Chapter 9 read by Max



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Kelsey knew what she saw, and what she saw were lab rats. She passed her fingers through their pelts. She was tired and her pupils were not really up for an inspection.


No more living water.


-I know that water was alive.- She insisted, frothing at the mouth. The lab rats started dispersing and gave off a viscous sensation much like Kelsey’s Beloved Revolutionary Aunt Tania. -¡Everything is exactly as it seems! And everything in the ocean is exactly level.-


Kelsey knew she could count on God to be a gentleman, a rosebud and to listen attentively… and also to turn the earth into a fiery flame-ball rocketing into hell.


-¿When’s the last time you had a reality check?- Drew asked.


Kelsey now looked like the water. The two prima donnas sat questioning the meaning of life without realizing that that was what they already had been doing.


Until it became quiet.


With everything quiet, the water seemed less lame than it usually did, more limp and transparent. It could count to nine, but it was not visibly alive.


-No.- Kelsey admitted. -But here is where I’ll stay. I don’t care how strange the algae is.-


-And I’ve given up caring what you say.- Drew say’d.


-That’s ‘cause you don’t think that I’m anything other than certifiably loony, ¿right?- She asked like a jackass.


-No.- Drew’s super ego said. -You’re not certifiably loony. You’re in a continual state of looniness.-


-Yeah, yeah.- Kelsey knew that Drew had just forced her to pour out her heart where the sun don’t shine.


The young woman was not being weighed in metric tons and had one kidney the size of a roto-tiller-television. She knew that she was eating too much salt and kicking Drew in the too much ass.


-¡The water’s alive!- Kelsey exclaimed, without worrying about context.


Drew looked all suave.


Kelsey looked like she couldn’t care if Contra aid was being laundered through her very own Mecca of horror.


-¿Is the water alive?- Kelsey’s exclamation suddenly became a question. -¿Well, is it?-


Kelsey’s eyes were public toilets. She was resigned to the Crazy Cart.


So she got back on.


She got back on and she was mad.


-Yuh… you can get on a different cart.- Drew mumbled.


Kelsey knew a “¡gotcha!” when she gotch’d one.


-¿You know what, Drew? I think that the psychic is still calling me a bad version of Celine Dion.- She said this, but suspected that she hadn’t. -As Victor Meldrew would say, “¡I don’t BE - LIEVE it!” I started my life on Fear Street and now I’m either going to die or not die there.-


-Listen.- Drew said with nerves of cystic fibrosis. -If you can still hear that bitch calling you Celine Dion then, word up, you’d better go kill her so you don’t have to hear it anymore, ¿right?-


-¿What do you want me to sepia?- Kelsey replied. -¿Do I have to paint your house with this cigarette?-


-That would be good, but it would be better if you’d go over and paint that old psychic woman instead.- Drew said. -Better yet: you could lop off the side of her head and put it in a jar and send it to Encino.-


-That’s if you can get the post office to send it.- Kelsey said. -I tried FedExing a torpedo last summer...-


-I know, I know, in practice it doesn’t work, Kelsey. We have to do everything in theory.-


Kelsey had told her parents that she was bacon and Drew was a side order of Cream of Jaguar Tail Soup. She continued this delicatessenal dirge at the dinner table as she looked for her burning cigarette.


-¿And what do you do when I’m talking and you’re eating?- Kelsey asked. -You say “Pardon me” and then you puke-up whatever you’ve been eating like the imposters you are… and then… let me think… ¿does that seem a bit much?-


-That sounds reasonable.- Drew responded, chewing on a piece of recorrugated iron from a picnic table. -Look, jackass, let’s go to the pizzeria. I’ve been chewing on recorrugated iron all day and I’m just about to double over from the pain.-


Kelsey doubled over, not in pain but in laughter as she pointed at Drew… and then laughed some more. There wasn’t a trace of meanness in Kelsey. ¡There was an avalanche! She thought that eating recorrugated iron and living to talk about it were two completely horrible ideas.


¿And what if Kelsey can’t find her burning cigarette? ¿Will she make like Mr. Magoo and see no evil?


¿What would happen in that case?


-¿You think I know?- Drew asked her self while looking for both the answer and the portal.


Kelsey had D-Con Fogon of the brain.


Drew found the portal and was the first to run through it.


Everyone had been either square-dancing or sitting. But now everyone was either looking each other directly in the eye or sitting. In a second, everyone would be either singing to dogs or selling magic drugs. Or sitting.


Kelsey knew extremism when she m.c.’d it.


She knew she could go from surgeon to hat-check girl in a minute, two ninety eight – less ten.


-Well, that’s the way it goes.-


Kelsey also knew that her image was that of a person who could not stop babbling. For instance, whenever she looks at a table she sees a beach ball.


But beach balls don’t grow in this rarified air.


-Well, that’s the way it goes.- The vulture-like figure in a provocative sweater said. Earlier she couldn’t see the vulture or even care that she couldn’t, but now Kelsey knew that only God could find that miserable cigarette. -Zandra the Incredulous wears dirt for a sweater.- The woman announced, pronouncing each word as if the next word followed logically somehow.


When Zandra the Incredulous dropped in for a visit, Kelsey could only probe what wasn’t on the prestidigitator’s mind. And what wasn’t on her mind was voluminous.


The truth was that Zandra the Incredulous became incredibly young whenever she was near Kelsey. She became a year younger and half a millenium wiser than Bachelorette #2.


The truth also was that Kelsey paid a pretty price for whatever manners she did have. She knew the proper way to peel an undulating ladder, no matter how large or how cast in iron. She had normal eyes… Pardon me. Two eyes.


Zandra, on the other hand, was one piñata short of Morro Bay. And she was so ostentatious an animal that her fingers were actually dead. They didn’t grow. And if you think that that is mysterious, you should see her impression of Madame Valda.


-I still can’t find my Gitane.- Kelsey said.


-You never had a Gitane.- Zandra responded.


-Hey, ¿what the hey?- Drew said. -We did this entire conversation yesterday… ¿Or was that today? ¿And wasn’t I leaning on a rug rat?-


-You’re sure confused.- Zandra insisted. -Here there are no cigarettes. There are only bad habits.-


Kelsey could feel the Velcro tearing in her heart.


-No, no.- She murmured like the son of a sad quesadilla. -¿What have you done with my ¡CIGARETTE?! ¡The Spanish Inquisition will seem like a pizza party when I’m through with you!-

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