July 30, 2004
Brett Barboursville and the Case of the Hairy Egyptian
This epic Ode to Bad Taste was inspired by the 2004
Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest and my purchase of a new car last weekend.
In our own defense, we can only say that we did not plan for it to happen
- it was an accident. We sincerely apologize to the blogosphere and the
literary world for any permanent psychological scarring that may be caused
by reading it.
Brett Barboursville and the Case of the Hairy Egyptian: or How I Learned Not To Trust Pita-Stuffing Back-Stabbing Hirstute Female Fans Of John Kedwards And Their Flour-Powered Evil Sidekicks And Discovered the True Meaning Of Life, Liberty, And Just As I Did I Got Killed, But Then Even Though I Was Dead, I Came Back To Life Just To Kill Those That Killed Me, And In So Doing Retained My Dignity If Not My Life, Because Then I Died For Good.
It was a dark and stormy night, jet black as the plush leather seats of the Mazda RX8 that gripped Delilah's trembling thighs like an overzealous car salesman on a slow afternoon, the inky void relieved only by the eerily grinning face of the Bose radio dial... as her sandaled toe caressed the clutch gently to the floor and she experienced what she could only describe thereinafter as a low polar moment of yaw inertia, she was confidently aware that the pre-loaded multilink design in back would minimize any lag in rear suspension response as she headed into a steep curve and she suddenly knew she would never go back to Brett...it was over. Cassandra
Overcome with that sense of dread that only comes when a person suddenly realizes that he or she is about to lose the one thing that they truly love, indeed need to lend meaning and order to their otherwise miserable lives, Brett slammed the shifter back into fourth gear and, accelerating steadily up the blank pavement that was Barboursville Street, a street that was famous for its intimate book stores, cozy cafes, and the state's only Egyptian bakery, a street of lovers, dreamers and mimes, the small speedster immediately went airborne like an severely startled kitten, reminding Brett that, like his love affairs, Barboursville Street was also a street of speedbumps. spd rdr
Meanwhile an innocent pedestrian meanders down the Street of Dreams…
She walked alone along Barboursville Street, watching the mimes, the dreamers, and the lovers hand-in-hand, and seeing them took her thoughts back in time to her days in Washington, when she still harbored illusions about her future with “Him”, and when “He” and she clandestinely met and…but her attention was brought back to the street of cozy cafes and intimate book stores by the throaty rumble of the small speedster, it a pulsating projectile moving ever closer…and that took her back to her first reverie, her on her knees as The Projectile moved ever nearer…and she then realized that she should have kept her attention in the here-and-now as she watched the speedster become airborne from the launching effect of one of those blasted speedbumps they call “Sleeping Policemen” in the Middle East, because it was then that Monica realized that she was finally going to achieve “completion.” MathMom
As Brett dropped Delilah in front of the cozy little Egyptian bakery on Barboursville Street where they'd lingered so many times over Konafa and peeled away from the curb in his hot new Mazda RX8 Rotary engine sportster, her mind separated like a well-layered phyllo as she contemplated the mysteries, both of the Orient and the male psyche; one part savoring the honey-sweet, seemingly anatomically impossible love they had just made in the tiny back seat and the other the way her normally staid, sober husband had absently mowed down mimes, lovers, clowns and mime-ish lovers of clowns with equal abandon on the way there: flakily, it occurred to her that perhaps she had created a monster -- that sports car had put a tiger in his tank and Date Nights at Farouk's Souk and Pastry Nook would certainly never be the same again. Cassandra
The head pastry chef at Farouk’s Souk and Pastry Nook looked up from his phyllo just in time to see Delilah, abandoned, in front of the display window by that heartless Marine with whom she normally appeared, and he felt his destiny was being played out – it was his opportunity to express the yearning he felt whenever her doe-eyed glance drenched him with the sweetness of the honey with which he toiled, (but he noticed that this was similar only to an extent, because when she averted her eyes there was no residual stickiness) and he knew he must grasp this moment and declare himself to her, so he advanced, and as the words “Would you like to see my baklava” escaped his lips, through the door walked Brett, who had not discarded her but had left her only to park in back, and then he felt a kinship with his namesake as the walls and roof fell on Samson, his breaking heart realizing the futility of his attraction for her (but you must understand that the roof and walls fell on him only metaphorically, because this was, after all, Barboursville Street, and if you think the City would be so lax in its building inspection ritual to allow the only Egyptian bakery in the state, if Fodor’s is to be believed, fall into disrepair to the extent that the walls and roof would suddenly fall in without warning, you are sorely mistaken). MathMom
