Yankee Pot Roast?


Nicanor Garcia


Say there’s a crowd. Say it! An enormous crowd. Say you are a member of that crowd, and you are obscuring completely the sidewalks beneath my hotel balcony. You are singing!

Say I turn to the naked woman in my bed. The one on my right. I turn to the naked woman on my right, and I say, “I’m going to shut them up. Tell the woman on my left where I am going.”

Say I get up out of the bed, stepping over women. I mean, just say I do. I scramble over the torsos, and grab an open bottle of red wine.

Say I step outside, with my open bottle, at eight in the morning, to be greeted by this crowd of which you are a member. The crowd and you are still singing! I motion for silence.

“He’s going to talk,” someone says. Not you but someone. Say someone says that.

Say I say: “Piss off,” and hurl the bottle into the air directly above the crowd, thinking very little about the fact that it will come down. Not necessarily upon you, but definitely somewhere, and definitely upon someone.

But that is too far in the future to be mentioning. Say I never mentioned that. Say it!

The bottle is at the moment, still making its ascent. It is rising in the sky. It is spilling little red drops on the people immediately below as if to warn them of the trouble I have made. Say it is obscured. The bottle is too distant and tiny to be seen. Only I know about the bottle, though I have really not given it as much thought as I should have. Had I been clutching a slipper, I would have thrown that.

It would have been a lot softer on your head... a slipper. But I am ahead of myself once again. The bottle is still in the air.

Say the bottle is still in the air. It is spinning a bit, and losing momentum. It is spitting little red drops of wine all over the crowd again. They must think I am bleeding off the balcony. I bet someone thinks that’s pretty holy. Someone always thinks that.

No matter. The bottle has reached its zenith. It is about three feet above my head, and many more feet above the crowd. It appears to dizzy as it begins to make its transition towards a rapid descent.

Say it lingers there, above the balcony, just long enough to discomfort me about the idea, then, as I stand staring at what I have just let loose into the atmosphere, the bottle plunges out of sight, and a small circle forms in the crowd below.


Say you wake up on the ground and people are crowded around you. Say your head is aching and you are covered in wine. You reproach yourself. You are after all, a lowly drunkard, and this is not the first time you have woken up like this. You take it upon yourself to crawl home, shuddering when you think about the critique you will receive when you finally arrive.

Say your new wife becomes infuriated. She opens the house to your scratching at the bottom of the door, and, expecting to have been letting the dog in, shrieks at finding you on your hands and knees, bloody, and soaked in wine... again.

Say this was the last straw. Say this was the last straw, and you have to watch her packing from the floor. Case after case of undergarments you will never enjoy again. “Oh tragedy!” You say from the floor. Say you say that from the floor.

Why did you say that, she says. Why did you say that from the floor? Say you say, “I bought you all those bits. Some thing to do to me. Stealing them away like that.” “Say pleas” she says. So you plea, and upon your pleading, she takes a particularly lurid red nightie from one of her cases and nails it to the wall. It hangs there lifeless as if she has just killed it. It looks like that thing on a turkey’s neck—a wattle or whatever. In the coming weeks you will engage in endlessly embarrassing activities with this strange-looking thing, till one noble day, all tangled up and ashamed, you denounce the garment, asserting that it is “keeping you down.”

That’s what you said. You said the underwear was “keeping you down.” It’s good you finally realized that.


Say there is a knock at the door. The first knock at the door in a long while. It is a small fat man named Gerald. Gerald has come to represent my interests regarding the matter of the bottle-throwing incident of which you are still unaware. He has been tracking you with the intent of offering you a cash settlement.

“Hello,” Gerald says. “Would you like some money?” “Yes please,” you say. “How much money would you like?” Gerald asks. “A lot of money?” “Preferably a lot of money.” You say.

Your newly acquired ex, smelling the money from her bungalow across town, thumbs a cab.

Within the hour she is at the door calling your name. She is saying: “Darnell! Darnell!” You are saying “What! What!” There is a long pause. She is thinking of something else to say. Something that will excuse her sudden appearance.

Say she says she needs her undergarment back. She says she is going to visit her grandma and she needs her undergarment.

Say you are marginally cunning for a moment. No really. Just say you are. Say you ask why she needs her red underwear if she is going to visit her grandmother.

Say she says, very slowly, as if defeated: “My. Grandmother. Wants to. Borrow my... un.d.er.wea.r,” shaking her head sadly at this infantile formulation.

There, she is beat! Now is the time when it is appropriate to start calling her names. Say you start with the classics. You are, after all, well versed in the classics. Say “Cad!” “Mucker!” “Rogue!” “Knave!” “Imp!” “Grafter!” “Vulgarian!” Say “Rutter!” “Skunk!” “Swamp!” “Rube!”

Remember, though, before you chase her off, you are newly rich. This opportunes you to say things you have never let yourself say before. Try out some new grammar on her. Test-drive your new life.

Say: “Wastrel!”