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-¿Are you sure I’ll never find my cigarette?- Kelsey was now asking Drew.
-Look, girly.- Zandra contested. -I’m a cigarette and I do the thinnin’ around here, ¿got it? I’m a unique cigarette. And now, ¿are you going to sleep with me or not?-
“Zandra the Incredulous seems to know me intimately”, Kelsey thought. “I wonder if she knows when my next dental appointment is.”
-Look, Incredulous Zandra.- Kelsey said, calling on all of the education she could pewter. -We were here all right. But you couldn’t see us. I was smoking a Gitane. I wasn’t very old, but now I’m getting older.-
-And cut me off a piece of that.- Drew annoyed.
But Zandra’s only segue was to shake her head.
-When you talk, I don’t know where to put the accent marks.- Kelsey was obviously not pro-segue.
-And everything you say suffers from bad diction – and about a years worth of Shemp Howard impressions.-
The only thing that Zandra cared about was how to change air into water.
-¿Bad diction?- Zandra said carefully, in case anyone was listening, especially anyone from the newspapers. -If I had a cigarette for every time I heard the phrase “bad diction” I still wouldn’t be able to swap them for World Series tickets.-
-Get me a seat in the loge level.- Kelsey said.
-Why don’t you make believe you’re a dart.- Zandra the Incredulous said.
¿A dad?- Kelsey asked with the nerves of a sissy.
-Yeah, a dad.- Zandra responded. -Look, what passes for a dad today is nothing more than pepper in the salt shaker of bad diction. Add on an I/O device and ¡voila!. And for your information, my diction is better than a rat’s ass’s.-
-¿Yeah? ¿How much does it cost?- Kelsey asked.
-¡Ten bucks!- Kelsey exclaimed.
Ten bucks was a lot of money. It was all the money Kelsey had. She started thinking about all the gas she had to buy and all the games she wanted to play and how attracted she was to ferrets and to hand-held computers.
But no matter how hard she thought, there was no other solution. She didn’t know if Zandra was really a cigarette or not. She did know that she had a unique way of expressing her self.
As large as dinner could be, that’s how uniquely she expressed her self.
-Lay some of that bad diction on
Kelsey told her. me.-
-First off… ¿do you have?.. ¿how do you?.. ¿Como se dice “a big chair”?- Zandra said. -¿How can I make your cigarette appear when I have such bad diction? ¿How about if I give you another name?-
-No.- Kelsey responded. -But you can tell me what it would cost.-
-¿What?- Zandra asked.
-Call me crazy and taunt
Kelsey said. -And I’ll send you through hell’s fire with a slab of pork, if you believe.- Zandra believed all right. She believed she was going to sock someone in the corpuscle. -And when I start socking… I mean, pardon me, when Zandra starts socking, things get strange.- Kelsey said instead of a segue. -Yesterday no one would let me be me or I be I. And tonight, while I’m sleeping, I’ll be dreaming that I have 100 toes and 98 of them are gangrenous.- me.-
-And then in the morning- Drew intervened. -you’ll believe that you’re a lesbian who goes around telling everyone that the water’s alive.-
Zandra did a 360º spin.
-And while the cost may go up, I can still haggle with the best of imbeciles.- Kelsey said. -And the Crazy Cart knows that I won’t always be a part of it.- And then she pushed on the table, looked directly at Zandra, and jumped on the Crazy Cart.
-You can try and make me your satanic piece of dog vomit, but I’ll always be here and the first thing I’ll do, after it occurs to me, is kick your Alpo ass.-
-Yeah, right.- Zandra said as if she understood what the hell Kelsey had just said. -Just keep your malnutritioned ass on the Crazy Cart. It looks good under you. But Zandra the Incredulous shaves her private parts.-
-¿Are you shitting me?- Kelsey prayed again that there were no guns nearby.
Zandra nodded. She closed her eyes and her private parts started murmuring, a trick she had learned in the circus from the headless woman.
You can’t argue with someone as old as this cigarette. And Zandra’s private parts were speaking a strange idiom known only to the psychic.
Whenever Zandra went into a trance she would turn around and around. She’d spit blood and puke grease and she’d pretend to be Racer X on the Crazy Cart. And if anyone tried to grab her off the Crazy Cart she’d grab them and put them in a metal cage… just like her mom did to her when she was young and life didn’t look like it was going to be snatched away and covered in lava.
-The Crazy Cart won’t fuck with no one no more.- Zandra said.
-¿You’re shitting me?- Kelsey asked. -¿Did you know you can take an eye out with that bad diction of yours?-
-Oh, no.- Zandra responded. She stuck her hand into the metal cage and pulled out a cat. -This must’ve been left here by my colleague from the circus. Her act was called “Magic Ain’t For Pussies.”-
To Kelsey this made about as much sense as Zandra’s crack about her malnutritioned keister. There was more to this than just some old cunt who’d obviously been doing too much crystal or was laying into the Corbel again. And Kelsey wasn’t in the mood to have cold goo smeared all over her countenance.
-Leave the cat here for three days.- Zandra said, mysteriously. -If no one claims it, it’s yours. And another thing: on the third day, if someone does claim it, then it was never meant to be yours.-
Kelsey passed out for the rest of the day without suffering any more bad dreams. She did have a dream that she was being pelted with sharp pencils, but considering the day she’d had, it seemed almost gleeful.
But as confident as she was about not having bad dreams, when she does have bad dreams they last for three days. On the first day the dreams are divided into four quadrants: two occur in a house and two feel like her lungs are full of Silly Putty. On the third day the dreams involve playing Ping-Pong, breaking valuable china and then playing “Go Fish” and “The Ants Are Thinking Bad Thoughts.”
