how much for the rainbow?

Last week after work I found a twenty on the ground, folded around a few one dollar bills. I picked it up, turned it over, and saw that it had a post it note taped to it that said:

“If found please call:”

And then it had a number.

Okay, so what the fuck? Spooky, right?

I took it over to a couple of my co-workers. I said, “Should I keep this money?” I was answered with a resounding, “Hell no.”

So dropped it back on the ground as if it were crawling up my arm. A few of the ones scattered away, and before literally running away from the money to jump in a cab, I grabbed three dollar bills that weren’t touching the 20.

“Ma’am!” I turned around. A man was pointing at it.

“No thanks!” I yelled, around the same time as I heard my co-worker say, “We don’t want it.” At least I wasn’t alone.

There is no gold at the end of the rainbow. Only metaphors.

My very first therapist, way back in Chicago, once told me that it sounded like Misery was my comfort zone. My second to last therapist, here in New York, told me that she didn’t think Misery was necessarily the place I felt at home. She said it was the place I feel “safest,” because it’s free.

“Happiness costs something,” she told me, “it always does.”

And because money equals happiness, what would that twenty dollar bill have cost me, ultimately? I fleshed out the possibilities with my cab driver.

  1. I take the money and don’t call the number. There is a tracking device in the money. Someone comes to my house and murders me to teach me a lesson.
  2. I take the money and DO call the number. Someone rewards me for my honesty. I could have been a millionaire!
  3. I take the money, I call the number, I enter a psychotic game of cat and mouse, where I am warned not to hang up the phone or I will be killed, but then it turns out I was the killer the whole time.
  4. I take the money and I call the number. A sophomore in high school answers. They are doing a project for their psychology class on human behavior.

I also told my cab driver about the time that I found a ten dollar bill on the ground that was taped to a fishing pole and I had to chase it like in a cartoon, which was scarring.

“What would you have done?” I asked him.

“I would have taken the money!” He responded immediately, as if the words were burning his mouth, and he needed them to burn mine instead.

“Would you have called the number.”

“No!” He said, urgently, as if he had to go #1, all over my dreams.

A few blocks later, we saw a little black bus. He pointed it out. I saw the word “morbid” on the side, and a person standing next to the driver talking on a microphone.

“Oh,” I said, ” I bet you it’s a spooky haunted building tour.”

He sighed. “You need to get your head looked at.” By this point in the ride, we had become intimate friends, so I took it as a compliment.

I don’t spend much time with Misery anymore. It’s really just a place I go to when I’ve eaten too much dairy. And that’s called aging, people. I guess once you start to get control of your mind, your body peaces out?

So basically, whatever. Some people take the money, some people leave it and write blogs about being a little broke instead. I guess I’m the latter. After all, I can afford cabs now, so I’m doing pretty good.

 

Bad Raccoon

There is a raccoon in the pool and it’s not fair.

I’m stuck inside, and nobody is home. So, I’m lonely, first of all, and secondly, I’m really bored. There’s no food left, and I’m not tired, and I finished pulling all of the stuffing out of the throw pillows, so, now what?

All I want to do is go swimming but I can’t open the stupid door. But even if I could, Mae and Pearl won’t let me go in the backyard anymore because of The Body.

Lately all I’ve heard is, “Oh, don’t let Lester sniff the The Body!” or “No, no Lester leave The Body alone!” Like, come on, you can’t bring that kind of thing into the house and expect me not be curious! I have literally nothing else to do except for explore things that smell different, and eat stuff that smells crazy.

So I’m irritated. And the worst part is the raccoon can sense it and is acting super smug about it. At first I barked my ass off, so that we could maybe have a conversation about why the raccoon’s behavior was insensitive to me, but then I realized it was ignoring me on purpose. But when I actually howled at it to be like, dude you’re being a dick, it showed me its butt. I’m gonna keep barking anyway because I have literally nothing else to do.

“Bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark.” I said.

If there’s one thing about me, it’s that I’m very focused, so this has been going on for maybe, like, 2 hours? I’m not bored, but I do smear my nose all over the sliding door so I could feel like I’m in some sort of control.

Eventually I bark so hard that I go into a zen-like state, and when I come out of it, I realize that the raccoon is not in the pool anymore, which makes me feel a tiny bit better, but until I know that it is completely gone, I won’t be able to calm down.

