Suileman Festoon sat in the dark, at his kitchen table, and stared into space. He sat so for some time.
Suileman spoke aloud: “I’m high on life and I can’t come down.” Suileman’s mind flew, like an accidentally freed parakeet, flying out of an open kitchen window.
Suileman was sitting in his van, waiting for the light. Bam! The van was hit from the rear. If Suileman had been smoking, he would have put his cigarette out on the windshield. Suileman was bounced around, but physically undamaged. He put the van in park, got out and walked to the back of the van. No damage.
The driver of the car behind Suileman’s van leaned out of his window. “Shwat shappened?” asked the driver.
“You hit me with your car, you stupid fuckin retard, that’s what happened!” yelled Suileman.
“I shought my foot wash on sha brake, I’m shorry, it musht have shlipped,” said the driver.
Suileman looked at the driver. The driver’s skull had a distinctly mongoloid shape. Suileman realized the driver had mongolism.
“I just called this guy a stupid fuckin retard,” thought Suileman aloud, in spoken English, in his mind. The mental voice sounded like a lone actor, screaming in an otherwise empty theater.
“Be more careful.”
Suileman Festoon continued to sit in the dark at his kitchen table and stare into space.
Suileman said aloud, again: “I’m high on life and I can’t come down.” His mind traveled like a mouse, racing from under the refrigerator into the space between the stove and the wall.
Suileman was having dinner with his parents.
“Pass the peas,” said Suileman.
“Please pass the peas.”
“Not sure. Please pass the peas.”
“Okay. I should have said ‘please pass the peas.'”
“So say it.”
“Say please pass the peas.”
“I did. I said ‘please pass the peas’ a minute ago.”
“You were talking about saying ‘please pass the peas’ but you didn’t actually say ‘please pass the peas’ to anyone. Say it.”
“I said it. What do you want?”
“I just want you to use good manners. Saying ‘please pass the peas’ is good manners.”
“I agree with you. Why are you doing this?”
Suileman attempted to sit down and found himself already sitting on a chair, in his kitchen, in the dark, at the table.
Suileman walked to his bedroom and got back into bed. His mind sailed, like a helium filled balloon on a string, slipping from a child’s fingers on a sunny afternoon in the park.
Suileman remembered playing intersection roulette. It was late at night on the downtown streets, and he’d blow a red light and go thru an “open” intersection at 40 miles per hour. Sometimes there was another vehicle going thru the intersection, sometimes not. Suileman did this on about twenty occasions for six months until one night Suileman was tagged by a bus. The bus caught Suileman’s automobile on the back bumper, breaking a tail light and wrenching the bumper out. Suileman didn’t slow down. Later, on the night that the bus tagged him, Suileman was in the same bed he lay in now, looking up at the same ceiling and thinking in spoken words aloud in his mind: “I’m going to die. Do I want to die right now? This is Suilecide.” The spoken voice in Suileman’s mind sounded like Darth Vader’s speech, shouting in a vacant shuttle bay on an intergalactic cruiser.
Suileman stretched out, made himself comfortable, and fell asleep.
Morning came. Suileman awoke. He walked into the bathroom. Suileman took a piss, inspected what was left of his teeth in the mirror, took a shower, brushed his teeth, combed his hair, and shaved.
“I’m of the scum and debris that gets caught in the skimmer on the gene pool on this planet,” thought Suileman Festoon aloud in his mind.
Suileman dressed, left home, and walked down the street to the luncheonette on the corner. He sat on the only available seat at the crowded counter. A blond fellow wearing glasses, Dan or Dean or some such, was sitting on the next stool. Suileman had a nodding acquaintance with him, so Suileman smiled and said “How’s it going?”
Dean or Dan looked into his coffee cup and sighed. “Not so good. I got a call from home this morning and my niece is going to die, she’s dying.” Dean or Dan started to cry. “My father was on the phone, and he’s a brick, a tough guy, and he was crying. The whole family is torn up over this. I’m sorry, I’m making a fool of myself and I hardly know you.”
