3 pieces to make up for our sporadic posting schedule and to round out April
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A Period Piece
I come from the time when Kotex pads were sold in three foot packages and worn with belts that showed beneath my pants. They were always purchased when that cute guy in Social Studies was behind me in line at the grocery store. I was too scared to wear a tampon; I thought it might break my hymen. Can you imagine, losing your virginity to a tampon? How would you know?
Anyway, now they’ve got panty liners with wings. They’re awkward and stiff and get stuck to my pubic hair.
What were they thinking? That I want my pussy to fly? When I first saw these winged wonders, I thought about the time when I was six years old and my mom caught me trying to launch our cat out the window of my bedroom.
I can see it now. Menstruating women, flying through the air wearing ‘All Days’, or tampons for that matter, and we’d be like kites or balloons, with some moron below, wearing a duck hat, holding up a rifle, shouting, “Pull!”
He didn’t mind it so much when they moaned, but when they moved with the instrument AND moaned, he truly pitied these tormented by Hysterical Peroxism. Their writhing and sporadic jolts as he progressed with treatment unnerved the normally stoic Dr. Smythe, but he carried on, dedicated to the eradication of that which ravaged hundreds of women throughout New England. Whence the disease sprung no one knew; as fast as descriptions of symptoms spread, Hysterical Peroxism spread faster; and, being one of the first to recognize the disease, Dr. Smythe devised the most practical treatment, the method of which became the standard for all who battled this most mysterious and serious affliction.
Soon the bulk of Dr. Smythe’s schedule was filled with nervous, well-to-do women either already diagnosed or hoping to be, forcing him to reevaluate the parameters used to distinguish between genuine and mere hypochondria. Still, it seemed every woman in New England hoped to receive at least one treatment, just to be sure. His normal disdain for neurotic fad-chasing females was offset by the relative ease of treatment combined with overwhelming patient satisfaction and a sudden surge in his bank statements. Overworked, his colleagues in Boston convinced him to hire an assistant: a medical student perhaps, or even a seasoned midwife.
In the meantime, Dr. Smythe ordered the manufacture of additional tools to be used in treatment. Gailain’s Carpentry, the closest shop suited for the purpose, was just three blocks away on 6th, but Mr. Gailain balked when the tool’s design and eventual usage were described. Thus, the beleaguered doctor contracted with a less-reputable shop across town; he neither had time nor patience to shop around yet again, and neglected to mention what the tool would be used for, merely showing the buck-toothed proprietor its design and leaving it at that.
Boston University sent Dr. Smythe a medical student to assist, a hearty young man named Peter who was noticeably disturbed by descriptions of treatment. Still he took to the task without complaint despite a renewed influx of self-diagnosed patients. His dedication impressed both the doctor and his ever-expanding clientele. Often Peter would stay late into the night, sometimes not leaving the office at all. Dr. Smythe found him collapsed on the floor many a morn; he felt it was only fair to bring the lad a cot for those rare overnight stays; in time, Peter rarely left, preferring later and later treatments for those chronic sufferers whose youth and unmarried status forced them to work jobs that made daytime doctor visits tedious and impractical. Eventually Dr. Smythe left all cases of Hysterical Peroxism to Peter, free now to treat regular patients with regular ailments.
When Peter returned to the University for final exams, Dr. Smythe assumed he would continue treatment for the now hundreds of diagnosed cases. And yet not a single patient returned, either having been cured or, unbeknownst to the good doctor, traveling to Boston for an impromptu treatment in Peter’s dormitory. This suited Dr. Smythe just fine. He did nonetheless wonder how one medical student managed to suddenly cure an entire region of New England. Despite his aversion to treatment, Dr. Smythe missed the extra money that Hysterical Peroxism generated his practice.
It wasn’t until the less-reputable carpenter across town delivered the tools two months late that Dr. Smythe second-guessed Peter’s methods; by then, however, the doctor was too busy to concern himself with that, for it seemed all of those who had been cured of Hysterical Peroxism were now expecting, and obstetrics was quite a time-consuming field in and of itself.
I can still see The Genius like it was yesterday, standing in the corner smoking and brooding and muttering to himself. Historians continue to insist some thirty years later that this was his lost weekend, but trust me on this, having witnessed it from the vantage point of being more than just a hanger on, it was no mere weekend; it was more like eighteen months.