On the second day she dreams about more animals. And if she dreams about enough animals she gets a free pass to play with the ferrets.
Going back to the first day, the dreams echo with the ghost of Rula Lenska de la Mancha playing video games and taunting poor, undesirable Drew.
-¡Yippee! ¿You know what, Drew? ¡These animals are incredulous too!- Kelsey said, glancing at Zandra and thinking arboreal thoughts, like spreading cold goo all over Mike Cuellar. -And these animals pronounce their J’s better than you do… and they dabble in ass-gaskets.-
They went back to the house because they had trapped enough animals to sink two mountains - and that was just fine and gangly by Kelsey.
Going forward to the third day of dreams, Kelsey was reunited with Yakov Smirnoff, even though they had only met once, on a beach. The sun had been like a Brillo pad on that day. The description of the ocean water was TBA. And Kelsey was convinced that Zandra had invaded the dream and was purposely pronouncing all of her words wrong.
And now it was time to play and so she pushed against every constriction she could feel with the force of a crazed deer running at full speed.
-We’re going to have a thrombo anyway.- The young girl said as she propelled her self through the air like a bald eagle, or maybe more like a crazed deer.
-¡Good idea!- Drew yelled after her.
-Drew.- Kelsey said as she panted, her hand on Drew’s shoulder. -Try a bald eagle. Try it before I cave your face in.-
Drew wouldn’t know a bald eagle from a German dirigible, from a gorilla, from water.
Kelsey was about to push Drew’s face in when she remembered that the last time she did that she ended up in a cast.
Her face turned red from frustration. She remembered the cast and how ugly it made her and how pretty everybody else was and how they all played on the beach without her. She was remembering this when some part of her occipital lobe came undone and for a time she began to think that she was a nunchcuk-wielding Totie Fields.
-Zzzzz.- While she was posing as Totie Fields, recalling her dreams, and generally being a pest, everyone else had fallen asleep.
-¡Hey!- Kelsey exclaimed and then pinched everyone on their lapel. -¡Get out of here!- This she exclaimed while buzzing like a stick insect. She wanted to grab them all by their designer lapels and punt them where the sun don’t shine and the Tabasco tastes like Jorge Posada.
“¡SIX z’s!” Kelsey thought. “That bitch Drew won’t live to see her 33rd birthday, but she will live to know the hel in helicopter after I get through pushing her face where only the vultures shine and only the oregano flourishes.”
Drew was going bald listening in on Kelsey’s thoughts through her underwater echo chamber and fossil record. The last thing Drew wanted to be was a wren absorbing food through her talons.
-I only said that the water was a little bit alive.- Kelsey said.
-But you said the same thing about my dad.- Drew replied. Now she was petting the gorilla’s bald spot with her hand.
Kelsey wasn’t really excited about reconstructing the fossil record, but a two hundred dollar note was nothing to paste penguins on.
And she was always pasting penguins.
God, on the other hand, was always pushing snails onto the backs of Parisian Otter Pops.
Of course it depended on your perspective, but insects becoming zombies was already more than Kelsey could account for in the fossil record. Any other time and Kelsey would’ve taken the insect and rang its insect chimes or smashed in its tiny insect head.
-¡But I can’t do it this time! -She exclaimed impatiently.
Up until then, insects hadn’t posed a threat to her conception of The Almighty, but now it had been made clear in the fossil record and Kelsey clearly was causing a fuss. That is until she stopped coughing and started pushing penguins.
But before she could push another penguin in the eye, a gigantic penguin appeared and started going postal on Kelsey, kicking and screaming like a penguin on acid.
Kelsey wanted to push the gigantic penguin in the eye, but she was continually under attack from the suicidal bird. She always knew that her habit of always pushing penguins would someday backfire.
-¡Hey! -She exclaimed as a giant pincer pinched her in the pants. Before her eyes could see the damage, she turned and three penguins were tearing their beaks into the muscle of her leg.
-¡Jesus H. Christ!-
Kelsey was chillin’ like Frida Kahlo plummeting to earth in a parachute made of insects.
But that was only the beginning. She looked up and there were hundreds of penguins parachuting down, more than the bitch with the witch eyes knew how to handle.
-This can’t be real -She said and reached out for the Mike Cuellar magic amulet. But the amulet was being used as a soccer ball by hundreds of mutant, zombie penguins. The birds weren’t stupid, they had picked a game where they couldn’t use their hands, and so they just kept kicking and kicking the amulet.
Kelsey started thinking that she would pinch every one of these creepy crustaceans. She started doing the math and when she got to one hundred, she started pinching. One hundred. Peccadillo. One hundred and something.
She sucked at counting and she sucked at pinching.
So she started randomly pushing in a circular motion, because it’s really revolting when you’re covered in insect feces and antipasto.
If she didn’t police her pushing - and pronto - she’d be all pushed out, and then the giant pincers would make cubed meat out of her and regurgitate it to their young.
The giant penguins couldn’t tolerate the sewage in the ocean water and quickly turned into rapidly-aging, brilliantine stick insects - much like Basil Fawlty. The revolution was going to be televised, but only inside everyone’s head on tiny TV’s. Zzzzz. Zzzz. Zzz.
The truth was that when Kelsey wasn’t pushing penguins, she was pushing envelopes or setting off car alarms.
It’s just that sometimes she forgets to breathe.
-¡I’m asphyxiating my self! -She’d exclaim at these times-. ¡Go get me an asphyxiation fixer!