Chapter 10 read by xxx
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Margaret was completely conked-out in her cubicle. She started trembling. She had wanted a bedroom, she got a cubicle.

A cubicle that made her feel even more alienated and eschewed.

She was so alienated from the world she could hear the water pumping through her veins like blood.

But she couldn’t hear her blood.

“I’m going to cut my self to see if I’m shaving”, She told her self, exhaling a long, slow breath as if she were alive.

“¿Why do I have to think about shit like this? ¿Why do I have to think about being terrorized... by my motherfucking father?”

It wasn’t the first time she’d used that word: “motherfucker”.

She decided that it was a good word, and that it had been sent to her on a stuffed camel from God.

As she lay conked-out and cubicled, she listened to the water in her veins and to the passage of time. Margaret was not only suffering from post-traumatic stress reaction, she was also dreaming about ordering pizza...

¡From her father!

“If only Mom ran a pizza joint”, She thought as she dreamed.

And then the telephone ringing barged into her dream.

She thought it was her mom calling back to confirm her pizza delivery order, and she was mad that her mother didn’t trust her. She expected shit like that from Dr.-Berger-The-Terrible, but not from Mom-The-Notary-Public’d. Something was wrong.

“¿What could be wrong?” A strange amorphous form said.

Margaret looked at her watch. It was two hundred and forty three o’clock.

No. ¿How could it be that late?

Margaret couldn’t mouth any response to the strange form.

“Okay. ¿Why can’t I talk? ¿Who’s going to explain to Mom that Dad is nuts, that we’re all living in fear for our lives, and that her documents are still here on the coffee table?”

Mrs. Berger seemed really calm and tranquilized in this strange, amorous form. No wonder Herr Berger had fallen in love with her. ¡She was hot! She was dancing around like a belly dancer, but at the same time looked like a lava flow. If only someone would sacrifice a virgin to this form.

A virgin...

The form’s “head” had broken in two, and there were land masses flowing out of each piece, like some kind of greenish hell on earth.

A virgin...

She listened to the rain of water in her veins. She listened to the asparagus in her esophagus. Then she listened to some of the John Dos Passos that her father had made her buy at a thrift store. It was like listening to a dirge performed by hamsters - she loved it.

Margaret was so relaxed at this point, that it was like she had hunted the calm with bear traps. Her eyes were closed, but her lungs and spleen were open. And they were pounding on her ovaries like they were congas.

The effect was as if someone had fired a surface-to-vagina missile. It was like the Contras had invaded her Slobodan Miloševic, and then fondled her Daniel Ortega’s.

Something in her brain told her to get up, go to the kitchen, open the refrigerator, and pour ice water into her veins.

Then an eerie silence traveled through her body like it had an all-escalator pass. “Tonight I’m pouring fucking ice water down my gullet”.

“¡Hey!” Her inner Herman Munster cried, “¡It already is tomorrow!

She started pissing into the kitchen sink while fingering a pie she had taken from the frig instead of ice water. The refrigerator hum was driving her to a place she didn’t want to be: in the kitchen, pissing into the sink, listening to the refrigerator hum.

“Stay calm” She told her self as she finished urinating. “Ten to one you’re dreaming anyway”.

She opened the refrigerator door and grabbed a jar of mayonnaise. She dipped her hand into the jar and came out with a handful of mayo. She reached between her legs and started rubbing mayonnaise all over her pussy.

-¡Heyyyyy! -Someone screamed, and the mayo jar went crashing to the floor. The mayonnaise held serve, as Monica Seles tried to slice it up with a Popeil Pocket Fisherman.

Margaret was finally awake and she was staring at her complete motard of a brother.

-¡Charlie! ¡Jesus fucked up Christ! -She exclaimed-. ¿¡What the fuck time is it?!

-¿¡What the fuck time is you?! -He replied-. I have to use that mayonnaise to masturbate, ¿and you’re fucking with it?

-No, I wasn’t “fucking” with it. I was just kind of smearing it over my red-hot...

-¡Whoa! I don’t need to know Ragu like that -Charlie said, backpedaling-. You’re one, secular sombitch.

-¡You take that back! -Margaret said. She grabbed a paper towel and wiped between her legs, as she stared at her brother-. ¡You couldn’t get a date in prison!

They looked around, suddenly uncomfortable to have bodies, until they both started thinking about the refrigerator light.

-I’m thinking whoever invented the refrigerator is probably a bagazillionaire -Charlie said-. Except, ¿how do the condiments get to sleep?

-Yeah, ¿what’s up with thas? -Margaret said, fumbling with her philology-. ¿Does that fucking light stay on when the door’s closed?

They were done talking, but there were still sounds coming from their mouths. It was a question of which would last longer: their tenuous memories or their tendentious tediousness.

Margaret was the first to suggest that they seek out water from the bathroom:

-Let’s seek out water from the bathroom.

Charlie’s eyes were leaning towards terror.

