Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Gospel of Life Ain’t Nuthin’ But Bitches & Money

Today we will talk about a miracle happening right beneath our noses.

We have a scorpion who lives in our house. She is an emperor scorpion, and this means she is not at all like those pitiful, flat little things we sometimes see cowering about under the rosebushes at dusk.

When compared to the emperor scorpion, those “scorpions”  are not even deserving of the name. We place them between quotation marks when we write of them, which is almost never. We place them between quotation marks because we do not want them making the other scorpions look bad… Fragile... Wimpy… Less than.

The emperor scorpion is none of those things.

So there is this emperor scorpion and she lives in our house, beneath a chunk of driftwood inside of a glass aquarium. The name of this scorpion is Life Ain’t Nuthin’ But Bitches & Money.

The kids call her by the more school-friendly name, LAN B-BAM.

Life Ain’t Nuthin’ But Bitches & Money is everything we could ever hope for in an emperor scorpion roommate. She is quiet. Keeps to herself. She does not demand to be walked or petted or held. She has never asked us for a new bicycle or for swim lessons or that we run to the store for a loaf of bread right before bedtime.

You see, that’s just not how Life Ain’t Nuthin’ But Bitches & Money rolls.

Instead, she mostly hangs out beneath her piece of driftwood, thinking about whatever it is that an emperor scorpion thinks about, until such time as we drop a live cricket (or maybe two live crickets!) into the aquarium with her. It is only then that she announces her presence to the world by waving her large dark claws out from under her chunk of driftwood. It is only then that she charges out in all her armored splendor to chase down an unwary cricket.

Sometimes, there are as many as half a dozen school-age humans huddled around her aquarium when she does this. All the tiny humans, they squeal in delight and horror as Life Ain’t Nuthin’ But Bitches & Money makes her brief appearance.

“Run, Cricket, run!” some of the children shriek. These children we call na├»ve optimists and dreamers.

“Here comes LAN B-BAM! Get ‘em, LAN B-BAM! Go!” other children shout. These children we call realists.

In the struggle between emperor scorpion and cricket, emperor scorpion wins every time. That is how Life Ain’t Nuthin’ But Bitches & Money rolls.

*           *           *

Recently, we noticed some changes in Life Ain’t Nuthin’ But Bitches & Money.

Her armor was not fitting as well as it used to fit. In fact, where the plates of her mighty armored suit were once snug and form-fitting, now we could see layers of flab hanging out. Life Ain’t Nuthin’ But Bitches & Money had gone soft.

How humiliating!

This is not a surprising phenomenon in our house, for everyone tends to grow noticeably more rotund once they begin residing with us. But our fat cat is not an emperor cat. Our fat cat does not have a suit of mighty armor. Her name is nothing like Life Ain’t Nuthin’ But Bitches & Money.

But when we had done all that we could do – feeding the scorpion fewer crickets, making her run little laps around the bathtub three times a week – we found the emperor scorpion even fatter than when we’d begun.

We required help. We posted photos of her on the interwebs, on a forum where people post such things. And the response, it was immediate and it was overwhelming: “That scorpion is pregnant.”

Life Ain’t Nuthin’ But Bitches & Money was pregnant!

But this could not be. At first, we all felt a little betrayed. Had Life Ain’t Nuthin’ But Bitches & Money been sneaking around on us? Had she been slumming it with those pitiful, flat little “scorpions”that we sometimes see cowering about under the rosebushes?

We went back to the forum and we asked, for by now, it seemed that the forum knew all. And the response, again it was immediate and again it was overwhelming: “Some scorpions can get pregnant multiple times over multiple years from a single coupling.”

And then, this: “Some arachnids are capable of parthenogenesis, giving birth without ever mating at all.”

*           *           *

It was a miracle. We had been chosen. We were a part of God’s plan. Our humble home would serve – it will serve! – as the holy site wherein the Lord again takes flesh unto His creation – this time as a scorpion (or, more likely, scorpions).

We fell onto our knees:

Hail Life Ain’t Nuthin’ But Bitches & Money, full of grace
The Lord is with thee
Blessed art thou among scorpions
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, [name/s yet to be determined].

Holy Life Ain’t Nuthin’ But Bitches & Money, mother of god[s?]
Pray for us sinners
Now and at the hour of our death
Amen.
And now we wait, and now we try to prepare, but how is it possible to really prepare for such an event as this?

