Blue Skin
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Blue Skin lancy is watching the Oprah Winfrey show. There is a woman on who insists that the male Y chromosome is directly responsible for war and high interest rates. Her lips quiver as she speaks and she shakes clenched, white-knuckled fists at the ceiling. Her gums are completely visible. Clancy prefers the straightforward sensationalism and sleaze of the Geraldo Rivera show. He especially likes it when Geraldo gets down on bended knee and squeezes the thigh of the sobbing guest. Yesterday on the show, there was a man whose wife had been slain by a woman driven mad by infertility. Despite modern c 2 3 medical advances, this woman could not have a child of her own, so she stalked a pregnant woman, kidnapped her and her unborn fetus, slit her down the middle like a melon, and stole the baby from her womb. The no-longer-pregnant woman clung to a tree as blood slipped from her. Some man out for a walk sawthe dying woman, and he leaned close to her lips so she could tell him this story. Clancy imagines his family will one day be the focus of a special edition of the Geraldo Rivera show. He can picture Geraldo looking intently into his eyes, caressing his knee. Clancy grewup watching game shows and cartoons: The Joker's Wild, Match Game '79, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Tennessee Tuxedo. He remembers a particular afternoon when he was nine years old and his all-time favorite cartoon was on again. He sat on the floor directly in front of the television set while in another room, behind a door, his mother and a man spoke in squeaky, muffled tones, sounding likemuted trumpets. On the television,a cartoon frog sang, Hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my ragtime gal, in an imitation of Al Jolson as he danced, straw hat in hand, across a tin box. Clancy remembers tapping on his knee with a plastic hammer and kickinghis leg in the air.He tapped up and down his legs and began hitting harder. He chipped away at his shins like a geologist freeing a fossil. He dropped the hammer and ground his fists into his calves. He bent forward and bit his feet. Clancy's mother, Melba, emerged from the bedroom with strands of hair fraying around her face. She rushed up behind Clancy, dropped to her knees, and wrapped arms mottled blue and yellow around him. She grabbed his tiny fists. "Your arms are colors," Clancy said. "Sky colors." She cupped her body around Clancy's and rocked back and forth. Somewhere in the house a door slammed, and Clancy broke 24 from Melba's embrace, fell on his side. Melba began massaging his legs. "It's okay now/' she said. "The colors will disappear." Clancy sat up. "No/' he said. He looked his mother in the eyes. "My name used to be Clancy." He turned toward the television. "What is it now?" Melba rested her chin on his shoulder. "Clem Cadiddlehopper/' he said, staring at the television. Melba wrapped her arms around Clancy again. He traced the bruises on her forearms with his finger. "I'll always love you, Clancy," she said. "But I won't always be here." On the television, a man grinned and held his hat. The man's forehead looked like a lawn sprinkler as sweat jumped off it in streams. The man picked up the limp and malleable frog by the scruff of the neck. He sat him on the back of his hand. He puppeted the frog along the box, kicking and dancing his frog legs with his fingers. The man let go of the frog, which slid off his hand in a heap. The frog ribbited indifferently. "Neither will I," Clancy said. It isevening and Clancy isat the Rosebud Barand Grill. Acharred sled hangs on the wall behind him. His band, Leopold and the Frontal Loebs, has just played. They covered songs by Joy Division , RoxyMusic, Kurt Weill, the VelvetUnderground, and Patsy Cline. A few people on the dance floor slammed into one another nonchalantly and there was some halfhearted stage-diving but little or no bloodshed. Clancy stands straight and still at the bar and feels house music throb beneath his feet. The layersof rhythm make him blink and swallowin time. He is only nineteen and not inflexible, but he prefers the simpler eras and droning dirges of death and glitter rock. A tall, emaciated woman has...


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