Writing and poetry
From the 1990's

by Richard Van Ingram

Sketches and Observations

1. In the Waiting Room
Merely four hours after discovering I've been thrown off the ABCNEWS.COM boards for being too controversial - and for launching a salvo of withering insults at a right-wing politician - I sit in a supercooled doctor's office listening to Captain Kirk yell something about building supplies into his cell phone. A pair of children have discovered that the water fountains are good for showering and bathing; soon, what began as an exercise in cuteness collapses into another episode in the universal loss of parental control.

One of the children, a boy named Jordan, discovers the complimentary lobby phone and swarms it. In the back of my mind a question begins to form: When did everyone suddenly decide to name their kids after places? Jordan, after the Jordan River; Houston; Dallas…. And what about all those hip Old Testament names - Joshuah, Noah, Jerimiah, Issac? Habbakuk? Half the time, when I'm around these kids, it sounds as if I've stumbled into some peace and love ashram run by Charismatics. Plus, if I meet another little girl named "Haley," I will defecate on the spot.

Jordan is gone, called to meet the doctor. I've decided Jordan's real name ought to have been Stone or Rock, perhaps Tad or Skylar, as these are absurd titles capable of matching the level of consternation inspired by the kid and his sister.

I'm all but alone in the supercooled waiting room now, me with Kenny G softly whining out of the PA. For the umpteen-thousanth time I realize that EVERYTHING Kenny G does sounds the same. I pray that the tape will cycle back around to Carley Simon. Did you know that Carley Simon's family is the "Simon" in Simon and Schuster Publishing? And notice, they had enough class to give their daughter an interesting name, not something that would belong on a damn WHEATIES box. No luck - the fourth Kenny G tune comes on - for all I know, it's the first one played four times in a row. Did you know that Kenny G doesn't even use the proper form of his first name - Kenneth - and who in Hell even knows what his last name is? He didn't even have the balls, like Sting, to just be "Kenny" nor did he have the creativity to become "The Artist Formerly Known as G." Instead, like his soft, formless, milky white bread compositions, he is just Kenny G, incapable of taking a stand anywhere except in the land of the "beige blandish citizens," to quote the late Frank Zappa - yet another hard-core non-conformist whom I cannot even imagine using a cell phone, much less a cell phone in public. Unlike my friend Captain Kirk, here, who, it turns out, is a building contractor and a man of some notoriety; the doctor came out and shook hands with him. That's almost like making a bloody house call these days.

A little girl emerges from the back rooms. I can only describe her as being a spoiled tick, constantly complaining and swollen to the bursting point, probably with ten years worth of junk food crammed into her five year frame. Her eyes emerge from the fat as little black spots. Bet she's named Haley.

2. Country Cupboard Slut
She was perched menacingly atop the cigarette cases, a harpy in a halter-top, hair hennaed red as the whites of a long-haul trucker's eyes. She fixed me in her hateful gaze while talking to the cashier - her mouth looked as if it had been sentenced to perpetually working over a cud of gum. Mechanical, vicious, raised on Def Leopard and Lynyrd Skynyrd in equal parts, she is prepared to drink your silly ass under the table and leave you without pride or wallet by morning. For perfume her breath was strong as tobacco and diesel, and gasoline vapors clung to her blue jean shorts, the ones with the obligatory rebel flag on the back pocket.

I was briefly reminded of Daisy Duke but this girl was more like Daisy's wicked double from the pits of Hell, a veritable Country Cupboard Slut de-luxe, complete with brass knucks and a hidden .38 for maximum effect. All at once she might burst into flames, setting everyone and everything alight in one expanding ball of withering hatred.

She could be my cousin.

Richard Van Ingram

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