I skipped my 11:15 Introduction to Anal Bleaching class and went to Long John Silver’s to steal a bottle of malt vinegar as a potential douching solution. I saw something about its alleged prophylactic effects on an old episode of Quincy, or maybe the very special episode of Perry Mason where Raymond Burr got gang-raped by a group of transient railroad workers that drove a railroad spike through his head, Phinneas Gage-style. It pays to go to a school that actually teaches science classes instead of one that offers associate’s degrees in Chicken McNugget Technology, so you don’t go through life getting all of your reproductive health knowledge from TV shows run into the ground during syndication by fringe UHF TV channels that can’t afford real programming. But it’s not like amalgamating together six different part-time food service and shit labor jobs is going to make the nut on Harvard tuition, so I’d have to scrape by on whatever I could glean from Matlock reruns and obsessive WebMD searches.
A voice mail told me she skipped town to drive nine states away and get an abortion before her “buy five get one free” card expired, but I figured I’d get the vinegar as a backup, in case she got lost on the way and blew all of my money on weed. When I got to the fake fish store, I saw her twin sister Judy working the cash register, a pudgy, greasy-haired brunette with chronic halitosis, a Dr. Who infatuation and little love for the dude banging out her genetic duplicate. There’s no way to ethically date twins, I thought. If you fuck one, you cannot look at the other without thinking about sitting on her face. Even if I suffered a traumatic brain injury, chemical lobotomy, or a snapped spine with full quad diagnosis, I’d still be thinking about my tongue in her asshole. Her sister’s asshole. Whatever.
“I hope you don’t try to steal any vinegar,” she said. “I know Trudy thinks she can wash her hoohah with it and kill the babies.”
“Of course not,” I said. “I want one of those ten shrimp gang bang platters. And some vinegar of course. And that red shit. Not the ketchup, the chunky one.”
Staring down Judy in her stupid fake pirate smock only made me think about how to tell Trudy about the aliens. I knew she wouldn’t believe me. I wanted to ignore all of it, but now I could see backwards, forwards. I knew she was out fucking an entire arena football team and spending my hard-earned abortion money on cheap skag and collectible Holly Hobby plates, but I couldn’t do anything about it. I couldn’t tell her I knew she was going to do it, because then she would do it. Time travel and women with behavioral problems don’t go together well.
I still couldn’t sleep, the kind of chronic insomnia that would cause a person to write an entire book of poor-selling absurdist fiction about demented nightmares and an inability to sleep, a horror I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. The night before, as I drifted in and out of consciousness, I had recurring nightmares of being in a suicide pact with the pregnant probably-not-by-me girlfriend, and then blowing off my face with a shotgun and living, after she managed to Cobain herself with the same gun. But through some modern science miracle, they scooped out the kid and he lived, and I was forever stigmatized by this mangled Popeye face, plus being known as “the shotgun abortionist,” which would make an awesome death metal band name, but it’s not the kind of shit you want to come up every single time you try to meet a new fuck-buddy online. And I couldn’t even revel in the pity-grief of the incident, because the girlfriend’s mom lost her hands in some kind of freak dishwasher explosion, and spent all her time one-upping my tragedy. Plus the not-aborted kid grew up in foster care, and eventually became a late-night talk show host. Wake up screaming.
“Number fuckin’ 17,” said Bubba, the guy at the counter. He looked high on Robitussin, and had engine parts from an Evinrude outboard boat motor hanging from giant holes in his earlobes, the latest fashion with the Hot Topic crowd. I vaguely knew him, from all of the times I came in the store buying food and trying to talk to Judy, before I knew she wasn’t Trudy and the two of them were twins. “Hey man, you ever fuck a chick while watching Faces of Death?” he said. “One time I’m at this whore’s apartment, some chick I met at a Narcotics Anonymous meeting, and I’ve got three fingers in the pink, both thumbs in the stink, and my dick in her mouth while I’m watching that scene where those fuckin’ dudes are cracking open a monkey’s head and scooping out the brains. I blew a load in her mouth and thought her head was going to explode like JFK’s skull in that fuckin’ Zoolander film.”
“Zapruder,” I said.
“Gezundheit. Oh, you might not want to eat any of this. Everyone on the morning shift fucked the bag of fry batter this morning. It probably took ten loads before we breaded all the fish this afternoon.”
Oh well, consider it a five dollar investment in intel, I told myself. Besides, eating that shit was like putting sugar in your car’s gas tank, draining the oil, and then red-lining the engine for 45 minutes. I don’t even think the government legally allows people to consume it anymore in states like California.
I pocketed the vinegar bottle, brought the food outside, and arranged it in a pyramid to signal the aliens. These fuckers will never find me, I thought. Then I saw a shift forward through the time colonnades, a 4th dimension view of that arena football team running train on my soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend. I need to escape this world. I don’t even care about the anal probe thing, just get it done already.
Jon Konrath writes absurdist fiction, and has published eight books, including Rumored to Exist, Fistful of Pizza, The Earworm Inception, and Sleep Has No Master. When he is not writing or creating an environment to foster dust mite reproduction in the form of collecting books, he takes things apart, tries to play bass, and spends too much time on wikipedia reading about obsolete technolog and farming methods of the 14th century. He can be found at http://rumored.com or on twitter at @jkonrath.
Copyright 2012 Jon Konrath