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The Irascible Cripple

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(no subject) [Mar. 26th, 2008|03:05 pm]
The Irascible Cripple
Why do you think it is some people don't get along with you?

Let me count the ways.
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(no subject) [Nov. 13th, 2007|10:07 am]
The Irascible Cripple
A guy wrote an ode to a greasy urn once. I bet that if he could do that, someone, somewhere, could somehow write one to Stacy Warner.
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(no subject) [Mar. 10th, 2007|04:22 pm]
The Irascible Cripple
I just remembered that Cuddy dated that guy whose head I smashed in in lacrosse. Big guy. Broad features. Good-looking kind of guy, in that American Dad kinda' way. She can't've gone out with him long, but I know it was at least once, because I saw them driving past in my dad's car. I was in my dad's car, that is. They were coming out of a restaurant. There was a wind. Her skirt went up. I looked at her when her skirt went up -- 'was slowing down for the lights -- then I stopped. Anyway, I looked because her skirt was up, then I recognised her. And I threw an arm back and looked again because I recognised her.

The guy was sort of following in her wake with his head down. She had a pinkish lipstick on that was starting to come off. I noticed her lips because she was tightening them. She was pulling a scarf around the middle of her arm and up, and trying to put a coat on at the same time with the other hand, and the guy looked like a hung dog. He'd done something wrong. I wanted to work it out, so I watched them over my shoulder until the lights changed, but I couldn't decide on anything specific. Probably he'd tried it on before he'd been given the go-ahead.
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(no subject) [Nov. 30th, 2006|02:17 pm]
The Irascible Cripple
Well, 'tis no matter; honour pricks
me on. Yea, but how if honour prick me off when I
come on? how then? Can honour set to a leg? no: or
an arm? no: or take away the grief of a wound? no.
Honour hath no skill in surgery, then? no. What is
honour? a word. What is in that word honour? what
is that honour? air. A trim reckoning! Who hath it?
he that died o' Wednesday. Doth he feel it? no.
Doth he hear it? no. 'Tis insensible, then. Yea,
to the dead. But will it not live with the living?
no. Why? detraction will not suffer it. Therefore
I'll none of it. Honour is a mere scutcheon: and so
ends my catechism.
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(no subject) [Sep. 14th, 2006|02:28 pm]
The Irascible Cripple
I know what Wilson's favourite advertisment on television is. He never told me it was his favourite. He'd think I'd make fun of him (and I would). I can tell it's his favourite because I see him sit a little straighter when it comes on. His eyes sort of fix on the screen. Sometimes his hands clench. He doesn't move until it's played out.

The music's the most distinctive thing about it. A modern violin track. Sort of start-stopping, dramatic but controlled, very patterned, very calm, very assured. Destiny music. But strong destiny music. Not mystical destiny music. The kind of violins that assure the listener of a patterned and controlled future.

First scene's in a cafe. Handsome man, handsome woman at different tables. They look almost like brother and sister (unfortunately). Brown hair, successful jaws, professional but lonely types. The woman's got big eyes. She's doing a crossword at her table. She looks up and meets gazes with the man -- but they both look down again (will they be lonely professionals forever?).

When she looks up again, he's gone -- but a moment later he leans over her shoulder and fills in the rest of her word (presumptuous cock).

The next scene's on a dark street, wet, lit by yellow streetlights, with the man and the woman walking arm and arm down it. She's got her arm through his, her head on his shoulder (must be hard to walk, you dependent floozy). Safe. Secure. The man's confident and wears stylish clothes (a goddamn scarf -- no lie).

The next scene (next date) is on a pier. The woman walks in front of the camera, which is assumably the guy's POV. A nice shot of her face. No downward glances. Her hair blows all over the place (blow-dried beforehand so it'd blow about in pretty wildness). The man walks slightly behind her, smiling calmly and contently at her excitement (pretentious cock this time).

Next scene them walking in front of a row of shops, arm in arm again (because apparently they can't move about otherwise). She stops to admire a pair of black heels in a shop window with black silky butterflies on the toes. He looks at them (sucked in, but then, so would Wilson be). A cut to a restaurant where they're eating in a private stall. She's wearing the shoes.

Next scene in a hotel bed, incredible white sheets, white walls, beige carpet, view out into the blues of sky and sea. Man turned over. Woman waking up and opening the bedside drawer (whyever she might do that as soon she wakes up). A pair of rings in the drawer (way to propose, Sandman).

Next scene the guy paying a hotel receptionist. Opening his wallet (we think it's the same day, but oh my God, bad call!) and there's a picture of the woman holding a cute little dark-haired boy of about three or four. He smiles at it (not that he wouldn't see the damn picture every day).

The man and woman walk out of the hospital with their bags on wheels, still arm in arm (okay guys, it's been at least four years: I think you need help).

Swirly text: Have a love affair with [city name I've forgotten].

