The Angelfish of Giza (Excerpt 5)

Gary Glasscack boasted that he had the largest collection of pornography in all of Giza, New Mexico. He bragged about it any chance he could. He especially liked to bring it up in conversation with young female interns at the Giza Revealer newspaper where he worked. He always found a way to slip it into casual conversation in the breakroom while unwrapping the sandwich his wife had put together for him every morning.

Gary feigned a hopeless sigh as Lyla VanFly from Bend, Oregon sat at one of the plastic tables sipping a soda and nibbling on slices of cheese like a mouse as she stared into her phone.

“Ham and Swiss on rye, again,” he said, looking down at it, shaking his head. He snuck a glance at her. “That woman loves to fill me with rye bread. Does anyone even eat rye bread anymore?”

Gary waited for a reaction.

She eventually looked up at him, adjusted her glasses, crinkled her nose, and brushed her straight brown hair away from her eyes.

“I’m sorry. What?”

“Rye bread. My wife keeps feeding me rye bread. Do you like rye bread?”

“I don’t think I ever had it. I’m not much of a bread eater. Carbs are the devil, you know.”

Gary sat down at the table with her and dropped his sandwich in disgust.

“Am I really supposed to eat that?” he asked, palms out and pointing with the tips of his fingers.

She looked over, annoyed that he was invading her personal space. His hands looked weird. They were thin, and bony, and old, too old for the rest of him. “Why don’t you just tell her you don’t like rye bread?”

“I don’t want to hurt her feelings.” He chuckled. “But then again, I do.”

“I guess you could just throw it out and go get something else, right?”

“I suppose I could, but that would be wasteful. I couldn’t live with that kind of guilt.”

He stared deeply into her freckled and somewhat damaged-by-life-at-a young-age face.

“I’m Gary Glasscack by the way, advertising copy writer and business promotion guru. Welcome to our little newspaper. How do you like it so far?”

His name. She was weirded out but smiled politely. “Nice to meet you. I’m Lyla. Lyla VanFly. It’s good so far. Just trying to find my way around.”

“Well, if there is anything you need, don’t hesitate to ask. I’ve been around for quite some time now. Just ask Gary, and I’ll be able to help you out. With anything.” He winked at her. “And it’s German.”

“Excuse me?”

“You gave me a look when I told you my name. It’s a German name.”

“Thanks for the clarification.”

Gary sighed again. “Well, I guess I should go ahead and eat this. You don’t mind if I sit here with you, do you?”

She did mind, but she didn’t want to come across as rude or spoiled or uptight. Thunder clambered outside.

Gary’s head oddly swirled around like a cat’s following a bird with its eyes. “Sounds like a storm is brewing.”

“I didn’t think it rained much in the desert,” she said.

Gary took a bite of his ham and Swiss on rye and nodded his head.

“That’s a popular misconception, but you would be surprised at what goes on around here,” he said with food mashing in his mouth.

Gary took another bite and as he loudly chomped on the sandwich like an animal he stared at Lyla VanFly longingly.

“Just between you and me,” he leaned in, looking around and almost whispering. “I have one of the biggest collections of pornography in all of Giza.”

He took another bite of his sandwich and winked at her again.

“Excuse me, what did you say?” Lyla stammered, suddenly becoming extremely uncomfortable, yet strangely intrigued, for Lyla VanFly was a girl of the world and was totally on board with new, absurd, and experimental experiences.

“Do you have something against pornography?” Gary asked. “I assure you it is very tasteful.”

“Why are you telling me this? Or rather, do you really think it’s okay to be telling me this? I barely know you.”

Gary picked up a potato chip and pushed it into his mouth. He took a sip of diet soda, being that he was a pervert who cared about not getting too overly loaded with sugar.

“Giza can be a lonely place. I’m just saying that a young woman such as yourself may need a sexual outlet at some point.”

Lyla leaned back in her chair, somewhat shocked. “I really don’t think that is any of your business — or at all appropriate for the workplace.” But deep down inside, she kind of liked the inappropriateness.

Gary smiled, oblivious to his behavior.

“You’re not in Oregon anymore, dear. What was it? Bend Over? This is the middle of nowhere. It’s a forgotten place. Heck, you could even say it’s a place that doesn’t even really exist.”

