Peter Cherches

Four Things

No Ideas but in Things

                A thing had an idea. Another thing had a different idea.
                “Listen to my idea,” said the first thing.
                “Shoot,” said the second.
                “Well,” said the first thing, “I was thinking, and thinking gave me ideas.”
                “And one of my ideas was, oh, I don’t know how to say it, oh, all right, one of my ideas was kind of—different.”
                “You stole my idea!” the second thing said. “You bastard! You fucking bastard! You stole my idea!”


                A round one and a square one got married at City Hall. A blue one and a clear one sought professional help. A slippery one slipped a sober one a Mickey. An indecisive one and an incongruous one had sexual congress in The Capitol during the holiday recess. A dead one and a flounder hooked a live one. A Bartlett and an Anjou formed an unholy alliance. A suspicious one and an officious one went into business together. A tumescent one and a flatulent one had a grand old time. An intellectual and a Cretan told lies to each other.

The Wherewithal

                I didn’t have the wherewithal. I once had the wherewithal, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what happened to it. I needed it yesterday, and I just couldn’t find it. I looked everywhere. I did find the tattered Topo Gigio hand puppet from 1965; a pneumatic corkscrew; the laser disk of John Goldfarb, Please Come Home, a film that really is so bad it’s good; a bag of Malabar peppercorns; an ancient bottle of Wildroot Hair Groom with desiccated dregs clinging to the bottom; a long-forgotten package of day-glo condoms, ribbed for her pleasure (and wondered, what’s the half-life of a condom rib?); a leather-bound set of the complete works of Balzac in quaint Victorian English translations; a Mailer-Breslin button from the 1969 New York mayoral campaign; a copy of Cavalier, a second-string girlie magazine, which I had bought in 1978, having read that some Thomas Pynchon and Robert Coover stories were first published in the magazine, only to learn later that it was years earlier, when beat generation chronicler Seymour Krim was the fiction editor, the fiction now being extremely raunchy, with nothing experimental about it, not even the sex; and a package of surgical masks. But, alas, no wherewithal, so I threw in the towel.

Bowled Over

                Everybody was bowled over, even Grace, Aunt Grace, who, name notwithstanding, was a mean, selfish old prune who never could have been said to have been “bowled over” by anything in all her days before this, yes, even she was bowled over.
                Clara, my eldest sister, was bowled over, but she’s easily impressed, so by itself her being bowled over wouldn’t carry much weight, but when considered along with Aunt Grace’s hard-won bowling over, it certainly bolstered the case for bowled over.
                Uncle Stan, Grace’s long-suffering husband, was bowled over, but honestly, he wouldn’t have dared not being bowled over after having seen his wife’s reaction; still, I must say he did look truly bowled over, in his own peculiar way, that is.
                My younger sister, Clementine, didn’t actually say she was bowled over, but I could see it written all over her face. Mom was bowled over and said, “If your father were alive today, I know he’d be bowled over by this.” My brother-in-law Hubert, Clara’s husband, a CPA, was genuinely bowled over; I know this because he said, “I can’t deny it; I am genuinely bowled over.” And Cousin Mort, son of Grace and Stan, was also bowled over; I could tell because of a subtle glimmer in his otherwise glazed-over, distant eyes.
                At first I didn’t get it. I couldn’t see what everybody was bowled over by. But I ultimately came around to their way of thinking, their way of seeing things, I joined bowled-over camp—if only because, with everyone else so bowled over, there had to be something to it, right?

Peter Cherches' next chapbook of unclassified short prose, Things, will be published by Bamboo Dart Press in 2023.
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