Jason and Chip refused to be in the house whenever Volker was over. In addition to the fact that every pompous hunk of malarkey that flew out of his mouth was painfully embarrassing to listen to, Volker did have one particular quirk that made Jason want to punch baby rabbits.
"Duh, duh, duh, duh, duh…" some people say etcetera; some say blah, blah, blah; and some say so on and so forth… Volker Von Meat Puppet ended almost every other sentence with a hurriedly delivered "duh, duh, duh, duh, duh!" Jason wished a pox upon him. Uncle Truck actually hated this too. Every time Volker said it, she cringed in the same way she did during that one time she sat atop a snowy boulder and the melted freezing water went seeping through her ineffectively-protective yoga pants and right into the crevice of her ass crack. Had there been any blades in her box cutters, she would have done away with herself the thirteenth time she heard him say it… which was within the first hour that she'd seen him face-to-face.
"I miss Peter Frampton, Chip. I know you didn't like him very much and now I can see why, but I miss him." Jason and Chip were seated on the front stoop like two friends fishing over a pier. He petted Chip as he placed half of his fluffer-nutter sandwich before the cat's paws. Chip made no comment and pawed at the toasted peanut-marshmallow bread. "He's right down the street… I just want to run there and tell him how bad it's gotten… I know he'd come to save her."
Back inside the home, Uncle Truck was as wooden and expressionless as Nicholas Cage in any movie that wasn't Vampire's Kiss. Volker spread himself across the cushions, failing to acknowledge Uncle Truck's blatant disinterest as she did not display any sort of temptation to lie beside him. Volker broke the silence when he delivered a dumbfounded, "you play a ukulele?!"
"Shittily, but yes…" Uncle Truck admitted as Volker eyed the tenor Hawaiian instrument on her bookshelf. It was tilted between "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and a hardback copy of "The Shy Person's Guide to Telling Idiots to Fuck Off". Uncle Truck was really regretting that the impulsively purchased second book had never been cracked open and was now collecting dust and cobwebs. The intensity of this man's aura made him far more difficult to tell off than any of the previous idiots.
"No way!" He placed it in her hands and ordered her to strum a tune. He sat in front of her, cross-legged with his hands folded atop his knees and an anticipating grin. Uncle Truck reluctantly played a very basic beginner-player version of "Ain't She Sweet?" The ukulele was slightly out of tune and the quality was pretty grainy. "Oh my God! That was awesome!"
"…no, it actually kind of sucked." Uncle Truck wasn't being modest either; her playing was far from fluent and full of failed chords on behalf of the lack of pliability and tininess of her hands.
"No! The fact that you can play at all is a total turn-on! Honestly, this just wouldn't work between us if you didn't play an instrument at all." Oh yeah? Is that the case? Disregard the fact that before Peter Frampton was in the picture, this idiot had been hounding Uncle Truck for weeks and was shut down every time. He claimed that there was not another woman in this world who he ever pursued a second time after being rejected… let alone fifteen times. However, now he was confessing that if this Uncle Truck character did not (shittily) play a musical instrument… he would regrettably have to kick her to the curb.
Seriously, fuck this guy. Except don't.
Volker sprung from the couch and remembered that he had his acoustic guitar in the trunk of his car. He ran out the door and Uncle Truck was tempted to get up and lock it behind him… but she was really tired and didn't feel like moving. Oh well.
Jason and Chip emerged through the door, their worn-out yet relieved bodies made them look as though they'd been submerged in water for the last minute and had just taken their first breath of air. "Is he really leaving?!" And just as the words left Jason's mouth, Volker Von Meat Puppet burst through the door like a cuckoo bird out of a clock if a cuckoo bird looked like a total doucher. With a cardboard-quality guitar being held by the neck as he galloped into the room, he inadvertently sent every human and feline within the vicinity into a collective yet unspoken "Please don't."
"This is a song about my ex-fiancé. But I changed some of the lyrics yesterday so it could be written about you instead!" Enchanting. He repeatedly strummed the D-chord and the C-chord back and forth before he griped, "I may run and hide when you're screaming my name, Trakina!"
Chip Chodesworth's naturally disc-shaped eyes managed to appear even more disc-like as his squished-in nose and side of his mouth twitched. He raised his right paw as he flipped out a single, hawk-like claw from one of his front toes. Rotating his left paw, making his furry wrist visible and facing upside, he pierced into the area just between the pad of his paw and the start of his forearm. Jason, catching the traumatized cat in the destructive act, intervened and seized Chip's arm, "not you too, Chip! How many suicide watches do I have to juggle?!"
"Quit playing games with my heart, Trakina! My heart, my heart! Quit playing games…"
A sly organism, Chip tiptoed into a corner with his hirsute tail low as it swept across floor, feeling very much like a ninja and believing this would make him less conspicuous. Discovering a mousetrap beside a vent, he pressed his paw into the hardened moldy cheese and braced himself for the crushing metal snap coming his way. The trap flipped onto his toes, and like a samurai committing hara-kiri, he clenched his eyes and took his self-inflicted pain with honor and silence.
"I don't care who you are-WHO YOU ARE! Where you're from-WHERE YOU'RE FROM! Don't care what you did, as long as you're Trakina!"
