I. Not a Ping-Pong Ball
Like many women I know, there is always a little bottle of Aleve stationed at the bottom of my bag prepared like a World War II medic for those emergencies when the cramps grab a hold of your ovaries and decide to ring them out like a wet towel. The bottle is shaped in a pseudo triangle. It reminds me of the Great Pyramid of Giza—the pyramid if a giant hand came and squished the top flat and slapped a bland blue advertisement label on the side. The bottle stays hidden in the bowels of my little denim backpack only to emerge on a certain week of the month, or, apparently when I can’t find a Ping-Pong ball.
I go to Taylor Hall almost every night, and every night the dorm becomes Oz for me: An Oz complete with a Scarecrow, Tinman, and Cowardly Lion.
The Aleve bottle had been unopened for a time, but one night, when I snuck into Oz, it was prepped and ready for battle. I had gone deliver a special note to the room shared by the Scarecrow and the Tinman. To my disappointment, neither one answered the door and I slipped the valentine’s under the door. I ended up stuck with just the Cowardly Lion. Not wanting to stay alone in the Lion’s room (Not because he is at all frightening, but only because he is a tad socially awkward) I suggested we hit the basement Ping-Pong table. Looking only slightly disheartened, he grabbed his own personal paddles (and his championship Ping-Pong Kimono) and we skipped on down the stairs. When we reached the room, there was no ball. Anywhere.
Always one to choose inventive ingenuity over hopelessness, I dug through my denim for something useful. My hand clenched around the Aleve bottle. It was the right height, right weight, right texture and even right color. So I twist-clicked off the cap and dumped all the little blue pills on the table (chuckling at the idea of little blue pills for which the Lion threw me a withering look). I began batting the thing around. With such edges, the bottle bounced at odd angles, creating challenging hits and intriguing curves across the table. The Lion, being the master of the Ping-Pong, did not appreciate the graceful arcs and gave up before we even started. Instead, we walked back up the stairs to where a light escaped from under the doorcrack of room x44. I knocked once… twice. The Scarecrow, hair glistening wet from a shower barely finished, opened the door and smiled. RIIIIIIIIIP!!
II. A Dropping Bag
Pink Highlighter, Blue Highlighter, Green Highlighter,
Blue highlighter Green Highlighter Purple Highlighter
Green Pencil, Silver pencil, Red Pencil
Red Pencil, Red Pen, Black Pen
A Four color Red Black Green Blue Pen
found inside the couch cushion next to my keys.
Black Pen, EpiPen.
EpiPen, Benadryll, Bottle of Aleve:
seasickness band, tylonal, TUMS.
Claratin, Half a pill of Sudafed PE,
Broken and unchargable Chill Pill.
Chill Pill Speaker System,
Working Mini Tweakers,
M2 manual wrapped in black Blue ear buds,
iPod touch, case shiny orange, cell with a charm,
a car key chain.
Chevy Impala, year 67 key chain attatched to the
Vera Bradly Key card holder looped around the
Brass dorm keys connected to the
Key card next to the
Lionking Valentine from the Cowardly Lion.
Unlucky Love Letter of the Cowardly Lion
Who is roaring up the wrong sister, a Crumpled
Cowboy index card from a Cinematic Project
Succeeding only with the unrequited help from a ScareCrow.
A Copy, handwritten, of the Black Box readings,
a crumpled slice of piano paper to help with the
unfinished, unstarted, understood music homework.
A ripped wrapper of a York.
The Ripped wrapper of candy, gift from the TinMan,
Battle batting gloves that never touched a bat but
Started to fray from the slicing and slashing and surgical precision
In stage combat class, with all its swinging of swords.
The snatched air force dog tag of battle
Which flew in the force with guns loaded, lies
Next to the bursting wallet that holds hardly any money.
All Fallen to the ground.
I need to patch that tear in my pouch
Before all this pukes into place on the ground a fifth time.
What do you call a ‘backpack’ that doesn’t keep anything packed back?
