Sunday, June 12, 2005

"Laundry Like Grey Elephants"

Currently reading: "Catch-22" by Joseph Heller
"The Dark Knight Returns" by Frank Miller
"Bouclier Humain" by Hennebaut, Betaucourt, and Sellali
Next Up: "The Crimson Petal and the White" by Michael Faber

The idea for this popped into my head on the train yesterday, and I finished it today. I showed it to the person who inspired it, and he seemed to get a kick out of it even though he was a little "insulted." :) Cry me a river. So, without further ado:

For Adam - and no, I don't think you're a loser. I just have fun portraying you that way in my fiction.


Laundry Like Grey Elephants

By Teresa Jusino

The laundry strewn on the floor looked like grey elephants. The room, like all of Astoria, was hot and moist. Dust bunnies scampered amid the clutter. The Lansinger sat next to the girl on the floor. Their backs were against the bed. It was hot, and a DVD was still in the player.

"What shall we drink?" the girl asked. "It’s so hot."

"How about ginger ale? I think a ginger ale would do us both good."

The Lansinger left the room to fetch the ginger ale. The girl wiggled her toes, and the floor creaked under her heel. She lifted a grey t-shirt from the floor and let it fall again.

"Two ginger ales" the Lansinger said upon his return. He handed a can to the girl.

The girl said nothing. She opened the can and drank. Her chest burned.

"What is this?" she asked, looking at everything but the can in her hand.

"It’s called Vernors" he answered. "They say it’s the most carbonated drink in the world."

The girl clutched her still-burning chest. "Carbonation. Oh. For a second, I thought you might be trying to kill me."

"Don’t be that way" he replied. He sat again, on the floor beside the girl.

He looked at her as she stared at the laundry on the floor. Its folds looked like wrinkled hide.

"The laundry looks like grey elephants" she said.

"I’ve never seen any." "You wouldn’t have." "What’s that supposed to mean?"

The girl sighed. "Nothing."

"Don’t be that way. We were going to have a nice time tonight. Don’t you like your Vernors?"

"This is all we do, isn’t it" she said, putting the can down. "All we do is look at things and try new drinks."

"It’s not a new drink."

"I meant new to me. Why are you so literal?" "I’m not always literal."

"You are" she said. "And I always have to be wrong."

"Cut it out."
"You started it. I was trying to have a nice time. I tried this new, insanely-carbonated drink. I said the laundry looks like grey elephants. Wasn’t that bright?"

"Yes. That was very bright."

The girl buried her painted toes beneath a pile of pants. The Lansinger sipped his Vernors.

"The laundry doesn’t really look like grey elephants" said the girl. "I just meant the coloring. You have a lot of grey clothes. Shirts especially."

"The ginger ale’s nice and cool."

"It’s lovely."

"Look, Terry" he said, after the bubbles played on his tongue. "It’s just one. And it’s shorter now." The girl said nothing.

"We have plenty of time." The girl lifted a shirt on her foot.

"Look," he said. "It’s just the one. I don’t think you’ll mind it. It’s just the one, and then it’s over. And I’ll totally explain everything to you."

"No commercials."

"Right! Shorter, because there are no commercials. It’ll take no time at all!"

"What’ll we do afterward?"

"We’ll watch the movie."

"There’s a movie, too?" "Of course there’s a movie. This episode will prepare you to watch the movie."

"What makes you think I want to go through all of this just to watch a new episode?"

"I thought you’d be interested. I mean, you are interested, aren’t you?"

The girl leaned her head back, and an upside-down work by Miss Tic looked back at her.

"And then I can go to sleep, right?"

"Of course! But then tomorrow, it’ll all be better. You’ll have watched the old episode, and the movie, and then you’ll get to enjoy the new episode so much more. I know plenty of people who do it this way."

"So do I. And they appreciate the new episodes so much more."

"Look. You don’t have to watch it if you don’t want to. I think it’s the best thing, but I would never make you do something you don’t want to do."

"But if I do watch it. Then you’ll let me see the new episode on tape?"