Like me, Wilson wouldn't be able to tell you which town they were trying to advertise, but doubtless he could recite every detail of every scene of this advertisment, down to the clothes they were wearing.
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(no subject) [Sep. 14th, 2006|01:42 pm]
The Irascible Cripple
I got her good. I got her real good on the water-fight night. Once. But I started it. I got my red mug off the top shelf and drank water. Choked a bit. Was in a hurry to get back to bed. Stace was just lying around, but she had one of my shirts on and her legs were showing. And she had the peacock underwear, with the lace.

So I choked on my water trying to drink it while coming over and she looked at me (she never needs to cock a brow, she's a constantly quizzical mistress),

"What are you choking about?" M.A.S.H. was on TV. All night she'd been pointing out when Hawkeye said something she thought I would say. Just like she did with Phoebe on Friends at 7.30.

"You gotta choke about something nowadays?" I said, putting the mug in the sink even though it didn't need a wash. It sat amongst the pasta and spew sauce, "Haven't heard of the gag reflex?"

"People always choke because of something on TV."

"Which means you watch too much of it."

Canned 70's laughter and she changed the channel to a gameshow. My hands in front of me -- warm thinking hands, filling the mug with water again, and I had taken two steps toward her -- she was laughing at something on the show, raising her hand to point and explain to me, and I raised the mug and poured cold water down the back. She yelled. The power cut out then, and we were in a warm purple darkness with nothing but outside noise -- a car's motor, a gust of wind -- and she spoke at me, her face all curves and arched brows, mouth deep and wide.

"You fucking poured water down my back."

"Yep," power cut forgotten, amusement impending; I loved it when she yelled.

"Fuck," a long leg flashing out and around me. Two sharp-nailed hands shot toward my shoulder and I had a faceful of blanket. Looked up to see her running toward the sink.

"Stace," smiling, getting up slower, unsure of what to do -- I went over to stand behind her, "okay, fair's fair. I'll stand still."

She was filling a saucepan. I saw this, registered it, and then it was dumped over my head. My own private panoramic waterfall for three whole seconds, and then I was blinded by stainless steel. I was saying things that I don't think I heard myself. She was pattering around me; soft feet on tile, and I took it off my head, and then -- I don't know how, in four seconds, she could have had a thoroughly wet towel ready -- hit me with watery stench in the eyes.

It just wasn't funny anymore. It was nuts now. Saucepan of water no. 2. hit my crotch while I was blinded by the towel. Saucepan no. 3. went down my back. I scrabbled in the air with tentative fingers, still, like an idiot, not wanting to hurt her -- pushed her head under the faucet, turned on the water. I managed to keep her there long enough to wet the back of her head, but she wasn't soaked. We fought for the saucepan. I rushed off to the bathroom to fill it. She got the saucepan I once used to cook three lobster in -- a misjudgement; she could barely lift it when it was full. So I got her twice with the little one.

The image of her straining with that saucepan just won't go away. The freshwater locks of the river-witch, the impossibly spread hands -- got it on to a shoulder and tipped it -- and then the kitchen was flooded for two days, and I had lost on the water-fight night.

We had sex in the pitch dark on the tile. There were slapping sleeves constantly in the way. We tore at each other with retarded arms. Sometimes I came to my senses thinking we were drowning in the sea at low tide (the thought right then, in a grandmother's voice: "babies can drown in five centimetres of bathwater"); sometimes I thought we were still fighting. I couldn't see; my eyes were closed with water and darkness.

After about an hour the lights came on and we just had to stop. Half-dressed, lying in wrinkled, soaked clothes and three centimetres of floodwater, blinking at each other as though we'd slipped from the mouth of a whale having never met.

Stacy's first words were,

"You look hot. But your forehead's bleeding and you've got blood in your eye. Not that that's not hot."

My hand came away like I'd brushed a bullet-wound, and I started laughing about it. Once I'd palmed my vision back, I could see her lying on her elbows, shirt billowed, breasts floppy, toes teasing above the water. Smiling; oh, yeah, she thought it was great. It was all her thing. All of it. Stace's night. Not that I didn't have fun. We tried to fuck in bed later without much success; feeling around when she complained, I told her I thought she'd cracked a rib. I was right.
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(no subject) [Sep. 14th, 2006|01:02 pm]
The Irascible Cripple
Found the Stacy word.


burn‧out  /ˈbɜrnˌaʊt/

–noun

1. a fire that is totally destructive of something.
2. Also, burn-out. fatigue, frustration, or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork, or intense activity.
3. Rocketry.
a. the termination of effective combustion in a rocket engine, due to exhaustion of propellant.
b. the end of the powered portion of a rocket's flight.
4. Electricity. the breakdown of a lamp, motor, or other electrical device due to the heat created by the current flowing through it.


You'd think that this would be it:


fatigue, frustration, or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork, or intense activity.


But the electrical description makes more sense to me:


the breakdown of a lamp, motor, or other electrical device due to the heat created by the current flowing through it.


