Cosmic Vomit
by Don Cheney
A multi-media project by Max Cheney
Chapter 3 read by Don
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My birthday came and went.


First I fought with my parents. Then I went to the opera, just to get away from them.


And finally, when the day was over, I was handed my heart in a hero sandwich and told that it had passed its expiration date.


And, despite getting older, I didn’t seem to be any wiser.


It was Sunday. For me, Sunday signifies that I’m actually further away from Saturday than I would’ve hoped. For Mom and Dad, it meant I should start studying. To everyone else, I don’t know what Sunday meant. Probably just a day name they had to memorize in grade school so they could go on to first grade.


Shadyside College had become a college only three years ago. Before that, it had been a post office where Michelle used to work.


But the year passed and Michelle didn’t. Then the whole world passed and she didn’t even know it was her turn to maintain our family’s college tradition: that of eking out a meager living in the Meager Studies program.


And that begged the question: ¿Why aren’t humans evolving like photosynthesis?


But, before I keep hollering about the past, let me say that the present isn’t all a bed of nauseous rosebuds. You have to take the past and invest it in Algerian podiatrist morticians with semantic discolorations.


Michelle lived in the dorms, and still was late to every class. She was even late to Spring Break.


And when you see Michelle in the kitchen, your first thought is that you’ve encountered something that no pesticide could destroy.


-You’re one of the biggest lame asses on earth, ¿ya know that? -I accused her-. Admit it, Michelle, I’m your worst fucking nightmare.


She grunted, pointed her finger at the front of my shirt, and then flicked it into my face.


-And don’t you forget it -She smirked.


-I’ll forget it by tomorrow -I promised-. In fact, I’ve already forgotten who you are. I’ve forgotten everything before the day after yesterday.


-And the only thing I’m sure of is that I don’t understand the edges of my mind -Michelle was going a little fuzzy-. Fortunately, members of my cult drag me into a van and slap me around at least once a week.


-¿You let your friends slap you? -I asked her-. That is perverse - unless you like it.


I had called a door a door, and Michelle had shut it tight. But not without yelling at me first. Fortunately, Colin, my best friend, walked into the house.


-¿Where are you going? ¡I’m not done yelling at you! -Michelle Michelle’d.


-¿What? -Colin said-.¿What do you want to tell me, as only you can?


-¿You? You’re a clown, a jerk and a drone. And that’s my rational judgment -She explained to Colin-. But I might be confusing you with Jonathan Muller. He’s the president of my cult, and as crazy as you are. Nothing is real, though. Remember that. A tomato can could really be Marilyn Monroe.


-I understand -I cut in-. But I listen to your spiraling debris every day -That made Colin spit

mucous-. If you turn the page, you’ll literally see the name “Michelle Sterner Muller”. If you want

me to kick your ass, just point the tip of your finger at me.


Colin was right where he didn’t want to be: between Michelle, me and a tire iron.


-¿And do you think you want to meet me in a dark night club in the middle of Mardi Gras? -She asked us-. I don’t think so.


The conversation devolved into thin air.


-Mom told me that I could meet you in a dark night club -I informed her-, because I’ve been a good boy, and because I can drink a paper daiquiri.


Michelle looked at me like I was an idiot.


-If you say one more asinine statement, I’m gonna tomato you. -That made Colin gyro sober-. And that means you too, Colin.


I say “amen” to that.


-Fuck you -Colin said-. ¿Can’t you ever say something that isn’t malolicious?


Before she had a chance to detain us, Colin meted out the only justice he knew.


-Yeah, well, we’ll see if I ever call 9-1-1 when you have an emergency.


-Yeah, he won’t even call Ghostbusters -I added.


-¿What? -Michelle yelled, like an orangutan.


-You’re incredible -Colin said, trying to sound incredulous-. ¿Who died and gave you the sword and dagger concession?


Michelle started choking Colin with her hands.


-I’ll give you a concession, jackass -She gritted-. ¡I won’t kick you in the balls while I’m throttling you!


-Yill-er-ee-dee-it -Colin croaked.


-Let’s go, Colin -I said-. We’re going, Michelle. Let go of Colin’s throat and sing “Happy Birthday” to me again.


-All right -Michelle said.


-You’re lucky I didn’t have my Patch Adams secret decoder ring with me -Colin said, tears in his eyes.


Michelle just shook her head.


-Don’t hand me that load.


-I physically can’t hand you anything -Colin exclaimed-. ¿Do your parents know what a rat bastard you always are?




¿What more could she say?


As I left with Colin, Chester, Michelle’s smart-ass cat, spat at us. I knew he was spitting because he wasn’t dancing and he wasn’t watching game shows. I could hear his voice in my head telling me: “I’m going to kill Michelle. You won’t have any cares when there’s no more Michelle”.


I valued my sister’s life, but I wasn’t about to fuck with that cat.


Colin picked up a sack of purple colored crystals.


-¿What are you going to do with those?


-I dunno. Maybe we can use them to save Michelle from an endless sleep -He responded.


I heard the time-honored sound of a door opening. The idiots who were going to assassinate Michelle were already here.


-It’d better not have been my fault when we’re dead -Colin said with a malicious sneer-. Let’s try to create a diversion.


He grabbed a tuba and started playing “The Red Liquid of Vacation” and the vacuum created caused problems if not diversions.


-Can’t you play any Jerry Vale -I told him-. You’re off-beat, off-key and no one can tell what the fuck you’re playing.


-I’m not playing nothing if you don’t shut the fuck up -Colin said-. I’m almost to my “La Bamba” tuba solo.


-No shit -I said-. My parents told me to never…


-¿Will you put a sock in it before my tuba solo explodes like a ripe melon? -Colin interrupted-. ¿Don’t you want to see your sister alive, instead of asphyxiated and dead, like that guy who couldn’t turn off his car?


That was one serious diversion, but all hands were on deck as my parents walked in.


-¿Where are the assassins? -Colin asked me, looking like a caged rat.


-I think you know where they are -I said contemptuously.


-No. No, I don’t know -Colin admitted-. But tell me and we’ll both pour Algonquin sauce on them.


-Okay. Sure -I said sarcastically. Bastard doesn’t even know that there’s a “b” in bomb.



Colin looked at me like I was an instruction booklet, and then shook his head.


-I don’t get a key, no dice, nothing -he murmured.


-Get out -I told him-. We could go kill vultures in the central valley and no one would say shit.


-No. I don’t want to kill you. And I’m not an instruction manual. I’m very complex and contradictory, but I’m not an instruction book -Colin asserted-. Your sister consigned her self to death when she looked at me like I was squirrel offspring.


Oh, my Christ. Colin always was a little corny, but now he was actually growing horns. This was just one of the many reasons we weren’t such great friends.


Colin would say and do things with purple crystals that he would never do with red liquid.


-Colin, you don’t know your ass from an Este Lauder counter -I said like an advertisement.


He didn’t hit me. That was good.


He was inclined to poke me, but he was also inclined towards turbulence and clichés.


-Colin. You don’t know your ass from an Este Lauder counter -When I said it this time, I held up a bottle of perfume.


The purple crystals began to cry.


I looked at Colin’s turbulence and clichés.


-Don’t do the red or the purple, Colin. Two wrongs do make a right -I was gritting my teeth again, and I had dropped the perfume bottle-. I’m going home and I’m turning up the volume.

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