Mama Crazy

The other night I was watching Sinead O’Connor and realized how much she reminds me of my friend AB. At first glance you think you’re dealing with a tiny woman who probably wouldn’t cause any harm to anybody. Then she opens her mouth and you realize you’ve got a Banshee on your hands. She’s tough, strong, opinionated, and you don’t even remember you have to look down to see her. She’s powerful and loud and yes, the perfect amount of crazy.

I would have just provided a link for the backstory here, but AB has gone and deleted her entire webpage just about, so now I have to do some work.

To put it delicately, Master V, AB’s husband, ran over their family cat a few months ago. He backed up over the cat, Sassy, while Miss Sassy (or was it a Mister?) was taking a nap. Master V feels pretty bad about the entire thing, and that’s exactly why everyone just keeps mocking him about it. In fact, my last visit to Chao Camp, as it’s called around all parts, included a solemn memorial in the backyard, when AB’s young daughter showed me the Sassy Stick, a wooden post that represents Sassy’s final resting place. The Sassinator left this Earth way too soon, apparently, and not a day goes by that Master V isn’t reminded that his need to drive motor vehicles so he can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan took away their feline companion.

Okay. Backstory finished.

Three weeks ago or so I was on the phone with AB, chatting about work, lack of work, boring work and what to do about boring work. We must have moved on from work to gossip, because AB needed to go out back and have a cigarette while we chatted. The rest played like a glorious radio show through my telephone as I sat 1500 miles away.

[scripty]
AB
Okay. Now what?

PAMIE
I was saying that I figure I should call her, even though I know she won’t call back.

AB
No. She won’t. She never does. OH SHIT!

PAMIE
What’s wrong?

AB
Oh, shit. Shit. Shit. Shit.

PAMIE
You okay?

AB
Pam? My fish. My fish! Oh, man. My fish! Shit!

PAMIE
What fish?

AB
The fish in my pond. My beautiful fish. My beautiful pond! Shit!

PAMIE
I need more words in your sentences.

AB
Dead! All dead!

PAMIE
Your fish are dead?

AB
Yes! They’re all dead! Oh, look at them! Every single one is dead! Dammit!

PAMIE
How’d that happen? Did the cat kill them?

AB
No, Master V killed the cat. Oh, they’re just floating there. All of them. Look how dead they are.

PAMIE
What do you think happened?

AB
Well, it’s sorta my fault.

PAMIE
Sorta?

AB
Yeah. They need this stuff dumped in the water, but I had run out so I just put regular water in there. I didn’t know it would kill them! I didn’t know it would kill them, Pa-am!

(AB is the only person I know who can make my name into two syllables. I love it.)

PAMIE
Oh, AB. I’m so sorry. Were they expensive?

AB
About twelve cents each. But you know. I killed the fish!

PAMIE
That’s awful. I’m so sorry.

AB
I’m a bad mother.

PAMIE
No, you’re not.

AB
I am. I kill fish. I’m so sorry, fish! I didn’t know how much you needed the special stuff! Oh, this is horrible. They’re so dead, Pam. I mean, these are some dead fish. That one there, my prettiest one, it’s the deadest. Oh, what am I going to do with all these dead fish?

PAMIE
I’ll tell you what you’re going to do. You’re going to take those fish and you’re going to put them behind the tires of Master V’s car and make him think he killed the fish by running over them.

(Here is where it was silent for a minute, except for the sound of my giggles as I marveled at how brilliantly funny I was.)

AB
Miss Pam. There is something seriously wrong with you. That is sick! You want me to scoop my dead fish and put them behind the tires of my husband’s car, wake him up and make him drive away so I can tell him he killed my fish?

PAMIE
Yeah, isn’t it funny?

AB
Pam! It’s sick and wrong. You need help. And the worst thing is, now I think I just have to go and do that.

PAMIE
Are you serious?

AB
Yeah, why not. It’s funny.

PAMIE
I can’t believe you’re going to do this.

AB
Oh, Pam. He already thinks I’m crazy. What else do I have to lose? Okay. So here I am, squatting down in front of my pond with some chopsticks and a bowl. Oh, these fish are so dead!

PAMIE
Where’s Master V?

AB
He’s napping. I hope he doesn’t wake up and find me carrying a bowl of dead fish through the house. Oh, who’m I kiddin’? He wouldn’t bat an eye.

PAMIE
I really am sorry about your fish dying. But at least now they’ve died for a reason.

AB
You’re still sick in the head.

PAMIE
I know.

AB
Okay, I’m now squatting behind Master V’s car. Oh! There are four fish, so I’m going to put one behind each wheel. Oh, they’re so small. You have to see this, Pam. The fish are so small and these tires are huge! I wonder if he’ll even see the fish?