Frustration, fatigue, and apathy didn't happen at the end of what I had with Stace. It just stopped. One day the light was still on, to whatever brightness, and then it wasn't. The day we knew it was blown, she moved out. Our conversation amounted to this:


"I'm moving out, Greg."

"Yeah, I know. You packed up your stuff."

"I'm just telling you that I'm moving out."

"I knew already." I think I was making an egg or something. I was in the kitchen thinking that it was really hard to cook with the stove light blown. I didn't turn around -- I almost did -- my head was sort of dipping for momentum, and I saw her shoe, and I just went back to my egg. Then she said,

"And that's my non-stick fry-pan." She scraped the runny egg out of the pan and put it wrong side up on a plate.

What a bitch.

She could have at least let me cook my egg. But that's the way she is.

And then she got dishwashing liquid in my eye giving the frying pan a rinse. I was leaning around her shoulder and talking to her, and this enourmous bubble floated up and popped on my eyeball.

The breakup officially became a farce.

My eye was killing me after that. And I said so. She didn't believe me. She thought I said it to get out of helping her move the boxes.

"You should have thought ahead to box-moving when you were rallying to cut off my leg."

"I wouldn't be leaving if it wasn't for your fucking leg. I hate your leg," she was using one long heel to slam the frying pan into a box.

"Yeah, I know. You hate it so bad you wanted us to get a divorce."

"What are you talking about?"

"My leg and I," I came over and packed it properly. She got even more mad over that.

"Fuck you, Greg. And fuck your stupid leg."

"I like my leg."

Last thing we said to each other for five years. This all sounds like it slowly broke down over a couple of months, but it didn't. The night before we had had the best sex of our lives. Which made me think we were going to break up in the morning. But that's just the kind of thing I think. I don't know what she thought. Maybe she thought it was me forgiving her, and it was me trying to take what was left, and then in the morning when we both realised what the other was thinking, we just couldn't do it anymore.

She got some friend of hers to pack the boxes with her. The friend didn't look at me once. Stace had bitched me out to her real good. Like cream-and-cherry good. Then Stace went and I sent some of her stuff on that she'd forgotten. She forgot a lot of her stuff. And she emailed me about eggs, and made a joke about it, but I didn't reply.

After she left I was in the kitchen in my grey pants and looking for another frying pan. I kept picking up saucepans because I could hardly see. My eye was killing me. So I went and put down the seat, like she always wanted me to, and I sat on the seat and put my palms in my eyes. The moisture eventually expelled the soap. When I took my palms away I had vertigo like I'd taken hard drugs. I couldn't stand up. One of my slippers came off and got stuck under the washing machine, and when I bent to pick it up I almost fell over. Sat back down on the toilet.

So I cried for my egg and my eye and my leg when Stacy left, not for her.

Then I went to bed and woke up drunk (whenever that happened) and hugging my right knee. I was so drunk I think I spoke to my leg, said something like, "It's gonna be okay" or whatever. I don't speak to myself. And right then, my leg seemed like a seperate thing.

That was the only patient I fought for and reassured.
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(no subject) [Aug. 24th, 2006|01:10 pm]
The Irascible Cripple
In these latter-day,
Degenerate times,
Cherry-blossoms everywhere!
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(no subject) [Aug. 23rd, 2006|06:28 pm]
The Irascible Cripple
Okay, by about two billion points, my favourite poet is Kobayashi Issa.

Check this shit out:

Ducks bobbing on the water--
are they also, tonight,
hoping to get lucky?


Awesome.

Sorry, Robert Burns. You barely cut second next to this guy. All his poems talk about are birds and insects having sex. He's the best.
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(no subject) [Aug. 23rd, 2006|06:04 pm]
The Irascible Cripple
This reminded me of Julie Wilson right now.

A huge frog and I,
staring at each other,
neither of us moves.
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And don't even talk to me about the poem about the Red Wheelbarrow [Aug. 23rd, 2006|02:55 pm]
The Irascible Cripple
On the ragged edge of the world I'll roam,
And the home of the wolf shall be my home,
And a bunch of bones on the boundless snows
The end of my trail . . . who knows, who knows!


Easy enough to quote when I'm being sarcastic, but Robert Service really is pretty cool. Some of his poems have that lame archaic sound to them, though; Marmie would like him.

A lot of poets are full of shit. E.E. Cummings is full of shit, and whoops! I capitalised his name! Oh, I'm sorry, e.e. cummings, I thought for a moment that you weren't defying the rest of the world by writing your name in lower case (which means nothing at all).

Poetry's the kind of thing that I'd never discuss with anyone. It sounds stupid to discuss poetry. It's pointless to discuss poetry. The most I'd ever do is say which were my favourites. Not my favourite lines, or why they were my favourites; just favourite poets and poems.

Fuck. Even "poet" is a stupid word.

The thing that's wrong with poetry is that most of it pretends to mean more than it does.

