“Who are you and why are you in my house?!”
Uncle Truck stiffly placed a hand on the old crone’s shoulder and gently pushed her to the side as she wedged through the doorway. Without a word, she veered in the direction of the bathroom and proceeded to unload her daily routine into Mrs. Pellington’s toilet.
With a glare aimed towards the lizard-woman’s face, Jason threw any mores concerning respect for one’s elders out the window. His irises may have smoldered the brightest icy blue, but they somehow appeared to be engulfed in flames as he restrained every urge to pull an Uncle Truck and smash a hole through the woman’s recklessly purchased painting of a frowning gray-haired woman with two wheels of Jarlsberg cheese etched where her breasts should have been. Jason was almost too distracted by the stupidity of this painting to gather his thoughts and unremorsefully share them with the papery rhinoceros. “Mrs. Pellington, my Uncle is sick. She’s a victim of her own mind and she’s only getting sicker.”
“Ha!” Before returning to her rocking chair, Mrs. Pellington marched a decrepit march to the bathroom and pressed her sharp cheekbone against the cardboard door. “You are not a victim! You just SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAM with boredom, you!” Jason subsequently arrived and banged on the door desperately; luckily, Uncle Truck had failed to turn the lock and she was easily accessible. He kneeled beside her, right into a watery puddle of vomit that had failed to land in its porcelain target. He paid no mind and pulled her hair back into a ponytail, leaving spidery strands along the sides of her cheeks.
“I’m going to disappear, Jason… I’m going to disappear.”
“Fuck that old woman! It’s not you, Uncle Truck! She is the ugliest thing that ever lived, in every sense of the word! We can sit on the balcony and watch her stew from the sliding glass door. All you have to do is watch her, right? And answer her phone? How about we disconnect the phones and just sit on the balcony. I saw some clouds looming in just as soon as we left the car – there may be a gray sky and a gentle wind, just for you! Come on, Uncle Truck!”
She straightened her hunched position and wiped the greenish saliva off of her chin. “How did I get so lucky to know you in my time of dying?”
“You’re not dying, Uncle Truck! And just come! Come!” He grabbed a corner of the white shaggy bathmat beneath her and managed to slide her across the floor, which prompted her to quietly chortle as her tiny nephew grunted and cultivated some biceps. Jason hugged her from behind her ribcage and coiled his neck around hers so he could catch sight of her flushed face. “Dear Trakina, won’t you let me see you smile?”
Primrose rocked forward and back, keeping a keen yet annoyed eye on her flashy cartoons. Uncle Truck was always curious to watch Primrose’s favorite show, as she thoroughly enjoyed the theme song. But once the characters rolled onto the screen, the brightly-colored animation was too jagged and the scenes would flip rapidly. Uncle Truck had experienced all of one seizure in her life while she was watching an episode of Pokémon which featured a bright blue-and-red explosion that sent half of the juvenile Japanese population into a collected convulsion. Idiotically, Uncle Truck knew about this tragic event minutes before she intentionally searched for the banned cartoon and sent her quivering brain and body into a disturbing state of catatonia. She was indeed an idiot sometimes… most of the time. However, Uncle Truck had learned her lesson since the seizure and opted to shield her eyes at sight of strobe lights, police cruisers, and “Business Shark”.
“He’s a business shark! This shark means BUSINESS!” Uncle Truck always chuckled at the five-second introduction but watched no further. And on that note, Primrose truthfully hated “Business Shark”. She just felt more comfortable in a state of discomfort so she masochistically was a devoted viewer.
And on a second note, Uncle Truck did not make it to the sliding glass door. No, she was having other thoughts. Maybe she didn’t give a fuck at this point if she had a seizure or not. She didn’t have anything better to do. She sat down beside Primrose. Jason didn’t question this unusual gesture; he figured that as long as she wasn’t bent over the toilet, she was ok.
SPOILER: Uncle Truck doesn’t have a seizure. Rats.
Greg White was a business shark. He had a man’s body, was always dressed in a silver-gray business suit, held a leather brief case, and had a great white shark’s head where you would expect an average man’s head to be.
“Greg White! How the heck are ya?” One of the shark’s co-worker’s, who had a normal human’s head just like everybody else in the office, said as the creature strolled into the break room.
“I’m great! I just came back from the week-long Food Allergy Awareness walk! We reached our goal of twenty-thousand dollars and some – isn’t that magnificent?”
“Magnificent!” A blonde woman in a crimson dress suit yelled as two men behind her repeated the word with enthusiasm. “Hey, Greg! Did you know that it’s Silverstein’s birthday today?
Greg White gave a lighthearted yet manly chuckle, “Why no! No I didn’t!” He said with a toothy smile. “Happy birthday, Silverstein!”
“Thanks, Greg! Did you want some cake? It’s coconut with lemon filling!”
“Oh, that’s very kind of you, Silverstein, but I can’t! I’m diabetic!” Greg White brought his wristwatch toward his face and put a hand to his mouth when he realized he was running late for a perilously important meeting. “And even if I could eat it, I should probably stay away from that sort of thing; I gained maybe ten pounds over the holiday! Now if you’ll all excuse me, I’m late for a perilously important meeting!”
“Aww, shucks!” Silverstein muttered as he sliced himself a third piece of coconut-lemon birthday cake. The employees delivered a loud and combined “Goodbye!”
“You hear him going off about the Food Allergy Awareness walk like he’s Jesus Christ?”
“Yeah! He’s pretty self-satisfied having reached that goal of, what was it? Twenty-thousand?”
“Yeah, he was real smug about it!”
