Not Long Tales … January 14th, 2020

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4489)

23.

Gerzie and Roach Boy

(Warning: Adult Stuff

No Children or Mosquitos)

by Jonathan Richard Cring

Gerzie sat quietly in her room. She was surrounded by two hundred and forty-eight square feet of monotony.

Three months earlier, she had moved to New York from Eugene, Oregon, to pursue a career in theater. She was shocked to discover that not only were living spaces limited but priced at a rate that deserved a giggle—as if the real estate agent was kidding.

It was all catching up with her.

The lack of space. The dismal surroundings. The repetition of food.

Matter of fact, the only unique thing she had come up with to eat was adding vegetables she found discarded in the trash can from the People’s Market to her ramen noodles. She didn’t do that very often—but whenever she did, she referred to it as her “healthy night.”

The cattle calls for the plays would not be nearly as depressing if she didn’t have to come back to such a tiny space and eat from a dumpster like a racoon.

She was trying to learn.

Growing up in Oregon, she had no comprehension whatsoever what it was like to live in an international city like New York. She was born Geraldine Collier Shemansky. She’d always hated the name Geraldine, so when she was in the fifth grade and did a book report on cows and mentioned the Jersey variety, her friends started calling her by that name—Jersey. This delighted her and eventually evolved into Gerzie.

However, it was impossible to think she would become famous with a name like Gerzie Shemansky. So she changed her last name to Stills.

Gerzie Stills.

It wasn’t great, but it was better.

Matter of fact, that’s the way she felt all the time. Nothing was great, but it was better than sitting around Eugene, Oregon, waiting for some boy to decide to pick her to impregnate.

This week had been particularly depressing.

She was up for a part in an off-Broadway play which offered little to no finance but was going to be performed at a theater the stars often frequented out of curiosity.

The play was about Abraham Lincoln—but not from 1865. More or less the story of what would happen if Abe Lincoln was born today. She wanted the role of Mary Todd, his wife, who ends up stripping because Abe keeps flunking the bar exam.

Gerzie was down to final call—just her and another girl. She lost the part because the other girl was sleeping with the assistant director. (At least, that’s what Gerzie believed. She saw them necking behind the building, and the next thing she knew she was back out on the street with the other cattle, waiting for the call.)

All at once there was a scratching sound. It wasn’t loud. It wasn’t even persistent. It happened just once and then stopped. It was like someone took a set of car keys and ran it across a kitchen counter.

Even though the interruption did not continue, Gerzie was spooked. She was pretty sure it had come from her bathroom (which, by the way, her landlord referred to as a latrine).

Gerzie had to make a decision. She hated decisions. After all, she had decided to come to New York. How could she be trusted?

Unnerved but unwilling to sit without knowing what was going on, she slowly rose to her feet and inched the three steps to her bathroom. She peeked around the corner and jumped back, screaming.

Sitting in her miniature tub was a young man—one of the small varieties—with mounds of curly hair threatening to bush. He was dressed all in black, and peered at her sheepishly, seemingly terrified that he had been discovered.

Gerzie turned to grab her phone and call the police, then realized she had left her cell at the coffee shop down the street. (Another chore she needed to take care of today.)

She glanced at the window, wondering if she could raise it and scream for help. But she had heard such screams in the middle of the night, and not given them a second thought.

“What in the fuck are you doing in my room?” she asked loudly and slowly, emphasizing each word.

The young man—probably in his mid-twenties—replied with widened eyes, “I was investigating.”

Having no idea what he meant by that, Gerzie grabbed a hanger lying on the sink and hit him on the shoulder. He grabbed his arm, moaning. “Why’d you do that?” he asked.

Gerzie heaved a huge sigh. “Because you’re in my bathroom and I don’t know who you are. How’d you get here?”

She glanced over at the front door. Still shut.

All at once the man leaned up on his knees in the bathtub, excited. “You see, I crawled through the wall space that runs through this whole building, and I ended up here—at your vent.”

He pointed behind him. “I pushed ever so slightly on it, and it opened up and lifted out. So I just…” He paused. “I just came in.”

