Karl and Jenny might dodge a life of poverty.