Monday, June 25, 2007

(Everybody's got something to hide except for)
Me and My Monkey (Part II)

Idexa readies her tools
Idexa agreed to take breaks so I could photograph our progress.

The outline is laid in
She worked for three hours.

Black is filled in
I had a strong memory of my mother while Idexa's drill burred into my skin; one I hadn't thought of in years. She used to draw elaborate pictures on my feet. My favorite was a spiderweb that covered my foot and ran up the inside of my ankle, with a spider spinning away at the top.

"Do you like spiders?" Idexa asked.

"No," I said. In fact, both my mom and I were phobic. But somehow it was comforting, Mom lazily drawing the web as I lay back on her flowered quilt. She cradled my foot and we talked about nothing. I looked at my dad's painting that hung above their bed: a wingless angel flying overhead, cupping a palmful of light. If you fuzzed your eyes just a bit, though, it looked instead like the face of an old bearded man wearing goggles.

The finished product
There it is, the finished product. You can say it - you know you're thinking it - I now have a monkey on my back.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The perfect beauty of the moist towelette

I am on a short flight from Boston to New York. We're past the solid layer of cloud over Boston, and below fluffs of white I can see green fields and black lakes. Little houses with bright blue-green swimming pools. Chlorine blue.

The stewardess who looks like Jackie Brown pours me a soft drink. She doesn't give me the whole can. She presses a white paper bag into my hand, her French manicure dragging across the paper.

I should have asked for the can.

I open the bag to the wonders inside. There are crackers shaped like butterflies. Cheese. Ranch dressing and a little baggie of tiny carrots. A fun-size Almond Joy. A white packet that tells me it contains a moist towelette. I can use this towelette, it informs me in serious black serif font, to clean and refresh my hands without soap and water.

Isn't there soap and water in the moist towelette?

I eat the cheese and crackers and drink my soft drink, wishing I had the whole can. I can't eat carrots or almonds. At first, the inside of my mouth would itch. Then my throat would swell until my breath was sealed off. I would flail for my Epipen dropping it on the floor. The plane would bank, sending my salvation rolling through the aisles as I slid off my seat and into oblivion on the industrial carpeting of a Delta shuttle.

If Mr. Billy were here, I would have offered him tiny carrots and Almond Joy. I would have watched doll fingers of orange disappear behind his white teeth. But Mr. Billy isn't here. The deadly snacks stay behind in the white paper bag.

We're out over water now.

I pull open the white packet containing the moist towelette and unfold it. It is thick and soft, not like the thin, papery towelettes I remember from Kentucky Fried Chicken in the days before it was KFC. In those days, they were wet-naps, bringing to mind visions of dirty diapers and drooly babies.

The Jackie Brown stewardess saunters lusciously down the aisle, checking that our seat backs are in the upright and locked position and our tray tables are closed. I see tall New York buildings below.

I take pleasure in the neat little rectangles created by the folds in the moist towelette. I wonder if the factory has a folding machine, or if a person folded this very towelette with her small hands.

The plane tilts at a very bad angle. Buildings that should be below are directly in front of me, above me. We are going to die in a screaming ball of fire. Me and a planeful of shining businessmen and -women in black suits.

I wrap the moist towelette gently over my hands, sliding it over my skin. I will go to my death with clean, refreshed hands.

The plane rights itself, and slides in to land, the wet-nap crumpled in the palm of my clean right hand.

No soap, no water.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

(Everybody's got something to hide except for)
Me and My Monkey

"Billy, what have you been up to?" you might well ask. And I might answer:

"Getting a monkey on my back."

Shortly after my mother died, and my uterus was ripped out, I decided to get a tattoo. I'd avoided marking myself up for years, but with a newly-scarred body I figured I had nothing to lose. And it seemed a suitably twisted way to mark a pretty major year in my life.

That was two and a half years ago. I asked my father, an artist, to design my tattoo. In typical fashion for my family, it took me about a year to figure out what I wanted the tattoo to be. It took my dad another year and a half to start the design, and then he whipped it out in about an hour. We Billys raise procratination to an art form.

So, Dad's design was beautiful. But it wasn't right for my tattoo. So I found another design online.

Then I had to find the tattoo artist. I accosted illustrated strangers on the bus, in the pub, on the street. "Where did you get your work done?"

I surfed tattoo websites. I haunted tattoo parlors.

Finally, I found Idexa at Black & Blue Tattoo.

First we made an appointment to discuss the design. I brought her the design I'd found online, my dad's design, pictures of my dad's work. We made an appointment for a couple of weeks ahead to look over her design & make any final adjustments.

Then we made an appointment for the inking.

Idexa preps her tools

To be continued...

Friday, June 08, 2007

The frenzy is catching

There is no reason this is a good idea. So what better reason to do it?

I blame monkey 0, because, why not? While I'm at it, I also blame monkey's hard-ass great-great-grandfather for not letting me make any excuses.

So. No excuses. I'm gonna try to write a script by June 30.

That is all.