Some poetry's good, though. But like most art, the crap overwhelms the good. Well, that's true of everything.

Kubla Khan is a poem I like. It's an opium-induced ramble about shit all, and still manages to be exciting. Not to say that In-a-Gadda-la-Vida isn't a cool song, but it's still not as stylish as Kubla Khan.

I'd still claim it was though, probably. Why not? Those guys rocked.

Robert Burns is also cool. He's possibly the only guy who can write with an accent and not irritate me, because it actually sounds like he's using the words he knows, rather than putting it on like an idiot.

And some of his poems are almost indecipherable. They sound like nutty Scotsman ravings with a mater. It's awesome. They're the toughest poems ever. Even when he's talking about love he sounds manly and tough.

Oh wert thou in the cauld blast,
On yonder lea, on yonder lea,
My plaidie to the angry airt,
I'd shelter thee, I'd shelter thee;
Or did misfortune's bitter storms
Around thee blaw, around thee blaw,
Thy bield should be my bosom,
To share it a', to share it a'.


And he wrote a poem to a mouse.

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin', tim'rous beastie,
O what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee
Wi' murd'ring pattle!


Don't know what the hell he's trying to say here, but it's totally cool.

Of course, Chaucer rules the world too. For the Reeves' and Millers' tales alone.

I wish people wouldn't write so many poems about nature. Bo-ring.

Here's an example of shit poetry:

anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn't he danced his did.


e.e. cummings sucks by default, but that poem makes him suck even more.
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(no subject) [Aug. 22nd, 2006|03:33 pm]
The Irascible Cripple
What


was that?
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(no subject) [Aug. 22nd, 2006|02:50 pm]
The Irascible Cripple
"Surprise".

Trying to work out whether that word rules or sucks.
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(no subject) [Aug. 21st, 2006|04:32 pm]
The Irascible Cripple
It's official: Wilson's the new driver of the Waaaaaaahhhmbulance, at speeds of up to 120 miles per hour.

It's official: Cuddy wears great purfume.

It's official: Wendy's voted best takeaway by House, 2006.
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(no subject) [Aug. 21st, 2006|04:17 pm]
The Irascible Cripple
It's so boring when Wilson hesitates. So so boring. I can feel my eyes bu-uuullge out when I'm waiting, looking at him, just willing something to happen so that he won't say his next incredible technicolour stupid with obigatory stutters and a little indecisive whine before it...

And then the hand comes up, bound for the neck...

And Cuddy looks like she's falling asleep. I mean, sure, she was probably right into the drama a couple of moments before, but Wilson's so boring that nobody could possibly continue to care.

So, yeah, I gotta do something in the moment of impending dumb.

Hey, Cameron's gone --
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(no subject) [Aug. 19th, 2006|06:30 pm]
The Irascible Cripple
If I were rich, I'd have the time that I lack
to sit in the synagogue and pray, and maybe
have a seat by the Eastern wall.
And I'd discuss the holy books with the learned men,
seven hours every day; that would be the sweetest thing of all.


It's a great frickin' song and a great frickin' character and a great frickin' musical.

If Cuddy's dad needs to be diagnosed, and she doesn't send him to me, it'll be cobras and black mambas in the Klinic.
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(no subject) [Aug. 19th, 2006|05:47 pm]
The Irascible Cripple
Snakes in a Hospital. Scheduled for Monday. One showing only. Snakes may or may not be actual snakes.
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(no subject) [Aug. 19th, 2006|04:43 pm]
The Irascible Cripple
It’d be easy to make a schoolyard chant about Cuddy.

Lisa Cuddy, study buddy,
Coffee breath but isn’t cruddy.
Though she’s really fuddy-duddy,
Scream real loud if she got muddy,
Running out of funny ‘uddies’.
Is a word with meaning ‘luddy’?
Suddy guddy tuddy puddy.
No, all out, and that’s real shuddy.

I spoke to her father before I spoke to her. I mean, I knew who she was. She was the "hottest chick on campus". As for him; you know how Cuddy has real Jewish curls? Yeah, so did he. A man with ringlets is a real man. And I mean a real man. What happened was, he came in to the study hall – or something; I remember a bright-lit room with desks and wobbling chairs. He was watching Cuddy at the front rub something out with a determined careerwoman fist. “My knuckle is an eraser, because I am woman”. He had a dad’s smile and was about to creep up on her.

My hand came out and tugged a curl. I just couldn’t help it. Thought it had to be a wig. He turned around.

“Whoa,” I said.

“What?” he said, and threw out both arms. Clipped a guy in the head. Thought he was Greek for a second. He had that largesse.

“I wish my hair would grow like that,” I said. Gave him a look that people only think’s sincere until they know me. He didn’t, though. He was a sly old badger of the Old Faith.

“Hey,” he said, “don’t give me that stupid thing, I know your type. I’m looking at you,” it was awesome, the way he backed away toward Cuddy with his vast coat and round hat. One big finger in the air. Warning slice to the throat.

