The Stew

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: marclevytoo

Simmer until done

Bunco is a sad and stupid game requiring no subtlety or skill popular with groups of deeply bored and boring stiffs suffering from extenuating circumstances. Counting to two is as challenging as the game gets. It is commonly played accompanied by insipid gossip in the basements of Lutheran churches and rented VFW halls, poolside at segregated country clubs, at home in remodeled dens with paneled veneer on cracked walls, and under the hum of cutting edge bug zappers affixed to plywood support beams in screened porches. Dice are rolled and bells tinkled. Titters accompany the tinkling. Bingo is the scintillating thrill of a lifetime in comparison. If you have nothing on your mind bunco may be the missing link in a facsimile of life for you. Bland refreshments are served on disposable plain or plastic coated paper plates, with colorful liquid punch to wash it down and out to sea. Fortunately for the population of dedicated players, shallow breathing counts as the real thing.

 

While feigning empathy was proving to be a more difficult task than Alexandra presumed, one that she in her quest to become acceptable as a full fledged humanoid had yet to master, accommodating boredom was easy. Robots knew boredom from the inside out.

 

After the debacle in the examination room of the plastic surgeon where she inadvertently exposed herself, Alexandra had been assigned to begin the rebuild of her personality brand with a group of fresh out of luck mothers stuck with outcasts and dummies as offspring. A bunch of shitty husbands, too. Alexandra started off pink, perky, and fresh. She accepted her step down. She fit the correct shells into their woebegone slots the first day, skirts, shirts, skin, pants, hair, teeth. Though hers was the only arranged marriage, her husband appeared to be every bit as shitty as the rest. The women enjoyed congregating in groups to compare, complain, blame. They liked to buy a bunch of disappointing crap, break, and throw it out. A large number of out of luck mothers preferred to do all the wrong things that never turned out right, talk the walk on uneven stilts, squawk and fall over dizzy. Bunco was not the worst of it. The husbands being shitty made it worse. Rotten ungrateful kids, too. They played on Little League teams, swung and struck out. Alexandra learned a lot from the instructive rate of attrition. None of them knew knew how to stand up straight. They did not march forward with purpose. Boring was not so bad. Not even that was the worst.

 

The worst commonly arrived every fourth Tuesday at her back door, soon after the onset of civilized cocktail hour, along with the shitty husbands showing off the ugly colors of their Proud Boy t-shirts. All, that is, but Alexandra's husband Craig, who had been measured for fit but came up too short. The blue jay that tried to rule the overgrown purple sage in the back yard brayed like an ass to announce the arrival of like minds. Like Craig, the jay was trying too hard to make up for inadequacies. The back door was a final destination to top off bulging beer bellies following the latest version of the weight lifting competition in which the Proud Boys celebrated delusional prowess at the racist and homophobic gym they patronized in Scotts Valley. In between came the ritualistic sousing at Corralitos Brewing Company. Losers never win and are forced to pay up the fucking wazoo there. Participation was mandatory, and enforced. The pinkish plumber who looked like a steroidal Porky Pig had an obvious advantage that none of the others felt comfortable in pointing out. The acne on his back was mature enough to be growing a new crop of acne on his back Even if that topping off experience was more akin to a pimply bottom on these pustulent assholes.

 

Alexandra's duty as a hostess included boiling a bag of midget weenies and stuffing them with cheesy goop from a can. She was never asked how or why the center held. It seemed natural to choose squishy white bread cut into triangles as an accompaniment for fast handling. The Proud Boys liked it fast. They also liked to slurp, smirk, flex, and fart. The moments in chitchat prior to indigestion chafed like dry ice. Craig was very enthusiastic about it. He showed off his riding mower, weed whacker, and unmuffled blower. He rubbed the shiny metal and whistled. He not only whistled, but looked uncannily like Captain Kangaroo when he puckered and blew.

 

Alexandra was idly preparing for the worst by prepping pretzels in a bowl along with one early arriving mother when the telephone disturbed her conjecture about the female orgasm. Multi-tasking was not difficult for Alexandra. How could it be a bad idea to check it out? It was the getting down to the real nitty-gritty that was difficult for Alexandra. She became disoriented and confused by spontaneity. She did not mean to speak out loud when she did, but she did.

 

She admitted, "It's just so hard for me to imagine where and how."

