Amanda #7

Author’s Note — This will be the last Amanda post for awhile.   Enjoy!

***

The days before Jim and Amanda were quiet, almost too quiet.   Richard and Dahlia, two young lovebirds, cruising around in a convertible, listening to the sound of wind crash into their eardrums.   At sunset, they’d find a spot off the California freeway, set up camp and start a fire.  After a canned dinner, Richard would pluck his guitar while Dahlia dreamed of a warm place with wall-to-wall carpeting.   Kids would roam the house, books in either hand, a smile planted upon their faces.   After a hard day’s work, Richard would come home, leap upon the trampoline with the kids, then once the rest of the house had settled in, the couple would slow dance to either classical music or jazz.   The next morning, the entire family all dressed in pajamas seated around the breakfast table with an array of smoked salmon, cereals, pastries and tea.   Unfortunately for Dahlia, this family never existed…trouble from the get-go.

Jim possessed the most irritating brilliance to Dahlia.  He seemed to know the answers to rather complicated matters long before her.   It would just blurt right out him.   Dahlia, of course, as his mother, refused to accept that perhaps he was onto something.  Kids, she’d rationalize, what could he, they, any of them know?   Yet a fortnight later and many dollars tossed into the pockets of too many strangers, there arrived the answer.  The same one Jim had blurted out.  He’s a smart one, Dahlia surmised.   Then a week a later, a new problem would arrive and the whole cycle would start over again.

When the problem of Amanda arrived (otherwise known as her birth, according to Jim), neither parent knew what to do.   Even Jim was perplexed.   After many attempts at getting to know and care for his baby sister, five-year-old little Jim suggested drowning “that bitch”.  This would lead to “Jimmy, where’d you hear that word from” but Dahlia knew; from the mouth of a man on the other end of the sliding glass door smoking a cigarette out on the decaying deck.  A hundred and fifty therapists in, not a single one knew how to tend to her raucous daughter.

After one wild lovemaking session, Richard proposed, “It’s time we accept Amanda for who she is.”

“Richard,” moaned Dahlia, “who the fuck is she?  I mean, I don’t know what to say to her half the time.  She freaks me out.  Doesn’t she freak you out?”

Richard groaned, “Sometimes.”

“Sometimes! Sometimes?   She’s impossible.   Maybe Jim was right.  Maybe we should drown her.”

“Are you fucking loony?   Dahlia, seriously…you really think we should drown our own daughter?”

Roaring in laughter, “It would make life easier on us.”  Tears coated Dahlia’s face, “I don’t know how to deal with this, Richard.  It feels like I’m in a madhouse every day.  This isn’t the life I dreamed of.  You know that!”

Lost for words, Richard ran his finger up and down Dahlia’s spine.

Amanda #6

“There’s a place men go when they pass out.   In this realm, everything feels like fur.   The temperature though can burn your skin off.   This is why, my beautiful mother, oh lovey dovey you, I will take this bucket of ice cold water and pour it directly over father’s body.   The freezing cold water will shock him out of that ugly hot realm and then all four of us can resume our get-together.   You can get back to the kitchen.  Zack, Father and I can resume our business meeting.   So, step out of the way,” Amanda struggled with the bucket of ice water.    “How de heck did dis get so heavy,” she thought.   “I brought da damn ting in hee-ya.”

Dahlia stepped out of the way, shaking her head, “What if this doesn’t work?”

Bucket three inches off the ground, “Then…call…the…ambulance.”   Water and ice soaked Richard along with the brown shag carpet surrounding him.   Richards sprang up from off the floor, gasping for air.

“Damn it, Amanda.   Holy fuck!  What…” In the far corner he noticed Zack, both eyeballs swirling about in a mad race.  Which eyeball will take in the most information?  Richard wiped ice cubes off his chest, “Dearest me!  What a trip that was.  It was like getting lost in a golden retriever…from hell.   Hope that didn’t disturb you too badly, Zack boy.”

“Nope.  Glad you returned, Mr. Jenkins.”

“Same here,” Richard cracked his knuckles and then climbed atop the seat from where he fell.  “Please, Zack, I urge you to call me Richard.”

“Richard…”

“No!”  Richard interrupted.  “Everyone calls me Richard.   You can call me Dick.  Seriously call me Dick.”

“But you said…”

“Bah!  Earlier.   Didn’t know you like I know you now.   Amanda, dear, why don’t you leave me to chat with Zack?  Your mother might need help in the kitchen.  Isn’t that so, dear?”

