Somewhere between.

In the headlines, she had encountered the following headline:

Gang rape, cannibalism, beheadings rife in Congo slaughterhouse

Muddled, she mused about colonialism, and conquest–and asked herself exactly why do these things happen, and who makes these things happen!?

One thing to the next, she was on a journey, through cannibalism, and King Leopold of Belgium, none of it anything short of horrific! How could a mass genocide take place in her grandmothers–and her mothers–and HER TIME, and no one took notice?

The pictures were horrific–leaving short term scars on her mind, and then an even more scarring picture replaced it–cannibals carrying torsos, and cannibals carrying hands, feet–what kind of monsters do these things, she wondered. These black monsters, who eat people?!

But grounded as she is she always came back to King Leopold of Belgium, and his family line all connected through rubber, and sugar, and diamonds in businesses whose wealth defied every imaginary perimeter–she simply could not get her head around numbers that big, or the meaning of what those numbers meant.

She kept asking: How many people were eaten, or disemboweled, or otherwise destroyed–how many human lives were lost (and eaten, for fucks sake!) so that India Sugar Plantations or Maxfield Coffee or the soles of her shoes could be made?

Fourteen is quite an eye opener. Brains AND BOOBS, what a shitty year.

At fourteen years old she had learned the following about her father: he has a mysterious past, and he won’t talk about it. He says things that make her suspect that he is not being honest with her, and she cries sometimes about it. And most of all, he still treats her like she’s a baby, and probably because he isn’t around much anymore.

And too, she had learned that her sister wasn’t even her real sister–because MOM had her with a guy that Dad didn’t know about, and then he divorced her, and then, she started NOT liking her sister, and THEN her mom isn’t around much anymore either, always off with Mr. Big Face, and her her Dad was…just….

Well. Truly, she thought to herself, it’s a really really terrible world. She didn’t want to live in it anymore.

And, two internet pages later, she was at the Tischler Furniture Emporium page, looking at a new bed. The one with the mosquito net, and the ship’s captain head board. She knew it was a “boy’s” bed, but she liked t anyways–a bed fit for an adventurer. A bed she could pack in a suitcase, and take everywhere in the world on her (future) travels.

She saw herself–her seven year old self–never growing up, and that bed was a ship, and she was sailing across every sea, and the wind was blowing in her hair, and Dad was calling out “Hold on little buddy, the winds are high! The ship can go down, if just one of us slips on the deck! (he’s holding his private parts and his butt with both hands, jumping around like a guy with bad legs, and then grabbing at his hair like a crazy person)

“Hold On!–Do you see that whale? THAT’S the ONE!!!” he was saying… and…

She looked away, fast. She wondered where it had slipped by her–what was that one day? That day where dad…went… away? The bluest sky….he disappeared that day like water vapor.

In the story, it always ended with Dad and a whale on his fishing pole, and he was in Miami, though she didn’t know what Miami was, but it sounded like her aunt MiMi’s name, and she always saw MiMi in her mind in that place, dancing with stars. MiMi was like a star too, but that’s a different story.

In the story, Dad was always saying “Well, the truth is, he jumped ONTO the hook! He said “Listen, fellah, its tough out here. Have you ever seen a giant squid? Have you ever gone nose to nose with the prow of a cruise ship that doesn’t even know you are there? Listen, Fellah, it’s tough out here! Have you ever been followed around by a gang of shrimps and other sea life that ONLY wants to EAT YOUR POO? Right, fellah–it’s lonely out here–and that hook you tossed me was a lifeline, trust me! Now–do you have a tank I can live in? Maybe at your house? I promise, I won’t mess it up!”

In the story, all of the entire worlds newspapers and TV people were right there, in front of him, with their camera’s and microphones in his face. He was fighting them off, just to tell his great story.

And she always laughed at that last part, because she imagined whale poo was probably really big, and it didn’t help one bit when Dad played the whale either, because it was really too much–he even made whale noises, and stretched his hands out getting bigger, and bigger, until hos face and his eyeballs stretched out and nearly fell out of his face–

“WhoooooHooooOOOOOO. WhaaaaaAAAAAAH!”

She always saw a huge poo, and thought about how huge a poo could be. Her hamsters poo for example was only about 3 millimeters–a guinea pig poo about 1.2-2 centimeters–and a dog–those white turds in the parks are everywhere–on the fake grass green carpets around her ton,on sidewalks and even once on a park bench!(YUCK!) dog poo in every place–about 13 centimeters, tops.

Dad had told her many times that people today prefer dogs over human companionship, and teased her about modern women, marrying their dogs, or like herd animals, all scared into narcissim–“they can’t stop looking at themselves in phones, selfies, mirrors” and he would do that trick where he bumps into the wall face first–“it wasn’t always like that,” he said, but today “the internet is like a worm in your head–full time zombie making tool of the rich people.”

“Its all a bunch of whale poo,” was a running joke for quite awhile.

“Listen, pal–if you never had to take a crap under an iceberg, count yourself lucky! And I mean CHINESES 666 LUCKY!”

