Monday, May 20, 2013

The best medicine: microfictions

Am I right?

I'm so tired of being on the road. My boyfriend is a comedian. The names of places start to blur. Out West there was the Tee-Hee Teepee. In New England there was Sir Laughs-A-Lot. Down South there was the Crack ‘Em Up Barrel. The names are better than the jokes are.

“I put my baby on this baby-changing table. But I waited, and an hour later it was still the same old baby.”

At the Jest Nest I ordered a blue-raspberry alcoholic slushee and sat on a bar stool near the back. I watched my boyfriend in the dirty halo of the spotlight, reading his index cards. He wasn't supposed to do that — the others said it was taboo — but he worked it into his act, the act of the terrible comedian. It was supposed to be a gimmick but then it turned into the truth.

I watch him up there in these places — the Chuckle Barn, the Guffaw Garden, House of Snicker. I hear him prod the crowd for laughter. “Am I right?” “You feel me?” “Am I the only one?” I feel guilty because even I don’t answer.

Because the answers are “No,” “No,” and “Yes.”

There's a story 

I drive the Wienermobile for Oscar Mayer. It’s just what I do.

People ask me about it at parties. I get calls from the local paper.

“Oh, the stories you must have to tell!” “And how, praytell, does one fall into that line of work?” “What’d you major in, wienerology? Ha ha ha.”

I look at their faces poised for laughter. I shrug and say, “I filled out an application. I just needed a job. I’m a pretty good driver.”

When I’m out on the road I see people point and laugh. They take pictures with their cell phones.

I guess I understand it. I mean, it's not every day you see a fiberglass hot dog parked beside you at the Exxon, filling up with diesel.

A local TV news crew wanted to do a feature — A Day in the Life of the Wienermobile Driver. Slice-of-quirky-life. I shrugged and said OK. A young guy fresh from college sat in the passenger seat and quickly ran out of questions. We just drove around and around.

We got lunch at a Chipotle. The young guy said, “Man, how do you get this thing through the drive-thru? What do they say after you’ve placed your order and a great big wiener pulls up to the window?”

I said I don’t do that; I just park and walk inside.

They never aired the feature.

I was sorry it wasn’t more interesting for them. But what are you gonna do.

What they should have asked me about was the time I killed someone. Now there's a story.