Here's The Thing...

Here's the thing about plans--
it's okay to make them,
but don't think making them makes them happen.
(I'm gonna lay my hand on your arm and lean close,
lower my voice...)
Honey, believe me, I know.
(pat pat)

Yup, there I was, in a chair on the patio,
lost in an article called "Forget About Frizz!"
and keeping my dog company,
when these workmen--
they were supposed to be workmen--
ditched their ladders and came over from the neighbor's yard.

They walked all easy and boneless-like,
thumbs hitched in their jeans,
grinning like they knew a good joke.
Look, these were white guys with a van with a name on the side--
how was I supposed to know it wasn't theirs?
How was I supposed to know they were criminals?
How was I supposed to know the trunk of their car would be so dinky
and smell so stale?

Have you ever come out of some coffee bar, walked a block,
running your mouth to a girlfriend and then realized your bag was still under your chair back at Java Jim's?
It's a real bad sinking feeling.
I got that feeling and then some, while I was folded up, gagged,
on the wrong side of these dudes' tail lights.

Somebody better take care of my dog.

So anyway,
(leaning back now, but still confiding. 
Listen to this shit, girl, you never know!)
they took me to some bungalow safe house they had,
where there were two other girls,
Kimberly and Siobhan. 
They did dishes and laid around watching Wheel of Fortune.
They'd been there a long time and hardly talked at all.

So I looked around,
got the lay of the land.
These three dudes, they weren't exactly Murder Incorporated.
What did they want with me?
I decided right then that I would go all Patty Hearst.
Oh, that's a funny joke. God, that's funny--
Cool story, bro--
You look good with that stubble crap on your face--
and so on, till I wanted to throw up.

They started to relax around me, or at least two of them did.
One had nice teeth lost in that stupid face of his,
like he lifted a movie star's smile and then left it in the shed for a year.
The second was skinny, always snorting something,
never wore a shirt,
like his ribs were a permanent display at the Witte.
I called him Skeletor,
the other one Charlie McCarthy.

Not to their faces.

The third dude was mean, he didn't give a damn about anybody,
and bossed the other two around like kicked dogs.
I called him Aztec cos he had no heart.
So the days went by,
(do you want some Diet Coke or something?
a Greek yogurt maybe?)
and I kept worrying about my dog.
I said so once, and Charlie McCarthy said, "Oh he's okay"
and told me he'd seen him and he was fine.
I believed him. It was only later that it occurred to me 
that he could be lying through his pretty teeth 
just to keep me manageable.

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb got so they hardly watched me at all.
Aztec, he was different,
he looked at me with this cold suspicious look,
like I was a grenade, or pregnant, or something.
As for the Doublemint Twins, Kimberly and Siobhan,
they were hopeless.
Skeletor would mumble "C'mon" to one of them and off they'd go,
into the bedroom.
Later, they'd amble out, looking like they'd spent the night in a bus station.
(What did you ask me, honey?
Did I...? 
Hey, do you want to try some of that Diet Coke with lime?
It's really good.)

One day while Aztec was out behind the house,
molesting the engine of the car I'd come here in,
Dumb & Dumber left me sitting on the door-end of the ratty brown couch they had.
The Doublemint Twins were watching some shit on tv,
like they'd been lobotomized,
and the screen door was all that stood between me and a run for it.
Skeletor went off to look for his cache of lost shirts,
and Charlie McCarthy kept telling me stupid jokes like he'd never stop.
Ha ha, yeah, too funny, shut the fuck up already I kept thinking at him.
Finally, he turned his back.

I was on my feet as fast as a speed freak debutante that's asked to dance.
Kimberly and Siobhan turned their heads, all slow mo,
and Siobhan moved her mouth a bit.
"Shhh, shut up!" I mouthed, slipping through the unlocked screen door and out.
Man, can I run in bare feet. 
Gone like summer I was, over the grass and on down to the street,
off like a prom dress and then some.
I looked back--
Charlie McCarthy had just come out, and even from a quarter mile
I could see that he looked hurt.  
Now who's the sucker?

