Ralph Kramden sweats and sweats, his eyeballs bulging.
Plagued by the notion that he has become a whale, no a rhinoceros, no an inoculated hippo that shows up to birthday parties uninvited.
This visual grotesquerie, reflected to him through the clear mirror of the teapot that Alice had bought home (where did she get it from?) is something he cannot bear.
He begins pacing back and forth, back and forth, in the weathered shoebox of an apartment, wanting to yell, curse, stomp, holler, blame someone or something for this condition which apparently has become him, and he it, it’s murder to know oneself in this way and not be able to shake it off, absolute murder, and the cold beetles of sweat rolling down his back and shoulders and jowls are making everything so much worse, he has been confronted by the purest form of disgust, and if his life were a show, of which he had directorial control, he’d yell CUT, he’d scream CUT and peel off this suit of blubber he was wearing and allow the thin sane man within him to breathe, while rejoicing in the fact that Ralph Kramden, the sweating rhinoceros barge of a hothead was only a person meant to amuse, ha-ha, laugh everyone, it’s just a fat suit designed for your entertainment—I am not him, he is not me—yet this fictional reverie was betrayed when Ralph caught a flickering glimmer of himself, his true self, in the clear mirror of the teapot that Alice had brought home (where the hell did she get it, and more importantly, where was she?)
Anxiously, Ralph opens his window and calls up to his best friend and neighbor—Norton, hey Norton!!—and it is only when speaking the name aloud that revelation hit hard, as if the window had suddenly slammed shut on his head—Alice wasn’t coming back.
There was no more Alice. No more Norton, either. Or Norton’s wife, Trixie. All of them were gone. The schtick which his life had become had reached its conclusion.
He had been left alone, with unbearable reflections, and no one to raise his voice against.
Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, spoken word performer, and playwright, John Biscello now lives in Taos, New Mexico. He is the author of three novels: Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, and Nocturne Variations, and a collection of stories, Freeze Tag.
His fiction and poetry has appeared in: Art Times, nthposition, The Wanderlust Review, Ophelia Street, Caper, Polyphony, Dilate, Militant Roger, Chokecherries, Farmhouse, BENT, The 555 Collective, Instigator, Brass Sopaipilla, The Iconoclast, Adobe Walls, Kansas City Voices, and the Tishman Review. His blog--Notes of an Urban Stray--can be read at johnbiscello.blogspot.com. Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale was named Underground Book Reviews 2014 Book of the Year.