Kenneth Vast had a foul mouth. He didn’t want it. It was just something he had, like pubic hair or tear ducts.
When he put his shoes on, he didn’t say, “I’m putting my shoes on.” He quietly said, “I’m putting my cunting shoes on.” When he took out the trash, he calmly said, “This fucking trash ain’t gonna take its goddamned self out.” He hung his head when he said these things, because fucking people always noticed.
One day Kenneth went to the Doctor for his foul mouth problem.
“What seems to be the problem?” asked Dr. Amou, a tiny, polite man. He smiled politely over his clipboard.
“I fucking can’t seem to quit this shitting cursing, doc. Fuck bitch damnable horsedick. Sir.”
The doctor did not flinch, but wrote this down word-for-word on his clipboard.
“Tourette’s?” the doctor asked. He just said the one word, Kenneth noticed. Perhaps he was a bit afraid it would rub off on him.
Kenneth shrugged and looked down. “Fuck no,” he said quietly. “My other cocksucking doctor said I had none of the assholing signs of goddamned Tourette’s. You know, tics and fucking screaming and shit. I don’t goddam scream. I just, you know. Fucking-A curse a lot.”
The doctor’s prescription was not a conventional one, for he was not a conventional doctor. Just that morning he had bought a bag of confetti at a Walgreens, and shook the bag empty out his car window on the way to work. He did not want to litter, but he thought the world could use a little confetti now and then.
His prescription was to dig.
“Sonofabitching dig?” Kenneth asked, scratching his head. “Ass-cunt. Dig what?”
The doctor was sitting now, having placed the clipboard on the stylish but small table next to him. His posture was perfect, but he had three red rocks in his pocket. He had found them on the roof of the clinic just that morning while pretending he was going to jump off. He wanted to know what it felt like, but he knew he would never try it.
“Just dig,” Dr. Amou said. “Have you a yard?”
“Mouth-fuck yes. Sorry. But yes, I have a fucking yard. A whoring big fuck of a one out back. I hope to build a Christing garage in the shit-kicking field.”
“Good. Then dig there. Just dig a big, um, fucking hole. Okay?”
Kenneth allowed that it was indubitably okay. Fucking A-Okay.
When he arrived at home he found a note on the counter:
“Dear Kenneth. I’ve had all I can take. Dinner is in the fridge. Please don’t call. Anne.”
Kenneth put the note down and opened the fridge. Indeed there was bologna, as indicated. “Goat-fucking boloney,” Kenneth said, and shut the fridge.
He got a shovel from the shed — “the whore-fisting shed” — and carried it to the field behind his house. “The clit-pounding field behind my assly house,” he mumble-grunted as he broke ground with the shiny shovel blade.
About three feet down he hit trash: a foil Burger King wrapper. He frowned at it. He felt like a junk food archeologist. But then an overturned shovel-full of loamy dirt revealed a one-legged doll draped in a wispy vestige of pink dress and painted-on hair. She also had one eye, and some child had painted her mouth harum-scarum with red paint.
“Cock shit fuck damn,” Kenneth whispered, marveling, holding the mangled doll to the light. His sister had had the same doll when they were young.
Kenneth laid the doll aside and went back to his digging. Three soda bottles and a chair leg later, he hit purple fluff. His shovel did not penetrate but merely jabbed at the fluff.
“Bitch-humper,” Kenneth grunted, and punched harder with the shovel. What was this? A ball of trash gathered up in a velvet table cloth? A bean bag chair? A curtain wadded around a cache of confederate money? Whatever it was, it was big. Perhaps it was a dinosaur corpse, and his bejesusing jabbing would awaken it and turn it loose on the whole whore-mongering fuckstickly world.
The fifth jab broke the material open, revealing white stuffing. “Hell shit cock,” Kenneth breathed without noticing, pulling on the material and stuffing. He would draw it from the ground as his last act, if necessary.
It was not his last act, but it was his hardest, most painstaking one. He pulled and shoveled and dug and pulled and shoveled and clawed for twenty minutes or more. Then he sat down on the ground by the hole and caught his breath while surveying his find.
His find — his “dickishly taint-slurping find” — could be inventoried as such:
One (1) Burger King sandwich wrapper, soiled;
One (1) one-legged, one-eyed doll, defaced;
Two (2) splintered and truncated wooden chair-legs, chipped and pocked;
One (1) coffee mug with “Where’s Ma Coffee!?!” emblazoned on the side, cracked and stained by coffee, dirt, and what may have been dried snot on the lip;
One (1) deteriorating black trash bag stuffed with chicken bones, napkins, a shoestringless jogging shoe, coffee grounds, and an assortment of insects, both dead and alive; entire lot: soiled;
Two (2) little green Army men, one kneeling and bearing a bazooka on his right shoulder, the other missing from the waist up;
Six (6) beer cans, dented or crushed;
And one (1) Barney the Dinosaur stuffed animal, originally perhaps four Christing feet tall and three fuck-hammering feet in circumference; in nine pieces, not including dozens of tufts of white ass-reaming stuffing, most of it stained by dirt.
Kenneth pulled the compiled list from his typewriter and laid it on the desk next to the ship-in-a-bottle he had bought for his son, Robert, before he died. Kenneth had found the kit by accident after wandering into a hobby shop run by a Sufi with one arm, and he knew immediately he must buy it – the ship-in-a-bottle, not the Sufi. It was the first harbinger of death, and he felt himself powerless to leave it languishing on the counter next to the vast lonely tableau of impulse buys. He and Robert could build it together when Robert got well, and they could idly speculate about whose death they were prophesying over glue and balsa wood.
One morning Kenneth and Anne walked into the hospital room to find Robert exhausted and bleeding from the nose, the unfinished model scattered casually across his blanketed lap, a smile on his face. “Daddy,” Robert said, and died.
Anne had wanted it buried with him, but Kenneth had fought and won, and it sat on his study desk, it and the typewriter and nothing else. Well, now there was something else: the trash excavation inventory.
Dr. Amou had said to dig only one hole, but Kenneth now began a second, thirty feet to the south of the first. It ended up being a foot deeper than the first, but it took half as long, since he didn’t have to sort through ass-dripping, sonofabitching other people’s ancient trash.
At dawn he climbed out of the hole and looked at the gathering he had lain on the ground next to the second excavation: the legless, eyeless doll with the crazy mouth, the one and a half Army men, and the various pieces of Barney the Dinosaur that he had not bothered to try to piece together. The head was a whole unit, and it stared at him from the top of the purple pile as he sat resting.
“Cocksucking, motherfucking, son of a bitching, goddamned hell,” he whispered, standing and shaking open a white garbage bag he had brought from the dick-chomping kitchen. He knelt, touched each of his trashy treasures once, almost lovingly, and then loaded each into the bag. The Barney head he loaded last. He stood for a moment before shoving it in.
“Barney,” he said. His voice shook. “Barney, you…you… dinosaur.” A tear sprang from his right eye and blazed a trail down his dirty right cheek. “You…danged dinosaur.”
He placed the head in the bag, tied the top in a knot, and threw it in the hole. He spent the next twenty minutes filling it back in, and then went inside to make a bologna sandwich.