Thursday, March 23, 2006

WATER BALLOON COURAGE

We were having a race between the traffic lights, trying to hit each crosswalk when the green (or white, as it turned out) man signified we should keep on going. It started out friendly enough, but pretty soon it was clear that we both believed it was a race to win. I was starting to get shin splints, but I wasn't going to say a thing--not with Del Monte taking the lead. So I quicked my pace and flailed my arms like neurotic suburban power walkers who have mounds of permed hair tucked under their terrycloth sweatbands. "We're doing okay," suggested Del Monte, who was barely puffing at all. I laughed explosively, because it was a quick response that appeared boistrous, when really, I was all out of juice. The next tactic, as you could expect, was for me to hurl a question at Del Monte that would require a longwinded answer. Just enough time for him to huff and puff three strides behind me and let me take the town and the crown. "What is the grossest thing in the world to you?" I asked, immediately recognizing how I could rephrase it to make it longer. "What are the five grossest things in the world to you?" Though Del Monte's cheeks were flushed, I could tell he wasn't flustered at all. When we were younger, I always pictured him combing the elegant gray curls of his brain just like blonde Englishmen had to tame their lustrous wavy hair. "I'm going to have to say," he answered much too quickly, "and this isn't necessarily coming in any particular order--" "Okay!" I barked back, a bit too eagerly. "Well," he said, "Dog poop, snake skins that have been shed, the thought of eating people's scalps...how many was that?" "Three!" I was starting to fall behind. "Okay," he said. "Poop, snake skins, scalps...I think plastic surgery is pretty gross..." He was pulling in the lead. "Actually, I hate raisins." His arms swung effortlessly at his sides. "What about you? What is the grossest thing in the world to you?" I felt a trickle of sweat slide down my temple. It was all over. What was the grossest thing in the world to me? I knew it in an instant: "Feathers."

1 comment:

sean_garmire said...

The gross thing about feathers is that some of the various parts of them are called "shafts" and "barbs." Whenever I hear those words I think of cat's penises, which are grosser than you might think.

Also, the word I have to type in to send this comment is "elccmun." I imagine it's pronounced elk-munn and it means the faint blue glow of an ungulate's blue, glowing eyes.