In response to Sunday Scribblings:
#96 – Foul
How about something a little gross? I have to admit that the inspiration for this prompt is my being in the room with a farting dog whose rump is aimed right at me, so you see what I mean by “foul.” …
This immediately reminded me of a scene in Kenneth Patchen’s novel Memoirs of a Shy Pornographer (1945). Here it is:
Something rubbed against my chest and I almost swallowed the tongue out of my mouth. It was a dog, or rather about ten dogs using the same four legs to walk on.
“Windy likes you,” a woman said. “Don’t you, Windy dear?”
Windy reared up and the only thing I could think of was Tom Mix’s horse – only Windy didn’t have hoofs, though he was probably bigger. He rested his paws on my shoulders and I just sat down with him on top of me.
“Don’t do anything to startle him,” she said. “He’s a very nervous disposition.”
Windy was lapping my face by now and twice I felt my chin touch my nose like the whole thing was rubber. I could smell raw meat on his breath.
Somehow I managed to get out from under and crawled across to an enormous hassock. I climbed up on it and sat down. The woman and her owner followed me over.
“If you are wondering about his name, we got him in Chicago,” she explained. Then she looked up into his face and said: “Now don’t let anything frighten you until mamma gets back, precious.”
As soon as she had gone a boy in a blue sweater came over and sat down on the hassock beside me. Windy gave him a very unmannerly look from his eyes which had the appearance of yellow baseballs peering out of a bush made of dirty hair.
“I loved her,” the youth said.
“That’s nice,” I answered, not taking my gaze from the baseballs.
“She had everything,” he continued.
“That’s nice,” I answered again.
Windy slowly turned around so his back faced me – only in a dog you can’t call it that.
“Class,” went on the youth.
What I could see of Windy was starting to sway gently. And it kept edging in on me until I got the funny feeling I was standing in front of a pawnshop.
“Breeding,” he elaborated.
“That’s important,” I said.
I moved a few inches around the hassock, but all I got out of that was that that part of Windy was just a little closer when he finally got back in position.
“Looks. God! she was beautiful….!”
He stopped short and sprang up and saluted three Corporals or Generals who were passing. Two of them seemed a little surprised but saluted him too; the third one had his eyes closed and his tongue swung back and forth as they carried him.
“They’re rank,” he explained.
By now we were moving around on the hassock pretty fast and Windy had perfected a little side-step that made him grin with pride. I forgot to say that the room was nothing but mirrors covering the walls and everytime I could manage to see around him I saw about four hundred dogs grinning at me as they reflected. We looked a little like a merry-go-round but I didn’t feel like one.
“What was her name?” I asked. We wee both getting out of breath and I thought he must think it was a funny way to conduct a conversation.
Sometimes when he got up to salute I’d be around twice before he could sit down again.
“Evangeline,” he said, or rather I should say panted.
“That’s a nice name, ” I said.
This jarring him up only makes it worse, I thought finally, so I stopped moving around and resigned myself. Windy moved in a little closer.
“But not nice enough for Evangeline,” he said, jumping up to salute again.
“What the h––l’s the matter with you?” this particular Leftenant or Rear-Admiral said.
“As you wish, sir,” the youth said.
“As I h––l,” the other returned. “Maybe you’re just a little too big for your pants.”
Not as far as I could see, and they were buttoned too.
“It’s because I got the hello,” the boy volunteered.
“You got the what?”
“From the big white man….”
“Please consider this another question,” the maybe Major said. His face looked like a field of tomatoes in the mirror.
“In the same colored house….”
“I think we have just room in here for another one.”
“Now I’m Gates I might maybe just take a little swing….”
I guess the boy thought so because he took out a paper and showed it to him.
“All the way from the Corn Belt, eh?” the officer remarked.
“Yes, sir. Iowa. You see I wanta be all practiced-up so’s when I get in I’ll –”
“Look, Johnnie, at a place like this you don’t salute officers –” He started off. “You roll them,” he said over his shoulder.
The boy seemed very unhappy for a little while, and in this it wasn’t any effort for me to join him. Windy was swaying in a very satisfied manner indeed. My chest felt rubbed raw from the backs of his knees.
“Evangeline understood me,” he said at last.
“Will you marry her When It’s All Over?” I asked.
“– All six hundred and fifty pounds of her,” he evaded.
I had heard of such things – Even a midget married to one of them.
“Does she find life interesting?” I ventured.
“Find what life?”
“In the circus.”
“What would Evangeline be doing in a circus?” he inquired.
“Isn’t it sort of hard otherwise? Special beds, getting moved about – And there must be a lot of people who’d like to see her.”
“They cut her throat,” he said. “Right in front of my eyes – And her looking up at me so sort of trusting and perty….”
He started to cry but just then the lady came back for Windy. She made a cooing noise at him and he opened his mouth and yawned so it looked like everybody had about two seconds to live as all the mirrors filled up with teeth as long as white paring knives.
As he shambled off with her I wanted to say you’re a liar which wouldn’t be nice to say to a lady even with such a companion – But she hadn’t told me the real reason they gave him the name they did.
– Kenneth Patchen