At that point, she would always laugh, because her Dada had a way of imitating people who were sad caricatures of themselves, and then, bringing her back to seeing that her dada was also a sad caricature of himself, like one of those mirror houses–her mind couldn’t help itself but to laugh–and she didn’t know why!

“Well I can tellya, it isn’t pretty. You take a squat out there, in the freezing-for-f@cks-sake lower Atlantic Ocean, under an iceberg, and try to squeeze it out– but the damned ice is so cold that your poo-hole won’t crack even just a bit! “

There’s Dada, hunching over, bending his back–I remember when he was crawling around on the floor when I was five, because he broke his back after….Oh never mind that! He taught me to poo, with this one story.

“And then, like a whistling bullet–pheeEEEEEeeeewww–your butthole squints its ONE EYE and puckers like this….”

He is squeezing his lips, and his eyes are so funny! His whole face looks like a…a ….scrunched up bread bag top, just before you wrap the wire on it to “keep it fresh,” as Mom says.

And she is rolling in herself–she feels like a ship on waves, and dada is like a clown–a real live television show, but without a TV! And she is waving, waving, like those sleep sounds on that baby toy with all the sleep noises….

“And then,” he whistles that bullet noise again–a really long, high whistle that ends with a Plop! It sounds JUST like those whale video’s on Tubetube.

“Wheeeeeeeeee. Whoooooooooo…….whistle, plop!”

And that little herd of shrimp, and penguins, and polar bears in boats show up, just to watch it. They are pulling out camera’s and phones, and clicking “Like” on Pootube, sending off images of the poor whale taking a dump, sending the whales most private moments into the public!

And she knows the next line–she says ” MeeeeeeeeToooooooo!” with him, and she is imagining that whale, crunched under an iceberg taking a poop, the poor little whale, his eyes scrunchied closed, and his desperate need to crap–together, she and dada, and the whale all pooed, in the story. A huge bunch of crap–and it formed continents, and even launched rockets from the home base, on a mountain of turds. Again–that’s another story!

And both her and dada are rolling around on the carpet, laughing, and he is digging his fingers into her ribs, poking her skinny little neck, and she is batting his face with her hands, and kicking in his nutsack with gongfu— and they are laughing.

Unstoppable laughter. That poor whale! That herd of penguins, shrimp and polar bears–polar bears can smell you from a thousand miles away!

And now, she is crying, remembering that. And thinking how she could protect Dada from a polar bear–he said: “There is no way to actually do it, without a .50 calibre gun…..Or an igloo full of Inuit, who likely speak that bears own language.”

In the story, you just cannot take a shit anywhere without some gang of animals showing up to watch it. It’s almost as if there are two types of societies: one who take shits, and the other that watches others taking shits. Whale shit is sort of what Dada called an “analogue” for human misunderstandings.

But that whale, he figured it out! He jumped on the hook, and asked for a fish tank big enough to hold him, where his big shits aren’t a big deal–where they are simply a private matter between him, and the guy with the hook. The story never got off the ground far enough to know if the fisherman had a big tank, but she rolled at that story every time she remembered it.

And Dada always said “Be careful what you wish for, little baby. It might come true–do you REALLY WANT THAT to come true?”

The page is right there. The Tischler Furniture page with that sailors bed.

That bed. like a boat. Her, the ship’s captain. And…Dada.

Where is Dada tonight, she is thinking. He is probably thinking about me, she thinks.

And, she is correct–she knows this because she is an empath, as he said. “There are two types of people in the world: Sympathetic folks who have no real idea about the who, what, when, where, why or how of anything, but they sure put on a good act–like whales taking a shit but without the actual turds for proof” and then, “people like us–you and me.”

Wherever there is wind, there I am, he said. Wherever there is water, there I am too. And when the moon is full? There you will find yourself, and MAYBE, if I am not out saving whales–you and I will find each other too. Jump on a space ship, and foat on moon clouds Again, and again, and again-we are what time is. And we will always be together. You, and me, little buddy.”

She was vague in that moment. She hovered over the “Buy” link for about thirty seven seconds, and then, Grandma Peg’s story came to her out of the blue. The blue sky! Andrew Wyeth’s girl on the grass! Monay and his fields! And Grandma Peg! And that family story–the private one about Mr. K. with the tattoo, the matzo, the chicken broth, the piano, and the….

Claude Monet “Blue Sky”, image source

She quickly clicked away from Tischler Furniture. A bad feeling–not grandma Peg, but Grandma Peg’s story. SO sad, she never got to meet her, though she keeps her in her heart!

Suddenly, she didn’t want that bed! A bad feeling about those Tischlers!

She was back on the King Leopold page, and wondering about Poland. A red haired Pippy Longstalking came to her mind–she would NOT be an abandoned girl! She would fight what they did to Peg–she would fight what they did to Dada too.

She picked up her phone, and dialed her Dad–knowing that he probably wouldn’t pick up, and the tone “Doooooot. Doooooot. Dooooooooottttttt. The party you have dialed is……”

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