Cooled and pickled

Diving into the wreck -- with Mr. Pickles!



Dear Earl Butter,

I think I know what the essential-oil-wielding hippies meant when they talked to me about personal growth and evolution. For example, I now believe in marriage. State-sanctified, and with as much paperwork as possible. I know it's still only a 50-50 proposition, but at least it might weed out complete posers and the temporarily sane.

Stormy weather. The sea is choppy. We made it about halfway to the shipwreck then had to turn back, on account of motion sickness. That was a couple days ago and it's been blowing ever since.

This morning I woke up in a state of disrepair and utter existential itchiness. Sitting on my air mattress, I leaned back against the bare wall, looked around the bare room in the empty guest house I occupy, and listened to the wind. I scratched my many insect bites and various rashes and wondered what I've wondered since I got here: how much will it cost me to change my return flight to tomorrow?

Instead of going over to the main house to wake up Jean-Gene and borrow his cell phone, I got out of bed and put my clothes in the refrigerator. I'm not sure how I knew this would help, but it did! Refolding my shirts and skirts, I felt finally soothed by the knowledge that thenceforth when I looked in the fridge I would be deciding what to wear. On the door, where ketchup goes, I put my socks, bras, and panties, and my bikini went nicely into the butter drawer.

When I finally went to get my brother it wasn't to plan my escape, but to report that all my clothes were in the refrigerator.

"Right on," he said.

I spent the rest of the morning in an artistic frenzy that was way more healing than arnica. I dragged our blow-up kayak into the dining room, turned its little yellow seats to face each other, set a cooler in the middle, and put a flower in an empty spinach can on top.

My three dildos I hung where wine glasses would go, upside down over the bar, and in lieu of liquor I staged all my lotions and sunscreens, some work gloves of Jean-Gene's, a dust mask, and rolls of toilet paper and duct tape. Don't tell Phenomenon, but I prayed all day a prospective buyer would drop in.

Thank you for finding a way to get a message to me here on this Web-forsaken island. The bottle washed up at sunset, and the words in it were just what I needed to hear. Food!

Indeed, since you've already given up, and I really ought to, I'm thinking we should probably get married. In church. Joel's younger than us, right? He can be our kid. Between me and you, I think that boy could use some fucked-up parenting for a change, and I know I'd kill for a crack at eventual grandmotherhood. Think about it. It would make great copy, and anyway we might all be living in the same building.

Dearest Lady, Dearest-Dearest Lady,

Hello, I love Mr. Pickles! First, let me say — how could you not? Second, let me say they are great! And third, I love sandwiches! It's hard to decide at Mr. Pickles because everything looks and sounds great. Joel got the Tony Soprano, which is salami and ham and mortadella and provolone cheese and Italian dressing ($6.99), and I got the Bear, which is hot roast beef and BBQ sauce and melted cheddar cheese ($6.99), and Joel paid. Imagine, way back when, Joel could have picked a different friend, and they could be enjoying Mr. Pickles on this guy's yacht instead of Joel having to pay all the time.

— Sigh — nothing can get me out of the funk I just put myself in.

Except Mr. Pickles!

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