“Let me put it to you this way. Throughout the recent history of mankind millions of people have purchased a Hall and Oats album or listened to their music but you’d be hard pressed to find a goddamn one of them that will say they honestly identify more with Oats. This is how the world works. Everyone thinks they’re the Hall in this situation, this situation being their own individual Out Of Touch personalized lives. Regardless of whether their hair is feathered or curly, their faces mustached or completely non-goofy looking, or they’re tall or short; at core levels the modern human has been bred and wired to believe they’re a rock star and because of this status it makes sense to them that there be out there amongst the lonely streets of this world at least one person willing to publicly recognize this fact and adore them. Someone to love who will love them and stick with them through the good times and the bad times, or the really bad times. And when this person is found, it seems impossible to think, because you think they’re awesome and you think you’re awesome, that the one you fall in love with would ever dream of letting you go. Together through the thick and the thin of it. Soul Mates till the end. Love conquers all. That sort of shit. You see what I’m getting at don’t you?” The Caretaker said.
“Yes. I think so.” Donald said back.
“Good. I don’t have to tell you that the world just doesn’t work that way. Daryl Hall is quite simply a myth. This world is populated with sidekicks. Sidekicks walking around thinking they’re the headlining act and because sidekicks are not un-leavable inevitably we all get dumped. The Method of Love is deceitful and bloody. That’s why, thanks to generous funding from the Kraft Velveeta Corporation, the John Oats Sanatorium For Incurable Romantics was founded in the first place, to give broken sappy bastards such as yourself a place to rest and heal away from the Private Eyes of the rest of normal society who have frankly grown tired of dealing with you.” The Caretaker said.
“Yes. I think I read that in your brochure.” Donald said back.
“Of course you did. You know all of this already, as you must also know that most of the people we have staying here have how shall we say unusual side effects attached to their inability to deal with the fact that their loved one has left them. Effects that have made it impossible for them to function properly in the real world but once housed in our Sanatorium, well let’s say they damn near literally thrive. Have you ever thrived Donald?”
“No. I don’t think so.”
“Of course you haven’t. That’s what we’re here for. All I need to complete your admittance form is the details involving your own personal side effect. So what’s going on with you? What’s fucking you up?”
Donald went on to tell The Caretaker about the breakup and his own breakdown upon realizing that her Do Not Disturb sign had moved on without him, and how his landscape smells bleak and his frames cracked, her love being the nail that kept his self portrait clutched safely to the wall and how without her now everything’s fallen and his left behind bits blanket the carpet like crushed cheese puffs and mud. He went on in overly self-involved detail about the day after she’d gone and how he’d woke up in the world of a clearly defined horror movie, one in which all the rules were described but ridiculously impossible to pull off and how in order to survive this low budget splatter flick of still being in love and banish the Evil that now considers every new goddamn second its home he’d have to find an ancient scepter blessed by the 95th woman that Elvis ever slept with and then trade it to a man with red gloves for a bus ticket and four packs of Big League Chew gum and after taking a long bus trip and chewing lots of gum he needed to acquire a first edition copy of Action Comics, head to the nearest strip bar, find a stripper named Unicorn, and somehow talk her into giving him a lap dance in exchange for no money. He had to talk the Unicorn into giving him a lap dance in exchange for him reading her the goddamn comic book. She had to agree to accept a verbal reading of Superman’s first appearance in comic book form instead for cash.
“Yeah, that’ll never happen.” The Caretaker cut in.
“I already know that.” Donald said. “That’s why I’m still trapped here, inside my own horror movie. And her absence has manifested, maybe because the scariest movie I ever saw when I was a kid was Jaws, I mean, I’m physically haunted by sharks these days. It’s bullshit. The human body is made up of about 60 or 80% water, and that’s where the sharks live. Under my skin. They swim there. I can feel them. Lurking around inside me. Bouncing off stuff. Chewing things up.”
“That’s horrible.” The Caretaker said.
It was horrible, but the worst bit was how the sharks had taken to migrating in such a way that Donald’s dick had become an island; a girthy sun deprived island who’s outer edges where constantly patrolled by a militantly no-sex army of dorsally finned monsters whose sole purpose in life was to make sure nothing, and I mean nothing, came in contact with his penis. Not women. Not his own hand. Not even a magazine picture cut out of Kate Upton’s tits. For months now his dick had remained painfully deserted. Donald was truly alone now. Alone with his desert island abandoned dick.
“I haven’t had an orgasm in 472 days. It’s like I’m frickin married again. It’s driving me nuts.”
“Wow.” the Caretaker said. “I almost cried a little bit in my pants just now. That’s sad, but don’t worry Donald. Just sign hear and we’ll get you settled in.”
Donald signed the papers and a middle aged guy in a white jumpsuit led him out of his seat and through the doors after saying something that sounded like “I’m the guy who shows you to your room.”.
Once Donald was gone a different middle aged guy in a white jumpsuit entered the room and collected the paperwork from The Caretaker. He browsed through it for a little bit, frowned, and headed towards the door, but before walking through it he turned and asked the Caretaker:
“Should we drain the sharks out of this one before we toss him in the Almost Cheese Processing Processor next week or does it really fucking matter?”
“Of course it doesn’t fucking matter.” the Caretaker said. “We’re not making real cheese here. It’s Velveeta. And we’ve got a quota to hit. His little sharks can be melted and eventually mixed with salsa just like everything else. ”
“Yes sir.” The other middle aged guy in a white jumpsuit said.
“And tell my secretary to get Corporate on the line on your way out will you, Helen’s finder’s fee check didn’t clear again. And also I’m hungry. Tell someone to bring me a Cheeze Whiz and Make Believe sandwich.”
(written for the F Bomb reading series, The Mercury Café Denver, CO)