the shower: prt II 25 Comments

The kitchen is only a few paces away, yet seems like it’s comfortably lounging at an infinite horizon. She must have noticed; she asks if I need some water.

“Please. And there’s some Excedrin in the cabinet too, if you don’t mind.”

She dutifully complies, this Ruth person. She just arrived this morning, and she’s being hospitable. My brain cells eagerly await their medication with baited breath, clinching their little brain cell hands together, their brain cell jaws dribbling with brain cell excitement goo.

Red nail polish on her fingers. With my hands still outstretched, receiving the glass of water and a couple of pills, I look down at her feet. Yup, black toenails. But red fingernails. I can’t process the visual in congruence into anything meaningful, so I quickly wash down the painkillers with gulps of water.

“Jesus, bless you child!” I sigh and throw my head back into the couch. My little religious grace amuses me. So I add a “or something like that” under my breath, for good measure. Unless I had a spiritual comeuppance during last night’s inebriated slumber, I am pretty certain I went to sleep an atheist and woke up as one.

Tangential note to the religious: If you are somehow inclined to retain your comfortable level self-imposed stupidity via religious rhetoric and orthodoxy, I recommend that you avoid reading like it’s the bubonic plague. Trust me, the bubonic plague was pretty disparaging.

“You’re welcome,” she says. “Do you mind if I turn up the TV just a bit?”

I’m already hiding behind my eyelids again, oblivious to the world, letting the wonderful magic of medication put on its big show in my biological theater.  All I bother to utter is a feeble “Mmmm” which she interprets is safe enough to turn up the volume.

Something about Al Gore. And the environment. And a movie. Something else about growing a beard. And teaching.

I mute it all.

Penis:  And behold, world, he has chosen to feign ignorance of my very existence. This uncouth behavior will not be tolerated, young man. Your progenies demand your attention!

Brain:  Please leave a message after the beep.


Off in a faraway land, the newscast breaks into commercials for local car dealerships, miraculous carpet cleaning formulas, and adult diapers.  Behind the comfort of my eyelids, my frontal lobe projects images of wrinkled lumps of human beings in diapers, scrubbing the carpets of even more wrinkled Buicks.

The reel scrolls to an end and my wide-screen eyelids roll up.  Backstage of my mind: reality. She still sits there, at the bottom step, hugging her knees, with her cleft chin cradled between her kneecaps.

She asks me, “Feeling better?” She’s unbearably chipper about her queries.

My neurons are medicated, speeding up to a functional level of relaying perceptions and carting back comprehension.

“Yes. Much.” I attempt a smile, but my scab crinkles up into painful facial plate tectonics.

On the little table between us is a copy of Noam Chomsky’s Hegemony or Survival and a pack of Parliament Lights. Cynicism calls for a sufficient amount of self-righteous commentary on hollow activist rhetoric. Immigrant hipsters strike me as muddy oxymorons, but I’m certain many would lump me in that category.  The immigrant’s reality is but another dimension of the American experience, even though I find that ours is by far the slower and more circuitous route to attaining some semblance of comfort – emotional, financial, or intellectual.

I am amused by my moment of pseudo-profundity (garbage!) and temporarily relieved that the belligerent little guillotine is suspended into a medicated lilt, creaking within devastating proximity.

“So you’re reading Chomsky?” I ask her, reaching for a cigarette and fishing around in my pocket for a lighter or a matchbook. I find a matchbook from a restaurant I don’t recall ever visiting. And her eyes light up faster than my cancer stick.

“You know about Chomsky? I think he’s one of the most brilliant minds of our time. It’s a pity not many people pay him enough attention because they –”  She wants to keep going, but cuts herself short, maybe thinking that I’m listening more to my nicotine intake than her.  Which I am.

“Keep going.” I might as well indulge her fascination. I muster up another smile, and I feel a scab tear away from my face.

I quickly regret this conversational carte-blanche. She maniacally vomits out her thoughts, and I can only pretend to dodge and parry the bits and pieces so as not to get stained. Instead, all I do is nod along to her pontifications. Capitalism. Socialism. Politics. Policy. Justice. Injustice. The entire praxis reeks of intellectual masturbation, though I pretty much would agree with her – and  Chomsky – on most points.  But Sunday morning hangover conversations should not wander beyond incomprehensible mumbles and minute gestures.

“So,  are you going to take a shower?” She jumps up and stretches as she asks me this. Whatever her reason may be for all her élan, I wish to find it and drown it in a vat of battery acid.  Verdict: cruel and unusual punishment for vivacity.

“Yes, eventually.” The word eventually sounds like the longest word, and I struggle with it, mangling into a mumble.

“Well, we should shower together then!” she says. Cheerfully.

Penis: Please ask her to repeat that.

My penis proceeds to put on its finest tweed jacket, a bow tie, and sits there in Zen-like composure, steaming its wire-rimmed monocle with its breath and polishing it to sparkling clarity.

Brain: What the fuck is going on?

The look on my face betrays my brain, and she comes closer. “I’m serious!” She is now sitting next to me, staring me dead in the eyes. “Come on! We should shower together!”

Which God-forsaken hippie commune did she come from?  Eloi! Eloi! Hippie-sabachtani!

“Err … why don’t you go ahead and shower first, and I’ll go next.” I have to be polite, no?

Penis screams in panic, Nooooooo! You heartless traitor! And stabs itself in the eye with a chilled salad fork.

I demand an elaborate explanation for this treachery! My penis is relentless.

She explains, “Well, I’ve been watching all these documentaries about our current environmental crises and everything … and … err … it just feels like we should all do our part to make sure that we’re not being wasteful, you know?”


