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Mind Bender

“Hi pumpkin.”

How many times have I said this to Larry over the past 13 years? Don’t know why or how he became that … maybe subconsciously it’s because his birthday is Halloween, and pumpkin is a skosh more endearing than “Hi scary wart-faced witch.”

His now rote repsonse: “Hi squash.”

So I guess if we had a 3-way with a really beefy guy it would be “meat and 2 veg”?

:: :: ::

In her new collection of short stories called Willful Creatures, Aimee Bender writes of pumpkinheads. They give birth to lovely pumpkin-headed children, but with their third pregnancy, a recessive gene kicks in and their new baby is born with the head of an iron. “Ironhead” tells his pressing tale of trying to work out the wrinkles fate has dealt him.

In “Dearth,” a woman is plagued by potatoes, until they she realizes they can't be gotten rid of and they become her family.

Before he reaches the "End of the Line" a big man goes to a pet store, looking for a little man to keep him company.

The pet store was full of dogs with splotches and shy cats coy and the friendly people got dogs and the independent people got cats and this man looked around unitl in the back he found a cage insides of which was a miniature sofa and tiny TV and one small attractive brown-haired man, wearing a tweed suit.

He gets bored with his expensive (but worth it) pet and puts a few drops of cleaning agent into his water bottle, so he can watch the little man hallucinate. Later on he forces him to masturbate, just to make fun of the tiny man's tiny manhood.

Aimee Bender is not quite right. She takes the quirks of the everyday, lets her imagination run marathons, and gets it all down on the page in a way that’s so simple and disturbingly heartwarming. Her stories are almost fable-like, told cleanly and without flourish. Funny and sad and with a perspective all her own.

She makes the surreal so real.

:: :: ::

I think she should come to dinner one night, and become my writer girlfriend. Only problem I see is that she only has two names. I’ll make a big pot of stew and we’ll sit around the table with my actor girlfriend (Mary-Louise Parker) and my actor-singer girlfriend (Sherie Rene Scott). We’ll have a nice game of Scrabble, drink lots of wine, (maybe say a few bad things about him) and they can teach me how to make the outrageous seem human.

Until then, I’ll keep reading, watching, and listening to each of them … and stay in just a little bit of awe.