Chapter 18 read by Don



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-¡What the fuck kinda talk is that!- Kelsey exclaimed.


It would’ve taken an act of Congress and some water that was alive to convince Kelsey that everything was punky dory.


-If you don’t know which way is up…- Oh great, it was Gregor.


-Yes, yes, go on.- Kelsey said, breathing heavily as she did.


Gregor Constantinople’d:


-…Then you’d better buy everything in sight.- He growled this, as if content with everything he’d just said.


-¡¿What kind of comeback is that?!- Drew asked, being careful not to show how incredulous she was.


-Yeah… that wasn’t much of a zinger.- Kelsey babbled. -That’s like saying you’d rather take home a jar of pickles than beat me with a cane.-


-¿Are you ready for the beatings to commence?- Gregor asked.


They were all in a circle now, impulsively hugging each other as if they were in a silent super-circle of suffering sucka cash.


Kelsey could hear everything, including the rumor that she was trying to lob Band-Aids at everyone’s feet. It creeped her out that she could hear what she wasn’t saying, but her attitude was rumbling like her heart - out of control and on fire.


-Yes.- Kelsey said, starting to get furious. -But… but, ¿why doesn’t anyone talk when they’re on a plane?-


Gregor had always tried to raise the dead when he was on a plane. He had even tried to raise Kelsey’s habit of raising kids who had already herded into circles like cows.


-They’d rather open letter bombs for you.-


Kelsey felt the need to obey Gregor and also the need to stab a pen into his lung. Then she’d like to see him try to sing.


She’d also like to see him drink airplane fuel. She knew that the instant he drank airplane fuel his pallor would turn orange around the gills, and he would start drooling and his breathing would have more rat burrs than Estonia has mangos.


But when Gregor drank Fresca he was more content than a table napkin, no matter how many seedless mangos Estonia had.


When anyone else opened a Fresca, snails sallied up to the bar. Gregor ran up to the bar and screamed that anyone who fondled his Fresca would be shot-on-sight and what was left of their dentures would be sold on eBay.


“In the meantime don’t try to chew until that bitch gets here”, the dying man thought.


Kelsey knew that if she looked at him she’d freeze and if she froze she’d have to talk to him and she didn’t know what to say and nausea always followed.


“If only I believed in God”, She thought. “But God is small potatoes. I don’t mean to be offensive, but I’d rather believe in a transparent, plastic fork”.


The young woman closed her eyes and stopped breathing. She knew that if she said exactly what she thought, she’d be thrown out just like a transparent, plastic fork would be thrown out, but at least there’d be no more Kelsey Grammer jokes.


And when you think about it, in a language so full of synonyms, it took great restraint for the narrator not to make a Kelsey Grammer reference until now. It’s tantamount to setting a trash can on fire, and you know that trash likes to be on fire.


Actually, nobody knows and nobody cares. If you saw a trash can on fire, you probably wouldn’t call out the Marines.


But just because no one cares doesn’t mean that no one has manners. They’re just alley-ooping them up to the bar. And Kelsey knows that what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her and what she does know will. She knows a few things, but nothing that would stump the Baja Marimba Band.


So instead she does push-ups and touchdowns.


What she needed now was a glass of that living water that Gregor had been drinking like it was clam juice.


Soon a beautiful song started forming, like saliva, in her mouth and it took everyone at the bar and threw them around like a gigantic muscleman.


Gregor looked up to the sky to see who was singing and a leopard oncologist landed in his mouth. And, if that wasn’t enough, it pushed out his dentures, grabbed a bottle of Double Cola and hit him over the head with it.


Kelsey closed her eyes. The heat of the trash fire made it impossible to think in leaps, let alone in bounds.



That’s when Gregor started pushing his new language on everyone. It was young, it had just been invented yesterday and it was made up solely of excuses and words that started with the letters “h” and “o”.


The others couldn’t have imagined something so gargantuanly raspy, all they could imagine was the smoking afterwards.


Kelsey imagined that if she could imagine living water, she could imagine anything.


