So. It’s Saturday night on a another snowy day in Paradise. I’ve spent a third week painting and just for the record, next time somebody tells you that the way to eliminate the soreness caused by doing something is to keep doing that something that made you sore—kick them in the nuts. Or twist their nipple.
I had been thinking it’s the dogs sleeping habits that are giving me the recent spate of interesting dreams that invoke visits from God, but now I think differently. I’ve about decided that it’s the aches and pains from painting that are generating the strangenesses visiting me almost nightly.
OK, stop. It’s likely the dogs and the painting pains combined with copious quantities of mind altering substances causing these dreams. It’s just that I almost always dream and remember them, but I rarely have whopper dreams like lately and have never dreamed those whoppers on consecutive nights. But I’ve had these dreams nightly almost since we started painting.
As for God’s visits, I think it’s the lunacies of human beings that bring God to my doorstep. Like, for example, my mother’s inherent meanness or the slaughter that occurred in Connecticut yesterday.
Which reminds me. My ADHD seems to have entered an unusual phase. It’s been spinning my brain with multiple thoughts as it always does, but I haven’t been fritzed for a week. Not that I haven’t fucked stuff up as is typical, it’s just that I haven’t been too bothered by any of it, and that isn’t what I was going to tell you about when I was reminded of something when I spoke of the dreams starting with my aches from painting.
Have you ever noticed the structure of the word painting? It fucking STARTS with pain!!!
What I intended to tell you when I was interrupted from telling you about my dreams was this: my entire life I have been a muted color sort of fellow. White or gray cars for me, blue jeans and khaki pants, soft plaid shirts and off-white walls dominate my color palate. One of my several wives once painted my dining room back to the ranch in Austin a “pale peach” color. I had gone to Costa Rica with Streaker Jones for a couple weeks and she had decided to redecorate some shit out of boredom. Boredom or maybe spite.
Pale peach walls, an orchid colored tablecloth and this giant silk flower arrangement containing every bright color from a Crayola 64 Jumbo Box festooned the small formal dining room of the ranch house in Austin. Except during this particular marriage, all of our family meals have been eaten at the big kitchen table. The kitchen is the center of Johnson family life. This wife, however, determined that each evening meal was a dinner, and dinners were served in the dining room.
I tried my best to live with the dining room colors, but the not-muted shades instigated my gag reflex whenever I tried to swallow any not-green vegetable. Potatoes, carrots, turnips and such could all turn my stomach at will.
That wife was Roshandra Washington-Johnson, my ex-wife number five. Roshandra is an Austin Police Sargent and keeper-of-the-gate for the City Council, and Robin Quivers’ double in a woman’s extra-large. Buy my stupid fucking book and you can learn way more about Roshandra.
“You puke on my new tablecloth there’ll be hell to pay, Mr. Johnson.”
Roshandra called me “Mr. Johnson” when she was pissed at me. If you’re ever been mated to a confident black woman, you know that I didn’t ever quite puke on her orchid tablecloth.
My point is that I have lived my entire life in lighter shades of pale. Until now. Until I moved to Santa Fe and started painting this house. With this house I’ve splattered five gallons of bright turquoise all over the portal and shed out back. The inside walls are Sherwin-Williams’ Melon, and Pale fucking Peach, and Golden Globe and Abalone Shell—a color that can only be described as just a shade darker than “lady parts pink.”
When the Squirt walked into the den yesterday afternoon after Adrian and I had finished painting the walls, the little hound said to me, she said, “Don’t let your mother see a picture of this room, shithead. She’ll be scheduling you for one of those Christian interventions to keep you from being a homo-sex-u-al.”
Mother always says it that way—“homo-sex-u-al.” Like it’s as dirty and disgusting a word as it is, again in Mother’s words, “A lifestyle choice.”
And that reminds me of last night’s dream. I had been tossing and turning for several hours in feeble attempts to find a position to lay for sleep that didn’t hurt some fucking body part. The goat dog would move each time I flipped or flopped and each time he settled back in the same spot when I stilled. Yoda would wait for me to quiet after moving, then he’d stick his cold nose in my ear and then slowly turn in a tight circle until he screwed himself into the crook of my neck and shoulder. He’d turn and turn—wedging himself tighter and tighter until he could get his hip pushed under my shoulder and one paw under my neck. His other front paw he would drape across my throat and he’d jam his snout against whatever side of my face was showed to his.
The Squirt—as she always does in cold weather—camped in my crotch.
Remember those two-piece, covered cast iron pots with long wooden-tipped handles? The ones where you placed a burning ember in the pot and then used it to warm your bed back to the oldie times—those pots? Sleeping with these dogs is like having two of those pots in bed with you.
So. In this dream I was cooking griddle cakes for a big roomful of people and their pets. The room had a checker board floor of lime green and peacock blue 16-inch ceramic tiles, and the only clothing I wore was a bright purple paisley-print arm sling on my right arm and a matching headband. For some reason I thought I looked like Jimmy Hendrix.
My arm has been aching and cramping like crazy from the painting and some of the pets were exotics—a kangaroo, a herd of penguins, thirty-three hermit crabs that lived in soup cans for shells, and some other interesting shit. Each hermit crab had a Navajo name and their owner kept repeating their names and the kind of soup can they inhabited.
“Yawa’ba’, he lives in a Campbells Tomato can, and Ben Shelly—he won’t habitate anything but Progresso Lite Salt cans. Bina’ha’sdzu lives in a Kroger generic chicken broth can and Elizabeth Warren, she’s a Swanson Oyster Stew kind of girl. New England style and never Manhattan.” The speaker was an elderly man wearing a name tag that read “Bill”.