“And what about that diabetes bullshit?!”
“Yeah, he thinks he’s such a unique and quirky guy, having diabetes and all.”
“Thinks he’s better than us! Having diabetes and shit.”
“What a douche!”
“You should have told him the cake was sugar-free.”
Primrose shook her head in disgust. “I don’t know why I torture myself with this show.”
Jason shrugged. “You don’t think it’s even a little funny, Mrs. Pellington? Greg White is a little bit smug, but the way his co-workers act is just so nasty you can’t take it seriously!”
“That’s how all people are when they gather in packs. Fuck ‘em.” Frankly, Jason had had enough of Primrose’s perpetual negativity and wandered out onto the balcony, motioning for Uncle Truck to come with him. But she stayed on the floor beside Primrose’s rocking chair, closely watching the cartoon with a blank expression. “You want to know something, strange girl?” Uncle Truck continued to stare into the screen, making no response or even the slightest movement in reaction to Primrose’s question. “There used to be an award at my Catholic school at the end of every year. All the students, grades preschool through eight, would cast a vote for who they thought was the nicest person in the whole class.”
Uncle Truck snapped back into reality with a flutter of the eyes. “The have-a-heart-award?”
“Precisely. Did your school have one too?” Uncle Truck nodded, curious and now listening closely. “Every year, I kid you not, EVERY YEAR…” Primrose’s face scrunched up; she began to look like the cover of an Iron Maiden album, “I won that award. Every little shit in my class, every goddamn year, voted for me.”
Uncle Truck couldn’t tell if her intensifying anxiety was from the onset of a seizure or from her coincidental commonality with the old crone. “Me too; no joke, Mrs. Pellington, my Catholic school had that award and I won every year I was there… first grade through sixth grade.”
Primrose scratched the ridges she had previously sliced into on the arm of her wooden chair. “You know how much people appreciate kindness when you’re growing up, little girl?” Uncle Truck made no expression but listened closely. “The hell if I remember. I just know it was ugly. I was a nice, nice girl… that nice girl became a little more hateful with every passing year… and what now? All of the people who made a point to destroy me are dead – and I’ve been waiting to be taken since I was twenty!”
Uncle Truck hung her head, noticing for the first time just how hideous the shamrock-patterned carpet beneath her truly was. Hideous. She didn’t allow it to distract her from mustering up a response, though. “People always told me I was a nice kid too. I’d say I was more of a pushover than a nice kid… and packs target those sorts. By middle school, the majority of the people who interacted with me were awful… they made fun of my plaid skirt for being too long because my hips were too wide to fit the shorter skirts. I had a nice figure then, but I didn’t even know it. I didn’t get fat until two years later and that was fun too, you know. I also had metal gears inside my mouth to adjust my Bugs-Bunny-overbite… and my hushed voice was like that of a raspy alien’s, which made me not want to talk at all. I was a perfect target. And when I transferred to a public school it got even worse.”
“Oh, shut the hell up! You come in here looking like an hour glass with a girl-child’s face and have the audacity to pity-party in front of an abandoned, childless, Neapolitan mastiff of an old woman?! You’ve never had an adult problem in your life, I bet!”
Uncle Truck ignored the diatribe as she described her high school experience. “I never developed adequate social skills because my classmates were so nasty. And it didn’t help that my gym teacher would harass me in front of everybody either… I’ve been uncoordinated and skittish my whole life; participating in phys-ed was a nightmare. That thundercunt would have me demonstrate every activity we were going to do just before class started, in my ungraceful and slightly overweight glory… and she would keep yelling “you’re not doing it right!” while my classmates laughed. I eventually stopped going. I am probably the only person alive who failed gym class.”
“Bullshit! You look exactly like one of the girls that would have followed me in the hall to pull me by my book-bag, shake me around, and then throw me into the classroom! I don’t believe for two seconds that you were a target, you attention-seeking snob!” With her shuffled teeth hissing and her lower-eyelids receding, she blathered, “Just like those liberal, entitled, celebrities on their interview specials. “Oh, I make a luxurious living as a talentless hack, but I’m going to cry about how my dad never hugged me some twenty, thirty years ago!” Well, the only person who ever paid me any mind ran for the hills when he’d fucked me for the three-hundredth time and I still couldn’t conceive one of his arrogant, sophisticated, strong-jawed offspring! No – he fucked one of his seventeen-year-old students and let her take on that gratifying task. I’d love to be a talentless hack living in a mansion with a checkered past! But that’s not me! I waited for decades for things to start looking up, and here I am! In a weird home with a weird girl – what the hell are you even doing here?! I don’t know why you’re here!” She planted her face into the palm of her purple-veined hand and released the quietest, eeriest, horror-film scream Uncle Truck had ever heard. The woman looked as if she was just delivering a troubled yawn with her eyes covered, but that faint squeaky noise echoing past her uvula was one of the most disturbing noises Uncle Truck had ever experienced. This was normally a situation where Uncle Truck would drink the peanut oil sitting at the top of an open jar of natural peanut butter. But she didn’t. She instead took on a compassionate yet concerned tone; one she hadn’t used towards Primrose in years. Was there anything that would ease the pain, the caregiver inquired. “Dying. Dying for sure. And seeing the new episode of “Business Shark” that comes on this weekend, I have to see that. I hate that show. But in the next episode we find out if Greg White is the father of Wyleisha’s baby. I have to see it. And Silverstein is supposed drive his motorcycle on a parting draw bridge to show just how much he loves Wyleisha even if the caramel-colored child isn’t his. I hope Silverstein dies. He’s an asshole.”
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