What I Read Last Night

Because no one I know attended the show last night, except for Liam who was on the show. I'm posting the unabridged version of the piece I read. It's not bad, but it's long. I doubt any of you will get to the end.

When I tell people I perform stand-up comedy they commonly respond, “Wow, that’s so brave. I could never do that.” Really? I don’t think stand-up is that scary. Now, telling someone that I love him—that’s friggin’ scary. I could never do that. Comedy (pff). Big deal, I get on stage and risk rejection from strangers. On the other hand to confess “amore” I risk having my heart whacked with a two by four and thrown in the wood-chipper, and by someone I know.

Frequently, the “courageous comedy conversation” takes place on an airplane while I am making the small talk. Ironic. Some stranger prattles on about how scary stand-up is; meanwhile, we’re being hurled through the clouds in a two-ton machine flying 25,000 feet in the air, loaded with highly flammable jet fuel. We could meet our demise in countless ways. Like at any moment the engines could fail sending us plummeting to the Earth faster than a dunk girl’s standards reaching our end in a fiery mangled wreck. Or our drunken pilot could turn into a puddle of Jell-O after eating the in-flight meal—I’ve seen airplane. His Jell-o-ed mass, no longer able to grab the controls, flies us into a wheat silo somewhere in Nebraska and we all drown in whole grains. My seat cushion does not float in cereal. Or maybe we don’t crash, instead Ms. Superficial Chit Chat sitting next to me, whose medical history I don’t know, goes into epileptic seizure. As she flails about she kicks me in the throat, my trachea collapses, I die!

See, stand-up is the one thing that does not terrify me in my whole terror filled existence. I can find the death in every situation. I have considered never leaving my apartment except it’s not safe there either. I am trepidation personified. I am a coward. Screw Cold-Play I am yellow. I have always been. Even at the age of 5, well before the world’s harsh realities revealed themselves to me, I instinctively knew death was out to get me. My child self knew the way death worked. You see, death doesn’t want a struggle or a fight so he waits. He would wait until bedtime and then he sends his creepy, unkempt minions to assassinate me. As a child I would stay up all night keeping vigil. I think that in 1982 I got a total of 7 hours of sleep. My father’s cousin once tried to assuage me fears, “You’re not crazy, kid. People are out to get you, but don’t worry about it. That blanket of yours has the power of protection. Those guys in your closet can not penetrate the blanket.” Too bad cousin Dominick didn’t know that my assailants were old pros—they did not dwell in my closet, rather, they hid under my bed. As I tried to sleep I could hear them discussing their murderous plans. “So, Burt here’s the plan, see. We’re going to take this non-electric manual hand drill-the thing doesn’t make a sound so we won’t wake the kid or alert the parents. Then we’ll drill through the box spring up through the mattress and then into her heart. “You’re a genius, Roger.” “Thanks, Burt.” “No problem, Rog.”

What was I supposed to do? My parents were downstairs living it up watching “Dynasty.” I was all alone upstairs with two maniacs who had a hand-drill and knew had to use it. All I could do was bury myself in these stupid blankets soaked with my sweat. Blankets that I couldn’t get to fold underneath me, my mother had done a military job of tucking my covers. I could sense Burt and Roger beginning their work. Here it comes. This is it. The end! It was too soon. I had yet to accomplish all my goals, like spelling my own last name. Desperate my two foot frame pushed out a yell, “DAD!!!” I couldn’t yell for mom, her tucking technique had made her suspect. For all I knew she could have been in cohoots with Burt and Roger.

“Shit Roger, she’s on to us.”
“Hurry up then.”
“DAD!!!” Sweat and tears collected in puddles on my face.
“Quicker, Burt. Quicker.”
“Quicker yourself.”
“I don’t want to die at five.” I whimpered. Heavy lumbering feet pounded up the steps. It’s Dad. Whew.
“Why aren’t you sleeping?”
Crying “They’re going to kill me.”
“No one’s going to kill you.”
“Yes, they’re under the bed and they’re going to drill into my heart.”
My father crouched down on his knees and looked under my bed.
“There’s no one down there.” He reported.
“They’ve hid while you wasted precious time doubting me.”
“No. Go to sleep.
“Listen, no one wants to kill you. Why would anyone want to hide under a bed all night to kill a five year old girl?”
“You’re saying I’m not special. People do to want to kill me. I’m just as important as the people on the news! You don’t know.”

And so it went until I was 18 when I finally moved out. I’ve spent my adult life trying to keep one step ahead of Roger and Burt. First I went to Boston. I enrolled in one the many private colleges there. Dorm life was perfect. My bed’s proximity to the floor left no room for a person to hide. The floors themselves were concrete, so they couldn’t be penetrated with a hand drill. The boys or any other evil-doers would need a loud power drill to get to me--totally making their presence known. He ha! Of course a laser would have done the job, pretty quite, but lasers require tons of voltage. I further ensured my safety by switching dorm rooms each year. I tried to switch rooms each semester, but the Student Life Department was cold and unfeeling. They said unless it was my roommate trying to kill me there was nothing they could do. I said the only thing keeping my roommate from killing me was that I tie her hands and feet to her bedposts after she falls asleep each night. Then I wake up early and untie her. If she catches me she can’t complain, because then she’ll have to admit to her nefarious plans.

