6A – Insult Artist

“Yes?  What do you want?”  Anja is speaking.

“You.”

“You deserve me because you own a phone?”

“No.”

“You deserve nothing.”

“Tell me you love me.”

“Squeeze back up the midget’s ass from which you fell!  You, love? What does a slug like you do for a dying?”

“I own a pet food chain.  I’m a dog food czar.  I draw a half a million a year, live in a Westchester Country townhouse with my three children and wife.”

“And wife! You feed canned shit to animals and call yourself a czar? Well, the Bolsheviks are waiting with kerosene in the shed!  You squat in the suburbs, spawn unloved brats, mate with a carcass whom you mentally and physically abuse, and this poor wife who slobbers for a credit card and mortgage payments, who probably hates your guts, must endure you.  Who gives you the right to even mention her to me?”

“I’m paying for this.”

“You’re not an individual are you? You inhabit a carbon copy universe of xeroxed souls.  You could die and not an atom of uniqueness, not a quark of originality, except your consumption of time and space, your car and mouth exhaust, will ever add anything but pollution to this earth. Why have you never considered how your mediocrity despoils the world?  You should commit suicide.  You’re dumb enough to pay me to insult you for sixty bucks a pop but to not take responsibility for your mediocrity.  Maybe you should be crucified upside down — if not for the cost of the nails and the trouble to lift, then embalm you and dig your hole.  Then you’d take up space as a corpse!  Which is better than the boredom and duplication your despoiled living makes for us.  Just think of your using up that decent soil.  And your epitaph!  I mean, even if it wasn’t chosen out of some catalogue, the chiseling alone could take an hour.  No, listen, lice-meat, this is what I demand: find a way to cremate yourself and spend ten thousand bucks on an air filtration system so that your miserable smoke will not leave an atom in the air original beings breathe. Now get off this planet before I vomit!” Slam.

“Anja!  You are too good at this!”  Gabi, laughs, sipping wine in the corner, watching her old friend.  “Our business has picked up even since yesterday.  A week of this and we’ll be rich!”

“How could the business pick up in a day?  It’s impossible.”  Anja laughs.

“These lost souls communicate with each other on the Internet.”

“That’s nice.  How can they stand each other even on a screen?”

“You get so existential, Anja.  I just say bad thing to them. You have talent!”

“There is an art to the insult, isn’t there?  What’s strange is that after this job I may never want to insult another stranger again.”

“I don’t know, Anja.  It’s like you’ve been training for this all your life.  You’re such a natural. Anja, what can I do for you?  My boss comes back tomorrow.  He’s a hateful cheat, with whom I’ve been living.  I would love to move in with you.”

“Let’s set up house!” Anja jumps up, picks up a ringing phone, “Call me back me in ten minutes exactly, you slime!”  She slams the phone down, “I know of a place in my and Eric’s old building, on the top floor.  But it’s shamefully expensive.”

“How much?”

“Three thousand dollars. First month and security.  It’s a whole floor.  The last tenant left because the water broke down.  I heard about it last night. It may still be open.  But who has three thousand bucks?”

“I do.”

“What?”

“Yes, I do.”

“But Gabi …  it’s so much.”

“No, Anja, I’ve got to get away from this guy.  I’ve wanted to for months.  To live with your boss is bad enough, but this guy is a real creep.”

“You have three thousand dollars?”

“I sure do, in cash.  Thirty six hundred and forty three dollars and nine cents to be exact.”

“Oh, let’s do it.  Gabi!  It’s only ten o’clock.  The number of the agent is listed on the door.  I’ll do this shit all day — take all the calls, you did it for months by yourself anyway, and if there are more than usual, I’ll insult them by hanging up quickly or putting them on hold.”

“Yes!”

“If only Eric were here, we’d all move in together.”

“Anja, don’t be down.  We’ll live on the top floor — the penthouse!”

“Yes, I’ll sublimate my Eric-frustration by putting these guys down so far they’ll wish they were in his place … “

“Anja, I promise you I’ll furnish the place before you get home and we’ll have a little party – in our penthouse!”

“Go for it, Gabi!”

I will, we will!”