The Fox in the Garage Part 12: The Fear

September 28, 2010

[Sam approaches the driveway. He walks up to the garage. The garage door is open but he can’t see Linda.]

Sam:  Linda. Hey Linda. You around?

[No answer. Sam walks in the garage and knocks on the door to the house. He can hear Terrence scratching on the other side of the door.]

Sam: It’s Sam.

[Sam opens the door and pets Terrence. He walks into the kitchen. The room smells like garbage.]

Sam: You home?

[Linda walks slowly down the hall towards Sam. She’s wearing one of Gary’s Bengal’s jerseys and a pair of his red Umbros.]

Sam: There you are. I need to tell you something. Remember a while ago when you said that you went to the library and read that book about animals and it said that all polar bears are left-handed? You were doing research to find out what foxes eat. And you read that animal book. It’s not true. All polar bears are not left-handed.

Linda: I was just saying what the book said. I’m sorry.

Sam: It’s an urban legend. Or maybe it’s called an animal legend when it’s about animals. It’s a myth is what it is. I was on the internet last night bouncing around my sites like I like to do and I decided to look up whether or not Canadian geese are the only species of geese that can fly because the other night at the bar Hanna said she read somewhere that only Canadian geese can fly and other geese can’t. So I look it up, and she was wrong. Other geese can fly. But what’s important is that on that same web page there were a few other animal myths and one of them was that polar bears are all left-handed. It’s not true. Some asshole started a rumor that they were all left-handed and God knows why he did it because I can’t imagine anyone getting satisfaction knowing that they tricked lots of people into believing that all polar bears are left-handed.

Linda: Interesting. So the book is wrong and the internet is right. People say that the internet is wrong more than books. That’s why we need books. Because anyone with fingers and a keyboard can put facts on the internet and no one’s going to check them to make sure they’re true.

Sam: You’re right. So. Don’t take this the wrong way, but it smells like a butt in here. When’s the last time you cleaned?

Linda: Oh Sam, I’m so sorry. I know it smells in here. Things have been going bad lately. It’s what I need to tell you about. There are two things. Which one do you want to hear first: the bad one or the devastating one?

Sam: The bad one.

Linda: I got fired. My douchebag boss fired me. It’s because I lost both of my work shirts. But it wasn’t my fault. Someone took them from the laundromat, I know it. I told him that I would pay for them, but it was the second time that I needed new clothes and he said it was restaurant policy to fire any employee who loses their shirts twice. The first time I didn’t lose it. I spilled red wine all over one and the other one got pizza grease all over it because Luke and I used to have pizza-and-wine night and things got out of hand one night and we started a food fight. Then we started a fist fight. But that’s beside the point. The point is, I got fired. And now I’m broke.

Sam: Can’t you live at Gary’s? Can’t he help you out?

Linda: And that brings me to the devastating thing. Gary’s girlfriend Angie is back in town.

Sam: He has a girlfriend?

Linda: Sorta kinda. A week ago he said it was completely kaput. She was at her sick mom’s house taking care of her mom but she came back last night and Gary said she wanted to have a chat with him and I know, I JUST KNOW, that they’re going to get back together and I’ll have to sleep in the garage again and that damn fox is still whining at night and it’s driving me crazy and this morning the Fear came back. It was a bad Fear, too. I sunk into my bed and couldn’t climb out.

Sam: What’s the Fear?

Linda: If I don’t stay busy, the Fear consumes me. The Fear is the worst thing on the planet. It’s worse than breaking an arm, and it’s worse than being dumped. When the Fear’s around you can’t get out of bed and if you do manage to get out of bed you don’t know what to do with yourself. You think, Maybe I’ll make bacon. But then you change your mind. You don’t even want bacon. You don’t want to eat ever again. You think, Maybe I’ll pet Terrence, but once you start petting him you lose interest in that too, and you start to think that Terrence hates you because you never buy the food he likes because it’s too expensive and even though you try hard to believe that he’ll always love you, the Fear makes you think that he would be better off living in the street. That he’d be better off dead. And you’d be better off dead too. Today around 2 in the afternoon I rustled up the strength to get out of bed and make bacon, but I overcooked it because I got distracted by cleaning the walls. There’s still soot on the walls in the kitchen from the fire and when the Fear consumes me I start cleaning the soot, even when I’m doing something else. So I try to stay busy because only staying busy will keep the Fear away but when I try to start doing something to stay busy I start hating the thing I’m doing like the game I use to play when I toss cigarette butts into my bucket. I used to do that to stay busy when I wasn’t at work but the bucket got burned in the fire so I don’t even have that anymore. It was my only game and I lost it. I don’t own a bucket anymore, and I don’t have any hoses now that the fox has chewed them to bits. What kind of woman doesn’t own a hose or a bucket? What kind of woman can’t get out of bed in the morning and fry bacon?

