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The International Writers Magazine: The Ugly Side of Summer

Patience Thinner than Ice
• Danae Phelps
I started off with Rum and Cola. 11:40am is not too early to start on alcohol; especially when one is theoretically on holiday. Before 13:00 I had moved on to Vodka and two kinds of juice: one part orange, one part one of those hybrids that has about 8,000 different kinds of fruit in it and you can never truly discern the taste of any.


I drank them in a plastic coffee shaker. I had given up any kind of smoking: my voice was shot to shit and if I could I would have whispered my way through the throat ailment. I sufficed with croaking and squealing my way through it – with a very good amount of coughing thrown in for measure.

I was playing the martyr. Not because I wanted to (though somehow I always ended up putting myself in such situations) but because thinking of myself in the position of a martyr, prostrate and helpless, silently suffering in my anguish and ne’er lashing out, was the only way I could conceivably see myself putting up with this horse-shit. There is no way any sane, self-respecting person would stand for such rubbish. But I reminded myself, like a minute-mantra, that I was better than my torturer and that I should rise above, humour and pity, feel sorry for and help out those in need of kindness. I had less need for kindness therefore I could afford to dispense of my own and help a poor fool out. I did all this in the hopes that karma would one day work its magic and I would be avenged for; I would get my justice even if vicariously. My woes of today, my expenses would be paid for and someone else would suffer in my place; I would get my repayment in due time. I was to be rewarded dammit for my good deeds so help me karma!

She is, for all intents and purposes, an unbearable person to put up with; and to add insult to injury, an equally unbearably unattractive person to look at and be around. She was not helping her case in the slightest way. I guess it can work as a weed-eradicator. She was also a supremely well-trained emotional blackmailer. What a gem…

I’d taken her to the beach.  She made the most wrong, uninformed, ignorant decisions, then blamed the rest of the world for the woeful outcomes.

Oh, the irony of the beach: the most vile, fattened, lard-laden bodies stretched across the dusty, sandy expanse, barely covered in any lurid, tacky, tiny, skimpy materials imaginable. Why is it so hard for people to be born with an innate sense of good taste and, oh, I don’t know, class? Oh, yes that’s right, because we are all animals. And animals feel no need to be pretty or proper or anything other than what they were born to be; the same I suppose applies for humans. We too are animals. Animals with fancy shoes (Jack Johnson).

It is truly odd how some of the prettiest places on Earth bring out the ugliest in people. It seems to be that Nature is a master of juxtaposition and irony. She must have many a good laugh at our expense; seeing us wriggle and writhe in our uncomely despairs. Shinny, snotty females accompanying lard-ass men, the kind that look as if they should belong in the dirty underbelly of some seedy, corrupt city* (the word ‘belly’ being the common denominator in both cases: they look like they swallowed a small child and still keep it there, slowly churning it over, digesting it like some slimy boa constrictor). Could-be mafia war-lords, push-up bra pimps and runt of the litter cunts: in an ideally imperfect world.

I always wonder how (seemingly) pretty, skinny female things end up with such apes. Men that picturesquely define the terms unkempt, lazy-looking, chauvinistic, fucked-in-the-head. But then again, I was taught to never judge a book by its cover. After all, if you look closely you can just see the cracks through her caked make-up, the chipped nail polish, the tired lines around her mouth, her eyes, her heels. The equally seedy expression as she surveys the rest of the females, trying to conquer the Alpha position and eliminate all competition. “I may be married to a bull but I am the prettiest here” she might be thinking.

Or maybe I am just as shallow as the beach water in which they let their brats pee. And to round it off with a little secret that you’d best learn sooner than later: sometimes the prettiest things on the outside have a soul blacker and more ugly than any Dorian’s picture.

Maybe such couples marry for love, they truly do. On my good, optimistic days, I certainly like to hope so. Today is not one of them though.

Half the things in this world are bred of love and passion; the rest, of ill-contempt and greed.  Occasionally some are bred of pure random chance. Those tend to be rare but stunning.

That particular morning I could just feel what felt like all the repulsiveness of the world, emanate from every stained grain of sand, from every tangled hair, from every sweaty, clogged pore. Amazing what one revolting person can do to your psyche. I have been accused of being too susceptible to external sources and losing it. Yeh, well, so what? At least I can discern between purity, bile, grossness or equilibrium instead of being just OK, with it all being one banal, mediocre streamlined process of routine.

I consider water (oceans, streams, seas, lakes – water) to be the absolute zero wonder of the world. Sitting on a what-should-be wondrous beach yet all that shows itself to me, all I see prevail is something that should not ever exist. Vast amounts of wrong, valleys of mistakes, expanses of idiocy. How can this be?! All of this negativity on what is fundamentally so good, pure and positive. Could it be that (reminiscent of Newton’s Third Law of Motion** [yes, capitalized: I show respect where it is due]) that there can never be anything, any mass of positive, without an equal (though it always feels way more than equal) amount of negative? And correct me if I am wrong, but the beach seems to me like a pretty large expanse; no wonder all I see around me is shit: there needs to be a huge amount of shit to counter-balance the prettiness of the beach. Like a massive magnet, the ocean, the beach, anything pretty really draws in all debris of this land.

Perhaps Newton should have studied magnets more closely (maybe he did…). Maybe all that is pure and good in this world (good is such a horrid word – another irony) cannot shine through without a chunk of fucked up reality next to it. After all, how can you know what is white if you have never seen black? I wonder what blind people feel. Do they sense love and evil, like a sixth sense, the way dogs do?

The bitter truth at the end of it is that there are too many assholes and we will all end up swimming in the shit that we all secrete. It is only a matter of time.

When I die I want to be cremated. That way I can never be a part of this land; merely in the wind, the ocean, the treetops, me feet never having to touch this barren, raped and contaminated land again.

Earth, I apologize in advance. Do not hold it against me, I will always love you but I cannot live like this anymore. Please allow me this disloyalty.

Forgive them for they know not what they do.

But hear me Earth: do not throw your weapons to the ground; never surrender.
For you are more beautiful than all the human beauty ever conceivable and combined. 

* oh, wait, that’s here already!
** for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction – or if you prefer: When two bodies interact by exerting force on each other, these action and reaction forces are equal in magnitude, but opposite in direction.
© Danae Phelps August 12th  2012

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