Ten times, Ruth asked him about the anchor.
“Did you find out what we could get for it?”
It was a huge rusty relic from an old ship.
Last time she dispatched him to Sotheby’s
to be humiliated because she and her daughter
had scrubbed off the patina
with tooth brushes and bronze polish.
Rendering the sculpture of St. Michael
by a disciple of Rodin virtually worthless.
The Roman oil lamp was a hit,
and the prick who did the appraisal
told him to hold onto it
with condescension usually reserved for a turd.
“I looked on Ebay, anchors like this go for a few hundred bucks” said Jack.
“Put it up on Ebay then.” said Ruth.
“I’ll give you a cut.”
“Sure” he said, knowing full well
this would be another exercise in futility.
MR Stuik 2018
Jack’s mother, Ruth, called.
“Why are your kids so short?” she asked.
“What do you mean?”
“My brother, James, was tall,
I’m tall, you’re tall…you’re kids are midgets.”
“That’s a terrible thing to say.” replied Jack.
“We have the tall genes on this side of the family.”
“I guess the short genes are more dominant.”
“You need to disown them.”
“Cut them out of the will.” said Ruth.
“Because they’re short?”, he asked.
“…Not just because they’re short.
They’re also disrespectful.
It’s their upbringing.”
“Alright, that’s enough..” said Jack, chuckling.
“Go back to your lair.”
“As sure as eggs is eggs.”
“Edgar Cayce said
there is so much good in the worst of us
and so much bad in the best of us.”
“That what? We’re all serial killers?”
“Why would you say that?”
“It just sounds so ominous. Like an ominous riddle.”
“You could also say…
…there’s so much liverwurst in the best of us.”
“Ha!…now I’m hungry.”
Ruth rolled her eyes.
“I get paid on Thursday. There’s still some bread, have it with butter.”
“No, you have it for breakfast.”
“I think I’m depressed.” Jack said.
“We’re all depressed,” said Ruth, “Man up.”
“Which tie should I wear?”
“The one with the sperm design.”
“Ha ha. It’s Art Deco.”
“It is. It’s vintage, this tie was
actually worn in the nineteen forties.”
“It was not, silk doesn’t last that long.”
“It’s not silk. It’s Belgian polyester.”
“That’s not a real thing, you’re such a liar.”
“From Belgium, post war polyester.
They make outfits for sex dolls out of it now.”
“They do not. Art Deco?”
“Are you sure you don’t mean Art Dildo?”
She already got the land,
and the orange crystal punch bowl
that Charlie, the mobster gave them.
And even though she kept the house
and land in the divorce,
T. was still indebted for the punch bowl.
(God only knows what payment for that debt will be.)
Instead of land, T. got:
the post office box,
and an apartment with a photography studio below.
So he photograph the land
he couldn’t have with her.
“Freud was the one who introduced the idea of projection,” said Ruth.
“No he didn’t. Freud was a fraud, a coke head, and he faked his case studies.” replied her son, Jack.
“He was not a fraud. Jung was a fascist.”
“What do you mean?”
“A nice fascist, but he was a fascist.”
“He was always jealous of Freud.”
The evolution of cat names for Ruth
went something like this.
At first, they were named after the great philosophers:
Then, the great composers: Mozart.
Then, names from India: Shanti, and Om.
As she descended further into cat ladydom,
They became Love Love and Yum Yum.
Next, they’ll just be Grunt and Sigh.
Before the peach tree died,
and the termites turned it barren,
It was full of fruit.
Too much to eat, so they made pies.
Criss crossed the crust and put a heart in the center
and gave them to the neighbors.
An offering to ask forgiveness for all the late nights
Ruth’s children carried on.
Heir to a king’s ransom.
Sometimes it’s hard to figure out how to spend it.
Liked to collect things, especially odd, wild beasts.
Bought a pack of wolves for a rooftop in Tribeca,
Amazing what you can find on the internet, impulsively.
They were skin and bones when Ruth found them,
shivering in the cold.
There’s only so much room at the top.
Some of us have to occupy the middle and lower rungs.
As a family they were too busy just trying to get by.
Ruth didn’t push any of the children that hard.
She just didn’t care to keep up with the Joneses.
Who literally lived next-door.