Chick calls his mother on the phone. She’s huge, she weighs over three hundred pounds. She’s got this sexy voice. Chick needs to ask her for some money. Yeah he’s been looking for a job. “That’s all I do, man.” But he’s hungry.
“Come over. Have some dinner with your folks.”
He doesn’t want to. What are they having? Oh no.
His mom says she’ll slip him a few bucks.
So he goes, and when he gets there his mom gives him a great big smelly hug. His dad throws him a ball like he’s a dog. It just bounces off.
“What’s new?” Nothing is fucking new. The question makes him mad.
The spaghetti is red, like an accident in the street. The room breathes in, squeezing Chick to a pulp; then it breathes out, and he feels like a fly with the face of a man. There’s something soft on the end of his fork.
Later on Chick goes over to Sheba’s and tells her, “Uh, you know, like, uh, maybe you should take a bath.” She smiles and ignores him, telling him again about how she had seven concussions before she was twelve. Or she’d be a doctor or a lawyer by now.
“If you shaved my head there’d be all these scars. Everyone kept hitting me.”
“Shut up,” Chick says, trying to move her around like a big doll on the bed. She goes into the usual trance.
Sheba says in an hour or so, “I have all these weird dreams.”
“I don’t want to hear about them,” Chick says, and he leaves. He goes home.
When he’s at home, Chick watches television, the same shows he’s always watched. Martians and shit. Venusians. Creatures in the woods. His apartment is ugly, with dumb pictures on the walls. There’s a picture of Hitler or somebody wit a smile. Chick has a plant that eats raw meat.
One of his neighbors plays Barbra Streisand’s Greatest Hits over and over, all night. The same parts are in exactly the same place every time. It never changes, never ends. The man is from Yemen. He lives there with twelve friends.
Chick goes out walking to buy something and strolls into an organ store. They’re having a sale. But he doesn’t think he needs any new organs right now.
Chick’s dad gets him a job. Some old friend of Dad’s says they need a new boy to do some shit.
This is horrible. Chick works really hard because he doesn’t know any better, and each object is the same as the one before. They all look exactly the same. Meanwhile it feels like huge spaceships are landing beneath the cement floor.
Chick goes to visit Sheba, who’s in the hospital faking something. She’s in a wheelchair, with a diaper on, content. This is her dream come true. The doctors are fighting over what’s her disease.
“I’m working my ass off,” Chick says, putting a spoon in her mouth with orange jello. Repeat.
Next day the foreman, who looks like Goofy wearing black glasses with a bandaid on his nose, tells Chick that in the Book of Revelations the locusts were really helicopters.
“Oh yeah?” Chick says. “Like shit.”
At home later on, collecting unemployment, he eats cold pizza and watches cartoons. This cartoon is about a smartass cat with a gun. It’s a push-button gun, and once it starts firing there’s no way to shut it off. All of the dead animals now have angel wings, going up to heaven, except for the cat smoking a cigar.
Chick’s mother dies of cancer and the cancer is so big it gets loose and they have to call out the National Guard.
Chick fucks off for a long time.
One night, he lets an ugly drunk girl come home with him from a bar. She wants to have some kind of sex. It’s pretty bad.
Chick tells her to get lost, but she keeps coming around. She’s in love with him, she says. “I’m in love.” Chick shoves her away, and she stumbles and falls into his meat-eating plant, which chomps off part of her nose.
“Um good!” says the plant.
“Ow! You fuck! I’ll sue your ass! You’ll be sorry you ever met me!”
“I already am,” Chick says. She turns to say one last thing and falls off the porch into a sticker-bush: the sight of her kicking her legs infuriates a passing dog. It runs over barking and bites her a few times.
Apparently she’s irresistible today.
Mom’s cancer is machine-gunned and napalmed in Detroit, but part of it gets away and is suspected of hiding out in the Great Lakes. Drones look for it but it’s getting smarter and it hides.
One day out of nowhere Chick becomes fat. He’s watching TV. Then none of his clothes fit the same.
He has this job selling things.
“Trouble at the office, baby?” asks Sheba, when Chick comes home from work. He’s been doing so well he spends all day sleeping in his car.
“My poor baby,” Sheba says, helping him undress. She’s a different person now, with short platinum hair and big boobs. Chick looks up into her eyes, inner blackness turning into dull greenish gray.
“I love you,” he says, in absolute defeat.
“I know you do, baby,” she says, and folds him up into a neat little package. In the bathroom, she puts him in the tub, where he swims around, one mean-looking baby shark.
Back down in the living room, Sheba lets her lover come in the front door. He could be some dead young movie star wearing sunglasses, with a plug in his neck.
“Where’s Dad?” he says, looking around, with a twitch.
“Taking a bath,” Sheba says, and they kiss, diagonal smearjob, exchanging tongues.
She needs a new asshole about now.
I. Fontana has lived in Avignon, Guadalajara, NYC and now Portland, Oregon. Other work has appeared in BOMB, Bikini Girl, Pindeldyboz, PANK, Gigantic Magazine and previously on Spork Press.