Blogagaard Posts Story Written in 1998

Edmund’s Story

So we’re driving out to Cabbage Swamp, right? We’re driving, or, if you want accurate, my owner, Clyde “the Snake” Riffkin, is driving. We’re not breaking the speed limit or anything ‘cause we’re worried about cops and we’re listening to the most godawful music my sensitive leaves had ever heard. I mean this was Yanni or some crap like that. Which is real funny if you know Clyde, who thinks he’s pretty hot shit. Clyde’s a mobster, a gangbanger from New York City. A small fish in a very dangerous pond, that’s what he is.
“What a belissimo day for a drive, Edmund!” he says to me.
Clyde has decided that he is of Italian descent though he’s actually as Norwegian as it gets, from his blondy blond hair to his baby blue eyes (which he bats at every dame we come across). And although he’s obviously not Italian Clyde tries real hard to act like he is, always saying something corny like “You offend me, you insult la famillia” and “How much longer must I take these offenses” or even the curiously garbled phrase “You broke my heart, now you must die.”
His stupid phrases wouldn’t piss me off so much if he would get them right. I swear I sat with that idiot for seventeen showings of “The Godfather”, twelve showings of “Goodfellas”, and probably a hundred other showings of a dozen more mobster movies. And do you know how pissed people get when you bring a tall houseplant to a movie with you? That’s right, he just plops me down next to him, clay pot and all. He never thinks about how the hell anyone is supposed to see over me, and I sure can’t help it that my leaves are big, green, and beautiful.
What? Yes, I’m a goddamn houseplant! Why the Christ you interrupting me? Of course I’m sentient! Aren’t I talking to you right the fuck now?
Just let me finish the goddamn story, wise guy. Like I was saying . . . Fine, one more question.
Why does Clyde “The Snake” Riffkin run with a houseplant? Isn’t it obvious? I’ve got style, baby.
Stop laughing, you asshole. I can wait all night. . .
Good, I’m glad you’ve finally managed to control yourself. So maybe I don’t know why Clyde brings me everywhere with him. He’s probably a little crazy, but who the hell isn’t? Maybe he just needs a girlfriend. Bad.
No, I don’t mind him dragging me everywhere. Most domestic plants are so bored they stop thinking after their first year in captivity. Traveling with Clyde’s fine by me, long as he keeps his greasy little mobster hands out of my pot. I don’t truck to any of that weird “re-potting” crap. It seems like just another way to molest an honest plant, if you ask me.
So we were cruising out to good old Cabbage Swamp, doing the same old milk run we’ve done for years. The corpse in the trunk doesn’t even smell bad yet and things are going just fine (Clyde’s not a knee breaker; he works in the “sanitation” department). We turn off the highway and enter the swamp, some seven square miles of bog, fog, and frog, and after a few minutes we stop. Clyde unbuckles his seat belt and declares stoically, “Well, Edmund, the family is counting on us. I better get that bastard buried.”
So he turns off the car and, thanks be to Beelzebub, Yanni with it. The bright afternoon sun is warm and tasty through the windows; I’m glad for once that I’m rooted right where I am.
Clyde gets out and goes around back. He pops open the trunk and curses as the smell hits him. I can imagine him steeling himself for a minute before he starts to drag the dead guy out. I can hear him puffing something awful and think to myself that it must be another fat one. Clyde always gets the fat ones, and I’m not just talking about corpses, either.
After Clyde gets the dead guy out of the trunk the dragging begins. I swear I watch him slide lardo across the goddamn ground for over an hour. Clyde isn’t exactly in the best possible shape for corpse dragging. To tell the truth, he’s sort of an all-around pussy. For starters, he’s a vegan. Doesn’t eat no milk or meat or nothin’. Checks every damn label in the store, like he’s just another bean counting, bargain shopping, piss ant American. He’s skinny as hell and I think maybe because of his diet his blood’s thinner, like mine. Also, Clyde can’t fight so well. One time I saw an old lady, skinny as a pipe, give him a healthy ass kicking with her purse. It was real funny because Clyde didn’t know what to do (you just can’t shoot an old lady in broad daylight) and in the meantime the wrinkled broad is slapping him good, whap-whap-whap with her crusty leather purse. What made it funnier was that it happened at the grocery store and Clyde deserved it, since the impatient moron had cut in front of the old lady, elbowing his way ahead of her in the produce lane like the world’s biggest jack-off.
It’s starting to get dark by the time Clyde is out of sight. I sit there and wait, musing over the idiocy of humankind and watching bugs smack into the windshield. Suddenly I see this shaggy brown hair floating along the bottom of my window. It’s the top of some little kid’s head. He stand’s up on his tiptoes and looks through the window at me, cupping his hands over his eyes to reduce the glare. His eyes are big and brown and remind of those sad, saggy dogs you see on TV. The kid can’t be more than six.
“Hello?”
Not having vocal chords can be a real bitch sometimes. I play dumb. The kid knocks on the window. “Hello?” I see Clyde push his way out of some bushes twenty yards from the car. There’s mud all the way up to his knees, his face is red, and he looks plenty pissed. The kid maybe hears him puffing and turns to look at him. If the kid’s eyes were wide before they must be gigantor-huge now.
“Hello?”
Clyde stops and scratches his head. His face is all scratched up.
“Yes?” Clyde says, looking as if he maybe thought the kid was a goddamn Martian or something, dropped right out of the sky like A.L.F. but without the big beak and brown fur. The kid smiles and waves, cute as hell. “Hi.”
Clyde frowns. “Hi yourself. How long ya been here?”
“My name is Billy.”
“How long ya been out here, Billy?”
“What was that big thing you were dragging?”
Oh shit. Clyde gets that creepy, Mr. Rogers-on-crack look on his face. He walks right up to Billy and kneels down. “Nothing. Just some trash.”
“Oh.” Now it’s Billy’s turn to frown. “My daddy doesn’t like people dumpin’ garbage on our land.”
“This is your land?”
Billy smiles. “We moved here last month from Tennessee.”
Clyde scratches his head and stares past the kid into crazy land.
“I thought this was a state park.”
Billy shrugs. What’s land ownership to a six year-old? Clyde stands up and cracks his knuckles.
“How would you like to go help me pick the garbage up, Billy? Your dad will be so goddamn proud of you for helpin’ keep the land clean he’ll piss himself.”
One time I went to Clyde’s therapist with him. Clyde always called his therapist “that smart cunt” but it turned out her name was Linda. Linda was helping Clyde deal with his aggressive side. It seems that Clyde has a shitload of “childhood issues” most of which involved, ahem, household plants and abandonment. It also seems that Clyde feels threatened by other people and in tense situations he tends to react “unfavorably”. I surmised from the namby-pamby way Linda delivered this parcel of information she really meant that Clyde was fucked up, perhaps murderously fucked up. So when Clyde asks Billy to help pick up the “garbage” I can see that things are going to take a sinister turn, and that means trouble for me. Prisoners don’t get to take their favorite plant with them to their cell, and I sure as hell don’t want to try to forage for myself in the wild.
Clyde smiles faintly and starts leading Billy towards the swamp. Suddenly the inside of the car feels too warm for me and I’m wishing Clyde would come back and drive us home to New York so we can lounge around the house and watch “Carlito’s Way” for the fortieth mind-numbing time.
Just before they disappear behind some bushes Clyde reaches over and touches Billy’s shoulder. This is a mistake. Billy whirls around, his eyes wild.
“My daddy told me about perverts like you!”
Clyde’s eyes get just about as wide as toilet bowls at that and he sort of staggers backwards as Billy pulls a little pocketknife out of his pocket and flips open the blade. When Billy snarls he don’t look so cute anymore.
“Daddy warned me about big city faggots like you. You think you can come down here to our swamp and touch my wiener? Well, I can tell you my daddy . . .”
“Wait a second,” Clyde says, not believing this is going down. “I wasn’t . . .”
Billy lunges for Clyde and they both tumble into the bushes together. I can’t see too well what happens next but suddenly Clyde is running back to the car with his face all bloody. He jumps inside and soon we’re rocketing back down the swamp’s narrow access road with Yanni wailing on the stereo like he’s having his rectum examined and me almost falling out of my pot as we hit a goddamn army of bumps.
“We gotta get outta here, Edmund,” Clyde says, holding his sliced cheek.
Before we’re too far down the road I look in the rearview mirror and see a receding Billy charging after us with his bloody pocketknife raised threateningly, making me feel all relieved and fuzzy inside, even though I personally think the kid’s a violent little homophobe.
So we got back to New York without a problem and that’s my story.
Huh? What’s the moral?
Fuck you, that’s your fucking moral. Christ, it’s hard enough being a houseplant without having to answer the questions of a retard like you.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Dave- I'm now officially nervous to water my plants!

