Cyber Corpse 2
Exquisite Corpse - A Journal of Letters and Life
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by D.T. Harris

A Few Good Menses

Like the one beginning on a July afternoon that's ninety-five degrees in the shade of some airport control tower somewhere in the coolly vegetated outskirts of the city, the asphalt streets of which have turned, overnight, into an enormous pizza oven that wants to turn you into crust; and you're "riding the hump" of the backseat of a crowded, aging Mercedes with no air-conditioning, while your prospective father-in-law drives in circles trying to find that bed-and-breakfast in the mountains he read about in a six-year-old issue of "Country Living" while sitting in his dentist's chair and waiting for the root-canal Valium to take effect; and your prospective mother-in-law is talking about her family history which, apparently, goes back to Leif Ericson and his establishment of the first European colony in North America in pre-Columbian, Medieval times; and as she turns toward you, smiling, you follow her eyes which suddenly widen as the smile droops at the edges of her mouth like the leaves of an unwatered houseplant; and you look down at your new, hundred-dollar white Italian slacks, representing the entirety of your clothing budget for the next four months, and see the crotch bathed now in a shade of red not seen much in Milan since the Communists lost control of the national government.

The Curse of the Bambino

Originally conceived by the god of musical-comedy as a comment on what baseball was doing to the country, this hex lasted for most of the Twentieth Century until, in the 1990s, it was finally circumvented by a team of clever, Harvard sports medicine men who convinced the Red Sox owners that by deciding to build a new stadium on uncursed, fenway ground they would complete a triangulation of events in the baseball heavens that would send the jinx, via Toronto, back to New York on the sagging arm of a certain Texas right-hander who, reportedly, has been to the rodeo before.

Cursed and Rejected -- A Musical-Tragedy With a Happy Ending

Three hours spent in as polite a fidgetiness as humanly possible, promising yourself that next time at the beginning of cold and flu season you'll sit at least thirty rows back and well beyond the range of all the tenor and mezzo spitting, as you wait for what seems like ages for the coming of the Messiah of Handel to finally -- Hallelujah! -- rise up in chorus.

The Curse of the Non-Starving Class (or, Good Judgment Versus a Sense of Self Not Nearly Strong Enough to Walk on Water)

"Bethany, I have it," Harold said to his long-suffering, though well-checkbooked wife. "Good judgment is so ephemeral, so hard to commodify, we should give our children something else. If we start at an early age we could provide them with something that will last well beyond our fragile tether to this humble world we call 'the place in the city, the place in the country, the grove land in Florida, the yacht, polo ponies, stocks and bonds and real estate investments.' We can give them a sense of ourselves so strong that it will, like the steel girders of our new tower in midtown, build a house of self inside which our progeny will live for generations."

And the gods looked down and smiled. "The lure of self-possession --" said the god of duck boots and fly fishing, "one shimmer and they can't tell food from a Freeport jig."

"Who-whee," said the god of Cajun cooking shows, "even if it hasn't got no own-eee-own, dey still will love the tender bite."

"Ohhhh, yeahhhh," said the god of love me tender. "True love, like gluttony, is wanting to be your food. Thank you very much."

"Let me see if I understand this," said the god of hesitation, self-doubt, attempts at discernment and other ungodly behavior.

"Oh, please!" interrupted the god of easy, good looks. "Take your love of introspection and put it where the god of moons don't shine."

"Harold!" Bethany said, as the god squabble quickly stopped, all looking down again at the entertainment below. "A ready-made, house of self -- what a brilliant idea. What a thing to give a child. I salute you, and I'm sure our children and grandchildren will one day do the same."

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