Monday, April 24, 2006

Three's Company


As a child, one of my favorite television shows was Three's Company. Every Tuesday night we'd be allowed to watch the goings on of Jack and company. The main plot of the show seemed to be a very simple but effective one -- the wrong person was always showing up at the wrong time and hilarity ensued. My real life has not been much different except for the hilarity part, probably due to the absence of the great John Ritter (his best performance ever was in Slingblade). My friend Hank loved this plot for his fiction -- he'd go back to the idea that a character was waiting for one thing and something else showed up. For hours in college and graduate school, we'd go to the KFC buffet on University Street in Denton every Friday and work on stories and bullshit about people we knew. All writers are gossips, not in that malicious way, but as an occupational hazard. We'd come up with a lot of stuff and go home and write something completely different. We'd also make predictions for the next year for all the people we knew -- we had about a fifty percent accuracy quotient, but sometimes better. The last time I saw him, we tried to play the game, but couldn't really see anything good. Two months later Hank died after breaking his leg in several places, foiled by an orange and black ice, on his way to see The Vagina Monologues. His last email said that he'd probably get a good story out of it, and two days later he was in the hospital for an operation that resulted in his death. As Hank would often say about the real stories we told each other, You can't make this shit up.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"They can't all be winners." Billy Bob Thorton in Bad Santa

1 1/4 oz. gin
1 1/4 campari
garnish with orange peel
Strain over ice and drink in a martini glass

Benedictions and Maledictions

First published in River Oak Review:

Every Day

I wake up to a museum of your
not being here. Nothing surprises
me, and yet this does. You are
as real as yesterday and tomorrow.
It is only today that presents
a problem, something they’re out
of in the kitchen. I make do
with shots of whatever’s around
to pass the afternoon. Dark,
a question that can’t be answered,
comes to bury me, and I think
of something you once said, I miss
you every single day, a simple
phrase that breaks the heart. We
are never free from each other,
living in our various rooms, maybe,
dead even, and still thinking of you.

4 comments:

John said...

Dear Michelle,

Another brilliant post of loss and wisdom, as always. Cheers to you.

I'll be off to London on business for the next two weeks, but thank God for the internet's 24/7 access. I look forward to your new posts, and send all good wishes.

Cheri said...

Truly heartbreaking, that poem. In the world of the living the dead never really leave us, they are in everything we see and do.

My mother cries every time we watch Bad Santa, only because it's the last movie John Ritter was in. That's one thing you don't expect.

cindy said...

Michelle,

lovely as always!

xo
Cindy

Jason said...

Jesus... your life's like a micky rourke movie.

I went to an amatuer production of the vagina monolouges once at Oakland University.

Then i wished i hadn't.