34. Zebra Hide Butter

Buttered my crackers with zebra hide, thinking: wallpaper could use rehanging. Went to the home improvement store with the holy texts of a thousand miscreant faiths, my plans for a perfectly decorated living space. Sat and waited for the clerk to ask me if he could help me. I would have said, “Yes,” but he never asked. At the end of the day, they turned off the lights and closed the store with me still inside. All I could think of was my zebra butter crackers back home. They would be getting restless, agitated, licked by cats.

And the wallpaper that wanted rehung, hanging in strips, shreds peeling off and dropping to the floor occasionally, like the leaves in fall. Piling up around the mattress that I put my body against to hold away the floor.

Oh, and the wallpaper shred porpoises! How they would leap and splash around the room! It was brilliant, watching them. I used to sit on the bed with a bowl of popcorn and while away the hours.

I was in a reverie of these thoughts when the clerk came in the next morning, jumped when he saw me, collected himself, and finally asked, “Can I help you?”

I came out of my porpoise contemplation with a bit of a start. “Oh,” I said, then, “No, I think I’ll just be going.” I gave an inscrutable smile, packed up the pile of dubious texts, and meandered.

Got home to find the crackers had been miraculously undisturbed by the cats. Tossing the unused, unsung texts in the corner, I went to the fridge and laid out seventy-five thousand delmonico steaks for the cats as a reward for their forbearance. Then sat down at the kitchen table, the crackers arrayed before me, and breakfasted.

Zebra hide butter tastes like shit. Cut breakfast short and wandered into the other room to watch the porpoises. Sat on the bed for hours. No porpoises. I became sad. Eventually it got dark, and I curled up to go to sleep. Dreamt of carpet leopards.

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