from Milk and Money
Marcus Slease


FEATHERS ARE ITCHY

My new grandfather slept in a sleeping bag. He lived in a trailer park in Vallejo California. He helped us get an alien card. We all got our own sleeping bag. My sleeping bag was green and zipped up like a mummy. It was full of very small feathers. Sometimes the feathers leaked out. The feathers were itchy.

BLUE LIGHT SPECIALS

We went to K-Mart for the blue light specials. I got my first American hamburger near the blue light special. Near the mothers tearing into clothes. I stayed cool. I ate my hamburger. The hamburger was bigger than any hamburger I had ever eaten. I was very well behaved. I loved the texture.

JEDI CLUB

I was the head Jedi and was recruiting new members. I made wooden swords. But they were really sticks. I put glowing stickers all over them. Painted them blue and red. Our first mission was complete. We had killed the glow in the dark spiders that climb down the walls. I had found the glow in the dark spiders in cereal boxes and had collected all seven.

A LAND OF CARTOONS

I was in the land of cartoons. Cartoons played from early Saturday morning until afternoon and you could eat cookie cereals and collect all the toys.

I was going to get a BMX bike.

ROCKETS AND MR NEIL DIAMOND

I went to the mall. There was a rocket ship in the center of the mall. In the place where all the mothers sit down to smoke. The rocket ship had smoke spewing out from underneath it. And there was a song playing by a man named Mr. Neil Diamond. The chorus said we are coming to America. Today. Today. We are coming to America. Today. Today.

WHAT I GOT

When I arrived in the trailer park in Vallejo California I got:

1) an American football made of something called nerf
2) a gumball machine that was also a piggy bank
3) a trip to K-Mart for my first real American hamburger
4) a trip to K-Mart for my first real American cowboy boots

For Christmas I got a used BMX bike. A Mongoose. From my new American grandfather. I did the alley oopppps alllleeyy oops over the speed bumps in the trailer park. I watched Danny White, the quarterback for a team called the Dallas Cowboys, on the telly. I gave up my dreams of rugby. I was going to be a quarterback. I threw the nerf football out in front of me and then ran to catch it before it hit the ground. I was both quarterback and receiver. I did this for hours.

VIVA LAS VEGAS

My father figure got a job. It was laying insulation in the casinos. In Las Vegas. He went to prepare a place for us. He called on the phone. He said:

You’re going to love this Phyllis.

My mum spoke quickly. She smiled. She patted me on the head.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF SWEETY

My mum and I went outside for a walk. We went looking for sweeties. We were tired of the trailer park. We walked over a bridge. We didn’t know where we were going. We found a 7-Eleven. We got a Hersheys. The Hersheys was waxy. It wasn’t same kind of chocolate.

EVERYONE KNOWS THIS STORY

My new grandfather dropped me off at the school. They couldn’t decide what grade I belonged in so they put me in 6th grade. I raised my hand and asked for a rubber. Everyone knows this now. A rubber is an eraser. All the kids laughed. We were learning maths.

THIS ONE IS LESS KNOWN

The ice cream man came. I went with my mum. We were excited to get the ice cream. We liked the ice cream. We missed the ice cream. My mum handed a dollar to the ice cream man and said:

Two pokes please.

What?

My mum gave him a smile. A big smile. She made the shape of an ice cream cone with her hand.

Two pokes please.

Ma’am?

The ice cream was starting to get red. My mum was tired of people not understanding. She spoke more slowly.

Look now. I have a dollar. I want two pokes. That’s all. Two bloody pokes.

When she pointed to the picture of ice cream he finally got it.

THE PRESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

One day I met a boy named Jimmy. Jimmy worked at night at K-Mart. Jimmy knew all the presidents of the United States of America. He gave me a set of cards. The cards had all their faces.

I went home and memorized their faces. My favorite was the current one. Mr Ronald Reagan. His smile reminded me of beef. Beef and cows. And I liked cows. I liked cows very much. And I liked the presidents of the United States of America.

CALL ME IVAN

Every Monday night in the trailer park we gathered in the field. It was called fight night. I was nicknamed Ivan Drago. I had a blond flat top. And sharp cheekbones. Like the Russians. I loved the Russians.

ANOTHER KIND OF JEDI

My new grandfather was religious. I went to church with him and read the bible. I became an American Jedi. My use-the-force became listen-for-the-voice-of-Jesus.

ONE MORE NIGHT

Sometimes I hung out in Jose’s room and listened to records. We talked and listened to One More Night by Phil Collins. We played One More Night over and over again and drank Five Alive. Jose’s mum insisted on the Five Alive everyday after school. His mum bought us little popsicle rockets. The popsicles were red white and blue.



Marcus Slease was born in Portadown, N. Ireland. He emigrated to Las Vegas at age 12 to become Mormon. He is no longer a resident of Vegas or a Mormon. He lives in London. Poor Claudia recently released his latest book of poetry, Mu (Dream) So (Window) and Deathless Press just published his Polish post modern fairy tale entitled The House of Zabka. He tumbles at The House of Zabka.