Yola stepped up front to check the hedges. I slipped the rag from the slit between the seats. It’s the rag she wipes—or should I say swipes?—her mammalian gourds up with eagerly each day’s end, her mammalian gourds meatly, not enormous exactly, but filled to bursting with stuff, call it guts, might as well, or grits, what the hell, or fat. Having from the slit grabbed Yola’s bat—I mean bandana, excuse me—I found some ivy heads poking up from the dreaded Asiack, the Asiatic. It’s the awfulest tangled mess you’ll dip your hands in ever. It’s jasmine. Jazz mine, jasmine, it’s the same shit, take your pick.
So I wrapped it, Yola’s rag, around a beefy poison outcropping of it, a head. I went ivy head to ivy head doing this, then put Yola’s rag back in the slit between the seats.
I deserved one time of being shitty in my life.
I wanted to be open-minded, not limited in my experience by the fear of being shitty.
I wanted to educate myself at the expense of others.
These were virtues to aspire to. I felt like this instance of being shitty was a break for me given to me by the itching, by the Urushiol, the poison that hung around on the exteriors of those green leaves. I was proud of my willingness to be shitty. What my willingness to be shitty meant to me was one day I might own my own business, that one day I might tell some chick with filled-to-bursting mammalian gourds to reach her fingers into a tangle of poison ivy. I will burst a brain vessel laughing when I see her scratching her privates. I’ll tell her of the salt cure passed down to me from Yola’s Irish grandmother. I’ll throw her a salt shaker and say, “Salt it down, baby.”
Yola returned from the hedges and worked with me a bit. Yola then wiped herself up with—or should I say swiped herself up with—her special rag, her face first, after which she stuck the thing way down in there into her shirt and tugged at the mammalian gourds, wiping—or should I say swiping?—them down, or up, all up and down, all that swelly gourd action going on, a bit of it popping out over here and a bit of it dropping down over there.
Joy swelled within me, seeing Yola do that. She’d find out about her salt cure! I saw Yola’s mammalian gourds in my mind sorely disfigured, Yola looking at them in the mirror, a salt shaker in hand. Oh, salt the gourds, rub salt into the pustules!
As Yola drove me home to Bags I told her I’d figured out a way to get to heaven while still on earth. I could make a business of it, I told Yola, charge society ladies like the ones we worked for a thousand bucks a pop. How it works is you process poison ivy into a liquid state, stick the leaves in a blender to where you got bottles and bottles of Urushiol. You pour the Urushiol all over the woman’s naked body so that every inch is covered. Then, when the itching gets going good, when the pustules start to take over, when the woman is crying and scratching and ripping at her privates, just like yanking all at it, you invite her into a box thing, a mine sort of thing, call it a jazz mine, yeah, baby, that’s it, that shoots scalding water from fifty different angles. It’s the closest you’ll get to heaven without leaving the earth.
After telling Yola this Yola smiled fakely. Yola’s smile, as Yola’s smile often did, said I was blowing my itching out of proportion. Yola’s smile said my get-rich-quick-off-a-woman’s-itch scheme was foolish. Yola cleared her throat, shook her blond hair. She looked out at the road glamorously while driving, her knuckles gold on the knobby black wheel. Squinting her eyes from the late afternoon light, she said, “Nobody would pay for that.”
Yola then said she could not wait to get home. When she got home, Yola said she was going to take this nice long hot bath in her porcelain tub. I was busy, once again, scratching my balls like a monkey, but it was yours truly wielding the head-chopper-offer here. All yours truly had to do was confess his sin, tell Yola of this product I discovered called Newtech, how if she slathered up her gourds just as soon as she got home, all of the poison oils—yes, all—would be washed away. No bubbles, Yola dear, no pustules on your gorgeous nippys.
If it sounds like I packed animosity against Yola’s nippys, no, that’s not it. How it was was I was to be a dad soon. How it was was I knew there was nothing I could do to stop the fact. Yola’s body was going to change if I did not warn her that a soak in a hot tub would cause the poison to cover her entire body. In a matter of days she would look as if some dude doused her with gasoline, set her on fire, then punched out the flames with a butcher knife. Worse, though, far worse than knowing that I had committed this crime, was the remorse I felt for the baby. I was afraid. Having power over Yola’s body comforted me.