Rice a Rona

I hear Mike Myers’ voice emanating, yes, emanating, from the living room.

“Have we descended into Wayne’s World?” I holler at little brother.

I peer around the counter separating the kitchen table from Mike Myers presence. Little brother glances up from his tea. He raises a hand in the air. It makes a V for victory which also indicates el número dos.

This isn’t just Wayne’s World. It’s the sequel.

Sorry to interrupt with politics but I’d prefer not to have a white man for president. I’d rather Wayne than what we have though because what we have is a what and not a who. At least Wayne is working class. He knows what it’s like to ride shotgun in a Gremlin. He dates women of color. He cares about his friends and community.

Like you, I am imaginationally and attentionally challenged right now.

I’m writing at little brother’s kitchen table.

“Did you hear they’re making Wayne’s World 3?” he hollers.

I can’t imagine anyone making a movie right now.

I can’t imagine anyone making a movie ever again though that’s not true. I can totally imagine it. It’ll be the first feature film made via TikTok.

There’ll be a new award for this genre, the Toskars.

I’ve never spent this much time with little brother in confinement. He spent a shitload of time with my sister in a confined space called mom. They’re twins. Please do not ask me if they are identical.

According to reality, I’ve spent seven days with my brother. It feels like seven months. He spent seven months in the womb with our sister, a doctor wrangled them free prematurely, and I may have irked little brother last night when I shouted at him, “I’m your new twin!” He raised an eyebrow, sipped his tea, and cracked his knuckles.

There are tales about twins eating twins in hostile wombs.

Mortal wombat.

Little brother has a nameless iguana. Well, he calls it iguana. The job of an intellectual is to name things. I can’t tell if the iguana is staring at me or asleep but I’m pretty sure he’s staring through those slits. The iguana hates people. He’s a misanthrope, like Ebenezer Scrooge without the humbugs. The iguana lives in a large glass aquarium. I could hop into the aquarium with him and we would still have room to fit my brother and sister. We’d be cramped triplets.

On a table next to where I sit teems a box filled with live crickets. They wait to be fed to other things living in this house. I’m not sure how many animals in addition to us are in here. I know there are couple of snakes around these parts and sometimes they get loose. When that happens, and little brother can’t find them, he waits for a scream. The fear allows him to echolocate his friends.

In the living room, actors are not practicing social distancing. Kim Basinger is doing her laundry at a Wayne’s World laundromat and Garth is leering at her. He’s into her and so he offers her red rope licorice and she accepts it and eats it sexily and this strikes me as so dangerous and taboo and cavalier and I feel like I’m writing a low rent version of the Decameron. Have you read the Decameron? I haven’t looked at that thing in a long time, not since I was an undergrad doing medieval history, pestilence and plagues.

The Decameron was written by an Italian, Giovanni Boccaccio, who I always think of as Bitchacho. The book tells about a bunch of Florentines who split town and go into the countryside to escape the Black Death, wait it out. There’s no FaceTime or Zoom or Instagram Live so these motherfuckers take turns telling stories. They tell a series of tales. That’s it. That’s the tweet. The tales are what you’d expect. Stories of sluts. Stories of people falling in toilets. Real Renaissance subjects.

“Ci cacciano in cucina a dir delle favole colla gatta,” rants one of Bitchacho’s lady narrators. “They banish us to the kitchen, there to tell stories to the cat.” She’s describing what happens to women in “old age” but on planet earth 2020, humanity has been collectively banished to the kitchen. And I am on the verge of telling stories to the iguana.

I could tell the iguana about how in high school, in my economics class, for extra credit, I wrote a research paper on the Black Death. My econ teacher gave me a B. I told myself that it was okay that I got a B even though I wanted an A. I told myself, “F is for Fabulous. B is for Bubonic.”

Everybody has got cinematic and literary epidemics on the brain because of mimesis or whatever. A plague fucked up fertility in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and it seems like canonical white literature having to do with ‘demics involves tales. Tales structure the white telling.

Trump tells tales during his press conferences on the rona. Rice a Rona. My brain is doing this thing where anything it can ronize, it will. Remember that Bobby Brown song Roni…?

Irony becomes irona.

Little Brother's Iguana
Little Brother’s Iguana