Dahlia nodded, “It is a mess in there.”

Amanda rushed over to Zack, massaged the back of his neck, insisting in baby talk, “Just as wong as you don’t hoo-at my pwecious Zacky.”

“Zack’s safe with me, baby doll.  Go help your mother.”

Amanda walked backwards observing Zack’s every move, assuring that not a single gesture was missed.  Once in the kitchen, Amanda grabbed a steak knife, jabbed into her mother’s side, “Aiight biatch, here’s how it’s gonna go.   You gonna clean.  I gonna cook.”

Dahlia yelped a round of laughter.  “You silly girl, what happened to that beautifully speaking person?   You only talk that way around Zack?”

The knife dug deeper into Dahlia’, “Listen biatch, gonna stick you if you fuck around any longa.  Clean dis fuckin’ shithole.”

Amanda #4

In a neighborhood of aluminum siding, it can be difficult to differentiate one house from another.   Compact that atop camouflaged numbers that truly can be inscribed anywhere, inside the mailbox, beneath one of the shingles, upon the insert of the homeowner’s wallet, it can lead to a disastrous route for any visitor.   This was not the case for Zack Blueman.  Despite his roving eyeballs, the man was born with a knack for accurately guessing house numbers.

When a loud shriek emitted from somewhere inside the house he had intended to visit, Zack feared this was a bad time.   Seems to be his life story.   Always arriving when unwanted.   Jumping out of his mother’s womb in the midst of a formal gala.   Ruined her thousand-dollar dress.   Little six-year-old Zack awoke to a urine-soaked bed.   He sauntered through the dark hallway into the living room where his naked parents and another couple, also naked, groped one another.

Had it not been for someone screaming his name after the loud shriek, Zack would have left.   He stumbled down the blue stone pathway.   He stopped and peered through the broken window where on the other end, a man and woman, both in their early fifties, sat on the floor, playing with glass.

“I’m Zack Blueman.”

Richard, taken out of a reverie, replied with a shrug.   “So?  I’m Richard Jenkins.”

Zack climbed through the broken window, hand extended, “Perfect, you’re just the man I’m looking for.”

“Me?”

Dahlia coughed, “Uh…my hand.”   Zack had stepped on the woman’s hand.

“So sorry,” Zack lifted Dahlia’s hand.  Kissed it several times.  Richard cleared his throat but was muted by a storm evolving upstairs.

“That’s our daughter.”  Dahlia wiped the glass off her lap and stood up.  “I’ll go check on her while you two…” What did this Zack character have in mind with her husband?   Kill him?  Eat his limbs?   Dahlia feared she’d been overtaken by madness, left the two men, her sentence still incomplete.

“Forgive my wife.  She’s a bit awkward with new people.”

Zack’s attention was fixed on a plastic rocking horse that both Amanda and Jim used as toddlers.   He squatted and in that crouched position walked over to the plastic rocking horse.  “How cute,” Zack pet its mane.   “What’s his name?  His?”

“Yeah,” Richard shrugged.  “Don’t think it was named.  Probably “horsey”.   What can I do for you?”

The volume of the storm upstairs intensified.   Zack extricated himself from the horse and leaned into Richard.   “Can we go somewhere private?  This is a little…”Zack pointed at the broken window.

“Right, right.  Come with me.”  Richard led Zack into a large walk-in closet directly beneath the staircase.   A clip-on light illuminated blue.    “This private enough?”

Zack closed the accordion door and nodded.  The man moved his lips but not a sound emitted.

“What?  Why are you here,” Richard grew impatient.

“May I call you Dick?”

“No.  Nobody calls me Dick.  Not even my own mother.”

“That’s fine, that’s fine.  Listen, I know what you do and well, I think we can cut a deal.”

“A deal?  What kind of deal?   Quit speaking nonsense,” Richard grabbed the handle to the accordion door.

“Wait,” Zack placed his hand atop Richard’s.   “Construction’s your trade, isn’t it?”

Richard, unmoved by Zack’s enthusiasm, “Yeah, why?”

“I fix motors!”  Above them, thunder rolled down the stairs.

“Okay…”

“No!  Don’t you see?  We can cut a deal!”