When the Lord(s) come(s) again in glory, will it signal the rising of the universal New Jerusalem foretold in John’s Apocalypse? Is this “merely” a New Testament reboot of sorts wherein the scorpions are the Incarnate Word?

Must these baby scorpions die for our sins? How would we ever break that to the children?

*           *           *

We have a scorpion who lives in our house. She is an emperor scorpion, forever Virgin, and all the angels and saints sing her praises. And all of us will sing her praises, too, if we know what is good for us.

For the time grows short, and this generation will not pass away until great events have taken place.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have work to do. Life Ain’t Nuthin’ But Bitches & Money is eating for between five and fifteen, and our little unborn Christs are hungry for crickets.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sex Histories

I read Saint Gregory of Nyssa to her on the same day she asked me about my sex history.

Under the circumstances, it seemed appropriate. I mean, I assumed we had tossed the flayed and rotting carcass of this particular noxious issue onto the road behind us years ago. But it was just the other day and here it came again, rumbling up beside us in the rearview mirror. It was definitely worse for wear: Missing an eye over here, vulture-pecked shoulder bone hanging out over there… Awww, I tell you, it was ghastly!

I was not expecting it. Not that expecting it would have helped, really. My wife sat down next to me on our cat scratching-post/ couch and she asked me, “So how many people have you slept with?”

Just like that.

Point blank, as they say. No segue. No lead-up to it. Nothing. Just “So how many people have you slept with?”

You could have knocked me over with a… with a…. Well, with something that seems much too small and much too light to knock an adult human being over with.

What in the dirty blazes of the ninth circle of Hell makes a person ask this sort of question? Makes them come to believe that this is a subject worth addressing?

I wonder. I want to know.

Because it sometimes seems to me that most of America goes on about its day – dutifully brushing its teeth and checking its work email, the whole works – mostly on the off-chance that it might stumble across somebody (anybody at all!) on whom it can unload its sex history. Dare to dream: This could be the day!

There is nothing good that can come of this conversation. Ever. There is plenty bad that can come of this conversation, and will. It will haunt you at some unforeseeable point in the future. It does not matter whether you are Mother Teresa or Paris Hilton. It will be thrown in your face a week from now. Or a year from now. Or maybe on your death bed.

It could happen during a random fit of jealousy. During an argument over the dishes or a spat after you come home from work ten minutes later than usual. It could happen when you are in a grocery store and you look at a stranger’s shoes for a moment too long.

It will probably happen at your Aunt Clara’s funeral, because it’s almost always at the very worst time. Or at your daughter’s school recital. Or on the fourth consecutive night you watch “The Rachel Maddow Show”.

The person you have told will look at you and they will say, “Oh! Looking for lay number twenty-seven, are you?” Or they will say, “I bet you were more agreeable when you were doing the whole girls’ basketball team back in high school!”

Hypothetically, I mean. The specifics will vary based on your personal history.

I have only learned three things during my twenty-six years upon this earth (or four things, if you’re going to count the whole “Never pay money to see an M. Night Shyamalan movie”  thing), but I have learned this: Never share your sex history with anyone.

Not a spouse. Not a lover. Not a best friend or a shrink or the household tarantula or some random stranger on the internet. Not in a box. Not with a fox. Not in a house. Not with a mouse… Do not make a chart of the various and assorted… acts you have performed, put it in a bottle, and toss it into the Gulf of Mexico.

Instead, here’s what to do when that special someone – spouse or lover or best friend, household tarantula or random stranger on the internet – decides that it is a good idea for the two of you to share sex histories.

a)  You can tell them, which we have already established beyond a shadow of a doubt is the worst of all possibilities;
b)   You can fake a heart attack;
c)   You can feign deafness;
d)  You can choose that moment to mention that you haven’t seen your eldest daughter in the week and a half since she climbed into that van with “Free Candy” spray-painted across the side; or
e)  You can do what I did when it happened to me: Haul out the Saint Gregory of Nyssa. 

Because that old guy, he knew way back in the fourth century that a person’s sex history was pretty much the decisive aspect of their character. Greg was a married bishop, you see, but clearly, he felt engaging in sex had made him less admirable in the eyes of God. Less pure.

So when someone asks me about my sex history, my response is always the same. I turn once again to old Greg. To a bit he called “On Virginity,” in which he tries to keep others from making the same dirty, dirty, mistakes he had made.