As the fellow talked, Gerzie felt that he was not volatile, and maybe not dangerous, so she put down her weapon—her hanger of choice—and said flatly, “Okay. Well, now you need to leave. You may use my front door.”

He held up one finger. “Before I go,” he said, “would you mind if I explain to you why I am investigating behind this wall space, and why I ended up here with you today?”

Gerzie was unnerved. His soft manner was unnatural. She was accustomed to young men his age being aggressive, silly and overbearing. A soft-spoken gent was not really human.

She shook her head, but he continued. “My name is Richard,” he began slowly. “I am a Huco.”

Gerzie frowned. Noticing her confusion, he elaborated. “I will tell you what a Huco is in a second, but first I want you to understand that I’m not crazy—just inventive. I’m not mentally ill—just mentally expanded. Do you know what I mean?”

Gerzie shook her head again and replied, “Those all sound like the things a crazy person would say to prove they’re not nuts.”

“I don’t want to go into all of my story,” Richard cited, ignoring her comment. “It would be rude to take up so much of your time. But let me just say that I am part of a very important experiment that was begun by my mother, Maxillena, who, for twenty-five years has been a belly dancer down at the Arabian restaurant—the Middle Feast.”

Gerzie almost smiled. It was the first thing she had understood. “I know that place,” she commented. “I’ve eaten there a couple of times. They have a soup night or something—where you can eat for two dollars.”

“Tuesday nights,” said the young man. “What’s your favorite?”

Gerzie shook her head. “I’m not going to have a conversation with you about soup.”

Persistent, the young man continued. “As I said, my name is Richard, and even though I may appear to you to be part of the species Homo sapiens, just like yourself, I am actually a mixed breed.”

Gerzie was worried again. The soft, easy tone of his voice could quickly change to a maddening roar as he reached up to slit her throat. “Listen,” she said, “I know you probably have an interesting story. Maybe you should write it down. Slip it under the door. I’ll read it. I’ll even edit it. I’m in theater, you know.”

“If you’ll let me continue for just five minutes,” Richard said, ignoring her, “I need someone to talk to. I grow weary of discussing my future with only my mother—and when she returns from work, she’s so exhausted… And besides, I’m really uncomfortable watching her dance at the restaurant.”

“I was born unusual,” he said.

“And remain so,” poked Gerzie.

Richard smiled. Good. Maybe she could talk him down from his ledge.

He continued. “My mother was of the belief that she wanted to have a child who was indestructible and would live—well, if not immortal, a lot longer than other humans do.”

“Isn’t that what every mother hopes?” said Gerzie.

Richard ignored her. “Here’s the heart of it. And I ask you to give a chance to get all the details before you reject.” His face darkened. “I hate it when people reject! How would they feel if I rejected them?”

His tone became increasingly hostile with each statement. Gerzie held out a hand. “Relax. No one’s gonna reject you. Have I kicked you out of my bathroom yet? No. So be cool.”

Richard sucked in a deep breath and replied dramatically, “Thank you. You are one of the good ones.”

He looked around the room. “Did you know,” he said, “that cockroaches have been on Earth for two hundred and fifty million years?”

Spooked, Gerzie also glanced about the room, wondering if some of Richard’s brothers and sisters were listening.

He asked, “Did you know a cockroach can live for three days without a head? It actually dies of thirst.”

Gerzie was speechless.

“And did you know,” Richard went on, “that cockroaches can survive under water for thirty minutes?”

Gerzie carefully reached over and patted him on the shoulder. “Richard,” she said, “why are we talking about cockroaches?”

He straightened his shoulders, lifted his head and proudly declared, “Because I am one. At least half of me is.”

Gerzie looked at the window again. Even if she couldn’t yell out it, maybe she could crawl out of it.

“There!” Richard punctuated. “I said it. You see, many years ago, my mother wanted that child of promise and power. Having studied the cockroach for herself, she decided to mingle human semen with cockroach semen, and then shoot it into her body with a turkey baster.”

Gerzie was devoid of both thought and words. But for some reason, Richard decided to pause, waiting for her to reply.

