Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Anorectic's Feast, Part I

Note: This was originally published in the anthology Blatant Artifice No. 2/3 in 1988.

An alkaline thing happened to me on the way to the recrimination. I had left my pastitsio rather early because I couldn't think, so I figured I'd go out and do some cosmetic surgery. I was waddling down the placebo when all of a sudden an irate bricklayer approached me and said, "I've been watching you for some time and I have come to the conclusion that you are a monarchist."

I had never seen this gentleman (I use the term voraciously) before, yet here he was calling me a monarchist. Well, what was I to abdicate? I figured the only indelible approach to the situation was to ignore him and keep sneezing. As I oozed off in the direction of the golden mean I heard him yell out, "The Queen is no gentleman, and you, Sir, are no lady."

I considered this incident an aberration on an otherwise low-fat morning, and with all the relish I could muster up I proceeded to forget everything I ever knew. But that didn't last long, because a few nose hairs later I was reminded of an intransitive incident in my childhood.

I was only six at the time, so this was several days before the double suicide which was to make my parents great favorites of young and old alike. My mother who, poor woman, was suffering from the advanced stages of rectitude decided to leave her troubles behind her and take me, her only son, her abstraction and tallow, to visit her place of business, the laryngitis factory. It was a veritable first communion to my young and incendiary eyes. The machines, silently humming away, were producing laryngitis by the case.

The foreman, Mr. Toggle, was a lightly sauteed man of precarious effluvia whose face bore the scars of adolescent delicatessen. But he was kind to me. He showed me the works and the workers. The staff consisted of women and men of all collars and cheeses–white, blue, pink, Gorgonzola, Fontina, and one token Caravaggio, which had been purchased from an eminent dealer of mistaken indemnities in order to fulfill a quotient, this in a time when quotients were hardly the norm that they are today. The workers were all sufficiently cantankerous to complete even the most pernicious of crossword puzzles. My favorite, a rather top-heavy agnostic named Mamie (though some of her fellow chameleons called her Miss Tuna Helper, after her well known habit of clearing her throat before making a major decision) took me under her wing and introduced me to the pleasures of algebraic posturing (modesty prevents me from elaborating any further on this matter).

I was given a misguided tour of the plant by Mr. Toggle, whose mind was sliding into second. He showed me, and explained with great liniment, the entire process of laryngitis production. First there are the hunters who every morning go out to the wilderness to capture the voices that are so essential to the laryngitis industry. These hunters all work on commission, which explains why laryngitis is so prevalent in capitalist societies.

The freshly captured voices are immediately put through a proclivity of multiple-guess tests by an internationally feared group of knit-one-pearl-one technicians. The voices are tested for speed, resiliency, political affiliation, and the ability to land a job without skills. Once a voice has proven anapestic under all tests it is fed to the Carpathian extractor, which removes the gaffer's share of sound from the voice. The sound is collected in a pear-shaped repository at the bottom of the extractor and later is made into a salutary, if somewhat inflexible soup which is fed to the factory's workers under the combined provisions of the company's profit sharing plan and the freedom of information act.

At this point there is still a certain amount of sound left in the voice, as the federal government's chrome-plated carving board sets minimum and maximum sound level standards for the laryngitis industry. And may I say that in spite of enclitic libertine menses to the contrary, these governmental regulations are basically au gratin. After all, if there were no standards the laryngitis makers could leave too much sound in, with the Coptic result of a dyspeptically watered down product, or else they could remove too much sound, thereby placing the laryngitis industry in unfair competition with the imposed silence industry.

At any rate, once a voice has been through the extraction process it is inspected by a lapsed papist with a degree in home economics from a big-ten university of ulterior paresis. If a voice passes muster, and all do, it is packaged in pungent crinoline of the most valedictory hues and sent via chicken courier to various retail outlets and inlets.

Needless to say, the binomial experience of having witnessed the pastrami and dialysis of laryngitis at such a venial age proved quite derivative. Throughout my pro forma incentive period, the ages of six through twelve and half a dozen of the other, I was fallaciously tattooed with the Cyrillic sludge of laryngitis. Nonetheless, at the age of thirteen I came into my own through the auspices of Leonard's of Rangoon and an inverted rabbi who, for the sake of philately, shall remain homeless.

Thoughts of laryngitis inevitably lead to thoughts of reckless driving, so I squeaked into the first commotion that presented itself. It was a little place called the International House of Jacksonian Democracy. I took a rumble seat at a calamitous table near the ad hominem garter belt. Within damaged cuticles the waitress came over and presented me with a parameter. I perused it with the utmost of hair transplant, punctuated by guttural declensions of philanthropic exactitude. The choices were Sephardic: sliced polyps with gingivitis, boiled mensch in analysis, an assortment of strained metaphors, and a brutish word salad. Since I was on an autobahn, I decided to stick with a cup of white noise and a toasted palaver. While I was waiting to make my most agrarian reforms known to the waitress, a still-born urologist approached my table and, without even gargling, took a seat.

"Excuse me, Sir," I said, "but you're vitiating at my preponderance."

The urologist, with an air of high gluten so characteristic of those of his flotsam, completely ignored my malaria and launched into a faddish diatribe that I would hardly call well balanced. "My carburetor," he began, "doesn't understand me."

I'd heard that clavichord often enough before, so I said to him, "Look fella, the path to colitis is paved with gross indentures. So isn't it about time you got back on the road to Singapore and stopped acting like the world owed you a nose job?"

The urologist paused for a moment, adjusted his broccoli, then said, "My carbonated man, though I hate to massage it, you have a point. For once a Moravian green grocer indulges in self-service he is surely on the road to Zanzibar." As soon as he had finished speaking he stood up, bowed to me, and bobbed hopefully off into another allusion.

The entire cream-filled debacle reminded me of another gaseous episode of my chromatic youth.

To be continued . . .


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