Has the boy before him gone totally insane?   What kind of deal could possibly be cut between a construction foreman and a lunatic who fixes motors?   His eyes darting around, capturing fractals of blue light.  Fearing a seizure might take over, Richard blurted, “We’re done.”

“Done?”

“Get out of my house?”

The accordion door, without warning, swung open, the two men flying forward into Amanda, wearing blue spandex pants and a white t-shirt a bit too tight on her, “Fuck you, Dad!   Zack’s not to leave evah!   Evah!   Now, how can my foddah help you, Zack?”  Her voice squealed when saying his name.

Amanda #3

In the twenty-three years of living, Amanda could only count six full days where her parents went without arguing.   In those six consecutive (yes, consecutive) days, her father suffered laryngitis.   Dahlia, her mother, did everything possible to restore her husband’s brooding coarse voice.  How she loved fighting!   Had Dahlia been born male, she either would have pursued boxing or studied criminal law (not that a female couldn’t become a boxer or a criminal lawyer.  Just a little bit of insight into the strange mind of Dahlia Jenkins).  Instead, she became a florist.   Most of Dahlia’s arguments with her husband revolved around money that had gone or was planning to go into her business.    Richard argued, “Enough is enough, Dahlia!  How much fucking money you want to put into this damned business?   Each year your business profits.  Each fucking year I have to delay putting a new deck in the backyard.”

Richard, a simple construction foreman, had a point.  The Jenkins deck emitted a croaking sound anytime someone stood three feet from it.   In that state, one expected to fall right through while standing directly upon it.   This deck was where Richard would take his daily cigarette, one hour after dinner.  It would settle his mood.  Give him enough juice to argue the rest of the night with Dahlia about one thing or another.    Then once the kids were snoring away, Dahlia and Richard would go at it, pouring love juice upon one another.  It was as if their arguing was nothing more than a mask for their sweet tenderness underneath.   Richard would have to take his smokes leaning against his car.  Sometimes he’d take a stroll to the neighborhood park where jocks wrestled one another, wearing nothing but a pair of boxer briefs.    “Faggots,” Richard would moan but for one reason or another, even after the deck was repaired, would return to these wrestling boxer-brief wearing jocks.

The day Jim disappeared with a bag of dirty clothes, Richard and Dahlia returned home saying nothing to one another.   Amanda feared the glass shards had killed them.  Instead it mesmerized them.  The two sat on the floor like toddlers, picking up the glass, then released it back onto the carpet.   “Wild how gravity works, Richard.”

“Tell me about it, Dahlia.”

“What da…ya both stoned or what?”

The two proceeded as if their plump daughter wasn’t there.  Amanda thundered up the stairs cursing her “stupid, idiotic parents.  Who da hell do dey tink dey are?”   Once inside her unkempt bedroom, she ripped off the oversized shirt covering her tan frame.   Standing before the mirror, Amanda dreamed of a skinnier body, one that would overwhelm Zack Blueman.

“Oh Zack Blueman,” Amanda hissed while caressing her smooth hips.   “Take me away from dis wee-ahd place.”

As if God him or herself was hiding in Amanda’s closet, a motorcycle pulled up in the driveway.  The tremors from the vehicle shook the whole house, knocking a framed print of Michael Jackson off the wall in Amanda’s room.   Approaching the fallen picture, Amanda could see through the window, some muscular being removing a black helmet, lightning bolts on the side.   Once the cyclist’s face was revealed, Amanda let out a high-pitched shriek.

Amanda #2

Poor little girl, lost as ever.   Between her brother’s insidious ways and Zack’s wandering eye, Amanda paced to and fro in her bedroom.   She wondered whether it was chocolate or vanilla ice cream Zack had consumed with his apple pie.   Created some sort of rationalization that if it’s chocolate then perhaps he’s sexually charged.   In some woman’s magazine, perhaps Elle, Amanda read that men who consume chocolate on a regular basis have a high sex drive.   But chocolate ice cream and apple pie?   Yuck, thought Amanda.   Vanilla ice cream tends to combine better with apple pie.   Vanilla, according to this article, when consumed by a male, signifies low sperm count.    “Subconsciously,” Amanda read, “a man eats the vanilla thinking that it’s his own sperm.”   Although those words scattered across her brain, Amanda saw something else—

Zack in a midnight blue robe, its belt dangling at his sides.   He mouths the words, “Ready for it?”   Amanda licks her lips.  He extracts his forty-foot penis whereupon a laser beam of vanilla ice cream sprays her in the face.

