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“It didn’t start out that way, you know…me, wanting to kill anything.”

“Uh huh.” The cigar-scented man in the striped tie shot a glance at the mirror on the wall behind me and jotted down something in his notepad.

“Why don’t you tell us about it anyway, Hon?” A friendly voice — a woman’s voice, the patronizing kind designed to make you think of fresh linens and  warm baked apple pies — suggested over the P.A. system.

I was pretty sure they weren’t supposed to do that: let me know that I was being observed. It was kind of obvious, though, with the mirror and all, and…well:

She was more of a Duchess than a Red Queen to start with. Really. It  wasn’t just that she was a giant, I promise. It all had to do with the head—hers, mind you, not mine. That thing was huge, inordinately so, with small beady eyes and a fat, bulbous nose. It was ruddy and flushed from the heat, and the constant jabber jawing of that non-stop, rubbery vacuum of a mouth, dead in the center.

I sat at the table across from her, blanketed uncomfortably in the stench of too much garlic wafting over and in from the kitchen. Its thick, substantial fingers picked and plucked at the tip of my wriggling nose until I feared it would start making music or begging for fresh air. —That’s when the first question arose: Did the house perhaps contain a matching plug? Surely there was something in a bathroom, or under the sink, capable of sealing that flapping mid-face hole that all the noise was leaking out from.

At this point, I tried hard to remember: Where on earth were the bathrooms and how, in the name of heaven of hell, had I ended up here, in the woman’s house?

“No, no, no…this will not do.” The pork chop to my left sounded delicious, but alarmed.

What will not do?” I asked it, as politely as one could possibly ask a delicious pork chop.

“It isn’t hers, dear, nor is it yours.”

I sidled a glance over at the enormous Duchess, who was growing taller and taller by the second, and appeared quite content just babbling away at thin air. Based on that, I leaned over and hissed. “What isn’t hers? —Certainly not the garlic…I can assure you, that chopped up, boiling mess overflowing in there, and assaulting my nose hairs…is hers!”

“I was not talking about the garlic.” The pork chop sounded smug.

(If you’ve never been reprimanded by a lightly glazed pork chop with a superiority complex, then you have no earthly idea of just how much it hurts.)

 

 Unrelated/Related Note: <For my fellow creative types out there who understand that writers are weird, introverted extroverts occasionally known to break down under butt-loads of stress and ruin mostly unrelated dinner parties and weekends they probably shouldn’t have attended to begin with, considering all the other stuff they’ve got going on…yeah. I got you, Boo—and life is pain, and pain is almost always comedy, and comedy is always art here in my ward.—Welcome to the Funny Farm.>