…to him that just a few loose-fitting clothes would be more comfy than nothing at all.
He bounced the family room and sank into the longseat. “Lovely.” One hand searched out the remote. Up channel, down channel.
“Excuse me, Sir, one more thing…”
“But you were still a virgin!”
“It’s Cord. He’s in the hospital.”
None of it was to Jerry’s liking.
“Poetry is just random thought. Good poetry is just heavily edited random thought.”
And that, too, was not to his liking.
To Jerry, when one program individually was not satisfying, he simply kept flicking through the channels, combining snippets of varying programs to construct his own little mindplay. It was entertaining… But somehow lacking.
He left the seat in an unprecedented coup over his official planning for the next three weeks. It was a farsighted thing that he did, approaching the refrigerator from an angle and then yanking open its front door. Cold air! It was summer, for Heaven’s sake!
“Stupid cooling devices,” he muttered. “Fuck me.”
He started leafing through the contents, stopping just long enough to peer through wrappers or to turn jars.
“Jimmy, Jimmy, are you daft?” asked the television.
“Shut the fuck up!” returned Jerry. He kept rummaging.
He relished some of the morsels more than others, but didn’t have the time necessary to adequately prepare them. Hot food was always better than cold food, and would have been perfect if the heat were ready-made in a pouch that came attached to the purchase. It never was. Instead, there were microwaves and ovens and steamers and elements and direct sunlight through an industrial strength magnifying glass.
He had ten slices of bread, two tomatoes, a spanish onion, five slices of roast beef, a jar of mayonnaise, a quarter bag of all-dressed chips, and two cans of soda pop. Soda pop. Soda pop. Soda pop.
Back on the longseat, Jerry made his sandwiches while flicking through the stations. Next door, he could hear a car rumbling to a stop. Mrs. Julia Tylenol. It was a fun name, and a great joke at the workplace.
He drank his soda pop.
Whenever anyone in the office would say they had a headache, Jerry would invariably be around.
“You should go to my place and suck on my neighbour!”
It was always hilarious. Every single time. Every single year.
“C’est une nouvelle jour, le meilleur de la semaine!”
He didn’t know french. He flipped the channel. He didn’t get surfing. He flipped the channel. He didn’t care that the new Lincoln Mark VIII was on par with the European luxury cars. He flipped the channel. He didn’t understand the concept of cation exchange. He flipped the channel. He didn’t get the Wall Street Journal. He didn’t even get Wall Street. Oh sure, he had the technology! He had the technology! But that didn’t mean he had to use it, or even learn how to use it! No, no. Not that day. Not today. He flipped the channel.
All that time, Jerry didn’t notice that he was sinking into his chair. Given a few years like that, there wouldn’t be anything left of him. He wasn’t alarmed. He knew all about time. He didn’t move. He was comfortable. And that was enough. Five hundred thousand times, he would flip the channel.
He started on his trek.
And drank his soda pop.
Soda pop. Soda pop. Soda pop.
May had been born in June. Her parents had wanted to name her after May because it was a pretty word, and they had tried to time the whole thing. They even talked about it sometimes. How they had conceived her at the optimum midpoint of August, just so that they would have their May child. But as it came down to it, she’d been late, later than anyone would have expected. She’d slipped out a minute before the last day of May: her parents had been ecstatic for a little bit. But the nurse hadn’t recorded the time right away, having been unaware of the parents’ wishes.
And so May had been born in June and married Jerry in October. It was as fine a collection of months as anyone could hope for. May was privately hoping to die in January, an event which would add some symmetry to her life. She would, of course, ignore November and December. They were never good months, anyway. And Christmas was overrated.
May pulled into the driveway at around 4:00, and knew that Jerry would probably be there already. It was his time, after all, and she’d grocery shopped to that man’s heart for a couple of hours. Jerry deserved it. She shivered as she thought of his tedious little job, which, though moneyed enough, would cause her to donate any five letters of her maiden name rather than have to work through it.
Inside, she found Jerry half-asleep on the longseat, one hand on the clicker and a plate in his lap. He was wearing his most worn boxers and a t-shirt that could fit an elephant. She didn’t wake him. She put away the groceries.
“Pork chops,” she whispered. “He loves pork chops. And BBQ sauce.”
She began to cook. Jerry woke up at 7:30, and moaned, “May, is that you?”
She answered him with a plate of chops, smothered in sauce. “Happy do-little days, boy. Here’s a present.”
Jerry began to eat at once, sometimes clicking the remote. “Damn good, damn good. May, you are a sweetheart.”
Jerry watched Wheel of Fortune but not Jeopardy. He got into an episode of The Partridge Family, and then relinquished all control and went for a movie.
May sat on the couch and enjoyed it. She finished him off with a bowl of ice cream covered in a hard caramel coating.
“Know what?” said Jerry, midway through ten and eleven o’clock. “Startling that the Boss wants to…