Shitty was pissed and Fatty wanted only to be loved, they decided to live
in Fairyland, a land in which cars didn’t speed up to nail pedestrians
in crosswalks flattening small children to pulps or people with only $2.95
to spend buy the 25-pound block of cheese when the price is clearly marked
as more, oh can I have a smaller block of cheese instead, this in the
express lane no less, and where there would be more than one teller in
the entire Wells Fargo at lunch time even though you’d think the bank
people would have figured out by now that some people do bank on their
Shitty had one pale cloud of hair on an
otherwise pink scalp and even pinker eyes. Shitty, shitty, shitty, observed
Shitty. People are shitty. God I hate people. Especially you, Fatty, he
added, because Fatty was creeping up on him again. Fatty cried.
Shut up, Fatty, and look at the scenery.
There were fields of bright green grass and fields of daffodils. There
were bright forests and evil haunted forests (a darker green). The train
rattled over babbling brooks and around brooks that were not to be crossed.
There were talking animals and beautiful shepherd girls wearing hair shirts
and wizards and dancing princesses and brave princes performing impossible
tasks, spoons to move mountains at the ready. The peasantry stayed comfortably
in the distance unless they were particularly brave, beautiful, or malicious.
Even through the train’s closed windows Shitty and Fatty could smell the
smells of charms—coriander, thyme, eye of newt, butter. Time passed slowly;
the sky was orange, then crimson, then yellow.
And then the castle walls were unscalable,
smooth stones piled straight up for miles into the yellow sky. There was
no gate. Shitty kicked at the wall, thudded it with his palm, his balled-up
fist. Shit fuck shit, he said. I am here to be a king.
Seeing Shitty was woeful, Fatty crept closer.
He loved Shitty.
Shitty kicked him. Hard. We need a plan,
But Fairyland is a whimsical place, and things
may not change for years and years and years until someone finally lets
you out of the locked tower, or better yet, you discover that ratty old
rug is really a souped-up Chevy ready to drag race through the wintry
night and keep you warm at the same time.
We find Shitty, and Fatty, and their new
little dog Cheryl-Anne living now in a cottage at the edge of the forest.
Fatty has made a little garden, and in it grow the most orange carrots,
the most suggestive tomatoes. Cheryl-Anne digs new rows, dirt flies, tail
wags. Fatty, who is not fat but fat of heart, pastes candy canes and sugarplums
on the eaves of the house until it attracts a charming species of fly
that hums while it swarms, and then wants to stay for dinner. Charming
or not, the candy must go. The neighbors are all enchanted in one way
or another. Try not to look at his distended eye, the sheepherder girl
with feathers; they are under a spell. Someday the sleeping princess will
wake. Someday I will wake up from all this. Fatty does not ever want to
wake up. Fatty is in love.
Shitty stews. He gathers facts.
Fact One: Most kingdoms are inherited. See,
cf., William the Conquerer (cramming earth into his mouth and proclaiming
(unintelligibly?) I am England).
But the earth-eaters are not of this world,
and Shitty knows that Fact Two has something to do with when-in-Rome,
etc., etc. In medias res. Hic haec hoc.
Fact Three: You are nobody.
Shitty and Fatty sitting on the porch with
a tallboy in each fat shitty hand, dreamily watching the carts go by.
Scratch that; no dreamily. Fatty longs. Shitty mocks. Stupid-ass cart.
Look at that. Hello, there are other carts on the road. Hello! No one
stops. No one even gets mad.
Fatty is in love with the sheepherder girl
with the feathered legs. They go for walks. He dotes, and he tries not
to creep. She says:
Once I was a princess in the castle you
saw when you got off the train. I was the eldest princess of seven sisters,
and everyone said I was the loveliest. Princes from far and wide sought
my hand, but I wanted to be a wizard. I stole into the enchanter’s lab.
I mixed baking soda and vinegar. I learned Latin and opened the secret
books and spilled ammonia on them. The enchanter knew nothing; I would
be more vigilant. But then one of the princes, suspecting I spent my time
with another, followed me to the lab. A battle ensued; spells flew. The
enchanter claims he cannot undo the spells that gave me feathers, but
that I must collect all the words that went into each spell and return
them to him. This seemed difficult at best, so I gave it up and tended
sheep, so as to avoid the snide remarks of the ladies-in-waiting.