“It’s real as any other place in the world. And it’s Bend, not Bend Over.”

Gary exhaled and wrapped up the remaining ham and Swiss on rye in its wax paper.

“Look, all I am saying is, if you would like to come over one night, maybe have dinner with the wife and I and I could show you a few things. I’m not going to hurt you if that’s what you think.”

“What kind of things?”

“Just some pictures. Maybe we could watch a movie together.”

“And what would your wife think of that?”

Gary scoffed at that remark.

“My wife and I have an understanding.” He leaned in closer to her again. “In fact, we haven’t had any sexual relations in several years. She finds it off putting.”

Disgusted, Lyla started to get up, but Gary reached out and took a hold of her wrist.

Lyla jerked away. “What are you doing? This is not okay. None of what you are saying to me is okay.”

But then again, somehow it was. For Lyla was a deviant and mysterious free spirit hiding in the shadows, a curious young woman who rebelled against normalcy. She ached to be cool, different, and even weird. And she presently found herself in a very weird situation.

Gary sensed her low tolerance for male piggishness and got nervous.

“I’m sorry. Forgive me. I just wanted to be friends. I was just trying to be friendly. Welcoming, you know? Like I said, Giza can be a lonely, debilitating place.”

“I would appreciate it if you would just keep your distance,” Lyla said with authority. “I wouldn’t want any of this to affect either one of our jobs.”

Thunder banged outside, lights flickered, and Lyla VanFly left the break room and went to her desk in the cackling and bustling newsroom to work on an article about killer bees for the next day’s edition.


Willy Wanker and the Keto Bread Factory

As Wilford Brimley would say, I have DIE A BEE TUSS. And when you have DIE A BEE TUSS, you can’t eat anything that tastes good. No sweets, no pasta, no rice, no bread, no potatoes, no soda, no ice cream, no candy, no pizza, no hamburgers, no CEREAL!… And the list seems to go on and on toward the end of the universe.

When you have DIE A BEE TUSS, the best kind of diet is low-carb, high protein – just like Dr. Now tells his overweight patients on 600-Pound Life. “Hello. How you all doing? Where you coming from today?”

Eating right has been a struggle for me throughout my nearly 15-year battle with this disease. Is it really a disease, or just poor lifestyle choices? Either way, it sucks not being able to eat whatever you want without suffering deadly consequences.

I love sweets. I love desserts. I love all the things I’m not supposed to have. When I flip through a cookbook for diabetics, I’m just grossed out. Ugh! And it’s especially tough going into a grocery store to buy food. It seems nearly EVERYTHING is bad for you and the stuff that is good for you costs three times as much.

Well, today, I went into our crappy local grocery store with a focus on looking for diabetic-friendly foods. I read a lot of labels, and I think I made some good choices. But sometimes those good choices are not good at all.

If you look at the picture that accompanies this post, you will see a piece of bread with a giant hole in it. That’s from a loaf of keto-friendly bread that cost almost 6 damn dollars. When I first opened the package, I was like: “What the fuck?” It wasn’t just one or two pieces that had this ginormous hole in them, but literally half the entire loaf and then some.

I sent the picture to my wife who was at work, and I told her that this must be the way they reduce the carbs. Is it? Surely not. Did the guy who baked this particular batch have a bread fetish and stick something weird in that loaf that I don’t want to know about? Gross.

But I was so damn hungry, I made myself a summer sausage sandwich. Sausage is fine. No carbs.

Just so you know, keto-friendly bread pretty much sucks… and it’s expensive. This particular bread I ate had ZERO flavor. It was sort of dry, too, and it kind of smelled like wood paneling from the 1970s. Oh, and the giant hole. That, too. So, what will I do with it? I suppose since I paid so much for it, I’ll just suck it up and try to get through the loaf with the help of family members and a jar of peanut butter… Or maybe I can turn the pieces into some sort of sexually frustrated finger puppets. Yeah. Sexually frustrated finger puppets with DIE A BEE TUSS and they complain about keto-friendly bread all day in their weird little village where the government frowns upon any sort of joy.

Thanks for reading about my problems with DIE A BEE TUSS.