I have faded into entertaining anecdotes
well-worn in my absence. Here is one
of the favorites.

I was a wilful
little child, prone to vectors
radiating outward from the nest;
no end of anxiety and bother, no end
of worry and work. One of the apples

in my solitary Eden
was a bottle of Coca-Cola, curvacious, with
ridges raised--sinuous, frosted at the points
of hard contact, bottle to forbidden bottle.

I spied and stalked this unguarded bottle and
I stole this bottle
away and
I took this bottle to a secret place, out of bounds, and
I placed this bottle to my lips and
I sipped and sipped and sipped until the bottle was drained and dry and then
I hid the empty bottle in my secret place,
I lay myself down
in the hollow in the heathered ground, full, to sleep and facing an empty sky.

I denied my sin not once, not twice but

all the way to the clinic
in the sweating and the shaking and the accusations and tears I
continued to deny and even
as the hard, white plastic tube was shoved
all the way
down all the way down into my throat, I
continued to deny that I had sinned. There is

an amusing punchline to the story, as it is told, as
humiliation in a child is a matter of amusement, an amusing
punchline about how I
was reduced to repeating stop it there's
nothing more to take out stop it stop it stop it repeating repeating and how
I was stripped to my little white shorts and
I didn't even have the strength to crawl away to hide and how
I just
had to lay there and drool and heave and drool and heave and listen
to the hiss listen to the hiss listen to the hiss of the aspiration.

I knew the bottle was full of turpentine.
Why ruin the joke?

JDP 98/05

Copyright John D Porter © 1998

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