“Whoa,” I whispered, and moved teeth and tongue against my bottom lip. He was that cool. You get a sense of who’s interesting and who’s not by the amount of regard they have for the way things are “meant” to work. He didn’t have a lot. He was a Hebrew tank. His ass backed into Cuddy’s spine and she spun around with a mouthful of un-daughterly abuse; more vulgar when she was younger ‘cause she hadn’t found her place and was still climbing really hard. More ruthlessly persistent. Just like how she tried to rub mistakes out with a knuckle before she fumbled for an eraser.

He bent over her and apologised for the knock. She clapped Cuddy-hands over her mouth in youthful delight that you don’t see anymore from her. I’ve never seen any exaggerated expression from her that isn’t mature exasperation. She never gets excited; stocks and businessmen make her jacket the only youthful thing in the ghost-of-Cuddy. Not that I saw her get excited a lot when she was that age. She tried for poise.

Her nails and eyes and hair were all brighter then, and her whole top half hung off her father in a happy loop. A kiss for his cheek. She said some short foreign word. She looked pretty when she was excited. Her lips parted more. Now she speaks with guard-dog teeth and a plastic jaw.

The stairs! The stairs! The stairs happened with rum and starlight and guns and bombs going off! Well, if Tarantino directed it. Rum happened, though; I thought the blouse was memorable, but I can’t remember if it was red or purple. Her eyes looked violet-grey like we were on Mars. It might as well have been Mars, the stairs. Goddamn. That’ll never happen again. Out on second base; go to the bleachers, Gregory House.

Hey. Since when did a cripple own at baseball?


We’ve known each other for a long time, but we don’t know each other. We could, but we don’t. Getting to that adult point now where there’s that natural ultimatum. Look, quit fucking around. Are we friends or not? Are we hot or not? Are what what or this or that or what? Adults want to sort out their lives. Teenagers like to wallow and shit around and be indecisive. They have lots of time for that. Glad I never grew up. Gives me an excuse for more time.


I know what she’s capable of in a good mood. She can’t fool me. Tries to. Can’t. Once upon a time there was a song we both hated that was played a lot. Lights low in the hospital, nurse rolling something away, peaceful lighting. Computer telling me to shut it down. A plane’s noise just fading away, and I was starting to walk, and then suddenly the fucking hip-boppy, pretentious youth cover of something with wild guitar and bursts of rap exploded on the radio just as I caught Cuddy’s eye through her half-closed blinds. Madness. Our look of exasperation – woulda given some look of sceptical pleasure, but I didn’t know anyone was looking – was identical. Saw my face in flat reflection. Saw hers through the glass. Same-same. Same goddammit. Same smirk-grin when we noticed; oh God, her thought reverberated into me, I’ve got that expression in my sock-drawer of faces? Most-used socks on the top, and I dug that one out? We buy the same socks? We’ve got some same mental tic?
Something had to happen, and it did. She was coming around the side of her desk. Nails spread in poised firmness on the desk; and we both started to shimmy. That could only happen through glass and blinds where we pretended we were imagining the other. It was a dance-off. And after about a minute we both just stopped, for some reason we just stopped smiling and acknowledging – think we both got bored at once – and I went home, and she probably sat down and signed some dead old paper.

Think we both keep meaning to mention it sometime, and forgetting. Or just not. When do you bring up some shit like that?
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Miracle Boy Wilson [Aug. 18th, 2006|02:03 pm]
The Irascible Cripple
Wilson arranges his ties by colour and pattern. And he notices, in a collection of over two hundred, if one's gone. The red one or the blue one or the space one with the spacemen.

"House, did you take my maroon tie with the cream diagonals?"

Well, he never said that, because if he did, I'd punch him in the ear. But he keeps his ties like a little girl keeps her dollies. He's just short of holding tea parties.

I always remember one particular primetime slot, August night, last year or the one before, divorce time, that's quintessential Wilson.

His favourite shows are those ones that compare different shower cleaners, and spy on tradesmen with hidden cameras to see if they're doing their job. Whenever a wretched overall helps himself to a biscuit before finishing the wallpapering, the camera, and Wilson, know about it.

"There! Did you see that? There! He took a biscuit. I can't believe that. That's so unprofessional." He notes down the name of the company. "Well, I'm not getting them for my wallpapering." He notices my expression right about then and stops talking.

This is when we were hanging out at home, four socked feet on the edge of my bed, glowing eyes and faces a leg's length from the television. My feet reek. Wilson's smell of clean desert sand. Eating crackers that Wilson has pointlessly arranged on a plate (sometimes I think he's bisexual, yeah, that weird Oncology guy). I can't eat too much health food or it lays tofu larvae in my stomach.

Wilson has a long list of tradesmen not to hire, and products not to buy, that he's just noted down from the show. The scary thing is that he actually adheres to them. Puts 'em on the fridge.

