Saturday, September 1, 2007

Dignity and Doubt

I held onto the stainless steel hand controls of her shining SUV, applying the breaks firmly as we pulled up and stopped in front of the main lobby of the airport hotel. She turned to me and said she’d be right back and that she had to go inside real quick to find out where to get registered. Jumping down from the cab, she quickly disappeared, leaving me parked illegally with both of her kids asleep in the back seat. They were, by all intents and purposes, just babies, beautiful babies, red headed, freckle-faced and as Irish as Irish gets. He was five and she was just past one. I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. Perfect, beautiful babies.

Just then, a black mini-van pulled up right in front of me. A tall older man got out of the driver seat stepping out onto the left hand side of the vehicle. As he passed the front of the SUV he turned his head directly toward me and gave me this look that completely creeped me out, a look saying with no small amount of presumption, “I understand… exactly. We…you and I, have been through so much haven’t we? I can see it in your face. I understand…exactly.” He opened the back door and then pushed a button, which lowered one of those steel, clattering handicap car seat access ramps. Then, a wheelchair, one of those nifty high-tech types, more tank than ambulatory device, backed out and onto the ramp. As the steel contraption slowly descended, I saw sitting there, as if some majestic royal, wrapped in an oversized p-coat, what at first appeared to be a child, then suddenly, unmistakably a young man dressed all in black. He wasn’t a dwarf so far as I could tell, but his body seemed to be compact if not withered and obviously stunted. He wore a black t-shirt with a Joy Division logo, his hair was cropped and dyed black and he had black make-up on his eyes. I could tell he’d hoped it gave him the appearance of someone angry or at least mean. To me, he just looked like some Goth reject. And mean, he certainly looked mean. I suspected quite possibly even without the mascara. Just then he caught me staring and shot me a poison look. I quickly diverted my eyes and turned back to the backseat and the kids. But then I looked up again, and I noticed that suddenly and out of nowhere, there were more. I saw three of them coming up on the sidewalk to the right, and then behind them, three more. There were fat ones, black ones, and on closer inspection, big eared ones, gap-toothed ones. Two of them seemed to be speaking what sounded like Arabic. Some were no more than two feet tall. They were suddenly all around me. One wore a giant sombrero and I imagined seeing just the hat and two tiny legs scuttling up the pavement. Some of them were accompanied by guardians, regular sized people, perhaps actual parents, carrying luggage, garment bags, carefully hidden and at times obvious resentment, while others walked all alone with aluminum crutches in slow belabored steps. Then I looked out toward the parking lot on the other side of the hotel, and there in the distance, I saw a even more, a whole pack of them. There was a group of young cholos, six of them, with bandannas pulled low over their eyes, with slicked back, black oily hair, not one over three feet tall. They walked in one synchronized sway, their shoulders shifting from left to right, rigid as if in some sort of military march. Behind them I saw two young ladies, just over three feet tall wearing the most hoochie pink, white and orange matching outfits, covered in rhinestones and assorted bling. They were both popping their gum while simultaneously applying shiny pink lip-gloss and couldn’t seem to stop whispering into each other’s ears. They were both probably between sixteen and seventeen years old. Total whores, I could tell.

I turned to the babies once again, still fast asleep. I thought about their mother, and how long we’d known each other. Had it really been twenty years? Fuck me! We’d met many years before back in college. I’d always wanted to go to a Little People of America convention, and she’d always promised me that one day we would. But you know how that goes. You think you’re going to, you hope you’re going to, get all hooched up on liquor, pills or whatever else finds its naughty way into your bloodstream, hang out with four to five hundred skunk-drunk midgets and dance the night away to Sheila E. and L.L. Cool J. But one thing leads to another, year after year, and the next thing you know, it just never happens. And then one day, twenty fucking years later, you get a call out of nowhere, and it’s that voice, that unmistakable voice, and you find yourself parked illegally in front of an airport Sheraton, waiting for her and the coveted shiny conference laminates, with her two dwarf children in the backseat of her S.U.V. sleeping peacefully, now surrounded by hundreds of them, ready to get their party on!

The first year we lived together, I remember we moved in right around Halloween, she and I had shopped all day, driving around in her bright red Mazda Miata, looking for the perfect red dress, a black wig, and a large tub of clown white grease paint. I think I was still sporting the Robert Smith-black cardigan sweater-faggot-tranny-new romantic-hustler-geek-look, costume enough I reasoned, and Francine was going as Betty Boop. I always wished I’d had a handy, oh so very dandy faggot friend to do my make-up, hand sew my outfits from scratch and paint my tits white come the high holy holidays, but it never worked out for me that way. I was always the artiste, the one with the can of hairspray, acne, and far too much inspiration, and of course, perpetually single. But let me just say, if you’ve never spent an entire afternoon drinking traditional Dutch holiday beverages, a family favorite she kept saying, spiked with any alcohol you could get your hands on, painting the entire body of a three and a half foot dwarf with ghostly white circus greasepaint, all the while listening to her yammering on a thousand miles per second about some god damned boy and his new found obsession for fucking Kierkegaard and of course how much she wants to fuck your older brother, then, well, you just haven’t lived!

With Simple Minds blaring in the background, I finally got her slicked up and powdered down. The hardest part was getting her fat ass into the short red silk dress I’d spent hours altering, doing my best to accommodate her more than ample behind without getting the white make-up all over it.

“Girl! Your ass is so fat…when I tried to drive around you, I ran out of gas!”

“Bitch! You are so gay…you are…so gay! Shut the fuck up and finish my tits!”

“Filthy sodomite!”

“Midget whore!”

I hadn’t seen her in two or three years. Her oldest child, Artie, was only two and Kate, her little girl, was not yet born. I, like most people who knew Francine, fretted over her. Like everyone else, I “worried.” I don’t really know why exactly, other than the obvious albeit deluded rationale of, “doesn’t really appear to be capable sort of, bumbling, looking up in exhaustion and faux despair at the regular world, bull in a fucking china shop, woe is me!” way she often presented herself. But I, unlike many others, caught on to her pretty quickly. I knew she liked to work it sometimes. That whole, “ah…look at the little girl with the big head and piggy nose syndrome, there but for the grace of God go I shit/routine” after a while, didn’t really work on me. She’d been handed that watered down, sugar and placation treatment her whole life, which she hated, but now and then tried to work in her favor. But that was a long time ago.

