Dream Scatology
by Charlie Scott

Stephanie’s surname was Fu, then switched – mutinously and downright willfully – to Zhong. But once she got the sudden news that her sometime despotic father – the good Dr. Fu – had died in an undisclosed hospice near La Jolla, she painstakingly pondered changing it back to Fu. Loss, guilt, atonement, restoration. The old order gnawing away at you. Judiciously, affectionately. Or she might’ve taken on Mister Bloomfeld’s last name, since the two of them had been married now for five blithe fast-forwarding years. By the way, his first name was, in fact, “Mister.” You can look it up. If you defy believing me. Anyway, this private debacle of Steph’s was ongoing at the very same time my father was kidnapped. The story unfolds something like this. One tepid afternoon, I stop near the off-ramp of Interstate 59 North at the Pisgah Highway, the one about a mile below Rising Fawn and, after clumsily maneuvering it out of the trunk, leave my road bike lying on its side in the loading bay of a gravelly, seemingly vacated warehouse. It is only then that Aunt Charlotte, in the back seat and rising to life out of another one of her many diabetic comas (too many Kit-Kats stashed away in her undies), opens her mouth and opines lazily that the russet colored brick buildings towering all about us are, in fact, public schools – maybe a middle or maybe a high. To my thinking, however, there is far too much water pouring off the broadly provocative, slashing granite slopes, filling up an ugly gorge far below, bottom unseen. Thus, I reply, the buildings are more likely condominiums. Ones constructed specifically for the tourist season. The droves of public gawkers. Leaf oglers and Rhododendron snappers. These are, after all, lushly decorous parts. Fall, winter, spring. Think time-shares, my dear. Charlotte’s always stocking up on those. Much like the canned yams and hams she pounces upon post-Thanksgiving. Over the years I’ve noted that most of my thinking’s recreational, devoid of the stock-piling and rat-packing strain. Rather it meanders through a mild attraction of worries, much as one, a lepidopterologist let’s say, might wander a piquant, roly-poly field. But in this case, the concern-of-the-instant is for my dear Ethan’s whereabouts – the Ethan of about 5 years of age. By the way, Ethan’s my one son. So that when I finally manage to get back to check on my bike, I see that several of its particular parts have been ripped-off and, even more insidiously, replaced by cheaper facsimiles. As in the bike is still assuredly whole, entirely such, but so many of its parts are clearly different from the ones that comprised what I had earlier deposited. The cross-bar for steering, the brake levers and gear shifters, and – oh my stars! – the pricey Brooks of London leather butt-rest. Then the woman, idling up from elsewhere, says she’ll help me look, but later returns reporting that the school’s insurance will reimburse me up to nine-hundred and fifty bucks. I tell her the bike is worth a thousand, which was not truthfully what I paid my father-in-law for it, but what I feel is it its genuine market value. Later, the principal would dawdle out and confirm the insurance guarantee of nine-fifty. I mosey, mid-ponder, over to find Ethan (Eureka!) and Charlotte sitting placidly, regally in her bulbous, ochroid Mercury Marquis. Each in the thick of licking an icy treat. All this, in sumly sumptuous clutter, is how I knew my father’d been kidnapped. Moreover, I stood in the order-line behind two men at the Buffalo Grille and overheard the prattle they whispered about their victim. For instance, his peculiar way of breathing. During the chase through the woods, they were easily able to ascertain behind what tree or beneath what shrub he was hiding because of this queer little whistling chirp his lips made as he exhaled. By the time they trapped him under a former cow shed’s collapsed planks – hawhaw – he was “wheezing like one of them traffic pigs a-waging war with his pea-puffer” – I don’t know – amidst the rush hour flood at Peachtree and Ponce. How poetic. These muscular gruff guffaw machines thusly pumped up. I remembered the time my parents lost me at the Comer Scout Reservation out on Lookout Mountain. Somehow everyone else had scuttled the premises. Gone home. I was left alone out there for several more than a few hours. This was not a dream. I kept trying to figure out if I was in trouble or not about the whole affair. Being out there all alone and such. Or was this someone else’s fault? So I laid low, watched the wind push-broom through the pine tree crowns, kicked around some chert kernals pushed to the road’s shoulder where I kept. There were some pages of a porn mag – or as my scout brethren put it, a smut-rag – I’d come across wadded and tossed into one of the campground’s firepits. One lady’s portrait was all wrinkled up, but there was still some good left in it. Her dark nipples were clearly on display – bedecked with goose flesh – as well as a luscious little wash of amber hair due south of her belly button right at the fold-out’s sun-paled hem. So when I heard them scraping the gravel of the roadbeds, I dutifully slunk down to avoid the Reservation Super’s patrol buggy. It was like I was the kidnapped and the kidnapper both. Finally, though, I emerged. In answer to the scrapes. Came out. It was almost dark. The Super mashed his brakes, pressed his back against the front-seat springs and said “Son you’re a sight for my sore eyes.” So when those two guys in line said what they said about their victim, I knew it was dad. It was, additionally – and generally – a sense that everything was verging beyond boundaries and measurements, rivers and mountains. A calculated and irresistible incubus was sliding in, infecting the usual calm and poise and patience. In the staff meeting, the old nun, sitting amongst a group of other old – and, by the way, uninvited – nuns, apparently suffered some sort of demonic possession, clear out of left field, and fell onto the concrete beneath her flip-up seat, spasming herkily-jerkily on what I soon discovered, running to her aid, was a pale smooth circumcised penis, jutting out from the folds of her habit. I tried to calm the crowd – as it was, after all, my meeting – blurting out matter-of-factly “It’s just a nun having a devil of a seizure, folks – nothing more!” And as she began to shrink smaller and smaller and as more of my staff began to gather around what was left (and quickly leaving) of her trembling substance (until she’d compressed to about the size of a Barbie doll), the penis shifted to the other side of her robe. Still clearly in view, erect and all – her tiny white fingers clasped hungrily round its diminished shaft. Maybe the doll was in question was a Ken? No matter. The courtyard outside the lecture hall sloped like that of the gorge that had figured into earlier events, but was dry and sun-spanked, instead of garrulously aflow. Do you remember anything else? Stephanie, as far as I know, never changed her name back to Fu. Of what she goes by now I’m unaware. We plan to catch-up on the phone some Friday soon. I do hope they release my dad. Are you surprised? All indications are that they will. Rising Fawn, Georgia, has no school system proper. All the kids there trickle into the academies up north in Trenton or south to the little spring-fed hamlet of Valley Head. The town with the coldest mean temperature in the state of Alabama. Productivity analysts report that nine per cent of all attendees at meetings are uninvited. Most wander in out of curiosity, though some are simply bored. There is no data as to why they stay. Or how long for. Or where they go to next. “Adjournment” is the most popular agenda item at business gatherings. Yet, in most Asian cultures a person’s surname comes first, before the given one (the one we call the “Christian”). However, once they’ve migrated, many families reverse this order so as to be better aligned. Just this morning my road bike was silver, not white – all parts intact, hanging upside down in the garage like an indignant, underfed bat. And later that night, after the rescue, two men I didn’t precisely know by name, drove me home and my dad came out of the house, shook their hands, and took me quietly inside. There was an apple pie still warm and my mother put her arms around me like I had never felt ever. And for many days afterwards, all my classmates at school chided and teased me about how she had cried cried cried over the phone to their parents, “Oh what have I gone and done with my little boy?”

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