So. I was on my back in bed with the covers tucked under my pillow, pulled over my face. The Squirt was stuck on my right hip and the goat dog had jammed himself under my right arm pit, his head resting on my bicep and us two sharing the same four inches of breathing space under the covers. I’d made what I call garlic shrimp for dinner—a large sauté panful of tasty crustaceans consumed by man and dogs alike all the way the surface of the skillet, wiped clean with the accompanying loaf of crusty French bread.
One pound of shrimp (I like the big ‘uns, deveined but with shells still stuck tight), one large and hot Jalapeno, one sweet red pepper, a bunch of spring onions cut in little discs, one julienne-cut zucchini, lemon juice and zest, and one (or a couple) full heads of garlic, diced. Sauté the peppers in olive oil first, add garlic and onions for something like thirty seconds, add the shrimp ‘till the first side pinks-up, flip the shrimp and add a quarter-cup of white wine and cover for another half-minute, and turn off the heat.
Spoon a big lump of the jasmine rice you remembered to cook into a big soup bowl, sprinkle chopped parsley, lemon juice and zest, slather a bunch of olive oil on the entire mess, then serve with some crusty sopping bread. As we like it garlicy and I had recently purchased some processed garlic that had each head cleaned and vac-packed in plastic, I used three packets. I worried that whole peel removal and plastic storage would allow sufficient flavor to fly away to require an additional dose.
It was great. Squirt told me when I mixed with her kibbles it was, “Better than caviar.” Yoda displayed his desire for more by staring at me forlornly for the next four hours. Squirt told me, she said, “He says he’ll eat the shells if that’s all that’s left.”
Little shit would eat the shells, the plastic bag and brown paper wrapper the shrimp came in, and likely the frying pan as well. Did I ever tell you guys about the time my favorite wooden spoon went missing? Thick, long handled sucker with a broad head with an edge worn flat from stirring. I loved that spoon. Had darkened areas showing the outline of my hand from use.
Found it two days later when I was picking up dog shit before mowing the grass.
If you’re a garlic eater like we are, you know the subsequent gastro-intestinal drill. You start burping after maybe forty-five minutes, then your stomach gurgles and grumbles, and then blue gas buildup begins slipping out at the four-hour mark, which was just about bedtime. If we’d spent the evening drinking beer and cutting up, the three of us would have been sitting out back on the porch lighting garlic farts and cutting up. Last night, however, as we’d been drinking beer and shooting flies with our Bug Assault gun, we hit the sack early. Spring has sprung wet and full of flies.
At 2:36 am I awoke from a dream, drowsy and confused. I dreamt I’d been locked into a filthy dumpster ripe with the smells of rotting seafood and garlic. When I banged on the sides of the metal container and yelled to be let out, my mother yelled, “Trump won, asshole, you lost it. You’re people didn’t vote, ha-ha-ha! Mr. Rice failed!” then someone opened the dumpster door and threw in a match. Somehow I managed to wake before it exploded. Or did I woke before it blew up? Awakened maybe? Fuck it, let’s go with when I woke up.
Reality was that the little white puppy and I were sharing garlic breath, each breathing in-and-out in unison in a comforter cocoon. Three hours of our garlic farts had cast a blue haze in the bedroom as thick as mist, and I was worried someone was going to going to actually light a match. Foggily, mournfully, I thought, “Mr. Rice failed.”
Back when I was in high school over to William B. Travis High, our Senior Civics Class teacher was this giant, affable guy at whom other teachers looked toward askance. What many of my classmates called mulatto, Mr. Rice looked like one of my son’s best buddies does today—offspring of a white Texas father and Kenyan mother. My own mother thought him a communist—actually a modest thinking in view of some others’ minds—and many students’ parents asked the man be fired for his subversive teachings. It wasn’t that Mr. Rice ever suggested that communism was a solid form of government or socialism either, nor did he advocate efforts to overturn any American governmental system.
What this man did was attempt to drive deep into his students’ minds the concepts of questioning authority, demanding actual truth from elected and appointed governmental authorities, holding them accountable for their words and actions, and finally he demanded of us that we participate in our Democracy.
Oh yea, and that whole critical thinking bullshit that we subversives use to undermine our great country’s religious and thin white-skinned institutions.
“If you don’t participate in your Democracy—if you don’t volunteer to run for office, any office, if you don’t question authority, if you don’t think through all the information you get and find the truth of it, and if you don’t vote…—you’ll lose your Democracy, your freedom,” Mr. Rice said at the close of every class. I remember his words same as I do the Boy Scout Motto and each with quite different memories attached.
As this was the mid-1960’s, Mr. Rice used Hitler and Nazi Germany as his lesson plan for what happens when Democracy gets lost. And maybe because Mr. Rice was a man of visible mixed-race heritage, he used America’s slavery history to bring home the images of ultimate loss of Freedom. And he used the American Revolution and Reverend King to demonstrate the extent people must go to be free. Since Jim Crow was still flying high at that time, we spent considerable class time discussing voters’ rights.
“You must demand truth from every elected official and you must question their words at every turn. You can’t let them get away with any lie just because the lie suits you. Only liars lie. And because greed is such a powerful force, and American corporations so large, those corporations have the power of thousands of votes, maybe millions. Before we, the People, can truly control our elections, every single American needs to be allowed to vote, and every American needs to vote.”
Mr. Rice was an outcast. The only teachers who sat with him in the faculty lounge were the choir teacher—a suspected “homo-sex-u-al”, as Mother spoke it, and the art teacher. Mother said that the art teacher was a slut, and, “Well, you know what they say about black men.”
Mother actually used the word Negro, which considering her Virginian upbringing was a huge accommodation in 1966. The semester I took Civics Mother daily questioned me about every day’s Civics lessons, drilling me for punishable offences committed by Mr. Rice. At that point in my life I was astute enough to not give her anything she could use against another human. How Mother punished Sister and me for our indiscretions was not something you willingly shared with others.
I believe the dumpster dream symbolic of where electing Trump has put America—in the dump. I believe that men like Mr. Rice no longer teach Senior Civics classes. I watch as our country’s elected Republican leaders gag on Trump’s filthy swill but swallow it just the same, and I still can’t understand why none of them has come forward to say, “You, sir, are a liar and a thief and likely a traitor.”
OK, so I just farted for the first time since awakening, and I’m thinking I might have colon cancer. Long, noisy sucker that bellowed like some guy with elephant lungs blew through a wet douche bag. Ever smelled something that stank so bad it made your ears ring?
Ugh. Fuck Walmart, liars and theives.
Tags: Trump Sucks