Then, amongst the rest of them, excitedly running in and out of the lobby, I spotted her coming through the sliding glass doors of the hotel. She came around to the passenger side of the vehicle, opened the door and propped herself up and onto the seat. She looked at the kids still sleeping, then back at me, and with a huge toothy smile, said quietly, “well faggot, are you ready?”

So, got up like Betty Boop and every other Roxy Music queen with faux pompadour, we decided to go out dancing. Like every other single, homosexual “twenty-something” in the world with a girlfriend and a car, we used to go out to the fag clubs a lot. We’d drive all the way into West Hollywood and hang out with the glamorous city queers at Rage or The Four Star, almost always getting free drinks from a few rare queens with the slightest sliver of a heart who felt sorry for Francine. Bending lower to her, as if she couldn’t hear otherwise, saying to her, their eyes wetting and concerned, “darlin’, you must have had a hard life.” Sometimes I’d have more than I should and though I never did, for fear of sudden loss of compassion and whiskey, I wanted to interrupt them, stomp on their bleeding Judy live at The fucking Palace hearts and tell them, “Look bitches! She’s a fucking dwarf with a fat ass which it took an entire can of Ben Nye Clown White to cover, she drives a brand new god damned Miata, she’s only twenty-two years old, her father’s loaded and the mayor of our hometown, even though it’s fifty fucking miles due east from glam…glam…glamorous West Fucking Hollywood, her Sri Lanka born mother owns a very large parcel of farmland outside of Utrecht, Holland, and she probably gets more dick than every other fucking fag in this place!”

But when we were on the dance floor, we fucking owned the place! I don’t care if it was Arena, Circus Circus or the cocktail lounge at the downtown Fullerton Denny’s, when we danced, we were Yul fucking Brynner and Deborah Kerr in the god damned King and I! Whenever they played Romeo Void’s Never Say Never or better still, our anthem, Marc Almonds’s Sex Dwarf, especially that one, we would start cackling and break into a full-on polka, clearing the dance floor. People sometime gave us money to, “do it again!” But we’d tell them all to either buy us a drink first, or to fuck off, that we didn’t do encores!

Later that night, we wound up dancing at some shitty club, and I do mean shitty, on Sunset called Coconut Teasers. Her idea. She’d reared up her angry dwarf head, diffuse venom frothing down her chin, screeching, “Why the fuck do we always wind up going to faggot clubs! It ain’t like you ever get laid!” Oh, how she loved saying that! Dwarf ho bag!

So we’re at Coconut Teasers. All night long I was a bitter cunt, doing my Morissey post Smiths impersonation, repeating the name of the place again and again with no small bit of sarcasm and vitriol, “Coconut Teeeeasers!” Laughing hysterically at the saw dust on the floor, yelling at her while she slicked back her eyebrows and tried to get flirty with almost every smarmy, knuckle dragging primate from La Mirada in the place. I'd wait until she started flashing her googly eyes at some dude and start screaming, “hey Francine! You be Debra Winger and I’ll be John Travolta...and...and we can both be sexy buck-toothed urban cowboys Coconut Teeeasers!”

So, sulking, I’m forced grudgingly, since no one else in the place would, to dance with her. Diverting my attention to the bitter sweet howl of Mr. Ian McCulloch of Echo and The Bunny men fame, both of us pissed off and doing our damnedest not to make eye contact with one another, when suddenly these people, there must have been six…seven of them, men and women, dressed badly in store bought costumes, acquiesced toward us. They start edging the dance floor in a rather obvious and serpentine manner, trying to get closer. Finally, confederates in if nothing else but mutual hatred for pushy twats and bad dancers, Francine and I looked at each other, snarling our faces simultaneously, turning away from them, thrusting our noses upward as if suddenly standing near an open trench. But then they got even closer. Finally, one of them, this very tall Andy Kaufman looking mother fucker bends down to Francine, now and then craning his pencil neck up at me in a patently defensive manner, somewhat, that is to say, vicariously including me in the proposition, and says, “Hey! Do you guys wanta dance?” I felt like cracking him in his bald spot and spitting out, “Hey! Martha Graham! What the fuck does it look like we’re doing? Jai Alai?” But Francine, seeing the chance to dig at me, knowing full well how much it would piss me off, looked at the guy and said, “sure!”

Cutting her eyes at me and arching her eyebrows, Francine took a step closer to me and with the single most incredulous smile said, “don’t you simply adore Coconut Teeeasers?” But then, luckily, for both of us, before the situation suddenly spiraled out of control into the Whittier Community Theatre’s production of ”Whatever happened to Baby Jane,” the people, all of them, the men and the women, suddenly, out of nowhere, got down on their knees, huddled in even closer, mostly to Francine, and continued dancing. Immediately I saw it in her eyes. I’d seen it so many times before. The eyes that went wet and black as granite whenever clueless assholes thought they were being “kind hearted.”…compassionate, the same eyes that switched simultaneously stone cold and icy. Francine just looked at them. My mouth agape, I looked at them. Then, Francine, the inverted crank that she was, in a mocking gesture, suddenly getting down on her own knees, never once taking her eyes off of them, now cool and sullen, and continued dancing. So, of course I had to do the same, just to drive the point further. You should have seen the sudden and quite obvious look of shame, shame and more shame in their stupid suburban faces. Almost immediately they stood back up and silently, quickly, walked off the dance floor. The DJ put on Scitti Politi while Francine and I continued to dance on our knees.