Delilah shivered - for a second, she'd had the eerie feeling of being watched - and as she saw Samson duck from sight just as Brett entered Farouk’s Souk and Pastry Nook, she absently wondered what half-baked notion was rising in Brett's fermenting imagination: men were so jealous - always thinking someone was after the little woman (he probably thought that doughy flake of a pastry chef was in love with her!) but it wasn't going to work this time -- no, he wasn't going to get a rise out of her anymore because he wasn't dealing with some cream puff -- no sir, she was one tough cookie, and no amount of sweet talk was going to make up for another of his jealous rages this time. Cassandra
Meanwhile, somewhere in Ohio an anonymous reader lives a life of quiet desperation…
While bouncing down the pot-holed road in his rusty, 1981 Maxda RX-7, dreaming of owning a Porsche 911 someday, and gazing out the window at the grey, pallid sky over this place, jokingly referred to as Bumpkinland, while realizing his own pathetic dreams had been dashed by the dysfunctional miasma of his own wretched reality of life, it occurred to him that he had not sampled the delicacies of Farouk's Souk and Pastry Nook on far off, exotic Barboursville Street, in the City of his dreams, because his pathetic RX-7 could not be relied upon to reach that place, being such an old, rusty piece of dog excrement of an automobile, and wondering all the time, just how much longer could he go on like this. Don Brouhaha
A strange feeling came over Brett that something was wrong with Delilah, something he could almost see, but not see, as if a soft glaze had been feather-brushed across features, softening them just enough to make it difficult for him to recognize whatever it was that was wrong with her, until he remembered that she had told him that she hadn't had time to shave that morning. spd rdr
Brett, forever an optimist, so much so that he saw potential in that empty glass he called his love life and the Mazda rotary engine, hoped as he looked longingly but hazily on his Delilah, that her need for a shave comment was a reference to her small and alluring skirt that she seemed to wear to all the least appropriate places and needed two hairdos to wear -- but he was uncertain, for Brett could see the lump in Delilah's throat that he originally assumed was a by-product of Delilah's reciprocal desire for him and not the DNA inspired contours of a razor-burnt chin -- could he remedy the awkward situation with a gift certificate for two for Brazilian wax jobs, or was the alternative a haunting, screaming and therapy-filled future following a re-enactment of the Crying Game: the end game for his short-lived love? KJ
The new car, now a hopeless pile of junk after being wrecked when she hit a light post, was now a crumpled pile of metal in the gutter of Barboursville Street, after Delilah tried to drive and drink her coffee and eat Farouk's baklava, while downshifting to avoid the crippled lawyer in his wheelchair that fell over in the crosswalk as the lawyer tried to make eye contact with Delilah after a friendly but innocent encounter in the pastry shop, and now Delilah was obsessed with the obvious question of the hour, which was how she was going to explain the wreck of the new car to Brett, who was even now shopping for an elegant gift for his beloved, doe-eyed Delilah. Don Brouhaha
While in a seedy bar across town, the narrative inexplicably switches to the first person…
Sitting alone in the smoke-filled bar, I was staring down at my half emptied glass. Here it was nearly ten o'clock on a Friday night and the only other person in the place was this tough looking one-armed guy. Looking up, we made eye contact. It's a guy thing, I know, but I was deciding if I should wait until he looked away, first. Finally, I decided to do the other guy thing and be the first to break eye contact before he came over and slapped me silly. Not long after that, he got up to leave. On his way out, he looked over his shoulder and told me how I could improve my sex life all by myself. Rather than taking it as a piece of advice, I took it as an insult. Thinking about it, him having one arm and all, I figured I might be able to take him in a fight. Jumping from my bar stool, I worked my way through the crowd and finally got to the door.
