The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Fiction: Wonderland

Pretty is as pretty does. I don't know why I'm thinking this.

I wonder if I'm still pretty. And how long this has been going on.

Sometimes I hear crying. A woman's voice, high and harsh. Singing, once in a while. Many voices, babbling on and on. And mostly silence, out there in the velvety blackness.

Tired, that's what I am. I need rest. It's just like sleep, drifting off.

Some words make sense. Alice. Then I realize, that's my name. I am Alice.

There are scenes that stand out as clear as daylight. The Christmas carols we listened to in the car, all the way home. This is corny, I said, but I was laughing at the same time. Away In A Manger, sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir floated out of the radio and filled the car with those radiant voices, singing as one.

It doesn't really hurt, just the echo of pain, far away. I can smell it just around the corner, waiting for me.

Open your eyes, a voice says. Open those eyes of yours. Oh Alice, please open your eyes.

The scent of chlorine bleach, smelling like summers at the pool, life guarding. My nose streaked with daubs of zinc cream, my limbs growing browner and browner as I stare at the rectangle of shimmering blue all day. Smells like drinking iced tea, of the slices of lemon floating on top of the glass.

Alice, listen to me, open your eyes.

That's right, we were shopping. Presents at Nordstrom's and Bloomies. A paisley silk scarf for his grandmother. Fiestaware coffee mugs for Diane. A suede purse for my mother. For the first time in ages we felt prosperous, even generous, armed with out Visa cards. It is difficult to think of those gifts, now lying abandoned in the back seat. Perhaps scattered in the dirty snow, garish against all that white.

Is it Christmas yet? What time? What day? How long has this been going on?

I do know a few things. My name is Alice and I am twenty-eight years old. Somehow those facts please me.

Pretty is as pretty does. I think about my face, trying to remember its features. The exact shade of my eyes, the curve of my upper lip. The tiny bump on the bridge of my nose, I recall that, how I used to stare at the bathroom mirror for long minutes, wishing the bump gone. What is my face like now? It could just be gone, nothing there. No face at all. I don't know.

He calls me Alice in Wonderland. Ha ha, you think you are such a comedian! Yeah, but you're a blonde and you wear headbands a lot and you just happen to be named Alice... I push him away, half mad, half pleased. As if I asked to be named Alice.

Floating in the bathtub, warm and comfortable, lulled by the steam. I am here and not here, above and below. I am in an in between place, waiting.

A cool hand surrounds my wrist. Skin like silk, so gentle.

A warmer hand, callused. I know that hand.

I dreamed about the beaches of Mexico a while ago. Nothing special or extraordinary just empty beaches stretching on into the horizon and dry air. I was wearing a white bikini, splashing around in the surf. Laughing at the way the wet sand squished between my toes. The sun in my hair, warming me, bronzing me.

Many dreams. I am traveling everywhere, through time, through space. One minute I am still in high school and I can't remember my locker combination and I'm late for a big Calculus final. The thing I know, next I am eating tuna salad at my grandmother's house, and then her kitchen becomes a café in Rome and I'm trying to order a cappuccino from the mustachioed barista who doesn't understand my halting Italian.

I want to open my eyes, but they are so heavy.

On the way home I sat next to him, feeling so close and warm. We had been fighting lately about little things, like the phone bill and getting the car washed. Christmas changed things, just like it is supposed to. For the first time we went to a lot and picked out a tree and strung it with tiny colored lights and popcorn. We hung stockings even though there was no fireplace. Mistletoe hung in the archway leading into the living room and snowflakes were taped up on the windowpanes. You could say we got into the spirit of things.

Maybe I'm not here at all. I'm just imagining this.

Another question, where is here?

It would be so simple to let go. Stop thinking, quit dreaming. Let is all fade into twilight. Just stop.

The warm callused hand again. It nearly drives me mad with its familiarity.

The quiet is enough to reduce a person to tears. I strain for voices, for music, but there is nothing anymore. Just emptiness and silence. The darkness closes in, pressing on my face.

Alice I hear, and I think, that's me. I had forgotten.

We had the heat on high and I was sleepy. Outside, the air sparkled with crystalline flakes of snow. Over the carols I whispered, I want to always remember this night. He smiled and I closed my eyes, drifting off to the pure soprano voices of the choir.

