What World Do You Live In?
“Swish, swish,” went the sick boy’s mop.
“She forgot to clean me off tonight,” the sick boy’s father muttered.
The sick boy’s paws were rather chubby. They were voluminous. They were
gargantuan. They were rather large.
The sick boy had a dream in which he learned to play the balalaika with the help of
a large Eurasian gopher. The sick boy couldn’t believe he had that dream. The sick boy
“She wasn’t very gentle this time,” the sick boy’s father complained.
“What shall we do to save him?” asked the toys in the sick boy’s little dream
toybox. Ha! Fat chance! What world do you live in?
“Swish, swish,” went the sick boy’s broom.
“Here’s a birthday present for your birthday,” said the sick boy’s father. So the sick
boy gratefully accepted the token of obligatory affection and attended all six Tae Kwon
And you know what? The sick boy’s mother came to visit him after all and
motherly Winnifred’s hands were very very small. Go figure.
But the sick boy got sicker and it wasn’t a physical thing. He claimed he was
merely practicing Tae Kwon Do when they arrested him.
“Swish, swish,” went the sick boy’s stereotypically deprived cellmate.
“Let me show you how to do that right,” said Winnifred to the sick boy’s father’s
incompetent and overly sensitive and cliched male nurse, who made it very difficult for
all the other uniquely qualified and thoroughly engaged male members of the
increasingly politically correct nursing profession, none of whom had been unfortunate
enough to live, however briefly, in the sick boy’s father’s private game of as good as it
It’s about time for the after to come happily evering along, but that was a life on
another errand if it even had anywhere real to be at all. Didn’t you know that? What
world do you live in?
“What shall we do? What shall we do?” asked the toys in the sick boy’s ongoing
little toybox dream. It was a game and they liked not knowing how it would end, even if
some of them got broken before morning.
And the sick boy with big hands got bigger and got well and entertained several
attractive women while searching for the meaning of his experience even though his
invalid father was still an invalid who complained every chance he could about the boy’s
mother, loving her in the only way he knew how, which the boy’s mother understood,
even if the boy didn’t, and the boy searched and searched and finally concluded, “I
couldn’t find the hidden meaning because the meaning that surrounded it had been
hidden too well.”
“Swish, swish,” went the broom, leaving just a little bit of happiness in its
inefficient wake. “I’ll be your nursemaid now for your indescribable condition,” said the
boy to his father, and his mother sparkled where he had swept away the gestures of false affection and let his parents discover what they really felt about each other, which kept
them all together in the same old way. You might be tempted to call it something more
substantial than merely happy. You might be tempted to say, “The hunger of the goat is
with me and the limbs of the bougainvillea are sighing.” You might be tempted to the
same sky of trembling that asks the boy in.
The boy’s not there as much as the circumstances he’s in are. He’s on his way to
becoming a perfectionist rowing a round boat in perfect circles. He doesn’t need a
Fiction. Modern Abstract Fables.
(First edition, hardcover with dustjacket, 524 pages, $36.50 USD.)
Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days draws from fairy tales, a condescending of a 1938 Social Studies reader for 6th grade, an 1890 handbook on marital compatibility, numerous annoying educational advancement studies, the myths and legends of third-world countries and minority peoples, pulp fiction, a history of carnival side shows, folktales, frequent conversations with Crows, Owls and a wide variety of underground inhabitants, insects and the people who collect them, Joseph Cornell, Günter Eich, Russell Edson, the French Surrealist poets, the Quay Brothers, letterpress printing, and the author’s inability to channel his imagination linearly.
Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.