"Of course. And I’ll be right there the whole time explaining things that you might not understand."

"But I thought that was the point of me watching this episode."

"And the movie."

"And the movie. So you wouldn’t have to explain anything."

"Well, there could always be something that you still don’t understand."

The girl sighed. She had been sitting on a combat boot the entire time, and she removed it from beneath her, noticing it for the first time. She had been wondering why her bottom was numb.

"So if I watch this episode, then the movie, then the episode, I’ll enjoy the series more?"

"Of course. And that’s all I want. For you to enjoy the show."

"And to explain things to me."

"I explain things to you so you can get more enjoyment out of it. Terry, you don’t have to watch it if you don’t want to. But it really is for the best. And it’ll be over in no time at all."

"And then I can enjoy the show."

"Then you can enjoy the show."

The girl looked at the clock in the DVD player. It was 9PM. Her eyelids were already heavy and in three and a half hours they would be even heavier.

"Then I’ll do it. Because I don’t care about me."

"But I care about you."

"But I don’t care about me. And if we watch it, and the movie, and the new episode, we’ll both be happy, and you’ll get to explain things to me, and everything will be lovely."

"I don’t want you to feel that way."

"And I’ll say that your laundry looks like grey elephants, and you’ll think it’s bright."

The girl stood up and walked to the window. Through the plexiglass pane, she saw the slick, recently rained upon street. It glistened beneath a street lamp. Hot, moist air blew at her. "And once we both start enjoying this show, we can start getting this way about everything."

"What did you say?"

"I said we can start getting this way about everything."

"We can get this way about everything."

"No we can’t."

"There are so many shows we can be this way about."

"But we can’t."

"Now that everything’s on DVD, we can. And there’s nothing wrong with that."

"There isn’t?"

"Of course not."

"But if we keep doing this, we’ll become those people that go to conventions all the time, and spend all their hard-earned money on memorabilia and movie tickets."

"Come here."

"Once you get that way, you can never go back."

"But we haven’t gotten that way."

"Wait and see."

"Come back here and sit down. You haven’t finished your Vernors. I don’t want you to feel that way."

"I don’t feel any way. I just know things."

"I don’t want you to do anything that you don’t want to do."

"You only want me to enjoy the show. I know. Can I get a real ale?"

"Sure. I have one downstairs. But I just want you to know."

"I already know. Can we just please stop talking?"

"I just want you to know that I don’t want you to do it if you don’t want to."

"So it doesn’t mean anything to you if I enjoy the new show or not?"

"Of course it does. I want you of all people to enjoy it. And it’s all so simple. It’ll go by so fast."

"Yes, I know. It’ll go by so fast."

"It’s all very well and good for you to say that, but I know it’s true!"

"Would you do something for me?" "Of course. Anything."

"Would you please, please, please, please, please shut up!"

He didn’t say anything, but looked instead at the floor. He looked at the stacks of video tapes they had already watched. Everything but season two, which admittedly sucked.

"But I don’t want you to. I don’t really care either way."

"I will scream" said the girl.

"Well, I’d better get the next DVD, then. I’ll also get you the beer you wanted."

The Lansinger went downstairs, and returned with the beers, and the DVD case nestled precariously under one arm. He handed the girl a Molson’s, and she smiled as if to thank him.

"Well, I’ll put the next one in, then. It’ll be over in less than an hour without commercials. And we can enjoy our beer."

He removed the last DVD from the player, and inserted a new one. The girl sipped the Molson’s and kicked at the shirts by her feet. She looked at the clock again. It was 9:20PM. The Lansinger sat beside her and placed a glossy booklet, which included a synopsis for each episode, in her lap. She drank her beer.

"There. Don’t you feel better?"

"I’m fine" she said. "There’s nothing wrong with me. I feel fine."

2 Comments:

Blogger handsome hammer said...

Is this a parody, or are you just copying with some of your own words substituted?

9:04 AM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Definitely a parody! My God, if it weren't a parody, I'd have some serious problems, wouldn't I? :)

10:11 AM  

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