Finally, Gerzie said, “Industrious…”

Pleased, Richard continued. “She wanted to find a scientist, a genius, a musical star to provide the seed for the human part, but none were available. So for the human sperm, she had sex with Mickey, who played at the piano bar. He was very talented and wrote songs. And not really knowing how to extract the semen from a cockroach, my mother advertised on Craig’s List, requesting a sample of cockroach semen. Strangely enough, she immediately got eight calls. It cost her three hundred and twenty dollars, but she got the stuff necessary to mix together semen from the cockroach and the piano man. She put it in the turkey baster, inserted—and squirted.”

Gerzie began to imagine what condition her body would be in when the police found it. She hoped she would still be clothed. It would be very embarrassing to have strange, New York cops staring at her tits and her v-space.

Fortunately, Richard seemed comforted by telling his story, so she decided it would be best to listen—careful not to appear cynical.

“It took three times,” he said gently, “but on the third time, it worked. She was pregnant with me. She was going to have the world’s first Huco—a human and a cockroach.”

Gerzie silently weighed her choices. She didn’t want to die—but she couldn’t stand for this fellow to be so ignorant. “Richard,” she said sweetly.

He interrupted. “Most people call me Roach Boy.”

“Would it be alright if I stayed with Richard?” she returned.

He nodded.

“Richard,” Gerzie purred, “I need to tell you something. Interspecies mating is not possible, even if by some reason you were able to get your hands on cockroach semen.”

Richard frowned. “But I am a cockroach.”

Gerzie nodded her head, and then asked, “How do you know you’re a cockroach?”

Richard pulled up the legs of his pants. “I’m very, very, very hairy,” he offered, showing her his limbs. “My arms are very long, and I have a strong inclination to crawl into small spaces. And…Oh, oh!” he stuttered. “Also—people scare me when they come into the room.”

Gerzie began to speak but Richard interrupted. “And did I mention? I will eat anything.”

Gerzie changed the subject. “So,” she said, “Roach Boy, is there a reason you crawled into my life today?”

“I’ve been watching you,” he replied.

“I was afraid of that,” moaned Gerzie.

“No, I have been,” said Richard, the Roach Boy. “And I wanted to give you the honor of being the mother of the second generation Huco.”

Gerzie squinted. “What is it you’re suggesting?”

Richard became very excited. “We need to continue to improve. Evolve!”

Gerzie held up her hands to stop him. “Richard, suddenly the word ‘we’ has come into the conversation. Roach Boy, there is no we. Just you, your mother and your hairy legs.”

Richard was undeterred. “I was just wondering if you would like to mate with me, and together we could make a more human example than I am, but still possess the attributes of the Huco inside my double-helix,” he proffered.

Gerzie was tired of it. “Listen,” she said wearily. “I’m very happy for your double helix. It’s always good to have a second one, just in case. But I’m not going to mate with anyone. I’m an actor. It’s difficult enough for me to mate with enough money to pay my bills. I don’t want to be the Mama of a Huco. I know that sounds strange to you. You think you’re offering the chance of a lifetime. But honestly, it’s a chance I will never take in my entire lifetime.”

Richard sat for a moment in the bathtub. He was disappointed. He breathed deeply, gathering strength. “Would you at least like to meet my mother?”

“No,” said Gerzie. “Bellies have always scared me. Even if they’re dancing.”

He followed up. “Would you like to go out to dinner at the Middle Feast with me?”

“No,” said Gerzie, “I think, Richard, that this is going to be just a single affair.”

Richard nodded his head, leaned forward and gave her a hug. Gerzie couldn’t help but think that it felt very much like a cockroach.

He climbed out of the tub, waddled the four steps to the front door and then spoke dramatically, as if offering a proclamation:

“One day, my dear, Hucos will rule the world for the next two hundred million years. I hope you won’t be sad because you were left out.”

Maneuvering toward the door, Gerzie replied, “I don’t think so—because I’ll be dead.”

Richard stuck his head out the door, looking right and left, and then gradually exited, first with his shoulders, then the trunk of his body, his waist and finally bringing out his legs. He scurried down the hallway, certainly resembling his filthy vermin kin.