He crows when the bread spread he buys is listed as the best according to fat content, cholesterol, taste and value.

"Wilson." No question mark. I take hold of the paper and tear it. "You're an idiot."

"Hey," he says, and spends half an hour finding clear tape to repair it instead of just writing it out again. Steve's on my stomach and the show's over when he gets back. The room's unlit. I see his warped grey reflection in the television, only the tie red.

"There," he spreads himself out beside me like his dumb butter-substitute. A shin knocks against my ankle. Wilson's careful thumbs work at the paper. A clear strip holding together two halves of limp domesticism.

Quiet then. Me looking at him from under low, jutting brows, fingers eager to tear again. He seems to realise then, looking at his queues of neat notes, because for a moment his eyes are unfocused and helpless. Dark spots like coffee stains. He turns over and holds it up, mouthing something at the paper, something optimistic that doesn't quite make it to sound.

Then he turns over again, toward me, and puts an arm around my lower back. Face smushed on my shoulder. His arm and shoulders lift and fall in a sigh.

"Wilson."

"Yeah?"

"One word: clingy."

He lets go immediately, rolling twice and perching, one hip dragging him almost off the bed. "Shut up," he says. "A little support would be nice when I'm not feeling great."

"What?" Eyelids peel back for false concern. "You want a hug? Is that what you want?" Dark beetle eyes, smaller version of Jewish nose, turn in sceptical humdrum toward me. Tight womanly lips.

"Shut up," he says again, "you're an ass, House."

"A tight one," I slap myself in quick, sharp motion. Wilson does roll off the bed this time, to get away from the sight. Moans from the floorboards, and I can see his words cartoonishly drifting in the air after he says them in curved black font. Comic Sans MS.

"I can't believe you're my best friend."
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(no subject) [Aug. 18th, 2006|11:26 am]
The Irascible Cripple
S'funny that I knew a guy just like a little Wilson when I was a kid.

Say 'kid', mean 'sixteen'. We both got shoved against lockers, but I knew I got shoved 'cause the other guys -- well, the guys who bothered shoving other guys against lockers -- were jealous of me. I got all their girlfriends. Their girlfriends came to me when they wanted some lovin' that weren't blue-eyed and wholesome. I was blue-eyed, but, y'know.

Wilson-guy got swirlies. I didn't. I was a ball-heeler and an eye-jabber when they tried to muscle me in the bathroom door. Whoops! Foot slipped there, guys. Not to say I didn't get beat up -- couldn't always escape, there's a lot of arm and leg and vintage shirt to grab with a sixteen-year-old me -- but hey, I never got traumatised. I just got even. And I was more crafty than they were.

Nerds hardly ever think of getting even unless it's something like "telling a teacher". They're either cowards or they trust the system (they don't know how brave it is to actually tell) Once I came upon Wilson-guy in a corridor with his hair stinking of piss and toilet water, and his glasses sitting on the floor, dabbling at himself with tissue in both hands. Looked like a kind of Bathroom Justice. I threw him my gym towel, and once I'd had it back and passed on, I heard him say really loudly, with that kind of desperate caw,

"I'm gonna tell on those guys this time, I really am. I mean, seriously."

Tell on? Don't know who he was talking to. I didn't turn around. All I knew was that next day he was getting beat up worse than before.

Everyone at school (the school I went to for more than a year) thought I lived on the streets. My parents just never came into school because I broke off the lines of contact between school and parents with the greatest little sever-motions. I gave the school the wrong address. I gave them a P.O. Box and only took home what I wanted them to see. Report cards were always snaps, even though I skipped most classes and cheated on the tests (never caught, near misses). That means luncheons, parent-teacher interviews, letters about "truancy", letters about "conduct", letters about "attire" were all disposed of in inventive little fire shapes. I didn't deny it, but I didn't ever say I was living on the streets, 'cause someone was bound to find out I wasn't before the end.

Wilson-guy was the first person from school that came to my house. He was my lab partner. Whatsisrealname? Justin or Dustin or Dustpan or something like that. His last name rhymed with something funny, like "Dick" or "Ass". He thought that to counteract people laughing at his last name, he'd just say it really loudly and boldly whenever he had to say it, to show them he wasn't afraid. He'd stand up in class and go, "Dustin BICK". Everyone laughed until they hacked. I thought he was an idiot. I could deal with some locker-shove blood-noses. He couldn't. He should have sat down and shut up, changed his hairstyle to look more casual, worn contact lenses, stopped carrying a briefcase, and not wear a tie to school.

Seemed simple to me.

Woulda thought he was brave, but he seemed like he just didn't know what to do to make it stop. I tried telling him in Bio over a split frog -- just a couple of pointers, a heads-up on what's immortally cool, which the fashionistas at our school didn't know, but I did -- but didn't. I didn't tell him. I didn't want him thinking he was my friend. I knew he would. I knew he'd photocopy his notes and give them to me. I knew he'd try to give me a goddamn high five.