Fatty is saddened by the tale and resolves
to collect the words of the spell himself. That’s no good, says Shitty,
she made her bed. Don’t you see? Now we have a plan. They would dress
up as suitable princes and try to marry a princess or two. Then they could
live in the castle. Then Shitty would get around to making some changes
around here. Goddamn.
Fatty goes to work at the mill every day
and gets to like some of the peasants. Cheryl-Anne meets a talking frog.
Shitty collects more facts.
No one will ever put a spell on you.
Fact Six: Tonight is full of romantic possibilities.
When Shitty met the youngest princess, she didn’t bother to rise from
her small throne and said from her slouch, And what makes you different
than all the others, oh let me guess, your cognizance that my eyes are
blue, oh my god, she said. Christ this gets boring, tell me something
I don’t already know. Shitty said I hate blue eyes, they’re trite. And
you’re too short. And so they got married. But she did have six older
sisters, one with feathers on her legs. So Shitty could not be king.
Shit! said Shitty.
And Shitty became the most resentful prince
in all of Fairyland, and nothing could please him. The turkey legs were
too large and greasy and no one used napkins in Fairyland, no one. The
mead was too thick and the ale too frothy. He was no hand at jousting
and there were no bathtubs. He hated chamber pots; he couldn’t get comfortable.
The youngest princess made him her pet object of spite. They were deliberately
uninvited to feasts, great piles of food and merrymaking and dancing and
randiness behind the stacked hay. Invited they only cast a pall. Instead
of merrymaking, people sat in the shade of trees and looked off into space.
Others sighed. Some picked listlessly at their burlap overshirts, unravelling
the bottoms. The cream curdled, the meat soured, the young men wilted.
Oh yes—Shitty as a child, Fatty as a child. They used to have names, parents,
goldfish floating belly up sent to swirly graves. Not related, but could
be: Fatty has a kind mother who picks him up at the bus stop, Shitty’s
mother ashes her cigarettes in the sink. It doesn’t matter. Did they meet
at college? Did they recognize their common bond? Become bosom buddies?
Or just roommate referral, forced to share a kitchen and bath? More likely
the latter. Shitty bares his bosom to no one. It is pink and hairless.
There is nothing to love.
Fatty doesn’t see much of Shitty anymore.
They have parted. Gone their separate ways. Sometimes they meet at pubs,
when Shitty deigns to mix with the common folk, but they never have much
to say. Hey whassup, Shitty would mumble, and turn away. Fatty never learned.
Damn his eager expectant face. Even Cheryl-Anne has learned to snarl at
Shitty, but Fatty, never. Have some of my beer, Shitty, if you don’t like
that kind. Piss! says Shitty. Fatty cries.
But Fatty doesn’t miss Shitty so much.
Fatty is in love, and knows that he can win the love of the eldest princess
with the legs of a feather boa. Fatty collects most of the spell words
over time. He finds some in trees, some lodged under stones in brooks,
some in deep wells guarded by garrulous gnomes. He spends a good deal
of free time looking for them, and keeps them in a secret hole dug in
his well-swept dirt floor with a rug over it. Soon the hole is full of
The eldest princess says, But I am used
to my feathers; I don’t want them taken away, and Fatty feels his fat
heart grow thin, and then light.
He stops going for walks with the now-dejected
princess and goes out with the guys from the mill instead. Then he discovers
he doesn’t have to do anything at all. Cheryl-Anne tries to lick his hand,
but gets tired of being smacked and moves out. Fatty spends a lot of time
You couldn’t rule a kingdom if one bit
you in the ass, says the youngest princess. Shitty told her to shut up.
Loser, loser, loser! says the princess. Shitty told her to shut up. I
could’ve married anyone I wanted and I get Shitty, said the princess.
Shitty, shitty, shitty! Shitty started to cry. My name is Ed.
So Shitty moved back in with Fatty and
coaxed him into eating some chicken soup. This place sucks, said Fatty.
Shitty crept closer.