It's Been a Year since I’ve had a babysitter. But my parents are vaccinated now so Saturday I’m dropping my son off at their house 3 hours away and I have plans, 1st thing: car wash, Ultimate Deluxe because it takes a full 7.5 minutes which is the same time it takes to listen to T. Rex’s “Monolith” & “Mambo Sun” which in combo with the car wash gives this awesome just-felt-up feeling that can never happen with a 6yo in back. Next I go to the pet store. I buy the puppy I tell my son he can’t have. I name it Unspeakable after his favorite loud dude Youtuber, Unspeakable. Me and Unspeakable go home and watch Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer with the volume way up while maybe I fold some laundry, maybe I don’t. Next I scroll Writer Twitter, 5 minutes tops, feel all above it, then make tacos/eat tacos while me and Unspeakable mainline Last Tango in Halifax. Time to drive to the bougie sauna place. I leave Unspeakable in the car, it’s fine, and self-care my ass off, restore vibe balance to my body via rejuvenating Clearlight Infrared Sauna LED Color Light Therapy. When that's over I 1) take Unspeakable through the drive-thru at Taco Bell 2) go home and watch Salò/eat tacos and 3) get out my dead husband’s old CDs plus all my lipstick from when he was still alive so me and Unspeakable can give ourselves tragedy makeovers listening to Captain Beefheart. Now put the Ouija board away. It never worked anyway, ask my son’s Magic 8 ball instead if I’ll die alone, if Unspeakable will find his bio mom, if the woman in Florida who got my husband’s heart tissue for her breast reconstruction is having a good time This. Exact. Moment. We watch A Serbian Film. Halfway through I get bored, build an elaborate hedge maze in Minecraft on 6yo’s Nintendo where at the center will be a fancy pedestal for a fancy urn just like the 1991 movie Dying Young starring Julia Roberts except it’s in Minecraft. I make a sign for the urn that says Your Dad for when my son someday finds it and can read. Check what time the pet store opens Sunday. I'll need to return Unspeakable because duh, this isn’t his forever-home, there’s no such thing, homes/people are not stamps, ask Thomas Wolfe, ask me. Plus I don’t need anything else to take care of. Uh oh, guilty feelings. Scratch Unspeakable's chin for 5 entire minutes, beaucoup belly rubs, etc. Stare deeply into his dog eyes while thoughts rotate 3 specific childhood traumas of which only 1 has anything to do with anything that was, at one point, a living, dimensional dog. 9:30 pm: bedtime, heaven. If I’m not sleepy yet I’ll watch Equus or Tokyo Gore Police or both at the same time picture in picture but otherwise I’ll get in bed and imagine a tiny cosmic eraser slowly erasing me starting with my toes while meanwhile in my head I’m all goodbye world, goodbye to clocks ticking, to new ironed dresses, etc. etc., on and on, right foot left foot, ankles legs gone, until suddenly I’m outside my body looking at my body which is just lying in bed but also framed exactly like the scene in Mulholland Drive where Betty and Rita are in bed and Betty’s right eye and Rita’s left eye make one set of eyes so one face gets made from their two faces, just like that except I’m Betty and Unspeakable’s Rita and just like in the movie Unspeakable starts muttering as if in a dream saying Mulholland Drive is arguably the best movie ever made and here I watch myself nod vigorously next to the dog head with the sexy Rita body and I whisper Unspeakable, holy shit, my thoughts exactly. Puppy paw to my lips, Unspeakable shushes me. Silencio, silencio, Unspeakable says. But not how Rita does in the two-ladies-one-face scene but how the weird balcony lady with the electric blue hair does at the very end of the movie which personally I’ve always interpreted to mean: Silencio, silencio, the movie’s almost over/just beginning, Shut up, shut up, wake up/go dream. Which speaks to the viewer/widow/mother/dog on so many loaded levels, including deeply weird subterranean ones if you happen to be asleep and can keep sleeping for hours past when you normally must stop sleeping and wake up feeling fucking great because on your to-do list today there’s just that one Unspeakable thing.
Unspeakable Speaks The woman is a tweetstorm, a collapsed wave function, a particle. I am a thought form, embodied in dog yet outside of time. I watch her sleep, dream, twitchy and sheet-kicking. She only half understands Lynch. Her mourning rituals are weak. She wears the same black shirt she wore the day she met her husband with the sweats she was wearing when she found him dead. Weak. All this demonstrates is a flawed understanding of time. You can’t bookend things, you can’t beginning-middle-end. Time’s not an arrow and no actual clocks are actually ticking, watch: What she calls Tomorrow she’ll return me to the pet store and then an eight-year-old boy named Jerry will buy me. What she calls Tuesday Jerry sneaks me into McDonald’s and inside the playland’s panopticon I’m trampled by a gang of third graders and die. But: do Tuesdays exist? Do Jerrys? Where? When? The answer of course is everywhere all of them simultaneously all the time. I’m always up in that panopticon barking. I’m always locked in this sad woman’s Subaru. Jerry’s always throwing up McNuggets in his mom’s lap sobbing and I’m always eating taco scraps and talking to you. I can forgive her ignorance. Sometimes it’s easier just to be kind. She’s a fiction writer, she swims in sequence, it’s not her fault. Still, only a dumb-dumb would miss this one: 2016, dead husband/funeral home. Cornea donation so the husband’s eyes are gone. Not wanting to remember it like a horror movie (she will/does/did), she kisses him the final time on the cheek, the forehead, whatever available that’s not a sunken lid. 2004, Kansas, springtime. On eBay she buys a pair of prosthetic glass eyes. Hand-painted, vintage, cornflower blue. I only have eyes for you, her little note says. Her first gift to him ever the last thing he needed, see? Sometimes the past and future are two assholes high-fiving. Wait, it’s too good, let me send this knowledge to her in a dream. There. Anyway, American artist/musician/collapsed wave function Phil Elverum says Death is real and not for making into art. He’s totally right, plus the best you can do is ventriloquism. For example, earlier tonight when the woman asked the Magic 8 ball her questions I knew the answers but I was not allowed to speak. Chasing my tail and/or woofing preoccupied me then, but now she can’t hear me so it’s okay to tell you: The answers are (always): Yes, No, It is Certain.
Holly Wilson has work in Redivider, Opium, Narrative, New Stories from the South, and elsewhere. Find her on Twitter @wilsonjholly.