Read This Is What Happens Next Online

Authors: Daniel MacIovr

This Is What Happens Next (5 page)

He rubs his head like it hurts from thinking.

But it's hard in the restaurant with the kid because there's not a lot of dads alone with their seven-year-old kids. I don't see them anyway. And I don't know what to say to him half the time and it's harder at the restaurant because I keep thinking people know, people can see I don't know what to say. “Oh that guy doesn't know what to say to his kid.” Sometimes I think maybe I should be the clown and stick some chalkstips in my mouth and be like, “I am the Walrus!” But he'd just think that was stupid. Ah! Ah! See right there? See that? See why do I have to think that? Why do I have to think that. He's not going to think it's stupid he would think it was funny. See what happens when I think too much. I'm getting better though. I used to be real bad. Before I stopped heavy drinking. But now I'm good as long as I don't have a drink in the morning.
(He regards the glass in his hand.)
Yeah yeah but I'm okay, I'm okay. Ah it doesn't matter. A couple of times before I went over to pick him up on Saturday morning with a glow on and a bottle in my pocket, no big deal. He likes it. I mean he doesn't know I've been drinking but he thinks I'm funny. “You're funny.” She won't care. She won't know. She won't lay eyes on me. She won't have me in the house. By
. That was our house one time. Sleep in on Saturdays. He was a baby. Or before he was there. Stay in bed all day. Eat sandwiches. Crumbs in the sheets. Who cares? That part of her back. Softest place ever.
(He hits himself on the head; he laughs.)
I think too much! But you know what? If the plan is to see him today? If I get the call? Then I know what I'm going to do. Because she's always, “You made me buy him that goddamn bike but you won't take him out on it.” But if the plan is I see him today then today is the day the training wheels come off. That's how you learn. Get right into it. That's what a father does. Get right up there with him, give him a good push, have a laugh. I'm not a good father.


Oh, that's not fair. That's not fair. “I'm
a bad father.” That's not fair. “Oh he said—hear what he said?” I don't care what you think. I don't care what you think. I don't care what she thinks. I don't care what anyone thinks. I care what he thinks though. I care what he thinks. Because I don't want him to have to grow up and some day be sitting there with his wife or his girlfriend and have to tell her: “My dad didn't even teach me how to ride a bike.”

knocks back the drink.



The phone rings.

Light shift.

And there's the call.

Music: “Happy Ending.”

Hmm, that drink made me feel like… Another.

reaches under the table and takes out a vodka bottle and pours another drink.

Oh I know, the poor guy. Some people just can't help being themselves. What it really comes down to is some people just can't handle their own lives so they need a little medication. One man's cocktail is another man's prescription. And why can't they handle it? Because they give their story away. They give it over. Look, in life, you can be a passenger or you can be a driver. If you want to get your stuff you have to drive. It's very simple. You want the girl? Get the girl. You want to know your fortune? Open the cookie. You want to tell the story? Go and get your stuff. And hey, is that what we're supposed to be doing? What are we doing sitting around here? Let's go get our stuff. But we could wait around for a minute or two. That way you'd get to meet the kid. Before we kill him.

Light shift and giant music, Marilyn Manson's “This Is The New Shit.”

does his giant dance.


