copyright May 2000
by Dustin Hansen
When I was eight, let me tell you this . . . No, that wasn’t me, that was . . . Well now one time?, when I was little? . . . No, wait, that was just last . . . O.K., so last week I had this . . . Well, no but — forget that, that’s another . . .
When I was in Budapest: a tarantula bit me on the knee. OH, I bit him back, I got even, don’t get me wrong. But see I thought that settled the matter. But little did I know, that this tarantula had crawled inside — into my ear. . . . So I go home, to my wives and kid. Take a bath. In pistachio pudding. On impulse, you know. Just relax, have some herring, floss my toes — just take it easy, y’know? And then I just . . . all of a sudden I, I — I start having another attack, where I just — I just start . . . tickling myself and imitating an aardvark and a can opener and I . . . and I can’t breathe and I’m sloshing around and . . . and then I can’t stop . . .
My wife tells me — well, she’s dead now. But I can still hear her. She says to me she says “Barney?,” she says: “Don’t . . . Never . . . Always . . . When you . . . If you ever . . . Don’t ever . . . Whenever the . . . If . . . Not everyone can . . . Sometimes you have to . . . There are times when . . . You can’t always . . . When things are . . . Don’t . . . Always . . . Never . . . . “
I can still hear her. . . . I can — . . . No, I can’t see her . . . But I can . . . I can smell her, though. It’s like . . . powder . . . No. Powdered . . . Milk. Or, or or . . . or sugar. Powdered sugar and . . . and gun powder . . . Maybe that’s . . . .
Oh, sure. We exchanged blows. I mean, we had our disputes. But we didn’t keep weapons around the house. No, no. No never. We, you know, kept to ourselves, like normal people. Well, practically like normal — I mean, I guess whereas most people just sit on the couch and watch the T.V., we would always sit on the T.V. and watch the couch, but . . . You know, just sat and . . . watched the carpet grow. As they say. Pet the puppy. Read the funnies. Grilled the cheese. Took the garbage to the cleaners. You follow me? But there were . . . there were times when . . .
Well, there were some times, lemme tell you. And then my mother would say . . . . I’ll never forget it because . . . She would say . . . I’ll never forget what she . . . the times when . . .
Well, those were the days.
What times we had.
I’ll never forget — . . .
(Silence. Ponders. Fade.)