Cosmic Vomit
by Don Cheney
A multi-media project by Max Cheney
 
Chapter 1 read by Greg
 
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1

 

The mayor of Chico didnít have to take care of his dog, he just had to keep it tied to a tree by a rope. But Gordi wasnít the mayorís dog.

 

-°Tie your own self on a rope, Gordi! -The mayorís dog yelled at him, as its equilibrium swayed from side to side-. °Go on! °What you donít know wonít hurt you!

 

Gordi was meaner than a junkyard rabbit. He had one eye and he moved around like he was trying to kill himself.

 

In fact, Gordi looked like a one-eyed deer in the headlights. He just wasnít mentally prepared to hear dogs tell him that he should tie himself to a pole and pass the day barking at everyone.

 

Looking out through a door and into a mirror made him gulp. He was pleased to see that he had two eyes, but now he also had dog feet, a dog face and a dog body and tail. Looking around, he saw the Deputy Mayor, Michelle, coming towards him. Oh Christ, he thought, now I need a book on how to be a dog.

 

-ŅWhen are you going to quit fucking around with reality, Al? -the Deputy Mayor asked Gordi, knowing right where his jugular was, even if now it was furry, red and white, and warmed all over only by the sun.

 

Michelle kissed him and patted him on the head.

 

-ŅHow stupid are you? -he asked her-. ŅQue stupido? ŅAre you so stupid that you donít know youíre stupid? ŅAnd who says that Iím stupid?

 

-Iím so stupid that Iím going to be mayor, and after that the cityíll re-class you as dog fodder

-Michelle said.

 

Michelle was 14 years old, only three years older than me. If you do the math, Iím eleven years old.

 

If youíre using your fingers to count, you probably still donít know that Iím eleven years old. And my parents arenít much older. I have three parents and one of themís a genius. She talks to me in tongues. Sheís a talkative genius.

 

Itís third down, and a ratís ass to go. Teachers always ask me if Iím the brother of Michelle Sterner. When I say Iím her son they look away. They think itís a little galling.

 

So I listen. I probably even listen to Michelle.

 

But I donít want to spend my entire life lighting small fires in large libraries. Thatís just a diversion I enjoy.

 

Michelle only likes studying. She studies all the time. If you ask me, sheís so propped-up by books and convention that she doesnít even have time to listen.

 

Gordi used to take liens on corporations and demand that they kiss his ring. Once he was so set on ruining a flamenco dancing company that he started writing in tongues.

 

After he ran around the yard marking every place where Michelle had been, he began looking for other objects to mark.

 

A few minutes later I guess heíd found that new object to mark. He jumped on my leg and started humping it.

 

Michelle shook her head.

 

-That dog is the biggest idiot that anyone has ever elected, and now heís marking the yard and humping your leg. Next thing you know heíll be marking the entrance to your house -Michelle told me-. The fence surrounding your house is smarter.

 

-ŅWhat about Chester? -I asked her.

 

Chester was Michelleís cat. Michelle thinks Chester is smart.

 

-ŅDidnít I already tell you to go to hell? -Michelle asked me.

 

-I thought you asked if I could multiply and divide -I broke in.

 

Michelle socked me in the larynx.

 

-Iíll multiply your cerebral cortex. And if you can tell me how much seven times seven times seven is, I wonít electrocute you like a tiny hamburger. And ifÖ

 

-ŅWhy is listing so important to you? -I interrupted-. I know mascots that have fewer identity issues.

 

But Michelle had stopped listing and listening.

 

-Iím going to watch TV with my cat. He appreciates the tired clichťs and bathroom jokes -She continued-. And youíre going to be sorry when Chester becomes a star.

 

-Go on and watch that pedestrian crappola, Michelle. ŅArenít you tired of that miserable cadence?

 

-Iím never going to tire of that miserable cadence, buddy boy. I think that you just donít get the underlying meaning of bathroom jokes. And, anyway, I think a little toilet potty humor is necessary in a society like ours.

 

-Michelle, turn back before you go completely loopy.

 

-ŅYou want me to turn back while Gordiís running around on four paws? Chester is a million times smarter that that mutt. Heís probably smarter than you.

 

-Very nice, Michelle. Punk-ass, but very nice.

 

-If you lopped-off half of Chesterís head, heíd still walk around -Michelle continued-. Iím sure of that, and Iím sure heíd still watch the tired clichťs and the bathroom jokes.

 

-Letís go to the dentist, Gordi -I told my dog-. We donít have to listen to this gargantuan ass.

 

We cut through the garden and Gordi gave me his collar. He gives me his collar about three times a day, covered in fur, and I always give it back to him and tell him to read up on his How To Be A Dog For Dummies book.

 

Later, we went home.

   

 

Mom was running a fascist junta from her office in the kitchen, while decorating a cake.

 

-Donít look, Al -She told me, moving a spatula full of chocolate over the part in my hair.