III. Sort of Like Re-Gifting
The Scarecrow has a cup; he keeps it in the same bag as his Nikon. I would find that confusing considering it looks exactly like his other lenses, the ones that actually fit onto his camera. It is the same size as the largest lens he owns. It was a smart idea though, getting him that cup, especially conscidering how much he loves photography. I had to laugh though, because, on the bottom of the lense, right where the base would connect to the camera, is the word Canon. He hates Canons. I have a Canon.
Even if he doesn’t like Canons, he still likes the cup. He likes the idea that someone would make a cup shaped like a camera lens, and he likes that a girl would think to get it for him for Christmas. I wish I had gotten it for him for Christmas. I actually had thought about getting him something camera related, but I guess I didn’t google the word “camera” and “gift” hard enough, because I couldn’t find anything that wouldn’t cost me several hundred dollars. Instead, I got him nothing. Nothing isn’t a very good present.
I see it all the time, sitting on his desk, when he takes it out of his bag and sets it, filled with mango juice, next to his lamp. Each of the three dials are made of the same material as a real camera, and you can swivel them around as if you were adjusting the focus or apature or zoom. Every detail is perfectly replicated to the point where you might actually mistake it for a real lens. Whenever I see it sitting there, in the limelight of his desk, I want to snatch it away from him, hide it my bag and kidnap it to my dorm. I could do it when he’s in the bathroom, or laying on his bed, playing with his iPad. I could just take it, excuse myself and run. When I get back to my dorm room, I would lock the door and look at it for a little while—maybe fill it up with some Gatorade, or if I’m broke, some water. Just to take a sip. I’d clean it out and find the wrapping paper. Then I’d wrap it badly a couple times with rough and wrinkly edges that way I could open it up, pretend it was mine before wrapping it fresh and just for him. The last time, it would be perfect. Then I would wait outside room x44, leave it, lonely, in front of the doorstep, knock once… twice… and run away. He would come out, look around frowning in slight confusion before noticing the package on the ground. He would bring it inside, and unwrap his own cup. Then I could say that I had given him a lens cup too.
He’d walk out, knowing, knowing, knowing: Peak around the corner. Creamy brown meet smoky grey. Caught. A laugh: an unintentional smile.
“Do you want to play Ping-Pong?”
I say I do. He retreats inside and I follow. His cup sits on the desk, forgotten in a corner. He pulls out a fresh ball, carefully unwraps it, and hands me a paddle. As I walk from the room, I notice, sitting face up, a diagonal on his perfectly perpendicular desk, a Valentine written in my hand under the warm desk light, as if he’d sat at his desk at some point, reading it like a clever novel.
IV. Stab It
My EpiPen reminds me of a dagger—or maybe a samurai sword. My roommate just told me that she thinks it looks like a penis. A hard shelled, yellow, orange and blue penis. The Tinman, who also needs to stab himself with one in the event of nuts, doesn’t appreciate this. It does kind of look like a penis, with the rounded outer casing, but the Tinman calls it his katana. The clear plastic lining of the pen is the sheath, a scabbard keeping the steal cutting instrument safe during transport. It is only to be used during life or death situations (Unlike a penis, he notes).
The ringing metal tip pierces through flesh, and the knife is most often times wielded by a separate person. The sharp tipped spire digs under the skin looking for an artery or a vein (it isn’t picky) so it can decide the future of its victim. Unlike a dagger, however, the EpiPen comes with directions:
1. Pull off the blue safety release
2. Swing and firmly push tip against outer thigh so it clicks
3. Hold for approximately 10 seconds
Imagine if they had these directions on the hilt of a knife; The Tinman think it would still apply—only the click would be from bones cracking, and the safety release would be the swing of the wielder. If anything, such a masochistic process resembles, most closely, the ancient art of Seppuku, where one splits open their side and lets everything come tumbling out to restore something lost
. There is a kind of ritual to the thing, what with the directions and all. Kneel with the Pen in your hand, thumb on top for better leverage: Aim for just the right spot where it’s most fleshy. Thrust it in.
There are very few things in this world that spark life through stabbing, but
an EpiPen is one… I suppose the other is a dick.
©2014 Lex Vex
©2014 Lex Vex