It’s 2012 in Los Angeles, the desert of Fatburgers and termite tents. Of sushi, noodles, ooshie-gooshies and durmbling burbies — regular Twizzlers, strawberry Twizzlers, and the other kind of Twizzlers. And dizzlers. And fizzlers. The Lap Band Commercial is playing at Largo.Hey, mister, are you my cat?
Oh, hi Larry, you say, what time is it? 2:30? That sucks, nowhere is serving lunch. Oh, look. Now it’s 2:31.
And I’m sitting on a chair with no upholstery.
If you live in my neighborhood in Los Angeles, maybe you’ve seen me. I’m wearing sweatpants, or normal pants, and usually drinking something in a cup. If you went to high school with me, you’ve probably at least heard of me. I was raising my hand and saying, “Africa” or “I only got to chapter fourteen.” My name is Tess Lynch.
I’m the one with the clothes on and the hair on the head, who’s a sort of modern-day Anne Mulroney or Dubois de Habernet, in a t-shirt or a tank top or a sweater when it’s cold, a pen — inexplicably — nearby on a table in case I have to use it to write down a doodle or a letter to myself about what I need to buy, like Viva paper towels or a hat (roll your eyes, PLEASE). I’m all two- or four-eyes and human thighs, gagging down french fries and robot sighs, vibrating like a dog on a waterbed.
That’s me today with the hankie in my hand, blasting the “To Wong Foo” soundtrack from my eleven-pound boombox. Under the boombox is a gnat I killed because it was a daytime vampire miniature street urchin. I’m in front of you in line at the ice cream place, clutching a miniature plastic spoon dripping with pineapple sorbetto.
I notice you watching me, so I start to touch your heinie. You call the police. I am so fucking weird that way. I smell like the pineapple sorbetto because it got all over my rainbow overalls and three of my big toes, the 76 station on Beverly that I disappear into like a Mario Tunnel when I’m frightened of fumes, and tar paper. Weight report from Mars: five thousand tons and seven ounces, or nothing at all.
I’m cracking like a newborn rooster. Steal your chick at the mall, yeah we call that boostin’.
I stutter, “A-a-a-bra-bra-bra-bra-ca-ca-ca-dab-dab-dab-ra-ra-ra.”
Someone, I think the vice president, has written “PENI5” on my forehead.
What does that mean? I wonder. Genuinely confused, like, why put a five there?
Us Weekly arrives. I don’t subscribe. Time is a vibe.
I’m used to this stuff. Sometimes I get the neighbor’s mail.
“A-a-a-bra-bra-bra-ca-ca-ca,” I’m stuttering again. Someone puts a sock in my mouth. I pull it out and rummage through the sock: lint, Mexican crema, two ticket stubs to Disneyland.
“Who put this shit in this sock?”
“Ah, I love you Tess,” says the sock, and then explodes.
Is it my sock? You bet.
“DO NOT BELIEVE HER LIES,” I have written on my bathroom mirror in CVS Wet n’ Wild green lipstick from 1992, a good year for Wet n’ Wild.
Now it’s off to the mall to drink coke and slope popes. I’ve got a bathrobe from Bed, Bath and Beyond and bug bodies on my windowsills. My apartment smells like tapioca pudding, bedsores and carnitas. Then we all play Trivial Pursuit in snuggies, and eventually everyone goes to Catalina Island to play Monopoly. I pop a pizza into the oven, as well as brownies, a roasting chicken, four cakes and some popcorn (don’t you go do that. The chicken takes a long time and the popcorn becomes infected with chicken germs and the cakes taste like gravy).
I haven’t seen Prometheus yet, of course, but my tank top is from Forever XXI’s alien edition line. A famous clown college alum gave it to me when I first moved to LA. It has pancake makeup and laughs smudged all over it. I’ve just burped aloud, which I did alone, whatever.
My thumbs weigh as much as thumbs weigh. I put them on a scale to check.
I am cool beans, exercise machines, but I feel at ease. I ate some frozen peas. I did not defrost them. Which is so strange and so…unappetizing but people keep telling me to try it out or whatever because it’s like eating Dippin Dots for vegans. Why? It’s nothing like Dippin Dots and I am not vegan. And now I’m starting to cry — again — because I promised myself I’d finish all of these peas but they’re hurting my cavity and they taste like prison food that they serve in Antarctica to people who have committed felonies. God, remove the peas. I am pea-slushie weeping; these are green tears that have notes of ham and salad. Now I’m watching The Sorrow and the Pity projected onto my bathroom wall on MUTE while I PEE.
Eventually I start thinking, hey. Maybe I should lay off some of these drugs.