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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1123669-The-Tell-tale-Mind
Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Comedy · #1123669
Humorous tale of a shy girl and her outlandish imagination.
Ass check! Whew. Still legal. Man I’ve got to get a belt.
Maybe if I walk faster I can keep my jeans hula-hooped around my waist. That’s it,
faster, faster, faaaasteeer, hey, I think this is working! Pick it up, pick it up, pick it-
CAR! Slow it down, slow it down, slow it down DROP AND ROLL, DROP AND ROLL! Wait, why aren’t they honking? They know you, don’t they? Good job, Jackass. Well, you better
see who the driver is. That’s it. Sneak a peek. Don’t let them see you doing it...
Aw, crap. She looks like she’s seen a ghost. Poor woman. Thank God she was wearing that
oxygen mask when I stepped out in front of her. Nothing like a dose of pure O2 to bring the
color back to your face. See there? She’s already turning yellow again. No sense in being rude,
though. That’s it. Smile and wave. Smi- SON OF A-! Oh, so NOW you honk. Goddamn it.
Keep smiling, keep smiling, she’s almost past...
Okay, shuffle the fuck out of the road, asshole! What the hell were you thinking? So what if pedestrians ALWAYS have the right-of-way? Astrovans can’t stop on a dime. Uh-oh.
Ass check! You’re good. Keep walking. But slooow... iiit... dooowwwwn.

Ding-Dong! Homo sapiens, 12:00! Act sane! Act sa-
Wait. Is that who I think it is? I can’t see. Damn seasonal eye allergies. Closer... closer...
It is! Hey, I know you! Houston, we have positive identification!
That’s it, wave...
Well, what do you know, she waved back!
Say, what’s she doing now? Why did she stop?

Why did you stop? What are you looking at? Did you see that ozone-snorting bitch in the Astrovan try to make a flap-jack out of my ass? Is my hair doing something that defies the laws of physics again? How do YOU feel about the current social security crisis? Would you like to sign my petition to abolish the letters A, I, D, and S from the English alphabet? Do you think horizontal stripes would make me look shorter? If I tell telemarketers I’m Amish, do you think they’ll quit calling? Do you know the muffin man, the muffin man, the muffin man?

Yeah, okay, uh, what the hell happened to ACTING SANE? What, you want her to think you’re some sort of a whack job? Is that it? Because I don’t think it would take much convincing. Now hurry up and say something or she’s going to think you’re ignoring her.


Well, how creative of you. Do you realize that there are an infinite number of ways to greet a person, and you just picked the simplest one? What kind of a message do you think that sends? Hey, there aren’t enough hours in a day for me to give more than a syllable’s thought to you. Hey, I was going to use a euphemism, but you don’t look like you’ve graduated from similes just yet. Hey, I have the vocabulary of a drunken kindergartener. Hey, my daddy always told me I was special but he never said anything about you, loser. Hey. Hey hey hey. Heeeeeeeeyyy He-

Shhh! Look! I think she’s going to say something! DROP AND ROLL! DROP AND ROLL! DROP A-


Yep. She’s offended.

How are you doing?

What? That’s it? Oh, for the love of Pete, don’t leave me with that! Please open your mouth again. Come on, the inquisition isn’t finished. For Christ’s sake, GRILL ME! You don’t honestly expect me to answer that, do you?


HOW are you doing? How ARE you doing? How are YOU doing? How are you DOING?
Knock it off. That’s not helping. Come on now, think. How am I doing?

Well, I guess that depends upon the nature of the inquiry, which I must say falls a few inches short of FBI standards. Are we speaking in terms of my physical condition? Because physically, I’m no worse for the wear. My knees are shaking slightly, and my ass is-

Oh, shit! Ass check! Whew. That was close.

-probably going to signal a changing of the guards within the next few seconds. But other than that, I feel fantastic. Except for the fact that my back is tingling like it always does before it raises the rebel flag and tries to secede from the union. Not that that’s much of a setback at the moment, but it will certainly be a factor in the long run. Especially if I ever want to change health insurance policies. Hmmm. What else. I don’t have a headache, that’s a plus. I could have used another hour of sleep, but I feel about as awake as I ever have at nine o’clock in the morning. Yeah. I’d say that pretty much sums it up.

Now how do I say that? I’m good? Swell? So-so? Hey, hey, hey. I can add two and two if I use my fingers, hey, hey, hey. Come on, now. You can do better than that. Think CREATIVE. Something more along the lines of, oh, I don’t know...

I feel like I’ve just wet my whistle with a half-full glass of freshly squeezed 100% Florida orange juice.

Score! That’s perfect! She asks how I’m doing, and I tell her that I feel li-

Wait a minute. Oh, no. No, no, no, no, NO. You’ve got two different verbs there, dearie, and they are most certainly NOT interchangeable. Doing, feeling. Feeling, doing. Your high school English teacher would swoon. But don’t get frustrated. You know how you’re FEELING. How you’re DOING can’t be too far off course. Now, for the last time, How are you doing?

Time out. That can’t be right. She couldn’t have asked that, could she have? It doesn’t make any sense. You can’t ask a person HOW they’re doing something if you don’t know WHAT the fuck it is that they’re doing. And if it’s suppose to carry the same implications as the interrogative phrase, How are you feeling?, then why the hell did she tack DOING onto the end of it? How are you? STOP TALKING. I have comprehended your question, and have nearly finished the process of formulating an answer. You need not elaborate. I am down with you and all of your hip-hop jargon. Ass check! G2G, Homie.

