You realize that “Home Improvement” is actually just a continuation of what you thought was “Home Improvement’s” meta-show “Tool Time.” When the “Tool Time” segment on the show seems to be over, Tim the Tool Man Taylor goes home to his family, goofing off and learning lessons, but that’s just actually a part of “Tool Time.” The episode ends with “Tool Time” being over for real, and Tim the Tool Man Taylor leaves the set that looks like his house, exchanges terse goodbyes with the rest of the cast, goes home with a 14-year old groupie and drinks too much whiskey. He wakes up in the middle of the night and thinks of his mother.
She stood with one leg atop a chair, her violin to her chin, the room’s lights still off but the morning light streaming in. Slathered w/ suntan lotion, hair in curlers, sundress, she kept time by rocking the chair back and forth with her foot. Soon they would both have to go to the office meeting, he to just stand around looking important and scientific, she to scarf down mini-Twixes and Cokes and to listen to Olivia’s 160 bpm unbreaking lines of what nobody in the office, because of O.’s insipid personality and valley girl timbre, would ever consider to be what it is, which is unintentional poetry, 100% real cliche-free, about instant redemption, and about doing a “half-slack job” and leaving a “disaster of receipts.”
I think disaster would be a good term for a group of human beings.
An overpaid curmudgeon in engineering will complain of having seen, in the breakroom, what appeared to be a large black spot, but that the spot was actually moving it turned out, and was in fact a disaster of ants surrounding and having at a coffee stain. This image will terrify her.
The piece sped up, the original melody almost unrecognizable now from all of her wild improvising, when the electronic church bells across the street began a droning, apian melody of its own, overpowering, towering. Turn off all the lights in your little soul & go home. Only our dreams can shock us now.
Maybe this will help: I occupy a third of the bottom floor of a warehouse outside of town, and a varying but negligible portion of that space accommodates my actual living, which latter space consists of a mattress, a cabinet, a college-sized refrigerator, a generator that is exclusively for the frig but much larger than it, and a selection of my best Henry Darger fanfiction. The fanfiction is only occasionally pornographic, and only when it’s intrinsic to the plot, and always tastefully so. The Dr. waited in a foreboding, coulronasal rental van outside of a Chinese restaurant in Maui and thought of his son, who would have been old enough to be fairly called an unsociable know-it-all, which he would have been, by now. A radio station emitted “What’s New, Pussycat?” George-Steve was very excited for the prospect of staking-out— the fast food, the hanging-out, the coffee, the cool equipment. From the dashboard hung one of those stupid pictures that are an old woman if you look at it one way and a young woman if you look at it another. The rest of the third of the bottom floor of the warehouse I occupy is a recreation of Dr. Roman’s laboratory. Where Diaspora would sit is a cardboard cutout of the Hulk— an unkind comparison. The Dr. just walks right in and clocks Elvis on the face, and Elvis didn’t even like Chinese food, not this Elvis anyway.
Dr. Roman started to feel his entire body shutting down. The general manager of his spleen said, “I guess there’s no real reason for all of y’all to be here right now. Go home.” The clerk with the most experience who had been left in charge of the Dr.’s central nervous system, because the Deputy Ops of the CNR was in Martha’s Vineyard that month said, “Look, I’m going to stay behind and do some of this paperwork, but you guys did a great job today, thanks a lot.” The Colonel of Dr. Roman’s colon was all alone that day, but actually at that point felt bad enough already for being on the clock the past half hour while doing nothing but reading an issue of “People” he’d found, and so split. The foreman of his esophagus said, “it’s happy hour, dudes.” Dr. Roman’s lungs’ Chief Examiner’s kid had a recital at about 4:30. The executive branch manager of his sinuses, who had been to work drunk every day that week, passed out on his desk, his system itself then giving up.
Dinner with Dr. Roman and his new intern and Olivia from accounting and with Dr. Roman’s living experiment, who wasted no time in telling us about his new job, where he worked from home and apparently made up to $73/hr doing entry-level data entry, which human science project accompanied a stupefyingly attractive young woman whose name I also did not catch, and also with a strangely suave and mysterious but inhumanly small brown wrinkly bald man, at a restaurant whose name was a portmanteau of “fusion” and “unusual.” The Dr. wore a big brown robe for some reason. The aforementioned babe wore an apparently thin, white lacey négligée and equally white boots, and it was clearly impossible for any part of that négligée to be touching the bottom of the seat with her when she sat down. She began twirling a nasal spray tube, small and blue and curved on top, between her fingertips. The tiny man posited: “Have you ever noticed how every high school in our American South has as its mascot a Rebel or a Confederate soldier of some kind? It is as though, because energy cannot be created or destroyed, the South must continue to fight itself, sometimes even on its own very same battlefields, not in grey cotton but gold and velvet nylon and lamé.” The Dr.’s bespectacled gaze did not leave the very attractive young woman twirling the little container. Dr. suddenly began to seethe and fume. “Is that my nasal spray?” I could smell his breath and know the effect of nasal-to-throat drip, like he had just eaten a wet dog as an appetizer, or more likely at this restaurant, wet dog on Pad Thai w/ meatballs. She said nothing, but lifted her knees above the table, the top of her white boots just peeking out like twin dawns, and placed the container underneath the table. The man who accompanied her was talking to a waitress about the various minor setbacks of working from home. The abovementioned portmanteau was “UnFusual.” The negligeed woman’s pawing at herself under the table with the other hand and her apparently genuine initial grunt of pain let us know that she was serious about what she was doing, although not why she was doing it, except that data-entry man is pretty much like Rick James at this point. Her skin was describable as “banana-like.” The intern got up and left, abandoning a full plate of malt liquor-sautéed caviar. The data-enterer’s date sucked a breath in quickly, bit her lip, and even tossed her head back. That night was just the worst. I suspect it contributed a great deal to why I’m here and how I broke down, something to do with someone else’s sexual fantasy presenting itself in a poutine sushi restaurant and proving to be sad and gross and reminiscent of the train-running scene from Saturday Night Fever, and afterwards, I admit, sublimating and metastasizing back into a sexual fantasy again.