“Yeah, even with resources like water, which might seem trivial here, but it’s really not. And clean water is a valuable commodity that many in the world can barely afford or enjoy.”

Has she intellectualized it so much that she has completely neglected the tiny little detail about us sharing a minuscule space, naked, surrounded by porcelain, soap, water and steam? Is she being facetious? Or have I sexualized the business of bathing entirely too much?

Penis: You know, brain, maybe you’re right on this one. I must admit I feel slightly uneasy about this.  She might be interested in relieving us of one kidney. Or two. Oh, sweet biscuits in heaven, this is the end of days!

Perhaps, I have comfortable with the archaic notion of men being the sexual aggressors so much that the inverse becomes challenging. Intriguing, yes. Sexy, yes. But definitely challenging. Is sexual empowerment of the African woman the equivalent of legislation against male testicular fortitude? Well, shit, that is utterly sexist.

My neurons whimper for help, while the guillotine looms precariously above them, sneering. I cannot process this. I feel like a spectator in my own reality, personifying even parts of my own anatomy as autonomous entities.

Penis: Whatever, dimwit!

Kidneys: You really think she’s after us with this shower talk?

Brain: Please leave a message after the beep.

25 Responses to “the shower: prt II”

  1. 1 Doro Mata


  2. 2 anonx

    A marketing idea-the book of short stories should be titled The Immigrant Hippister. Not only does it sell, it makes sense

  3. 3 helen

    Another fine read. But the religous tangent was superfluous and the shower bit felt a little implausable to me.

  4. 4 her

    looooooooooooooooool Interesting flow i like how you make it flow …. and I m laughn my azz ooof right now … Its like they what they say drink beer save water

  5. 5 Tsedey

    enjoyable,as usual yet not as captivating as the first part. two things: relevance of the note to the religious?? and the kidney part??

  6. 6 Dinich


    First thing first. You write.

    The shower part doesn’t sound like the creative you we have seen in part I…the only way it could make sense is if this is a piece out of a bigger story and there are other things in the bigger picture to connect the dotes….
    Also, I have to agree with Helen….You dont really need the tangential note. It sounds more like an offense framed as a defense.

    Balegae :)

  7. 7 Anonx

    It’s fiction, aint it? All the dots, spots, stains speak of something, I would hope. Whether you agree or disagree is besides the point… its fiction. But yea, overall, part one was the pre-eja…

  8. 8 yachilej

    enee anten behon i’dve left it at part 1.. not that i didn’t enjoy this one, but leavin folks wantin more ‘sgotta be one of the best things about art..
    still, thank ya.

  9. 9 Totit

    For me, angebebgabiw teyake…did u take the shower together or not?????

  10. 10 Wurgatu

    “Penis screams in panic, Nooooooo!”
    endezih sike alawukim….hahahahha….
    if it was mine “panic” bicha ayigeltsewum…..angeten anko yigelegn nebere!!!!!!

  11. 11 nyalasmoke

    Anonx, I have a feeling this is a true story and I am disturbed by it in a way a roommate would be disturbed if he/she finds out that the common bathroom is being used for purposes other than what it is normally intended for. And that is despite the fact I am a strong supporter of preserving water.

    Fabulous writing once more… but I have to say toothpick you are one cynical motherfucker for dissing Obama supporters like that – the pseudo-intellectual, hipster immigrant activists. This is not the time for cynicism boy. Whatchya gona do when real change comes.

    And yes u managed to commit the biggest sacrilege of all by inserting Chom Nowsky between a bad hangover and a naughty shower. That is more unforgivable the tangent u took. The god of intellectual masturbation in conjunction with the goddes of liberal immigrants will come get u.

  12. 12 Anonx

    Nyala… nice to see you back

    I wondered why the infatuation with dots or spots in TPs writing and the latest story kind of revealed something. The dots, spots, stains, mess, I think is the definition of the ‘immigrant hipster.’ As much as he tries to excise the label from himself, he is unable to. His distaste for the immigrant hipster is as much distaste for himself, the spot and the consumer of ideas at the margin. The character with red nail polish and black toe polish must have found the spot and the marginal idea familiar to want to consume it and be consumed by it.

    Instead of The Shower, an appropriate title should be The Immigrant Hipster(s) and the subtitle can be something like ‘being a spot’

    As whether its fiction, its written like one and TP has said so in the comments to one of the earliest stories about the spot . But hey, friends know best, keep it in the circle :)

    One immigrant hipster to another…

  13. 13 bez

    The penis, brain, kindey dialogue was funny as hell…although I did think some part was kind of like rambling. Ya girl is a freak (whats her number lol), it better not be the Ruth I know lol. I am not understanding why most people showing dissatisfaction with the “immigrant” and “religion” statments. I disagree with his comments too but so what. Its just a fiction writing. so just read it, laugh it up and say “whatever, dimwit” haha..


  14. 14 To girl

    I love the line about Intellectual masturbation. I love the term. Sadly, I participate in that act instead of the real deal. Ha Ha…

  15. 15 anonx

    Bez, I am not objecting to.the use of term. Just advocating for its use–if it fits it should stick.And if its intellectual masterbation to do so, so be it. I refuse to believe Its a dirty word because if you r not banging the real thing, beat on till your hearts satisfaction or dissatisfaction regardless of the church of TP or the vatican city. So don’t mind me if I masterbate to say where/who is Comrade Gaoler when I see the word guillotine used repeatedly. Comrade gaoler guillotines only these she despises and I think I see her all over the map in deguise

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