Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Visible man

Thanks for the topic, monkeyman.

When Arturo was born, there were articles in the newspaper, photos, even T.V., everyone knew who he was, he was on people's minds for about ten minutes, and then the two-headed kitten was born, they moved on. But he grew up, people sucking in their breath when he passed, his teacher in grade school turned white when she saw him, sitting at his desk, just like all the other kids but not. Jack and Sheldon in the playground, watching the school lunch turned to slurry, round flap of meat, mashed potatoes, green gravy all broken down and moving through his intestines, Art holding up his shirt, nothing if not educational.

People get used to anything, Art got used to living after all the doctors stopped shaking their heads and saying he shouldn't be alive, and the world got used to Art, it helped to live in a smallish town, Art couldn't disappear in a city like other people, always the curious want to stare, kids gotta touch, gotta ask Does it hurt, it's endless with strangers, people were used to him here, knew him as much as anyone does, people think because they can see inside you they really see inside you, but Art had his hidden places, just like anyone else.

Just like anyone else, Just like anyone else, Art carried it in his brain while he did his rounds, Why didn't you find a job doing something where people are happy to see you? his mom wanted to know, but even she didn't know, even here, nobody was happy to see him, he reminded them they were just meat, slimy grinding machines at work all the time, he couldn't serve ice cream, nobody would buy, let alone eat with him standing there, blood pulsing through the vessels in his neck, muscles bunching up in his jaw, puts most people off their food. No, this was fine, Art in his little cart, people knew him, could see him coming without having to look at him, hostility covered up in jokes, this was fine, everyone knew where he stood.

Art stopped beside Judge Morton's car, checking the meter, the Judge flapping down the steps in his robe, hiking it up to get at the change in his pocket, "Just stop thinking what you're thinking, Art, I've got a minute left, don't even think about it, I can see right through you."

How many times had he heard that, thought Art, flipping his book closed.

12 comments:

monkey 0 said...

that was one of the most profoundly odd things I've read in quite some time.

but of course looking back it seems perfectly obvious; what else could he possibly have done with his life?

your still waters run deep, deep, deep, c.b.

anne said...

Can I just say 'oh wow', and leave it at that? Oh wow.

azuremonkey said...

Poor Art. I think he's selling himself short. He should think about being a high school biology teacher...

Creepy and cool at the same time, Chemical Billy. I like it!

Tsavo Leone said...

I have this image of the entire Simpson family and 'the fog that turns you inside-out' in my head (from one of the "Treehouse of Horror" anthology shows)

I like. A lot.

Geo said...

This is one of my favorite Billy posts of all time! Hurrah! It's "spatial". Great job.

Bones said...

Rockin', Miss Billy. I read that last line and a bark of laughter popped out before I could stop it. Ooh--there went another one.

Excellent good.

Bernita said...

Billy, I hope you're submitting.
This is professional stuff.

Survival Cookies said...

Did you know the foremost layer of the eye is a thin layer of conjunctiva that is actually
transparent epidermis?

- It's what everyone is thinking...

(Good stuff as always)

mysfit said...

masterful - i definitely agree with azure, he should be a hs biology teacher...

jason evans said...

Gives whole new meaning to watching what you eat. Another great piece, Chemical Billy.

Chemical Billy said...

Thank you all!

Tsavo, thanks for stopping by. That Simpson's episode was actually referring to an old story that I heard for the first time on Mystery Theater (anyone remember that radio show? it was a favorite for Billy family road trips...) That story creeped me out for years to come.

Cookies - totally! only Art has it all over his body.

Bernita - I'm about to start hawking my novel (finishing the last draft this weekend); I hope you're right.

Jason - Ouch. Always room for a fellow punster.

DeeM said...

loved it, bily!!!
really fantastic!