“No motor in the oil?”
“Rooster, you don’t know how to drive.”
Rooster. Rooster. She’s calling me “Rooster” now, like I’m generic. Like I’m some piece of meat she picked up at the fish market looking to sell. I don’t think so. I think my wife’s trying to kill me. We’ve been on the road traveling to save my cousin Bennington for from eternal damnation for weeks now, and it’s getting to me. I’m losing sleep. The driving. The constant emails. The paranoia. The anxiety about when my next book is coming out (late-2023). It’s a problem for me to be so occupied with the problems of others while I’m flourishing. I’m a flower in bloom and no one can stop me—not even my wife. Not even the drive-in attendant at the McDonald’s that refused to serve me bread and Oreo crumbs in lieu of a “Happy Meal.”
Let me tell you something, lady: there’s nothing happy about genocide.
We’ve resorted to eating at fast food chains to keep alive during our misbegotten drive to New York from Boston. I got lost and first we were in the South and now we’re near Chicago. I’m really sorry. But I’m excited about all of the Mexican food we can eat (Monica is getting hungry and also wide—WOW). I’m not a fan of the way this cuisine treats our species (“pollo”), but I’m a massive fan of all of its other products (even the cheeses, I’m feeling crazy). Nothing compares to a dumpster bag of tortilla chips, pico de gallo, hot sauce, and brown guacamole. Monica and I went beastmode at the back of a Tortilleria Ostentinass outside of Joliet. We’re getting strange with it and I feel like the more time I spend outside and really eating the earth and relying on the grass and highway runoff to support my water supply, I feel like I’m tapped in, like I can feel the culture in my mind, vibrating, illuminating, spreading all around me in a thousand no million no billion no trillion million points of light and I—
“Rooster why are you blue.”
And so I took my husband to a hospital in the Midwest. Why? Because I love him. I can eat candy bars and ham sandwiches and drink milk in the waiting area. This place is so busted that we’re actually being treated like people—isn’t that something? Last time Rooster saw a people doctor, we were in the Marin—no, can’t talk about that. Anyway it’s been several… years, since his last checkup. I’m sure he’ll be fine. Oh here he comes…
“Honey I have brain cancer.”
“Oh my GOD, Rooster!”
“I’m actually really fucked up inside though.”
“I know. I love you.”
“I love you, too."
So we stopped eating out of dumpsters and went to the most hippy-dippy free-loving vegan Midwestern square-ass woke cafe with all of the signs in the window for all of the causes in the world and it’s so dark in there I feel like I’m in Dracula’s breakfast nook. Our waiter, “Bison,” hasn’t only provided us with a table but also “the freedom to unleash your chains.” Rooster and I spent the entirety of our appetizer (linguini) trying to figure out what he meant by that. “Chains.” Is it factory farming? Meat eaters? And then I remembered the chalkboard outside. It was dark, Rooster didn’t have his glasses per usj (“they make me look ugly. They make me look like Woody Allen”), but I saw what it said: “LIBERTY LIVES HERE. UNMASKED & UNVAXXED ONLY.” We were never asked about our vaccination status—how would you even prove that?
Or vice versa… Hrngh. Can’t get distracted. Our waiter is a flake and I don’t trust him. “Listen, Rooster, Bison is out to get us and we need to think laterally here.” He flicked his hackle at me, the twerp. “Monica, we haven’t even finished our entrée. I’d like to eat my breadsticks without any of this inside of my brain. Thank you.” Fine. I left him alone to eat his dessert (salmon roe and marmalade) while I checked my socials in the bathroom. Someone was doing coke in one of the stalls, or they had a cold, or they were spreading the not-so-novel coronavirus in my general vicinity. So I left without saying a word.
Rooster came running after me. “MONICA!! I GOT IT! I GOT HIS COORDINATES! WE’RE GOING UNDERGROUND!”
Bennington again. I just wanted a normal dinner. Real people were showing us common courtesy and treating us and guests in their establishment, and I didn’t even get a full meal. I hate this. Nevertheless, I persist. It is just my way. The Monway.