Sam: Maybe you should talk to someone. Like a therapist.

Linda: I would do that. I’ve thought of doing that. But I don’t have insurance now that Burger King fired me.

Sam: Some places have it for free maybe. I could look into it for you.

Linda: OK. You want to know another thing about the Fear? When the Fear is around I can’t stop thinking about Grandma and how she was so good to me and I was such a cunt to her. She would buy me all sorts of stuff but it was never enough for me. She bought me an mini electric car once and I rode it around the block a few times and then I got sick of it and never rode it again. She’d buy me chocolate fudge and I’d say, I’ve told you so many times that I hate, hate, hate chocolate fudge so why do you keep buying it for me? Can’t you remember just one thing about me? And she’d say that she was sorry, she forgot. When she got older she’d forget things like all old people do but I couldn’t understand that that was the normal way things go and I should’ve been understanding of that. And one time for Christmas I asked for a Nintendo 64 and a few games – Smash Brothers, James Bond and another one I think — and when Christmas morning came around I saw a big gift and I opened it. It was the 64. But there weren’t any games. So I said, What the fuck is this shit? No games? And Grandma said that the 64 was expensive and that it was the only gift I was gonna get, but for my birthday in February she would get me the games. But I didn’t want to wait. I wanted the games now. I said that I wish she would’ve bought me new parents for Christmas instead. And I think that made her upset. And I never said I was sorry for that and a few years later she died. When the Fear is around I also can’t stop thinking of how I shouldn’t have left Terrence’s sister under Luke’s deck and how he must think about her every day. I used to drink more and do other bad stuff when I was with Luke and my mind was all crummy and I’d do bad things sometimes and leaving his sister under the deck was the worst thing I did. She probably died of starvation and it was all my fault.

Sam: You can’t blame yourself for these things. You were young back then. And you shouldn’t live in the past too much. Try to live in the here and now.

Linda: But in the here and now Gary is over at Angie’s having make-up sex and I’ve got a fox in the garage chewing my hoses and all my clothes are missing and my baby angel Terrence is all sorts of sick. He’s been sleeping all day and he won’t eat. Maybe the Fear has him too.

Sam: What have you been doing to stay busy now that the bucket is burned up?

Linda: I WAS going over to Gary’s and doing nasty stuff with him. We would get so disgusting together and it was a wonderful thing. I tasted his shit. He didn’t even ask me too; I just did it because I wanted to. That’s how I was keeping busy: by getting busy with Gary. But now that Angie’s back God only knows how I’ll stay busy.

Sam: Two things: You don’t know that he’s going to get back with her. You have to be patient. Say that you want to talk with him.

Linda: But that’s the thing girls say that makes guys run away: let’s talk. I want to talk. Grandma said if you ever want to send a man running for the hills you should say that you want to have a talk. That’s why you have to trick him into having a talk after you’ve just given him the business better than any girl has given him the business before. That’s what I always do with Gary. Or: That’s what I DID with Gary.

Sam: Fair enough. The other point I wanted to make was that you have to find other ways to stay busy. Gary can’t be the other only thing you do to stay busy. And flicking butts into a bucket doesn’t count either. Join a club. Hang out with a friend. Volunteer with the Optimists.

Linda: Those Optimists are asking for it. They sell Christmas trees for forty bucks. Eff that. If I wanted a Christmas tree I could chop one down for free. And Sheryl Crosby is in the Optimists. If I joined she’d tell the other Optimists about the stuff I used to do at parties and they would start calling me Burn My Pants or she’d tell them about softball and they’d call me Flips Flops. Like you said, I need to live in the here and now and if I’m around Sheryl Crosby it will put me back in high school when I’d wake up to the Fear every morning.

Sam: Maybe you shouldn’t join the Optimists then.

NEXT: Can You Make Pasta When You’re Drunk?

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