I don’t think Francine had been to an L.P.A. convention in some time, as people kept coming up to her like she was the mayor of god damned Munchkin City, hugging her, remarking and scolding her on how long it had been. It was the first L.P.A. convention she’d ever taken the kids to, Artie and Kate now slowly waking up. Can you imagine though? You are a one and five year-old. You know that you are different from everyone else, even at that age. Strangers are often a little too friendly and always smiling whenever they see you, or turning away quickly as if they didn’t see you at all. Unlike other cute one and five year-olds, you are “super cute,” and people, complete strangers, have to touch you all the time. Then one day, your mother, quite obviously different herself, all too familiar with the over familiarity of strangers, puts you into the back of the family S U V, buckles you and your baby sister in, and a few hours later, you’re no longer in sunny San Diego but now in the cloud covered airport Sheraton on the outskirts of San Francisco, suddenly surrounded by hundreds of others, thousands, different, just like you.

You should have seen Artie’s face. Kate was too young to read the situation, but Artie, from the second he awoke, tried to jump out of my arms and get right up into the mix. Like mother like son. I was afraid we’d lose him amongst, well, the others. There were so many. But Francine said to just let him down to see what he would do. I lowered him to the ground and out of nowhere, he punched me in the leg. Francine tried to grab the back of his jacket but he was too quick for her. Then, the little fucker, wiping the sleep from his big baby blues, without a beat, went right over to the two slutty girls with the matching outfits and shining lip-gloss, now sitting by the hotel fountain, and immediately started putting on a show for them. Such a stud! Whores!

Every now and then, my brother Neal would come over to the apartment and we’d get into these vicious beer drinking games. One night, Francine decided to join us. She had a mad dog crush on Neal, always did, and every chance she got, she tried to get into his pants. My brother Neal, well, Neal could be summed up by quoting two of his favorite, oft quoted expressions. Whenever he got liquored up, good and hard, he’d start talking about his latest quest for pussy. “Pussy” pronounced like the word pus, with another “s” and a “y”. He would say, “Shit brother! This girl is so fine…I’d crawl across the fucking Sahara Desert just to hear her fart on a phone!” Or my personal favorite, whenever we’d get behind some bird with an abundant backside, he’d say, “Wow! Look at the shitter on that critter!” And that pretty much summed up my brother Neal. A total meat head, muscle bound, shit talkin’ asshole!

So this one night, all three of us get into this beer drinking game. You know, the one called quarters, where you roll a quarter off the tip of your nose and if it bounces off of the table and goes into the glass of booze, then someone has to drink it. Well, it was Francine’s turn, and I’ll be damned if the bitch didn’t have her own fucking technique. She would start off the top of her forehead, resting the shining quarter with a deft concentration. When she was good and ready, she would let the quarter go, it would roll down her brow, slope up and off of her, no other word for it, dwarf nose, bounce off the table surface and land directly into the cup. She never missed! It was like her nose was designed specifically for this purpose! Of course, she would make Neal drink the booze every time. We couldn’t stop laughing at her little trick. I mean, she was full of them! Neal would laugh, swilling the booze, pointing his finger at Francine and say shit like, “Your fucking nose is magic Francine! You ARE a fucking leprechaun!” Francine would just stare at Neal and say, “Drink bitch!” This went on for a while until finally, we ran out of alcohol. So, Neal and Francine volunteered to go get some more.

There was a liquor store just a block away, so naturally they had to drive. It was a weekend so I figured what the hell, neither of us had class until Monday morning, and I figured, as long as these two fucking freaks were not fighting, which was usually the case, then everything should be fine. I suddenly had the urge to bake cookies so I immediately took advantage of the down time. I was in the middle of chopping up Almond Roca when suddenly Neal came charging into the apartment, all out of breath and suddenly stone sober. He didn’t say anything, he just motioned for me to follow him. I put the bowl down and we both ran out the front door.

Francine was sitting on a curb in the front parking lot with her head bowed, her hands pressed hard against her forehead. I screamed at them both, asking them what the fuck was wrong. Neither of them said a word. Then Neal, took me by the arm and silently led me to the other side of Francine’s brand new Mazda Miata, the one her folks bought her for her High School graduation less than six months before. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The entire front fender was destroyed, mangled. The front left tire was completely flat, the hood popped up, and from where I stood, in a very permanent way. Looking back now, I feel sort of bad for not at least checking to see if they were both okay. But truth be told, I didn’t.

No, the very first thing I thought about was Francine’s mother and father. They were not your typical overly protective parents. German and Dutch immigrants, Francine was not just their only child, she was their only dwarf child. It’s like when I first came out to my parents. The first thing my mom said, like most mothers of homos I think, was that she worried herself sick about how much tougher my life was going to be. Well, I don’t know how much tougher my life is from anyone else’s, so logic doesn’t exactly follow there for me, but being a big queen is a little different than being a little dwarf. To be perfectly honest, it was like they didn’t want her to grow up and be an adult. They had become so accustomed to defending her, they had a real difficult time letting go of their old ways. Of course, being the boozing whore that she was, Francine didn’t exactly make matters easy for them. Her mother used to drop in on her with these surprise visits and they’d inevitably get into these loud, shrill arguments in Dutch and/or German.

My jaw hung to the curb. She’d completely totaled the front end of her brand new car. When her parents saw it, they were going to shit themselves. I could just hear them now. Our apartment was going to sound like the insides of Hitler’s bunker.

“What the…how the fuck did it happen?”

Then they both got real quiet. Neal told me later, after Francine had finally gone to sleep, talking herself into exhaustion, freaking out about what she was going to tell her parents, that he was driving and she was giving him a blow job. He said he’d lost concentration somehow, turned the wheel too sharply and crashed into a garbage dumpster.

The next morning, Francine woke me up and started hatching her plans. I tried to explain to her that this was going to be much worse than the time she got busted for shoplifting cheese by stuffing it between her legs. At times she was fucking fearless! She knew most people tended to turn their heads whenever they saw her, so she was convinced that no security crew would ever catch her. When they did, they took her into the manager’s office and forced her to unbutton her pants and fish up the cheese. She said all they did was laugh at her and then called her parents. She wasn’t allowed to leave the house for weeks.