Crash baloom!  Jim didn’t even bother knocking or hollering.   He just knew that Amanda would pull some maneuver.   Either that or he saw through the windows, dining room chairs pushed up against the doorknobs.  All of them.

Once inside, Jim dragged the dining room chairs under the table and stormed into his room whereupon he filled a plastic bag with dirty clothing.  Amanda watched him.

“Going somewhere, Jimmy?”

“Like you care!”

“You stick around here and yeah I care!  Doing laundry?”

Jim shoved his middle finger into Amanda’s nose and then marched out the house like a spoiled teenager.

A mad grin took over.    Amanda figured with Jim possibly gone she can invite Zack over.   There’s that beat-up MG in the garage.   He could come by, check under the hood and while he’s leaning into the dusty engine, she can grab his ass.  If only she knew his number.

“No Blueman a hundred miles from me.  Dat’s nuts!”

“Can I help you with anything else, madam?”

“Madman?”

“No,” the operator laughed.  “I said ‘Madam’. M-A-D-A-M.”

“It’s spelled B-L-U-E-M-A-N.”

The operator hesitated, clearly doing everything in her power to contain her frustration, “Let me repeat, the nearest Blueman is one hundred miles from you.   Have a good day.”  Dial tone.

Amanda #1

Something tol’s me that he secretly wants me.   Seen dem wandering eyes as he fixes de ‘ngines.   So strong, I seen him bend things without a sweat drop going anywhere.    Maybe one sizzled on a rock beneath him once.  Been watching him for too long.   He’s five years older den me.    He may been in the same school as my older brother, Jim.

The first I seen him was playing basketball.   He wore no shirt.   Made me wanna jump over the bleachers, push him to the ground.    Dat was so long ago.    Now, he don’t play any ball games.   Just fixes cars and maybe reading dem books.

Musta been when I was in tenth grade, few weeks before dropping out, Jim saw some scribbling on a napkin – Amanda ‘N Zack foreva!   He laughed and laughed saying, “You think Zack wants you, Amanda?  A simple little girl.  Fahget it.  Just fahget it.   He goes for hot hot girls.   Get out of those sweats and maybe he’ll take you.”    Take me where?   To his bed?   To the zoo?   To the movies?    Jim just laughed.   Made me feel shitty.

We was at the diner, Jim and me, when I saw Zack came in.   Jim musta forgotten about the napkin scribbles.   My eyes only saw Zack.   He looked so skinny yet strong.   Wore a muscle shirt.    On his arm’s a tattoo of a baby dragon dancing on a building.  The artist was so good you can see far away fire burning.

“You okay,” Jim snapped.   His fingers snap when he gets mad.   I nodded but looked back at Zack.    Zack Blueman.   Amanda Blueman.  Sounds prettier than Amanda Jenkins.   Shit, do I got the name of a banker or what?   When I marry Zack Blueman, I gonna be his receptionist.   Gonna answer the phone, “Blueman Motors.  Dis is Amanda.  How can I help you?”

Those days will come soon, I tell ya.   He and me gonna get all naughty and stuff when we shut down for the night.  Do it on a broken BMW.   Screw till the sun comes out again.

Jim’s voice started rising in the diner.   People stared.  I don’t know what Jim be saying but boy did my cheeks get all red.  Even Zack looked over.   He was eating an apple pie with ice cream.   I tol’ Jim to be quiet but he just kept saying over and over again, “What are you looking at, girl?  Why’s you stupid all of a sudden?”   I got’s angry back saying, “Can’t I look at what I want?  All day and night I hear yur stupid voice.   Shut up for once, Jim, and eat yur food.”   Dat don’t settle Jim at all.  He just get all worked up.  Smacking the table.   Throws ketchup at me.   People surrounded the table thinking we gonna start a brawl.    We both apologized and stuff but when alone he whispered some mean stuff.   I so embarrassed I just left.   Took a glance over at Zack who be slurping some chocolate milk.   Damn, he look so good!

The heat burn my skin as I walk somewhere.  Anywhere.   Thought of a garden, a pretty one growing blueberries and ginger.   Nah!  Too far.   Thought of an ice cream shop that plays nice music.   I’s already eaten.  Home sounded nice.   Home where I can stick chairs under the doors so Jim don’t come in.   I’ll sit upstairs laughing at Jim’s hollering and banging as I touch myself thinking of Zack.