I Don't Want the Title to Give Anything Away

The party shifted its normal scene
Of reds and blues and whites and greens
The women smiled and told their stories
The men discoursed on bygone glories
The aluminum tray cross-hatched with food;
Silent Satan loomed above the deviled eggs
As hungry mouths ate with as much delight as a sinning Eve
The cross-hatch needed mending
The maid replaced the snacks
The angels lingered on their backs
The canvas stared a smile

He stood there

There he was, sipping on a drink, drunk dried mouth with an olive in the glass, misrepresenting class. Holding on the best he could while others whirled in and out of conversation--Plato, economics, religion, topics that somehow constantly keened his interest back to the phallic, flexible rigidity of the plastic fork his left hand held. The prongs, once desolate in their separate clinging quarters were brought to touch by his fingers; their necks nuzzled and once released, a polymeric jolt brought them back to restraint, only to the repeat the process again.

Anything to get away from the monotone monotony of the moocow's millionaire wife and her three daughters would suffice--to whitewash stucco on plain white walls; to red dresses romanticizing pieces of fleshy legs which dangled from hips; to the sensation of delicate fleece lining his pockets; to grey carpet. The afternoon's lifelessness hung on the air and the necks of those attended. He checked his fake Rolex which dangled from his wrist for time: 5:18pm.

May 18th: the last time he reflects being this bored and phony at the same time; he was masturbating to Moonstruck, gazing himself in the role of Nicholas Cage. He imagined having sex with Cher while the two ribs she had had removed to lengthen her waistline remained in the corner of the room, trapped in formaldehyde, no longer the bastions of bone they once were, reduced to onlookers because they lacked fashionability.

Reality. Stuck in conversation, he alters subject matter to a painting that had caught his eye on the wall; a beautiful portrait of a naked woman caressing another man's arm, both smiling in an angelic, ethereal glance while hell swooned beneath them.

"Is that a Bosch?" he questions.

"No." replies the moocow, a Tiffany's locket ringing around her neck, letting all know where she grazed. "Marlie and I bought that at an auction on the Great Banks. I said it was a little presumptuous of us to corral such a spectacle of..."

Her voice trails off as his eyes survey the artwork; starting from the focal point of the woman's face and slowly sliding down her chest and stomach until he reached her vagina which, in the portrait, was no more than a muff of grey color and a dark black line. His mind took off into a field of ecstasies as he made love to the woman; the man in the portrait, as well of the minions of hell watched with awe at his astounding love making abilities.

Unfortunately, he was brutally vacuumed out of this image with the remembrance of his high school English teacher's words concerning sex: "for men, the vagina is a sight of great irony. You see, it was where they were born from, and where they, for the rest of their lives, attempt to get back to. Whenever they see the female genitals, their mothers will inevitably pop into their heads."

Dorris making lunch, faking brunch, tying shoes, tickling toes, mopping floors, shopping doors, making lunch, and faking brunch--all domestic images he coveted as a boy--images that, often during arousals, left him much like his fake watch, dangling and needing a second hand.

Tom sipped the last of his martini and fingered a quarter in his pocket which released some sexual tension aggravated by the portrait, alleviated by his mother, and aggravated again by a pair of breasts leaning over to take spanakopita from an hors d'oeuvres tray in the corner of the room. He had no problem with breasts, his sub and surface-consciousnesses were fully sexually functional, with only slight repression of a childhood incident. He wasn't breastfed; hence his mother's body had no influence upon him here.

"...nudity." Andrea continued. "I think it's slightly raunchy. Such open emotions and vulgarity. Tom. Tom? Tom!"

He slipped into fantasy again which, had him, three 4-foot high strawberries and a fish waiting to sneak inside a tent with his mother's mid section. Hell swooned beneath them as Satan clapped off an incandescent sun and moon to allow for more privacy. The halogen steadiness of Tom's mind recovered and came back to the life of the party, which resembled a hive of drugged bees, all capable of sting, yet none caring enough to act.

Their honey being money, their stinger's wit and wealth amassed in textiles and private practice--nearly every man in the room ended his introduction with--something of somethingology. Despite field differences, nearly all practiced similar forms of humdrum. Each man's wife was humdrum's better half; moocow. Neither was capable of an original thought.

This observation seemed ironically unoriginal to Tom, so he went inside the Tent hoping for a better catch of inspiration with the help of a fish.

"Hello Fish. I thought you might be here."

"I do not like strawberries. Well plaid."

"How was your day?"

"I want you to have sex with me."

"You are a fish."

"I know. That has not stopped you before."

"I am not a fish."

"And that is why I love you."

"(laugh) Get to the point!"

"My point is: that-tha- th-t...psk... (reality began to seep with the fantasy eventually yielding to moocow's ability to restore his mind to the current pointless scene)... The Great Banks are dismal in the winter, when we bought the painting and the nudity is too much for my taste; I have taste; I attended Syracuse with Costas and Demitri and Marlie and I decided not to buy the second painting even though it was on sale and..."

"I'm terribly sorry, Andrea."

"Excuse me?"


Andrea's glass of red wine matched her dress, a copasetic collection of idolatry and baroque figures that stitched their way up to her armpits where the dress ended, and left some men and gods cut off at the heads.

She was adorned with red dye on white hair, bobby pins to hold it there, and finding Tom to be of little intellectual threat, she continued.

"As I was saying, do you find it vulgar?"

"Not obtrusively. Vulgarity is so relative, though." The portrait stared back at him. The muscular man, who had the fortune of imminent sex while sitting next to the naked ethereal angel, gazed mockingly at its abstinent audience. He was the only man smiling in the room.

"Vulgarity is not the essence of art. It is merely a cheap trick to grab attention to man's two heads. I, however, find it rather stimulating, a kind of Maxi-pad of truth, catching from it the discards of human intelligence." Felicity, the youngest of the daughters was drunk, yet gave her two cents to the conversation.

"Felicity!" pined Andrea, "my word!!"
"I like vulgarity! Personally to me, it is the blood of youth which should be drained from man into a...a..."
"What! A Tampon!" shouted her mother. "Dear God child."

Tom smirked, licked his lips, and jumping from chest to chest in the room, landed again on the painting which almost appeared to be closer than it was before, or had he simply walked in the direction of the largest breasts in the room, which were in line with the canvas. His line of sight placed the breasts directly against the man in the painting, shielding his lover from view. His leering expression did not change--a happy replacement for both he and Tom.

"It's a Bosch," retorted Candy, a maid setting the snack table with victuals of vegetables at right angles to the furniture, as Andrea had requested.

"I thought so. I always loved the way the transcendence of his awkward religious depictions of life leaked into his psyche and..."; He was talking to himself. Unlike the guests, who were forced to listen to his and other’s intellectual dribblings, the maids didn’t give a shit. Why Tom had jumped into the analysis, he did not know – routine mostly.

He envied the maid’s cochlear freedoms. His brain hurt. He tried to send his senses into a withdrawal, but could not. He checked his watch for time; it had stopped.

Dry humor, martinis, air, and wit; topics that continued to keen Tom’s attention on the flexible rigidity of the plastic fork he held in his left hand which snapped causing a series of heads to turn at the unorthodox sound.



Someone stirred something.

Four hands offered replacement forks to which Tom grabbed one and re-broke it with more fervor than before.



Tom’s delusion...

No forks offered...


"I have to go,"; he muttered, taking an eggplant rolatini upon his exit.

Jesse Bergman