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Steaming Aphrodite

I recently bought a trunk at a flea market and was surprised to discover that it had a false bottom. Under the faux cover I discovered a diary written in 1909 by a man named Dr. York Van Landingham. Here is a page:

July 17th 1909

She was from Mother Russia and her name was Svetlana Minsky. She spoke perfect English in an accent that one could not detect as foreign. Svetlana had a penchant for bawdy revelry, and used the kind of language which might make an unassuming male turn burgundy from blushing. I had sought her company while we were aboard a steamboat vessel bound for the shores of North Africa. I was wary of her however, as earlier, I had witnessed her bilk three men of their life savings with a fifth, and yes even a sixth King up her lace sleeve.

In the event that her conniving was discovered, she kept a knife in her garter. Upon discovering the weapon one sultry night in Constantinople I decided to nickname her “Svetlana Switchblade.” As I recall, she only stabbed me with it once, and I remain convinced that it was somewhat accidental, but the piercing occurred after I confessed that I relinquished one of her diamond earrings to get out of a tight spot in Bombay.

The night we met, I caught up with her on the deck as she stared out across the Atlantic Ocean at the purple dusk, her winnings tucked into the folds of her undergarments. She told me she’d first noticed me playing trumpet among the troupe of musicians that kept the passengers and crew entertained. It was someone else that she had seen, but I played along not wishing to disappoint her.

She told me she had been entrusted to discover if there were truths to the legend of the goddess Aphrodite and the potions so named after her. She had journeyed through Greece and was now headed to the barely reachable corners of the darkest continent. Entrusted by whom she never confirmed, but she had alluded to a man named Rasputin.

I knew nothing of Aphrodite and she asked me to join her in her cabin to discuss matters of amour. I hadn’t been invited to a woman’s quarters since my journey began and I lustily agreed. She asked if I had absinthe, and of course I did.

We sipped our pastis and made playful conversation. She pulled a patina box from the drawer and opened it. “This is dust from a rhinoceros’s horn,” she said, offering it to me.

     “And?” I said.

     “You snort it, like so.”

     “Madame, I have ingested many a foreign object in my time but nothing from a beast of such stature.”

“It’s an aphrodisiac.

 “An aphro what?”

“It’s named after the goddess,” she said. “If you take it you will likely want to consume me with desire.”

     “I have never heard of such a thing. Won’t I become ill?”

     “No. Legend says that you will become aroused. Try it.”

      “Hm, do you have any other aphrodisiacs, say something in a chewable form?”

       “Many men have died trying to discover what it is about this and other ingredients that turn us into savages.” She passed a leather-bound book under my nose that she had been writing in. I opened it somewhere near the beginning and read her words. I suddenly felt the urge to regurgitate my lunch.

      “What in the name of Satan’s hot tub?”

       “What did you read? Is it the tiger penis thing?”

        “Yes, of course it’s that!!”

        “That’s usually the reaction.”

         “People actually eat tiger’s penises?” I blurted. She nodded slowly. “I mean I’m adventurous in the kitchen, Svetlana, but there is one ingredient that doesn’t leap to mind when cooking and that is tiger penis. I mean, how does one even discover something like that? Oh, I know, why don’t I try tiger penis in my omelet this morning? But before I can do that it’s off to hunt and castrate a tiger…hope he doesn’t mind having his masculinity severed from him before he’s had his morning cup of tea. Maybe I can find other ways to use tiger penis, since I went to the trouble, maybe as an accompaniment to a cheese plate. Oh what have we got here then? Brie, Camembert, Stilton, Tiger penis…oh, yes, perfect, just fits right in there doesn’t it? Pass the salted crackers; this tiger penis is in need of a bed of crunchiness before I can consume it. Good god!”

        “What is it then that makes man want to consume the horn from a rhinoceros and the genitals of a jungle cat?” she asked with a perfectly straight face.

        “I couldn’t tell you, Svetlana, but if this catches on, these poor things are looking to go the way of the dodo and the unicorn. Oh no, do you think that’s what happened to those doomed creatures? Unicorn testicle flambé ? Dodo Eggs Benedict?”

       She calmed me with her smile and we drank long into the night. At some point she asked if I would be interested in joining her on her mission. I laughed. “As long as you don’t try to get me to snort pelican beak, drink panda bear urine, or inhale a mongoose’s fart. I’ll think upon it.”

      Hours later I awoke under my own bed with a headache the size of the earthquake that shook San Francisco. In my view was a half-eaten plate of oysters and my ears filled with sounds of an accordion melody skipping on the phonograph caught in a three second loop. Oh, Svetlana, I thought, I really must stop drinking that absinthe.