 

Mom had opened every door in the house because she was allergic to chocolate. She gets an enormous rash. And when that happens, all she can do is eat pecans, look at her watch and roll her eyes.

 

-But Mom -I exclaimed-, todayís my birthday. ŅWhy are you spreading chocolate on my hair?

 

It wasnít her fault. The same god that told her to do that, told her she runs a fascist junta.

 

-Look, if Iím going to rule with a firm hand I canít suppress any urges -Her voice was firm-. When you get your own home, you can suppress all the urges you want. And you can sell gas to God for all I give a flying Ouija board. Look, youíve memorized all of the South American capital cities, youíre ready for college.

 

I suspected she was mad.

 

-Thatís right. I know everything and I keep it all in my memory, Mom.

 

-ŅAnd what if you only study Monday through Thursday? -My surging mother asked.

 

-ŅAnd what if I forget that Monday comes after Thursday?

 

I study whenever I can, and I fly whenever I pass out, and Iím not going to let a ratís ass like Gordi fuck with me. If Iím not studying or flying or passed out, donít fuck with me...

 

Mom and Dad are detectives. Private dicks. And they call me Al because they somehow decided that I was the ectoplasmic reinmorphication of Albert Einstein.

 

Iím so spongy that I canít go out in the rain or Iíll look like a pear thatíd been stepped on about 6,000 times by a scientific genius. But I like it when people step on me and I like to play baseball and go out with my friends and play that I have bad gas and that Iím ďa major pain in the buttĒ, which drives my mom crazy.

 

And whenever I come home, Gordi starts busting up and he canít talk, and his tongue gets salty. He makes me take a number, sit and watch ďSuper ChickenĒ and then he tells me all about his day.

 

I ask and I donít receive. Mom and Dad say this is good preparation for my birthday. They give Michelle everything and then they make me sign a no-presents contract. One time they made me go to a Mannheim Steamroller concert, saying it was authentic cultural crapola, and I split out the back when they werenít looking and went to the opera.

 

I was adamant that I didnít need a watch to get an education. I completely knew what time it was.

 

This year I figured Iíd ask before they could fuck with me. Iíd ask for a Lady Di shot glass and a clean pair of pants. And then Iíd be a little less subtle. Iíd ask for every John Coltrane CD there is, and another clean pair of pants.

 

I was adamant: no fucking Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle belt buckles, no mercenary attacks on the local power company, and NO MORE EDUCATION. I told my mom last year that the pants she got me were excellently coordinated with my sisterís wardrobe but what I really wanted was an ocelot and a 1970 Toyota Corona engine.

 

I told my plan to Michelle because sheís the one who makes the important decisions around our house.

 

I told my dad that I wanted a thousand dollars and an office in Dalby.

 

I confided in them that I still used saccharine, that I didnít believe in the scientific conclusions. I told them that I had three personalities, all of them brilliant though sometimes they each did dumb things that I couldnít explain, like the time I burned down the house with a magnifying glass, when I was trying to burn bugs.

 

And - one time - I was hosting a ďSuper ChickenĒ viewing party and I was passing out plot descriptions when my shoes caught on fire. This was significant for me because, since then, I make sure my shoes are not on fire before I pass out any charts. And I only go to stores that have clearly marked fire extinguisher locations.

 

Then there was the time I was ready to go shopping, I even had my camel salted, and my...

 

-ŅAre you properly prepared? -I griped to my self.

 

I checked my emotions: I was angry, pouty, sensitive, angry, pushy and loopy.

 

-Check -I replied to my self-. But, I think I need a little more time to prepare.

 

The suspense was killing my self.

 

-ŅWhat? -I asked my self.

 

-°What!

 

He who talks to himself has a fool for a listener.

 

I opened the door and the sun and my mom and dad were all disappearing from sight.

 

Michelle was lying down, snoring like a turtle.

 

Everything in the house was on fire.

 

And then they all started singing ďHappy BirthdayĒ.

 

The fires escalated and, as I looked for something to put them out with, I glanced at my watch.

 

My eyes knew something was wrong when they saw it was only 8pm and Mom was already a casualty on the information highway.

 

No one was doing nothing.

 

I looked at the great mess that used to be the middle of the house. It looked like they had been doing experiments on Michelle. Nothing more.

 

After I looked at the mess, I launched my solar-powered watch into the lake near my dadís work. It turned just before it hit the water and flipped me off, a heretic of advanced technology.

 

I will have no more watch, forever.

 

I couldnít stand the pain - and I hadnít even worked hard to get that watch.

 

I had worked for three years, but not hard. I was set up lancing envelopes until I got so tired that II accidentally lanced someoneís package. But, eventually, I earned enough to buy a pen and a watch.

 

Finally, the fires burned themselves out. Michelle and my parents waited outside, while I flipped the mayor the bird, surprised I was still alive.

 

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