Mom says she had a mom who was a rat, a raton in Spanish, but she wasn’t a bitch or an evil creature like the Big Bad Wolf, who mom calls the Bad Big Ass Wolf for no reason at all. “She was a spy,” mom says, somewhat as if she didn’t understand the word spy. “Your grandmother spied for other spies.”
Usually when mom speaks I speak to the devil. She often chews rocks and is quite fond of skiing on rugs without snow or water. She skis across and electrocutes me with her radioactive touch. She’s not a touchy feely mom or glowworm but she likes to prank and crank the radio up after midnight for the old cranks that live next door. She enjoys seeing the neighbors call the cops in their p-jays while she pees her pants, literally. Mom is also fond of cops and the idea of handcuffs and their assortment of cop implements. I often want to taser her but she is immune to physical pain.
“She wasn’t a Jew, I swear”, mom says, utterly convinced grandmother wasn’t a Jew. Utterly perplexed by the harsh sound of the word Jew coming from her mouth I ask her to shut up. I’m not convinced she believes she wasn’t a Jew at all or wanted to be.
“She spent time in a camp,” she says. “A camp not for gay kids like you that exist in the Christian Belt Loop. It was the kind of camp where they beat her up, made her go bald, and tinkered with her yahoo.”
My desire for a sex change ended but I haven’t given up on the idea of sex or drag. What does it mean to tinker with her yahoo? I’m afraid to ask mom for fear she would actually tell me in her broken English. (English is mom’s first and only language.)
Tinker: To make unskilled or experimental efforts at repair; fiddle.
Someone tinkered with grandmother’s yahoo, hoping to discover trouble, or a fiddle. Tinkering with her yahoo by using various implements is troublesome. Trouble is a form of tinkering when the yahoo still is inside grandmother. I’ll fiddle with this some more while I tinker with the hope of yahoos.
“I don’t know if she was interned in Germany or Denmark,” she says. “Most likely Froslev where most Danish resistance workers were kept.”
Mom knows about Europe but not much else, like the concept of the continental divide, snowdrift or the aurora borealis.
“Aurora is my co-worker and her last name isn’t Boris, girl” she yells, pissed off that I would consider challenging her intellect or credentials as an anthropologist. Squirrel. Raccoon eyes. Hussy-ish looking in the flickering florescent light. She doesn’t know much but what she knows surprises me.
“I’m adopted,” she says. “And grandmother made it because she wasn’t what everyone wanted exterminated.”
“I know,” I say.
“Your grandmother had another past,” she says.
“I know,” I say.
“Her husband and son, her life in Danish, perished in the war of wolves.”
She did. They did. Then another life started in a galaxy far far away where people continued to hunt whales and spoke to seals, burnt people of another color for no reason at all, and bashed in the faces of pussy boys (or butch girls) like me.
Mom speaks to sea life but only at the aquarium. “This is America,” she says and prays for our salvation. The whale guards guard us closely because mom often looks ready to go gonzo and jump in the killer whale pool. She is a pool shark and an exhibitionist, a freedom fighter and an alcoholic. Her mom was some kind of subvert who resisted perverts. Somehow mom got her mom’s DNA.
“Thank God she was Danish,” mom says. “Otherwise we’d be dead. Never tell anyone or you’re dead. Got it, my friend?”
“Got it,” I said.