“I’ve got a can of too-ooo-ooo-oons, I got some car-too-ooo-ooo-oons.” Polly can’t sing, but she has passion, and I’m told that’s what counts, although that’s not what I believe. But I’m a generous guest, and as long as Polly keeps me fed and bed under the Met-Life Building in Midtown Manhattan, I’m happy as a clam. I mean rooster. I’m a rooster just as much as my cousin Rooster Quibbits, a proper “celebrity” down here in the urban animal community. I didn’t expect to hear so much fawning or see so many surprised faces when I give my last name. “You mean the Bennington Quibbits? You’re Rooster’s cousin! HOLY SHIT. Can I get a picture?” No, go die. The only reason I’ve resisted spur clawing or assaulting any of these gremlins and subway rats is because of the omnipresence of TikTok—even down here, you can’t escape the influence of the Chinese.
“Benny, I have some bad news for you.” Polly interrupted her early evening serenade of the radiator to hand deliver a “telegram” (repurposed CVS receipt) from my cousin and his wife (bitch). “BENNINGTON STOP. WE ARE COMING TO YOU FROM MASS STOP. DO NOT MOVE FROM THE MET-LIFE BUILDING UNTIL WE HAVE THINGS UNDER CONTROL STOP. IF YOU ARE DOING DRUGS THAT IS FINE JUST SAVE SOME FOR ME YOU KNOW WHAT I LIKE STOP.” I’m confused. Why is he yelling at me and telling me to “stop”? Stop what? My life? My truth? The way I’m behaving down here? Fuck him. This is so predictable: Rooster has a change of heart, makes it a quarter of the way there, then gets buffaloed by his bitch wife Monica into conceding that I’m the bad one, I’m the bad guy. Since when do bad guys wear leather?
I went to Polly’s personal bar for some refreshments and something to knock me the fuck out and send me to space or, better yet, a black hole, until we can get everything figured out. I don’t want to be conscious or ambulatory when they arrive, if they actually make it past gecko security. Last week they dismembered a squirrel who made a wrong turn. They said they felt sorry but they have bloodlust in their eyes, it’s something you can feel from them. Geckos aren’t good, they’re not pure, they’re dirty members of our community and we need to do something about them, come up with something, like a solution. But we’re busy—another time.
“Benny, you really shouldn’t be too hard on your cousin. I spoke with him on the phone—” WHAT? This breach of trust sends me right back to short pants and mud pies, getting beat up and made fun of by Rooster and all of his cooler, older friends. I hate it. “Benny, calm down. They’re coming along, there’s no rescue team or intervention squad with a TV crew coming down here. Not to my place. Not past the geckos.” I grunted, upset at their mention, upset by their existence, their privilege of a reality that isn’t theirs, that doesn’t belong to them. “Benny, you know how I am, and I don’t say this often, but you’re starting to sound like someone who hates. I’m not waving the flag, but I won’t host racists down here.”
Polly doesn’t understand the complex relationship between roosters and lizards. It’s complicated and it’s not my job to educate you or her (a peacock), so I’ll leave it at that. I guess she understood, because she let me sleep behind the bar and have some of her freezer Quaaludes. “Tonight my muffin is a dreamcake,” I told her, drooling with glee, “and it’s my birthday in heaven a thousand times.” Polly looked down at me and said nothing—for the first time, I felt she was judging me. She was disappointed and didn’t like to see me like this. But I didn’t care. I can’t deal with constant persecution at the hands of my family. Doesn’t she understand that? Can’t she see they want me to die?
I drank the rest of what was left from the drains and found a box of face masks to sleep in. It was comfy in there, and I wish I wasn’t awake writing this, but back in the box, where I belong. And no one can take me out of it.
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