Pulling the blankets off of me while I was trying to sleep, she told me all she needed to do was raise enough money, pay for the repairs herself, and no one else would ever have to know. I asked her where the hell she thought she was going to get that kind of money, and then she got real quiet again.

She avoided seeing her parents that entire week. Her mother and her father called the apartment twenty times a day, cursing her out in multiple languages, telling her that she was being a very bad girl by not picking up the phone. One day, Francine hid in the bathroom shower and forced me to lie to her mother who came over with Booke Pootjes, traditional Dutch cookies. I told her Francine was at the college library cramming for an exam. Her mother looked at me, as she always did, with a sublime disbelief I believe she reserved only for nuns and Nazis, thrust the plate of cookies into my arms, turned and drove away. I told Francine that she could only lie for so long, eventually she was going to have to tell them the truth. But she was hell-bent on telling them nothing.

I was sitting by myself at one point in the evening, when suddenly, this rather muscle bound gentleman, around thirty years old and a dwarf, came up to me and said, very boldly and in a thick New Zealander accent, “room 613, one hour.” I wasn’t quite sure what had happened. I was so busy watching Artie flirt with every piece of dwarf tail he came into contact with, winking at every girl he saw, I lost track of pretty much everything else. I mean this kid’s moves were pretty impressive for a five year-old. I thought to myself, “how could it be, I’ve known Francine this many years and never once met a single faggot dwarf. I watched him as he walked away, still not completely convinced. But then, as he slowly walked away, he turned his head, not once, not twice, but three times, a perfect three-point homo head turn, a thoroughly modern and undeniable homosexual. This party was getting better and better.

Francine had only fucked one dwarf in her life, a few years back, before she was married to Kevin, an average sized person, a bit on the short stocky, Irish side, who for some reason, had chosen to stay back in San Diego. I never met the guy, the dwarf she’d fucked that is, but she seemed certain he’d show up at some point in the evening. She told me to be on the lookout for a short Mexican guy in a Pink Floyd t-shirt. At one point, I think she really dug the guy, but things don’t always work out and so finally, she married Kevin. I sort of have this love-hate thing for Kevin. I mean, he’s an all right guy with a killer Bowie collection, but there was always “something” about him, something I never could quite put my finger on. But when they first met, all they both ever talked about was having kids. Ad Nauseum. They were always coming up with these dumbass names.

“Oh! I’ve got it! We’ll call him Norgdorf…or we’ll call her Anastasia…oh! I know! We’ll call him Binky!” At one point, Francine suggested naming their kid after every single member of ABBA.

But then, get this, once they were married, Kevin suddenly decided that he didn’t want to take the chance of having a dwarf child, so he told Francine that he didn’t want kids. It wrecked her. She was a total mess. She was so happy with Kevin at first, but then he dropped that bullshit bomb on her, and her world pretty much shattered. I mean, what the fuck was he saying? I don’t want to take the chance of bringing another person like you, someone I supposedly love and cherish into this world, for fear that he or she might have to go through the same shitty things that you did. I don’t know how or why in the end they stayed together, but they did, and now had two beautiful dwarf children.

Then one day, I was in the middle of perming my hair, listening to Einsterzunde Naubauten, sewing Izod alligators I’d removed from expensive socks and sewing them onto multi-colored, cheap polo shirts I bought at K-Mart, when Francine came rushing into the apartment. She was fucking spinning! She told me that she’d figured it all out. When she said it, I thought she was fucking high! I couldn’t fucking believe what she was telling me. She’d decided to enter a dwarf-tossing contest.

The longest dwarf toss on record was performed by a gentleman by the name of Jimmy Leonard, an English truck driver who reportedly threw another gentleman by the name of Lenny The Giant, four feet four inches tall and ninety-eight pounds, an astounding eleven feet five inches. Some dwarves have earned upwards of six figures a year as professional tossies, and to date, many states and several countries have banned the “sport” altogether. In Geneva, Switzerland, a French ban on the controversial practice was upheld by the U.N. Human Rights Committee, when in 1995, Manuel Wackenheim, three feet ten inches, lost his case, the U.N. human rights body ruling that the need to protect human dignity as paramount.

She was completely fucking serious. She’d found out that there was a place out on this ranch, in of all places, Oxnard, where the prizes were considerable and if she could place accordingly, she could even get into a tournament and make even bigger money.

“Couldn’t you just get a fucking part-time job or something bitch? Or better still, can’t you just be honest with your parents for once?”

The moment I said this I immediately recalled the time Francine worked for that fast food restaurant Doggy On A Stick. You know the one. They make their employees wear those stupid bright yellow and orange hats that make them look like hydrocephalic retards, bulbous and beyond mortification. Now picture Francine, with her already oversized noggin, all dolled up in her polyester smock, hocking hotdogs and lemonade in one of those cancer riddled food courts you see in malls, all fluorescent lighting and Filipino janitors who smelled of Juicy Fruit and Brill Cream. She had to cut her hat open with a razor blade in the back to enlarge it, then basically pin it somewhat precariously onto her head. To top it all off, Francine’s vegetarian, and the smell of hotdogs made her super nauseous. Fighting back waves of nausea, she would drag this little aluminum stepladder around all during her shift, now and then accidentally knocking into the shins of the other girls wearing their stupid hats, which at least fit them, who hated her! And as far as being honest with her parents, truth be told, I really couldn’t imagine what her parents would have done if they found out. They’d take the car away from her to be sure, which neither of us wanted, and I’m quite convinced that by the time they were finished with her, she’d be moving back home, pouting in a baby crib with a giant pink rubber pacifier hanging from her mouth.

I soon found out that this convention of little people was much like those of the gays. One giant fucking circuit party! Not that I’ve attended many circuit parties, I’m just not that type of gay. Well, unless of course you count the annual Lazy Bear picnic up at the river outside of San Francisco, where thyroid-challenged hirsute homos, sizing each other up with jealousy and sublime objectification, seizing their one chance of the year to become super models. But hold one, maybe that’s exactly what it was like. Even though there were families galore, and I mean everywhere, there was also a most definite and very palpable stink of fuck in the air. That’s another one of those dwarf myths though I think. The question of libido. Supposedly dwarves are some overly horny bastards who just can’t get enough. Looking around at all the slutty outfits and leering gestures, I was beginning to wonder just how true it was.

