Tag Archives: Divorce

Strawberry Safari

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The African safari was ridiculous. Hippos in high heels? They had them listening to Pearl Jam songs from the 90s. I just looked at the scenery, which was decent enough, as the savannah carriage bounced along the rough road.

I tapped the driver on the shoulder. “When do you take us back to the hotel?” I asked him.

He gave me a quick look of disbelief. “But we’ve only begun. You want to go back? I can’t go back. Not until the tour is done. The other people, they want to see the animals.”

“Can you stop and let me out then?”

The driver braked. “You going to walk back? I can’t let you do that. There are wild animals out there. This isn’t Disneyland my friend. No.”

“This won’t be on you. I’ll take full responsibility. I’ve already written my family a certified letter stating that I may do something crazy in Africa, but it’s no one’s fault but my own. You and your company are absolved. Bye now.” I jumped out of the vehicle, and he drove away slowly. The other tourists stared at me as I just smiled and waved goodbye.

I walked like a bruise through the sky. I walked liked a man with purpose who didn’t want to die. The sun bore down it’s yellow tentacles of high heat. I suddenly missed the relative comfort of the safari vehicle… That was now but a speck of whirling dust in the distance.

I came upon a herd of elephants at a watering hole. I watched them from the brush. Some were bathing, some were playing. Some were trumpeting their agonies over what vile man has done to the Earth. The pool of water grows ever smaller.

I came upon a pride of lions, and I was very careful because I did not want to get eaten. But I knew they smelled me; I could tell by the movement of their noses. I was a dead man for sure I thought, but then they caught wind of a herd of something else out on the hallucinatory flats and they went for that. I don’t even have a gun, so I have no idea how I’d even be able to defend myself. I suppose I would just let whatever beast it was that attacked me rip me to shreds. And that’s all I’d be in the end. Shreds. Like chicken meat for chicken enchiladas.

I kept on walking toward a sun mirage… I kept on thinking about why I was where I was. The money problems. The family problems. The job problems. The health problems. Too many problems all at once.

My friend Jim ‘Sanitizer’ Santiago went out to get drinks with me one night back home in the city, and lo and behold, both our wives strolled in with different men on their arms. Isn’t that just great?

“Looks like I’m no longer on the menu,” Jim said in his deep, monotone, straightforward way. “But what can I do, my hands are tied… Care for some hand sanitizer?” He retrieved a small bottle from his pocket and squirted a small glob in my waiting hand. He had a thing about hand sanitizer.

“Thanks,” I told him. I rubbed vigorously. “Can’t be too careful in places like these. But seriously, let’s get out of here. I don’t want to seem my wife rub her body all over him if they decide to dance.”

“I’m with you on that one,” he agreed.

Jim ‘Sanitizer’ Santiago was the best-groomed man I’ve ever known. His hair was as dark as an evil witch and sat in perfect form atop his head. He had the most perfectly sculpted goatee and always smelled like an expensive men’s clothing store in a nice mall. We worked together at the magazine publishing house. Only problem is, no one reads magazines anymore. “How long until we get the axe?” I asked him as we walked along a dirty sidewalk through a neon haze.

“I’ve already got my resume up to date and ready to go. It could be any time now,” he answered.

“I’m not going to bother,” I told him. “If they can me, I’m just going to go to Africa for a while. I’ve always wanted to go on safari.”

“Hmm, animals. Nothing wrong with animals. Are you going to be animalistic and mount prey?”

“I could never be as much as an animal as you are. And I’m afraid my mounting days are over.”

He smiled at me funny. “Why don’t we just go to my place. I’ve got some new cigars I been wanting to smoke.”

“Why the hell not,” I said.

He had the cleanest apartment I’ve ever seen. Nothing was out of place. There wasn’t a dirty dish or speck of dust anywhere. His bathroom was spotless and smelled of bleach. When I came out, he was on the balcony smoking his cigar. I joined him. We gazed at the lights and listened to traffic. He then asked me a very strange question. “Do you want to look at some dirty magazines?”


“I’ve got some dirty magazines. Do you want to look at them with me?”

I laughed because I thought he was joking. But when he squeezed at himself through his pants and said, “I might need to take care of this,” I knew he wasn’t joking.

“No. I don’t, Jim.”

“You won’t have to do anything. You can just watch.”

“I think I may just go. Seems like you might need some privacy.”

He clamped a hand on my shoulder as I turned to leave. “Please… Or we could watch a porno if that makes you feel more comfortable. I just want you to stay.”

“What kind of porno, Jim? If it’s guys with guys forget it… Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Just not my thing.”

He stubbed out his cigar. “All right then. Maybe I do want to be alone. Sorry if I’m being a weirdo drag.”

But I understood in a way I suppose. “It’s okay, man. I’ll talk to you later.” Seeing his wife with another guy at a bar. We all deal with it in different ways.

Maybe the animal isn’t always what it portrays itself to be…Until you find yourself in the middle of a safari wildland trying to get back to the posh hotel to live a life of luxury when you don’t even deserve luxury and can barely afford it anyway. I raped my credit cards for this trip, and I’ll be paying for it later. Literally. Why can’t anything enjoyable ever come easy. I curse the imbalance… Bad things happen so frequently and with such ease, but why is it such a battle in this life to get the good? I suppose like everything else; it all comes down to money. If you don’t have it, you suffer. If you have it, things are always easier. That’ sad, or maybe I just misunderstand everything.

I was back in my room, and I took a shower. My wife called and said she wanted a divorce because I was no longer the man she married and I just ‘didn’t do it’ for her anymore. I suppose I didn’t care, but then I did. I was suddenly all alone in the word, but then I have been for a very long time, so it sort of felt the same except that I was in this expensive hotel in Africa and I didn’t know what to do with myself.