Anyway, one evening during that infamous "weekend", we were bored as shit and decided to go out and see a show - two folksingers who were into political comedy. The Genius was drinking Brandy Alexanders because they tasted like milkshakes. He had no clue how they could suddenly hit you and fuck you up big time.
So it was kind of hard to keep him quiet in the club and then he started heckling the performers because they were still green and kind of corny though they would later become quite famous. People started yelling "Shhhhhh" and he turned to me and said "Don't those bloody fools know who I am, May?"
He stood up angrily and headed for the men's room only went into the ladies' room instead and came back with a Kotex pad stuck on his forehead.
I fucking almost died laughing. So did a lot of others at neighboring tables.
Those poor guys on stage - they were a mess. Couldn't even remember the words to their songs. Finally, the waitress came over to us and told The Genius to shut the fuck up or he'd get tossed.
"Don't you know who I am?" he repeated to her.
"Yeah. You're some asshole with a Kotex on your head."
We left the club in a huff and went back to our hotel.
Keith, the world's undisputed best though thoroughly insane drummer was sharing the suite with us and was racing around the room unfurling roll after roll of toilet paper while he cracked his whip in the air at invisible groupies. He really wanted a woman. No, he wanted three women; he wanted fucking triplets, and if Keith wanted triplets, he'd find them or he'd have his people find them and I'd have to hear a trio of squealing bitches all night long. He was big with crops and all things leather, our Keith. Oh, what did I care? Our bedroom was far enough away from his - in truth I didn't have to listen at all. As for Harry, our other roommate, he was drunk as hell the entire time, just sitting on the edge of a chair with a never ending supply of Jack Daniels. He was writing music (or so he said), but to me, and I know you could give two craps about what I think, his stuff sucked and compared to The Genius, it was kind of painful to even hear him strum one fucking chord on his beat-up guitar.
The Genius' wife gave him permission to be with me because she really didn't see me as a threat to their marriage -- she believed I was just a faded, less interesting version of the woman she was and he would soon grow bored and return to her bed. Oh Yoko. I was naďve enough to think she was sadly misguided. But what I didn't take into consideration was the man himself and what I would eventually learn after many painful mistakes.
No one can ever own a true genius.
So I fucked him hard and afterward I listened to him rant and rave about society's tragic ills and how there was no place on earth for a man like him and he knew for certain that in spite of all the sycophants, even his close friends and family, he'd be lonely for eternity.
I held him tight when he cried whiskey tears, not realizing that he had seen the future.
rejection from Eyeshot's editor for the piece: The Genius
I was in NJ for the rainy days and in Philly last night at the Khyber to see the Sun City Girls, a band with whom you've probably never slept. So this is Keith Moon, John Lennon, and Harry Chapin(?). If you actually fucked John Lennon, I'd be really fucking interested in a really earnest, non-dramatic account of that fucking. Or your fucking of Eric Clapton. The title would be "I Fucked John Lennon" or whoever. And it would be an earnest presentation of that fucking and the related/surrounding scenes and intimacies and actions and their consequences etc: it would be rock history from the perspective of the genitals. The way you present this, though, it seems sort of like fan fiction, and so it really doesn't interest me too much as such. I love John Lennon. I love Keith Moon. I can picture them easily, see them move, speak, walk, talk, play, etc, but your presentation of these folks is sort of breezy and fictional-seeming, meaning "false," and if you're basing these on your own experiences, I (as a reader and as someone considering this as something to post on the pissant site he edits) don't really see the people so well, don't feel or see particularities about them that would make it all come alive (like Framptom), resurrect the dead. So I think if you were to present these scenes as REAL, as memoir and not fiction, assuming they're based on reality, I'd be way more interested in them, both as a reader and as a runner of a site. As they are, they're very readable, they're clear and conversational and I'm sure you feel comfortable reading them to folks in bars. But for someone like me on four hours of sleep sitting at his desk in his brooklyn apartment with the shades down, I'd prefer if it were more sensual, more particular, more, more, more. And for the site especially, I'd prefer fewer line breaks. More of a particular non-fictional sense of it. So there's your rejection, Ms. Slick. Regardless of your response to all this above, I hope all goes well for you and this piece and the book from which it comes (right?) and I apologize for not posting it and I thank you for sending it. Lee
a typical Uber acceptance letter:
Thanks for sending us this piece! You're up today.
Please submit again!
There is a narrative thread.