Once upon a time there was this guy. Heeee was this guy. Heeee was just this guuuuy. Just this guy with a wife and two kids: one kid a twin boy and one kid a twin girl. And every night they'd all have dinner of pizza that he picked up in his car for takeout on his way home from work where he worked as aaaaaaaa dentist! And he was a dentist because he had really clean hands and really really fresh breath and these glasses things you could wear to watch movies in the chair and it made it looked like the movies were on the ceiling but they weren't on the ceiling they were just in the glasses things—
It's Ariel and her beautiful hair and flowing red and beautiful in the swimming of underwater: “I am Ariel”—
and not on the ceiling but just right there in the glasses things right in front of your eyes. So there's this guy who was a dentist and his wife was his wife and his two kids who were two kids, one kid a twin boy and one twin a twin girl, and everyone was really happy but not really. And because everyone was really happy but not really, every night the guy would go into the basement and drink magic juice. The magic juice was magic because it made the guy feel a little bit better and a little bit funny and a little bit bigger. The magic juice was also poison but it was only poison if you drank too much. But because it made the guy feel a little bit better and a little bit funny and little bit bigger, every night he drank just a little bit too much. And one night there was a terrible fight about pizza. Because they had pizza every night. And every night was too much of pizza for the guy's wife and one night she just starting yelling and crying: “
” And the guy got really mad and almost crying too: “
NOW!” And that night the guy goes into the basement and he's so upset and he drinks all of the magic juice. Every single drop from every single bottle. Even drops from bottles all sticky like they've been there since last summer even bottles with cigarette butts in them. Then everyone goes to bed. And everything gets very very very very very very very very very very quiet. Then everybody wakes up and it's morning and the guy brushes his teeth and drinks his coffee—not at the same time! And the guy goes to put on his shoes but his shoes don't fit. They are just a little too tight. So the guy goes and gets these other shoes he got for Christmas that were just a little too big but now they fit just perfect. And so he goes to work and it's a normal day. “Good morning, Miss Green, you look very pretty today what are my appointments? Hello, Mister Babbledob, how are your teeth today? Are you flossing and brushing after every meal, Jeanie? Good afternoon, little boy, would you like to watch a movie on my special glasses? What a long day I'm very tired good night, Miss Green.” And then the guy goes home and even still gets pizza like normal because he just wants everything to be normal and he doesn't know what else to do but pizza because pizza is normal. And then he goes to bed. Then the next morning the guy wakes up and he goes to put on his pants but his pants don't fit so he makes his belt bigger and thinks, “No more pizza for me!” And then the next morning he wakes up and he goes to work and his head keeps hitting the ceiling of his car so he has to drive like this bent over. And the next day he goes to work and his fingers are too big to fit in anybody's mouth. And so he has to take a vacation, but he takes the kind of vacation where he just stays in his bedroom and won't come out. But in his bedroom he keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger until he busts through the walls of the house. But not a fast bust-through like an explosion bust-through, but a minute by minute slow bust-through where it's “wood creak creak creak wood, snap” and “wood creak creak creak wood, snap” and then the walls of the bedroom are on the ground and it's the guy who's holding up the house and they have to go and get these strong guys who come with these metal poles with holes in it that you screw up really slow and heavy—up and up and up and up—to hold up the whole house so the guy can come out. And he comes out and now he's a giant. And because he's a giant he has to go away. And there are feelings. The wife and her feelings but “I don't want to talk about it” but they were maybe going to get a divorce about pizza anyway. And maybe she should have told him before. And the kids have their feelings, some sad and some not. Some not like “it's quiet because nobody's yelling and knocking stuff down” and some sad like “who's going to help me do my science homework” and “who's going to take me out for Halloween as the Little Mermaid”—that was the girl twin who had that feeling. But he doesn't know where to go so for a while he lives all alone out in the woods past the swamp behind the soccer field by the school where nobody hardly ever goes just the bad kids who do drugs and make sex on those girls from the other high school. But the guy keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger and all the people of the whole town are all like, “What the hell, you're blocking out all the sun from the whole town, get the hell out of here.” So he has to go away. And so he walks and walks and walks and he has to be very very careful where he walks because he's not just a Jack in the Beanstalk kind of giant but he's like a mountain kind of giant with airplanes in his hair and clouds are all in his eyes, with just one step he could crush a whole neighbourhood. So he walks very very slowly, very very carefully, until he gets to a place where all the giants hang out. Which is a bar. And in the bar there's a
where there is only one show on all the time. Which is
. So that you're watching a show in a bar of a bar—in a bar of a bar—in a bar of a bar. And because then whenever anybody walks in and says: “What's on?” Everybody gets to go:
. Cheers! Glug glug glug glug. And the giants are always standing around saying how good it is the little people aren't around anymore. And the giant guy is like: “Yeah me too!” But that's not true. No no that's not true. Because some nights he called home—but it was hard to hear him on the phone because he has a giant voice and it's just a regular phone and he was maybe crying. And once he came back in person and broke the door and the giant cops had to come put a coudorer… a coradora…… a courtordera on him. “Okay, people, nothing to see here move along, move along, y'all go back to your happy homes.” And the giant guy he's crying and crying all the time now and then one day he stops crying long enough to go and wash his face. But the only place he can wash his face is the ocean, so he goes to the ocean and he leans over it and he sees his reflection and in his reflection he sees there's something in his forehead. It's a door. He never noticed that before, he thought that bump was just a pimple but it's not it's a doorknob. So he opens the door and in his head is this teeny tiny guy. And the giant guy says to the teeny tiny guy, “What the hell are you doing in there?” And the teeny tiny guy jumps out onto the giant guy's shoulder and the giant says, “What the hell is your name?” And the teeny tiny guy says, “I am Will.” And then the giant guy gets it. He gets it. He gets it he gets it he gets it. This is the teeny tiny guy who has been living in his head from since way from before. Telling him all the wrong things to do. Telling him to drink the magic juice, telling him to get pizza only and never think of something new, telling him to only be grumpy and never give hugs, to go into his room and not come out, telling him not to believe in God. No giants believe in God. Uh uh, uh uh, uh uh. Because they don't believe the angels are strong enough to carry their giant prayers to heaven. But all they'd have to do is ask for more angels. The angels should know that too but angels aren't angels because they're smart. And now the giant is mad because he knows it is Will who made him a giant. So he goes to grab Will but Will jumps off his shoulder and down to the ground and runs away. So the giant starts running after Will because he thinks if he can catch him and crush him that everything will go back to normal and he won't be a giant anymore. So the giant starts running and as he runs he stomps. Stomping and stomping and stomping. And even still today. And every time he stomps that's why there's earthquakes, and the giant is yelling and that's why there's thunder, and the giant is crying and every time a teardrop hits the ground that's why there's floods, and the giant is swooshing his arms to try and grab Will and that's why there's tornadoes.
So be very very very careful if you hear a voice telling you to do things you know you shouldn't do because you might turn into a giant too.
(a long pause as
regards the audience passively)

