Space Girl Blues
by Bruce Pavalon
Chapter 17: Insanely Jealous
With their instruments in hand, Tina and Martha sat on the couch of Aaron’s and Bud’s apartment with Bessie listening to Aaron beat a punk rock rhythm with his rubber mallets on the car door while singing, “Living in your intestine, eating your shit. I’m living in your intestine and loving it. Do the tapeworm, baby. Do the tapeworm, baby, now.”
Bessie howled as Aaron stopped banging on the car door.
“I don’t know about this one,” said Tina. “It doesn’t have the usual Pussy Teeth vaginal theme.”
“It’s outright anal,” said Martha.
“It’s how I feel,” said Aaron. “I’m living in a world of shit.”
“And you’re loving it?” asked Martha.
“Not exactly,” replied Aaron, sadly.
“Is the ice queen giving you the cold shoulder?” asked Tina.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” said Aaron. “There’s another verse. Maybe you’ll change your mind after hearing it.”
“Maybe,” said Martha with a roll of her eyes.
Aaron pounded out the punk rock rhythm with the rubber mallets on the car door. Carrying his book bag, Bud entered the apartment. Aaron sang, “Peeking out your asshole with my multifaceted eyes, I’m peeking out your asshole in a suppository disguise. Do the tapeworm baby. Do the tapeworm baby now.” Aaron stopped playing. “So what do you think?”
“Tapeworms don’t have eyes,” said Bud as he sat down in the chair.
“It’s not literal,” replied Aaron. “It’s a metaphor for my life. I’m stuck in the asshole of the world.”
“Oy,” said Bud.
“Maybe if you were in a tampon disguise and peeking out of a vagina, it would work as a Pussy Teeth song.”
“Not in my vagina,” said Martha.
“I thought things were getting better for you,” said Bud. “You have a job, and you were looking forward to all your possible futures.”
“Not anymore. I’d be happier if I were a tapeworm.”
“Someone is in a foul mood,” said Bud.
Martha got up. “I thought we were rehearsing for No Talent Night at 7th Street Entry.”
“Isn’t rehearsing for No Talent Night an oxymoron?” asked Bud.
Aaron put down his mallets. “I’m done.”
“Okay, we’ll play your poop song,” said Tina.
“It’s a good song that happens to be about poop. I’m still done.” Aaron slouched against the wall.
“This all about that crazy chick?” asked Bud.
Aaron folded his arms and grunted.
“We’ve gotta do something to help our friend,” said Martha.
“Look, Aaron,” said Tina frankly. “How long have you really known her?”
“Doesn’t matter. I know her.”
“What’s her name?” asked Bud.
“Are you sure?” asked Bud.
“Does it matter?”
Bud got up, went to his computer, sat down, and typed “Anini Odegarde” into the computer. He hit enter. Aaron got up, walked over to Bud, and looked over Bud’s shoulder. A list of unrelated search results appeared on the screen.
“Nothing,” said Bud.
“Internet searches prove nothing,” declared Aaron.
“You want to try an Internet search on Aaron Evinrude?” asked Bud.
“No,” Aaron said firmly. “Anyway, her name might actually be Annie. That’s what her landlord calls her.”
“Okay... Annie Odegarde.” Bud typed “Annie Odegarde” into the computer and hit enter. “Oh look, here’s an Annie Odegarde who graduated from Pierson High School in nineteen forty-seven.”
“Maybe she ages backwards like that F. Scott Fitzgerald novel,” said Martha.
“I hate F. Scott Fitzgerald,” said Aaron.
“Wow, he hates Saint Paul’s native son,” said Tina. “He really is in a bad mood.”
“And anyway,” continued Aaron, “I don’t acknowledge the Internet as an authority on who exists or doesn’t exist. It doesn’t matter to me if you have a Facebook page or an Instagram account or how many phony friends you have on your Internet lists. It means nothing. Virtual reality isn’t real. That’s why it’s called virtual.
“What is real is that Anini and I had a connection, and that connection exists outside of the Internet. Even if everything about Anini turns out to be a lie, I know there was a moment between the two of us that was real, and that’s what counts.”
“This is worse than I thought,” said Tina.
“We need to change this boy’s attitude,” declared Martha.
“Gravity fighting?” said Bud.
Tina and Martha dropped their instruments, and they were off to the igloo in Bud’s van. They gave Aaron no choice but to go with them, and Bessie went along for the ride.
* * *
Gravity fighting was basically group sledding on a large piece of plastic, and their favorite place to do it was down the service road that lead to the igloo. They dragged Aaron to the top of the hill by the igloo and chanted, “Fight the gravity! Fight the gravity! Fight the gravity!”
They all jumped onto the sheet of plastic and went spinning out of control down the snow-covered service road, screaming at the top of their lungs, that is, everyone except Aaron who just lay on the plastic like a dead fish.
Bessie chased after them, barking. They hit a bump and went flying through the air, landing in a heap of snow at the bottom of the hill. Martha, Tina, and Bud lay in the snow, laughing. Aaron was sprawled out next to them, lying on his stomach, still and silent.
Bud stood up and filled his gloves with snow. “I’ll show you what cold is,” he said before smashing the snow into Aaron’s face. Martha and Tina jumped to their feet and joined Bud in whitewashing Aaron. Snow flew everywhere.
“Stop! Stop! Stop!” screamed Aaron, trying to cover his face with his arms. They all stopped and looked at Aaron while holding him down. Slush slid off Aaron’s cheeks. His body went limp, and he stared into the star filled sky. A shooting star streaked across the sky.
“Hey, look at that,” said Aaron.
