WARNING: This story contains missionaries, geraniums and a butt plug. All of which are things that offend some people. In fact, there may be no one who approves of all three of these things. I myself have serious misgivings about all three. Therefore I have written a story with no audience whatsoever. Even those who accept butt plugs and tolerate missionaries (despite some understandable squeamishness) draw the line at geraniums. However it cannot be helped. It cannot be helped that this story contains missionaries, geraniums and a butt plug, just as it cannot be helped that this story isn’t very good, and isn’t even really a proper story at all. However there is simply no point in criticizing these stories until an alternate means of sustaining this person’s life can be devised and implemented. To criticize too harshly is thus inhumane, like coming upon a poor man with nothing to eat but a can of beans and saying to that man, “Your beans suck.” It is inhumane -- and also it is tacky.
Having thus warned the unsuspecting, and prepared ourselves, our defenses fully mobilized, let us continue to the story which, again, is titled:
The Evangeranium and the Ultimate Meaning of the Universe
The day can be decoded. Like a puzzle with tiles. As if objects were consonants and moments were vowels. The meaning is about to be revealed. (That's the delusion to which I subscribe.) The waves on the shore are about to form letters, along with the plumes of monoxide from buses and blackened gum on the sidewalks.
It's not accidental that the poinsettia has lasted this long, even if it has lost most of its leaves. (The poinsettia does not appear again. It is replaced by a geranium. Almost never does something stay around long enough to figure out what it means.)
The real miracle is about to occur (beside which resurrection is such small bananas) and we will discover we haven't been wasting out time, after all.
For once, instead of the usual bumbling hapless life, we discover that we have arrived at exactly the right moment, wearing the perfect outfit, and holding splendid tools.
I was doing it right all along, announces the miracle. Even when I was doing it entirely wrong.
I suspect that this is a psychological mirage created by coffee. Overwhelming quantities of coffee.
Nonetheless I've chosen to devote my life to it.
I stood in the entryway with my beloved, thanking him effusively for his gift: a butt plug. A translucent fluorescent green latex butt plug. Now: we just needed to figure out where to store it. Between applications, I mean.
Admittedly I am not so enthusiastic about butt plugs. About butt plugs I am decidedly lukewarm. Assholes are something I admire in other people.
Still, it was a gift. And it's the thought that plugs. And I admired this man so much -- even a butt plug from him had a certain luminosity. Added to its already brilliant fluorescent green.
We were noisily and hilariously discussing storage options (why not wear it on a chain around my neck?) when there was a knock on the door, right next to my head.
We hadn't heard anyone come up the stairs. My beloved shoved the butt plug in his pocket. Which meant he now had two truly promising-looking bulges. I opened the door.
It was the missionaries from downstairs. Eight of them at least. They were in two neat rows, as if about to sing.
They were holding a purple geranium.
"We wanted to say we're sorry."
"Gosh, that's a pretty flower."
We'd put our futon out to air and one of the missionary new recruits had accidentally taken it, slept on it. For this sin they were now atoning. With a purple geranium.
I thanked them as much as I could. I tried not to grin or to breathe.
We closed the door and waited for the sound of Christian footsteps in retreat. I held the geranium. He took the butt plug out of his pocket.
We gave way to hysteria.
Had the missionaries heard everything about the butt plug? Butt plugs, about which the Apostle Paul is mercifully silent.
Did this mean they would no longer come to my door with cookies in a plastic bag or a CD of praise music, smiling so tightly I always thought that if I touched them even slightly, applied even just a single queer fingertip to an evangelical missionary shoulder, they would scream and not stop screaming for an extremely long time.
I tried to get along with the evangelical missionaries. (No, really, I did.) I was a very quiet and respectable neighbor, except for the howling hysterical orgasms.
Already I was at work. Looking from the green fluorescent butt plug to the purple geranium and back to the butt plug again. Trying to comprehend the meaning. The two gifts which had arrived so nearly simultaneously. Fluorescent green butt plug. Purple geranium. I puzzled. And failed. As ever. And yet: it was so obviously a language.
Unfortunately it didn't occur to me at the time, but now it seems obvious that the best place to hide the butt plug, carefully wrapped, would have been deep, deep in the potted soil of the evangelical purple geranium. Or, as it came henceforth to be known, the evangeranium.
The universe continues to toss me these clues. And I continue to miss them. I never know what's going on until it's much too late. Actually, usually I never figure out what's going on at all. But, just you wait. Sooner or later: I am going to catch a clue.
I failed. I always failed. And I was always optimistic. Always more of a failure. Always more optimistic. Because I now possessed a purple geranium. And a fluorescent green butt plug. And was one step closer to deciphering the ultimate meaning of the universe.