Hollis and Chris have taken daughter Mae to the baby auctions off the Auckland coast so I, Lary, will be your tour guide through Moodswing this week. I am taking time off from my busy schedule of exploring the limits of social intercourse (oops, is that good taste I just tripped over?) and doing my volunteer work at Hosea's Church of the Innocent Bystander, where I give drunk- driving classes.
Some people think I'm not real, but Hollis does. She calls on the phone and has conversations with me (any witnesses?). She also prints supposed quotes of mine. After two decades of trying to disprove my own existence, I must admit the possibility that I may, in fact, exist.
I enjoy the dubious distinction of being a character in the Hollis Monologues. Being a character has its benefits, as it gives me a certain social leeway. The column allows my friends to keep up with me without actually getting within striking distance.
I think the reason Hollis has made me a character in her column is because she appreciates my advanced sense of the ridiculous, which was the thesis for my degree in cultural anthropology (with a minor in genetic drift). This comes through in her columns on the occasion she gets my quotes right.
I had planned on taking advantage of this opportunity to elucidate my relationship with Hollis by using quotes from my biography, The First Time I Wanted to Kill Hollis, but I understand there are copyright problems, as well as statute of limitations.
Being a mother has changed Hollis; I haven't found her passed out on the side of the road in years, and I haven't had to shoot at her for a long time. I am not going to say anything about the red station wagon I have seen her driving or the support group her husband Chris attends -- www.whatthefuckwereryouthinking.com. And I don't mind talking her off the ledge now and then. After all, she is one of the few people who will put up with me, and she says she feeds my cat occasionally when I am gone (the emaciated one hiding on the bathroom roof).
Unlike most of my friends who have children and start speaking a foreign language, Hollis still remains somewhat intelligible. Perhaps it's just the expletives, but it's enough to get the meaning across. Nevertheless, I sense a reality gap growing between us. I see Hollis less often since she has had her daughter (thank God), but I still enjoy the colorful messages she leaves for me on my voicemail: "Hey you snot-encrusted bucket of pus, pick up the damn phone," followed by a somewhat lengthy description of my shortcomings and her proposed solutions. (A word of advice: If you do have an exorcism, seek out a professional and ask for references. If there are chickens and goats involved, look elsewhere.)
I really do live in an alley with a roof. But now, thanks to gentrification, it's called a loft and is worth much more than I paid for it. The downside to this is that I have to put on pants when I go out back and fire off a few rounds, which is occurring less and less (where have all the crackheads gone?). But it affords the isolation I need for my polypharmaceutical research (primarily suspending higher brain functions for recreational purposes) and my studies of Christianity as a post-rational religious movement. The alley also gives me space for the mechanisms and devices essential to my investigations and inventions (I hold the patent on lead-lined pantyhose and I perfected the Masturbation Diet -- beat your way to a better tomorrow.)
My main drive is making stuff. I'm not particularly concerned with outcomes; it's more the "becoming" part I'm interested in. Actually, what I do is de-create. I leave something out and make up the missing part using specially prepared short-circuited neural networks. I remove spaces from between things and stand back to see what happens, sort of like throwing ideas against reality to see what sticks. (You guessed it! The gooey ones.) It's a process similar to that used in the detonation of an atomic bomb.
And so, here I am -- in my alley -- creating, listening to Hollis yelling in the phone, wondering what the fuck is she going on about now, and remembering that time in the high school guidance counselor's office when I filled out the form to determine which occupations I should pursue -- and I wrote in at the bottom: "character."
I move my hands and watch things appear, throwing the leftovers over my shoulder and looking for my coffee. Living in the ruins of creation.
Hollis Gillespie is on vacation for the next three weeks, during which time her recurring "characters" have taken over her column to assert their existence in the real world, such as it is.