Yes, I remember it all now.

It should have ended differently, as beautifully as it started, where we go home and wrap the presents, drinking hot cocoa in the living room, listening to more Christmas music. Go to bed glad we don't have to get up early for work in the morning and make love slowly in the bluish light sneaking through the blinds. Fall asleep thinking of good things, of Christmas dinners and decorating the tree and snow falling.

That is not what happened.

Metal. Things smashing, things screeching. He is screaming. Oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck Alice are you okay Alice are you okay oh fuck oh fuck oh Alice. A sliver of pain and then nothing. For a long time it is dark.

Pretty is as pretty does. Am I still pretty? Am I still me, am I still Alice? Or have I become something else in this place?

It occurs to me that perhaps I am the only person left in the world.

I don't like this anymore. It hurts, pain that is beyond description. My legs. My arms. My chest. A vise has clamped down on my skull and is squeezing tighter by the minute. Pain, pure pain.

I don't float. I feel solid and too heavy. Thirsty, I want water, get me a nice glass of water. I'd like an iced double skim latte, please. Diet Coke on ice, a margarita, no ice. I have never been so dry.

Leave me alone. I am being poked and prodded, always touched and turned. Just let me go back to sleep, unseen hands.

Alice, can you hear me? It's me, it's me.

Green tiles. That is what I see when my eyes open, through all the blinking. White walls, far too bright and harsh for my eyes. I close my eyes again, relishing the dimness.

A voice says, I'm not sure she actually saw anything. I want to scream, yes I did! I saw the wall!

Another thought. I am bored here, alone with my thoughts.

Christmas, is it over yet?

Alice, do it again. Open your eyes.

I want to see the snow falling.

The wall again, not as bright. It must be night. I am in a room, in a bed. Aha, I think. It smells like alcohol, like bodies and sheets. A whisper, right near my ear. Alice, are you awake? I blink a few times and the room is still here. Somehow I nod my head.

Copyright ©1997 Danielle Kluz

Joke: the Desert Island

There is a beautiful deserted island in the middle of nowhere where the following people are stranded:

  • 2 Italian men and 1 Italian woman
  • 2 French men and 1 French woman
  • 2 German men and 1 German woman
  • 2 Greek men and 1 Greek woman
  • 2 English men and 1 English woman
  • 2 Bulgarian men and 1 Bulgarian woman
  • 2 Irish men and 1 Irish woman
  • 2 American men and 1 American woman

One month later on this beautiful deserted island in the middle of nowhere...

  • 1 Italian man killed the other for the Italian woman.
  • The 2 French men and the French woman are living happily together in a "ménage à trois".
  • The 2 German men have a strict weekly schedule of alternating with the German woman.
  • The 2 Greek men are sleeping with each other and the Greek woman is cleaning and cooking for them.
  • The 2 English men are waiting for someone to introduce them to the English woman.
  • The Bulgarian men took one look at the endless ocean, one look at the woman...and started swimming.
  • The 2 American men are playing coconut-football and haven't noticed that there is a woman.
  • The Irish began by dividing their island Northside-Southside and setting up a distillery. They don't remember if sex is in the picture, because it gets sort of foggy after the first few litres of coconut-whiskey, but at least they know the English aren't getting any.

Submitted by reader B.O.

Joke: Two old ladies

Two old ladies were waiting for a bus and one of them was smoking a cigarette. It started to rain, so she reached into her purse, pulled out a condom, cut off the tip and slipped it over her cigarette and continued to smoke.

Her friend saw this and said, "Hey, now that's a good idea! What's that you're putting over your cigarette?"

The other old lady said, "It's a condom."

"A condom? Where do you get those?"

The lady with the cigarette told her friend that she could purchase them at a pharmacy.

When the two old ladies arrived downtown, the old lady with all the questions went into the pharmacy and asked the pharmacist if he sold condoms. The pharmacist said yes, but looked a little surprised that this little old lady was interested in condoms. He asked her, "What size do you want?"

The old lady thought for a moment and said, "One that will fit a Camel."

Submitted by reader B.P.

Joke: the Genie

A couple was golfing one day on a very, very exclusive golf course, lined with million dollar houses. On the third tee the husband said, "Honey, be very careful when you drive the ball; don't knock out any windows. It'll cost us a fortune to fix."

