Sunday, December 23, 2012

Flophouse #7 (Mauve)


It begins simply enough.

An old flophouse, too impossibly ancient to exist within the city of Houston. Three to a room and there are many rooms. How many is anyone’s guess. Every Monday you nail rent, $50 cash, to the front door. Someone comes and takes the money away but no one ever sees who.

The tenants get by however they can, food scrounged from dumpsters behind some of the city’s finest eateries, petty theft, day work competing with Mexicans down on Washington, but mostly it’s just death in slow motion.

The mirror in my quarters is worse than most. Most mirrors, I mean. This mirror takes up an entire wall and it is worse than most any other mirror of my experience. You know all mirrors have their mistakes – reflecting a Levi’s tag when you are wearing Calvin Kleins, motions a fraction of a second slow, whatever – but this mirror’s mistakes are severe by any standard. Like I wake up and before I even start to stretching, my reflection is already brushing her teeth.

This is intolerable to me and I say as much. Roommate number two announces we will complain to the landlord but no one knows who the landlord might be. Roommate number one breaks the mirror slam-crack with a dumbbell but the next day another one has taken its place and worse than the one it replaced.

My current working hypothesis is that this is where my real troubles begin. Like cause and effect, you dig? Everything else springs forth from this one source but in ways not recognized for years if ever because you can turn any two events into cause and effect if you work at it hard enough and without resorting to Kevin Bacon.

The house by default exists in this city and this city ostensibly has a police force to protect and serve all citizens. This police force does not stop much crime but they do enjoy breaking down doors. One of the few perks of the job, I am told. Generations of splintered wood piling up in entryways, enough rusty door knobs to set up an antiques dealer for life, and no one even bothers sliding a pin down the new hinge these days.

Tonight’s cops seize an admittedly stolen box fan and proceed to grab me up by the butterfly collar. My reflection remains behind, looking dumbfounded but otherwise unmolested.

Lights of the city reflect off windows of the cruiser flashing by and there is concrete and there are trees of a variety I cannot recognize. Maybe they have pulled me out the wrong door. “We’re in the wrong city!”  I insist from the back seat, but no one answers me. Probably they believe I am making a jurisdictional argument of some sort.

It is wet. I am in an interrogation room but cannot recall coming in or getting dragged in or just appearing here from someplace else, lost time and with different cops and there is no one anywhere I can call to come down and get me. I know that there used to be someone but now there is not or else their name slips my mind at the moment.

Let me think...

“We know you did it, Mandell!”  A cop with a badge I cannot read, just hieroglyphs or something, really, he slams a picture down on the table between us. A third rate actor doing a prime time bad cop schtick.

The picture reveals a fat and balding middle-aged Mandell. The picture is not a picture of me and I do try and point this out as politely as possible but he laughs in my face and he holds the picture up right next to my head.

“That look like the wrong guy to you, Sipowitz?”  he says and now his partner is laughing, too, and I know before I even look down that I am Mandell or at least currently appearing to all the world in a fleshy Mandell fat suit.

When did I put this thing on? How long have I been wearing it?

“There has been a terrible mistake!”  I unzip the flesh right down the center of my (or, rather, Mandell’s) hairy chest. Thick blood, formerly held in by the flesh suit, leaks out and onto the floor of the interrogation room, towards a drain installed for just this sort of eventuality.

I step out of the flesh suit, which hits the ground with a splat. Underneath where it was, the thing I am still does not seem right. Just a jumble of prosthetic limbs held together with pins and with wires and I shuffle to remain standing – this way and that – like a puppet on strings. Still not me or else not the me who I remember.

Men in Hazmat suits arrive and they sweep up the pile of Mandell flesh off the floor and take it into custody. I am never informed of the crime for which me and/or me-as-Mandell was accused.

The officers loan me a Mary Lou Retton flesh-suit from out of the evidence room to wear over my bare plastic prosthetics and metal wire endostructure. It is a gift and even though as gifts go it is a poor gift, I am duly appreciative.

“This is the greatest Christmas ever!” I lie as I get up to exit the interrogation room. At my display of appreciation, Sipowitz gets all choked up and gives me cab fare to get back home.

Home is a flophouse where a new front door is just being installed.