mikey said...

I think a gangbanger and mobster are two different things.

I could be wrong though, I don't have a lot of experience there.

Blogagaard said...

Tell it to the plant, Mikey. Tell it to the plant.

Blogagaard said...

People should be wary of plants, Anon. Didn't you read Day of the Triffids!?

mikey said...

I think if the plant has that much to say, it should at least get the facts right.

Blogagaard said...

and what are these "facts" you love so much, Mikey? 1,000 years ago, people would have told you that the earth was flat. They would have said that, too, was a fact.

Asura said...

It's good to see you've uh, grown Dave...yeah, that's it. Grown.

:D

mikey said...

You sound like that dude who wrote 'A Million Little Pieces'. Truth should not get in the way of a good story...

Blogagaard said...

And what is a story, Mike? Is not everything a story? Is not everything related to Oprah, in some way? Does not her book club suck, in every way?

Blogagaard said...

I was 19 when I wrote this fine piece of literature, 19 and confident that this would be the greatest story ever. Now, I am not so sure. I feel way more jumpy and unsure of myself than I did at 19; wisdom brings the knowledge that you are fallible, and then knowing your are fallible can become a self-fullfilling prophecy, much like that time I found out the wedding reception I was trapped at would have an open bar all night and I said, "Dude, I am getting so drunk tonight my teeth will hum in my mouth." Oh, and they hummed, people. They hummed big time.

Anonymous said...

Dave, the Captain once became very upset when he heard a fellow writer setting up this sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. Bad synergy. He was afraid we'd all get insecure & just give up. Don't do it Dave. Don't do it. You've got what it takes. You know how to tell a story with fascinating language.

Blogagaard said...

Thanks, I'll do my best. Even if I can't spell perfectly.

mikey said...

I'm not sure what a story is, although it is an interesting philosophical point about what should be truth and what should be embellishment.

I do know one thing though. When your publisher is offering to give people their money back for your book, I think the jig is up big time.

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