Artie, only five, was like Groucho fucking Marx, chasing the more obvious little harlots around like a lecherous vaudevillian. Francine had her arms full with Kate, but there was something about the look in the child’s eyes that quietly seethed, “hey baby, wanta trip the light fandango?”

I was having a grand time when suddenly, the side of kiwi is standing right in front of me again. Well, just below me. As I watched Artie in the distance, I felt his eyes sizing me up, up and down, well, more up than down.

Clearing his throat, “Oh I see.”

Looking down at him, I thought to myself, in more ways than one, “Oh yeah? What exactly do you see?”

Suddenly sullen and clearly casting shade, “So you don’t…uh…date short guys?”

I spun through the roller deck of my mind and attempted to conjure up all the men of diminutive stature I’d “dated.” Thinking to myself, “Well I’ll be Billy fucking Barty’s walking stick, this Muscle Mary’s right!” It’s true I had “dated,” Okay, I fucked a seven foot two Israeli by the name of Uri with a cock like the Gaza Strip a few times, but in the end it didn’t work out as he was completely anti-Palestine, wanted to top me all the time and owned Madonna records. But date short guys? Huh! The guy had a point!

I looked at him and stated my case. “Look, it’s not that I don’t err…date…err…short guys, it’s just that I am in a…” Suddenly checking him out, I couldn’t stop eyeballing his pecks. “You see, I’m in a transitory sort of stage right now and…err” My God! Look at those biceps! What the fuck am I thinking? He shifted his weight onto a different foot, turned his head in profile, just as his thick black hair fell into his face. “Err…what did you say your name was?”

After nearly a three hour drive that should have only taken us one, we arrived in the town of Oxnard. I drove a 1972 Falcon, which hacked and sputtered then completely died every thirty miles or so, all the while listening to Francine rationalize her situation.

Layering on a thick coat of mascara, finally catching onto my silence, “Oh don’t think I don’t know exactly what’s rolling around in your little faggot brain right now missy! I know exactly what the fuck you’re thinking Sister Judgmental! You’re thinking, oh, how could she do this? How could she subject herself to such heinous and harmful exploitation! Exploitation my fat hairy snatch! If someone paid you to wear a tutu, bleach your pubes and recite lines from Torch Song Trilogy backward, not only could you do it…but you would do it! So don’t give me that look Lady Prunella Got Some Fuckin’ Nerve!”

When we finally arrived, we hadn’t spoken to each other for at least the last fifteen miles or so. The place was freakin’ swarming with cars and people. It was outrageous! I thought the shit was supposed to be illegal, but these people were carrying on like Sunday school, the only thing missing was a loud speaker announcing the events. Francine did some quick legwork and found out where and who to ask for entry requirements. The guy to see was this albino dwarf by the name of Giusepe. He wasn’t the easiest fucker to track down, but when we did, we learned immediately why Giusepe called all the shots. I certainly would never fuck with the guy. He was covered from Adam’s apple to toenail with hundreds of tattoos, which on pinkish white albino skin was quite the site to behold. The tattoos were mostly of tittiess. Imagine, an albino dwarf covered in tittie tattoos. He was sitting on the tailgate of a brand new canary yellow Humvy, perusing a well-worn copy of Jugs magazine, eating pickled pigs feet. The second we arrived, he jumped up and off of the Humvy, fell to his knees and took Francine by the hand, like she was Lady fucking Guenevere! Francine batted her lashes, a regular Coquette, and stuck her tits out farther.

I had to give it to her, she knew how to show off her best assets, now if she would only close her mouth for five seconds, she was beginning to look like Jimmy Osmond and I was worried a fly was going to light on her tongue and go number two.

Giusepe wasted no time with formalities. “Well hello there my love!” Circling her, taking in the whole load. When he got behind her, he stuck the fleshy part of his hand into his mouth and bit into it. “And…h…h…how may I help you?”

Francine, sticking with a theme and her tits out ever further, “So whose knob do I have to polish to get tossed around here?”

I thought to myself, “That’s my little princess! A regular Strawberry fucking Shortcake!”

Then Giusepe, walking around her again, this time pausing, placing his hands on both of his hips, shaking his head, “Ay mommy! You have muy nargas! I toss you! Not too far maybe, but I do my best.”

As proud as she was of her tits, Francine hated her ass. Nervously hesitating now, “Is there…errr…some sort of form I need to fill out?”

Just then, this enormous Viking looking dude came up, high…well…sort of high-fived Giusepe, reached into his jar of pigs feet, then sat on the back of the truck. The guy was fucking huge and when he sat down, the Humvy sank a good three inches.

Giusepe threw the bones of the eaten pigs feet over his shoulder, dipped into the jar for another, and shouted up at the Viking, “This is King Einar!” Cupping his pink hands together and speaking in a sudden and very loud broken English, “King Einar! You want to make tomahawk for this lovely lady?” Giusepe, speaking directly to us now, “he’s a big ‘en, but deaf as a Great Dane!”

The Viking got up off of the Humvy and slowly walked around Francine. Once behind her, he stalled much the same way Giusepe had. Turning to Giusepe, who met his look with a similar reaction, King Einar looked up into the sky, slapping his gargantuan hands to his face and shook his large blond head vigorously.

I could see Francine had had just about enough. She was tightly coiled and seconds away from springing into some violent assault on them both. But before she could strike, King Einar looked directly at her, cocked his head to the side once more, and sighed.

Scratching his head, “King Einar say you too big Tomahawk! King Einar want know Tomahawk name.” And then, a smile sprung from his face, his two front teeth evenly spaced by a gap big enough to fit a thimble into, instantly deflating Francine’s puffed up rage thickening and stiffening her neck.

Then, before she could respond, the Viking suddenly bent, took Francine by the waist and lifted her, holding her away from him the way one might hold a baby. Francine was all smiles up until the Viking exhaled, the stink of pickled pigs feet assaulting her, not even four inches away from King Einar’s mouth.