I was momentarily blinded as I came out into the bright sunshine, but after a few seconds, I spotted him walking down the street. By the time I caught up to him, my recently dry cleaned suit was completely soaked from the downpour. Now, I was really mad! He must have had a sixth sense or something, because he swung around just as I caught up to him. Grabbing my tie with his left hand, he knocked my lights out with his right.
I don't know how much time I was out before I came to, but my jeans were almost dry. That was the good thing. The bad thing was that the bastard had taken my Veterans for Kerry button. Sometimes life just isn't fair. RIslander
Nauseatingly, the scene shifts back to Farouks…
Samson, waiting with baited breath for the moment that would change his life forever, saw his hopes slither away as Delilah undulated like the smarmy she serpent she was over to Brett. The two of them coiling their arms, entwining their fingers in a frenzied display of grasping at the straws of their relationship, glided over to the door and left Samson feeling like a pita with the filling removed. Flat, squishy and used. La Femme Crickita
The plot twists again…
Brett, in his final, fleeting moment of clarity, and bereft of his Kerry/Edwards button, lay motionless on the floor of the bakery, only vaguely aware of his surroundings as he peeked beneath the blood-soaked napkin that served as his make-shift shroud, and glimpsed the hairy unshaven legs of his one true love, his angel, his cosmopolitan Aphrodite, his tormented urban Delilah, and choking back the tears of a man whose body was sending periodic synaptic updates to a tormented brain, signaling that it soon would not be joining what remained of his soul on his next uncharted journey, Brett strained to focus all of his senses in the present, and managed to glean from the excited conversation swirling over him that he was a mere corpse, a victim of a passion that he would never glimpse, and that the woman of his dreams, a woman he had fawned and fretted over, a woman he adored and shared underclothes clothes with, a woman, without whom his useless carcass was mere fertilizer for the lawn of the gods, and that goddamn baker of middle-eastern descent from whom he had bought countless pita, and to whom he had himself introduced, nay, DELIVERED his stubbly bride, had somehow conspired against him so that, even as he lay on the floor of the bakery, he could hear their plans for his future, and those plans were not good. spd rdr
Brett, in his final agonized moments, replayed the entire scene over again like a tortured DVD that skipped and squared its dance of remembrance across his consciousness. How Samson of the Flat and Squishy Used Pita Club (a group so exclusive that there was only one member) hurled himself between him and Delilah while snorting with suppressed rage and pent up desire...a desire so strong that it propelled him like a squeezed zit to the woman he loved and intended to make his. How Samson, wielding the small paring knife buried it in his side, narrowly missing his liver, which was dealing with the metabolism of alcohol and the effects of Delilah's defecting to the side of Samson.
