Until I left for charm school, my favorite restaurant was my nose.
I don’t remember the first time I ordered off the menu at Chez Nez, but I remember serving myself at the buffet one evening as I squatted between Abuelita’s tamal shins. My left elbow rested on her knee and her polyester dress’s hem covered my head like the veil of a woman married to God’s only son. Abuelita’s varicose veins pulsated against my shoulders, giving the same effect as magic fingers.
Abuelita recited, “This is a pen. This is a pencil. This is a peanut. This is pinochle,” along with her night school ESL classmates. I found them all ridiculous. At their age, how did they not know what a pen was?
Ignoring the Gregorian chants, I nose-mined. My index finger spelunked deeper than it had ever spelunked before, it went twenty thousand leagues, it wrestled giant squid, and then it entered pure imagination.
I wanted to taste my limitlessness, but, instead, I felt reason and logic encroach. My nose heaved to the right.
A civil rights hose of chile colorado spurted from beneath Abuelita’s desk, and, more precisely, what appeared to be from between her legs.
Abuelita never learned English.
Guilt forced me to dress in scarlet.
I suffered my mark.
Three months ago, a surgeon, who assured me that the only major risk was brain death, operated on my septum. She forced my nasal cavities straight and used a chisel during her conversion therapy. The queens who visited me at my sick bed refused to acknowledge my new straight nose. They lisped that it now stretched “gayly forward.”
My surgeon commanded, “Sit on those sausage fingers. No picking for at least a week.”
I followed her suggestion but felt I was letting groceries go to waste.
I had my third postoperative appointment with my surgeon today. Sitting in her waiting room, I wondered how she would violate me. During my two prior visits, she plumbed and stuffed me.
I watched the informative powerpoint presentation on the office flatscreen.
It wasn’t as interesting as another patient waiting to see his doctor.
He kept shouting his own name, which he shared with a South Park character who can only shout his own name.
The patient balanced a laptop on his shapeless knees. It was playing a film or movie from the Muppets franchise.
At musically-timed intervals, the patient shouted gibberish that made sense to me and that compelled urges. I squeezed my hands so that I wouldn’t echo his echolalia back at him.
“Woodchuck wouldyou WOULDYOU?”
“I FINALLY CAUGHT A FRAGGLE.”
The door to the doctor’s suites opened. A male nurse poked his head through.
“Sanchez,” he called.
A beleaguered Mexican did everything he could to rise from his seat, mumble, “Finalmente,” and shuffle to the door.
I was thinking about how exciting it would be to mother a child who shouted tic-a-tic-a-tic-a-tic-a-tic-a-HA at sad Mexicans when the male nurse reappeared.
“Lesbrain,” he called.
I followed him back to a sterile room where he said, “Sit.”
Sitting, I glanced at the instruments to my right.