Corkscrewing, Pt. II.
by Smiley McGrouchpants
Yeah, o.k., Ben, if that's your name, sure I'm into Scorsese, I guess, I taped After Hours during one of those "free preview" weekends, typed a label for the VHS tape with the running time and rating and year and title like I did for Raiders of the Lost Ark and Back to the Future and Gandhi (which I never really watched, all the way through) like the little nerd I was . . . yeah, me and my "O-Week hookup," Kathy, saw Goodfellas the first week of school, she's still my friend, no regrets there, either way, can't say the same for you, supposed to last only the first week of school, anyway, and here you are, two weeks-or-so into Winter Quarter, and you're still together . . . she's glaring at you from elsewhere in the laundry room. I just came down to do my laundry, and get sucked into this shit . . . sure, I'll save your ass. I'm sure it's not due to unresolved boundary-loss issues emanating from your well-off and indulgent family, which don't travel well, up-to-and-including your losing your virginity in an eighth-grade ménage-à-trois involving your older-brother's friend and his wife, during which "he had a good time," nothing to break you in like "desultory" fucking, maybe he wanted to make you bisexual, like him, so he wouldn't have to deal with being gay, which would be difficult, anyway, during the mid-to-late 80's . . . sure, how am I supposed to know any of this shit? Or even guess at it? Yeah, I like Martin Scorsese's pictures . . . You got me, there!
So, you "know we'll be 'close'?" Well, just put your hand on my knee, alone in my room, perv, unasked-and-unflirted for, go get a date, you coward, you limp-dicked male bitch . . . but, of course, it's through so many guises, not least of all fatherly concern, which is sorely lacking in my life, yup, I had to grab the reins when I was six years old, jump between him and his poor-match of a wife when he said he was going to "fucking kill" her . . . well, then he went to the couch, it was almost trite, "duh, the kids are there, I guess I should calm down . . . " Way it was in my house. "Not in front of the children" only ever occurs to adults . . . yeah, it's pretty taxing raising three kids while you're growing yourself. Sure. Why not. Take the reins.
I never told you where my nickname came from, to begin with. Mr. Price — in one of the boldest movies I've ever seen a teacher even do — dropped it on me, in the middle of class (there was already a kid named Keith Tobin, whom everyone called "Tobes") so that it'd be deployed with a jarring burst of laughter and recognition, making me instantly "identifiable" rather than a loner, odd man out, most kids did the whole K-12 route at our private school or showed up at 9th grade, there was a big influx then you could hide yourself in . . . Two of the three of us who showed up, out-of-step, in 8th grade, didn't come back. He nodded his head to me, briefly, as we all exited the class, a nod of approval and endorsement, a way of saying You're safe, now, as though I had a life preserver to float with, and never mentioned it again . . . Of course, I had to start a year early, since, even though I had been getting nineties in public-school 7th grade, and I was in Level 5 all year, the accelerated program they bothered to break us out into, that's ignorable . . . the dad I had, just looked at me, in front of other adults at the preliminary interview, and said "Well, if you can come up with a reason . . . " See aforementioned. Let alone the resulting missteps Mr. Price helped with, and/or not being able to finish junior-high with my public-school friends . . . Where to start? Like I can't tell when I'm not being listened to, anyway. Part of the reason I couldn't wait to be fully grown all through my childhood, since "Don't hurt our feelings!" took precedence over anything like logic, long-term thinking, or non-selfserving "love" . . . oh, you spoiled brat, you find my high-school nickname patronizingly funny? Revive it. After all — and you can't stop mouthing off about it — we all know how "liberal" you are . . . Right. Not "unfeeling"! I get it.
Good thing the car broke down, on our way to St. Louis, your home turf. Don't know what you were really planning on pulling, down there, but it was kinda weird how, as my anxiety about being away from Chicago only increased the further we got, the crescendo almost seemed to bring about the collapse of whatever-it-was in the engine that made us pull over to the side of the road. What a relief! Maybe even enough of my own Karma's still with me, not eroded by other persons. As if.
Congratulations! You graduated Phi Beta Kappa. Now you get granddaddy's promised trust fund (I'd have to guess . . . Why else even bother telling me, "granddaddy didn't like it" when you changed your last name to "Rape"?). Glad we saw all those indie movies, all but vocating, together, just so your could make a "Sex Ed" video where your spread yous rectum wide. Glad I don't get those years back, and am left in the lurch. Glad I can't sue you, for even a portion of that Trust Fund . . . Can I?