Wednesday, December 15, 1999

Jimmy Part Three.

"How many times do I have to tell you, Jimmy?" she said. "How many times?"

Not knowing how many times it had been so far, and being unable to add one to the total if he had been able to figure it out, Jimmy said, "I don't know."

"Well, pick up these bones right now, and don't let this happen again."

Jimmy's head felt like it was in a vice. An airplane glue-depravation vice, to be exact. Before his mom had even left the room, Jimmy had forgotten all about the bones scattered around and was in the process of putting his bathrobe on so he could go shoplift another tube or two. If he had more jingle he'd go for the half-gallon tub of wallpaper paste, but he had lost his job at the circus when he'd overscrubbed the one-and-only oneofakind, see it here for the first and only time in your life Whaleopotamus. Once the ringing in his ears starts, he hears nothing else. He simply scrubs like a madman, off in his own world, and not even the horrible, tortured screams of an overscrubbed Whaleopotamus would shake him out of it.

So Jimmy was fired for animal overabrasion, and had been forced to give up his high-rolling wallpaper paste lifestyle.

Who knows how many times Jimmy had tried to fit a half-gallon of wallpaper paste under his bathrobe? Jimmy sure didn't know, even if he used his fingers to count. He'd try it every time, yet it always resulted in a telltale bulge that even a nearsighted hardware or hobby shop cashier couldn't miss. Best stick with the airplane glue, right Jimmy? You said it.

"Right behind the canvas you'll see the oneofakind Whaleopotamus. Never has there been, never will you see such a bizarre beast, a fluke of nature. God's most horrendous error, yet shined to mirrorlike perfection, the Whaleopotamus will make even the most Holy among you question the sobriety of the Creator. The line is now forming, don't get left out, this might be the last showing of the night. Hurry right up, or miss your first and only chance to see the Whaleopotamus. The shiny beast of the deep..."

Jimmy came to his sense once again on the floor of his toolshed bedroom with a half-full glue tube in a hand and a fully empty one clentched between some of his toes, and the pockets of his bathrobe stuffed of small animal bones. Not the same animal bones as before, but pretty close. He wrenched his hand free from the floor; it seemed to be stuck on there.

He could almost hear him mom now, saying, "How many times do I have to tell you, Jimmy?" But the ringing in his ears was too loud, so he had to read her lips. Then she left the room again. Right away, he couldn't remember if she had really been there, or if he was imagining things again. Sometimes he thought J.P. was around when he wasn't. Instinctively, he started picking up the bones and stashing them under the burlap bag of hay that he slept on so he could glue them together later.

"You do a fine job of scrubbing, my boy, " said J.P. Bahrnamus, world-famous showman. "But you're gonna strip that skin clean off if you keep at it like that. You trying to get at them bones too?" J.P. Bahrnamus laughed. "It's not too easy to build another one of these guys, you know. Don't get me wrong. I admire your dedication to your work. When I was your age, I was cleanin' up a Giant Ape's shitcage. And look at me now. One of these days, son, just you wait." J.P. paused for a moment, looked at Jimmy and frowned. "Godammit, quit scrubbing that guy! What I tell you? Yer gonna hurt him!" Jimmy rolled over on the hay, jabbing himself with an animal rib in his bathrobe pocket, hearing his mom's voice, J.P. Bahrnamus's voice, the voice of the cashier at the hardware store, and most loudly the ringing in his ears. He couldn't tell if he was hungry, thirsty or needed more glue. He pryed open his eyes and saw he was without food, and the rest of the glue seemed to be gone. There was a Mason jar on a bench nearby that was half full of either dirty water or kerosene. Had he not burned off all the smell-sensors in his nose he might have been able to tell the difference. Maybe it's water. Neither J.P. nor his mom was in sight, but the ever-loudening ringing almost seemed to be forming into words he couldn't make out, but the voices he almost could, and the rattling of bones as he rolled over, feeling them jabbing into his skin but it didn't hurt nearly as much as the ringing, which was nearly a screaming like the sound of an overscrubbed Whaleopotamus, thirsty and reaching out toward the Mason jar of dirty water.

Bonefish Sam is an ameteur vacuum cleaner salesman.

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