An excerpt from ‘Kookaburra Me’ – Copyright © 2020 by Michael A. Kuch
SWADDLED IN BLUE
“It’s late afternoon nap time and I’m not sleeping …”
I’m awake, lounging in an early-1960s powder blue snowsuit previously owned by another ungrateful, snot-nosed little shitling before my mother scooped it from the Saint Vincent de Paul thrift store bin. Its zipped below my pudgy neck over a ribbed cotton turtleneck onesie snapped at the undercarriage where my pinkish, wrinkled scrotum adjoins to the neighboring taint a tickle away from my baby-sized anus.
It’s hotter than Hades shrink-wrapped in multiple layers under the photographer’s lights – Slick is fidgety, fussing with the tripod, rocking braided nose whiskers flirting with his upper lip; he’s marinated in greasy Brylcreem and kerosene-scented Hai Karate aftershave – about to spark up a fresh smoke with a second death dart wedged behind the ear in the ready, fully committed to going fuckless before Fuck-Free Friday’s became a precursor shout out to the weekend … antsy in his striped stovepipe pants to clear the queue of whining kids and irritated moms gossiping in a serpentine coil behind the Elves hut.
“Next, next please,” is his dying mantra, but I’m already there waiting for his shit to coagulate. We’re not friends.
MY FIRST PRO BONO MODELLING GIG
Is tanking …
While I’m flush with the impossible cuteness of being, I’m light on clout, and in no position to leverage for better working conditions.
I don’t cry.
I drop my tizzy spell and get on with it like a professional.
SWEET. BABY. JAY’SUS.
I’m sweating buckets of warm dew in this clam bake … goo-goo-gaa-gaa-ing my first blasphemous thought …
Feigning Aces-over-Jacks in this quilted getup with the wool knit mittens dangling from the cuffs by a shoelace. The cushiony, built-in booties are adorable enough to stop Bambi from blinking in envy and getting over himself, suffocating my perfect pea-shaped toes.
“I smell of talcum powder, mom’s breast milk and Gerber’s apple sauce. My hair is fine, tawny, and matted in a wide combover of wet straw sticking to my pasty melon; bobbling on the neck of an infant wannabe Bollywood dancer that is too long for its Dachshund-sized torso.”
My jaw is slack, sour baby drool pooling under the meaty lower lip, a trickle of viscous spit about to drip from a cherub chin blissfully content to harbor saliva and regurgitated Pablum. Wet naps haven’t been invented yet, but mucus-encrusted handkerchiefs and crumpled tissues are plenty, basting in mom’s Petri dish of a purse since we caught the Queen West streetcar to Eaton’s department store in downtown Toronto.
MOM IS A DABBER, SHE’S DABBING …
At every visible orifice to piss me off …
I’m toothless, but I’m a gummy biter with game for fingers and a rubber pacifier – chooch – lathered in homemade syrup to plug my yap and simmer the discomfort of teething. I’m hooked on refined white sugar and coming down hard off a three-hour bender on sticky sucrose. Yeah, I’m twitchy.
The old drunken geezer with a nest of steel wool for a beard is tinted in rusty, nicotine stains and unrestrained appreciation of Crown Royal rye whiskey under a ruby nose dissected by a billion broken capillaries. He’s dressed for the occasion, resplendent in a red velvet suit trimmed in matted fake fur and rings of salty perspiration as haloed testimony to unholy body odor under his armpits. His skunky cologne reeks of mothballs and distilled urine. I’m looking up at him looking down at me perched like a ventriloquist’s muted puppet on his lap. It’s weird meeting this way.
Little Mikey with the Venus Flytrap mouth and Boozy Broke-Ass Santa with curdled farts for breath and Armageddon-grade halitosis his closest friend next to the nearly beatified entitled one – Poor Fucking Rudolph (Bambi’s Dead-in-the-Headlights Dim-witted Half-Step Cousin Twice-Removed-from-Reality) – make for a curious pair of Seasonal dissidents.
NEITHER OF US
Wants to be doing this …
Santa needs the money to buy liquor to braise the pain and shed his skin of the sin he’s harbored. No one ever grows up wanting to play Santa or be a Mall Cop. No one ever wants to be the hero when its takes humility. But this dirty Santa impersonator smiled at me like it meant something. I don’t know. He may have been real.
I haven’t a clue how poor mom is going to pay for the portrait, but she’s resourceful and clever enough to pull it off. If she has a usable Superpower, survival at any cost is it regardless of the price.
Her change purse was always empty. She’d dig for a dime hiding in the torn lining and come out with a metal slug, bingo marker, or a twisted bobby pin. And if she’d find a coin, it would be a copper penny. She’d present it as it was a Spanish gold bullion.
WHAT I’D LIKE TO KNOW IS …
“Why the fat, sweaty bastard is holding me like I’ve got the Clap? Babies don’t get Gonorrhea.”
I don’t want to be touched.
I’m squirrelly, twisting into a body roll trying to break the grasp from the white gloves. Perhaps, it was my bulky cloth diaper with Medieval-inspired safety pins pressed into my chubby hips causing consternation and discomfort.
I hope the diaper was clean for the photo. I don’t know where the portrait is today. It’s the only baby photo of me to survive the fire at Prima Casa, my first home.
THERE’S A LARGE ENVELOPE
With black and white school photos starting in Junior Kindergarten trapped in a banker’s box in my closest …
The photo of Santa and me is not in there when I looked last and it should be there along with my first library card, grade school report cards, and University acceptance letter.
I’ll confess. I used to shit myself regularly as an infant. Defecating with alarming frequency numerous times a day. I’m not proud of this or consider it a special talent. I’m over it now. It’s a fact I share to reveal transparency and to my credibility in the story that follows me everywhere.
The cuteness ends here …
Up Next: Chapter Two: Don’t Ever Touch Me.