Potty Mouth
Jim Ruland

Thompson gets angry. Thompson gets angry when I won't let him be right. About dogs and pigs—the only mammals that wag their tails. About the average recliner containing a million dust mites. About chocolate coming from beans, like coffee. "That's preposterous," he says. "That's the facts." "Well your facts are preposterous." "A hippopotamus is preposterous. Facts are facts," I say with a shrug that means "remove my panties this instant!"

It's my own fault it's come to this.

I want Thompson to be a wolf so I can be the treat that he snatches up in his jaws, but I have taught him that wearing the sheep's clothing pays by mounting him in his recliner while he grades his papers. My knees are all over Stevie Archibald's introductory paragraph. My hands clutch Amy Chandler's conclusion. I punctuate his nervous neck with tiny kisses and coax Thompson's mighty red pen into position.

I expect to pass this class with flying colors.

Thompson is in need of revision. He needs to know that buying shampoo in bulk is not sexy. He doesn't understand that he needs to get out more. He complains that he's worn out another pair of loafers. "Only loafers wear out loafers." "What should one wear out?" "Dancing shoes and young girls," I say, but all that gets me is a troubled look as I shut the door and unkink my scarf.

Between the slats of his blinds I see boys frolicking with a frisbee on the campus lawn—a frisbee!

"What are you doing?" he asks. "Hippopotamus," I say as I go for his belt. "What if someone comes?" "Someone will." "Hippopotamus," Thompson whispers, suddenly not so angry anymore.

Jim Ruland is the author of the short story collection, Big Lonesome, a recipient of a literature fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the host of Vermin on the Mount, an irreverent reading series in the heart of L.A. 's Chinatown.

To link to this story directly: http://wigleaf.com/200810pottymouth.htm

Photo detail on main page courtesy of Dr. John.

w i g · l e a F               10-01-08                                [home]