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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

This Is Where We Keep Vivaldi’s Body

Is everybody in? Good. O.K. Ma’am, can you shut the door? Thank you.

Ah, you in the back please come around, he doesn’t bite, ah-ha-ha-ha-hum. Yes, wonderful. Let’s fill the circle in. Wonderful. Wonderful.

All right, so this is Vivaldi’s body. He’s not in too good a shape as you can see, two-hundred-and-fifty-some years will do that. Oh, yes, sir. The vomit-bag dispenser is against the blue wall. Actually, yes. Yes, I agree the designs on vomit bags these days are cutting edge. Brilliant, reminds of me of Kandinsky. Well, my guess is someone from the foundation gussied them up with the pictures of violins and oboes.

Anyway, he’s not in too good a shape. No, ma’am, that snake in his mouth doesn’t bite.

Yes, young man? No, I don’t remember the movie where the snake comes out of a skull’s mouth. I don’t watch movies lately, I just fell in love.

Well, she’s originally from the Southwest. Why, yes, she had been married before. Two—Matt and Beatrice. No, no, she stopped making them years ago. No, she assured me she is through, she’s grown up eons since then. No, I’m afraid not. All the actors were tested regularly. So, I’d like to get back to Vivialdi if you don’t mind. The story of how he got here to Boise is a very interesting one.

No, sir, she is not going to sign your DVD of Kung Pow Pussy. No. Plus, I actually don’t think it’s her best work. There’s this bootleg she did in Russia. State of the art in Russia, I’m telling you—everyone eats together and later as they go over the dailies, a couple dressed in—Christ, I told myself I wouldn’t get into this today.

It was one person’s dream to get Vivialdi into our great city of Boise. He actually came from Spokane. But settled here for good in the 90s. A classically trained cellist, Mitch Hendricks hatched the idea at a benefit concert and symposium to get music back into the curriculum of our public schools.

What was that, Mrs. Robideux? Wait, watch your cane there. O.K., what? No, her measurements are still the same. Absolutely no silicon—these hands don’t lie. Oh, oh—you wanted my measurements. I’m sorry I don’t know how to calculate girth; I’m a humanities person.

Oh, this is your granddaughter. Sixteen and she’s in the choir, you say? In the what? O.K, we’ve had to come up with policies for it, you see, and only those who have passed our rigorous examinations are invited into our bed, and unfortunately experience is commensurate with good standing, so, sixteen? Mmmm, sorry.

Yes, sir—no, you in the white sweater. Donkeys? No. Donkeys are out of the question. Why you ask? In earlier times I might have been pro-donkey, but now with mad cow stuff and—

I know it’s a different animal, but after her prior follies with Deuce Billygoat, as he was called—Jesus, how do I get into this?—Mitch Hendricks went on a fact-finding mission to Italy. When the officials there wouldn’t listen to reason—

Ma’am, can you tell your son to put Vivaldi’s arm back? He was left-handed and that’s the left one, so, you know, there is the special sentimental value involved.

I know he’s dead.

No, that’s just unfair. That video was made for— It was for a cable channel in Mexico City. They assured me it would never— I did it for the same reasons you do things: Money. Did I enjoy it? It was hard not to, being my own sexual organ, ergo I didn’t have a problem putting my mouth on it. Well, she considers it a blessing. Being double-jointed helps, and of course length plays a big part. It’s my own so I don’t have a problem putting my mouth on it. No, I don’t think it’s homoerotic. I know only a few men can do it. Yes, there was property involved. Somewhere in Puerto Vallarta. And—

No, sir, we’ve never done it in here. The legalities.

As the Italian officials decided—

No, Mrs. Weinstein, I don’t have the exact length. I’ll send you an e-mail later with the answer. No, not a pictorial answer.

Vivaldi is a most interesting figure—

Greg Gerke currently lives in Buffalo. His work has appeared in Fourteen Hills, Pedestal Magazine, Pindeldyboz, Hobart, Eyeshot, The2ndHand, Apt, VerbSap, Ghoti, and 34th Parallel. He is completing a novel set in Brooklyn. His website is