Chapter 9)- Follow Your Brain, Your Heart Is As stupid As Shit Or A Boyfriend Would Be Nice But I’m Already In A Committed Relationship With Alcohol; And Poor Decisions…


As I stood on the beach I spotted the plane carrying Renaldo. My heart was filled with anxiety racing with joy as I anticipated our being reunited. Aside from the loss of its limbs, my hope is Renaldo can get past whatever nightmares it experienced in Aleppo. I can relate since I still wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat due to my having experienced our insurrection. Really did a number on my psyche.

Our airport consists of a landing strip that was built sometime around the Second World War. That’s one of the reasons our tourism depends on cruise ships. We are surrounded by water and can better accommodate traveling by sea but in terms of aviation, to say we are behind the times is putting it mildly. Building an airport on landfill would be the way to go. It would solve the problem, but right now the cruise ships seem to be working fine. I watched as the plane emptied out. The last person to disembark with the support of two umons was Renaldo. It had two crutches. One tied to its right leg and the other supported the other side of its body. Its pants legs were tied at the knee and there was a pained look on its face. At that moment my heart sank. I actually shared the anguish that seemed to have taken over its demeanor. Again I wondered if Renaldo would be able to sustain relationship, and if so for how long? Am I taking on another project?

I walked over to the ramp and reached out to help it down the stairs. “Ivan!” It looked happy and surprised. I thought to myself this is a very good sign. “Here let me help you Renaldo. You have no idea how happy I am to see you.” (I was going to add in one piece but thankfully I caught myself.) “I’m taking you straight to my place. You’ll be able to rest there without being disturbed.” It thanked me and dismissed the umons. “We are fine. I can make it from here and besides I need the practice.” It smiled and with that we hobbled back to my humble abode. Once inside I helped Renaldo onto the couch. “Let me get you something to eat and a cold drink. Water? I love water especially when it’s surrounded by scotch? As you know I have my own stash.” We both laughed. “Sure why not. Scotch and water.” It smiled. “Sounds good.” I said as I filled our glasses. I could see Renaldo was looking forward to relaxing and needed to wind down. Scotch always did it for me along with a Valium or two. We talked for about half an hour. I was filled in on all the ups and downs experienced in Aleppo. “On the one hand” it began, “Our work there is important. We are helping to rebuild what is left of a culture and community as well as establishing a home. We insist on remaining neutral and not get involved in their politics. So far we are looked upon as non-intrusive and generous. But ISIS is everywhere along with every other crazy militants group.” Most people have lost everything and have come to rely on us for help, which we see as a bargaining chip. And as you know Ivan, umons are a resourceful lot. But on the other hand we are forced to defend ourselves and have to endure the consequences of living in a war zone, which is not pretty. It looked down and gestured at what was left of its legs, “case in point.” As I listened, my heart sank. “Renaldo I’m so sorry for your loss. Not to change the subject, can I freshen up your drink? Something more to eat…?” I got up and walked towards the fridge. I started to pour us another round but before I could reach the other end of my tiny apartment, it was fast asleep. I sat and watched it for a few minutes, then took a pillow from my bed and tucked it in and kissed its forehead. Renaldo reminded me of a middle age Colon Farrell. Perhaps that’s why I’m so attracted to it. I always had a soft spot for that rugged Irish look.

Aside from my personal state of affairs, I had a gut feeling something wasn’t right. Something big was about to happen which involved all of us. I wasn’t sure what but I noticed there were fewer and fewer birds. I knew this was making Aaron nervous because the U~BUZZ formula depends on bird shit. No birds means no shit. No shit means no antidote. The sky is unusually dark which worries me. It is never this dark and aside from hurricane season it almost never rains. I’m thinking that global warming has finally caught up with us. As always I anticipate the worst and pray we survive. However a bitter pill will always go down easier with a glass of soda and a shot of alcohol.

Evelyn arrived last week at the U.N. assembly and as predicted was completely buzzed on the formula. So much so that she made a complete ass out of herself and insulted just about everyone who was in attendance. It may be safe to say she took her cues from Donald Trump because no one in their right mind would have behaved the way she did. I was hoping Karpland would be considered for some kind of recognition as a legitimate republic, but she completely screwed up. We came away with nothing. Evelyn was escorted out and was told not to come back until she got her shit together. The whole thing is very embarrassing. When The Congress heard they were very upset, “This has put Karpland back several years” they chimed in unison. I just smirked and reiterated that they should have trusted me.

As planned I called Miro to get his take on my MallArt dilemma. “Mon Ami, to what do I owe the pleasure of your phone call?” He was always so eloquent and buoyant. “Well my friend, I’m afraid we may have gotten into something that is way above our heads.” I was somber in my delivery and Miro being who he is, picked up on it. “I’m sure the situation is not as dismal as you are perceiving it to be. Now tell me what are your concerns. Perhaps I can help or at least alleviate your angst.” He always had a calming effect even in the most ominous of circumstances. I proceeded to tell him about the pressure from MallArt to sell them the synthetic and our diminishing bird population. “Mon Dieu!” He exclaimed. There was a long silence that only added to my anxiety. “Ivan” he began, “I think the bird situation is a sign of trouble. I will do a little digging to see if there is a major storm brewing. If this is the case we must prepare. Now as far as MallArt is concerned, I think it is important to remember a little saying I read once on the Berlin Wall before they turned it into a tourist trap. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever. Perhaps you can apply this little bit of wisdom to your state of affairs concerning your dealings with them. Our advantage is that we own the deack of cards so let’s continue to play the hand we are holding.” I love his metaphors. Even if it does takes me a few minutes to digest what he is talking about. “I will check the weather Ivan. I know it seems hard to believe but MallArt may be the least of our worries. I hope not. We can control our interests, but we cannot control the weather. I’ll keep you posted Mon Ami.” And with that he signed off. It was good to get his input, but the threat of a major storm did not sit very well with me. If something is on it’s way, we may have to evacuate, but where? All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.

Stay tuned…




About cherylgross

Illustrator and author of the Z Factor. Professor Pratt Institute and Bloomfield College. Motion graphic collaborations with poet Nicelle Davis include: In The Circus Of You, Becoming Judas and The Poster Reads; ACTIVE SHOOTER EVENT, travel the video poetry festival circuit. See resume at for other accomplishments.
This entry was posted in art, Chronicle, exhibition, Graphic novel, LGBT, Science Fiction, The Z Factor and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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