Gerzie quickly shut the door.

An unbelievable experience. She wondered if he would return. But part of her knew that he would have to be out and about, seeking his mate.

She sat down to continue her musings when it occurred to her, “This would make a great movie. Or a play. I mean, what happened here might be very entertaining if you didn’t have to live through it yourself.”

She could even use her own name. Just think: Gerzie and Roach Boy.

It would draw people like flies. She laughed at her own cleverness.

She absolutely needed to write up a treatment—something she could pitch. Maybe she could play the part of the girl.

Yet…

She would certainly have to lose some weight, get a collagen injection in her lips, and practice the accent.

“Ifing” Way: Part 2… October 27, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2394)

If bigger

What if a voice of sanity had risen up at various stages in the story of human history, to offer a challenging view when craziness was about to win the day?

If …

Dad arrived just in time.

His youngest son was already primed and ready to run out the door to go see his older brother to try to reconcile hurt feelings. The siblings had never really been close, yet the bond of family had always meshed them with a sense of loyalty. But recent events had exacerbated the tenuous feelings, generating a volatile situation. A simple misunderstanding had turned into a sense of rejection, culminating in a looming burst of rage.

When the incident happened, Dad stepped between them to prevent violence, but the younger son, having a more optimistic nature, believed all that was needed was a good conversation. So he had privately decided to go off on his own, without any counsel, to see his brother at the work site so they could “rummage through their feelings” and arrive at resolution.

Fortunately, Dad came on the scene–just in time.

“Where are you going?” Dad asked.

The young man paused for a second, wondering if he could possibly deceive his father and achieve his own purposes, but then realized that was contrary to his heart.

“You know where I’m going. I’m going to make peace with my brother.”

The father smiled. “I know that seems like a good idea to you, and far be it from me to be against peace, but your brother is a complicated man and his emotions and thoughts are not privy to you, and therefore not available.”

The young man frowned.

Sensing his son’s disagreement, the father continued. “We could talk about this all day and we wouldn’t agree. What I would like you to do is trust me. If I end up being wrong, I’ll be the first to admit it. But I would like you to leave your brother alone for a while, until you and I agree on a better time. Because if you go and see him now, all you’re going to do is remind him of the pain of the conflict, and perhaps incense him over the idea that you appear to be the better brother because you’re trying to make things right. I want you to promise me–based upon our friendship and bond–that you will stay away from him until things are better.”

The young man objected. “But how can things get better if we don’t make them better?”

The father patted him on the shoulder and said, “Son, sometimes things don’t get better. But if we interfere, we can make them worse.”

He gave his younger son a hug. The boy agreed to stay away from his older brother until such time as was deemed appropriate.

As it turned out, the conversation never actually happened. The two brothers, who had never been particularly close, maintained a distance throughout their lives. They learned how to be appropriate during family gatherings, and gave each other proper respect and space.

Cain and Abel never became close friends.

But because Adam took his position as a father and intervened in a dangerous situation … no one had to die.

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Dissatisfaction… October 7, 2012

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Live from October 1st filming

The unknown.People who believe they understand the unknown are plagued with the curse of arrogance instead of blessed with the abundance of faith. For after all, faith gently permits hope but fiercely avoids certainty. It is what causes us to be faithful instead of self-assured.

I have many unknowns. I occasionally will awaken with a pain–and at my age, the mind races towards more dismal possibilities. If I take a moment to regain my sanity, I can laugh at my own jumping to conclusions and merely move on, realizing that most discomfort is temporary.

I don’t like to join into conversations about heaven–not because I lack a desire to go there or because I am secretly agnostic about its existence. It’s just that when I hear folks trumpet their testimony and support for the supernal, it rings of a bit of insincerity and maybe even hidden anxiety about the presence of eternity. Yes, it’s true–often the louder we talk, the less we truly believe.

Again–the unknown.

For instance, I don’t know what you’re going to do next. I neither control it nor do I particularly affect it. Anticipation is what we do when we have decided what people should be pursuing, audaciously making out a “things to do today” list for them and become quite disappointed when they wad it up and throw it away. Most arguments between friends are not based upon an actual occurrence, but rather, a general feeling of disapproval over the failure of one person to comply with the other person’s demands.

