The Early Shirley YearsJason Bredle
Right when I hung up the phone, I realized how absurd my end of the conversation must’ve sounded to anyone eavesdropping— “Holy shit! So you think he died during sex? Oh…masturbation! That makes sense.” Then I wondered if my use of holy shit was acceptable according to Koo’s definition. Someone died, but I only knew him through a friend and apparently he was a real big xenophobe. Also, he looked like this cartoon guy from a commercial for a light rock radio station. One thing I don’t know that I used to know is exactly how closely Citizen Kane was based on the actual life of William Randolph Hearst. Of all the images haunting us from our childhoods, I can think of tons that are more haunting than a sled. White sheets on a clothesline, drying in the summer sun. A young boy picked last for a kickball game. An unspeakable monster from beyond the grave rising from the earth and forcing us into lives of pestilence and slavery, rivers of blood, our flesh melting from our bodies as we become the living dead. Yes, that happened during my childhood. One thing I don’t know that I’ve been wondering about recently is whether people in any South American country can wander into a restaurant and order a capybara and then eat a capybara. And as long as I don’t know this as fact or fiction, I have reason to live. Of all the images haunting us from our childhoods, I can think of tons that are more haunting than a sled. Owls. Your mother’s legs, a bathtub. David Hasselhoff. I mean, why wouldn’t people eat capybaras? They look like they’d be delicious! Oh, let’s cut all the capybara chatter and think for a moment, okay? Well, for one, it’s pretty messed up when one of your reasons to live is that you don’t know the answer to the question “do people eat capybaras?” But that’s not the point. I mean, I could imagine people not eating capybaras if they’re endangered or if they taste like shit but otherwise I’d think people would eat them. In fact, I’d think people would design elaborate evenings around the eating of a capybara, dancing merrily around the slaughtered capybara and singing “here a capybara, there a capybara, everywhere a capybara” well into the night. In this feast, the people elevate the capybara to a level of deity before slaughtering him. It’s, you know, like a ceremony thanking the earth for her generous gift of the mouth-watering capybara? After slaughter, the capybara is marinated, spiced, and roasted over a deep fire until a succulent golden brown, at which time it’s devoured by the village people. Not the band. I don’t think capybaras are something that would ever be harvested, unless it’s on a smaller scale, like emus. But do people eat emus? They must, right? Otherwise, why are there emu farms? There are emu farms, right? Is an emu like a bird or a llama? I’m pretty sure it’s bird but off and on my entire life I’ve thought of it as a llama. What can I say? Sometimes, whether I like it or not, I’m the self-absorbed asshole who doesn’t know if an emu is a bird or llama-like. Sometimes I feel as if I’m hurting everyone by trying to not hurt anyone. Of all the images haunting us from our childhoods, I can think of tons that are more haunting than a sled. Your mom crying in the kitchen. Dusk. A guerilla army descending upon your home. The midsummer capybara feast, people dancing merrily around the capybara, singing “here a capybara, there a capybara, everywhere a capybara.” You’re seven. Blue lights flutter along the horizon. This is the last time you’ll ever see your family alive again.
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