Oh, Mrs. Williams, if you could only see me now, a couple thousand feet above the east coast, swirling around, twisting in the clouds and probably about to die. I hope there’s something soft down there to land on…
~Fly, MEOWING ON THE ANSWERING MACHINE
I closed my eyes as hard as they would go, somehow thinking it would make me quieter. I twisted the knob, deliberately and delicately, praying and hoping the door wouldn’t make any noise as I pushed it open.
I opened my eyes. A scream flew out of my throat when I saw the clown staring at me. I saw the frame and realized it was only a painting. The giant round red nose pulsated, and the clown appeared to swim flat against the wall, one eye at a time bulging. My heart was trying to break free through my throat.
Drag Number One. A little experimental comic strip. Ring! Ring! Hello? Good evening, sir! My name is Bill Sprud, I am your local representative. I wonder if you have fifteen minutes to talk about local politcal issues? Uh… yeah, sure. Hold one for just one minute…Here you go, buddy. You go play now. I won’t be needing you for a while. Cool! See ya! Are you there, sir? Uh… Yuuuh… Oh, great! May I ask what line of work you are in? Um… Guuuug-gah… Bluuuuuuuuh… Oh! You’re a politician too?
You’ve returned with a quantum eraser, a strange muddy mess of particles, a subatomic demagnetizer. You rub it against my mouth.
“That should shut you up for a while,” you wink a ruthless grin.
I find a crayon and draw a mouth as fast as possible before I suffocate.
“эюЯᴔЂᴟбЪ!” comes out of the new orifice. I’ve drawn it sideways or skewed somehow.
You rub your eraser to my face. But I keep drawing new mouths as frantically as I can.
I’ve got a half dozen holes in my head, all babbling chaos at you, before you regroup and erase my hands.
~Jettison, MEOWING ON THE ANSWERING MACHINE
Everyone waved goodbye as the gym teacher ran off, struck and tumbling, in a twenty-one dodge ball salute.
~Cleansing, MEOWING ON THE ANSWERING MACHINE
©Robert Emmett McWhorter
This is a piece that sat unfinished for a long, long time. The pencil sketch, and pen and ink were completed in 2010, I believe, and some smatterings of color were added a little at a time. A black and white version of this work appears in Meowing on the Answering Machine.
It was such a chore to get the first parts of this done, I was still under some sort of curse that made producing any visual artworks a tedious and dreadful undertaking for a good decade or two.
That weight, that dread, has lifted, but I can’t say why or where it went. But, I’m glad it left. Most of the coloring for this piece over the last three or four days.
Challenged by the inexplicably small tip left for her, the waitress turned into a seven-headed fire-breathing serpent and torched the party of cheapskates to a blackened crisp.
~Subroutine, MEOWING ON THE ANSWERING MACHINE