The wife teed up and shanked it right through the window of the biggest house on the course.

The husband cringed and said, "I told you to watch out for the houses. All right, let's go up there, apologize, and see how much this is going to cost."

They walked up, knocked on the door, and heard a voice say, "Come on in." They opened the door and saw glass all over the floor and a broken bottle lying on its side in the foyer. A man on the couch said, "Are you the people that broke my window?"

"Uh, yeah. Sorry about that," the husband replied.

"No, actually I want to thank you! I'm a genie that was trapped for a thousand years in that bottle. You've released me. I'm allowed to grant three wishes. I'll give you each one wish, and I'll keep the last one for myself."

"OK, great!" the husband said. "I want a million dollars a year for the rest of my life."

"No problem; it's the least I can do. And you, what do you want?" the genie said, looking at the wife.

"I want a house in every country of the world," she said.

"Consider it done," the genie replied.

"And what's your wish, genie?" the husband said.

"Well, since I've been trapped in that bottle, I haven't had sex with a woman in a thousand years. My wish is to sleep with your wife."

The husband looked at his wife and said, "Well, we did get a lot of money and all those houses, honey. I guess it's okay with me if it's okay with you."

The genie took the wife upstairs and ravished her for two hours. After he had finished, the genie rolled over, looked at her and asked, "How old is your husband, anyway?"

"Thirty five," she replied.

"And he still believes in genies?"

Submitted by reader C.K.

Joke: the CIA

A few months ago, there was an opening with the CIA for an assassin. These highly classified positions are hard to fill, and there's a lot of testing and background checks involved before you can even be considered for the position. After sending some applicants through the background checks, training and testing, they narrowed the possible choices down to three men, but only one position was available.

The day came for the final test to see which man would get the extremely secretive job. The CIA men administering the test took one of the men to a large metal door and handed him a gun. "We must know that you will follow your instructions no matter what the circumstances", they explained. "Inside this room, you will find your wife sitting in a chair. Take this gun and kill her."

The man got a shocked look on his face and said "You can't be serious! I could never shoot my own wife!" "Well", says the CIA man, "you're definitely not the right man for this job then." So they bring the second man to the same door and hand him a gun. "We went in the room. All was quiet for about 5 minutes, then the door opened. The man came out of the room with tears in his eyes. "I tried to shoot her, I just couldn't pull the trigger and shoot my wife. I guess I'm not the right man for the job." "No" the CIA man replied, "You don't have what it takes. Take your wife and go the hell home."

Now they're down to one man left to test. Again they lead him to the same door to the same room and hand him the same gun. "We must be sure that you will follow instructions no matter what the circumstances, this is your final test. Inside you will find your wife sitting in a chair. Take this gun and kill her."

The third man took the gun and opened the door. Before the door even closed all the way, the CIA heard the gun start firing. One shot after another for 13 shots. Then all hell broke loose in the room. They heard screaming, crashing, banging on the walls. This went on for several minutes, then all went quiet. The door opened slowly, and there stood the third man.

He wiped the sweat from his brow and said "You guys didn't tell me the gun was loaded with blanks! I had to beat the bitch to death with the chair!"

Submitted by reader B.P.

Joke: the Van

A young couple were making passionate love in the guy's van—you know, shag carpets, big double bed in the back, all of that—and suddenly the girl, being a bit on the kinky side, yells out, "Oh lover, whip me! Please whip me!"

Well, the guy, not wanting to pass up an opportunity like that, but unsure what to do as he has no whips around, gets an inspired flash, opens one window, snaps the antenna off his van, and proceeds to whip the girl until they both collapse in sado-masochistic ecstasy.

Almost a week later the girl notices that the welts she sustained are beginning to fester a bit and goes to her doctor. The doctor takes one look at the wounds and exclaims, "Wow! Looks like you've got a bad case of 'Van-aerial' disease!"

Submitted by reader C.K.

Joke: the Whales

A male whale and his mate were swimming around in the ocean, when all of a sudden, the male whale catches sight of a whaling vessel in the distance. He takes a closer look, and recognizes it as the ship that harpooned his parents many years ago.

So, he turns to his girlfriend and tells her that he wants to avenge the death of his parents. She hesitates, knowing that they could become the next victims of the vessel, but he reassures her and tells her that he has been planning this all of his life, and he swims over and whispers the plan to her.