I heard someone once say that there’s a “world of the unknown” out there. Actually that’s not true. The world is something that we CAN understand–we are able to discern the face of the sky and pretty well forecast what will fall from above. But strangely enough, we often become the most pompous about the things that are NOT of this world, and fuss with those who disagree with our conclusions. For instance, those of the Hindu faith would be greatly disappointed if they discovered they were not returning to earth again in some new incarnation. On the other hand, most Christians would be very surprised if they came back as a fox instead of walking streets of gold.

So we stomp, argue and insist. But no one really knows. No matter how much you try to point to testimonials of those who claim to have come back from the dead, the fact of the matter is, they always tend to share a rendition of what they saw in the afterlife that is very similar to what they were taught here. We know that can’t be true. The Bible says that “eye hath not seen nor ear heard” what God has prepared for those who believe in Him. So if it ends up being an exact replica of what has already been written, it certainly would smack of the mediocre.

There are so many unknowns. What will be the next virus to invade our world? Will Iran and Israel make peace, or continue to throw rocks at each other over a poorly constructed fence?

This subject came to my attention the other day when I was backing out of a parking lot in my van, and in my blind spot was a pick-up truck which was perched behind me–double parked and awaiting another available space. Honestly, I did not see the truck, so as I backed up, there was a long blast from his horn. I quickly stopped.

I didn’t think anything more about it, until I began to leave the parking lot and an older gentleman stepped in front of my van. He was angry. I glanced over and realized that he was the owner of the pick-up truck which had just honked. He demanded that I roll down my window. So I did, and with a red-jowled, angry face, he challenged my driving skills and wondered “what the hell I was trying to do.”

I was not expecting this. I did not know why he was so angry. But you see, I had been spending some time with myself, which is the most important “known” factor you can actually deal with in life. In the past, I would have been angry that HE was angry and we would have exchanged an unfulfilling conversation ending in rage. He explained to me the obvious, which was that I almost backed into him.

I replied, “I’m so glad you were paying attention. We needed ONE of us to! Thank you for doing that.”

He was completely disarmed. I don’t know what he wanted; I don’t know what he envisioned. His motivations are completely unknown to me. Therefore, honestly, I don’t care. Maybe he had a bad morning. Maybe he just came from the doctor’s office and was diagnosed with cancer. Maybe his wife burned his eggs and for the forty-fifth time this year he had to eat them without saying a word. I have no idea and once again–it doesn’t make any difference.

Because I will tell you truthfully–there are only two knowns that I make my concern: my space, my face.

After all, if there ends up being no God and just a grave, I will only be remembered for how I handled my space and what disposition I selected to display on my face.

I can’t control your space and when I do, I am always made to look foolish, and liberty wins the day and curses my interference.

I certainly have no authority over your face and if I suggest that you may be offering a disconsolate countenance to the world around you, you will not only consider that an intrusion, but actually may deepen the furrows on your brow.

After all the unknowns are set aside and placed intelligently into the hands of more divine ability, I am left with my space and my face.

I surprised myself a little bit when I had this encounter with the frustrated gentleman in the parking lot. I was amazed that I felt no wrath or desire to hurt him. I just wanted to move on.  I wanted to quickly admit that I was unable to see him, he did a good thing–and because of that, we were not exchanging the numbers of our insurance companies.

My space. My face.

Here’s what I do know:

My space is peace. I will not fight with you. I will not try to hurt you. I will not try to impart anything to you that hasn’t been tested and proven in my own soul to be beneficial. Then, when I do share it, I will do so as an offering instead of a demand.

My face is joy. Joy is a resolute happiness that continues in a desired path, even when others have abandoned it for the latest craze.

You may continue to debate the unknown and contend that you have some sort of authority over things beyond your fingertips. I would rather indulge in the power of dissatisfaction about the supernatural and instead, take care of my space and my face.

And in case you didn’t hear me the first time, and for all my lifetime to come:

May it be clear to one and all–my space is peace and my face is joy.

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