He just held her there like she weighed nothing at all, which I knew was far from the truth. Finally, cracking the gap-toothed smile again, “King Einar say Tomahawk must lost ten pound before King Einar toss. King Einar also say…”

But before King Einar could get another word out, Francine started kicking and screaming for him to let her down.

Giusepe motioned for the Viking to lower her. Once back on the ground, Giusepe did his best to placate Francine, trying to get her to calm down. “Listen mommy, ten pounds is nothing! You have to understand, King Einar does this for a living baby! You don’t want King Einar to hurt hisself do you mommy?”

Francine looked like she would cry any moment. She was suddenly so disgusted with herself and the whole affair. For a moment, she actually considered going to the nearest pay phone, calling her parents and telling them the truth. But that just made her angrier. I didn’t know what to do or what to say. If I had the money I would just pay for the repair damages myself, but I couldn’t even afford dinner. I knew it was a bad idea from the get go and I told her. Then Francine looked at me, King Einar and Giusepe watching, still gnawing on the pig bones, and motioned for me to come closer. I knelt down closer to her and Francine softly whispered into my ear, “fuck these cunts!” But before I could raise back up, Francine pulled me in closer to her, buried her face into my crotch and turned on the waterworks. I mean, she was really milking it, going for The Oscar, The Tony and The Daytime and Regular Emmy! This bitch had no shame whatsoever.

I looked over to Giusepe and King Einar, both of whom suddenly went slack, dropping the pig’s feet to the dirt. Giusepe threw his hands up into the air and screamed, “Ay! No mommy! No cry! It no ladylike!”

Francine turned her face out, now moist with no doubt a big wad of spit snuck up through my legs and into her eye sockets. Shameless, shaking her head furiously and hysterically, “Fuck you bastards! How do you think it feels huh? How do you think it feels? You two, of all people, should know better than to fucking ridicule! Shame! Shame on you both!” Then one more for political strife, “Haven’t we all suffered enough?”

“Accepting The Nobel Prize for fucked up lying ass Bullshit!”

Then King Einar, getting a little misty himself, without pause, suddenly bent over again, picked Francine up, and held her like a newborn, Francine wrapping her legs around his thick torso. “King Einar throw little Tomahawk! No problem! No lose ten pound! Little Tomahawk just perfect!”

Gently patting the back of her head, King Einar looked up into the sky, softly pushing his big red lips out as if whistling, and said softly, “Shhh…there now…little Tomahawk no cry. King Einar throw little Tomahawk like a proud Indian brave! Shhh…” Then, like Linda Blair in The Exorcist, Francine slowly turned her head my direction, her lips curling upward, and gave me the look of unbridled evil.

They were really starting to bust out the jams yo. Old School! Suddenly, Francine came running up to me all pissed off, her hair falling in her face, looking more and more like a mom.

Red-faced and completely flustered, “Have you seen those two shameless little whores? I mean…Jesus! I was never that slutty!”

I do a double take to Francine, trying to keep from turning into a Tex Avery cartoon, “Uh…yeah…that’s right! And I never wore mascara! Are you fucking kidding me Francine? You were the god damned Whore of Babylon! Besides, looks to me like Artie ain’t minding one little bit.”

They had a regular booty bumpin’ threesome going on out on the dance floor, Artie all smiles like Christmas morning, mouthing the words to Funk Cold Medina. Francine folded her arms in front of her, sucked on her front teeth and continued to monitor from afar. I was holding Kate who was just beginning to doze, when suddenly, I felt like someone was watching me. I walked over to a table and sat down, cradling Kate in my arms. I got a little lost staring at her beautiful little face, pulling back the tiny red curls behind her pink ears, now and then lightly rounding the corners of her faint orange eyebrows, when I felt a definite presence, standing now directly in front of me. I lifted my head and standing there were these three people. It was a man, a woman and a little boy. They all had on matching outfits, navy blue blazers for the man and the boy, with navy blue trousers, and a navy blue shawl wrapped around a floor-length navy blue dress for the woman. Something strangely Mormon lingered in the air. All three were dwarves, and it seemed, well, it was actually pretty obvious, that they were all quite taken by Kate. I raised my head and quietly, trying not to disturb Kate’s sleep, smiled at them.

“Hello,” I said, taking in their faces.

“Hello,” they all repeated back to me simultaneously. Then the woman, barely opening her mouth when she spoke, her lips tight against her teeth, “She is very lovely. Is she yours?”

The moment she said this, suddenly I was somehow instantly drawn to the little boy. He looked to be a couple years older than Artie, and had thick brown hair and the whitest skin. His eyes were cast down toward the floor, but now and then he’d look up at his mother or father and I could see them. They were the saddest eyes I think I’ve ever seen. Big and brown, the kid looked like he’d been crying most of his life, and even at seven, that’s an awful lot of crying. Then I looked again, and I realized that they all three had the same exact eyes, enormous, with an off-putting, strident gaze that seemed to see directly through…anything, steadfast and fixed.

“No, uh…I’m a…friend of the family. Her mother is…” Looking around for Francine, I see her now out on the dance floor, cutting into Artie’s wild and freaky “sexcapades,” turning sadly and tragically into a hovering Momzilla.

Then the man, standing nearer to Kate and me, a bit too close, “May I hold her?”

Now what in the name of sweet fucking Achondroplasia was I supposed to say to that? Francine had her hands full, ruining Artie’s first of I’m sure many, pimp parades, and I had these three strangers with crazy rodent eyes, right off the fucking mother ship glaring holes straight through Kate’s fuzzy little fontanels like she was part of a prix fix dinner or something! I wondered what it was exactly that they wanted. Gazing at the little boy, with his teary, darkened eyes, and back at them, the way they wouldn’t take their eyes off of Kate, I wondered, were they in search of some perfect American dream? But then I wondered how, in a dwarf’s world, did the idea of perfection actually work. Sure, these perfect gatherings of stunted limbs and bulbous foreheads existed, a utopian society of pug noses and funny voices, but only once or twice a year. Were they looking for the perfect American family, and was the one thing missing, for whatever reason, the perfect little dwarf girl? By now, their eyes were really boring down. I thought they might suddenly, in their matching navy blue outfits and staunch Latter Day looks, start to glow and magically transform into a navy blue beam of light, materializing into a navy blue vapor, and vanish into the thin navy blue air with Kate. But just then, thank God, the sinewy kiwi walked by, eyeballing me with no small amount of disdain. So, of course, what did I do? I winked at him, and like a train shunted, he made a bee line for me, slicking back his hair with his hands, adjusting his shirt.

