#1

“It’s like encountering this curious mistress, this enigma. inamorata. Just barely leaving the ground and finding yourself in a revolving sea of inexplicable opulence; an opulence that seethes and yearns and breathes. Yes, a dream. Like you’ve somehow stumbled onto the edge of an event horizon, the thick of nocturnal awakening.”

-“Uncle” Todd

He was bat-shit crazy, more or less. The kind of crazy you stow away in the attic next to the dismembered barbies who, as you surmised, skipped out on Florida for a simpler, humbler retirement, in lieu of vinyl limbs or a 401(k). And he was an “uncle,” in the figurative, “quotable” sense, as he wasn’t anyone’s uncle in the first place. At least, not to your knowledge. Not according to anyone who actually called him uncle by name.

It was…fitting. As cottage cheese is to a burger aficionado’s thigh, uncle is to mental instability. It logically followed. The term just seemed organic. Pure. Straight from the source. Off his fucking rocker.

So there it was. “Uncle” Todd: destined for an existence not unlike that of a sullen grey crayola in a whole big box of baby blues. A crack-whore in a string quartet.

Now that you think of it, you aren’t quite sure how Uncle Todd even came about. One would think that the mere essence of his ogre-like presence would be enough to leave a sticky-note of generous proportions on the collective memory of every soul in this damn city. Six-foot-four. Boxy. Jowls the size of ice cream vans. Some estranged lucha libre knock-off—a rare breed of man. He is not your grandma’s Thursday bingo buddy. His name is not Seymour. And yet, despite being an anomaly, despite the presupposed plunge into the shallow end of social retardation, Uncle Todd managed to uphold a rather respectable image within the town. It wasn’t so much a consequence of having the physical capacity to rearrange others’ limbs, nor was it the die-hard respect afforded to hospice nurses in the cool chambers of finality. It was more of a general understanding. A cautious respect. A belief that, regardless of your circumstance or fate, or the number on the side of your little stucco house, Todd could probably change you, change your life, change your little stucco world. Permission granted or not.

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