I crawled out from beneath the bed and sought the comfort of some woolen trousers so that I might get some fresh sea air and locate my mysterious Russian adventurer. Tomorrow night we are due to dock in Casablanca. I hope that there are no tigers in Morocco, the temptation might be too great an urge to resist.

Am I Paranoid Or Just Phobic?

I have been told by some of my friends and past and present loves that I can at times be…….paranoid. However, in the words of either Jesus or Kurt Cobain (I forget which) “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.”

And so, Mr Bay Area Brit, how does this paranoia manifest itself?

I’ll tell you.

Well one: There is the fear that I’m not getting the attention I crave. While some worry that people are talking about them behind their back. I worry that they’re NOT talking about me behind my back.

My paranoid fears are not unrealistic. I don’t worry about aliens taking over the Earth, as much as I don’t fear werewolves attacking me as I walk home by the park late at night. I don’t fear going to Hell because I don’t believe in God. My worries are everyday things like: If I leave the dishwasher running while I quickly go and check the mail will I come home to find it has broken and waterlogged the apartment?

When I’m waiting for a package to be delivered, I fear that the driver will not stop at my building unless he sees me staring out the window at the street waiting for him.

The reason I haven’t had Lasik eye surgery, is primarily due to my concern that my appointment would be at the exact same time a massive earthquake strikes the Bay Area as I wait in the doctor’s chair with Goldfinger’s death ray laser pointed at my eye socket.

I come from the school of thought that if something can go wrong, it will go wrong, and I will be the one to suffer more greatly than any of you.

I also have phobias, and not the usual ones that normal people have. For example, take “arachnophobia.” The fear of spiders.

Much like Robert Smith, my version of arachnophobia isn’t just a general fear of spiders; it’s specific. My phobia is that a pregnant female spider is going to crawl into my ear as I sleep and hatch a hundred little spiders that don’t know where the exit is, and so they burrow their way through my ear drum, which is of course the gateway to my brain. By morning I will be dead. My head literally eaten away from the inside out. Now that is a phobia you can sink your teeth into; it is also why I sleep with earplugs in my earholes and nuzzle up to a can of Raid at night…..just in case.

There are phobias for everything. Here are some illustrated ones for your viewing pleasure.

That’sAllFolks!!!!!****************************

Feel free to leave a comment because that’s the only way I’m going to know that you’re watching my every move. And you are….aren’t you?

I Love My Cat!

I love my cat, I really do, but I think she’s trying to drive me insane.

If it’s not by pouncing on my bed at 6 a.m. and slowly inching up my chest and nuzzling up to my face, its by placing herself on the edge of the bed and allowing her body to go limp and fall off. As she drifts down and off of the bed the sheet is pulled off of me and then there is a gentle thud on the carpet as she lands. This is followed (of course) by the attempted noisy and clumsy extrication from said sheet before she jumps up on the bed and does the whole thing all over again.

Is this the face of a monster?

This often all happens a mere few hours after I’ve gone to bed. But what am I to do? I tried to lock her out of the bedroom but she attacks the door trying to get back in so she can wake me up. It’s not even a food thing. This morning she was fed and I tried to sleep on after…but no. No, no, no, no, Mr. Bay Area Brit, you cannot sleep I need you up and alert and ready to play with me. What do you expect? She’s not even a year-old.

I love my cat…but she’s driving me cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

She wants to get me up, and I think I understand why. She has no idea what my life is like outside the walls of the apartment. Maybe when I leave to go to the store, she thinks I’m just outside the door the whole time teasing her…which would explain why she is waiting for me just eight inches from the front door when I return.

I often think of a Freaky Friday situation where I switch lives with my cat for a day. Just so she can see how much more complicated my life is compared to hers and why I NEED my sleep. So yeah, what would it be like to be my cat for one day? Lounging around on the bed purring and receiving all kinds of love and affection. Does that sound like hard work? If only she could meow the words “Peel me a grape.” 

Plaaaaaaaaay with meeeeeeee

Maybe what she really craves is something more than the life of a domestic cat. Perhaps inside that mischievous mind there is a complex brain at work. Like humans, some cats are smarter than others. Maybe my cat is the most intelligent feline in the world. Maybe if we switched for a Freaky Friday, she’d get something great accomplished with my life. Maybe on Saturday I’d discover that I actually have money in my bank account, and that overnight people have come to think of me as a sharp, balanced, poised under pressure kind of guy. Or maybe I would just suddenly become addicted to being tickled under my chin and having my tummy rubbed.

Sometimes the temptation to wake her up is overwhelming.

The animation by Simon Tofield is hilarious, and is a fair reflection of how it goes down.

 

Feel free to leave a comment or email me at TheBayAreaBrit@gmail.com