Sunday, December 30, 2012

Chapter Two (A Short Story by Joseph Kahn)


Three years ago the famous actor Martin Sheen seduced Esmerelda from me.
He wore a white double breasted Prada suit with impeccably shined platypus loafers and a puckered, sanctimonious smile.  Handsome, yes, but his eyes flipped and rolled like glass marbles spinning, eager to knock me out.  When he walked, it was to the tune of a silent vibrato, his platypus shoes dancing-shuffling, his shoulders all jazzy and fresh.
He was making the moves.
In retrospect, I believe that Esmerelda was smitten because of the way he played his golden harmonica.
She lived with me in a one story adobe house on a street lined with macademia nut trees.  We lived off the land and ate well: macademia nut stew, macademia tartar in orange crème, white chocolate macademia souffle with a touch of cinnamon rasberry, prime macademia simmered in olive oil with steak frites, roasted macademia boullion, and my favorite, peppered macademia mousse served on a bed of virgin rosemary ice cream.
Esmerelda's hands smelled of macademia. 
She would often sit in our tiny kitchen cracking a nut open and rubbing it against her fingers, smiling and staring at me without saying a word.  Her brown eyes swallowed the tiny dots which were her pupils, constricted so tightly on me that they pulsed with my own heartbeats. 
I would sit beside her and hold my breath to listen to her eyes.  Wonderful, fluttering metronomes, ticking from left eye to right, following the sighs of my lonely, lovely heart.
Martin Sheen appeared on a Saturday. 
He knocked on the mesh my screen door and only a putter called my attention.  He stood outside licking his fingers, pressing his hair against his forehead, a nervous sweat under his nose.  He smelled of brachtwurst.
Or perhaps it was just hot.
"Hello, citizen," Martin Sheen said. 
He tapped his feet and spinned and clapped.
"I am Martin Sheen," Martin Sheen said.
He slid to the side, very wide, trying to decide, to walk or ride.
"It's a great day, isn't it?" Martin Sheen said.
He shuffled his feet and popped his legs, moonwalking.
I locked the door and pressed my face against the net.
I said: "I know who you are, and you are not welcome here, Martin Sheen."
Martin suddenly looked sad, even though his mouth was happy.  He pulled his fingers into a claw, took two steps back, and then three steps forward.  His nose pressed against mine, through the net.
"I like the color blue," Martin Sheen said.
Poor, banal man, I thought.  Unable to carry a decent conversation.  Without a script, he was a walking eggshell.  Empty, thin, and white.
I simply walked away.
That night, as I watched Esmerelda crack her macademia nut, I told her of the visit by the famous actor Martin Sheen.  She smiled as she usually did, her pulsing pupils jumping with my laughter as the blood rushed to my funny bone.
"What did he say?" she asked.  "What, what, what?"
"Oh, he was so boring," said I.
"Ha, ha, how was he boring?"
"He had nothing to say!"
"Ha, ha, actors!"
"Yes, boring, boring actors!"
"With nothing to say, ha, ha!"
"Ha. Ha."
We laughed and tears welled in my eyes.  I loved her beyond the moon.
She put her nut down and rubbed her hands against her apron.
"Whew," I said.  "That was funny."
"Yes it was.  Oh yes it was."
And then I offered: "Get this, he said he liked the color blue!"
I laughed and grabbed my spleen, buckling over, stomping my feet, lost in the sublime moment when I realised she was not laughing.
Her pulsing eyes raked over me and went to the cool window.
"What a beautiful thing to say," she whispered, and then completed the other thought in her head.
I examined the window, looking for the other thought.
All I saw were the macademia trees, frozen still against the Macdonald's sign across the street.

When Martin Sheen cries, his face becomes a living eulogy.  It is a glimpse of complete rage.  Every muscle in his face collapses into self-immolation, every muscle a Buddist monk on fire.  His gasoline tears mix into the lethal emotion bomb, and he is suffering Tabasco hot pain.    
Crying, Martin Sheen would not leave my front lawn.
He sat under a wailing water sprinkler clutching the grass.  Wet, tired.  Only the feet underneath his waterproof platypus shoes were dry.
"Go away," I hissed, my face slapped against the door net.
Martin Sheen shivered in his double breasted Prada suit, and continued to weep.
"You'll catch a cold.  I warned you."
He only cricked his neck and fake smiled.
I tried to go to sleep.

For a week he had been sending gift baskets.  Beautiful boquets of crimson flowers encrusted with rings of bath salts, sprinkled with the finest macademia nuts he had been meticulously picking off the trees.  He would never deliver them himself, instead, messengering them over using his talent agent's account.  Everyday a man in red shorts and red shirt pulled up to our door and delivered the basket.
"A package from Martin Sheen," he would announce and force me to sign a certified reciept.  I would sign it, glaring at the humped, defeated man sitting on my lawn.
"Oh, another silly basket," I would shrug, and place it on the floor of my kitchen which was rapidly stacking up with the collection.
Esmerelda would be silent, rubbing her macademia.
Sometimes, she would curiously poke at the basket.  Poke, poke, poke.
I would have thrown them away, but I couldn't get to the garbage can.
Martin Sheen was sitting on my front lawn.

"What a beautiful sound!" Esmerelda fawned.  Her exclamation dangled in the dark of our room, dancing against the invisible rhapsody of  Martin Sheen's harmonica.
Beads of sweat wobbled on my ribcage.
My heart rolled in it's oily socket, squashing bedbugs against my lungs.

When I woke, she was gone.


Fuck Martin Sheen.


  1. I don't know how to say this without sounding like a sycophant - but that was one of the most beautiful and tragic things I've ever read.


  2. John Steinbeck by way of Wes Anderson and David Lynch?

  3. Hi, wonderful story. I appreciate it. Thank you for sharing.