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Charlie didn’t come to until 10:30 came around. By then, Margaret had made breakfast, conjugated Latin, blabbed on the phone with Diana for an hour, and had passed the rest of the time taking salsas and jellies from the refrigerator and smearing them in Charlie’s hair.
Desperate to talk to her father, she had also gulped down enough speed to keep Man O’ War awake through six Kentucky Derby’s. But one consequence was that she couldn’t hear, and she couldn’t focus on TV. And her pupils were unresponsive.
When Charlie finally came to, he was quickly hit over the head with garden shears. It was a typical day for Charlie. The sky was Amarillo red, the air was hot-to-suffocating, and when a herd of apes attacked him, well, he knew he was home.
Meanwhile, the streets had been paved with society’s last remnants of humanity. Margaret had seen to that, pouring a vial of her dad’s green blood and a sample of his insect-infected soil into the mix.
Charlie contemplated atoning for all of his sins, then looked at the jug of Eduardo Najera in front of him, and decided “fuck it”. He was in no mood to atone. The world was shimmering in front of him and he didn’t know why.
Finally, he picked up the glass of Eduardo Najera and threw it into the cesspool outside, which begged the question:
-¿How do you concoct a cure for the Eduardo Najeras?
Margaret knew she was losing her homeboy.
-You want to talk to Mom, ¿don’t’cha?
-¿Can I talk to Tone Loc too? -Charlie asked, hunting with his hands for his balsamic pants.
-I suppose you could -His sister responded-. Nah, I don’t see it. Not in this...
-He’s a traitor -Charlie proselytized-. I must say, is our father. He’s trying to make life where no man should make life. I must say...
-¡Enough! -Margaret spouted-. I’ve had enough of your meandering mishmash of mush. It’s...
-Hey, quiz kid, at least I don’t talk right into your fucking brain -Charlie thought sugar was H2O-. I think, therefore I’ve got good reason to be fucked up. ¡Come on! Give me your best shot to the head. Go on.
-You’re always axing to get whacked upside your STP -Margaret had set her brain to “RECORD”-. I axed you to shut the fuck up. ¿Is that so much to ax? But your sadomasochism does answer a lot of questions.
Charlie sat down, but didn’t reply.
-I just talked to that silly cunt, Diana -Margaret admitted.
Charlie still wasn’t biting.
-Okay, well, she told me that if I don’t go to hell when I die, I might go to heaven -Margaret said, suddenly nervous-. Diana thinks shit like this and then she calls the police.
-¿¡What!? -Charlie’s succubus sauce was visibly leaking from his cranium-. Dad doesn’t want to create anything evil, ¿does he? ¿Why does Diana call the cops?
-I dunno -Margaret said with her tongue-. It’s just shit you do when you’re Diana. But she insists that she doesn’t turn in anybody. Mostly she just complains about what vile motherfuckers the Contras were, and then she hangs up.
-Dad is not certifiably loony -Charlie stated from the ether-. He’s stupid, he’s... he’s...
“¿He’s what?” Margaret thought at Charlie. “¿What is he?”
This ESP actually took hours to reach Charlie’s brain. There was a backload of Charlie’s own thoughts that had decided to stroll the garden instead, treating Charlie’s brain like a hedge maze.
When suddenly the kitchen door opened and their dad invited them in.
Margaret actually looked stupider than Charlie.
-I don’t believe it. Shoot me.
-Maybe we should talk to the old man first -Charlie said.
They ambulated their entrails into the kitchen. Dr. Berger, wearing only a baseball cap, was cooking toast and soup over an open, garbage fire.
-¡Hello, children! -He said in the nude-. ¡Lunch is on me!
-¿Huh? ¿You made us lunch? -Charlie was momentarily humbled by his dad’s half-assed gesture.
-Well, I set the garbage on fire and threw in some bread and cans of soup...
-Dad, we have to talk -Margaret said very seriously.
-We can talk after I’ve put out the fire -He said, evidently under the influence of several drugs-. Sit. You seem tense. I’ll prove to you that I’m dealing with a full platter. And then I want to see if you agree.
Margaret and Charlie sat down like the obedient, sugar-laden fuck sticks they were.
-¿What is this? -Charlie exclaimed.
