Me and Martha do the Super Duper
by Denise Craft
One day at the all night fluorescent grocery, as I watched the fruit flies form a smoky bouquet above the endive and Mr. Penobscott inspect some young and tender shoots; his wife up to her eyeballs in whitefish and all, it suddenly occurred to me that this was no yellow brick road, no primrose path, but the sure road to hell on Saturday provided you’ve money for the fare.
And the savage beast in me was not lulled by Constant Cravings for Walkin’ on Broken Glass with nothing but a rusty bucket and a few sawbucks in my pocket. Oh, that I could conjure the feminine Frigg! or Brighid, that crafty girl; for some recognition of purpose I cannot find sandwiched among the Jell-O and sardines. I look to the four corners but all I see are exit signs that some got out alive.
There are not bootless cries my friend, only divine silence; but as luck would have it, the generous skies cracked like poor plaster and out of the dust; an effigy, an entity of domesticity; All Hail! Elle Duche! Her sovereignty, Dame Martha! Fresh from the federal pen and the children in the market all cry: “Bah, Bah, Black Sheep; And Martha says, “It’s a good thing children should be seen and not heard.”
And I agree and think I’ve good company for my voyage of the damned. And before you could say short-sell three times fast; Miss Martha and her jail house tattoos had set up shop in aisle nine saying, “Next we’ll show you how to turn a juicy orange into a righteous hookah.” Rockin. I’ve created a monster bot , now if she’d only click her heels and repeat after me, “if ya wanna get to heaven…you gotta …raise a little
remembering to grease your fingers well because things can get pretty sticky in the process. But by now She’s made a more than a liquor store open on Sunday and so we fold her white tent into our canvas bag marked Sample on the side and run our greasy fingers down the hour of our discontent and exact a plan of revenge on the sleeping and the dead as they stare unaware that they’re in the middle of deli case.
“Excuse the pig, the hog will be up later”, Martha burps, but still they block the aisle and look up like some dumb and tired heifers, their snouts wet with grain …”We’ll never make it through Candyland at this rate, we’re poor players, idiots on the dole, a slave to Pavlovian bells that ring out the first of every month,” I cry. But Martha says, “Chill”, “ I’ll make their dinner tonight; hand picked field salad, some cold tuna stew.”
Or maybe we should do lunch, that pretentious midday nibble; our mouths full the mealy and obligatory. We can gorge on boiled eggs and the predication that things aren’t always what they seem; sometimes a cigar is just a cigar or a noodle just as well. As long as we cover the entire mess with butter our salvation is assured…”Youuu can nevhar have too much buuuuuuutter!, Coos Julia from the top of her bouffant french horns
Martha merely waves her off, an imposter, an unworthy adversary of the art of soufflé or the measure of a man in direct correlation to tofu, hair care products, or ripe and fishy stock. The ocean is teaming with fresh from the sea pink baby shrimp their tender larval bodies all fallopian tissue, no black button eyes, no tiny limbs; the seed of Poseidon and whose cherry flesh squeaks in my teeth, while all the Tritons cry, “Eat the Rich”!
and succulent meat and then save their bones for soup; it’s waste not want not for the Barber of Seville who wants to stamp USDA prime on the ass of that fat back cashier. Special projects you can do at home, Martha says, make the most welcome gifts. A last minute idea that’s easy as pie will have your guests saying it’s a good thing
No one can hear my thoughts because already Martha has laid to ruin the common mom whose interest in organic colonics has just taken an unfortunate turn and whose honor student gave head to all three of the Standish boys. A bakery grunt eyes me as I finger a roll of what appears to be some kind of exotic Brown Betty, all amber and sticky and sweet; while the floured white boys shout
Stop! You insolent fool; don’t you know your place on the shelf? Stick with your own cream and soda crackers if you know what’s good for you. We all have a place and price that can’t be named weather it’s a dollar ten or Starr Market, there’s arsenic in ever pit, no matter if there’s a chicken in every pot,
at the roots and cores and spores we’re all Poseidon’s seed that has washed upon the shore.
Martha’s redemption’s been secured, cool for having had a number for a name and still able to proclaim “To keep crudites sufficiently crisp, submerge them in an ice-water bath for an hour before serving your time.” Bravo, Bravo! Even the stomach can’t digest itself. You say that like it’s a bad thing when it’s the only reason we’re still here. So cash out Martha and I will too with no lines and no waiting at all
just that dumb toothless girl on register four who by all accounts is quite a whore with that unicorn tattoed on her wrist, “That’s not nice”, Martha, I say, “She was merely entertaining, some Freudian lay passed down like some secret family recipe from her mother and her mother before her. We all eat native berries. Maybe that’s why you moved to Bedford I say.
She smiles and says, it’s a good thing I have a sense of humor
and, It’s a very different show in a fantastic way when you trim all the lunatic fringe
from around you’re ankle bracelet only to discover you subscription to Living is about to expire and syndication in the hands of the gods from on high
rings a bell, I hear the register summing it all up and my thoughts have all gone straight as soon as she announced the total; 202.98
Me and Martha do the Super Duper