Writer - Ed Palumbo
THE HOLDER, (YOU), ASSUMES ALL RISK AND DANGERS INCIDENTAL TO HIS/HER/TRANSGENDER’S VISIT TO THE THEME PARK KNOWN AS MINIMAL LAND INCLUDING SPECIFICALLY (BUT NOT EXCLUSIVELY) THE DANGER OF BEING INJURED BECAUSE EVERYTHING HERE IS BUILT SO CHEAPLY OR THE DANGER OF BEING EATEN BY ONE OR MORE ANIMAL OR HUMAN CONCERNS. I MEAN, WE KNOW THAT A HUMAN IS AN ANIMAL IN THE PUREST SENSE, BUT IF WE SIMPLY SAY “ANIMAL” YOU MAY NOT GET THE IDEA THAT A HUMAN ANIMAL MIGHT EAT YOU, AND, BEING AS WE HAVE A CANNIBAL EXHIBIT, WE FEEL IT IMPORTANT TO POINT THAT OUT. ANYWAY, TO SUM UP, IF YOU GET EATEN, YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN. ENJOY YOUR STAY AND DO REMEMBER THAT OUR GIFT CERTIFICATES MAKE GREAT HOLIDAY GIFTS.
I crossed the wooden bridge and the planks beneath me bent with every step. The composite boards, that held me somewhat safely above the stream, were most likely comprised of school glue and pencil shavings, or so I reckoned to myself. The visitor’s center came into view.
“It’s $68 for a ticket,” said the nice lady. She was about 89 and, yes, I mean her age and weight. “A T-shirt is included,” she added, “we have extra-large and, uh, that’s it.”
“I already have a ticket,” I said, as I held it up, “I bought it online.”
“Wonderful, but you’ll still need a map, $11, please.”
I took one, but I was only interested in one attraction.
There was nothing minimal about the prices, trust me, $4.00 for a cola and it was only semi-cold. My quest would ultimately lead me to the Castle of Mediocrity, but Cheryl would not get her break until 3 PM and I had time to kill. I stopped by an exhibit to pass the minutes, the Hall of Halls. The interior walls of the Hall of Halls were lined with picture of other halls, mostly exteriors, but some of the images were interior shots and, in that event, you could enjoy viewing the interior walls of the halls that were displayed on the interior walls of the Hall of Halls. I got a headache, not in the hall, but just when I wrote that sentence. Anyway. I met with my thirty- year-old, blond haired, green-eyed, creamy-complexioned love at 3 PM.
Cheryl agreed to sit with me over a lemonade and I poured my heart out.
“Now being without you,” I began, “takes a lot of getting used to, should learn to live with it, but I don’t want to. Being without you is all a big mistake, instead of getting easier, it’s the hardest thing to take.” I took her hand. “I’m addicted to you, babe,” I promised, “you’re a hard habit to break.”
“A fan of Chicago, are we?” she asked.
“Huh?” I replied.
“Your little speech, it was comprised of lyrics from ‘Hard Habit to Break’.”
“I meant every word,” I insisted, “even if I didn’t write it. Anyway, you and I should be together, that’s the point.”
“Why don’t you come back when you have something original to say.”
I grew hot. “Here is something original,” I told her, “I love you and you mean the world to me. I cry at night because you are not there and I wake the neighbors, sometimes the neighbors wake me, after I cry, and I cry because they woke me, sometimes my neighbors cry, but I don’t hear them, so I don’t wake up.”
“No point, other than I love you and I want you to know something, I have saved my money and I have purchased a very beautiful, diamond ring.
“Yes, and someday, I will get one for you, too.”
We were married in July, on a tiny beach in Westport, MA. The presiding minister, who was ordained by some used automobile salespersons’ association, for whatever reason, was the baldest man I had ever seen, not even eyebrows, not even nostril hair, so far as I could tell, and I examined him pretty carefully.
“I have mega-alopecia,” said Roger, the minister, “it is very rare, it makes it impossible for the body to grow a hair, even one hair, anywhere.”
“At least you don’t have to shave,” said Cheryl
“Right,” said Minister Jones and moments later, he pronounced us man and wife.
We have been together five years, now, Cheryl and I, and we remain very much in love. Cheryl still works in the Castle of Mediocrity and I took a job in the Hall of Halls. Recently, I applied for a position in the Cave of Caves. A man must keep moving forward.