Two pieces of “toast” were melting over a steaming metal can. Everything was green and puke-like.
-It’s pureed Dad bull crap -Charlie decided, not so obediently.
-It’s different bull crap -Dr. Berger replied mysteriously, a pie in the face of public taste-. Usually my bull crap isn’t pureed. ¡Come on! ¡I’ll prove it! I’ll turn you both into sour-pusses. ¡Ah! ¡Too late! ¡Ha-ha!
-Dad... You’ve never made us lunch. You’re always in the can -Margaret said, trying not to sound suspicious or look down from her dad’s eyes.
-My only desire is to be a better robber baron -He said-. ¿Did I just say “better robber baron”? I meant “latter day Robin Hood”. You should rot in my laboratory. Wait. ¿Did I just say...?
-¡Dad! -Margaret yelled-. We’re not going to rot in anyone’s laboratory and we’re not eating “Canned Soup Over Flaming Garbage Can”.
-Your mother called this morning -Dr. Berger interjected.
-¿When? -Margaret axed and then regretted axing.
-¡This morning! -Dr. Berger yelled-. ¿Do I look like I’m wearing a watch? I’m supposed to be concocting new flu strains that you can’t hear until the telephone rings.
-¿What did he just say? -Charlie axed-. ¿We’re not gonna hear the flu coming?
-It was actually your Aunt Lenor who called -Dr. Berger said, suddenly sullenly coherent-. And she said your mom is in intensive care. She forgot to register Pro-American with the Notary Republican.
-¡Pancho Villa! -The two siblings screamed in sync.
-¡George W.! -Dr. Berger obfuscated, sleeping with the fishes.
-¡Hey! -Charlie said while stomping a cockroach-. ¿Aren’t you gonna have a little of your own bull crap?
-No -His father said quickly-. I’m incoherent.
And, as if to prove his point, he lowered his arms into the flaming garbage can. Margaret watched as his back hair smoldered.
-Daddy, your back... -She started to say.
But the old fuck interrupted: -¡I’ve been here the whole time! ¡I’ll prove it!
And he pulled out two flaming hands full of garbage.
-¿¡Prove what?! -Charlie was not a fan of existence-. ¿¡That you’re fucking on fire!?
-I believe that the proper term is “self-immolated” -Dr. Berger insisted impatiently-. It’s actually very spiritual.
-While you’re contemplating philosophy, ¡you’re fucking skin is melting away!
-¿¡Who needs skin?!
And the minute he said that, the fire went out and the good doctor was covered in some mysterious substance.
Margaret was stunned. Either this was hell or she was swearing-off espressos forever.
“Dad is so anal, he insists on putting commas where they clearly are not called for, and yet, he’s dancing, around naked, and setting, his self, on fire”, She thought at her brother.
“¡Don’t fucking do that!” Her brother shot back. “I have a hard enough time figuring out commas!
“He’s supposed to be making lunch... ¿¡What the fuck is this?!
“¿Why don’t you just tell him?”
“¿What is happening to us!”, Margaret pleaded, as if this was the first strange crap their father had pulled.
“¿He’s treating us to last week’s garbage?” Charlie ventured. “¿He’s transforming into a dancing Dante’s Inferno? ¿Is what I’m thinking fucking with your head?”
“No ideas but in my head”, Margaret thought.
But it was too late: They’d been terrorized by a quare fellow who’d danced one too many dances on the dark side - ¡of darkness!
-¿What have I succeeded in donning? -Their dad exclaimed even more impatiently than his last impatient outburst. He left his right hand in the air as if he had a question to ax-. I’ve donned the Sistine Chapel... ¡Go on! ¿Why are you still here?
The siblings left the kitchen like the cockroaches they resembled. They didn’t even care that they hadn’t eaten lunch. But they hadn’t eaten lunch. But they did care that they had seen their dad’s back hair and bare butt.
They just couldn’t take it anymore.
-¡Come on! ¡Come on! -Dr. Berger screamed, gulping down smoldering coffee grounds from the trash can-. ¿Why are you still here? Not for lunch. ¡Get out! ¡Go on!
“It’s not like we have some kind of alternative, jackass” Margaret thought.
Her hand trembled as she opened the door, and then she heard the crunching of bone.
-- on to chapter 12 or back to the Bathroom --