Crouching, Jason crawled across the floor on all-fours as furtively as he could to decrease the chances of Uncle Truck witnessing her beloved furry friend in such an ill-fated state. He located Chip in the corner. He unfastened the trap that had left dappled, scabby groove on the top of the cat's paw. Chip was indifferent to Jason's frustration and stirred the creative juices in his brain in hopes of devising a more lethal plan.
"I figured out, what to say to you! Sometimes the words, they come out so wrong… Trakina."
Chip attempted to chew off and eat his own paw.
"I wish I could give the world to you, Trakina! But love is all I have to give!"
Jason forcefully yanked the slobbery, bite-marked paw from the cat's jaws.
"If you want it to be good, Trakina, get yourself a bad boy! Bad boy, bad boy!"
Chip dashed to the kitchen like a cheetah on cocaine and hopped onto a kitchen chair. Gunning himself into the air and soaring like superman with his arms stretched vertically and his legs in line behind him, he aimed for the counter and landed on his target beside the kitchen sink. He flicked on the garbage disposal with his tail and hovered over the side of the basin; he was going to jump. He lingered though, as he actually did want Jason to rescue him from this dramatic attempt… being grinded to death by the garbage disposal would really, really hurt. "Save me, Jason!" He meowed.
"And then I looked, into your Italian eyes!" A shrill and tone-deaf Volker was still singing quite horribly… he had been for three minutes now but everyone in the room swore that six hours had already passed.
Jason hurried to Chip's aid, shut off the growling garbage disposal and cradled the shaken cat in arms, "I know, Chip, I know… you're going to be ok!"
"And that makes you larger than life!" He gave Uncle Truck a self-satisfied beam as an observable erection set up camp in the center of his acid-wash jeans. Confident that his original and not-at-all plagiarized song was the key to Uncle Truck's long-protected semi-virginity, he could not restrain his arousal and thought it wise to not hide this as he spread his thighs apart at the edge of the couch. While Jason was providing psycho-therapy for Chip in the kitchen, he'd unintentionally left Uncle Truck to fend for herself in the hazardous living room. She could not even pretend to enjoy or comprehend whatever had just happened to her... with a bleak look of lost hope on her uninterested face, she was in a trance-like state and digging her sharp fingernails into her wrists in the slow pursuit of releasing endorphins.
"So, here is another song I wrote! This is a Volker Von Meat Puppet original, and it's a song about suicide." Oh no… no, no, no, no, no… The lyrics were not processing through Uncle Truck's ears which were muffled by thoughts of self-harm. All she heard was a whiney off-key voice, monotonous guitar chords, and random words like "die," "slash," "hang," "death," "Kurt Cobain," "stab," "cry," and then most importantly, "Duh, duh, duh, duh, duh!"
That was it. Heart pounding and eyes darting, Truck was scouring the room for a sharp object without the slightest bodily movement. A switch flicked on in her brain when she recalled that Peter Frampton had left his razor in the powder room. Without a word, she exited the living room robotically and took shelter in the bathroom. With a creepy chortle, Volker exclaimed that he'd be waiting for her in her bedroom, putting no mind to the fact that he was not invited.
Upon hearing that, Jason dropped Chip Chodesworth, apologized for dropping Chip Chodesworth, pushed past Volker who was indeed approaching the upstairs, and then realized that Uncle Truck had deserted the room. "Where is she?"
"She's just gone into hiding in the bathroom," Volker managed to sound creepy even when answering the simplest of questions, "I'll be waiting for you, dear!"
Uncle Truck was sitting on the bathroom sink with a razor blade pointed toward her wrist when Jason swung the door open, "I thought it appropriate to shave my mustache considering I have company over," she lied without any emotion in her voice, still lowering the blade.
"You're not shaving your face! I know what you're doing!"
Immediately tearing up, she sniveled, "That was the worst song I've ever heard in my life."
"It was! That song sucked! I don't hold you at fault for anything you are plotting to do, Uncle Truck! If I had adult problems and bipolar disorder while witnessing a shit-show like that, I'd probably try to kill myself too! I just had to leash Chip Chodesworth to the banister to keep him from leaping into the garbage disposal!" He pulled the ends of her bellbottom jeans toward his eyes and used them as a tissue. "Please, don't do this… please."
"What's the point, Jason? I'm incapable of being truly loved."
Jason pulled the greeting card he had purchased the other morning out of his back pocket and placed it beside the sink's dripping faucet. "I meant to give that to you with the gardenia…" he left the room and closed the door behind him.
She pinched the bottom corner of the card and admired the eight-ball black eyes on the lovable baby seal. Still sniveling but managing to smile sweetly, she opened the card.
"Thank you for all you've done for me since I made my first big adventure. I hate to think about it, but I know that in the near future I am going to have to return to school. I want to stay with you during that time, but realistically, I don't think that will be possible. I'm going to miss you so much but more than anything, I want you to stay safe. I already worry about you while I'm here; please don't give me a reason to worry while I'm away.
