Thursday, July 26, 2012

Triumphant Return

Well it's been two days now since I've escaped from the death grip of Texas. Don't ask me how I managed that because it felt like the entire state was trying to kill me near the end. I've already mentioned the ungodly heat. It was so awful and humid I'm still surprised I wasn't cooked like a Thanksgiving turkey the moment I stepped outside. The air was so thick with vapor that I felt like I could cut it with a knife on an especially bad day. It was like being in some prehistoric jungle, like Jurassic Park. So it was only appropriate that huge, blood-thirsty insects would thrive there. I was bitten four or five times every day by grasshoppers as big as my hands. And there were scorpions. They didn't bite me but they kept looking at me with their beady little eyes like they wanted to.

Oh, it wasn't just small crunchy animals that wanted to kill me; I got attacked by dogs too. See, every so often I would go for little walks in the evening. One day someone left their gate open, so when I walk by, thinking everything is fine and good, swarms of angry dogs can bolt out to tear me limb from limb. The first time it happened they just barked at me and ran around in circles.

Yes, the first time. It happened a second time, but the second group of dogs were more belligerent. Thankfully I was able to power walk away before they could catch up with me. But after that I didn't go on too many of my walks anymore. I figured that was the neighbor's way of warning me that they didn't want me creeping around anymore.

So I narrowly avoided the trained attack animals, but Texas wasn't done trying to kill me. It still had it's most potent weapon at it's disposal: flash flooding. Because the land is so flat there's nowhere for all the water to go when it rains. This is bad enough, but it doesn't just rain there; the skies open up and huge torrents of water come pouring out to drown the land. So there I was, sitting pretty inside, pretending there aren't murderous animals outside when suddenly the house was surrounded by nearly a cubic meter of water on all sides.

So much wind was buffeting the house that I was afraid it was going to tip over and then we would all be head first in the freezing cold water and hailstones. Thankfully it wasn't the house that tipped over, that honor belonged to a big aluminum shed next door. We heard a crashing sound outside, so we all ran to the window to see what was happening. What we saw was a huge red sheet of metal tumbling around outside, threatening to destroying everything it touched.

Now, when a jagged sheet of twisting metal is rolling around the natural instinct would be to run and hide, waiting for the wind to die down so it be dealt with safely. But Mother wasn't having any of that, instead she ran out into the rain because...

...well we weren't really sure why. But she ran outside and under the porch of Lou's shed. She stood there for a while because I think her previous plan of stopping it with her body wasn't looking to good anymore. In any case everyone relatively unharmed. I say relatively because Mom was suffering from a severe case of the "looking silly in front of the children".

Besides nearly dying we had fun going to the Natural Bridge Caverns. I always knew I would be most at home deep in the crust of the Earth, creeping around dark, damp caves. I'm serious, if I could get away with it I would live in a cave. I think I'm naturally subterranean. We also went to see the Alamo but big whoop right? The Ripley's Museum was right across the street and it had this crazy hallway. It was a metal walkway surrounded by a rotating tube, painted black with little white dots so it looked like I was walking through space. That's cool enough in itself, but the tube spun, upsetting the internal equilibrium of anyone inside, making it feel like they were about to fall off the walkway at anytime. Of course this wasn't really the case and anyone watching from outside the rotating tube would just see a very foolish looking person stumbling around drunkenly.

I want to try and replicate the illusion in a map because it would just be so cash.

All in all, I had fun in Texas, even if I said I wouldn't before I got there. It's just such a bizarre, deadly place that I think it was inevitable I would assimilate into it's culture. I felt myself becoming one with the madness. The endless fields of corn and Whaddaburger restaurants became a security blanket of sorts.

But one thing I could not get used to was Buc-Cee's. See, Texas is home to the largest gas station in the United States. I didn't know this at first so I was confused why there were all these billboards with this ridiculous looking beaver mascot everywhere. There was no explanation for it, but it was absolutely everywhere; on people's hats and shirts, billboards, everything. And because no one ever tells me anything I didn't get any explanation for what it meant. Eventually we actually did go to this Buc-Cee's place ourselves. As it turns out, it was this ungodly, enormous gas station, with more than sixteen pumps. And a deli section. And a gift shop. I could not deal with that.

"It's just a gas station!" I kept yelling. "It doesn't need any of this!" But no one could hear me, Mother just kept telling me to get a Buc-Cee's shirt or else she would cry. Eventually I decided to just try and ignore it. It really was for the best, because my mind would break trying to contemplate it.