I didn't care if people saw me with him, I just didn't want him to keep popping up when I didn't want to see anyone. Sometimes I went around the back of the tennis courts and just walked on the big piles of sand there, or threw rocks at the wire fence, or made a trip-wire for guys running the school course, or distracted the girls playing tennis. I liked to do some shit alone in the lunch hour. So.

I wasn't his lab partner at first. I was the lab partner of some plastic marvel, almost-girlfriend of Clint Steele or whoever was football captain at the time. I could see Wilson-guy-Dustin sliding his notes over the workbench toward me, but she popped up and shoved her notes and breasts at me, going,

"Hi-iii, Greg," like we knew each other or something.

I liked bio. I was good at bio. I aced at science. I was the only guy in the class who was cool and good at bio, and she came to me fully loaded to go to second base for her half of the report by me.

Hey, who'd complain?

But she was a dumbass, and she annoyed me. When I came to her house she made out with me and made so much noise about it that I kept hearing people stop outside the door and I had to get her off (not in the good way). Then the next time I came over, she said she had a cold and couldn't kiss me. I kissed her anyway and said I needed snot to put in [people's] drinks. She screamed and said I could never kiss her again.

Now I had a half-finished report and no lab partner. Wilson-guy ran up to me in class the next day, having been set on by the teacher. I don't think he'd had an actual lab partner before.

He was a good-looking guy without all the nerd trappings. Just like Wilson probably was under whatever disgusting things he wore and carried as a kid. Wilson-guy wasn't short, wasn't fat, had a dark kind of side-sweep of longish hair in blue-collar style and stubby energetic hands. The one thing I remember is him clicking his pen with his palm. Oh yeah, and tossing his hair back like a girl when he was writing. He didn't think about how he looked when he did that. That was something I kind of liked. Though he was a total sissy.

He was so excited about my coming around to his house. I could tell. He kept saying,

"Are you really coming over? Coming over tonight?"

And I'd be like, "No," and let himd droop before I gave him a look that I thought would tell him I was kidding. He took it as some resentful glare. He didn't know how to read people. He didn't understand sarcasm or innuendo or anything. He sucked.

I got sent out of the class that day for putting my foot up on a clean space and showing everyone my bunion.

Then as I was going out the door, and everyone was quiet, Wilson-guy said really loudly, with a shrill attempt at nonchalence, "Hey Greg, you're coming over tonight, right?"

I put my head against the doorframe and pretended I was asleep.

He came up to me again later, when I was making out with some girl between two blocks of lockers, and sort of waited there until I finished, just standing there, holding this stack of books and with a shoulder strap for his briefcase, and he tried to look like he didn't care or notice or something about all the kissing. But his ears and dimply bits were pink.

But he waited. Politely.

I broke off for a second, and held her shirt so she didn't just disappear or something, and said,

"Yeah, Fustin, I'm coming over tonight," or whatever his name was.

"Oh, good. Great," he said, "but I just wrote some stuff off that I think you should look at for our experiment." And he tried to find some place to put it on me, but I didn't have a bag, so he tried to roll it up and put it into my pocket.

"That means 'get lost'," I said. The girl laughed. I remember what I most liked about that one was her laugh. It was like an old woman's and really sort of sea-witchy and interesting. When she did it I wanted to kiss her again.

"Okay!" Justin said really optimistically, "I'll just put these here." And he put them at my feet, flat, and neat, and said 'hey, hi' with an awkward wave to the girl, and went off. Then the girl's guy came up and I ran into the girl's toilets, because I was the only guy brave enough (at sixteen! People are stupid) to go in there. He didn't follow me in, just said, "You can't stay in there forever, House!"

And I said to some girls at the mirror, "Oh, yeah I can," and I got some action in there as well, 'cause I was charming and said some other stuff, and made some jokes, and it was easy. Of course, 'action' back then wasn't anything beyond making out and the lightest of light petting, but I thought I was a pretty big man nonetheless.

I went to Gustin's that night just so he wouldn't whine at me the next day, like a whiner. I let myself into his house and got some food from his kitchen. His fridge was all butter and soy and no-carb, and his mom or him labelled all the stuff in the freezer. I put some sugar in a bowl and went upstairs with it. The banister was slick and polished and I wanted to slide down it, but I didn't. The stairs had carpet on them. There were gladioli downstairs and upstairs. Ticking clocks and shelves of books every two paces. I looked in the doors of at least three studies.

Mustin's room had no TV, despite this wealth. I was disappointed, but not surprised. He had about six bookshelves and two hundred desks in there, and his bed was really narrow, but with silk sheets.

"Hey!" he said, and got up, probably waiting all day until I'd got there. The kid was trying to dress like me. He was wearing a faded shirt, but it said "Princeton" on it rather than "Iggy Pop", which was what I was wearing. I shook my head at it.

"You're an idiot," I said, sat on his bed and ate the sugar.