Well, they chased me.
First Charlie McCarthy jogged after me like a broken Tonka toy,
then they got a clue and went for the car,
but I guess Aztec didn't have it running right yet.
Later, I saw it cruising up and down near my house, 
but by that time I was back here sitting on the bedroom floor,
peeking out the window,
with my arms around my dog, who was hungry and confused but all right.
They shouldn't have come back,
cos the cops arrested them p.d.q.
Dumb, that's what they were, and that's what I had counted on.

(So do you like that lime Coke?)
Smile smile.
I can tell you really didn't like it,
hug hug kiss
and that you don't believe a word of what I said.
Buh bye! Yes, soon, for sure!
C'mon, Bosco,
who needs her anyway?



Kerry O'Connor said…
Your satire is always cutting edge, but I can't help but wonder how many young girls are in just this situation you have described right now, and with no idea how to end the misery. Your poem is all the more disturbing for this - the reader is left to work out for herself whether it was a tall tale or not.
TexWisGirl said…
agreed with kerry - it was a frolic and a nightmare all rolled into one. well done.
hedgewitch said…
A very macabre and disturbing tale, Shay, and there's something about the narrator that is a bit scary-strong, too, as if the sinister qualities of the criminals might pale beside her own, that she would never be helpless, whatever mask she might wear, and that the interlopers had obviously from the git-go bitten off more than they could chew. Great detail, great tension, and a strong sense of nightmare kept sternly under control, even turned to advantage. Very cool piece.
Sherry Blue Sky said…
Wow! What a story! Told with bite, and so vividly the reader is right there. The narrator's tone is perfection. The line that killed me is the one about the nice teeth, "like he lifted a movie star's smile and then left it in the shed for a year. You are amazing.
Kathryn Dyche said…
Ooooh scary and disturbing and it doesn't seem to matter whether this is a tale or not because I have no doubt this is someone's reality.
cosmos cami said…
This is awesome. Kinda reminds me of Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant" I like the rambling and the imagery. The whole thing is tense and fear. Nice work!
Jinksy said…
You sure can tell 'em girl! :)
Marian said…
can't help but think of those women in Cleveland.
G-Man said…
Sounds like a African Porn Star.
Pretty twisted tale FB..Me Likey!
HermanTurnip said…
I hate making plans. Garth from Wayne's World summed up my life's motto quite succinctly: "Live in the now!"

Heh...sorry, I find myself laughing here thinking about the movies. It's my weakness for low-grade humor that gets me through the days...
Laura said…
terrifying because this stuff really happens… I love the narrators feisty voice.
kaykuala said…
This bites hard at realities. Great satire and wit! It takes great talent here. Good one Shay!

Cloudia said…
Lime & Escape

my fave libation

ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

=^..^= <3
Anonymous said…
Shay, watched "Half the Sky" last night so I was ready for this work. Your description of the trunk of their car - they lifeless, world-weary faces of the two other girls... the idea of playing "Patty Hearst" and going Amsterdam Syndrome on their asses. Harrowing story with a strong, "will not be tamed nor beaten"' women as the hero. My nerves were in knots right to the last. "Who's the sucker now," yeah. Hope all dickweeds like these get locked up permanemtly, because they sure aren't going to be rahabbed, you know? Glad I'm back from the gremlindeep that caught me by the heel. Amy
Susan said…
Eerily close to too many news stories ... brilliant.
Anonymous said…
Something more about staying lean and mean and serene in the midst of awfulness that got me through the tale. The lime in the Diet Coke.
Lynn said…
Well this captured my attention all the way to the end. I wondered at first how Diet Coke with lime was going to figure in. And love that you now have a label "kidnapped by cretins". :)
You captured that absolutely unaware of the feelings of their captures that has to exist to do things like this just because it's what they want. Until they meet your heroine awake and aware and take charge. I was rooting for her against the cretins.
Granny Annie said…
I was hoping against hope that the dog would be alive. My home is surrounded by surveillance cameras. My return to reality would include a cold coke with peanuts:) Excellent Shay.
Mama Zen said…
I'm probably just sick, but this is freaking hilarious. Gallows humor with nine kinds of style.
Anonymous said…
fucking bi... i mean, fucking brilliant! this has to go in the next book!

(i have now reached the red danger zone on the your-mind-is-going-to-explode-if-you-read-one-more-word-of-Shay's-AMAZING-poetry-o-meter so i will be back as soon as they let me out of the straitjacket and the room with the padded walls.)

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