Saturday, December 1, 2012

Stories From Puppet Shows: The Seven Stages of Sorrow

In this edition of "Stories from Puppet Shows" we go back to the cutting room floor and take a look at the deleted beginning of the story “The Seven Stages of Sorrow.” A pseudo-interesting fact about "Triple S" is that it had at least six other titles before this one, including "The Story of Jay," "The Ballad of Jay and Colleen," "What Happened at the Fair," "Love Flies Over Massachusetts," "Jay Weeps and Weeps," and, my favorite, "The Girl in the Ultimate Warrior Jacket."

Chances are the title would have changed again at some point, but we're left with a sweet title that pays tribute to alliteration.

This is also a story that prompted the editor of one journal to reply, "It isn't our type of humor."

Indeed! Wucka wucka!

Anyway, here, as the author foolishly intended, is the original beginning of "The Seven Stages of Sorrow."










The Seven Stages of Sorrow – Deleted/Lost Portion



There were very few things Jay and I enjoyed more than a good ole town fair. It didn’t matter which town. If it was within a reasonable driving distance, we were going. During the summer we could hit at least one every weekend.

So it was on a beautiful Saturday afternoon that we attended the Ashland Fair. Jay brought his girlfriend Colleen along. Colleen was very nice, so I never felt like a third wheel when she was around. I was happy for Jay. It seemed like maybe Colleen was the one. She was only twenty, a lot younger than we were, and very pretty and athletic, a far cry from the chubby chasing Jay usually did.

More importantly, Jay listened to Colleen. I could never convince him not to smuggle his own artwork into these fairs, but Colleen could. He would bring a clay penis or pumpkin bong and drop it next to the other clay or pumpkin art local children made. Likewise, whereas I could tell Jay “Don’t hit that trashcan with your car,” or “Don’t piss on that lawn,” and he wouldn’t listen to me, Colleen he would listen to. Plus, unlike so many others, Colleen shared Jay’s sense of humor. The goofy, horrible things we laughed at, she also laughed at. But she also knew the line, whereas Jay did not.

It wasn’t long after we entered the fair that Jay was ordering food: an Italian sausage, popcorn, fried dough and lemonade. Colleen and I opted in favor of watching Jay eat excessively rather than feasting ourselves. Jay had become comfortable displaying his binge eating in front of Colleen, just as he was comfortable enough to remove the sausage from its bun, pick up some cow droppings with said bun and parade around the livestock area asking everyone if they would like to sample his “shit dog.”

Once he had eaten, Jay’s priority was his racist trinkets, the horrendous paraphernalia he collected and was forced by Colleen and me to hide underneath his bed. As we passed the pony rides, a palm reader, and the carousel, Jay pointed at each and said, “We’re doing that later.” We walked passed the many crafts tables and soon came to the one Jay wanted. It was exactly what he was looking for. This table featured everything from racist garbage to serial killer items, such as a Charles Manson snow globe. Jay purchased an ashtray of a black man holding a shoeshine rag and a cast iron paperweight of a black boy eating a watermelon.

“Thank you very much, Sir,” the man in charge of the table said. He was wearing an eye patch and a Confederate flag baseball cap. He handed Jay his card, which Jay tore up and discarded right in front of the man, as we continued toward
The Whoosher, a ride Jay desperately wanted to go on, despite his knowing my distaste for rides that throw you in every possible direction.

As we waited in line for the stupid Whoosher, Jay began emptying his pockets like Harpo Marx into Colleen's Felix the Cat bag. He was like a five-year-old with his pockets full of junk. After twenty minutes, we were finally next, and the guy operating the ride was growing impatient while Jay still emptied his pockets. There seemed no end to the contents of Jay's pants pockets.

"Dude," I finally said. "Do you perform at children's parties?"

"What?" Jay replied.

"How can you have so much stuff in your pockets?" I said. "You're like a cartoon character. I expect you to whip out posies and rye."

We were finally able to get inside the big whooshing car, which Jay then made fly into the air like the Great Space Coaster.













 

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