I run to the window behind the couch and look out over the part of the yard I can’t see from the door.

Shit.

The raccoon is sniffing The Body. The one that I have never been able to properly sniff! It’s just laying there, wrapped in a quilt, waiting for me sniff it, and there goes this fucking raccoon just walking all over it and sniffing and sniffing and sniffing while I am stuck inside this stupid house!!!

My tail wags so hard that a little pee comes out.

And then it happened. The raccoon looks directly at me. I stop barking for a second so that I can listen properly. Maybe we’ll come to an agreement.

Slowly, very slowly, it stands up on it’s two back legs and balances flawlessly on The Body.

“Come on, come onnnnnnn,” I think, but don’t say, because I need to be patient, “please don’t take all the smells!!!!”

We are making eye contact. The raccoon lifts its left paw. And then: gives me a thumbs up.

It is official. Not only did the raccoon get to swim in the pool, it has now fully experienced the plump aroma of the The Body.  MY plump aroma!

And so I really lose it. I feel absolutely out of control. I run in circles as fast as I can. I eat a shoe. I poop on the shoe. I eat another shoe. I eat the poop. I throw up. I eat the throw up. I tip over Pearl’s in-home dialysis machine.

But nothing makes me feel better. I am a prisoner inside this house, and I just can’t find a way to express this desolation, and bitterness and fear. Today feels like the opposite of Christmas. Not only am I not allowed to open the present, but I am also trapped inside the box.

I want to tear that pompous raccoon limb from limb, but I can’t open the door.

If only, I had thumbs.

twisted homes

Christine investigated her Hamptons living room: the floor length drapes, playing peek-a-boo with the ocean in the backyard; cold beige couches so modern they made you question sitting at all; the prodigious canvas above the mantle and its $900,000 swipe of red paint.

It was all so familiar. And yet she wondered where she was.

“I am in my home,” she told herself. “But how?”

This sense of displacement was not new to her. She experienced it briefly at Sarah Lawrence, thousands of miles from Oklahoma, but managed to stay distracted by the novelty in her life. It wasn’t until her first year out of college, when she was sitting in a roomful of artsy strangers, that she truly felt the first great shift in her life. She studied them- their furious smoking and sporadic laughter- and wondered how she could tie them to home.

Eventually she realized the only way to do that was to adapt. To become the center of her own venn diagram.

But New York City, in all its amplitude, was never home. Not even when she’d eventually created a life with a husband and two children. As for her mansion on the sea: well, Heaven can’t be home. Not even when you pay for it.

Even in this cavernous house, she could hear Robin slam her bedroom door. And with that slam she felt the emptiness inside her get pounded into mud. It was as if she was stuck inside a cave, while a summer storm began to beat the rocky walls in. Oh, let everything crumble.

She had once, many years ago, seen a tornado. She rooted herself, watching as the sky birthed itself, and her grandfather quietly but quickly ushered the horses inside. “They’ll be fine,” he grumbled from their darkened cellar, as the sky screamed with pain.

Afterwards, she stood in the kitchen of her grandparent’s farmhouse, where she and her mother lived at the time, and looked up through a gaping hole in the roof. The sky was blue again. “If we remembered pain, we wouldn’t have second children,” her mother once told her. Though she was an only child.

She used to tell her own children about that tornado. How all the power lines were bent in half, but the horses were okay. How they sat in the damp cellar together for eternity, and when they came out, the weather was back to normal, but it would never be the same again.

Her daughter would climb on her lap and ask her: “Are you Dorothy Gale?” as her son twirled and whistled like a little cyclone, ripping the sheets from the bed.

But Robin was no longer her sweet little girl. She was a force of nature, just like that twister from so long ago, and Christine had spent the better part of the last two years waiting it out in the cellar.

Just a few minutes ago, Robin stormed out of the room, leaving her iPad on the counter.

Christine placed it in the sink, and reminded herself that she was the adult, as she had done so many times over the past 14 years.

She grabbed a stone from her son’s collection, and held it over the sink. She let it drop, hoping for a satisfying crack. But it did no damage.

She would never be a tornado. How had she let her daughter become one?

“How do you stop a tornado?” She wondered. But once it’s formed, it’s formed.