I flip past the section called “That virginity is stronger than the power of death.” Then I flip past the section called “That true virginity is seen in every activity.”

And when I get to the section called “That virginity is the peculiar achievement of the divine and incorporeal nature,” I begin reading, and this is what I read:
“If someone wishes to examine carefully the difference between this [married] life and the life of virginity, he will find as much difference as there is between the things of heaven and earth… Truly enviable are those beyond all desire who are not barred from the enjoyment of these goods. The more we come to know the wealth of virginity, the more we have disdain for the other life, having learned from the comparison how many precious things it lacks…. The power of virginity is such that it resides in heaven with the Father of spiritual beings, and takes part in the chorus of the supramundane powers, and attains – ”
That is as far as I have ever gotten. That is as far as I’ve read before the party in question throws up his or her hands in despair and screams out, “Enough! Enough! Okay, you win! It does not matter after all!”

Far be it from me to ever try and pretend that sex with me is not an amazing, heroic, and life-changing event.  Or that it is not the sort of thing people write epic poetry about.

Found new societies for.

Rewrite their moral codes around.

But it seems to me that there exists a possibility that here in the West, our cultural and psychological baggage have caused us to… you know, make a bigger deal out of sex than it really is. I have checked quite thoroughly, and I can find no evidence that people who have sex are categorically different than people who do not.

Then again, what are listening to me for? After all, I am twenty-six years old and have only learned three (or maybe four!) things during my time upon this earth.          

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lesbian Dumpster Diving, Lesson One


Crank was the first lesbian I ever knew.

That is not why she is my hero, of course. I did not realize Crank was a lesbian during all the time that I knew her and anyway, sex is not a heroic act. But looking back now, if I had to name one hero of mine – a single individual who stands mulleted head and flannelled shoulders above everyone else as a role model to me – there’s no doubt at all that I would name her.

Crank, well, she could take down half a dozen good-sized men while wrestling over a chicken bone and she could make a pair of waterproof boots out of absolutely anything. She could forecast the next two weeks’ weather just by breathing in deeply through those awful, hairy nostrils of hers. 

And those are important and those are useful skills for any person living on the street. But mostly, Crank is my hero because a long time ago, she was the one who taught me the Fine Art of Dumpster Diving.

*           *           *

I was twelve years old during the summer of ‘98 when my parents died and I deemed living in abandoned cars outside downtown Houston as preferable to whatever the grownups might have in mind for me.

It turned out I was correct.

How did I know?

And I did not want to beg and I did not want to do those other things that girls tended to do in order to get food and money while living on the street.

Yuck!

With my survival options so severely limited, I took the sole culinary path left open to me: I raided the trash bins out back of local restaurants just after they’d closed for the evening.

Why, on the very first night, I found a Vietnamese restaurant that closed right around 3 a.m. Jackpot! I’ll bet that place threw away more rice in a single night than most people ever see in a lifetime! Endless mountains and mountains and mountains of rice, and much of it still warm. By the time I wandered back to my abandoned car – clutching a bottle of Thunderbird and with a cigarette butt dangling from my lips – I was just about as stuffed as I’d been in all my nearly-fourteen years upon this here earth.

Obviously, I went back the next night. And the next. I spent my summer nights gorging myself on discarded rice and my summer days reading books in the air-conditioned public library. I read Mark Twain that summer. I soaked in Poe and internalized Lovecraft that summer. My head napped upon the words of Henry James that summer.

I initiated a continuous internal dialogue with a voice that sounded a lot like Kurt Vonnegut that summer.

*           *           *

So Vonnegut was the voice inside of my head. But one night, during the trek back from my Vietnamese restaurant, I heard the strangest of voices outside of my head.

I heard the outside voice say this: “Pssst! Lil bug!”

I kept walking. I did not look up. There were three good reasons I kept walking and did not look up: First, I was only about 90% certain the voice I heard was outside of my head at all. Second, it sounded like a male voice Pssst-ing to me, and that was not good at this time of night. And third, I was very drunk on Thunderbird and feared that swinging my head around might throw off my fragile equilibrium.

But the voice said this: “Lil Bug! Do not go down that way! Suburban kids are rolling sacred cattle down there tonight!”

“Sacred cattle”?! But “sacred cattle” was the term that Kurt Vonnegut used when he was talking of the homeless. When he was talking of people like me!