Bud, Martha and Tina rolled off of Aaron just in time to see the shooting star disintegrate into the atmosphere. They lay on their backs and gazed at the stars.
“Another piece of space junk hits the Earth,” said Aaron right before jumping to his feet and filling his arms with as much snow as he could hold. “And here comes a comet,” he said as he dumped the snow on Bud, Tina, and Martha.
This was a positive sign, but Bud, Tina, and Martha had to retaliate, and the snow fight continued until each one of them was drenched and inundated with snow and slush all the way through their jackets and into their underwear.
* * *
They went to Embers to dry off and get some bad coffee. With red faces and wet messy hair, they sat in a corner booth of the 24/7 chain restaurant. A waitress walked up to the table. They all turned their cups right side up and said, “Coffee.”
The waitress signaled a busboy, and the busboy filled their mugs with coffee. “Would you like anything to eat?” asked the waitress.
Martha, Bud and Tina opened their menus and quickly scanned for food. Bud closed his menu and said, “An order of toast.”
“White, wheat or rye?” asked the waitress.
Bud reopened his menu then closed it. “White.”
Tina closed her menu. “Double that.”
Martha closed her menu. “Triple that.”
The waitress looked at Aaron, and Tina said, “Come on, Aaron, join us in some toast.”
The gloom had returned to Aaron. “I’m not hungry,” he said. The waitress walked away.
“I thought the gravity fighting fixed you,” said Tina.
“It still doesn’t make any sense,” said Aaron.
“There you go again,” said Bud, “trying to make sense out of everything.”
“What was that pregnancy thing about, anyway?” asked Tina.
“What pregnancy thing?” asked Martha.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” said Aaron.
“You totally had sex with her the night you borrowed my car,” said Tina.
Aaron folded his arms. “Hardly.”
“So you had sex, hardly,” said Martha.
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you what really happened,” said Aaron.
The waitress placed three orders of white toast on the table. Bud grabbed a triangular slice, bit into it and said, “Good toast.”
Tina and Martha took slices off their plates, hooked arms and ate toast, intertwined. “Mmmmm...” they said in unison, “toast.”
“You should’ve ordered some,” Bud said to Aaron.
Aaron slurped down his entire cup of coffee then slammed his mug upside down on the table. “The night I borrowed your car, Anini and I were abducted by aliens and lost almost eight hours of time,” he declared.
Martha, Tina and Bud broke out laughing, spraying their toast all over Aaron and the table. Aaron wiped his face. “I knew you’d all respond like this.”
“So what’s with the pregnancy test?” asked Tina.
“What do you think?” replied Aaron.
“The aliens impregnated her,” said Martha sarcastically.
“Well, it wasn’t me,” said Aaron.
“She wasn’t even pregnant,” said Tina, exasperated.
“Aaron, we know you’re desperate to believe in something, and we know you’re desperate to get laid, but this is way over the top,” said Martha.
“This isn’t about getting laid. This is serious.”
“Getting laid is serious,” said Bud.
“I’m seriously concerned,” said Tina. “What can we do to help you?”
“What time is it?” asked Aaron.
Bud checked his cell phone. “Quarter past nine.”
“I need to go to the park at the end of Summit Avenue,” said Aaron.
“Why?” asked Martha.
“There’s this guy, Nikoli, who is really suspicious.”
“The poser from Olsen Brothers’?” asked Tina.
“He’s having a picnic date with Anini in the park at the end of Summit Avenue in forty-five minutes.”
Martha shook her head. “A picnic at ten at night in the middle of winter.”
“He’s definitely an alien,” said Tina.
“What else could he be?” said Bud.
Tina and Martha banged their heads together, and Bud smashed his head on the table. They were all utterly dumbfounded.
The waitress walked up to the coffee-drenched, toast-spit covered table and said, “It’s time for you kids to hit the road.”
“Where to?” asked Bud.
Aaron desperately smiled at Bud. “We can pick up some chiladas and hang out just for a little while.”
* * *
Bud didn’t want to go. Tina didn’t want to go. Martha didn’t want to go, but somehow they ended up sitting in Bud’s van drinking three-two chiladas in the parking lot of the park at the end of Summit Avenue. Tina and Martha sat shotgun together. Bud sat in the driver’s seat, and Aaron stood, looking out the back window at the park that was built on the bluff of the Mississippi River. A statue of a cross rose from the center of the park as if it were a large bird’s talon reaching out from beneath the ground.
“This is stupid,” said Martha.
“I can’t believe we’re enabling this type of obsession,” said Tina.
Aaron crouched down. “Get down,” he demanded.
Martha, Tina, and Bud ducked and peered out the front window. A small electric car parked in the parking lot. Wearing a sleek, hooded, long, black coat like a monk and carrying a paper bag, Nikoli got out of the electric car. He walked to the center of the park and sat down on the frosted base of the statue.
A moment later, Anini walked down the street, wearing her snowmobile suit and carrying her umbrella. She sat down next to Nikoli. Nikoli pulled a couple of piroshkies from the bag. He handed one to Anini and kept the other for himself. He then pulled out a bottle of vodka, opened it, and offered it to Anini. Anini swigged and handed it back to Nikoli. Nikoli swigged, and they both laughed.
Disheartened, Aaron sat down on the floor in the back of the van. Bud looked at Aaron. Aaron looked pathetic. Bud started up the van and said, “I’m pulling the plug on this operation,” and they drove away. Aaron felt a sickness in his gut as if someone had torn his hopes and aspirations out of him and thrown them in the Mississippi River.
Copyright © 2015 by Bruce Pavalon