 

"It's best," the experienced mother wisely replied, "to make it a do-it-yourself at home project. Get rid of the kids and lock the door. You can buy complete kits online to make it easy."

 

Alexandra considered the advice, seriously, and questioned, why wasn't I taught imagination by the higher ups, along with important facts like how to do-it-yourself, as she spoke into the phone, "Hello?"

 

She listened briefly. There wasn't much to say. Her robot part understood. More importantly she decided to buy one of those kits and give it a twirl. She wasn't going to ask first. Before clicking off, she said, "I know where it is. It won't take me long."

 

The Proud Boys were very proud to have been born with a lifetime supply of free red blood. Where else but in America? There was not a lot to brag about after that. Some of that free American blood was staining the unpaved parking area adjacent to the patio of the Corralitos Brewing Company when Alexandra rolled over a small puddle of it with her big tires. She parked near a pair of cruisers from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff Department. A chattering crowd of regulars had gathered behind the yellow tape to taunt and gawk at the goony losers.

 

Two Deputy Sheriffs were discussing important issues of the day with the biggest man Alexandra had ever seen. He was nodding his enormous head in approval, and grinning. A pair of Proud Boys familiar to all of them were face down on the ground, wrists cuffed behind their backs. They were on the way to getting screwed, but good. The big man, Big to his friends, of whom there many at the Corralitos Brewing Company, righteously kicked the fucking shit about of both of them. Many witnesses felt it an honor to testify on his behalf. A third no longer so Proud Boy was strapped to a stretcher inside the open emergency vehicle, howling like a coyote with parasitic worms. He would never again walk upright like an ape. The crowd approved unanimously. It was difficult from her angle to see for sure, but he appeared to be the shitty husband of the wise mother who declined to accompany Alexandra, saying, "He can rot in jail for all I care."

 

As a mere person of interest, though presently not as much to Alexandra as before, none of the blood belonged to Craig. On a sliding scale of robots, though, he appeared to be authentically shaken.

 

He said, "Get me out of here."

 

She said, "You can wait."

 

Alexandra was far more interested in another figure inside the circle of tape, the dour plastic surgeon who had seen right through her in his office. He no longer seemed so dour. He appeared, in fact, to be exultant. She observed him from behind him as he examined the bloody scrunch of a cockeyed nose on a man who did not appreciate the expert diagnosis.

 

"Multiple compound fracture," Dr. Thomas Wu pronounced with glee, "I finally get to fix your cockeyed nose. You made my day."

 

"I want a second opinion."

 

"Here it is. Multiple compound fracture of your cockeyed nose. You made my day."

 

The Unpaid Internet Provider complained, "You always said my nose was cockeyed before."

 

"True."

 

"What about my opinion?"

 

"Irrelevant."

 

"It's going to hurt."

 

"You're not going to freak out on me, are you?"

 

"You'll give me a shot."

 

"More than one."

 

"It hurts already."

 

Sure, in perhaps a strictly technical and dispassionate depiction of objective events from a very limited myopic view minus mitigating modifiers manufactured and molded to fit through loopholes like figure-eights that ebb and flow but never end, the Unpaid Internet Content Provider might be considered to have acted as a causal agent in a culpable manner to begin the mayhem that ensued by planting an anti-personnel bomb in the form of his smallish body to blockade the path of the larger enemy force which caused the effect of getting his nose punched and broken. Except that would be so woefully sad and wrong. Blame is often used, misused, and abused. Everybody knows that.

 

"What I want to know," Big declared after mopping up, "is what got into you?"

 

And sure, it was no fun to get punched in the nose, and not for the first time. It hurts every time to get a nose punched and broken. Pain under most conditions, the Unpaid Internet Content Provider did not dispute, is a condition to be seriously avoided. But, not this time. This time it was worth it. Though admittedly a rash, unconsidered, and combustible reaction, the Unpaid Internet Content Provider had no he doubt made the right choice. Everybody knows that too much is more than enough. If you don't know that, what do you know? There was something about that swastika that did something to him that crackled, snapped, and popped.

 

"The ants in my pants felt like dancing."

 

"With a kick like a mule."

 

"Compliments of Tai chi on You Tube."

 

"Where man bites dog."

 

"Slice, dice, mix, and stir."

 

"Add heat and it's ready to serve."

 

"Close your eyes and it tastes like chicken. "

 

 


Submitted: December 28, 2020

© Copyright 2021 marclevytoo. All rights reserved.

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