PALM TREES FLAT BROKE DISEASE
The snow is melting. You're welcome. It was a difficult negotiation and lucky I won that Pulitzer for investigative reporting, because that's how I simultaneously negotiated our way out of Snow Hell, and then also took perfectly accurate notes with my waterproof pen so that we can live in a free and open society of transparency and love.
It was last week, when we were in yet another Chicago Weather Time Warp. You don't remember because now it's 40 degrees and that's doable, so you've blocked out The Other Time because it's bad and you don't have the coping skills for that and also, you're a colossal pothead.
But there was a time when snowdrifts were as tall as the Tower and, basically, winter came into our home and made itself comfortable. Just because it happens every year doesn't make it right. So I'm sitting on my throne, protecting My Parking Spot. Armed gunmen are stationed in the turrets of the towers atop the snowdrifts to my left and right. I have my fly swatter at my side. I'm wearing spurs. My duster hangs on a hook frozen to The Left Drift. I don't know where my car went, but this is my spot now.
My spurs rustle so I pull out my kaleidoscope and peek beyond the boundary of My Parking Spot. The kaleidoscope shrugs its shoulders, but I'm like, dude--you gotta look AROUND (slow on the uptake, this guy--something about acid, the toxicity of the early 70s, and crazy Uncle George), so the kaleidoscope looks around and then I see it too: from a distance, it looks like a tumbleweed rolling toward us. Except everything in this time warp is bright white, hence my diamond sunglasses, so really, it's more like a snowball rolling towards us, but I may change it back to a tumbleweed because I'm wearing spurs.
The kaleidoscope slowly moves back the closer the snowball gets. I pull out my fly swatter. I hear the clicks of the armed gunmen around me. If that snowball gets too close, he will be showered with flags of every color--silk flags, thank you very much, imported from my fabric factory in Italy. I suspect the smart ass in Sector 8 has loaded his armed gun with spitballs, but that's not a battle I'm willing to fight right now.
The snowball is inside garrison lines. A quick flick of my fly swatter and the entire compound is at the ready. I remove myself from my throne and swagger out to meet him. My spurs are playing "Kashmir" because I can't get that song outta my head, it's almost like it's following me, which was something I once wished for, but now, in actuality, it's really rather tedious and it hurts my brain.
This is all Captain Hook's fault, I TOLD him not to use that for his entry song (Led Zeppelin is OFF LIMITS for entry songs, m'kay--WE ALL AGREED TO THIS), but does that guy listen? Deal with your Peter Pan issues, dude.
Snow flicks me in the forehead, "Pay attention, space lady."
"I'm a cowboy fashionista today, ass."
For the record, it's very disconcerting to be flicked out of a daydream by a weather mass.
"Where's your hat?" Snow asks.
I'm about to say, "Up your ass," but that would make two ass-es in a row, which is bad form. To be honest, Snow is another battle I'm not willing to fight. I'm feeling particularly fightless lately and really, I just wanna watch travel shows on PBS and be around people who are nice to me.
I look around My Parking Spot. My hat is off behind my throne. It's getting warmer so I don't really need it, and sometimes my hat and I need a little space from each other. No, we're not breaking up. This is actually a healthy move for us. Our therapist said so.
"Over there," I say, pointing to my hat. It's a fedora with a silk and chiffon train that hits at my ankles. Sometimes it gets tangled in battle.
Snow senses my defeat. "Sit?"
My assistant runs to The Neighbor's Parking Spot and removes a dining room chair. It's shorter than my throne because I don't allow weather masses to sit higher than me in My Parking Spot. I regain my composure.
"How may we help you today?" I say.
"By next week, this is all gonna melt," Snow tells me furtively.
"Uh-huh. Oh. Hmmmm."
"I suggest inflatable furniture."
"Ikea. Cheap. Easy to set up. Directions in pictures, no pesky words."
Band name: Pesky Words. See us at various literary fests around the city. We also do performance art gigs. We just stand still for the 45-minute set and say nothing. We'll need a private space to prepare beforehand. We are artists.
"Dibs get called off when Snow disappears," I tell Snow.
"That's funny. I never disappear. During July, I lurk in the sewers."
"Not as gross as the humans who fill 'em up."
"There's humans in the sewers?"
"Have you recently had a lobotomy?"
I don't tell him about the calamity in Cancun. That's between me and Cancun's intelligence agents.
"Anyway," Snow says, "the market's in inflatable furniture. Jump in now while you can afford it, you'll be sitting on easy street in no time."
I don't like his metaphor. As you and I both know, Alert Power Love Reader, if I sat on easy street, I'd probably get run over.
"You've come to My Parking Spot to offer me a flimsy business deal?"
"They're not gonna keep dibs at bay forever. We've already headed down the slope. When the torrential rains come, we'll need--NEED--to protect our parking spots. When it floods, where's my spot? Oh, right here where I marked it WITH MY INFLATABLE END TABLE. When the sun slashes us like a sword and we all instantaneously erupt into sunburned tomato heads, where will we park? You guessed it--"
"OK. Thanks. I get it. Your idea is stupid and you're a hustler."
"That's untrue. I'm an artful salesweathermass."
"I never understand the pictures in those Ikea directions. It's like stick figures holding stick drawings and I always feel like I'm putting together a table when I should be putting together a book shelf."
"That's because you've smoked your depth perception out your ears. Listen to me: Get in now while it's good."
I stand. The armed gunmen are waiting for my signal. The ass in Sector 8 is indeed loading his armed armament with spitballs. About 99.999% of my me-ness is telling me to whip out my blow dryer and melt Snow's face off. But I'm angling for the Pulitzer of Peace to sit next to my investigative journaling award because I have this handmade shelf from Bora Bora--Wow was that an operation! Thank god for riot gear and parkour!--and it would add balance and peace to the universe.
I wave off the armed gunmen. From Sector 8 I hear, "Aw fuck that...Shut up, dude, she'll hear you...Well fuck it, what a waste of spitballs." I'll devise a plan for spitball retention and storage this evening. For now though, I say, "Snow, it's been nice having you. I have other matters to attend to now, however. I'll have my team look over your business proposal and reply to you shortly."
Snow stands up. He walks out to The Road. "You never thought you'd spend five bucks on a fancy coffee drink, but now you can't live without it. Opportunity."
I wait because I kinda wanna blow his stubby legs out from under him with a swift roundhouse kick. But I don't, because I have to return my neighbor's dining room chair. "Good day to you, sir," I say and Snow walks away, already looking into drifts down the road, ready for the next sucker.
You see how I did that, Alert Power Love Reader? I didn't have to go to battle. Apparently, humans do this all the time. It's called "Working Things Out." I think we can all agree it's a somewhat disconcerting option--let's face it, some weather masses NEED to be vaporized--but it's worth keeping around as an option.