Grandmother had been living in an Elderly Care Center for the better part of five years. I went with my mother to tell her that our cousin was getting married. When we arrived, she was in her wheelchair in the large community room playing with a beach ball. Her hair was so white and short, and wrinkles ate at the skin around her eyes. One of the other patients stood in the corner with his back to the room. He had bandages all down his arms. He was masturbating. When we walked in, one of the nurses came and dragged him away as he cried
“NO! NO! NO!”
“Roy, stop it!” Come on.
He had a giant penis.
A CNA came and apologized. She took Grandmother ahead of us and whispered, “at least he wasn’t trying to touch any of the other patients. That happens, you know.” She shuddered. “More often than you’d think,” she said. We went to Grandmother’s private room. The CNA turned on the TV and left. I sat on the sofa by the window and my mother crouched down.
“Mom,” she said.
Grandmother turned and smiled. Her teeth were black.
“We came to tell you that Jenna is getting married.”
“Yes. He’s very nice. You’ve met him. Daniel, remember?”
Grandmother nodded. We sat and watched the television. It was the news. They were showing a man flying over the Chrysler building. He was wearing a HARVARD T-shirt and the anchor was saying his name was Abu, the second coming of Jesus Christ. Mother looked at me, she waved her left hand around as she said, “well okay then.” She went to stand up, but grandmother grabbed her hand. “I had so many plans, you know,” Grandmother said. My mother crouched back down. “I know,” she said.
Grandmother looked at me and said, “I had so many plans. The world was so broken. I had so many plans to fix it, but then I went and got married and had children and I took all of those plans and put them into my children so that one day they could fix things—but they went and got married and had children and now your generation too is getting married and so on, and the world is still—” She was interrupted by the news anchor on the television.
“He is going to speak.” The anchor said. Grandma watched. I watched. Mother watched. The man, Abu, raised his arms wide and said: “I AM HERE TO BRING THE WORLD JOY.” And as he said, “JOY” I felt it. My whole body rang with the most exquisite orgasm. I couldn’t help but notice my Grandmother gripped hard on the edge of her wheelchair, her eyes shut so tight they were dark wet holes. Mother was looking down. Her knees were shaking. She looked angry. From out in the hall we heard screams bounce from room to room. It stopped suddenly when Abu was blown out of the sky with an AGM-28 Hound Dog, fired out of a passing Northrop T-38 Talon.
I caught my breath. Mother said nothing. She walked into the bathroom and locked the door. Grandmother started laughing. And then, the hall outside erupted. It sounded like a party with no music. People ran back and forth outside the door and then Roy came barreling into the room. His giant penis was erect. It looked like an old-school police baton. He was drooling and wild-eyed. He went for Grandmother. I jumped in between them as the bathroom door opened and my mother emerged. “What the shit?” She yelled. Roy was clawing at me, howling and crazed. Grandmother kept laughing. I shoved Roy and he fell back against the TV stand and collapsed to the floor. One of his bandaged arms leached red around the elbow. I turned to make sure Grandmother was okay. She was back watching the TV, red with giggles. The camera was poised on the rubble beneath the Chrysler building. As the debris cleared, I saw Abu rise again, His clothes gone; He had no belly button or penis and His hair was all burned off. He looked wild. He wiped the dirt from His face and said, “I’ll be back. Motherfuckers.”
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