PAMIE
I wonder how small they’ll be after the car runs over them.

AB
I hope he doesn’t come out here and see me putting dead fish behind his tires like some bad mafia person.

PAMIE
Or your neighbors.

AB
Oh, they already think I’m crazy. They don’t let their kids play with my daughter.

PAMIE
You can’t really blame them.

AB
I KNOW! Okay. Pam? The fish are in position.

PAMIE
Oh, my God.

AB
Okay, I’m gonna go wake up Master V.

PAMIE
I hope he doesn’t kill you. I hope he knows this is funny. How’s his sense of humor after a nap?

AB
Baby! Baby, wake up! I’m hungry. Go get dinner.

MASTER V
(slightly muffled)
How ’bout we order a pizza?

AB
Ooh! Pizza sounds good. Yeah.

PAMIE
No! AB if you order a pizza, then he doesn’t have to get in the car.

AB
Right! No, baby, I want something you have to drive to. I want ribs. Get up and get me some ribs.

PAMIE
I can’t believe you’re waking him up.

AB
No, baby, I want it now. Go get dinner. Go out and hunt.

PAMIE
Is he doing it?

AB
Yeah. Pam? My husband loves me.

PAMIE
Yes, he does.

AB
I don’t know why I have to be so mean to him all the time. I don’t know why you’re making me do this.

PAMIE
Me?

AB
Ooh! There he is! He’s getting in his car. Okay, I wish I could take a picture of this, but it’s too dark. Okay, he’s about to back up. OH MY GOD! WAIT! MASTER V! WAIT! OH, MY GOD! LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE! STOP THE CAR! OH, MY GOD! OH, GOD!

PAMIE
Jesus, you’re gonna make the whole neighborhood–

AB
Look what you did!

MASTER V
(slightly muffled)
You scared the hell out of me! What’s wrong?

AB
You killed the fish! You killed the fish! They were just napping and now you’ve gone and run over the fish! JUST LIKE YOU KILLED SASSY!!!

PAMIE
Is he laughing? Is he laughing?

AB
Baby, you killed the fish.

MASTER V
(slightly muffled)
Did you put dead fish behind my car tires?

AB
They were napping and then you ran them over.

MASTER V
(slightly muffled)
Are these the goldfish from the pond? You put them behind my tires so I’d run over them?

AB
Like Sassy.

(Sound of car backing away and leaving.)

PAMIE
Did he laugh?

AB
I’d say no. He just gave me that look. Pam, he thinks I’m a crazy drunk woman, that’s what he thinks. Oh, man! These fish are so squished. You should see this. They were already small, but now they’re just little fish puddles. Pam! That was so funny!

PAMIE
Maybe later after he’s not fresh from his nap, he’ll think it’s funny.

AB
Maybe. I don’t care. That’s the funniest thing you’ve ever done.

PAMIE
I didn’t even do it! I would have been like, “You know what funny shit I was gonna do? I was gonna put the dead fish behind your tires so you’d run over them and then I’d blame you for the fish dying instead of me.” But you, you go ahead and do it.

AB
Why not? It’s funnier than just talkin’ about it. Hold on. I gotta ‘nother call.

PAMIE
I can’t believe she made Master V. run over those fish.

AB
Pam? Haaaaaaaaa! That was Master V! The rib place is closed! Heeeeee! I told him to just come home. I’m not even hungry; I just wanted him to run over the fish.

PAMIE
He’s going to hate me. You’ll explain to him later why that’s the funniest thing in the history of funny things?

AB
Pam, I just about gave him a heart attack yelling at him to stop the car. Oh, man.

PAMIE
Where are the fish now?

AB
Oh, they’re still out there. It’s too dark to take pictures. I’ll do it tomorrow. Oh, man. That was too funny. You are sick in the head.

PAMIE
He’s never going to think this is funny, is he?

AB
No, probably not. But we know, and that’s more important.

PAMIE
Poor Master V.

AB
I know. But that’s why he married me.

PAMIE
I suppose he knew what he was getting into.

AB
I killed my fish. I’m a bad mother and a crazy wife.

PAMIE
But we love you very much.

AB
Yeah. I’m pretty funny for a crazy drunk.
[/scripty]

And this is why I try never to miss my weekly phone call with AB. If it’s not her daughter telling me the difference between Fashion Polly (the dream of every newly-turned seven-year old) and Apartment Molly (the ridiculous absurdity that I thought was possibly the name of the doll she wanted), then I’m getting to hear the shrieks of Master V slaughtering already dead fish on a Texas driveway.

That’s when Los Angeles doesn’t feel too far away. But far enough away that Master V can’t come over here and kill me first.

Maybe by now he thinks it’s funny.

Maybe.

Hopefully.

Man. Just like he killed Sassy.

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