Table Thirteen: Joseph Suglia

She is sitting on the green bench. She is wearing a red T-shirt. Her T-shirt reads Proud to be a MILF. The thirtyish woman with short brown hair is embracing an aardvark, pawing its long ears and petting its long snout as if it were her own child. She cradles the animal as if it were the fruit of her own body.

The aardvark leaps from her lap. It hits the cement. There, before you, is the funny aardvark, the funny rat-pig, with pointed ears, a fat, pendulous, rat-like tail, and an elongated pig’s snout. The aardvark sits there, squatting on the pavement.

Now the aardvark resumes its lateral position. Now the aardvark is scurrying around, digging into the grass, digging in the earth.

You ford on, toward the crossing of Clark Street and Grand Avenue.

Dazedly gazing at nothing, a bearded man of twenty-six winters holds a sign made of corrugated cardboard. The sign reads HOMELESS MUSICIAN NEEDS MONEY TO BUY A GUITAR.

To your left is a nunnishly skeletal woman of forty summers. She is a creamy-necked woman. The creamy-necked woman strides across Clark Street toward a brownstone apartment building. She wears a red woolen cap and sheer silk stockings, blackish-grey and semi-transparent, beneath her black skirt. She is chewing chewing gum or something that has the easy masticability of chewing gum. Her T-shirt reads Trophy Wife.

Upon reaching the stairway, she turns around. She smiles at you a calm marijuana smile.

The boy with the guitar is walking away with huge strides. Sunshine shines down upon him like a skein of yellow yarn.

You are walking past a café. You gaze into the café as you walk. There, within the café, there is a young woman at one of the tables. Her neck and shoulders are bare. The girl is wearing a polka-spotted dress and has wax-white skin which contrasts with the sheening black of her hair. Her hair is black as black velvet and bobbed. She is leafing through a Jonathan Safran Foer novel inattentively and sipping on her espresso.

The solar radiance makes its way into the café, which is, in a brief flash, raging with light. The sunlight crosses into her eyeballs, making them look like fireballs, illumining her eyelids from within. Her elastic eyelids open and close as she speaks to her mobile telephone. She begins a new sentence with every beat of her eyelashes. Her blue-ribboned hair is sun-shining. A blast of light.

She studies you for a moment with lynx eyes, the lynx-eyed woman. She yawns with a kind of morbid boredom.

Within the café, you see the anteaters and the pangolins. The anteaters and the pangolins are tonguing the yogurt. Their various probings and gropings meet with gleeful delight.

You spread your arms horizontally as you trudge ahead.

You look to your right. Through the glass, you see a man of advanced age and large stature squatting on the floor, ogling a Plasma-screen television set that had been dragged to the window. You spy his oval baldness, his egg-shaped bald head.

This man wants both to be seen by passers-by and to see passers-by. On the floor are bowls of popcorn and crushed beer cans. The television is emitting an emergency warning of some kind; the screen displays flickering white letters on a green background. You cannot see the words on the screen clearly; it is turned away from you. The man raises himself and approaches the flickering screen. He caresses the screen caressively.

Now he is looking at you and grinning.

He is a large bald man with a ring on each of his ten fingers, like a character in a gangbanger video game, his hairy legs shaped by white socks. Puddingfaced, twin black eyes are poking out of that pudding-face. His naked arms are protruding from the armholes of his white MILF Patrol T-shirt. His yoke-like shoulders are rocking up and down idiotically. He is wearing a zebra vest.

The dome-headed man expands his nostrils and snorts. His ears are disproportionately large and pinkish.

As you pass the department store window, the dome-headed man taps the glass and smiles at you wearily in some sign of human fraternity. You keep walking without paying him attention.

Now past the World Market you are walking. Armadillos scuttle into the World Market, mutant potato bugs.

As you pass the umbrellaed outdoor tables of an Italian restaurant, you see an armadillo throbbing in an epileptic paroxysm.

Sheltered under an umbrella, the armadillo is throbbing wildly and shooting out its adhesive tongue at the passing dragonflies. It will soon roll itself into a ball, cute turtle-rabbit.

You approach the armadillo. You come close to the armadillo.

Touch the grooved armor of the nine-banded armadillo. Touch its tail. Touch its hard plated shell. Touch its snout.

You reach out and stroke the pink snout of the armadillo.

The armadillo shoots out its long violent sticky tongue. The tongue sticks to your hand-skin. You draw back your hand.

The animal smiles and leans forward, welcoming another touch.

Copyright 2014 by Joseph Suglia


6 thoughts on “Table Thirteen: Joseph Suglia”

  1. I’ve read several of these chapters now… and comments from many people at each of those chapters, and I think I’m going to say/ask things you haven’t heard before (at least not on this blog) :

    Your style seems deliberately hypnotic. That’s not a criticism, just an observation. As I read it, I almost hear the Twilight-Zone narrator in my head. Repetition of seemingly random key-words and specific imageries, makes me wonder: what exactly are you trying to evoke in the reader? Say, with Chapter 1, specifically? How about with the snakes in the fridge? I feel something oddly familiar, disturbing, yet alluring about it. I would love to hear your insights on these things.


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