A long brown stripe on the carpet

I slept late, gloriously. Not once all day did I set foot on the second floor of this hotel, or knock on the door of what had been my mother’s room. No-one told me to lose weight, or move back to Seattle. There were no Bible verses, no recitations from my father’s funeral, and no restrictions on what I could say, so I said fuck and damn and shit a lot, talking only to myself.

It was a pretty good day.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

It was time to take my trash to the dumpster. I have a 32-gallon bin, the biggest I could buy, so I only do this chore maybe twice a month. Today’s generic Hefty bag had a hole in it, or maybe something poked through, but I didn’t notice until I was halfway down the hall toward the elevator.

At first I thought a stick was sticking out of the bottom of the trash bag. It was something brown, poking straight through to the floor. When I lifted the bag to see what it was, though, the ‘stick’ was a fountain, now splashing a steady stream of brown liquid against the wall. Being a good citizen, I tilted the bag to an angle that wouldn’t let any more liquid squirt out, but a trail of brown stretched halfway down the hall, and left some modern art on the wall.

What the liquid was, I’m not sure. Wet things in the trash tend to attract bugs, so I’m usually fastidious about pouring liquids down the sink before tossing anything into the trash. My best guess is, a couple of weeks ago I had a few bags of salad that went bad, and I dumped the lettuce into the trash. Maybe the rotten salad liquefied? There was so much of it, though.

Now there’s a new brown stripe on the carpet, in my room and in the hotel’s hallway. The liquid didn’t smell too bad, and the new stripe ain’t the only blotch along the way. I didn’t like how the trail led directly to my room, though. Didn’t want Mr Patel yelling at me, so I scrubbed the carpet in the hallway … but only the part where the trail turns in toward my door.

Now a brown stripe in the carpet begins a couple of yards down the hall from my room, and there’s an ugly plop on the wall. How did that get there? It’s a mystery.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

You thought the past few days' entries were too long, too boring, too frustrating? Ha-ha! I laugh at your complaints, because I’ve deleted ginormous chunks of my mom’s visit from this diary. Those entries were twice as long before I edited out the especially boring bits, the picayune details, and 10,000 other things my mom said and did that drove me nuts.

Now I lay me down to sleep, thirty hours after she said goodbye, and as yet her spirit hasn’t been fully exorcised. Like dried sweat after a hot summer day is still sticky at midnight, how do I wash her off of me?

Writing is the only way I know. Jeez, I’d be on a psychiatrist’s couch if I didn’t have my trusty Brother® brand WP-1400D word processor to bang away at. It’s nice having you, too, whoever's eventually reading this and maybe, hopefully, giving some fraction of a damn.

From Pathetic Life #3
Monday, August 22, 1994

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.



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  1. Boy did I think this story was gonna go another way...
    I completely understand why you wanted to complain about your mom, though. I read only your, apparently, edited stories, but even I got frustrated.

  2. It's always a pleasure to leave someone frustrated! :)


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