~this is a reprint from 2006, and a true story.~
Tonight, when I told my older son that I’d found a good Baby Jesus to steal, he reminded me of the Lesbian Stick.
A long time ago, in a galaxy right next door, my neighbors moved away to live near their grandchildren, and sold their house to a Lesbian Couple. The husband Lesbian was Nancy Something, a gray-haired hatchet-faced woman who wore severe eyeglasses and identified herself as a “Pain Therapist”. Her wife was a younger, softer Latina named Concha. Nancy’s opening gambit as a new neighbor was to announce her plan to build an 8 foot wooden fence between our houses, for “privacy.”
We objected to the fence project, and asked the Lesbians to reconsider. Phonecalls were exchanged. Tempers were riled, and property lines were debated. Concha called and told us that her husband would no longer speak to us: she needed time to Heal. We named her Doctor Pain
Doctor Pain hired a pair of weathered Lesbian Workmen to erect the fence. One had a crewcut and the other spoke in an awful Scandinavian accent. I befriended the Workmen, since they liked Laurie Anderson, but engaged in bitter combat with Dr. Pain. The fence went up, blocking the light and lending the effect of a prison compound.
Time passed and I tried not to look at Dr. Pain when I saw her outside. Her voice was piercing and nasal, her teeth looked like they wanted to bite you. We smelled incense coming from her backyard, and wondered if she was burning human sacrifices. I turned my anger toward the big gnarled stick on her front porch…..a “staff” of some kind, around seven feet long, perhaps a trophy from a hike somewhere.
I ranted about the stick to everyone. I hatched bizarre plots involving the stick, and asked friends for advice. Someone suggested that I burn the stick, and send little charred pieces of it to Dr. Pain. Someone else told me to kidnap it, and demand a ransom if they ever wanted to see it alive again. Finally, I ran next door and moved the stick from the left side of the porch to the right side. I was dizzy with adrenaline. In the morning, the stick was back on the left.
At Christmas, my son wondered what to get for me. I asked him to get me the stick. When he brought it up to our door, he held it aloft, and I tried to sing the theme from “Rocky.” It was a joyous, shining moment; he is the best son a mother could ask for!
More time passed and it was Christmas again. I was desperate for a piece of typing paper and since Dr. Pain’s car was gone, I went next door to ask Concha for a piece of paper. She led me into the house, which was filled with vintage images of saints. Shit!!!!! I told her that I also collect old Catholic Icons, and we bonded under the gaze of St. Theresa. “Come over to my house some time, and see my stuff,” I gushed. On Christmas Eve, Concha appeared at my door with her parents, who were visiting for the holiday. I invited her in warmly, forgetting until that instant that her stick was on display in my bedroom. My life flashed before my eyes. Somehow, I mumbled that the bedroom was messy, and managed to hide the Lesbian Stick under my bed just before she walked in to see my Saints.
Dr. Pain split up with Concha, who stayed on alone for a while before they sold the house. Before she left, Concha and I hugged. I’m sure she found a better looking Lesbian to share her life with. And the stick is leaning in a corner of my bedroom, along with the smaller sticks that Dr. Pain put out on her porch, in a futile effort to replace the original one.