Call it the gloomy weather or my shadowy feelings toward the Trader Joe’s cashier who won’t stop calling me “boss,” but I’ve found myself engulfed in some pretty dark fantasies as of late. Like, foul. I believe this is the point where I issue a trigger warning, because, believe me, this stuff is pretty twisted. And dark. And beautiful. Cue Nicki Minaj’s verse in Monster:
• I can hear rustling behind me. Or is it in front of me? It’s three or four feet away. All I know is there’s someone there, something there, and it doesn’t feel human. I start to shake. The room is totally dark. And suddenly very cold. But I am warm; I am strong. I am unafraid, perhaps devastatingly so. I reach a hand into the darkness, to touch, to meet, to connect with this other presence, to—I scream as a tongue, wet with evil, scans my right cheek. “Mango!” I shout. “Cut it out!” Mango is my gorgeous Australian Shepherd and he’s just woken me up with a kiss because my life is pure happiness coated in dog saliva. I get up, squeeze his wee head, and prepare him his favorite breakfast as he stares at me with wonder in his little canine eyes. He adores me. I am loved. Later, we hide in each other’s paws during the scary scenes in House of Cards. Life is perfect.
• The chains look tight. I hope they don’t hurt. But I don’t have time to think about that right now. There’s business to attend to. I turn to the man doing the selling and open my wallet. I’m short a few bucks. He says it’s okay; he’ll knock down the price for such a good customer. I smile at the thought of being a good customer. He doesn’t smile back. People in this business don’t smile much. So I turn and smile at my purchase. I whisper, “You’ll like my house.” I get no response. Just cold silence. But this is normal because I’m talking to a piece of furniture. That’s right, I’ve just bought my first bookcase! I finally have so many books that I can no longer just stack them up in a corner. I’m a smarty with a library. I’m Dewey and I’m about to discover decimals. I’m a paper-printed monster. No one can shush this freight train of organized glee, toot toot!
• It’s a bright, cheerful morning. But I’m dreary like English tea. I just can’t seem to get out of this funk. I walk down the street, my ear buds in, listening to nothing. It’s bleak. I turn the corner, ready to walk into traffic if the feeling comes, when I’m sacked. By a sack! Really—a bag goes over my head and I’m rushed into what can only be some dark colored van. A henchwoman (this is 2016) slams me against a microfiber seat, tying my hands with floss. I make note of how this is clearly a low budget kidnapping and get a discount sock in my mouth for it. After we drive for what I count as seven turns, the van door opens and I’m thrown out onto the ground. I grunt and another henchwoman (still 2016) pulls the sock from my mouth. I complain that the low-grade cotton has made my mouth very dry. She kicks me in the back of the head. I wince, but I don’t cry, mostly because that sock totally dried me out. There’s a shuffle and I can feel someone right in front of me. They get closer, breathing heavy. It’s kind of gross. Maybe sick. I begin to worry if they have some sort of condition, or an expired inhaler, but then remember they kidnapped me and their medical needs are none of my concern. We’re so close now, our lips– mine, canvas-clad; theirs, probably coated in phlegm–are almost touching, when they whisper, slowly, raspy, “Are you ready to play?” I know that voice. The kicking henchwoman tears the sack from my face and looming before me, in mustached glory, is Alex Trebek. I’ve won the Jeopardy Lottery! I get to compete on the show without taking a test! Alex Trebak is giving me a long hug! This is my nirvana.
• The clock strikes 2 pm. I’ve slept for 14 hours and no one’s yelling at me. I roll over and eat a cannoli. Because my bed is full of cannolis. I go back to sleep. That’s the whole thing.
• I figure out “endless cannolis.”