PUT THE PEN AND PAD DOWN

I re-worked this one thinking about Sam De Brito. He was a good friend and I miss him. He told me that he liked this one and showed it to everybody. I liked it when he said, bombs away when he printed my first. I’ve started writing a story about another women wanting a visa. She told me so. If you know how to ask a woman will tell you the truth. I haven’t finished it yet. I’ve been too sad to finish something new so I have been painting instead. I know what my problem is. I want an honest woman to love me. There is nobody on the other side of my bed. It is dusty with nobody to bump against

 

 

PUT THE PEN AND PAD DOWN

 

 
I was talking with JT, the owner of Bondi Ink, the other day. He’s a good bloke with big hands, has a handshake like putting your hand in a pneumatic vice. It’s like shaking hands with Andre the Giant. Still, that’s better than the other way. It’s better than shaking hands with a jellyfish. At least you know he’s all there. Anyway JT asked me how I was getting on so I told him. I told him I was still fighting my body and the corporation. I told him that they were now making me see a psychologist. Yeah, he said, that’s their answer to everything isn’t it. Now you can say whatever you want but I didn’t contradict him, you don’t want to argue a man with hands that big. I didn’t tell him but he was wrong. It’s not their answer to everything; it’s their question

 
 
 
behind a card

 

 

He held the Rorscach card just below his nose and gently asked

-Now tell me what you see?

I saw the flickering fluorescent light shining off his balding head

-You hiding behind a card

-Very good but what do you see on the card?

-Um… I see Madonna holding two car tyres at arms length, she’s got her pointy breastplate on and she’s in labor giving birth to a giant crab with moth wings. You can see her uterus and she’s singing like a virgin

He gave me a look that I can’t describe in words. He took the first one down. There was a large piece of wax paper between each. His finger tapped in the air at the next one

-Ahh… that’s a bat on its way home. It’s finished eating the berries and has shit all over my driveway

He inhaled sharply and winced. It looked like he didn’t believe me. He was right. I didn’t believe me either. He started pulling the card slowly and gently down to his lap. He suddenly stopped halfway and made as if he was going to pull it back up but didn’t. He had hands like a lady. His fingers only ever touched the sides. He was treating the cards with such reverence. If he hadn’t put on such an act I might’ve never seen a new-age snake charmer. His actions were painted

-And now this one, he inquired?

The card looked a mangle and could have been any of four different things

-Uuum… that’s two pregnant Indian squaws with erect nipples. They’re on their knees and they’re kissing

He studied me silently with a look somewhere between lonely and sad and took the card down to reveal the next

-And what do you see here, he asked?

-That one’s two girls kissing

The room fell silent. I felt a cold trickle of sweat drip down from my left armpit. The clock on the wall ticked.

-No, I said, that’s two women kissing

I could see his mind working. He broke my stare and wrote something down on his pad. He then took the card down and there was another behind it

-No sorry, I said, that last one was two girl’s kissing

-And what’s this one, he said as he tapped at the corner of the picture with his pen?

His ladylike fingers were long pink and thin and his fingernails were unclipped and pointy. I wondered if a man with fingernails that long was in a position to tell me anything about myself?

-That’s three girl’s kissing, I said. I folded my arms for a punctuation stop and smiled

-And what’s this one, he asked as he peeled the card down to his lap revealing another?

I studied his nose and the big blackhead in the middle it. I wondered why he hadn’t squeezed it? The blackhead was big and was obviously full of pus and I again wondered how someone in his position could walk around like that. I wondered how he couldn’t see it?

-That one’s three girls kissing one girl…

He stared at me as though he hated me. Every second felt like an hour as he held my stare. He put the cards down on the table. His left leg was crossed over his right and he kept drawing it back. He saw me staring at his body language and uncrossed his legs. His shoulders hunched and both of his hands went to his knees as he asked me what I meant? I smiled as I told him

-That’s three girl’s kissing one girl… although I can’t tell if she’s enjoying it or not…

-Enjoying what? He snapped back at me with a look of shock on his face

-Being kissed

-This is serious you know, he said as his legs spread and his arms folded for a punctuation stop. He knew I was full of shit

-Being kissed, I asked?

-No I mean what we’re doing here today. This method is based upon decades of clinical analysis

I smiled and said

-Anal suss-suss

-No I’m serious, he demanded, what are you doing here today?

I watched as his fingers turned pinker around the picture as he gripped it tightly. I looked up at the three diplomas on his wall. I thought of all the years it took him to realise what he knows. I thought of how I’d been bullied and victimized into this situation. More than half the world is crazier than I am but I had to prove I wasn’t. I thought of what I was doing there and told him the truth

-I don’t know what I’m doing here today. I wanted to know the same thing… and why are all those girls kissing?

-….

 
 

 
 
Andrew Stuart Buchanan COULD LEAVE THEN.

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