All Is Not Lost

The Iowa Review - - FRONT PAGE - Mark jude poirier

Tommy spits out a blue Lego and crawls over to Dougy, who’s in Mommy Frieda’s lap, suck­ing on her right breast. Tommy tugs Dougy’s leg, and Dougy kicks him in the side of the head. Cam B cov­ers all of this, zooms close enough so I can make out the thick rope of milky drool slung from Tommy’s chin to Dougy’s an­kle—even on this cheapo video mon­i­tor. This is good. There has been very lit­tle us­able footage from this play party, and we were plan­ning on mak­ing it the main set piece for episode four. Tommy looks around for his Mommy Kathy, his lower lip quiv­er­ing like he might burst into tears, but when he sees that Mommy Kathy is en­tranced by some­thing on her Black­berry, he grabs Dougy’s leg and chomps down on his calf. A deaf­en­ing, high-pitched squeal from Dougy, and I look to Cindy be­hind the sound­board. Cindy smiles and gives me a thumbs-up, while Cam A fo­cuses on the red U-shaped le­sion pre­sent­ing it­self on Dougy’s leg. We all need this—cindy, Cam A, Cam B, and my­self. Cindy’s mother suf­fers from fi­bromyal­gia and some­thing called Morgel­lons—a dis­ease that causes col­ored fibers to sprout from her skin. I knew it was bull­shit, an­other ail­ment for the neu­rot­i­cally bored and self-ab­sorbed, but I didn’t know the ex­tent of the bull­shit un­til I Googled it and found like a mil­lion web­sites about it, all fea­tur­ing lu­natics blog­ging about their scabs and sores and how no doc­tor will be­lieve them. I’m al­ready work­ing on a pro­posal for a new se­ries: Morgel­lons Na­tion. Cindy be­lieves her mother, whose med­i­cal bills are out­ra­geous, even though, ac­cord­ing to Cindy, she hasn’t seen a real doc­tor in six years, only physi­cian’s as­sis­tants and techs at her lo­cal branch of The Clinic for Le­git­i­mate Dis­ease. Cam A’s girl­friend, a tat­tooed Jug­galo mess who calls her­self “Arach­nia,” re­cently gave birth to their sec­ond set of twins. We watched the birth live on Cam A’s phone till his bat­tery went dead. Cam A cried, told his girl­friend, who had ma­genta hair dye run­ning down her fore­head and was miss­ing a gauge in one of her stretched-out ear­lobe pierc­ings, that she looked beau­ti­ful. Cam B is an ad­dict of some kind, so he needs the cash just to feel okay. Me, I still have over $180K in stu­dent loans, and after TLC can­celled Mid­dle-aged Ve­gas Hook­ers, I was out of work for al­most a year, liv­ing on my aunt’s couch in En­cino with her two cats and her slimy mort­gage bro­ker boyfriend, Rick.

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