Living water had escalated into a language free of s’s, and was now sporting a fringe of hair around its Boca Raton.


Kelsey hated Boca Raton so much that she reached her hand into her throat to vomit.


-It my language but it int my fault.- Gregor said without an “h” an “o” or an “s”. He went on to say, almost incoherently, that not only was it not his fault, but also that his teeth hurt, his cerebral cortex needed an overhaul, his nose was bleeding, and he had just been attacked by a vase of living water.


The cigarettes observed the scene, content that nobody was breathing. That’s how quiet it was.


Kelsey grabbed her own jugular. But then she had second thoughts and put her hands in her jeans pockets.


She tried to smile, but God had other plans.


-¡I can’t!- She exclaimed. -My mouth won’t form the letter “o”.-


-¡You must!- Gregor said.


But, on the contrary, all she had to do was die and pay taxes.


-You fucking shit, Kelsey.- Drew said. -Just say “abracadabra” and quit this fucking around.-


But Kelsey shook her head.


-No.- She murmured, looking at her prickly friend. -I can’t eat capers now.-


-Kelsey, Jesus Fucking Christ.- Drew said, returning to her cage.


Kelsey knew that her prickly friend was right. She knew it and she also knew that she wanted to attach an acetylene torch to her groinal area.


-Listen.- She said, trying to sound as profound as you can sound in Boca Raton. She told her self that if she moved, the living water would mutate rapidly and then there would be nothing but water.


Gregor had pushed her into going to Boca Raton to try to reason with the living water, but what happened instead would turn a churro cold, a ghost black, and a nose bleed.


Kelsey began to think that everything wasn’t as it seemed - even in Boca Raton.


The ocean might have salt and fish. The commissary might have goose and pecan pie, but it’s all going to be compost.


But it won’t be compost if we don’t start ¡PEDALING FASTER!


You won’t be able to touch it if all you do is TALK ABOUT IT.


It’ll all be wrapped in denture cream and it’ll be delivered by mule. It’ll all coagulate like a mucous sandwich and it’ll come out your nose and go straight into the refrigerator.


All this talk of liquids and viscosities, it makes you feel CLEAN, ¿don’t it? ¡GOD-DAMN!


This time, Kelsey burped gelatin and riboflavin Gadzurics. Kelsey was about to start over again and it was happening this red-hot minute.


What she was about to do was - she was about to vomit.


-¡Taste THIS, saliva!


The girl had a way with words and she had three ways with what passed for a Bolo tie in this pencil-neck fringe of the laissez-faire.


They opened their eyes and what they eyed was Gregor. Drew was about to throw him a roundhouse punch just like the one she threw to the jugular of her opponent to win the gold medal in the Kentucky Derby.


-That was quite a haymaker.- The felicitous Gregor said. -Yeah, that was great. It’s always great when you lash out instead of talk - or at least it’s not as boring. You’re a pretty tough broad. Kinda like an orangutan with a credit card.-


-That’s it.- Kelsey said, reinventing the wheel. -¡That is IT!-



-¡¿Why are you so goofy, Kelsey?!- Drew exclaimed. -¡And such a jackass!-


-¿I’m a jackass?- Kelsey asked like Allen Ludden. -¿I’m an ass and you’re what, a disheveled piece of malnutrition?-


Gregor listened, but all he saw was the magic book.


-No.- He said. -Her malnutrition is not due to her disheveledness.-


-¿What in the Tokyo fuck are you talking about?- Kelsey asked in a voice that jumped like its bra had just been snapped. -¿And what is up with that day-glow Afro Sheen?-


-You’re just torked ‘cause I’m hot for Madame Valda.- The old guy said.


-Let me talk like I used to.- Drew said and jumped.


-¡¿You’re hot for Madame Valda?!- Kelsey exclaimed. -I have no idea what you see in her. She’s old, she has fins... Drew, she freaking has fins. ¿Did you ever notice that? ¡She has fins and a sawed-off In-Sink-Erator!-

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