Signing in, Dr Lukesier Payne
Damn leopard seal. “Out of my way!”
My monkey’s fist swings around the ignition’s shaft, wrapping and unwrapping. One victory worth noting. On snowmobile I am thirteen kilometers from the astral portal.
Like a desert island, precipitation is expectantly minimal. A rogue storm however ambushes the plain. Three km deep I’m in white-out conditions. My return trek to the lab is this quagmire. I am tempted to keep forward. I know, however, I must turn back. There are no landmarks to speak of in this region. I’ve no GPS. I did not plan this. I’m navigating by trail. This trail I carved in my previous outing. Carved when the snow was soft, like the ice beneath hardened, but now layering, this trail is disappearing. I’ve no need to be where I’m heading. Anywhere might suffice. But perhaps farther the better. I’ve gone mad in the lab. I now refer to the jellyfish by a name. A pet name. A name nonetheless.
“Quit calling me Bub!” My memory chimes. “Listen here, Bub. I’ll call you Bub, I’m your father.” This chills my spine. I think of June. My daughter. I’ve not seen or spoke to June in more years than I’ve seen a person, and yet, incredibly, a thought yesterday was the first of June I’ve bared to acknowledge since adopting the astral jellyfish, now known fondly, Bub. June Payne. True pillar of my, I’ll admit, past. What the hell am I doing here. And who the hell is Frasier Crane?
“I don’t want you listening to Kidz Bop. It’s Raffi, or ALW, or nothing.” I announce this as the door swings open. I’ve made a habit of doing this. Opening the door to my lab and addressing the jellyfish with whatever is on my mind. “You’re a narcissist!” Is her answer. “Listen here, Bub.” I close the door. I slip off my jacket and gloves, and throw both on a chair. I lift the brim of my ski mask, exposing my mouth. I throw out my words. “Kidz Bop is for adults. You can’t handle those kinds of themes. You might not like it but it’s my job.” I head for the stereo. “There he goes again,” The jellyfish remarks. The stereo sits next to her vat. I shuffle through a stack of CDs. I grumble. Loudly: “Alright, Bub, where is it, where’d you put it?”
“Quit calling me Bub!” She squeals. “You sound like spinach.” She adds plainly. “Cut the theatrics, you’ve hidden it somewhere,” I say. “I know you have the Kidz Bop but I have something you don’t, Bub” and I sense in her pause, passivity. “I have the stereo,” I tell her slyly. I unplug the unit from the wall. “That’s retarded and you know it,” she says. I don’t let it deter me. I grab the stereo by the handle and bring it in close. And I carry it to my desk. I look back and tell her “That’s right. I have the stereo.” My authority, apparently demonstrated. Said her silence. But then, “You’re a narcissist” she says. And this time, as if, under her breath. However I caught it. “I heard that, young lady.” I full turn and scold her. Charging my finger at the vat.
“You’re not my father!” she screams. I step up to her swiftly. “Yes I am your father. And you are my daughter. Whether you like that or not, Bub. So you’d better get used to it,” I say and lean forward, now inches from the vat, and with my last breath “Cause I ain’t goin’ nowhere, Bub” completes itself in most grumbled speech. She responds. Immediately. Gleefully she informs me her most original thought, “Frasier Crane is a Narcissist,” yet this time, the umpteenth countless time, I am humbled. Clever girl.
I half smile. She appears affectless. Staring into the acrylic vat. It is like looking at myself. “I know what you’re thinking, Bub. I know what you’re getting at there. Valid point of view, sure. Smart little girl. You must be a Payne. But no, Bub” and my smile sharpens. Coolly I tell her, “No kidz Bop for you!”
I sense her impending response. I race to enlighten her. She spits out narcissist. “You’re not Jenny from the block, alright,” I tell her. And wait for reaction. She is speechless. My smile returns. “Don’t let adult themes spoil your ignorant mind,” I say. Almost gasping. From over-speaking. A mannerism. I hope this will appeal to her senses. Me giving her more credit. Letting her know, I know. And sure enough, she yells passionately “I hate Frasier Crane!” And, so, coolly I inform her back “Good. You won’t be listening to him either.” Whoever he is. I turn back to the dissection table. “Alright, Bub.”
“Quit calling me Bub!” I am preparing the stereo. “Banana Phone,” I say, “Baby Beluga Whale. That’s Raffi for you.” The jellyfish says something: “There he goes.” I proceed, “Either song is more your speed, Bub, and should be your scene to boot. You know, you see me on the phone, you want one, too. Use that banana I gave you, Bub. RING RING RING. ‘Hello? is this Bub?’ Yeah. ‘It’s Bub.’ It’s fun.” It occurs to me I hardly use a phone. “That’s retarded and you know it.”
Damn. She caught me again. She’s smart. Just like you, Luksier. She’s a smart cookie this one. “It’s the principle, Bub.” I remind her. “What’s with these words of yours. Narcissist. Denial. Retarded.” She interrupts, “You sound like spinach.” I proceed, “You’re too young to find these words so useful. Where’d you learn their situational relevance? Personally I think it’s Kidz Bop.”
And it hits me. Damn. Me this distrait fool. “Unfortunately, Bub. Your Raffi CD is also missing. I can’t find it anywhere. All we got is ALW,” I guiltily confess. And Bub, sold to disappointment, this prompts her to whine “I HATE ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER.” Which prompts me to switch to my grumble voice “Listen here, Bub” I stammer. “Quit calling me Bub!” She barks. “ALW is top notch. Your teacher is gonna be impressed, kid. All your schoolmates bopping to Raffi, and you, humming ALW. She’ll say, ‘Wow, look at her.’” I pick up the stack of CDs. “We got six albums here, Bub,” and I list her the titles. “You sound like spinach.”