“Change your mind did ya mate?” Busting right in and waking Kate in the process, suddenly Kate jerked in my arms, startled, looked up and saw, well, just imagine what she saw. You wander off into the big fluffy white clouds of happy happy, sweet contented Sleepy town, safe and sound in your mama’s loving and oh so familiar arms, and then suddenly you awake in the desperate clutch of some flaming queen, three Mormon-like dwarf aliens beaming galactic and come hither, and a muscle bound New Zealander dwarf dripping enough pheromones to kill a freakin’ kangaroo! After a couple beats, taking it all in, Kate’s eyes went rounder than space saucers and she pretty much started wailing at the top of her lungs! Francine, seconds and mere inches away from committing assault and battery charges on two whorey minor dwarves came running like a mad mother wolverine. She snatched Kate out of my arms and immediately Kate went right back to sleep. Standing there, rocking Kate, Francine slowly started looking around, assessing present company.

Addressing everyone collectively, with no small amount of hesitation, “Uh…hello.”

Then snapping her head directly at me, “Uh…who the fuck are these people?”

Now I’m really not trying to be a dick, but you should have seen Francine all got up in her protective “tossing” gear that bright sunny day in Oxnard. I always have to laugh at myself whenever I try on those plastic cycling hats, the ones they say you should wear so you don’t fall and get a concussion or a tumor or whatever, the way they make you look like a big retarded tumor-head. Well, you should have seen Francine. King Einar and Giusepe made her wear this funny bright orange jumpsuit with a bright yellow helmet that read, “Tossed!” in big acid green letters. The jumpsuit made her look like one of those county jail bums who don’t pay child support you see on the roadside raking trash and aluminum cans as punishment. I yelled out to Francine, “’at’s what happens when you don’t be payin’ yo baby daddy alimony!”

Francine, pulling hard on the helmet, trying to get in onto her head screamed, “Eat my orange pussy you bent calla lily! The day I have kids is the day my pussy falls out!”

It was fucked up watching her trying to get the thing on. And funny, funny I think because it was so sad. Or was it sad because it was so funny? Either way, I watched her tug and pull vigorously on the thing, and suddenly, there and then, everything became sublimely ridiculous and so very entertaining. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Finally, Giusepe came over with the giant jar of pickled pig’s feet, reached into the pink muck with his knobby fist and fished up one of the greasy knuckles. The he smeared it around the inside rim of the helmet, handed it back to Francine, and said, “Works every time!” Afterward, he stuck the pig’s foot in his mouth and started to gnaw.

King Einar was a few feet away stretching his arms and legs. He wore an orange and acid green tank top and a pair of red satin jogging shorts. His long blond hair was pulled back in a ponytail and he wore white tube sox with orange and green stripes. He looked like one of those zany idiots you see on one of those lame game/variety shows in the 70’s like The Gong Show or Let’s Make A Deal.

The prize money was five thousand bucks, more than enough to pay for the repairs on her Miata. I could not believe this was happening. Had my dear dwarf friend really steeped so low and utterly into the quagmire of compromise and moral descent, that she would actually commit such a heinous crime against herself and all of humanity? And for what? Money? A little cash? Pathetic really! And, you know the bitch wasn’t going to give me a dime! I watched on from a distance. I could barely stand to see her do this to herself. But I did, you know, the way one absently gazes on the horror of car wrecks or old TV. Shows produced by Aaron Spelling? Her eyes were pure desperation. You wanted so badly for her to win, or to lose, just, you know, to see the eyes go dead and suddenly past, well, desperate. I’ve always prided myself on being a great friend. I really understand, and that’s why so many people want to be my friend. That’s why I am a friend to so many.

As far as I could see, Francine’s only real competition was the scant question of moral fortitude and this little Guatemalan fucker they called The Casaba. He was quite a bit shorter than Francine and did not have the extra…extra. But his thrower was no King Einar I’ll tell you that right now. His thrower, excuse me, his tosser looked like he woke up inside a barrel of Jim Beam every morning with a gut the size of Ventura County.

But then finally, it was Francine’s turn. Her eyes had gone very dull and seemed somewhat glossed over at this point. They were the eyes of something, someone headed for the butcher’s block. Each step she took fell heavy and hard, and with a very palpable sense of dread. I noticed then that her helmet looked like it might pop off any second. I tried to imagine the amount of pressure building up inside all that plastic and foam. But what if it comes off mid-toss? What if she breaks her freaking neck and well, then what are we going to do? We’ll have to call her parents anyway. Then I really started panicking. She was just about to mount King Einar, and go for it when suddenly I realized, I couldn’t let her do it. No matter the insurmountable humor involved, and how frequently and endlessly I would be able to look back at this time, no matter how low I would go in my own life, and say to myself, “yeah that’s right, your life is complete shit, but at least you were never a dwarf in an orange jump suit at a dwarf tossing competition in Oxnard, California.” What sort of friend would I be if I let her go through with this? I ran to her, but by then it was way too late.