“Bill,” I asked the man, “would you please say that Binha’ name for me again? That’s the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard.”
Bill spoke the name repeatedly, the soft rhythms rolling from his mouth in hushed impulses of breath, like lovers’ moans. I was, in the dream, reminded of a time last summer when I went to a late dinner at Long John Silvers down on Cerillos and sat next to a Navajo family. The grandmother was speaking to her granddaughter in her native tongue and I was mesmerized.
As I mentioned, I was dream cooking griddle cakes. Not pancakes or waffles or Johnny cakes, I tell you, I was cooking griddle cakes. Not that I have any fucking idea what a griddle cake is, but I was in a big auditorium filled with people and animals and standing at a huge, fiery hot grill, flipping griddle cakes with my left hand while I tried to keep my pecker off the hot steel cooking surface.
In this dream I had what I can only describe as a giant pecker adorned with a Salvador Dali mustache. It was about as big around as a liter plastic bottle and I never did get a gage on its length. It was wrapped around my waist and sitting atop my right arm in the sling so I knew it had some heft. Its mustachioed head lay on top of my upturned palm and peeked out at the crowd. My shoulder throbbed under the weight of arm and pecker in the sling.
A very attractive lady approached the griddle to order seconds. She was wearing tight jeans, a camel cashmere sweater, and her hair was in a long pony tail that was tied high near the top of her head. I’ve always found high-tied pony tails attractive, but the pit bull lashed to the lady’s wrist by a thick stainless steel chain was a turn off.
“May I please have another serving of your fabulous pancakes, Sir?” she requested. “And my doggie would love a bite of your bone.”
I was thinking of a proper dream retort to the woman’s requests when I was awakened by the Squirt. She was standing on my bare chest, looking down in my face and breathing heavily.
“Wake up, shithead, and go to the bathroom. Your having what might become a wet dream and we’re not ready for that.”
“They’re griddle cakes, ma’am, and I don’t like pit bulls… Oh, it’s you, Squirt.” I had to shake my head to get the woman’s pretty face off my mind.
I got up and peed and since I was up, went to the office to check emails. I looked out the office window into the chilly night. In the halo of the neighbor’s yard light I could see tiny, icy snow crystals falling, and the beautiful sight made me sad. Twenty-seven humans will never see another snowfall because America’s politicians are controlled by the NRA.
“Love the tittie pink walls in your office, Mooner. And things won’t change until these killers choose different targets.”
It was God, again, sitting at my computer and reading my thoughts. “Have you ever noticed that these shooters always seem to choose innocents or men of peace, son? JFK, RFK, MLK, Gabby G., school children and Christmas shoppers—those are the targets of assassins and gun nut crazies, not religious zealots or Republican Senators or big business tycoons.”
“Huh?” I was both startled by God’s presence and by the message of Her thoughts. “Uh, OK, Ma’am,” I stammered in surprise. “First question is why are you back again so soon? You were just here within the week and while I like you and all—please take no offense—but you’ve got bigger fish to fry than me. And my friends are starting to look into clinic vacancies for me.”
God looked like that woman from Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated by their military to prevent the injection of sanity into Pakistan’s government. She wore what I believe to be a Sari of the same colors of Roshandra’s dining room centerpiece, and her stunningly beautiful face was without makeup. I wanted to kiss her.
“No touching, Mooner,” God informed me, obviously still reading my mind. “I know it’s been awhile since you’ve had any sex but you can’t touch me without invitation. You know that.”
“Right. Salt pillars and all of that shit,” I said. “It’s just that your lips look so soft and I…”
“Focus, son. What you need to know is that the gun issue in your country isn’t about the Second Amendment, it’s about greed and control. As long as the victims of this violence are innocents and peace loving, nothing is going to happen to change things.”
Huh? “You mean that until some shithead buys an assault rifle at Walmart and then shoots up a Walton family reunion or the set of The 700 Club, we’re going to go through these massacres?”
“That wasn’t exactly what I said, but you seemed to have boiled my words into an essence, son. Think of it another way. If Phil Knight was required to work in one of his shoe factories gluing the soles to the uppers on Michael Jordon sneakers, do you really think Nike shoes would be manufactured in Indonesian sweat shops? “
She had a point—God had a point. “So, if we make the Koch brothers drink water from wells in aquifers where they frack the shit out of things, they might stop fracking the shit out of stuff.”
Maybe that’s a way we can solve many of America’s problems. Put these retailers and product manufacturers to work in the factories that produce their products, force oil executives to live with the byproducts of their activities. Force Wall Street shitheads to live in cardboard boxes after they wreck a market.
Make our elected officials wait four years for medical procedures when they deny the funding for veterans’ medical and rehabilitation after sending them to fight needless wars.
“Now I get it,” I told God. “We should find ways to hold influential people accountable, right God?…. Ma’am…”
She was gone. God left me without confirming my notions. But I don’t think I need confirmation to feel on solid ground here. Ever since Ronald Reagan started deregulating America’s business enterprises, our businesses have gotten more and more out of control and our country has gotten more and more impersonal. Like children without parental controls, big business has run amok.
OK, stop, Mooner. This is going nowhere. Almost every politician in America is fucking owned by special interests. Until Senator Bernie Sanders can be elected President, nothing will change.
I’m worn out with this shit. I’m sick to my stomach from reading about massacres in schools and I can’t do one thing about it except to say:
“Fuck the NRA, Fuck Walmart, Fuck the Koch brothers and Fuck our politicians who allow this shit to continue!”