They listened again. It was a sound all right. A sound that was rugged, and at the same time, ruggedly handsome.

-I’m going... to the bathroom -Margaret remargareted.

-You’re not going to go in the sink again, ¿are you? -Charlie asked, in his role as numb-nut-. ¿Are you gonna pee on Dad’s plants?

Margaret didn’t reply. Instead, she sent for the Choir Invisible’s crack lawn chair team.

When the game was afoot, you wanted the Choir Invisible Lawn Chair Team on your side, at least until they annihilated everything and there were no more sides left.

-I don’t think that Dad’s telling us the truth, exactly -Charlie said like Carmen Miranda from on high in the filaments. His pallor was translucent as he tried to close the refrigerator door while peering in to see if the light went out-. I don’t think a tomato plant can make sounds like that.

Margaret thought about it. Tomatoes are to God as the Mujahideen is to the Bank of Ireland, as the trash can is to that fucking refrigerator light. Then it dawned on her: The refrigerator light was more like a tree falling in the forest: When you closed the door, ¿did it make a sound?

Hand in hand with her boy Charles, they opened the kitchen door and got on the trash-compacting escalator. When they reached the bathroom door they stopped and listened.


Charlie tried to open the door. It was stuck and there was all kinds of ooze oozing from its cracks.

They listened again at the door, and this time they paid attention.

-It sounds a tad human -Charlie sussed out.

Margaret knew that Charlie was purposefully pushing the mercy rule to its limit.

“¿What if we succeed in getting into the bathroom? ¿Have we really “succeeded” at anything?”

They heard the gears of the escalator grinding, and stayed on guard until they were sure no one was on it. Charlie pulled his hand away from Margaret’s in a desperate display of irksomeness.

It was little moments like this that pissed Margaret off like al Qaeda in an all-you-can-eat discothèque. Her back was against the wall for everyone to see. Never follow a Bali sandwich with ptomaine water.

And never mire your self in animal tranquilizer.

It was the desperate and sonorous snore of 7:30. It sat right down, thinking it was at school. Then it took two days and several segues before it got back to 7:30 again. It was like a high school reunion, complete with the sonorous snoring and the several segues.

7:30 turned on the radio like it was a watch, and then watched as the conflicting worlds of Reggie White and common sense collided - but it was like watching Dr. Johnson making a television out of a watch: costly and completely useless.

7:30 had become corporeal. It had tired of making time and decided to start talking and acting like Dr. Berger instead, confronting, for the first time, the absolute ridiculousnessticity of the narrative.

“If I don’t speak now, and in the persona of Herr Berger, the utter desperation that is the bathroom will be here permanently until the day it dies and/or passes out of ideas”, 7:30 thought.

“And I have no fucking clue how to terrorize people, places, and things like his head-honchoness, Herr Berger.

“No - fucking - clue”.

7:30 was new to thinking. It grabbed its cricket bat, hitched up its pajama pants, and quickly passed out - a victim of timis suffocantis. The pallid morning light flickered and died before it could reach 7:30, and so it died a horrible, clairvoyant, and obscure death by Mau Mau.

This all happened right in front of Charlie’s room. Charlie was practicing snappy questions for his smart-ass dad to answer.

“No, Dad” He decided. “The poor are not as desperately fucked as the rich. They’re just desperately poor. They sleep three to a jar”.

Sighing like the fundamentalist, pro-death monolith he was, Charlie walked over to his parents bedroom and poured pasta sauce all over the door.

The door creaked open.


Charlie hadn’t practiced that question, but he had delivered it fairly well.

He tried again:



-Dad, ¿are you... despicable?

He went in.

No one was there. And, even better, no one attacked him.

The air smelled like urine, and had an extra, added smell of hypoglycemic acid. The plants were all asleep and there was the faint sound of snoring. Dr. Berger’s magic rope was also asleep, coiled-up in the corner.


Nope. No sign of the wretch. He was probably ensconced on his bathroom hideaway, advancing the cause of hair restoration.

His parents had levers and straps and chains...

“¿What’s up with the levers?

He pulled the first lever he saw and Margaret appeared next to him, holding a candle like she was in 18th century San Diego.

-¡Oh, no! -She screamed in horror, but a horror that had been cubed, sliced and hand-fed to the roosters.

The sliced and cubed horror had been in reaction to the gruesome land mass in their parents room. Mountains and mountains of soil.

Margaret couldn’t think of moving without breathing.

The soil was black and partly human.

And it moved.

¿It moved?

“This can’t be” Margaret thought. “It’s impossible. ¿What is this crazy fuck...?”

She leaned over to get a better look at these soiled ice caps.

No. It wasn’t moving.

It was the creepy-crawliness of thousands of insects that was moving. And huge hunks of displaced dirt. Actually, everything was moving except the soil, in her father’s dirt menagerie.

      -- on to chapter 11   or   back to the Bathroom --