Suileman looked Dean or Dan in the eye. “It’s okay. My grandmother is 90 years old and just about all of her peers are dead. The longer you live, the more that happens. Even at my age, half of the people I grew up with are dead. We were six kids in my family and now two of my brothers died in car accidents, and my sister was murdered. If I make it to my grandmother’s age, everybody will be dead. The only way out is feet first, we’re all going to die.”
Dean or Dan had stopped crying. His face was red, and he looked shell – shocked.
“Yeah, I see what you mean,” said Dean or Dan slowly. He got up and handed the check and a few dollars to the cook. The cook rang up the sale and handed Dean or Dan his change. Dean or Dan put the change on the counter.
“You’re gonna be alright,” said the cook. “It’s gonna be alright, brother.”
Dean or Dan managed a smile. “Thanks. I’m gonna play some pool, it’s always time for pool.”
The cook picked up a pickle spear, squirted honey on it, shook some pepper on it and popped it in his mouth. “Mmmmmmm,” said the cook.
Dean or Dan laughed, waved and left.
“I’m Doctor Doom, the messenger of death,” thought Suileman aloud, in spoken words, in his mind. The mental voice sounded like Walter Cronkite in free fall, shouting into the rushing air. “Why couldn’t I comfort that guy or at least take his mind off his troubles? The cook could handle it, he was great. I delivered a nightmarish rendition of ‘Whoopee We’re All Gonna Die.’ Because I’m totally literal and I walk around in a coma. I am the slop that gets caught in the skimmer on the gene pool,” concluded Suileman Festoon.
Suileman’s mind meandered like a paper boat, navigating along the gutter on three inches of runoff.
“Meet up with Bob’s friend at 20th and Broadway at 10 AM,” said Suileman to himself aloud. He glanced at his watch. 10:20 AM. He looked at the street signs. Eight blocks away.
Suileman made a bee-line for the pay phone on the corner. Bob’s friend answered on the second ring.
“Hello, I’m Suileman Festoon, Bob’s friend.”
“Good morning, how’s it going?”
“I’ll be at the corner in about seven minutes. How will I know you?”
“Blue ’88 Dodge Reliant with handicapped plates. How will I recognize you?”
Suileman attempted to think, first of a description for himself, then of anything at all. He couldn’t.
“I look like a character,” Suileman said.
Suileman spotted the car, nodded to Bob’s friend and got in.
“You do look like a character,” said Bob’s friend.
Bob’s friend got out of the car at Mexicana Airlines at JFK. The Dodge had a pedal bolted to the floor, so that the gas could be operated with the left foot. The standard gas control was a bare metal bent post on the right, the pedal itself was all that was missing so the car could be driven in ordinary fashion.
Suileman was driving home.
“I should stop at the bank, this thing has handicapped plates so I can park anywhere,” said Suileman aloud to himself.
Suileman pulled into the bank’s parking lot. No parking space available. Up front was a handicapped spot. A car nosed into the handicapped space while Suileman was enroute. Suileman looked at the car’s rear tag. Regular license, not a handicapped plate.
Suileman pulled up behind the car in the handicapped spot, blocking it in. Suileman got out of his car at the same time the other driver got out of that car.
“Everytime I go to the supermarket, there are pigs like you blocking the loading zone and the handicapped parking!” yelled Suileman. “You are one of the most inconsiderate people in the world, how the hell do you park in the handicapped spot without handicapped plates? Do you know that it’s a fifty dollar parking ticket if they catch you, and I hope they do, you worthless bum!”
The other driver was an older man. He had the car door open, and he was leaning against the car with both hands.
“My handicapped permit is displayed on the dashboard where it’s supposed to be, asshole!” yelled the older man. He reached into the car with one hand and brought out two aluminum crutches. “Fuck you, who the hell are you? What’s wrong with you?”
The older man slammed his car door, got on his crutches and headed for the bank.
“Fuck you. What’s wrong with you?” yelled the older man over his shoulder.
Suileman spoke aloud: “I’m high on life and I can’t come down.”
Inside the bank, the older man, on crutches, was directly behind Suileman on line.