You do some crazy things, yes. You're irrational from time to time, sure. But you're worth more than you realize and, according to Peter Frampton, you're more loved than you will ever know. I've learned so much from you. I've learned that I don't need a reason or an explanation for all things that I don't immediately understand - I mean, I didn't even realize until just now that I never questioned the ninja turtle guest bedroom. If you hadn't heard from me in years and weren't sure if I was ever going to visit your home, why did you go through the trouble of shipping a ninja turtle bedroom from Baltimore to Denver? It doesn't matter. I'm glad it doesn't matter. There's no use in stressing myself out over trivial things like that.
More importantly, you've taught me to empathize. Even when you were at your worst, I never passed any judgment. You're compassionate and sincere and it was apparent from the first day I met you… of course, after I got past the unwelcome surprise that you are not a man. You taught me to relax and you taught me to care, but most of all… you taught me to love.
You're the most beautiful person I've ever known. I wish the way I feel for you could be enough so you'd stop trying to find that false comfort in the arms of undeserving men. If nobody else comes back for you in seven years, I'll build you a house between the water and the mountains. I promise.
I love you, Trakina.
Uncle Truck, who now decidedly wanted to be called "Trakina" for the remainder of the story, dropped the razor blade and let it clank on the tile floor. What was she doing? What had she been doing? Her brain winding into a whirlpool consistency, she leaned back against the rose-print wall. Upon her backward fall, the mirror behind her disconnected from its hinges and shattered into the gulf of the sink. Shooting shards in every direction, the fallen glass appeared to be smashing in slow motion. Trakina shut her eyes as the crystals scraped gently on her skin, leaving only faint and painless white scratches.
"Uncle Truck!" Jason burst through the door, terrified.
"Trakina; I'd like it if you called me Trakina, Jason."
"What happened? Are you alright?" She nodded yes as Jason footed around the maze of broken glass. Trakina dropped herself from the sink and stepped over the shards, exiting the room and gesturing for Jason to leave the injurious area as well. "Where are you going? Please don't go into that room… please…" Jason pulled on her shirt from behind like a pair of reigns. She froze for a second, looked back with watery yet blissful eyes, and assured him that everything would be alright. Slowly, he loosened his grasp and watched her glide away like a feather in the wind as she slipped into the unlit corridor. Listening to the creaking of the steps, he knew where she was headed… he slumped against the wall and hoped her last words for him were true.
"What's that big smile about?" Volker questioned as he lied flat on his back with his arms behind his head. Trakina, with a smirk and amused eyes, rolled on her side in his direction and asked if he really wanted to know. Believing he had an idea of why she was content but wanting to hear the words for himself, he said yes.
"I'm in love."
He knew it! "Oh, yeah? You're in love?" She nodded, closing her eyes and inhaling deeply before releasing a lovesick hum, "Well, what's this love of yours like? Do tell."
"He's handsome," Volker rolled his eyes conceitedly, "He's extremely intelligent."
"Is he now?"
"Brilliant." Trakina nodded bouncily.
"You're a lucky girl!"
"Uh-huh," she playfully rolled away and onto her back, "He's charming and sweet, he has the blackest black hair…"
"Um… brown hair?" Volker decided that Trakina was colorblind.
"Electric blue eyes…"
"Well, they might be electric, but they're more of a green!"
"I'm crazy about him," Trakina looked as if she had slipped into a vivid, happy dream as she grew silent and slowly let her eyelids fall.
"So, what's this guy's name?"
"It's not obvious?" She teased.
"I think I know a guy who fits your description, but I can't be sure…" he grinned, rolling toward her and reaching a hand toward her hip.
Puzzled, shocked and retracting his arm back toward its socket, "Excuse me?"
"I'm in love with a boy named Jason."
Volker didn't take Trakina's confession seriously and continued to smile sinisterly. Waiting a few seconds, he then forced himself on top of her flattened body. Before he could begin thrusting his pelvis into hers in an unwelcome and torturous manner, Trakina began to laugh nervously. With the trauma escalating too quickly for her to gather her thoughts, she couldn't decide whether she should be disturbed by this partial rape or tickled by his unnerving stupidity.
The door swung open, and there stood a protective and horrified Jason. He glared, like a pterodactyl spotting a raptor in the act of stealing her hatchlings, at the perpetrator. Clasping Volker's shitty cardboard guitar by its neck, he pointed the body toward the ceiling and threatened, "I am not afraid to use this!"
Volker turned his attention back to Trakina; he was smiling, but her unsure laugh had muted. She stared at him blankly, and he still didn't take a hint.
"Fuck off, Volker Von Meat Puppet," she whispered with narrowed eyes and disgust in her tone. He sat on top of her for a good forty seconds afterward before he had the slightest notion that she may have been serious. Thankfully, he did eventually fuck off, reclaiming his guitar from Jason with a forceful snatch before he disappeared forever. The moron chuckled smugly on his way out the front door; he expected her to miss him in a few days.
Jason crawled into the bed and rolled onto Trakina like she had done to him on their first encounter. Exhausted from a long day of enduring terrible music and thwarting multiple suicide attempts, the boy quickly passed out in his aunt's arms. Equally exhausted from a day of enduring terrible music and failing to commit suicide, Trakina passed out as well.