A noise from somewhere across the room… Tangerines… The color mauve…

40 comments:

  1. Notice from Andy Sipowitz (with the fashion police)...

    lipstick is an accessory not a fashion statement and does not belong on the mirrors

    great stuff
    "My reflection remains behind, looking dumbfounded but otherwise unmolested."

    and I really like the concept
    "The officers loan me a Mary Lou Retton flesh-suit"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha! I am glad you got something out of this one. You very well might turn out to be the ONLY one who does.

      I mean, I absolutely LOVE this one (and the equally obtuse "Our Lucy" from a couple weeks back). But I have no idea what anyone else would get from them.

      Delete
  2. following the butterflies, a cause and effect thing

    1 Corinthians 13:12
    Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

    Sing For The Moment...
    http://youtu.be/D4hAVemuQXY

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or, in other translations, "In a glass, darkly."

      Which is a way more poetic rendering, and reminds me of Philip K. Dick's "A Scanner Darkly" and Matthew Arnold's "Darkling Plain."

      Delete
  3. I liked the flesh suit very much, but my favourite line is, "no one even bothers sliding a pin down the new hinge these days."

    I hope there are no fleas where you stay. That, to me, has always been a hallmark of domestic misery.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I lived on the streets many years ago, I had a friend who wore a flea collar.

      He said he got the idea from "The Simpsons." The Simpsons had a litter of 15 puppies and Marge put flea collars on the kids. "It's just easier doing it this way," she said.

      Insects are one of the things make living on the streets rough for us moderns. Investing in some good bug repellent sounds like a luxury for houseless folks. It is NOT!

      Delete
  4. With your very skinny frame did you enjoy the Mary Lou Retton model rear end? It was very popular up until recently. Right now it is the 4th most popular behind (pun intended) the Pippa, the Jay Low and some strange car dasher Ian model. VW made a dasher in the 70s and the car dasher Ian is about as wide, but I don't get the attraction.

    We have a wall of mirrors in the dojo, presumably to aide in self correction. They lie all the time so I no longer look in them. Very dangerous things mirrored wallls

    ReplyDelete
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    1. The real problem with the Retton skin was the fact that she is about 4 foot 9. I think I stretched it out of shape a little.

      I think asses have graduated to a whole new cartoonish level with Nicki Minaj...

      Delete
    2. I neglected to thank you for providing, as promised, the antidote to the holiday drivel. Also thank you for providing insight into the proceedings in police interrgotation. As a lowly reserve patrol officer, I always wondered how the detective and sheriff came out with confessions so quickly.

      Delete
    3. I think it's probably destined to become one of those seasonal things that get pounded into your heads year after year. Families, gathering around the fire, waiting to see when they get to read "Flophouse #7 (Mauve)" this year!

      Delete
    4. My final, off topic comment (why start now?) Ignoring I am old enough to be your father and your gender preferences, you look beautiful in the dress and T shirt combination. Mearly an observation. I will leave any creepier comments to someone with more practice. You know who they are

      Delete
    5. I look forward to the day when i can make inappropriate comments to someone young enough to be my kid!

      As it stands now, the age of consent in Texas is 17, and that's too old to be my kid.

      Soon!

      (And thanks!)

      Delete
    6. You are welcome.

      While a nursing student, my wife worked at a nursing home as an aide. Just remember old ain't dead.

      Delete
  5. jervaise brooke hamsterDecember 25, 2012 at 5:41 AM

    John Wayne Gacy and Jeffrey Dahmer were both pansy queer bastards, the bloody dirty filthy disgusting faggots.

    ReplyDelete
  6. jervaise brooke hamsterDecember 25, 2012 at 5:42 AM

    Merry Christmas Katy, have a great time little darlin`.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merry Christmas, to all of my anonymous commenters across the pond...

      Delete
  7. Replies
    1. Thanks, Tara. I've sort of been on a streak as of late, so far as the weirder posts go. I might have to go with some simple autobiographical bits to balance things out for a while...

      Delete
  8. Katy, why wasn`t "The Hamsters" "Mary Lou Retton" related com-girl-t published ?, it was a minor classic ! ! !.

    ReplyDelete
  9. jervaise brooke hamsterDecember 25, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    Thanks little darlin`, i put away a massive turkey dinner earlier, it was quite magnificent, i hope you`re enjoying yours right now. With love from your favourite internet rodent.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Katy, this isn`t really a Christmas post as such, is it ! ?, i mean not in the sense of there being lots of nice pictures of Christmas trees and coloured lights, so essentially you denied The Hamster his Christmas wish, do you feel ashamed ! ?.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Are you sure that you didn't become a Terminator without noticing it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suppose "they" could wipe my memory of the Terminator-izing process. Or I could be a Terminator that had a human memory implanted.