I stopped walking. I looked up.

“What?” I said. I said it to the bag lady with the parrot on her shoulder.

I said it to Crank.

*           *           *

“Are you homeless, too?”I asked Crank while we were hiding in the alley, waiting for dawn to get there.

Crank spit. It seemed to me that the spit crawled away. “Never, Lil Bug! I am NOT homeless. Do not say that.”

Crank motioned to the big buildings around us. “My home is this city. My home is everywhere.”

Then she leaned down in my face and I could finally see her more clearly. She sort of looked like that woman from that movie, “Throw Momma from the Train,” except with a mullet and way fewer teeth. 

“I am houseless,” she corrected me. “And houseless does not matter.”

Crank stroked the parrot on her shoulder. She said, “Life is too short to be spent inside of houses.”



(“Lesbian Dumpster Diving, Lesson Two” should be arriving soon!)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Blog #55 Has No Title

Maybe I oughta try and do things the easy way. I’m not saying all of the time, mind you. That would either drive me insane or turn me into an old woman or both. But I could still, you know… simplify my living a little.

And here I am thinking specifically of this blog. I read an awful lot of other folks’ blogs. Probably more than any one person ought to read, really. But when I’m reading this awful lot of blogs, I notice that most of your really good bloggers don’t play Hide the Ball. Readers know exactly what they are getting and they get it and then they come back to get more of it the next day.

What they are getting is news on a narrowly-defined topic or from a specific point of view. Or it’s funny cartoons. Or maybe it’s pictures or snippets of music. There are all kinds! A lot of the blogs are fantastic and they are short and they are sweet and they are to the point… and as different from my blog as it is possible to get.

For me, simple is hard. Oh, I have been trying, you know, writing music reviews and top ten lists and once, even trying (and failing) to write a one-sentence blog post.

Today, I try for simple.

Today, I answer some reader emails and post pictures.

That’s all! Really!

-------------------------
Dear Katy:
you fucking queers make me sick. you are a waist [sic?]of skin and blood. why don’t you and Dana go find husbands and live the right way?
[Unsigned]


Is that you, Grandma Pearl?

If it is, I am about to make you very happy. Dana and I have found ourselves husbands!

Here are some pictures, taken through the years, of our husbands together. Maybe you can hang them up in your living room. The pictures, I mean. Not our husbands.

Say hi to Papa from me and the kids!

Love, 
Katy


-------------------------
Katy, is this blog supposed to be a short fiction blog or a LGBT blog or a music blog or a politics blog?
Sincerely,
A reader


Dear Reader:

No. No, it’s not.

Love,
Katy

-------------------------
Dear Katy, are you a mother to your kids? It looks like you are doing drugs and living in the gutter when you should be taking care of them?
Do you take care of them?

P.S. I am Frank


Dear Frank:

I do the best I can, though admittedly with somewhat mixed results.

Love,
Katy


-------------------------
Katy:
What is your position on abortion?


Dear Anonymous Emailer:

This is an excellent question, and I can see why you would think of asking me!

I believe abortion should be legal if we as a society can manage to make it a fairer fight. In Texas, we always say that fetuses are people, so I believe they should really have the right to bear arms. You know, like the rest of us.

If you respected gun rights and could still find a doctor willing to abort a fetus that is armed with a .38, then I say give it a go.

Love,
Katy

-------------------------
Katy, are you are a glass half full or glass half empty kind of girl?
Just wondering.
from a fan


Dear fan:

In either case, you have a low viscosity liquid poured into what is probably a very high viscosity liquid (the glass), and both are mostly made up of empty space anyway, and they have probably been brought together on my table because I fell for an advertising campaign on behalf of the liquid or the glass or both.

Yeah... I’m that kind of girl. Sorry. (To tell you the truth, though, I try and stick with bottles.)

Love,
Katy


-------------------------
Katy, I think You smelly Lesbian bitches should be deported.

Is that you again, Grandma Pearl?
I told you about the time we tried to deport ourselves to Canada, didn’t I?
We couldn’t swim across the falls.

Love,
Katy


-------------------------
If you have something you want to ask me, send it to katydidknot@gmail.com and maybe I will answer your question next time I do a picture post blog.

Except you, Grandma Pearl. If that was you, then you have better grammar than I remember from when I was a kid, but you are still a bit too angry.