Monday, November 24, 2008

Joanette, Joanette

Mr. Abe Abel is doing mindblowing reps of squat thrusts in an attempt to cleaver the flab from himself. He's doing this in an airy room on the second story of a country home.

It's a little after noon on a Wednesday.

Abel had helped himself to a lunch consisting multi-layered turkey club on wheat and a fist of Cheetos. This made him feel icky, so he's squatting and thrusting recklessly. His face is red and hot to the touch. When it he exhales, it's so strained and awkwardly pitched that, if you could hear it, you'd think it was a steam whistle.

His jeans and sweater are folded nicely, balancing on top of his hiking boots, next to the laundry shoot on the room's west-facing wall.

This is not Mr. Abe Abel's home. It's not the home of anyone he knows.

Each Wednesday, Mr. Abe Abel takes an early lunch and drives out of the city with a small ball peen hammer plunged into his belt. He finds a house that's been orphaned for the day and, in a delicate, piecemeal fashion, cracks the glass in all of the windows that are within tip-toeing distance. He savors the fracture that comes with each tap.

After he does this, he angles himself through the lowest window he can find, and then finds his way to the kitchen where he preps and eats a sick-making meal.

Then he sets to squat thrusting.

This he does with so much vigor and speed that he can't keep count. He has a mantra (Stop! Stop! Stop!) but he's not sure what it means or if it's something he could ever realistically achieve.

At exactly 12:46, his wristwatch interrupts him sharply. Mr. Abe Abel re-clothes, slings his ball peen back into his belt, lumbers out through the window, and drives back to the city, to work.


Joanette, Joanette, you were his once. Your heart was so big and wild it burst your brain. You were under the covers, warmly next to him as he dreamed one of his ferocious, jolting dreams.

You left him a widower and a hapless, timid thief.

Some Wednesday, he swears it, he'll drive to where you're buried and in full daylight, dig down to you and pry your casket open with a tire iron . He'll hug your skeleton. He'll do it so tight that it splinters and breaks apart. Just so you know how it feels.

He has it in him.

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