Rodger and Robin
In the morning he brushes his teeth with his arm, grinds the night's gristle away
with coarse bristles, and goes outside to show the baby robins his smile. Robin hears the
silence, drops the maggot from her mouth, and takes wing back to her nest. Where are her
laughing babies? Who are these soldiers in eggshell helmets cowering in her nest?
"Away soldiers!" screeches Robin, "Away and make no return unless it is with four
laughing chicks! Eek!"
It is then that she sees him. He smiles the goofy smile that he had heard about on
the radio. Robin does not find it funny. His hair is unsuitable for children.
A slight twirbling peeks through the upper branches of Robin's tree. Is it giggling?
Nearby, a solitary pupil peers around a hot-dog cart. It does not see the pipe at
the bottom of the cart. Nor does it hear the wave of salmon paste burst onto a lime piece
of paper. It does not read the paper's wooden memorial note.
Nearby, Robin pecks repetitively at a branch near her nest. She eyes the mud soldiers
crouched and shaking. Peck, peck, peck. She eyes the place where the hair had stood. Peck.
She eyes the soldiers. Peck. She eyes the bald spot. Peck peck. She eyes the soldiers and
stops pecking. One of the soldiers has removed his cap to reveal a baby chick laughing
tentatively in a random pitch. Robin tightens her lips and lets loose a tittering peep.
In his bathroom again, he had heard the tittering peep that rose above Robin's flowered
tree. He raises his arm to his mouth and thinks about the birds and how even far away he can
still hear them tweet. He does not hear the squeeking wheels of a hot-dog cart, nor the
eyelids that blink along on their way.
Robin looks again at the place where the hair had stood. Her eyes are pendulums on
slowly ticking cuckoo clocks. She watches, frozen- a fly smashed on a pink translucent
fiberglass pane. Her feet take on winged sandals and she flies out of the ice-sculpture park
and over the hills and dancing puppet factories. She lands, bouncing softly into summer, in
the center of the universe. She is swimming in a tangled whirlpool of hair follicles. Her
head dons a cap of many miniature points of pain as she struggles through the foliage. The
hair recedes to reveal Martini Monkey and Cigar Monkey at it again.
Martini Monkey and Cigar Monkey play upon a pastel glass surface.
Martini Monkey-Eep. Eep eep eep, give me Martini.
Cigar Monkey-Eep. Eep. Eep. I want cigar.
Martini Monkey-Eep! Eep! Eep! Eep! Martini! Martini!
Cigar Monkey-Eeeeeeeeeeeep! Give me a cigar.
Martini Monkey-No, no, no-no, No! I want a Martini!
Cigar Monkey- I. Don't. Think. So, give me cigar!
Martini Monkey- Me, mar-tea-knee! Martini! Me-martini!
Cigar Monkey- Cigar! Cigar! Heeeeeey! Cigar!
Martini Monkey- Martini!
Cigar Monkey- Cigar!
Martini Monkey- Martini!
Cigar Monkey- Cigar!
Martini Monkey and Cigar Monkey-Eep, eep, eep, eep, eep-eep-eep. We want Martini! Eep.
Eep. Eep. Eep. We want cigar. Eep. Eep! Eep. Eep! Martini, Martini! Eeeeeeeeep! Cigar! Hey!
Martini Monkey and Cigar Monkey continue to dance and sing.
"You grotesque monkeys!" Robin screams, "singing and dancing and leaving trails of
lipstick stains! Who's going to clean this up!?!?"
Robin smashes her hand into a fist and then shakes it to release the pain.
"I am to be a mother!" her nostrils spit milk, forced upon a child's screaming face.
Martini Monkey presses its face into Cigar Monkey's cheek.
Martini Monkey- Mawrsheenee-ayvee!
Cigar Monkey- Ang! Cigar!
Martini Monkey and Cigar Monkey hop around Robin in an awkward pose.
Robin smoothes her hair, calming herself in the eye of the tempestuous dance.
Robin breathes, "She claimed to talk to water, bubbling blue smats of flowing
conversation. She would submerge her potato-like head for seemingly months, blowing bubbles,
Martini Monkey- Bubbles. Martini!
Robin pauses, and then breathes again, "Her face was always pushing through an air of
tangible skin. Eyes wide, her lips would gape and pucker, making ripples in the water. And her
fingers would squirm and try to touch her wrists. Soon her arms would react in waves, causing
her shoulders to shiver."
Martini Monkey and Cigar Monkey simultaneously leap spastically. They wave their arms many
times and puff out their cheeks.
Martini Monkey- Ahhhhhh! Martini.
Cigar Monkey- Ah, Cigar.
"I don't think you understand!" Robin glares at the hopping monkeys, "She never told me
what it said. She would simply say, 'I talk to water' as though that were enough."
Robin frees a finalizing breath, letting her socks slip her feet from under her so that
she is sitting- her arms leaning on her legs, her brow bowing to the glass.
Cigar Monkey exhales a cloud of smoke over Robin's head. The smoke dissipates to reveal
a small stubble covered man examining Robin's scalp. He speaks:
"If only she were born a manikin- born to a life where she could wake up in the
morning, put on a coat of wax, and stand still, preserving her unbroken sheen,
then she could feel the gaze of admirers not noticing her in their acceptance of
the ideal form that would have been her body. She would serve a purpose. People
would appreciate her utility, whether they knew it or not, and feel the pleasantly
faint tremor of applause from deep within their bowels for the headless curve of
her form. If only she were a manikin instead of what she is.
She is holding up a thorny twig as though to understate the importance of her
outfit. It is sickening to think how different she could be if she were born a
manikin. I watch her wriggle the thing- an epileptic snake in electric pantyhose
as though it was a fish struggling to get dressed. Her hair is all wrong.
She is running now, her hair is all wrong, and I struggle to keep up. My lungs
and throat wheeze as though they want to tell her to run back home, put on her
face, and learn to be a manikin. As if such a thing could be learned. She
crosses a creek, hopping over cracks, hobbling on two feet and I think of the
manikins on solitary screws, their torsos the perfect inner frame for any garment."
Robin doesn't look up, replying instead, "It is raining now, the air is in song, and I
fight to fly upon it. My feathers flee as though they want to float as torpedos do, stroking
the ocean's cheeks and making it talk. Is this possible? She spies a waiting canoe, hops in,
and stomps holes in the bottom and I think of how the bubbles sound like little birds crying
for their mother's milk and then teaching her to fly."
The stubbled man scratches her head and says:
"If only she were a manikin..."
"No," Robin argues, "She claimed to talk to water..."
"No, I think if she were a manikin..."
"But, she claimed to talk to water...:
"...and the water taught her things, I'm sure..."
"...and her life would be so much different..."
The stubbled man stops scratching.
Robin clears her throat, "Now, I would like to be the mother of birds and have them teach
me how to fly."
The stubbled man replies:
"And every day I could run a hot-dog stand and bring home bits of left-over hot-dog skin..."
Robin smiles, "Which I could chew and spit..."
The stubbled man hops from Robin's head:
"And we could be..."
"Yes, we could be..."
Martini Monkey and Cigar Monkey- We could be a family!