Bad gift Part 2: Marlie

December 28, 2005

While Bernie was at work at the insurance company, I went to his house to talk his wife Marlie about taking Bernie back. She answers the door in her bathrobe with a coffee mug in hand.

“Fahgettit,” Marlie said with her thick accent of undeterminable but drunk origin. “Am steel mad attat fahkin’ bahstah far givin’ me dat coopin far me coont.”

“Listen, he had only the best intentions in mind when he gave that hymen-restitching surgery coupon to you,” I says.

“Ya dant understan’,” Marlie says, taking a sip from her mug full of whisky. “Taday it’s hyman restaurin’, next thin’ ya kna it’s fahkin’ coont tightin’ sa’gery.”

“They can do that?” I ask, not familiar with vaginal wall reduction surgery.

“Ah yah, it’s real pop’lar these days,” says Marlie. “Den afta dat it’s right ta fahkin’ labiaplasty ta make tha puss lips smalla. By tha end of tha year, Ah wan’t recagnaze me own coont.”

“Well, did you tell Bernie all this?” I asked.

Marlie started laughing. “D’ya aspect a fahkin’ haf cybarg cat ta undastan’ why Ah dan’t wanna treat me coont like Ah’m fahkin’ remod’lin’ a hause or fixin’ a damn car?”

Marlie had a point. A lot of Bernie’s body is made of interchangable and upgradable parts. When we invite Bernie over to play poker we make him leave his cyborg eye at home, because he’s got heat-based Predator vision with that eye, and he can tell when you’re bluffing by way of shifts in body heat in your face. So Bernie treats his body like he is remodeling a house or fixing a car. The problem here was now clear to me: a lack of empathy between both parties.

“But Marlie,” I says, “since you know he doesn’t understand, it’s up to you to try to explain it to him. And in a way that doesn’t involve angrily throwing things at him.”

“Ah, maybe ya right,” Marlie said. “S’naht ‘is fault ‘e dan’t undastan’, what with that lil’ kittie brain of ‘is and bein’ mastly cybarg. Ah guess Ah ava’reacted a wee bit.”

“So when Bernie gets home from work, can I send him over here to talk to you and move back in?” I ask.

“Yah, send tha kittie bastard on ov’a,” Marlie said. “We’ll hash all dis shyte out an’ hav’ sam’ mak’-ap sax.”

“How much have you had today?” I ask as Marlie’s slurring has gotten worse.

“Halfway thra me sacand paht,” Marlie says, motioning toward the kitchen. Marlie pours whisky into her coffeemaker instead of water in making a full pot of brew, then she drinks the whole thing and brews another pot of whisky-based coffee. She says she does it to keep her brain waves low so the local telepaths can’t scan her mind. “Wanta lil’ nip?”

“No, I’m cool, thanks,” I says. “I have to go see the parade. The local 7th Holiday Infantry Division is back from the front lines of the Christmas War.”

“Gahd bless dem Fightin’ Blitzens,” Marlie said, raising her whisky-filled coffee mug for a toast. “Keepin’ Chrastmas safe fram…Ah dunno…sam guy…warin’ an eval hat…and twarly mastache. Prab’ly Jewish…ar one af dam dark-skeen peeple’s maybe. Camin’ far ar Chrastmas wit’ beedy eyes and hatefal harts…”

“Go lie down, Marlie,” I say. When she gets hammered she starts talking like her dad, and no one likes her dad.


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