Monday, December 14, 2009


“How do you feel on windy days?” The lady with the needles stood over me like an amateur tower. She picked a tiny knife from a fistful of plenty and tossed it into my shoulder skin, aiming for tightly bunched freckle patch.
“Depends on the wind speed, air temperature, and cloud scatter patterns,” I answered. This formless response, of course, was rewarded with a spike to the back. She proceeded to grill me with questions of a similar spice, and I continued to respond with answers of a complimentary flavor. I originally scheduled the visit to deal with a numb shoulder, the end harvest to a proudly planted field of means: two dislocations and a handful of throwdowns. She suggested acupuncture and I couldn’t say no to a lady with a wall-sized map of the circulatory system and a head full of sneaky questions.
Her final question for me was the only one that caught me in surprise. “What’s your co-pay?” After answering, the question repeated and reverberated through my braincage until I finally decided to tell Zhang it! about the entire event. I thought getting his opinion on the ancient medical practice would be as quick as getting Chinese takeout. Instead, since then, anytime one or more Carbamas gets detonated, Zhang it! will jump on my back and scream “WHAT’S YOUR CO-PAY?!” It can be quite shocking, but is not nearly as much as when she attached electricity to the needles.

As an act of solidarity to all that is homegrown and familial, I joined my family in Kentucky to watch my sister dominate her last collegiate game on the volleyball court. On the way home, chilled and confused by the beasts of West Virginia after a spectacle at a gas station, I smashed my fist into a window.

I was thinking of nothing but escape. While in the store buying cranberry juice after refueling, I felt the frustration of a passenger on a foreign-facing flight. I had to wait as a family of three, led fearlessly by their matriarch, placed orders for myriad lottery tickets and candy bars. It was clear that either no thoughts on ordering were formed prior to their approaching the counter or that all preemptive planning was erased by an electrosalivic pulse upon smelling chocolate. An exhaustive three minutes later, a dozen candy bars were stacked near the register and a small mountain of lottery tickets was clutched in their leader’s good hand.

The entire transaction was (insert word for the opposite for catalyzed) by the family’s ordering process: either the husband or daughter would ask the mom if what they desired was appropriate, and then the mom would nod and relay the wishes to the store clerk. The clerk could easily hear everything, but would stand at inaction until the mom confirmed the order. Then the father/daughter would reconsider, and take back the order. It was like an underwater scene shot with a radioactive camera directed by a blind waffle.

The scene was replaying in my mind as I rolled up to a toll station on a mountain highway. I had my two dollars in hand and my music player on pause. I was even mentally prepared to smile and say “Good day.” I stopped, turned my head, and noted the beckoning palm and the toothless wonder that wanted my toll. I wanted badly to give her my money and speed away. I wound up and smashed my knuckles straight into the driver’s side window. Her lips tried to capture her surprise, but failed, presumably because her teeth were on strike. My shocked hand slid down the window like an unfastened scoop of expensive window dressing. I elbowed the power window, and handed her the money with my bad hand. I miss the people there. I mean, I missed the people there; I only saw creatures.


  1. Hahahaha!!! I saw only creatures!!!! Can't stop laughing! Sorry about your hand though...
    from, Judy

  2. Don't worry, be happy...

  3. Looking for a '10 acquired books on wrting--let's go!