"Hi, Mom. How are you?"
"Oh, you know. Tired."
"You never call me during the week to ask how I am."
"I do, sometimes. But you could call me too, to ask how I am."
"Okay, fine. How are you?"
"I'm fine. Why do you ask?"
"I'm having work done on my teeth, so we need to go to somewhere soft tomorrow for dinner."
"How about the Hungry Bible?"
"Why do you keep calling it that?"
"Oh, no reason, Mother."
The next day, Mom and I met at our favorite restaurant. I had the Samson spaghetti, while Mom had the French Toast Commandments with a side of Jeremiah biscuits.
"I'm reading a book about David Foster Wallace, the writer."
Mom was biting into Thou Shalt grilled into her toast. "Are you going to eat your Lazarus Taters?"
"It's interesting. He talks about how hard it can be when you are a young and successful writer. How it can be a trap. How you start to lose your authentic voice. Soon you are just the caretaker of the statue you have built to your fame."
"Mimi is having a bad reaction to the stool softener I started her on. The poor soul."
"I guess he would approve of me, huh. No success, old, rejected and bitter. No one can say that success has ruined me, by God! I slam my fist on the table, the silverware clattering. That's right--I said that without doing it. But why all this kerfuffle and foofaraw? I mean, I have a roof over my head and two eyes with which to cry myself to sleep with. Yes, life is grand, I say! I slam my fist down again for emphasis."
"Mimi doesn't like sound or light or any sudden noises. I have to stay as still as a mummy around her. All I can hear is the little breaths that whistle out her nose. I just hope God takes her home soon."
"Maybe I should be writing more warm and personal posts on my blog. Instead of this ha ha shit. I mean, who cares what I was doing in the late fifties? Sure, the Cold War had us all dancing the jitterbug and Pistol Pete Best was wowing us with his set jump shot, but who cares?? From now on I say smashing my head into my short stack I'll be more warm and accessible!!"
"We bought some clothes for her to wear to this fancy dinner, but she hasn't a clue why we we're doing it. She hasn't a clue, the poor soul."
"Wallace said that he wrote to understand what it's like to be a fucking human being. For me, I write because I want to know what it's like to be fucking a human being. No, seriously. What's it like? Won't anyone help me out?"
"She has to see the doctor next week. Her anus is so red. I just hope they won't decide to put her down."
"You know, I remember when I was young and my heart was full of dreams, ridiculous dreams. When I was writing my sci-fi novel I remember dreaming of being in a big theater like the Cooper for the premiere of the movie. The curtains parted and a hush went over the crowd, and there was the first scene, our lovable robot hero as he stumbles into a trap. The crowd loves it, just loves it."
"Mimi hates to get in the car. She has such trouble with her hips and her knees. I practically have to carry her in my arms like a wrinkly husk of limp skin, the poor soul. She just doesn't have a clue."
"So pathetic, huh? Just some dumb little kid thinking he was going to be the next George Lucas. Well, at least I missed out on that whole neck thing. I'll add that to my blessings: roof, two eyes, and a neck that doesn't bulge out like a dirigible at a Hitler Youth rally."
"She almost made me cry. She asked if I ever had love in my life. Isn't that sweet?"
"And then I find myself thinking that if I could just get some startup capital I could make my own movie or publish my own book! I mean, all it takes is a little cash. And Dad has it. He has lots of it. Maybe I'll ask him for a loan. Surely he's not so tight-fisted as to deny his oldest son some creative capital. Yes! I'll do it! I stand up and shout that I will go to my father and we will be in partnership for ever and ever!! I LOVE YOU, FATHER!!"