He realized then, that he was not dying, and gathering strength in this knowledge, now laid in wait to wreak his vengeance on this snorting gravelly-voiced peddler of Turkish Paste and Delight, and his former stubble legged floozy. Only time... La Femme Crickita
Oh Lord, help me. He just won't DIE! spd rdr
As Brett lay preparing to meet his Maker, he wondered, "How had it come to this?"... how had a clean-cut young man fresh out of Quantico come to lie on the floury floor of Farouk's Souk and Pastry Nook, drenched in a paste of blood and sweat and anguished memories of Delilah, the tarnished Angel of his Mornings... drat that NY Times! their flexible urban viewpoint had a way of blurring the lines: suddenly right was wrong, Left was Right, up was down in that dizzy, dancing way you feel, when every fairy tale comes real...Lord knows, he'd looked at life that way... sheesh, maybe it was time to send in the clowns...but enough of that, it was time for action - with a sudden burst of will, Brett summoned all his strength and drew his trusty K-bar from its hiding place in his left sock and plunged it, first into Delilah's cheating, lying heart, then with a grunt of satisfaction, into Samson's traitorous gut - there! that would show them a thing or two - because Marines don't mess around, you can always call on them when it absolutely, positively must be destroyed overnight...and with a sudden lurch he grabbed his Kerry/Edwards button from Delilah's still warm fingers and tenderly pressing one last kiss for old time's sake into the perfumed palm of her hand he fell back, stone cold dead. Cassandra
Some might call it a miracle, I just call it bad writing, but as Brett gasped his last breath, his hand - the hand tightly clasping the Kerry/Edwards button - fell upon his mouth. Magically, almost as if it were a kiss from an angel, his chest began to heave as air rushed into his lungs. Slowly, the few ounces of blood he still had coursing through his veins began to rush its way to his nearly stopped heart. Lying there, his oxygen starved brain wondered what most oxygen starved brains wondered - was there anything the Kerry/Edwards team was not capable of?
Letting his gaze shift to the lifeless form of his dear Delilah, his sweet Delilah who looked so much like a George Stephanopoulos in need of a shave, his hand inched towards hers. Why, he wondered, why had he never bought her that thing she wanted so dearly? It cost only pennies, really! Yet, it, too, performed in magical ways. They say you can never go back. It is true, and he cursed himself for the fact of it being so! Almost cursing himself as his fingers reached hers, his mind brought the image he so cursed into view. It was the kind of view you only get from using the best American film. With the bedamned slowness of an overused Polaroid, it was finally there. Yes, the two of them standing outside of CVS. Her words came to him like the tones of an angel's harp. "Brett, please," she said with that husky voice which reminded him so much of George C. Scott when he was overlooking the battlefield in Patton, "buy me that Lady Schick."
No, you never could go back. Besides, if he did, they would probably cost more, now. RIslander
Brett could lie there forever, who would care? After all, it was an Irish neighborhood and pita bread was not really a big seller. From a distance, he could hear the bell in the tower chiming those bewitching tones that signaled the arrival of happy hour. Yes, there was more to life than pondering what could have been, there were half priced beers only a block away! It seemed like an eternity, but he managed to get himself to a standing position. His legs wobbled with each step he took toward the partially opened door. Little could he know what awaited him as his mind pictured the glories of gulping down a Guinness Stout.
Blocks away, at the Fleet Center, the nefarious deed had first come to life. Only the evilest of evil minds could even imagine doing such a deed, but it was, after all, the Democratic National Convention, and it almost came naturally to them. They would do what none but the most gutter-minded soul would do - they would have the Bush/Cheney sign hanging upon the same building which housed the soon to be defunct Farook's Souk and Pastry Nook come crashing to the ground. Could anything be more vile?
Coming to the door, Brett could hear the fun-filled sounds of this fine Democratic New England city rushing to his ears. Could life be any better than this?
Reaching the door, he carefully placed his beloved Kerry/Edwards button in his breast pocket, the better to be close to his heart. As he stepped out into the bright Boston sunlight, he heard a cackle which would have put the witches of Salem to shame. Looking up, he saw a women with the most evil smile he had ever seen cut the final cable. Yes, it was horrible, I know, but the last face he saw, it was that of: dare I say it, Teresa Heinz Kerry.
With the full weight of the Bush/Cheney sign hitting him, not even his ever-so-dear Kerry/Edwards button could save him. No, for it crashed into the Kerry/Edwards button as if it was not even there. Brett, poor Brett, had his heart crushed by the power of that RNC sign pulverizing his heart. And so, the saga ended. RIslander
July 22, 2004 at 09:30 AM | Permalink