But how am I DOING? Well, I was DOING just fine until SOMEBODY took everything I knew about linking verbs and tossed it out the window. Doing, doing, doing. How much more action-packed can a declarative sentence get? Hell, the verb ”to do” just screams to be deputized and issued a fully-loaded direct object, and now here you are, asking me to play fill-in-the-predicate-adjective blank with it. And why must I tack a “to” onto a verb if I want to use it as an infinitive? Is anybody really that stupid? Hey, hey, hey, I can’t keep track of more than one verb at a time unless I put a spacer in between them. Hey, hey, hey, Look! I conjugated all twelve of them. Hey, hey, hey, I wish they’d come up with something to make identifying gerunds this simple. Oooh! Something shiny! Hey, hey, hey. Hey, hey. Hey.

You see? There you go again. God, that is so condescending. Does she look dumb to you? Of course not. So stop assuming that she is, and start searching for a reasonable explanation for this.

Wait! I’ve got it! What if we aren’t dealing with a single question here? What if this is some sort of a large-scale contraction? What if she’s really asking “How are you APOSTROPHE doing?” Then it becomes a combination of two questions; how are you? and what are you doing? Oh, that makes so much more sense! After all, they share the same verb. Why bother trying to stick the “what” in there? Shit! This should be a snap! What am I doing? That’s easy. I’m standing here staring at you. Doh! Hey, hey, hey, I always read road signs aloud. Okay, Okay. Fine. I guess that was sort of obvious. Let’s see...I’m... uh... aw, hell... I’m...walking around town with my eyes out of focus to further refine my superb sense of smell. Hmmm. Not too shabby.

By George, I think that’s it! All I have to do is stick the bit about the orange juice onto the front of that and I’m done! Woo-hoo! Mental happy dance! Ass check! Still good. Alright, let’s inhale now. That’s it. Stimulate those vocal cords. Are you smiling? Keep smiling! Now open your mou-
Oh, Fuck! Close the mouth! Close the mouth! This is bad. This is really bad.

How could you forget to consider the tense of your response? Oh, sure. “How are you doing” implies that she’s asking about your present condition. If she wanted to know what happened to you yesterday or the day before, she would have asked how you’d been doing. But coming from someone bold enough to speak in collages, is it really safe to assume that you could ever fully comprehend the true breadth of the meaning that may or may not lie beneath the surface of the novel twist she’s added to this informal conversation? For all you know, she could be the next Di Vinci. You’ve yet to finish an entire crossword puzzle without sneaking a peek at the answer key. How the hell could you possibly grapple with a riddle like that?

Oh, no. Look at her face. You see the way her eyes are starting to wander? She’s losing interest. That or she thinks you’ve slipped into a standing coma, and she’s trying to locate the nearest Emergency Call button. Hey, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up. Hey, thank goodness I wore my Life Alert pendant today. Hey, feels like its time for a fresh diaper. Hey, hey. Hey.

Okay, you’ve got to think of something fast. Why don’t you just switch to the progressive tense and stick to your original statement? Uh, oh. Ass check! Whew. Still hanging in there. Okay, another deep breath and- good, God! You forgot to factor your mental well-being into the equation, didn’t you? Did you really think the metaphorical glass of OJ made for an acceptable happiness meter? Of course not, dumbass. And what if your emotional state of mind was ALL that she cared about when she asked that question? She has eyes, doesn’t she? She can see that you’re not bandaged or bruised or disemboweled. Do you think she’s standing there waiting for you to validate the input from her own damn senses? Hell no! And what if you’d gone ahead and done it? That would have been one goddamn condescending glass of orange juice, now, wouldn’t it have? Jesus H. Christ. Come on, THINK! Mental state, mental state, what the hell is my current mental state? Am I happy? Sad? Stupefied? Is stupefied a mental state? Can verbs even be emotions? I’ve never heard anyone say that they were happied. Or angried. Although you can be pissed. Wait a minute, is stupefied even a verb? Used straight-up, there’s really no question. The one-legged unicyclist stupefied me. VERB! But what if I want to say, “I am stupefied.” What the hell is it then? Obviously, the subject of the sentence is “I”. But what is the verb phrase? Am stupefied? Or is it just “am”? I am. Am what? Am stupefied. So does that make it a predicate adjective? Or is it a predicate nominative? Is it possible to reach a level of stupefaction after which it is permissible to use “stupefied” as a pronoun to replace your own name in a sentence without confusing anybody? Or is it just a mother-fucking verb that I don’t use often enough to feel comfortable diagramming if it came down to it? Because I really can’t tell. It could go either way.

Shit. This is getting you nowhere. The Jeopardy! theme song came to a thump about ten seconds ago, and as much as you’d like to skip straight to a commercial break and get the hell out of here, you can’t. Although if that Astrovan comes back, you could probably think of a few ways to buy yourself some time... Screw it! Just say something, for Christ’s sake! Hell, milk the damned orange juice for all its worth, and if she doesn’t like it, she can just... I don’t know... punch you in the kidneys, or something. Then you can lope off in the other direction like nothing ever happened. Ass check! Covered.

Okay, breathe. Good. Now smile. Excellent! What the-? Oh no you don’t! Drop the shoulders... drop them... DROP them... there. That’s it. Now just remember. Orange juice, olfactory enhancement. Orange juice, olfactory enhancement. Orange juice- breathe, breathe, breathe!- and olfactory enhancement. Awesome! Okay, relax the jaw... open the larynx...and...


I’m... uh... oh shit.

Not now. No, this cannot be happening to me. Nope. I am not having a brain fart right now. I am completely coherent. I am completely coherent. I am completely coherent...Yes! I think it’s finally coming back to me! Oh, thank you, God! Okay, breathe... and....GO!

I’m... pretty good. How are you?
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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1123669-The-Tell-tale-Mind