Fear: A pervasive force in our perverted lives. Life: A lonely and dank armpit. Sharing secrets and tuna salad sandwiches with male co-authors of a sub-standard internet blog is the only way to stay mentally balanced. As I do with every third weekend of every other month when I’m available or willing, I spent my weekend time moments with co-authors Steven Cuff and Adam Miros.
We had gathered at Steven’s plush Middle-West high rise apartment home. After just having eaten our traditional tuna salad sandwich wedges and finishing our massage train session, the general mood in the room seemed to shift. Steven and Adam asked me to have a seat on the davenport couch sofa. They wiped the sandwich crumbs from their matching paisley turtlenecks and dimmed the lamp light bulbs; it was clear that whatever they had to say was of the utmost importance.
“Devlin, as you may or may not know, today is a day in the month of October. Business at the Optimism Vaccine has been slow. Child support payments are piling up, and we can hardly afford new cans of tuna. We feel a great responsibility has fallen upon us, as staff writers, to elicit renewed interest in the website by writing Halloween-themed articles.”
I pulled a cutlet of tuna salad sandwich from my sport coat pocket. I’d placed the sandwich in the innards of my sport coat pocket just in case I happened to find myself facing an impossible situation: that moment had arrived, and admittedly, somewhat sooner than I had anticipated. I took a moderately-sized bite and blew bits of tuna particles across the room as I spoke, “Well, go on gentlemen colleagues. What is it? What is it that you need me to write in article tandem with the both of you?”
Steven looked to Adam and nodded, “Go on, tell him.”
Adam cleared his throat and leaned over the living room lamp for dramatic effect.
“We need you to write an article on...fear.”
I was aghast, but intrigued. My stomach tummy ached with apprehension. I was still somewhat hungry as well, despite an evening completely immersed in tuna salad sandwiches. I rose from the davenport couch sofa, and looked at a time clock on the wall in the distance behind the two of them. I’d read that looking at a focal point beyond the subjects you are addressing in conversation can be an effective method in creating the illusion that you’re making eye contact.
“I’ll take the article writing assignment. I’ll take it hard. For you, Steven, and you as well, Adam.” They understandably pushed away my outstretched sandwich hands from their sweatered shoulders.
I gathered my raccoon hat and x-ray goggles from the coat rack, and stuffed a few more tuna salad sandwich wedges into my sport coat pockets on my way to the door. I turned and executed a strong nod towards my beloved colleagues, and then walked back out to the cold and unforgiving streets.
I needed to clear my mind brain and concentrate on whatever the hell this article writing assignment was supposed to mean. Silently, I cursed at myself for not having asked any clarifying questions.
To seek additional concentration focus, I headed for the one place inane enough to not be worth visiting for the sake of this article story: The Cheesecake Factory. When asked by a uniformed hostess how many would be dining with me, I replied by clutching her shoulders, rocking her gently, and demanding my usual. She seemed confused by my actions, and informed me after I explained my “usual” that she was unaware of any ethanol baby wipes or blotter acid napkins available at any reputable Cheesecake Factory chain location.
I moaned loudly, disappointed with her news. It was then her supervisor rose like a great phoenix from behind the hostess counter and said,
“I’m afraid you’ll have to leave!” as he pointed to the front entrance door.
His words froze me like pantless loins to a winter’s flagpole.
“You are...afraid.” I murmured, as I released my grip on his hostess minion. I backed slowly to the front entrance door, “You are afraid. Yes, I see. Afraid. With...fear.”
I turned, sprinted through the front entrance door, and then across the strip mall parking lot. I could scarcely believe my luck. Ten minutes into another rotten article writing assignment and I’d already had a major break. I’d witnessed, first-hand, a middle-American manager succumbing to fear. He had hardly needed to verbally inform me of his fear; I had almost seen it in his swelling in his eyes.
I arrived at a nearby vacant back alley, and slumped into a pile to collect my thoughts. I needed to let Adam and Steven know. I realized that they would be elated to hear of my impending reliability. I immediately started constructing a glitter letter bomb that I would post to them in the morning to share my exciting news. Unfortunately for my eyes, however, the glitter letter bomb detonated much like a regular letter bomb. Shiny shards of brilliant sparkles were washed away with crimson eyeball laceration fluid.
I stumbled from the vacant back alley onto the street, shimmering under the street light bulb, and bleeding profusely from my eye sockets.
“This is fine, this no issue problem,” I reassured myself. I could handle the chaos; I’ve had to deal with blindness before. The panicked screams of confused women and children on the sidewalk surrounding me indicated society may have a more difficult time accepting my newly acquired disability.
I let out comforting screams informing the startled public around me that, “Things are normal fine!” I reached into my sport coat pocket and pulled a tuna-salad sandwich wedge “See! Sandwiches! If the things-going-on situation were problematic no good, then additional snack time would be some sort of issue!”
It was a mistake to pull a sandwich from my pocket at that exact moment. I had been relying on my arm hands to guide me along the sidewalk’s adjacent building walls. My tuna salad sandwich arm hands now swung wildly in front of me, attempting to navigate the mysterious city. I finally found my bearings upon gripping a face belonging to an elderly female woman who smelled of lilac and baby powder. My tuna salad sandwich fingers mashed against her distinguished, earthy wrinkles. There was a brief moment of cathartic silence and understanding. Then, predictably, the panicked screams rose like great oceanic waves. First, my newly acquired elderly women friend began to shriek, and was soon followed by bystanders on road streets for what sounded like approximately nine surrounding city industrial blocks.
But, do not fret loyal blog reader. This twisted scene would not live to be a problem issue, so much as it would grow into a solution opportunity. You see, the fear of the people juxtaposed against my complete tolerance for hemorrhaged corneas is the perfect transition to conclude another poignant and well-constructed feature article.
Our fear is powerful and wise ape that should be listened to, and dressed in clothes appropriate for its age. If the elderly female women had listened to her fear ape, she would have known that I was not to be trusted. She would be safe now and not in the tuna salad facial sanitation situation she is facing tonight. If Cheesecake Factory managers would listen to their fear apes and appreciate the dietary preferences of transient patrons, they wouldn’t have to be afraid of their hostesses being manhandled each evening.
Your fear ape is likely informing you to not go to sleep tonight, and you know something? They’re probably right. Your rental home is over-furnished with viewing windows. Shatterable window glass is all that keeps me from crawling inside your comfort quilt with you to share dreams. Listen to your fear ape. They know that the nights when I do not feel sleepy comfort quilt-sharing tired, I spend watching. Blinds have peepholes drilled for their drawstrings. Some of you are even sloppy enough to keep your viewing windows uncovered; bedrooms illuminated with light bulbs appear clear against the darkness of the cold and unforgiving streets.
Your fear ape knows this.
I know this too.