Birth of the Fool

Megan’s friend read the tabloids, the titans, National Inquirer, News of the World, you know, the glossies that stand sentry at every food checkout belt in the Food Checkout Belt of America.

“They’re just as true as the stories in the Harvard Fair or whatever crusty upper crust editor-in-chief camoed out in pipe and tweed to blend into every university mixer from here to Great Bend periodical you dress yourself up in to impress the world.”

“That was elaborate,” Megan said.

“Only cause you have the temerity to think I can’t read because there must only be a vocabulary of rabble in my gossip rags as you classify them as.”

“No. I’m sorry,” Megan said.

“Don’t be. It’s what you meant and who you are.”

Megan thought on her toes and came to see, through a window of opportunity, the means to make immediate amends yet failing to see the peril of the means to her heart’s most desired end. She said, “May I read one of your periodicals sometime?”

And in that manner, as subtle as the dead leaf plucked by a breeze ushering winter and the end, did she lose her bearing and confound her coordinates in the space time of reality.

Suspicion colored every sense and twisted them like antlers of battling bucks on the foothills of a mountain. The summit would remain hid beyond clouds and snow and fog. Languish well in the cradle of conspiracy she would. Face value was shorted on the open market in the economy of ideas and cratered to a nugatory dust of ashes. She was no longer herself. She was a vessel to disseminate dysfunctional thinking in a manner akin to proteins encoded with cures engineered to seek and join a sickly body. Yet hers was no cure. But it was a means to her end. They were married by the end of the election. She no longer read the inquirer covered by a copy of Harper’s. But she still dressed up as a librarian in the bedroom. And took no shit in public.

The next week, at the food checkout belt, she thumbed through a tabloid, sentry waiting in a line. It was the day and the hour of the household shopping barrage. Salvo upon salvo of cans thumped chrome in their turbulent flight across the scanners. Exhausted parents eyes adroop with small fortunes of perishable and non alike packed in their buggies whose chassis’s had seen a thing or two in their waist high purview. If Pixar made a movie called Carts it would be rated R for all the reasons. The tabloid transfixed her but the collision between a cart and her rear end jarred her to agitation and she spun on her heel. “Watch it,” she said.

“I’m sorry,” the woman with five little kids and the government rations only in her cart, we’ll call her, Suzannah, said.

“Don’t be. It’s what you meant and who you are.”

She returned to the tabloid. Snug under the covers. “The woolly cotton brains of infancy,” she read. A story covering the new revelation that Jim Morrison’s poetry reveals the true location of Noah’s Ark and it’s not what you expect.

Maybe Noah’s Ark is actually an alien ship that came from Mars in the evacuation that caused the establishment of our ancestorman’s colonization of Earth. Doors lyrics. Who knew, she thought. And his father was after all an Admiral of historical significance. The journalist left no stone unturned in his investigation of the revelation. She thought again of her love for journalism and the quest for the truth in a society misinformed by the lamestream media. Babylon megachurch to screen documentary, Mars: Ancestral Home this weekend. Q&A with director to follow. She needed this.

And that is where she and her future wife ended up tying the knot. Before the screening on a sidewalk in front of fellow seekers.

“Your tears are beautiful,” she told her betrothed.

Wiping the face of the apple of her eye, “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. It’s what you meant and who you are,” she said.