Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Issue No. 1, School Boys - The Conquistador
H. Xerxes-Heidegger conquered Asia Minor with an understated glance. Everything he ever did was to achieve a royal boredom. “Build me a palace!” he shouted to native peasants. “And one with mirrored floors and freshly-scented towels at that!” The palace was built and a lounging decade later he considered city drainage.
Neil’s history teacher splayed his hairy hands on Neil’s desk and leaned in close to his face. “What did I just say?” said the teacher. “Xerxes…royal boredom…freshly-scented towels?” was Neil’s unfortunate reply.
Out on the streets again. It’s only so many times a week you can get kicked out of school before believing you’re the savior. Neil was stomping down his old Main Street grounds and into the usual haunts for the eighth time that week. He ordered a mocha with an understated glance.
No such luck. Fictional conquistador Neil was not. He gave it the necessary words and was whisked to sugary caffeine intellect. “Perhaps the disgust,” he thought to himself, “I see in other people is better left in dreams. Would I day more easy if I didn’t project ugly?”
The thought could not pass unnapkined. A woman in front of him, a woman glamorously concerned with each part of her appearance save for her prosaic tomboy haircut, was blotting a napkin over her frappe lips. Neil snatched it out from under her. “Better you dribble!” He rolled ballpoint on napkin: “Would I day more easy” - the napkin tore. “Mother!”
A boy the girls think is delicate and shy and caring and horse-hung behind that apron approached Neil’s table. “That woman there,” Apron Boy gestured to Frappe Lips, “asked me to ask you to leave.”
Out on the streets again. Something Neil had heard of from family and flyers flew past him, one of those “critical mass” bicycle gangs. Most were a wash of neon and thigh, but lagging behind like a lonely hippo befriending gazelles was one cyclist pulling a two-wheeled canopied carriage. Neil thought fast, jumped inside it.
The cyclist didn’t seem to notice the extra weight, which was great because Neil nearly sat on the cyclist’s two year old. “Hello. Sorry about that. Are you related to the driver?” “Gaflgglbph.” Neil’s knees were encroaching on his eye sockets, but still he kept up the small talk. “Do you know where we’re going?” “Mucktkklbush.”
With the caffeine and the newfound friend, the potential for mind-gorging conversation was high, but like H. Xerxes-Heidegger, all moved to ennui; the plastic flap of window beckoned, conversation aside and harmless staring instead. He followed the mass deep into the South.
Two or three ugly things passed by, but Neil remembered the intent of the torn napkin: “Perhaps the disgust, etc.” And when the gang stopped to eat in Atlanta and they found poor Neil copping a ride and they called the police to drive him away, Neil thought twice before throwing the two year-old over a bridge. He thought twice, then threw the two year-old over a bridge.
There was more harmless window-gazing on the police ride home. Neil was learning to be happy.