ToBS R2: ‘magic realism’ vs. Alcoholism
[Matchup #33 in Tournament of Bookshit]
Gabriel Garcia Marquez dropped his iPhone on the sidewalk. A crack shot through the street sending fire hydrants blasting into the sky, splitting the 9/11 Memorial in two, setting the Wall Street Bull a-bucking after a bunch of shrieking schoolgirls in preppy outfits. No, wait. As Gabriel Garcia Marquez took an upskirt of himself on the base of the Statue of Liberty, Alcoholism stumbled over and sent his iPhone tracing a slow arc to the sea. When Marquez looked up Alcoholism held one of those Zack Morris phones to his face and said, “I’m at your house.” Gabriel paled as he reached for the phone. Alcoholism punched him in the nose with it. “Just kidding, jackass. I went to your house but you weren’t there. So I burned it down.” Gabriel held his bloody nose in both hands peering through a pair of watery almonds. “By the by, saw those penis enlargement pills in your medicine cabinet. Are those for your clit?” Before Marquez could stutter, Alcoholism reared a fist and hooked a hole through his face, which contorted into hyperbole. “L-O-L,” slurred Alcoholism. “Who do you think you are, Franz-fucking-Kafka? I think no.” His forearm still lodged in Gabriel’s face, Alcoholism spat, “You should’ve called your novel Fortress of Solitude — that’s a way better name. Bet you and Lethem cried in each other’s arms when you saw that movie Big Fish. Actually, while I have you here, I’ve been meaning to ask, Did your mommy read you fucking fairy tales every night?” Marquez’s eyes drooped an ellipsis… “That’s cute,” Alcoholism laughed. “My mom was too busy putting steaks on her one good eye to read me James & the Giant Peach. So I lived it. That’s why I write about depression — it’s the only thing that’s real. If you didn’t spend so much time playing Final Fantasy on your iPhone you would realize that and nag a script for Zoloft.” Marquez tried to move his lips but all that dribbled forth was a chunky ooze of Germanic gunk, “ddjaflakjdf…” Alcoholism laughed and tried to pull his arm from Gabriel’s face, but it was stuck. “Gimme back my hand,” he said, “I need to tweet about what a little bitch you are.” A giggle emanated from the base of Marquez’s throat as a fledgling beak tore through his Adam’s apple. In a sort of Chucky voice, it trilled, “You’re not tweeting shit, Bukowski. It would just be verbose and full of typos anyway. You have no respect for the English language. Not that you know any other. Actually though, you should go ahead and screenprint your face on your t-shirts the way Chuck did. That way people in the future know what you looked like before your portrait became a frame on a wall with no picture.” Horrified, Alcoholism jabbed his left at the nib, but it crushed his knuckles like a sock puppet full of tiny Christmas ornaments. Shaken but not stirred, Alcoholism cried, “Don’t you realize I’m a disease?!” The beak in Marquez’s throat sniffed, “Bitch I lived through cholera, have you ever even seen someone work a day in your life? All you do is further people’s misery. At every open mic in every book-minded bar everywhere they’re forced to listen to your tediously yarned whines concerning the chopping of firewood and the mixing of drink after drink after drink while your family tries to sleep over your rage as your eyes grow bloodier and bloodier and bloodier bloodshot. Do you even have a fireplace, or is it just one of those gas situations? Get over yourself. I have a chiminea in my study — I have to wave smoke out the window with coca leaves. Everyone drinks, goddammit. Writing about hell is not the same thing as being in it. You’ve never been poor. The summer you spent on unemployment does not give you invaluable insight into the misery of the working class. You’re drinking Scotch for fuck’s sake. Grow up. Poor people sip Night Train and think vomiting blood is just another thing you do in the bathroom. Where are your scruples, fool?” As he bore into Gabriel’s weird eyes, a tear rolled down Alcoholism’s cracked cheek, softening his face into something like the milk of human kindness, or maybe magnesia. “I’m sorry,” he lamented, “It’s just — I’m so damn depressed. I want to understand other people’s depression because I feel guilty accepting my own. It’s true, I do have so much when some have so little. It’s the mask of a workaday grizzly bear I wear around the house that lets me feel more like a man for a few, because I care or whatever. Please — give us one more chance, Gabriel. I’ll prove to you, I too can scribe inner visions in a style that supersedes the real with something like sentimental zeal.” Marquez’s face ballooned, disgorging Alcoholism’s arm. Slivers of bone in the mangled hand sizzled into place making the sound of shattering glass in reverse and a high tone rang the ears of both as each held the other’s gaze in a solemn moment of slow-motion reverie, like the calm before a storm brewing in the whites of Alcoholism’s pink eyes tinging red reaching for Gabriel’s shoulder blade pulling him head first to cradle the skull in the other drawing it hard through rising knee, not once, not twice, but three times, pulverizing Marquez’s death mask to bloody chunks dripping on the wet grass of Ellis Island. The dull, dead body lulled the ground with a thump heard round the island. Alcoholism stood over the body, tore off a strip of Gabriel’s garb (his skin), pulled a quill from his pocket and stabbed the meat for good measure. He tugged a handle of Scotch from his coat pocket. “Snob,” he scoffed, and crooked the bottle back for a serious pull. Slowly lowering it upon weighted forearm, he wiped his mouth with the other, narrowing his eyes to the set of onlookers gathered for the fight. Snorting deep, he hocked a bloody pap on the corpse and set the tawny remainder gushing over the sack of flesh with a look like “just look what I am doing right now,” washing the body of Gabriel Garcia Marquez away into the brine, who took it for one of her long lost children, another flotsam for the gyre, a log for the fire. On the parchment Alcoholism gored a note in feral hand: Thou that penetrates the mystery soothes the crease of time. O sure! Step boldly toward the abyss. But there’s no need to get your feet wet. Trust me, they’ll totally waterlog and you’ll be burying them at sea. No, reality is already magical – it’s called getting serviced. Besides, you won’t be turning the moon’s patina. No one is that strong, not even me. And I’m an ox among men. Watch me glisten! Alcoholism rolled the note in his fingers, crusted with dried blood, and dropped it in the empty flagon. Smiling, he licked his fangs and capped it shut with the stamp of a duke ejaculating the slightest sound, like squishing a heart. Shifting his weight at the knees, Alcoholism drew the mollycoddle cocktail back and hurled the message at Liberty’s pale green face. He blacked out on her lawn, and pissed himself while a hail of glass splintered upon the crowd, gazing up, like hungry sheep.
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