“Hey! Take that outta here. Get out with that until you tie it. That’s how we get animals in here.”
The only animal I saw was him. A red-tan sausage looking man with what must have been a minute penis considering his need to yell this to me while I was blatantly having a conversation about death on the telephone, saying, “How old would she have been?” It’s pretty fucking specific dialogue. He didn’t care. All he cared for was exerting what little authority he had in life over me, the one person in his firing range. Since it was obvious He could only fire blanks in the sperm realm–isn’t that what it always came down to with men and their rage? A penile inadequacy?
“Hello? Are you there?” he bellowed as I stood in the middle of the underground garage frozen in shock over his blatant and bombastic ability to proceed to stand there and tell me how to live my life. I thought the only benefit of leaving one’s parents house was the pleasure of being able to do whatever the fuck you wanted in the so-called real world. I could only glare at him as I held my sacks of trash in my hand and my phone to my ear in the other. I backed away from him, staring him the kind of daggers that should have rendered him dead if I was the witch I deserved to be, but nothing. He was still standing, now almost as flummoxed as I was as a result of my catatonic response. It was just too jarring to even bother to fight against. And as I told my mother how much I hated men and why did she feel the need to birth me into this world as a hetero or at all when it was so filled with all this penis-packing riffraff, I continued to carry the trash with me. The trash that had somehow manifested into this man’s symbolic bullshit of needing to control and order.
My mother, consistently annoying in her need to tell me to see things from the other person’s side, offered, “Well, were you taking the trash out incorrectly or not?”
“That’s not the fucking point, the point is that it’s not his business–and he was getting off–practically splooging–over his presumed power over me. The authority he could assert over me, the ‘little girl.’ The ‘nitwit’ incapable of taking the trash out correctly. The incompetent loafing about in her own filth for all intents and purposes because she couldn’t put a fucking tie around the top of the bag!”
“Are you maybe reading into all of this a bit much?”
“No, Mother. I’m not. Everything is psychologically motivated.”
“If that’s true, then I’ll say this: usually when a person like that invasively gives orders, it’s because they can’t control anything in their own lives, you know? They have to take out that feeling of out of controlness on someone else. You just happened to be there.”
I tripped over a crack in the suburban sidewalk, an errant leftover pumpkin from Halloween laughing at me from the porch as I did so. Some of the trash spilled out and I didn’t pick it up. New Jersey was already one giant trash can anyway. It didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was that we, as people, told ourselves we were doing some good to try to prevent the inevitable decay. For the man in that garage, how I got rid of the trash had nothing to do with his love of the environment, but rather, his hatred of it. Of the thing of nature. It made me want to force him and his precious SUV (for it was obvious that was what he drove without needing any corroboration other than his manner and aesthetic) into the very bowels of the Amazon, where he would be forced to be among that which he hated, that which was natural. What was also natural was the primordial feminine instinct to rage and rebel against the patriarchy constantly subjugating them in the overt ways they seemed to think were so subtle. Like, “Oh no, I’m just telling you how to take out the trash for your own good, sweetpea. It’s nothing against you or your inferior sex.”
Well. fuck. that. I would show him just how well I could take the trash out, I thought to myself as my mother continued to tout the merits of looking at things from other people’s viewpoints. The following week, after I lied in wait collecting as much trash as possible, really letting it build and spew out of my apartment that kept me imprisoned just outside of New York because of how cheap it was, I waited until one a.m. to strike, taking four sacks of untied trash down to the garage in shifts of three. That’s right, twelve fatty boom batty sacks just waiting to be pillaged by a lovely family of raccoons, rats or whatever the fuck else vermin might disgust the red-tan sausage man. I left them all in a nice, neat row for them to do their work. And their worst.
I slept the most peacefully I had in a long time after that, visions of men getting their dicks chopped off by a guillotine intensifying the beauty of my slumber. No one–no man–tells me what to fucking do and gets away with it. The following morning, I awoke to the sound of relentless pounding on my door. I knew exactly who it was. Slowly, I pulled on my robe, a pink faux silk number from TJ Maxx, and ambled sleepily to answer his call.
“Hello?” I said, as though I had never seen him before.
“I’ve been knocking on everyone’s door trying to find you.”
“Why? I don’t even know you.”
“Cut the shit. I saw that look in your eye last week. You’re responsible for the rodent marauding last night.”
“Sir, or whatever, I have no idea what you’re talking about, and you woke me up out of a very deep sleep so it would be great if you could like get to the point and let me go about my day.”
He started to say something in a way that looked as though he might scream, but then bit his lip. “You know what? You do that. You have a fucking fantastic day, okay? Honey.”
His final word most definitely did not sit well with me, made me question why he would be so quick to suppress his contempt for me like that all at once. Despite my best attempts to write him off as a dullard and a brute, it was clear there was something up his sleeve. And yet…I was too exhausted and satisfied with upsetting him to care. So I let him go, let it go.
It was two weeks later, when I came home from my job at the Urban Outfitters on Sixth Avenue, that I saw it, what his plan had turned out to be. It was smeared all over my door…in honey. I laughed. I could take it to the next level, be a fly to the honey as he had been the fly to my trash, sure, keep escalating it if I wanted to. We could one-up each other until the building somehow exploded either from our antics or our hateful energies. But no, I decided. For this is what he was banking on all along, that the woman would somehow bow down and bow out. Fade to gray.