Home > The Good Luck of Right Now(7)

The Good Luck of Right Now(7)
Matthew Quick

To be honest, I thought it would make her keep rubbing against my leg too, and that felt really, really good—like I was a stack of pancakes and she was the butter melting on top of me, sliding down. And I also did this because she had hypnotized me with her lips and eyes and mind and her makeup and her smell and her sweat—I wanted her to rub up against my thigh forever.

Pancakes and butter.

It all felt very lucky, like I had won a prize.

But just as soon as I pulled money out of my wallet, all of these men jumped out from behind trees and trash cans—pointing guns and flashing badges and screaming for me to get down on my knees and put my hands behind my head. They had a bullhorn that hurt my ears and made me feel like there were angry wasps tunneling through my mind. When they handcuffed my wrists behind my back, I was so afraid, I peed my pants and the cops yelled at me because they didn’t want “the piss” to get on the seat of their cruiser. One of them called me “a fucking retard,” I remember, because I wrote that down later in my notebook too—and also, I don’t like to be called a retard, but have often been called one, which is unfair and maybe even cruel.

He said, “Another fucking retard. He pissed himself. Look!”

The men laughed and the woman dressed in the pink wig lit up a cigarette as she rolled her eyes at me and shook her head.

“We should put this pathetic sack of shit out of his misery,” said a short cop. He was dressed like a bum, but his badge was hanging around his neck. It shimmered under the streetlights. He had a compact modern pistol in his hand, like what cops on TV carry. I worried that he was really going to shoot me between the eyes, because he looked at me like he didn’t believe I should exist, and all he had to do was pull a trigger to make me disappear forever. He had the power.

“I’m sorry,” I said, and meant it. I didn’t want to be the root of so much trouble. I was starting to believe that the angry cop was right about me. “I didn’t mean to cause any inconvenience.”

He shook his head disgustedly—like I was dog dirt he had just accidentally stepped in—and then he walked away, scraping me off on the rough cold sidewalk until his sole was completely clean of me.

I hope you have surmised by now that I am not a retard, Richard Gere.

I am “above average intelligence.”

Mom always told me that, anyway. She said I scored remarkably high on an unconventional IQ test my elementary school required its students to take, but that the world doesn’t always measure intelligence the right way.

“The world likes money better than truth,” Mom also used to say. “So we’re screwed!”

She used to laugh so hard whenever she said that.

“And you’re just a little off,” Mom would say. “Off in the best of ways. Perfect the way you are. My beautiful son. Bartholomew Neil. I love you so much.”

My young grief counselor Wendy says I am “emotionally disturbed” and “developmentally stunted” from having lived in a “codependent relationship” with my mother for so many years.

I don’t think Wendy likes Mom very much.

She once said Mom fed off me, which made my mother sound like a cannibal with a bone through her nose, stirring me up in some giant cauldron perched upon a pile of flaming wood.

Mom wasn’t like that at all; she was no cannibal.

This all went into my notebook.

Wendy told me I was “emotionally disturbed” and “developmentally stunted” when I asked why I needed a grief counselor, since I wasn’t really sad anymore that Mom had died—when I told her I had made peace and didn’t cry at night or anything like that. I had no grief to manage. She was wasting her time.

“She died peacefully because of the morphine,” I said. “And I’ll see Mom again in heaven.”

Wendy the grief counselor ignored my mention of heaven. She said, “You say you haven’t even cried yet. Yet. You are most likely repressing many emotions.”

“Do birds repress things?” I said, as a joke, keeping my eyes on my shoelaces, and Wendy laughed in a good way that made me feel like I had stumped her with her own metaphor, and was therefore not a retard.

But as I was saying before, Mom had to come get me out of jail, and it took so long that my pants were dry by the time she got there, but my thighs had chapped from rubbing against wet jeans because I was pacing while incarcerated.

There was this interesting Puerto Rican man in my cell wearing makeup and he kept blowing kisses at me and saying he wanted to “cut me gently” whenever the cops weren’t around. I know he was Puerto Rican because he had on a T-shirt that read PUERTO RICANS FUCK BETTER. Although maybe he could have been a non–Puerto Rican who just liked to have sex with Puerto Ricans, I suppose. Regardless, it was interesting and unusual, so I wrote it in my notebook.

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