After college I kept on the move: LA, Portland, OR and now Brooklyn. People question my choice of Brooklyn. “If you’re so scared of being murdered why would you move to Brooklyn?” I tell them murder knows no geography. Death is everywhere, people. I’ve lived with the label of “crazy-paranoid” and “self involved and self-aggrandizer.” “No one’s out to get you” friends would tell me echoing my father’s sentiments. “Look you’re not dead.” I’m not dead because I’m cunning.

And then it happened. Death tipped his hand and proved that I was not insane but one of the sanest people to ever inhale oxygen.

Earlier this very September on a dark rainy night my boyfriend Jack and I took in some theatre. Talk about terrifying, Edward II by Bertolt Brecht. Nothing like early Brecht…thank god. Sitting through two and half hours of high concept self important theatre left us exhausted, so we decided to make an early night of it. We headed home and went to sleep. At 4 in the morning my day of reckoning finally arrived. I awoke to my door creeking open. A hand I've never seen before snuck it's way into my room and flicked my light on. OH MY GOD!!!! We're being robbed. HOLY SHIT!!! this is it someone is going to rape and kill me. AHHHH!!! A hundred variations of my mutilation sped through my head. 3 seconds later I screamed aloud, "Get the fuck out of my room!!!" The hand shut the light off withdrew and shut the door. I quickly turned on my lamp next to my bed, and grabbed my 5.5 foot stick I keep next to my bed. Jack lay next to me soundly sleeping. I swear that boy could sleep through a Black Flag concert, sometimes it’s like he’s not even there. “Jack, there’s someone in the apartment.”

“Yeah, you’re roommates.”
“No, no no, someone else. They’re right out that door.”

He began to sob. Those bastards! No one makes my man weep—no one but me. I had had it. 28 years of not sleeping had finally taken it’s toll. I guess I was delerious because I decided we needed to face the intruder. Jack’s always telling me we all have to die one day. Maybe he’s right. I mean I’ve finally mastered how to spell my name. “Let’s go Jack!” We headed out of my bedroom. I was armed with my stick and Jack armed himself with a pillow. I was ready to realize the new me, take the bull by the horns. I stormed out of my bedroom made a sharp left straight into the bathroom where I threw up. Yeah, I was scared out of my mind. What did I think I was doing? But it was too late we already left the safety of the covers. I quickly rinsed my mouth and we slowly made our way into the living room. There he was the cat burglar holding our 24 inch television. I meekly eeked out, “Put that down.”

“No. What are you going to do little girl sweep me with that broom handle? And you, pussy with the pillow you going to tell me a lullaby?”
“It’s a shield!” Jack protested.. I was scared, but no one teases my man. I thrusted my stick at the bugler’s Adam’s apple. He dropped the television on his foot and began to whimper. My downstairs neighbors pounded on their ceiling telling us to shut-up. As the burglar hopped around on one foot, making more noise, I threw a side-strike with my stick to his temple. Splat, he was on the floor. I moved toward the body. I thought I’d drag the dude out of my apartment, but before I could get a good hold on my victim his accomplice surprised us. Where did he come from? We don’t know. He put Jack in a bear hug. But due to the pillow Jack was holding convict number 2 couldn’t break his ribs. I guess that pillow wasn’t so stupid after all. Jack then grabbed the wrist and forearm of his attacker dropped to his knees and pivoted his body toward the ceiling flipping the guy over Jack’s shoulder pounding perp into the floor and he was out for the count. Again the downstairs neighbors shouted profanities through the floor.

Jack and I just about caught our breath when someone began pounding on my door. “Who is it?” “You’re downstairs neighbors” I opened the door ready to apologize. Standing in my doorway was Roger and Burt and they weren’t alone. They had a posse of 10 consisting of closet monsters, re-animated crumpled clothing, and aliens who fronted as parents to some unsuspecting children. They had found me and been renting the apartment below mine for several months now, I don’t know how I missed that. “We’ve found you Rachael. Very clever of you to clutter the underside of your bed with your crap.” Honestly, that wasn’t by design. I just live in NYC and that’s the only place I have to store my stuff. “You’re just as loud as you were as a child. But not for long.”

They attacked right there in the doorway. I tried beating them off with my stick. Jack used the pillow to try to smother the alien parents. I didn’t know how much longer we’d be able to hold them off. And then I remembered the chicken I bought last week that I never got around to cooking. “I’ll be back.” Jack screamed! “Don’t Leave!!” I rushed to the refrigerator grabbed the Key foods chicken. I ripped open the packaging and almost passes out from the stench. Yes, it was perfect. I turned around to run back to the front door, but they had already pushed there way in and surrounded my man. I jumped on Roger’s back and forced the rancid chicken down his throat!!! “Eat it! Eat it! Eat the chicken!” He fell to the floor in a salmonella fit. Then onto Burt’s back with the remaining thighs. He dropped the hand drill. Jack picked it up and began drilling his way through the bodies of the closet monsters.

Somehow we defeated them. Their bloody bodies cluttered the living room. I left them there for my roommate to clean-up, I figure if I clean his dishes he can clean my monsters. Jack and I exhausted collapsed on the couch. “I love you.” I said. “I love you too.” He responded. Holy shit. I said it. I said I love you.


Chris said…
You funny lady!

Thanks again for reading last night, and it was fun hanging out with you afterwards too.
rachael said…
It was fun hanging out, thanks for having me.
Will McKinley said…
Good story. I'm sure they loved you.
P/O said…
love the unedited version.

nice meeting you. if i had had a water bottle, i totally would have let you drink out of it. :)
rachael said…
if you did I wouldn't give you the flu.
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Iza Firewall said…
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