I made that up.

But it's true.

Today my dad's maybe going to teach me how to ride a bike without training wheels.

If he ever calls.

The phone rings.

is excited.


Oh shut the fuck up.

Light shift.

Music: “Happy Ending.”

Well I've been described a lot of ways in the past but never as “a teeny tiny guy.” I don't think so. I'm bigger than all of you. Listen to…
(re: music)

Okay I think we've made our point with that.

I said I think I've made my point.

gestures sharply. Record scratching. Music ends.

Listen to the teeny tiny guy. Tell your story, Warren. Go and get your stuff.


I'm walking. I'm walking. I'm walking. Around the corner. Past the market. A man in a green suit, a golden retriever at his side, a net bag hangs from his arm, inside the bag is a bottle of wine. I'm walking. I'm walking. The pastry shop. The liquor store. A woman in a tailored coat and polished shoes passes carrying a case of imported lager, a younger woman walks beside her whining—the woman snaps “shut up.” I'm standing in front of the smoke shop. I've quit but I go inside. Time passes and I'm opening a pack of cigarettes as I cross the street. An angry taxi driver. An old dog. I get a light from a crazy man who smells like something sweet. In a window over the bookstore across the street three blond men with bare chests toast one another with glasses of something clear. Passing the Italian bistro. My car keys are in my hand. On the patio a couple talk seriously. He is in a blue cap; he drinks beer, tall, cold just poured. She is in a high-necked sweater and brown pants; she's not drinking; she picks at the skin on the back of her hands. He leans across the table to make a point and knocks over his glass. The beer runs across the table and pools at the edge dripping onto her brown pants. Drip drip drip drip drip. But she doesn't react. And as I pass she looks up at me. And her eyes are full. Her eyes are full of everything. Then a blank spot. And I'm in a bar. And a blank spot. And a third shot. And a blank spot. And I'm in my car. I'm driving but I don't want to be. Yes yes I do want to be! I do want to be! I want to get my stuff. I want my windbreaker and my sneakers and that book and my tax stuff and my John Denver
. Why didn't he know I liked John Denver? He didn't even care enough to know. John Denver left his wife. His first wife Annie. He wrote that song for her. He was sorry he left. His second wife got his name.

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