Rich, the anti-eponymous author of the wildly popular blog brainsorts expressed to me after my stats complaining post the other day that he would gladly take credit for putting my blog on the map and being the supporter that would get me eventually published.
Of course, I challenged him to explain that in detail to my audience which he has so masterfully done with this short piece I am publishing today. I don't think even my Mom gets me like Rich. This glowing piece of work here depicts me in a light that not even the back of my hand could understand.
OK, I need to share a little bit about my guest author (although I know most of the folks here know him better than I)
When Rich isn't busy cruising the Gravatars of attractive ladies on my blog he can be found hawking several exceptional pieces of fiction on his blog that currently (and I mean this in the sense of the short-term) are FREE. Here are some links to his excellent prose: The Curse - Room 317 - Lizzie's Journal
Rich is also an accomplished grammarian so be careful where you (mis)place your modifiers and what part(iciple)s you leave dangling because Rich might get irate and start diagramming your ass!
Cheers to you Rich and your dry as a dessert wit. (typo intended)
When I first met Michael, he was lying face down near a puddle of vomit that I had first mistake for blood. I had rarely felt more concern, but I was greatly relieved when I realized it actually was blood and not another good Cabernet that he had emptied. I sat him up, slapped him a few times, and realized he was a lot shorter than I thought. I knew that water can sometimes stave off a hangover, so I quickly drank the last of the Aquafina that was in the fridge and wondered if he had finished off the meatloaf. Luckily, he hadn’t, but the roaches were working on it.
I looked around his dusty apartment and wondered what circumstances had befallen such a formerly nice, young man. Was it the week in Key West without sunscreen? The part-time job pulling rickshaws in Venice? Or maybe it was me? Maybe I just hadn’t done enough to guide my younger brother Michael. Not Michael Housewright, but really, I have a younger brother Michael.
I was startled when he slid over to one elbow and looked up with one eye, and then spoke with one syllable. “Flen.” That’s when I knew he had hit rock bottom. I recalled our first stay in theater class in Texas. I was sitting up front with a new notebook, and he proudly walked through the door to the front of the room. You could tell he’d just gotten a new haircut because he still had some fresh clippings on his collar. I tried not to laugh, but the word “clippings” alone is cause for a chuckle now and then. But the laughs couldn’t be suppressed as he turned to the side of the oak desk, reached for the trash can, and emptied it into the larger bin he was rolling down the hall of the humanities building. On his way out he turned and motioned for me to step into the hallway.
He looked over my shoulder and behind his own, looked at me very seriously, and said, “Flen.”
“Flen. It’s code.”
“Really? For what?”
“It means done. Finished. No more. It means help me because I can’t take anymore.”
“Why are you telling me this?” I asked.
“Because the semester ended last week and classes are flen. You oughta go home.”
I realized right then that I gained more from this fresh-cut janitor than I had from Professor Mumphry the entire semester. I knew right then that someday we’d be touring the country together as a vaudeville team. Looking back, I realize I was only half right. You see, there’s no “I” in “team,” but there are four in “ indiscriminate.” We were not a team, and we could never be a team because with his love of pastels, I could never wear the same uniform. But we were indiscriminate. Just ask his former housekeeper, but whatever you do, don’t ask her how she got the limp.
When I see what he’s accomplished and how far he’s come since that day. No, not that day, the other one. Well, both I guess. But when I think about it, I get teary. I mean, just thinking of how he loves onions, the burning and the flashbacks, you just never forget that. I like the Spanish onions though. Michael, being from the south; well, only white onions for him. But seriously, look at him now. Okay, dim the lights if you have to, but look at him. Not directly, I mean just think of a summary of his accomplishments. Sorry. Accomplishment. Who would have believed that a trash collecting guy from a Texas liberal arts college would one day use the World Wide Web to beg people to pay attention to him? He was right to ignore me when I tried to talk him out of the billboards. “Too small,” he said. And I can admit it. He was right.
In closing, I can only find one accurate word that sums up how I feel towards him. Jealousy. I’m full of it. No, not jealousy. Just in general. I’m full of it. I’m full of his bragging about his European adventures, his wine-guzzling nights, his thumbing rides across Germany just to see men in lederhosen. I’m full of his claims that he started a travel company when he was actually just carrying my bags from one hotel to the next. So go, Michael. Go and prove it. If you’re going to claim this was all your idea, then prove it. Keep in mind something, there’s a video surveillance camera in that dorm we shared when we were planning all this. I’ve reviewed every discussion, all the notes we took, and how many times you claimed a pizza only had seven slices while you held one behind your back. Didn’t think I noticed that, did you?
There’s a lot you don’t know, Michael. But there’s a lot I don’t know either. Like, how that pig got in your room that night after finals and why he was wearing lederhosen. I have two words for you, buddy. “Flen.”
You think about that for a while.