      I don't really feel like killing anyone, though. Also, I am polysyllabic, which seems to ruin my chances as a Terminator.

      Delete
  12. jervaise brooke hamsterDecember 29, 2012 at 1:56 AM

    Katy, are you still revelling and wallowing in Christmas magic little darlin` ! ?, i most certainly am, and i will be right up until January 6th (the official 12th day of Christmas), i trust you`ll be doing the same ! ! !.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I was torn between laughing and rereading by the end. Seriously freaked me out a bit, but in a good, very good, way. Off to read the Lucy post now!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh. Yeah, the Lucy one isn't exactly straightforward, either...

      I really probably ought to write one that just brings people up to date on what is going on in my life sometime.

      Delete
  14. jervaise brooke hamsterDecember 29, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    Katy, the second syllable of the word "humbug" is the word "bug" which also happens to be the first syllable of the word "bugger" ! ! !, hint...hint...! ! !.

    ReplyDelete
  15. jervaise brooke hamsterDecember 29, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    Happy New Year Katy, have a great 2013 little darlin`.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I still have a couple more days to pull this year into some kind of shape.

      I'm going to have everything set up to make 2013 the best post-apocalyptic year ever...

      Delete
  16. "You dig?" Haha. I haven't heard that used in decades. Of course, I don't watch too many police shows these days.

    The story itself sounds like some kind of bad acid trip... or perhaps flashback. I'm really not sure which term is appropriate. The character may well have been told the charges since he or she doesn't remember leaving the car and being taken to the interrogation room.

    I've heard of people wearing other people's skin, but never with a zipper front. What a delightful twist!

    ReplyDelete
  17. jervaise brooke hamsterDecember 31, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Katy, M. Night Shyamalan is a freshly excreted pile of faecal material and so are all of his films ! ! !, so i dont really think you should be comparing yourself to scum like that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think M. Night is planning a twist on his career, and that's why he's started releasing movies that don't seem enjoyable on the surface.

      The career twist: Wait for it!

      Delete
  18. Katy, do you write any short stories, or anything in any format other than your blog? I'm really not one to judge the quality of someone's writing, but if someone were to ask me I would tell them that you're a pretty good writer and I wouldn't be surprised if you had already or had ambitions to have something published.

    Also, and dangit I've tried to avoid this comment because I don't want to turn into one of "those" guys, but....well, you sure are a pretty lady.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi, Alexander, and thanks. I am not writing anything except these blogs these days.

    I used to, but I finally realized that when I HAVE to write something, or even force myself to write on a certain topic, my writing kind of sucks.

    So I have become sort of the queen of writing spontaneously about random topics that not even I can predict ahead of time.

    I have ALSO become the queen of picking out pictures of myself that manage not to look like Don Knotts, even though I sort of do look like Don Knotts.

    Queen? Queens are gay guys. I guess I ought to say King or something.

    ReplyDelete
  20. jervaise brooke hamsterJanuary 2, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    Katy, you do NOT repeat NOT look like Don Knotts (or Steve Buscemi for that matter), you look like a stunningly gorgeous ultra-feminine little sex-pot. By the way Katy, i know that refering to you with the phrase "ultra-feminine" is a bit of an insult to you obviously but you have to understand and accept my rampaging heterosexuality and my uncanny ability to see an incredibly gorgeous little sexpot like yourself and say "WOW...what an incredibly gorgeous little sexpot" (completely irrespective of her own personal sexual orietation).

    ReplyDelete
  21. That's understandable. Some of us can only be good at something when it's solely for pleasure. Best to obey that instinct.

    I will amend my comment then to say that you are very good at picking pictures of yourself in which you look like a pretty lady. Though if you were to assemble a collection of pictures in which the resemblance to Don Knotts is most apparent, that would be an interesting trick to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha... Thank you. I've ruined more interests for myself by attempting to transform them into something practical and profitable.

      Like sex. What a disaster those three weeks of profitable sex were !

      Delete
    2. Ha, yes. The profit motive ruins everything!

      Delete

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