And to think: it wasn’t even real!
To be a cop, who is either assisting or otherwise accompanying in some way a tow-truck driver towing a couple of cars whose owners had foolishly parked the cars just up ahead of a recently-posted “No Parking” sign, and to be shouting across the street serious and assured about what to do with the car and how to do it, I presume, and the nature of this particular detail, etc., i.e., “This is a real situation here.” To have the unmitigated confidence to strut back down Meadow towards your car after such a stimulating exchange of yells on the first really nice short-sleeved-shirt night of the new spring, breeze blowing through your sleeves, “Sunshine of Your Love” playing inside the car, your sunglasses still on longer after dark, the Cookie Monster blue of your flashing lights reflecting in them sometimes, then on a tree, a house, a cat.
Also on Meadow St., Cornelius McDouble stood parallel to his neighbor Glenn, holding Glenn’s cellular phone aloft like the New Yorker guy. Cornelius wore grey pants with a lot of zippers, some of which zippers he’d made himself, and a large-sized white t-shirt covered in the kind of dirt that is bituminous and finger-like and upwardly pointing. (Also not quite dirt, maybe mulch.) He stood out front of his door on the pretty nice brick walkway that led out of his townhouse. Glenn kept the same unnatural smile and posture, blinking. His face was red and too wrinkly for his middle age and his teeth were large and straight. In smiling, he aimed to appear friendly but business-like, like he wouldn’t take any shit from anyone. Like he’s your friend, but also you’re in trouble now. Cornelius took a picture with the phone prematurely, and the result was a blurry mess of orange squares and seeping mauve. “Lemme try it again,” Cornelius said. Never, for any reason, go down Meadow St.
Dr. Roman noted, with some displeasure, that while his allergy medication produced a synthetic lilac smell when inhaled through the nostrils, the meds produced a more cabbage-like olfactory sensation upon being sneezed out.
Thomas Gael Jones, conceived some time after the singer of same name’s post-“Unusual” success to two parents with, like everyone else, near-pervasive access to radio, music-related television, etc., as in what I’m trying to say is there was no excuse for them to name him that, pedaled furiously up the sidewalk next to Meadow St. on a tiny black bike with wide thick tires, past stalled traffic, wearing baggy jeans, a belt with a bottle opener on it, and a poorly-dried, therefore slightly musty black hoodie, the hood of which he wore over his head despite the dry weather. He had re-shaved his head about two weeks ago, and a substantial fuzz had grown back by now underneath that hood. His eyes were blue and his expression was perpetually toddlerish and pouty. He wore very big headphones, also black, with torn nylon covering that exposed styrofoam. The backpack he wore contained his laminated, lanyard-enclosed university ID card; a condom whose package has suffered enough friction in that backpack over time for its label to now be completely erased; several notebooks full of notes on economics, advertising theory, ideas for inventions, drawings of logos or of Stewie; a wallet containing six maxed credit cards and forty business cards he had taken to his boss to get made, which boss made them at Kinko’s; half of a grilled chicken sandwich from a sports bar he had gone to for lunch; pictures of bearded men and of local churches; depictions of himself, made on the computer and printed out, wherein he gradually morphed into a bear or an Indian chief. His stance was like that of a male gorilla, fists clutching handlebars under knees. His sagging legs pumped furiously and caused his whole body to bob. In a few minutes he would be late to his interview with a very professional Celtic Ska band from Florida, who wore only the most expensive casual-wear. The interview was for the school internet radio station, www.ac-eadrgefh.team., or “The Lowdown,” of which he was general manager.
How he peddled with equine fury to the dream of the oblivion of contemporary FM radio, of being a Tom and a Dave and a Sam and a Pete and a Jim and a Steven, depending on what county you’re in, passively spinning late-‘70’s hits stitched together from the corpses of early-‘70’s hits, all the guitars crunchy and sparse and major-Penatonic, all the drums reverberating like an Autistic kid with an uncanny capacity for 120 bpm rhythm banging a wooden toilet lid up and down, singers whining languidly about little girls and pretty mommas and gallow’s poles and trains and the road…