The Dark Side of Maria

No Hat #68 800

“Paul” (acrylic on canvas board 11 x 14″) $100 USD plus shipping.

nh 53

“Maria” (acrylic on paper 11 x 14″). $100 USD plus shipping.

No Hat #66 800

“Eileen” (acrylic on canvas board 11 x 14″) $100 USD plus shipping.

No Hat #65 800

“Mike Dean” (acrylic on paper 11 x 14″). $100 USD plus shipping.

Vol. 389 of Normal History (September 3, 2016) Jean Smith and David Lester’s weekly column in Magnet Magazine

The Dark Side of Maria from Mecca Normal’s album The Observer (Kill Rock Stars, 2006)

Song slivers arrive in shipping and receiving, between photo-cutter roar and dry-mounting rumble. With my mind, I add the sounds together and turn the nearly inaudible radio into Marvin Gaye. Regardless of what’s playing I hear Sexual Healing. Sexual, sexual healing.
Paul comes to look out the window. Wincing at the brightness, he fingers the paper white orchid. I turn away. He asks me, “What’s your favorite movie?”
“Harold and Maude,” I say. “It’s about a suicidal young guy who falls in love with an eccentric old woman.”
“OK. What’s your second favorite movie?”
“Picnic At Hanging Rock,” I say. “Australian school girls lost in the outback.”
Paul lays his head on the postage scale.
“Ten pounds ten ounces,” I say.
On coffee break, Maria talks about her roommate. “He’s white. He’s single. He’s 50, but he’s circumcised. Jean, Jean, Jean, do you prefer cut or uncut?”
In my mind I see the penises of recent dalliances, dicks and cocks of old relationships. Cut, uncut. Cut, uncut. Maria and the others are waiting for my answer, for my preference.
Maria says, “Uncut is ugly.”
Eileen says, “How do you know?”
Maria says, “I’ve seen a photo.”
The dark side of Maria. We are nibbling on Mike Dean’s banana bread. Mike is the Jethro Bodine handyman at the photo lab. He’s been phoning his mother across three time zones to get her recipes. He brings baked goods to work on the bus, triple plastic-wrapped. Pies, cookies, biscuits. He wants a reaction. He wants a reaction from the dark side of Maria.

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