Every year a big fuss is made about basketball tournaments, wobbly rides and fries with Coke at 500% markup prices. It’s all in the name of some old, dead author whose castle still stands as a landmark for our community (luckily for those who recognize the building as something spectacular, rich people can afford to be extremely eccentric). There is also a parade and annual placement of decoration on the dead person’s tombstone.
Last weekend I attended the carnival uptown with Brad because I was most interested in the arts and crafts. And because Brad wanted to go, so I might as well come up with a reason to not hate going. We didn’t stay very long because the Holy Redeemer’s elephant ear booth had sold us thin, burnt animal replications that were clearly sacrificial leftovers preserved from when they were under Mosaic law.
The one person I knew had found me and asked, “What the HELL is that?” all while pointing to the shitty mess of crust and cherries on my plate.
“Elephant with a side of menstrual,” I replied, not above making jokes at my expense.
“My open house is tomorrow,” he reminded, as though he and his brothers’ invitation plastered on our refrigerator hadn’t been enough of a daily reminder that week.
“I know!” I insisted, trying to believe that this festival and open homes were things I really wanted to participate in. He had already discussed the fact that although I would be fostering the young pup Lucky until Sunday, surely there would be plenty of time for her pickup and my attendance to his event.
“I remember going to yours,” he hinted, patting me on the shoulder as he walked past.
There would be a celebration for the Bruckman twins and Subway sandwiches for all. Thinking of this, I sat down and took a bite of my holy ear before trashing it.
Arts and crafts failed to wow me and we were just about to leave when I remembered that the local Renessaince Dorks had some kind of mini town set up at the far end. But for some reason, Brad sounded as excited to check it out as I was in my head about being in public to begin with.
Tents. Jousting. Role playing. Boring. And sure enough, the robed and crowned King of Dorks approached my boyfriend, put a friendly hand on his shoulder and announced, “I haven’t seen you in quite a while. You staying out of trouble?”
Yeah. It was time to call it a day.
5 o’ clock, 6 o’ clock rolled around the next day and I’d received no phone call about Lucky’s home-to-be. My father noticed the odds of having to live with the little girl for another day and lost his composure, now screaming at the animal and cursing me as he did the first time I brought her indoors.
I eventually left the phone and necessary papers with Mom before taking Brad and heading out to the open house for its last scheduled half hour.
“Shouldn’t you go up and say hi?” Brad asked. So I did.
There would be well-exposed potato salad, meatballs and three or four limp sandwiches for me to choose from and we dined in a warehouse. The food tasted good and it was a very nice setup – a queer kind of awesome to be sitting somewhere dark with such a high ceiling and shelves upon shelves holding boxes. So out of place but perfectly logical to everyone who knew it was part of their moving and storage company.
We went over to Brad’s grandmas where his little sister lives, so I got to hear her talk about going to some farm that had horses.
Even though she had only been there once, “Lollipop is my favorite. She has one brown eye and one blue. I call her Lolli. Do you wanna play dolls with me?” and she is asking me to go upstairs in a strange house to play Dolli where stuffiness drove central air into exile eons ago.
I like her, but I was very tired. I tried to explain how I was worrying about a lot of things, like heat stroke, and that it made Dolli a difficult task. I promised “next time” and wondered if I’d already made that promise with her.
When I got home, Lucky’s savior called and needed me to meet her halfway, about 30 minutes away. So I did and it was a happy ending. Imagine the nicest lady ever and a really excited fiance (I was expecting a skeptical man) and a bumper sticker on their car that said: I Love My Dog <3. They both adored her and couldn't thank me enough.
In the hype of things I neglected to hand over Lucky’s bag of treats so we stopped to Brad’s uncle’s house – the member of the family that makes Brad’s older sister cringe a little. I’ve always been under the impression that he was sketchy, so of course it was an uneasy visitation. We sat at his kitchen table while he smoked from his ceremonial pipe and told stories about firing rifles, getting screwed over by various people/institutions and the love for his dog – all while holding a tall bottle of beer in one hand.
I noticed that his girlfriend likes humming birds – little figurines of them everywhere – which reminded him of the time when something brightly colored went buzzing past his ear. He was with a buddy, passing a bottle of Jack Daniels and shooting at a stump when the buzzing attack had started, to which he said, “Jesus, those are some fast fucking bees” before realizing they were the bullets, ricocheting.
The last few hours of my weekend with Brad were spent pretending that Hunter Thompson was still alive.
Then I went home and cried my eyes out.