So, she agrees and they swim up under one side of the boat, and they both start blowing air through their blow holes. The boat starts to rock back-and-forth, and the sailors on the ship are scrambling all over the deck.

Finally the boat tips over, and the sailors are scattered through the ocean. The male whale is delighted and starts to gobble up the sailors, but the female whale starts to swim away.... So the male whale swims over to her, and asks her what is wrong. She huffs and puffs and says, "I agreed to the blow job, but there is no way I'm going to swallow the seamen."

Submitted by reader B.P.

Joke: the Pig

A young guy starts work on a ranch, and the boss sends him up the back paddocks to do some fencing work, but come evening he's half an hour late. The boss gets on the CB radio to check if he's all right.

"I've got a problem, Boss. I'm stuck here. I've hit a pig!"

"Ah well, these things happen sometimes," the boss says. "Just drag the carcass off the road so nobody else hits it in the dark."

"But he ain't dead, boss. He's gotten tangled up on the bull bar, and I've tried to untangle him, but he's kicking and squealing, and he's real big boss. I'm afraid he's gonna hurt me!"

"Never mind," says the boss. "There's a .303 under the tarp in the back. Get that out and shoot him. Then drag the carcass off the road and come on home."

"Okay, boss."

Another half an hour goes by, but there's still not a peep from the young fella. The boss gets back on the CB. "What's the problem, son?"

"Well, I did what you said boss, but I'm still stuck."

"What's up? Did you drag the pig off the road like I said?"

"Yeah boss, but his motorcycle is still jammed under the truck."

Submitted by reader B.P.

Joke: At the Pearly Gates

A guy is at the pearly gates, waiting to be admitted, while St. Peter is leafing through this Big Book to see if the guy is worthy of entering.

Saint Peter goes through the books several times, furrows his brow, and says to the guy, "You know, I can't see that you did anything really good in your life but, you never did anything bad either. Tell you what, if you can tell me of one REALLY good deed that you did in your life, you're in."

The guy thinks for a moment and says, "Yeah, there was this one time when I was driving down the highway and I saw a giant group of KKK Biker Gang Rapists assaulting this poor girl. I slowed down my car to see what was going on, and sure enough, there they were, about 50 of them torturing this girl.

"Infuriated, I get out my car, grabbed a tire iron out of my trunk, and walked straight up to the leader of the gang, a huge guy with a studded leather jacket and a chain running from his nose to his ear.

"As I walked up to the leader, the KKK Biker Gang Rapists formed a circle around me. So, I rip the leader's chain off his face and smash him over the head with the tire iron. Then I turn around and yell to the rest of them, 'Leave this poor, innocent girl alone! You're all a bunch of sick, deranged animals! Go home before I teach you all a lesson in pain!'"

St. Peter, impressed, says "Really? When did this happen?"

"Oh, about two minutes ago."

Submitted by reader J.S.

List: Bumper stickers

  • Dyslexics have more fnu.
  • Clones are people two.
  • Entropy isn't what it used to be.
  • Microbiology Lab: Staph Only!
  • Santa's elves are just a bunch of subordinate Clauses.
  • Ground Beef: A Cow With No Legs!
  • 186,000 miles/sec: Not just a good idea, it's the LAW.
  • A mouse is an elephant built by the Japanese.
  • A waist is a terrible thing to mind.
  • Air Pollution is a mist-demeanor.
  • Anything free is worth what you pay for it
  • Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
  • Chemistry professors never die, they just smell that way!
  • COLE'S LAW: Thinly sliced cabbage.
  • Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?
  • Editing is a rewording activity.
  • Everyone is entitled to my opinion.
  • Gene Police: YOU!! Out of the pool!
  • Help stamp out and eradicate superfluous redundancy.
  • I used to be indecisive; now I'm not sure.
  • My reality check just bounced.
  • Rap is to music what Etch-a-Sketch is to art.
  • What if there were no hypothetical questions?
  • Energizer bunny arrested, charged with battery.
  • No sense being pessimistic. It wouldn't work anyway.
  • Boycott shampoo!!! Demand REAL poo!
  • My other wife is beautiful.
  • The flogging will continue until morale improves.

Submitted by reader C.K.