Banh Mi Me In The Creases


“What are the odds?”


Chances are I was wrong. It happens. I try to laugh about it. It may come out more like a chortle, but not an outright snort. Trying is no guarantee of success in any direction. It’s no big thing. When there’s no beginning and no end, as there was, is, and will be, there’s plenty more where that came from.

“Do you know where you’re going?”

“I’m not driving.”


We were traveling downhill on a diagonal plane in a mere three dimensions. Maneuvering was smooth at altitude and depth, but not so much in-between. The summit of the Santa Cruz Mountains was behind us in a bath of soothing fog. Four dimensions is when steering gets tricky. Too much freedom turns out rough on smooth handling. Absolute definitive proof can be found in the pertinent chapters of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision, (DSM-IV-TR), hammered out in the classic marathon session caught on Super 8 film by the sub-committee on obsessive-compulsive anomalies in subjects stoked on chicken skin, paprika, statistics, and Oreos.

“Why doesn’t our driver ever turn his head?”

google car

The trusty robot in control of our personal space was boldly leading us his way. He had his grid on straight and tied plumb with a sharp square knot, but his personality was a rotation remote. He no doubt required the next phase in attitudinal adjustment. I had no problem with it, though. A man of a kind who starts out like that is a man until he’s not. Who else was going to make sure we arrived on time, Mussolini?

“There are more ways to look at the road than both, my child.”


We reached an edgy, electrified gate fronting a faux stone age wall that was opened by an ogling eye floating on a moat. More gates opened with secret handshakes, chest bumps, penny ante wrestling under the table. The sparkling water in the moat had been dyed magenta as it drained into a common private ditch. Pastel walls constructed of elegant pre-stressed concrete felt icy and delicious to the experienced touch. Otherwise, forget it, and fuck off. The gates had spikes on top that pointed the same way out. Humble bees lost their way in revolving traffic circles rigged with the scent of honeysuckle. Lights flashed warnings in cutting edge code. The crackle of electricity did not do no fucking messing around. Message clear. Go back to where you belong and get lost in some crummy two-dimensional destination. Wipe away your tracks before loading. Lines form daily. Meanings are not writ in stone to be missed.


“I’m getting mixed up.”

“That’s your right to be.”

I admit I was feeling a wee bit of dizziness too. I can’t remember a lot of what happened before and after I hit my head. I had brought the yin twin along to behave as my chaperon and have my back. She was level-headed and cute and smarter than me. She dressed better and smelled better. She smelled sweet like dextrose, fructose, monoglycerides, and corn syrup. She was wearing cutting edge shoes with sparkly training heels made from a merger of unsustainable chemicals. It was touted to be good for jobs in Uzbekistan. I suspected I smelled like a classic all-purpose American lubricant.


The yang twin declined the equal opportunity to attend due to details of intense self-absorption. He’s like so over whatever, like duh. He believes firmly in constructing his own opportunities out of snot, phlegm, and modeling clay. His edge not only cuts loose screws but takes prisoners. Besides, he refused to wear the right shoes.

“I think we’re going around and around.”

“It’s either an eddy, a vortex, or a plain vanilla swirl.”

“Promise you won’t embarrass me like that.”

Behind one gate Lt Guv Gav Newsom was saving his voice for the elixir I possessed in my hip pocket, a canned speech crammed with glib idioms and lip-smacking similes sure to raise the freaky flag of freedom to smoke weed and ingest edibles in California. His hair and his teeth gleamed in tandem as he stirred the crowd with a suave poly-vinyl straw. Money buys winners and now that victory was in the bag for AUMA, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, there was nothing the mass of obsessive-compulsive control freaks in Silicon Valley found more desirable than a tight bond with closer remote control. Lt Guv Gav was as good as any man or robot who would do in a pinch or squeeze. How would it look if just anyone won?

“Watch your head, sir.”

I said “Ow.”


Words are cheap. Gates are solid proof. Take the message from The Man because the The Man is always going to be right there to stick it to you. Fair is fair enough when you are forced to suck it up. No blood, no foul. After I checked thoroughly for blood, my cameo role was completed. Before I had the opportunity to become sick, I said, “Not every experience has to be great.”

She said, “Keep the bitterness to yourself when we get inside.”

I said, “Hold my hand.”

“Buck up and don’t cause a scene.”


I neither bucked nor kicked. I breathed as deeply as the fear allowed. Inside it was swollen with shallow swells. I watched out for my soul when goose stepping. Many high-end faux toes were garishly out and open. They probably had their own bathroom stalls for bucking. The gates that held the pillars straight were scanning content with laser lights. No wimpy wisteria climbing the walls had a chance to wander.

Lt Guv Gav skimmed the surface of the speech I handed him and nodded off. I watched his back but did not have it. The sun came out like tomorrow. The gel on his hair twinkled like so many of those toes. He finalized his preparation with a prescribed pharmaceutical that evaporated sweat. 100% legit, no blatant lies or evasions. That meant he was psycho-actively prepared for action. He was fucking brilliant at it. I shielded my sensitive eyes. I only wanted the one back behind me. That meant it was nearly time to leave. And not only in retrograde.


I dawdled awkwardly and gawked in place as a certifiable guru gathered a minyan and tip-toed on an altar to dispense his blessings alongside a gold Rent-A-Buddha. He turned a marked page and provided pre-paid absolution for the spirituality of all sanctified push-up bras on the grounds. A triangle chimed in on the downbeat and a flute tootled. Spandex, too.

On the way out we paused for our own trademarked brand of reverence and stocked up spiritually on the earthy essence of life and life only, pork banh mi. No spooky cartoon religions required. No Billary Clintons, Uncle Donald Ducks, Mighty Mice, X-Factors, or justice or peace.

“Xiu mai.”

“Thit cha.”

“Thit nuong.”

“OMG, cha lua.”

“Glory be.”

“Holy moly.”

banh mi

I heard Leonard Cohen sing Hallelujah. I heard Mavis Staples whoop an Ode to Joy. I heard Fontella Bass plead, Rescue Me. I felt her feeling. Unless that was Allen Ginsberg howling Kaddish. Six of one equals half a dozen of the other. The pickled daikon caused an uproarious pucker. That’s some potent spirituality. Yum.

After that, I said, “I feel as if our job is done.”

The yin twin said, “Now let’s eat cake.”

There was plenty of cake, you betcha. Many of those flamboyant toes were jammed with it. If I happened to step on one, it wasn’t my fault and I can’t be charged in retrograde for any crime in a different dimension. The growing lump on top of my head agreed. No icing as going to be able to top that. After reflection, I decided I must have known what I was doing all along? Let Elon Musk call it a simulation but I think it’s a pretty funny joke.



About marclevytoo

writer of fiction
This entry was posted in family, food, humor, parenting, satire and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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