I decided to call Jim ‘Sanitizer’ Santiago.

“Well, look who the cat dragged in,” he said when he answered which I thought was strange because it was a phone call and not an in-person event. “How’s it going?”

“I’m in Africa and I’m bored. Can you believe that?”

“Maybe you need to go out and hook up with some jungle babes.”

“Nah… What are you doing?”

“Oh, I was just watching some pornography.”

“Anything good?”

“It’s called Mr. Clean the Sex Machine.”

“Oh, sounds interesting.”

“Why don’t you come by some time when you get back.”

“I don’t know if I’ll be back, Jim. I may go stick my head in a lion’s mouth.”

“That would be an awful way to go.”

“I suppose it would… I’m going to go now, Jim. Enjoy your porn. Bye.”

I ended the call and sat on the edge of the bed and looked through the big glass windows of the sliding veranda doors and the sky was strawberry red with clouds, a wound of humanity sopped up in gauze and bandaged with another wishful goodnight kiss.


Pascal’s Banana

close up photo of golden banana
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I was hanging with my friend the glass guy at the ice cream parlor in a place called Fordham, Kansas. It was a flat and yellow place, lots of golden grains and things like that. There was a cereal factory on the outskirts of town.

The parlor was quiet because it was the middle of the afternoon, and Pascal was sad. He told me he just found out his wife was now into women. She had told him everything.

He started to cry while dipping a silver spoon into his banana split. It made me uncomfortable as I licked at a mint chocolate chip ice cream cone. I asked if it was maybe more than that. He said he had been working way too much, working on windshields. Pascal complained that the company made him wear a uniform and smile… “And for what? So my wife can discover new longings.”

He told me that she confessed of being tired of always sitting at home alone waiting for him while he worked. Then a friend of hers encouraged her to go out. They got lubricated with liquor during a luncheon, drove home, and tumbled in the sheets while poor Pascal was working on someone’s newly cracked windshield in the woods. Pascal said it was a crazy older couple who were out looking for Bigfoot. They hadn’t seen him but blamed him for the crack. “He’s a lot smarter than most people think,” the man had said. “He’s got a gift for mischief, too.”

Pascal set the spoon aside and pushed his banana split away. “I’m so upset, I can’t even enjoy this,” he said. “What am I going to do? She wants a divorce.”

I bit into the top rim of my sugar cone. “Give her one,” I said. “And maybe you should take what’s left of that banana split, take it home and throw it in her face.”

Pascal looked at me like that was a seriously dumb idea.

“That’s not going to solve anything, man.”

“It might make you feel better,” I tried to convince him.

He dragged the banana split back in front of him and continued to eat it. He was really cutting into it and spooning it into his face like an abominable snowman. I pushed the end tip of my ice cream cone into my mouth and wiped my hands with a paper napkin that was far too thin. I drank a cool glass of water. I don’t know why, but cool water is always so good after ice cream.

Now Pascal had the banana split boat in two hands and he held it up to his face and was licking it all over. “This is what she was doing,” he said through the sloppiness. “To another woman.” He continued to lick the banana split boat until it was all nice and sparkling clean. He set it down with a rattly thump on the small table in the booth where we sat.

“Pascal, my friend,” I said. “That’s a bit much, don’t you think?”

“What… Do I disgust you or something? Do I disgust you like I must disgust my wife!?”

“Pascal, come on. Settle down, man. It will be okay.”

“How the hell do you know how everything will be!? I feel like my life is over.”

I tried to think of something to say that would hopefully cheer my friend up, but all I saw was him sliding deeper into despair. “You still have your job.”

Pascal scoffed and rolled his charcoal eyes at me. “My job? Yeah, great. I’m tired of people coming to me all freaked out and losing their shit because they have a tiny little chip in their windshield. They act like if they drive any further the whole thing will just come crashing in and kill them.”

“But I thought you enjoyed smiling and waving goodbye to your satisfied customers after a job well done.”

Pascal looked around before he spoke. “Can I tell you something?”


“I don’t really feel that way. I mean, inside my true self, down here in my rotting guts… I just want to scream and run and jump off a cliff.”

“I had no idea you were so down.”

“Yeah… I’m what they call melancholy. I’m not the sparkling, happy soul I pretend to be.”

“Maybe you need to talk to someone,” I said. “Like a professional.”

“A professional what?”

“You know. A counselor or someone like that.”

Pascal made a negative sound with is mouth and waved his hand in the air. “Not for me. I don’t like talking to strangers. I’ll deal with this myself.”

The waitress in the pink and white uniform came to the table and set down the check. I snatched it up, looked it over quickly, and handed her some cash. “Thanks.” She smiled and stepped away without saying a word.

Pascal started to climb out of the booth. “What are you going to do now?” I asked him. “Wanna go see a movie?”

“No… I’m going to go home and try to talk some sense into her.” Then he laughed. “I’ll whip out my powerful burrito and convert her back.”

I grimaced at that thought. “All right. Call me later if you want.”

“I will.”

We stood near each other and embraced like men do, with a quick hug, our heads to the side, and a few hard slaps on the back.  

Then he looked me dead in the eye. “Hey. If you ever get a crack in your windshield… Promise me you’ll take it somewhere else to get fixed. I don’t think I could deal with it. You know, with you knowing what you know about me.”

“Okay,” I said. “I promise.”

He attempted a smile, clamped a hand on my shoulder for a moment, and then walked out of the ice cream parlor and into the bleached golden light. I didn’t know it then, but it was the last time I ever saw him.