Well that's all for now. But before we go, remember: Don't Shake The Baby!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Deep In the Heart of Darkness

It's been a few weeks since I've started my exile here in Texas. During that time I've exhausted my copy of Jorge Luis Borges Collected Fictions and Machiavelli's The Prince. My time here has been completely devoid of my precious stilts, my familiar comfortable bed and almost completely deprived of the Internet. I say almost because about once every two or three days I can get on for about fourty-minutes at a time. We are so far out in the country that the land itself seems to resist the influence of technology; we need a special wireless adaptor to connect to some distant unseen antenna. Even then I have to use Internet Explorer of all things. Youtube completely refuses to work and pages load like molasses slowly oozes out of it's jar or cup or whatever molasses comes in. To entertain myself during the rest of the day I've been watching The Jeremy Kyle Show. It's like Maury with all the paternity tests and lie detector tests, it's always great fun to look down on the guests and scorn their lack of honor.

If that's not terrible enough already, I've been forced to share a bedroom with my sister. This in itself is bad enough, but to add insult to injury there's a perfectly good bedroom right next door that I can't use. Why? Because mother actually converted it into a giant walk in closet. The actual closet inside this ad-hoc closet is devoted to her unmentionables, purses, evening gowns and swimsuits she tells me she's never even worn. So I can sleep easy in my inflatable matress knowing her alphabetized collection of shoes is nice and snuggly in their closet while I'm laying a mere few inches from my sister's luggage full of her unspeakables. To be fair, I'm probably not the easiest person to be in the same room with throughout the night. According to my sister I actually talk in my sleep. I can tell when it happens because she always wakes up with this horrified look in her eyes. What I actually say is a mystery, but apparently she's heard me mutter "Exterminate." a couple times. Two nights ago I said something like "It's okay, she has different genetics from us." I wish I knew what I was talking about because that sounds important.

So basically what's happened is that everything I love in life, my stilts, my computer, my solitude have all been stolen from me and the mental stress of it all is slowly bubbling to the surface. I don't know how much longer I can hold out. I feel like eventually I'll just snap and go on a crazed bullet riddled rampage.

Oh wait, too late.

That's right, yesterday Lou decided to bring some guns home for us to shoot. Because apparently now that I'm in Texas it's high time I learn how to shoot real guns instead of the pretend videogame kind. (Note to Mackdombles: See? I am not left-handed!)

I'm not really sure what was going on here, but I think I was doing my best imitation of a question mark. Either way that gun looks like it just walked out of Cry of Fear.

Even Mother fired a few rounds. And none of them were at me!

Here's a cartoon man after I shot him to death.

My sister requested that her face not appear on this post, probably because she kept telling us about how she doesn't like guns and that it went against her ethics. We did get her to relent long enough to shoot a single bullet though. But after that she ran and hid behind the truck. Still this should be enough to use against in incase she ever decides to join the Peace Corp or something. I'll just send these pictures to the right people and bam, no scholarship for her.

But then this happened...

...and suddenly things got a little too real for everyone.

Just so you know that's an assault rifle. I was shooting an assault rifle.

The funny thing is anyone who knows me in real life knows I am a naturally very twitchy, nervous little person. Mother's always complaining about how on-edge I am. She keeps saying that I have nothing to be afraid of, so why do I panic at every little thing? Anything people do, even the smallest most innocuous motion easily startles me. I can't count how many times by grandparents have almost given my a heart attack just by walking into the room. In fact, when we were all in school my friend's favorite hobby was making lunging motions at me and watching as I jump backwards several feet as I try to keep my heart from jumping out of my chest. Even I'm surprised at how jumpy I am sometimes, so you'd think the loud explosions and violent recoil of the guns would send me into some wild panic attack, right?

Bizarrely, no.

I'm sure this happens to a lot of people. But I went into some kind of zone. It's like time slowed down around me, for that brief moment I was able to forget myself. I became a frame, like a turret who's sole purpose was to keep the gun in place as it fired. The thunderous report of the rifle drowned out any other sound.

"Yes," I muttered to myself. "I am a killing machine."

The skies started to darken and I noticed little rain drops in the corner of my vision. There was thunder in the distance, as if it was trying to echo the sound of the rifle. It was just me out in the rain. Mainly because everyone else was cowering behind the truck.

When the dust settled and everyone started to realize that it probably isn't a good idea to give me a gun we all decided to go inside for cheeseburgers. Afterwords we were able to catch the ending of The Fifth Element. That night I laid in bed making gun sounds, shooting the ceiling as I drifted into some lovely, ultraviolent dreamland.