Posted in Aunt Jill, Characters, Family, The Mother, Themes

Mama Cass Didn’t Die of Ham

For John Waters

I woke up this morning and found Glen Beck in mom’s bed, his voodoo doll of course. Mom woke up in a bad mood and went berserk because she couldn’t find her Glen Beck because it had fallen off the bed. Mind you she woke me up screaming and she wasn’t even drunk.

The rest of the day was turrets and high fives, scrambled eggs and imaginary migraines. I told mom she’s a train wreck but mom said she isn’t because she can still chug a beer and then some. Animal logic is her friend. In any case, Aunt Shelly made a surprise visit today from the other side (unrelated to Beck of course) because I saw her in the bathtub but she’s dead so I figured she must have been a ghost or an imposter Shelly.

“Nope,” mom said. “She’s the real deal. The dead are not dead until we’re dead,” she said.

Aunt Shelly must not have been aware of this fact and kept right on talking to me as I took my bath. I didn’t take my bath anywhere but I did wash my hair with Johnson’s Baby Shampoo no tears bullshit. Anyway, the funniest thing is that no one found her body after she jumped or fell off the cliff in Spain. Maybe this is really her, I thought, flesh and blood, pre-suicidal blond.

I knew it made no sense like Holy War.

“Of course Aunt Shelly’s dead,” I said, but mom refused to accept my assertion about the dead or the undead dead. “You’re dead wrong,” she said, chugging a beer while scrambling eggs with a butter knife. “Mom, she’s really dead,” I said. “But the god damned dead are not dead you son of a bitch,” she said as if that would make it true or make me cry or swing a bat at her head. “You’re a dingbat,” I said. “You mother of a bitch. “You’re nuts,” she said. “You’re just fucking peanuts,” I said back, without the word fucking of course.

“Enough said,” she said.

Shelly smelled like alphabet soup and spoke perfect English. She opened up to me about her relationships with women. She spoke about the pumpkin pie she made for her tenth anniversary. She told me not to be afraid of men or women or whomever I chose in the end.

“God isn’t really in heaven,” Aunt Shelly said. “I’ve been to the Holy Land.”

Shelly said she was bored in the afterlife and wanted to get laid and hang out with mom and me and smoke weed. I told her there wasn’t much weed left because mom wasn’t dating red necks anymore at the moment.

“Sucks,” she said.

“I know,” I said. “She wishes.”

I told Shelly mom thinks I should get off my high horse and deal with the fact I’m not god. I told Shelly she said I should stop acting like a dingbat and study rocket science or join the cheerleading squad at the animal rescue center. And she thinks I have a chance to make it big one day performing as Mama Cass but I should reconsider losing weight first. And she said she doesn’t understand why there are so many XXX shops on the way to Disney World.

“You don’t want to die from lack of ham,” mom said, as she dumped her scrambled eggs with Cheez Wiz on my plate.

“Mama Cass didn’t die from ham,” I told her, correcting the past. “Mom,” I said. “Aunt Shelly wants to know how you’re doing.”

Mom looked at me as if I were a goat, a fruit bat, or slime. She looked like she was going to puncture me in the chest with her butter knife. Her eyelashes began to flutter like a butterfly on crack. She moved toward me as if she saw a tick sucking blood from my neck. She stepped back and cranked up Whitney Houston, bit her lip. I bit mine just to make her think I was serious. I prepared for hooliganism and flying pooper scoopers. I prepared to meet my incarnator.

“Until I’m dead,” mom said. “Mama Cass died of ham.”


I'm not real, but I'm a writer.

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