"So -- what do you want to do?" he asked me, even though he'd laid the project out on the desk, fresh snowy paper, a fountain pen for me, a quill for him, two yoghurts and two spoons.

Wilson. Though kind of less cool. Though I think he'd've grown up to be like Wilson. He was a good kid. Not bad-looking either.

"I dunno," I said, vowing not to eat 'my' yoghurt.

"How about, uh -- maybe we could, like," a double-handed gesture toward the desk, "do the lab project? Or something?"

"Nah," I said, which crushed that idea absolutely and totally, because he nodded really hard and leaned on what he had prepared as though it just happened to be there. I was amused at the power I had over him with non-committal words like "I dunno" and "nah".

"Is that sugar?" his face contorted.

"No," I said, "it's salt."

"Really?" he was impressed now.

"Yeah," I ate the rest of it quickly before he decided to do tests.

He tried to talk to me about girls, and sex, and drinking, but he had nothing insightful to offer about that. He'd held hands with a girl in first grade. He'd had a champagne at a cousin's wedding. Made it seem like a big deal. Then he sat down with me. Then we lay down on top of the blankets. Then I had the best conversation about science I'd ever had with anyone, ever. We actually made plans to do the best lab report ever, and I was going to pose as a junior doctor and go into a morgue and try to get an actual cadaver to do stuff with, and he was as thrilled by the idea that it would be illegal as I was (surprisingly). He asked me if we could be friends, and I said, "okay. Sure". His leg gave this big excited twitch at that. I laughed at him really loudly and he got embarrassed.

I'd thought I had way more friends than him, but I didn't actually. I was just cooler. I didn't have any friends. Hadn't looked for any, really. I just knew people.

So he was okay for a while. I didn't get the cadaver in the end, though I made a damn good crack at it and almost had the morgue guy convinced that I was twenty-three. Wilson-guy and I still got the best marks in the year.

We still didn't really spend much time together. Sometimes I came over to his place, and I met his boring parents, and sometimes he came over to my place, and he met my boring parents, but we didn't really talk at school, though he seemed to walk faster now, speak with a little bit more confidence. Raise his hand to ask even more nerdy questions than before. He loved it when sometimes, I raised my hand too and asked something that was similar, but had some funny twist to it, and it made him look like he'd thought of that too.

He went on to get some scholarship to Yale or somewhere, that I didn't get because I was so slack with the work. Teachers told me they were disappointed. I said I'd be okay, and that school was no measure of anything, and they said We Know, Greg, But We're Still Disappointed. I keyed about five Jaguars on the last day of school for that.

So he went to Yale or Princeton or something like that, and I went to the good old local with Lisa Cruddy. Wilson-guy never called me, because all he did on the phone was heavy-breathe and make nervous Zebra noises, so he wrote me long eloquent letters about medicine (guess what he wanted to do?), and hinted that he wanted to come visit me. I had to reply to his letters because he wrote medical stuff in them that I wanted to reply to, but I never invited him. Once he said he was, "in town", and we met up at a coffee shop.

He was really nervous. Wore a scarf and a long coat. Dressed a little better. Had even bigger glasses. Pale and veiny. Asked me "how I was doing". I shrugged and put lots of sugar in my coffee. He tried to make coughy little segues into science-speak, and I said a word or two about that, but it never got into the same thing as the conversation we first had at his place. He asked me if I had a girlfriend, I told him no (lie, but I didn't want to talk about it). He said he was thinking about coming back to live here, and go to the Local, and then maybe we could "hang out". He still used slang with the same tense self-consciousness, the relieved slackening of fingers and wrists when the colloquialism was expelled. I still remember most of the conversation.

I said that if he came back here to study just to spend time with me, I'd never speak to him again. It sounded horrible as an idea and I hated it.

He asked me if we were friends still and I said, "We don't live in the same state."

"That's the point!" Spilled the milk. "I wish we had conversations like that one we had back, you know!" Spooning the milk from side to side, all usual neatness forgotten. "I don't have anyone to talk to like you over there. Hey, what if I can put in a word for -- "

I gave him such a look that he ducked his head and slapped a napkin to the milk.

"Go home," I said. "Look; we're still friends. You've just gotta make new ones. Just talk to people."

"I can't," he said.

"Too bad. Grow a spine."

"I want your spine," he said, and he had a weird look on his face. I didn't know if I wanted to see him again.

"What'ja mean?" I said casually, but he couldn't speak anymore. I knew what he meant by his look. After a moment I said, "You've got to be kidding me."

So the difference between him and Wilson was that Wilson didn't "want my spine". I didn't ever see Wilson-guy again, though, because the conversation was cut short after that, and he went home and swallowed a lot of painkillers and died, a "great loss of enourmous academic potential". I showed Stacy his letters one time and she said, "You're an idiot, it's obvious from these that he was in love with you. But it's not your fault."

"I didn't think it was my fault," I said.
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