Covid Diary pp. 19-20

Dear Diary,

I still can’t kick the habit of eating off of a knife. I remember my mother would get mad every time she saw me do it. I’d listen to dozens of reasons as to why I should avoid it. There were rather sensible ones such as hurting my mouth, and completely superstitious ones such as getting an angry temper for the rest of my life.

I did, of course, attempt to state my position. I’d declare dozens of reasons as to why I should be eating off of a knife. There were rather sensible ones such as reducing the amount of dirty utensils that would need to be washed after dinner, and completely superstitious ones such as it helping to develop an immunity to werewolf bites for the rest of my life. But my mother wasn’t having it—and anyway, why shouldn’t she have the last word? She was my mother! Her verdict would always be delivered with the same stinging whip crack as a wet kitchen rag to the neck—which she also did.

All rationales aside—even the irrational ones—I learned not to fall into these habits while my mother was in the room. But at other times? Well, then all bets were off. I didn’t have to concern myself with her displeasure and so I’d often not be conscious of all the wrong things I was doing until after I’d done them. And then I’d get a wicked little smile on my face. I still kinda do.

In these days of lockdown and social distancing, I find myself wishing she was still here. I would love to defy her again, to find new habits with which to earn the pleasure of her displeasure. I wonder… could that be the reason why I still eat off of a knife or walk under ladders or leave umbrellas open inside the house?

And also, I’m not afraid of werewolves, but that’s a completely different story for another time.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2020

CALIXIAN // Ranting Up the Wazoo

I am in a crappy mood. That’s why I’ve decided to kill Darwin this very day. Somehow. And quirkily.

I’m wandering around in the shed when I stumble upon a dusty, old megaphone. This could be exactly what I need! “Darwin, baby, come here! I have something for you.” I can barely contain my glee.

Darwin’s tumbled head pops in at the door. He’s looking at me with curiosity. It’s definitely one of his best traits. He’s as curious as a kitten. I crook my finger at him, beckoning him closer. Darwin enters the shed.

I take my time. I want to savor the pleasure. I smear half a bottle of grease over Darwin’s mop then meticulously comb it back. Then I pick the nastiest tie I can find from a dingy, old wardrobe in the corner of the shed. Yes, the orange tie with the big blue hot-dogs. That should do it.

Darwin twists and turns before the mirror on the wardrobe door, giggling. He obviously thinks it’s a funny role-playing game. Perhaps he’s now imagining that I’ll put on a nurse’s costume, or dress like Harley Quinn, or like a big violet papulose lobster. Frankly, I neither know nor care what this pervert daydreams about.

I take another look at him. Darwin is smiling like a brewer’s horse. He’s shining like a spit-and-polished samovar. I don’t recall him ever being this happy, and certainly not since that time he won ten measly greens in bingo. I feel something approaching a light pang of conscience, but I shake it off. I have to finish this game.

I need a finishing touch. I survey the shed interior before noticing a shabby leather suitcase in another corner. Perfect! Feeling like real Pygmalion, I thrust it into Darwin’s hand and take a step back to admire my handiwork for a moment. It’s unbelievable but Darwin looks even worse than he usually does. Is that even possible? It seems that, yes, it is.

Darwin shoots me a questioning look, waiting for whatever’s next. I push a megaphone into his arms, give him a wink in return, then abruptly push him outside. I slam the door. Right before his nose. Take that!

Darwin knocks insistently, begging to be let in, but not for too long. Curiosity killed the cat, I suppose. I know that a protest movement on the next street over will soon catch his attention. And I know that he always jumps at the chance to rant about his favorite topics, especially now that he has the megaphone and some sympathetic listeners around.

There’s a knock at the door.

Darwin’s tumbled head pops into my bedroom. I barely have time to minimize my window.

“Calix, dinner’s ready. Come and get it!”

“Sure.”

By the time I’m leaving the bedroom, the Sim Darwin is standing on the suitcase, shouting frothily into the megaphone. “Death is supposed to be the last, great refuge for troubled minds!” he squawks. “From ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and into the big black!” His face is flushed. The tie hung loose. Darwin is as cute and convincing as Lenin on the armored car in 1917.

Meanwhile, the Grim Reaper stands just around a nearby corner, wry faced and skittishly rubbing a scythe. He doesn’t like anyone ranting about death too much, you know.

I step into the kitchen and give Darwin the biggest smile I can muster.

“What do we have for dinner?”

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2018

CALIXIAN // Scarlet Stiletto

The bus jerks. Someone’s hand grabs the handrail right before my nose. No doubt it’s the Hand of Fizzuck Providence. It wields five huge scarlet stilettos, one of which is girdled with an ugly cruciate Swarovski that seems to be pointed at me. It’s as though I’m to blame for the cardinal sin. The sin of neglecting the nail care industry.

I quickly hide my hands under a copy of our magazine and assume a look of innocence. To be on the safe side, I silently begin to list every nail shape I can possibly think of. (Lucky for me, I had prepared an article on this very topic just last week. We’re reaching the deadline and, as always, have had major headaches with the magazine’s contents.) Square. Squoval. Almond. Coffin. Stiletto… please, let this nail pass from me.

It feels like the Hand of Fizzuck Providence is moving higher. I tightly close my eyes and try to recall every trendy shade that has been recommended for this season. Strawberry Margarita. Cajun Shrimp. Purple Palazzo Pants. Damn! What freak invents these poofy names?

Cautiously, I open one eye and peep. The Hand of Fizzuck Providence… is it hanging over me like the sword of Damocles? I think so. I imagine it piercing my top and going right through my body down to my anus. And then I’m twitching, pinned to the bus seat by a huge scarlet nail. Like a victim of the Almighty Bug Hunter. The other passengers are nodding in approval, and the most zealous of them take selfies in front of me. And now I’m squinting with a mixture of fear and disgust. Ugh! I shake my head in the desperate hope that this horrifying vision will soon vanish from my mind.

The bus jerks one more time. Then stops. Then moves again. When I finally have the guts to open my eyes, I see that the handrail is empty. What a relief! A narrow escape! I let out a sigh. I then open my diary with every intention of scheduling a manicure… Oh, no! Holy cuticles! I absolutely forgot that in about half an hour I have a meeting with a local farmer who has grown a gargantuan carrot!

I spring out of the bus at the next stop, and run the rest of my way to the office like a scalded cat. There’s only the note ‘Visit a mani…’ on my diary page, but I’m pretty sure I won’t soon forget what I meant.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2018