King Einar reared up with a mighty coil, breathing in and out like a magnificent turbine engine, his chest swelling and hard. Now Francine’s eyes got bigger and bigger, fear pulsing through her, thinking suddenly that she might need to pee. He held her much like a sack of potatoes, draped over his back, Francine’s hands splayed and flush to his broad muscular shoulders like the hands of a gecko lizard, stuck and going nowhere. Then, all at once, as if nothing at all, suddenly, Francine found herself, mid-air…flying! She felt the cool breeze gliding along the sides of her body, the orange jump suit flapping, as she was hurled high into the sky. Her cold dark eyes went from dead to exuberant and her helmet seemed to stay attached perfectly. She thought to herself, “Dignity? Fuck dignity! What the hell do I need dignity for? This shit fucking rules! Fuck mom and dad! Fuck everyone! I’m flying! You hear me? I’m fucking flying!” I watched her as she sailed through the sky, catapulted through reality and moral conflict in one momentous and indomitable gesture, her eyes, I thought, wistfully catching mine. And then, hovering there miraculously, defying mom and dad and Sir Isaac fucking Newton, I looked closer, and I swear she looked right at me and mouthed the words, “Fuck you!”

The night was finally coming to an end. The little, “little ones” had stomped on most of the balloons, leaving hundreds of multi-colored rubber slugs stuck to the dance floor, while the DJ called the last dance. The airport Sheraton’s marquee had already been changed to its next event, United Sausage Packers Union’s Annual Barbeque Bonanza. Then I saw something truly…okay there’s no other word for it, beautiful. Okay, I lied, it was fucking freaky, scary…and beautiful.

It was this kid, well, not really a kid. He looked like he could be at least twenty years old, some sort of paraplegic. Suddenly I remembered that he was in fact the same kid…person being lowered down from the van on the high tech handicap ramp in front of the hotel when we first arrived. He was dressed in complete black, with one of those Joy Division shirts that said, “Yeah that’s right, I do fucking hate the whole God damned world as a matter of God damned fact! And yes, I do sit alone in my room, screaming into a pillow most days and nights, listening to music recorded by a tortured English kid who killed himself twenty years before I was even fucking born into this twisted and gnarled body. I will never ever fuck a girl, play baseball, hopscotch or wrestle. But worse than anything, that’s right anything! Worse than never ever running the bases, scarring up a sidewalk with baby blue and white chalk, or being locked in a half fucking Nelson! Worse then never ever being able to stick my dick into something indescribably warm and sweet. Worse than all that fucking bullshit! I will never ever, ever be able to fucking dance!”

But then something happened. The DJ, arbiter of Gods and Devils alike, started the last record, and as the all too familiar strains of Marc Almond’s ode to horny elves pulsated through the night air, suddenly the kid wheeled himself out and onto the middle of the dance floor. Kids were waking up from their mom’s laps, Artie was now surrounded by at least ten young ladies in assorted shades of pink, and even the space Mormons were coming back to life. Then the kid in black, center stage did the most amazing thing. He started moving his upper body from left to right. He slammed his shoulders into the sides of the wheel chair, which created a bucking sort of motion, causing the wheels, from a stationery position, to oppose one another and literally make the entire chair jump. He kept up the motion and then not only did the chair jump, but it continued to jump. From left to right to left to right and on and on.

Then the kid’s face went from stolid and dead to outright animated. By now, it seemed like everyone was on the dance floor. The lights were slowly coming up as I looked around. People were hugging and kissing each other. Saying goodbye, holding each other’s glances as if to say, “Until we meet again. “ I looked over and saw Francine sitting down holding Kate. She had her up on her feet in her lap facing her, doing a little motherly assisted dance like a marionette. The music got louder and louder, and everyone seemed to be surrounding the kid in the wheelchair, some touching the kid’s shoulders as if becoming dance partners. I looked back at Francine again, this time making eye contact. She smiled at me as I motioned toward the kid in the wheelchair, marveling at the site. Francine made a gesture of equal bewilderment and pride. Then, Francine suddenly stood, holding Kate, walked over to the weird family with the little boy, said something to the mother, and then handed Kate to her. It was like watching a freaking flower bloom in the space of a second, they all sprung up in their seats and literally started to glow. Then Francine walked over to where I was on the other side of the room, stood in front of me, the music pounding, and asked me to dance.

We walked onto the dance floor and I took her into my arms. An extraordinary sensation, I highly recommend it to everyone, dancing with a dwarf. I mean, dancing is one thing, everyone knows that, all you had to do was see that kid dressed all in black, in his Joy Division t-shirt, in his wheelchair, surround by all the rest. But dancing with a dwarf, now that’s a different thing altogether. We started slowly and then we built it, going faster and faster, and in no time, we were polkaing all around the dance floor, navigating our way gracefully and at the same time somehow haphazardly through families, sex fiend teenagers, albinos, wheelchairs, muscle-bound kiwi homos, Mexican street gangs, Mormons, elves, dwarves, dwarves and more dwarves.

Isn't it nice
Sugar and spice
Luring disco dollies
To a life of vice
I could make a film
And make you my star
You'd be a natural
The way you are
I would like you on
A long black leash
I would parade you
Down the high street
You've got the attraction
You've got the pulling power
Walk my little doggy
Walk my little sex dwarf
We could make a scene
We'd be a team
Making the headlines
Sounds like a dream
When we hit the floor
You just watch them move aside
We will take them
For a ride of rides
They all love your
Miniature ways
You know what they say
About small boys

I'm in my Rolls Royce
Look it's so huge
It's big and it's gold
With my dumb chauffeur
Looking to procure
Run little doggy
Lure a disco dolly
Run my little sex dwarf
I feel so lonely
Get my little camera
Take a pretty picture
Sex dwarf
In a gold Rolls
Making it with the dumb chauffeur

Isn't it nice
Sugar and spice
Luring disco dollies
To a life of vice
Sex dwarf
Isn't it nice
Luring disco dollies to a life of vice

We could make an outfit
For my little sex dwarf
To match the gold Rolls
And my dumb chauffeur
We'll all look so good
We'll knock 'em cold
Knocking 'em cold
In black and gold

We can have playtime
In my little playroom
Disco dollies
My sex dwarf
And my dumb chauffeur
I would like you on a long black lead
You can bring me all the things I need

Sex dwarf
Isn't it nice
Luring disco dollies to a life of vice
Isn't it nice
Sugar and spice
Luring disco dollies to a life of vice

No comments: