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She lived down the hall from me in college and sang opera at seven in the morning on weekends because we were all recovering from parties she hadn’t been invited to. This Mayonnaise’s story begins on the last birthday she celebrated, as a young police officer who had forgotten his belt that day, began speaking into a digital recorder. “…and that’s pretty much it,” he was saying while shuffling his hips so that his pants didn’t continue their inevitable slide. “Again, this is officer Chris Ramsey. Scene of the crime. Two injured. Serious gunshot wound to abdomen. Fruit everywhere.” Officer Ramsey checked to make sure the device was on before continuing. “The date is…April eleventh, two thousand and nine. Right now, no one’s saying much. Accidental shooting, possibly. Jealous boyfriend. Motives yet unclear. Waiting to conduct questioning. Jesus!” Because television shows like CSI New York have already desensitized this generation of twitterers, we can assume that Officer Ramsey saw this crime scene as “the usual”: blood, broken glass, and feathers. The young policeman gripped the small, pregnancy test-sized digital recorder firmly as his older partner, Bill, neared. The graying mustache of the man seemed to curl as he nodded grimly. “There’s a lot of red from the big one. Where are those stretchers?” “They’re coming now.” “No elevator. Go downstairs and direct them up, Ramsey. Should be three.” “Three?” “That’s right. Three. How would it look if we loaded the little guy with one of the others?” The two glanced into the apartment. “Bad karma or something--that’s what it is. Bad karma,” the young policeman said. “Say, Bill, you want to get a drink after shift?” “Sure.” Bill smiled, revealing a healthy stretch of receding gum line. He didn’t really care very much for Ramsey, but figured he could probably squeeze a beer or two out of the kid. People in shock tended to be generous, in his experience. “Helluva bad day for us all,” he said. “Them more than us, of course, but still...” Half-heartedly, Bill patted Ramsey on the back, remembering the awkward goodbye he’d had a few years earlier with his son, who was at a freaky college in the Midwest where you could practically major in sodomy. And considering the matter further, Ramsey had always reminded him a little of his son. It made sense he’d always been hard on Ramsey. “Let’s get that drink,” Bill said. “But listen, Ramsey. None of that cider shit. You’re a cop.” The young policeman shook his head. “But I like cider,” he admitted sadly. Bill continued to dwell on his son--it wasn’t the boy’s fault. This was Martha’s doing. Baby Yoga and Capoeira for children were direct paths to fruitiness. Fruit--there was a helluva lot of fruit spread around the apartment, a cantaloupe split open, a pint of strawberries, a few bad apples. The group had been celebrating a birthday, but there was only a single cupcake. Something fishy going on, for sure. Bill figured a jealous ex had decided to surprise her. Most shootings were ex-boyfriends. But who was the shooter?
but he hadn’t had much practice and flubbed it. something had gone seriously wrong. studying the paper. Shit--who doesn’t like cider. “Cider. Ramsey grimaced. Questioning would begin after the paramedics arrived. He picked it up.” Ramsey furrowed his brow. “Found this in the apartment. Obviously that’s the address. On the floor was a crumpled piece of notebook paper. I swear I’ve seen her before. It’s goddamn delicious. Crumpling the paper.The lard ass? The Unabomber? The skinhead? Either way. “Mayonnaise?” .” Bill handed Ramsey a piece of paper. Bill indicated the apartment in question. and then stood to the side as the paramedics came through once more with the stretchers. they had to play the game and wait. who was staring off quietly. he tossed it in the corner of the hallway. “Tell you what. He placed his hand by his mouth and whispered. Until then. kid.” Glancing back at the apartment. “Bill. so the two men stood silently as the paramedics came up the stairs. That cider’s on me. Bill regarded Ramsey. Try to make sense of it. Just don’t let the boys down at the station hear you say that.” The older policeman tried to smile pleasantly.
The fourth grade carnival was coming up and Katie was hoping that someone would ask her.” As the sound of her mother singing came from the kitchen. because the girls at school wrote such stupid things. she peeled back the waxed paper slightly. Some girls hit the boys they liked. Everyone knew that boys had cooties. accentuate. girls told boys they liked them with notes or through friends.” “Really?” “Yes.” she said. Disney has already ruined the perfect spring morning. she ran to her mother. A baseball came out of nowhere and landed in the grass beside her. She rolled it like a bowling ball. “I did last night. You want to go to prison like your father?” Katie shook her head emphatically. I used the fruit stuff. There was a tin of cupcakes on the counter. even distort character. Also. Mayonnaise’s day was April 11th. the boys will try to take them you for them. so she liked him. She just wanted him to talk to her. my little sugar angel. “Don’t tell anyone what they are until you give them to Ms. Her favorite. singing. that change.” She was the Sun. she must never let the toothpaste foam build up. but what should she do? In school. Delicious cream cheese frosting covering spongy red velvet. The playground brimmed with bright-faced little people whom we call children. . And Anthony would probably be pretty funny at the carnival. Okay? Have a great day. The Name There are some days that can’t be forgotten. because her father had brushed straight. Your father lied. Katie was watching a boy playing on the jungle gym with a few others. “Of course you don’t. “These are for your class. Warm Florida sunlight peeked through the windows.2. brush your teeth. “Did you wash your hair last night?” Katie looked down to hide from her mother’s lie-detector eyes. Still. 1989. Maybe he was a little cute. Her mom had always said that life should be more than simply existing to satisfy a man. Red Lobster! Taking the tin of cupcakes reverently into her hands. In prison they never ever had pizza lunch. Katie brushed her teeth in circles. We’re going to Red Lobster tonight. and he’d probably win a lot of the games. her ninth birthday. and now he’s in prison. Katherine. When she was finished. days that move us like puppets on the march.” “Don’t lie.” mother told her. Simmons. so we can say it was seventy-two degrees and multiple birds were whistling in harmony. days that must be remembered. because once it had stained her best outfit. like about boys they’d marry and how much money their husbands would make. Otherwise.” “Really?” Katie yipped with joy. Come straight home afterwards. “Here Comes the Sun. “Yes. baby. He was pretty good at games. and now he had no gums. Anthony was Neptune. Anthony yelled for her to throw it back. Earlier in the year Anthony and Katie had been in the solar system play. Now. In prison you had to wear the same clothes every day. Okay. She didn’t get along with most girls because she didn’t like writing notes with fortunes inside. The boys laughed. Mayonnaise’s mother kissed her daughter on the forehead.
blue-green. Even Emilio had oohed.” the other “ahhed. Katherine. Katie stood there. she wore an African dress with yellow stripes that was really pretty. dusting off his bottom. and bead necklaces. “No I didn’t. posters.” “Come chase me … or I’m gonna tell Ms. Finally Anthony and Emilio came in. asked. “I wasn’t really going to tell. Her trapper keeper. Katie was sitting in the second row from the front. three pencils neatly before her.” “Don’t tell. Now the cupcakes were exposed.” she cried. so he doesn’t get one. Anthony wasn’t like the others. she hadn’t turned him into Ms. because they had learned this from science class the other day. The second bell rang. . She watched him dangling like a monkey with his friends.” Joey added. which were hazel-green. Simmons’s desk was full of objects she had picked up while traveling in Africa. Simmons.Neptune was a good planet. because Anthony had not done either. Simmons tisked. Now he was chasing after Emilio. trying to slip through the bars to cut him off. He wasn’t hurt! Her eyes lit up and she ran towards him. Never can get that all together. “Katie’s a teacher’s pet. Simmons picked up the tray of cupcakes and peaked. Simmons was going to punish them. They were mean. Ms. I’ll pass them out after I take up homework. They teased people. She told the boys to sit down. statues.” she said. “Shit!” He got up. Almost all of the class had come in from recess.” “Yes. Ms.” Half the class “oohed.” he said. or almost. Anthony was doodling in his notebook. Today is Katherine’s birthday. those two. The first bell rang. Ms.” “Anthony didn’t turn in his homework today. their reply echoed and disjointed.” Katie looked back. Simmons. Joey and Emilio. Ms. Simmons? Ms. but stopped as Anthony yelled out. “Class. But not Anthony. who were oohing. right?” Ms. Katherine. “And she was nice enough to bring cupcakes. even though she could have. turning back to Joey and Emilio. John Dusack. explaining that they were just getting a drink of water. but he was going too fast and fell.” Emilio shouted. “Ms. Just not Anthony and Emilio and Joey. This answer seemed to satisfy Ms. Like his eyes. Simmons set the tray down and took off the sheet of wax paper. Katie almost ran to him. “If I thank Katherine twice. you were. Five minutes until class. until Emilio mentioned that our bodies were seventy percent water but theirs were only fifty percent until they got a drink. “You cursed. so Katie ran across the field. For Black History month. Why hadn’t he thanked her too? After all. He was noble. He stared at her. Simmons. Ms. she thought. Simmons was great. She raised her hand.” the class said. “Class. what do have to say to Katherine?” “Thank you. Simmons?” “Yes. was under the desk. with pictures of the solar system. eliciting more noise from the fourth graders. do I get two cupcakes?” the fat kid. What a great color. figurines.
Ms. let’s play a little game. Simmons.” The class erupted. “The next person who…” “Mayonnaise!” . Don’t worry about it. who was wearing a purple shirt. “Robbie is like a banana … cause he’s so tall.” The back of the class broke into giggles.” The class laughed. what would they be? Anyone? Yes. they called her a thespian. “Liz is pizza.” Ms. If your classmates were food. He was looking at her with such mean eyes. Ms.” the fat kid John Dusack moaned. “Okay. Then she told Anthony to pass out napkins. Simmons. Enough silliness. Then she smiled. Katie burst into tears. which meant she liked girls. Simmons stepped in. “Oh. Katherine. She was busy trying to regain control of her class. Simmons rolled her eyes. who nodded. “If you don’t do your homework. His eyes made her nervous. I’ll help a little. Anthony is having a tough day. Mother always said to avoid mean boys. Simmons began talking about how good the cupcakes looked. well. Enough!” John Dusack had snuck behind the teacher and was stuffing cupcakes into his mouth. Who remembers your free-writes from earlier this morning? Similes? Remember? What is a metaphor? Anyone? Anyone? Okay. Simmons. “Katherine is mayonnaise. A boy stood on his seat. stood. laughing loudly. imagining the fizzle of a gin and tonic. then fell onto the tile. and declared. “Eric is like a helicopter. “Can I have another?” “Sam is like a salami!” A smile appeared on Anthony’s lips.Everyone thought this was very funny. A hand shot up from the fat kid again.” “Tony’s a skate board cause … Anthony was staring blankly at her.” Anthony looked up from his drawing and stared at her. She looked down at her fingers and licked off the rest of the white frosting. because there was icing all over his mouth and crumbs littering his desk. She just wanted him to like her. calling out the new name. Jenny?” A little girl pointed to the boy next to him. Ms.” “But isn’t that the rule?” Katie pressed. John?” “I didn’t get a cupcake. Metaphors are images that help describe other things. After class. carefully placing a cupcake down on each desk. He pointed at her. “Ms. Eric raised his hand. “Everyone. So. They were a team! Katie looked for guidance from Ms. maybe she would give him one of the leftover cupcakes and invite him to come swing with her. Ms. She glanced back quickly as Ms. Anthony was still staring. pointing. and that all boys were mean. Simmons did not see him. “That is enough. “Yes. you don’t get the day’s surprise? Isn’t that the rule?” “How about Anthony helps you pass them out? Wouldn’t that be nice?” “Yes. but once when Katie told her friends what her mother had said. class. Katie followed behind him.” “Which one is Robbie?” a small boy with glasses whispered. so she placed a cupcake on Anthony’s desk as well. Simmons addressed Katie.
Then she went to check on Katie. Then she noticed the tears coming out of the pale girl’s eyes. hurling right in front of Katie. That’s why it’s there are people like us. When she got home. Ms. It’s just a joke. she told her mom what had happened. Katie. covered with specs of vomit. Besides. At least she had a purpose.” Mayonnaise lay in bed. baby. people who stand up against the wicked and spiteful. well I’ll be damned--little buggers finally got something all together. “Tuna fish!” “Fish and Mayonnaise. but she wasn’t afraid. and it seems fair to say that this inability had prevented her from viewing the world as such. chanting “Mayonnaise. “No one likes me. and stared at her Spin Doctors poster. There’d be war now. .” she said.” Ms. Honey. Worse. “Oh Katherine. maybe her whole life. Simmons thought. who will? Do you understand?” “Yes. The kids nearby immediately stood yelling “Yuck!” She looked down at her cupcake. “This is the price honorable people have to pay. It’d be hard work. “There are a lot of cruel people in the world. It’s best you learn that now. She would endure it all with a certain stoic dignity. But before he could get there. Katherine. John Dusack was headed for his desk.” “Super gross!” “Mayonnaise!” By now. Katie was sniffling and wiping tears from her eyes. This was something she would just have to accept.” her mother replied. Mom.They all broke out into laughter again. If we don’t stand up against bad people. Simmons had already ordered the students who couldn’t stop singing “Mayonnaise” to stand in the back. Besides. John Dusack had finished off the remaining cupcakes. he doubled over. there are more important things then being liked. because her mom was always saying that most people went through life without direction. you can’t have a tuna fish sandwich without mayonnaise. Mayonnaise had never seen herself as beautiful since that day. who had not touched her cupcake and was sitting very still. Mayonnaise.
” The line “It’s night in the forest of your firefly eyes” made her blush. Mayonnaise wasn’t used to that kind of sweetness. There is no word like “snicker. and that when I lingered too long. I heard my Mayonnaise snicker once. and this was what Mayonnaise was doing when she realized she was in love. I barely escaped with my life.” which doesn’t quite have the same je ne sais quoi. But she didn’t mind it so much from him. the snicker is called a “giechel. This Mayonnaise turned from the computer. and usually she despised such saccharine poetry. At the end of their conversation that night.” which is basically a little smile. before Mayonnaise became Mayonnaise. She was sitting before her computer screen. she had never tasted the sweet forbidden fruit known as love. before the world turned against her. I don’t remember what the cause was. His screen name was Purplecow. In the mug were two ice cubes. Mayonnaise had liked the name instantly because of the song her mother used to sing to her as a child. Her long. In fact. “in bed.” In Spanish it is “risita. He shopped at farmers markets and bought organic when he could.” our modern day Evil Queen and her confused Prince Charming would have been sinking lily pads well before her infamous 30th. both were horny. she snickered again. ring to it.” which doesn’t have the same. putting her pointer between her teeth as her fingers moved to delete what she had just written--which was only mildly suggestive but to Mayonnaise pure pornography. Had he not made the disastrous mistake a few weeks later of asking to “see her in the flesh. Then she made a girl cry for not signing a volunteer form. Mayonnaise was on the “friend” site Frogpond. before she became a wretch. unfulfilled. I don’t know. She lowered the mug from her lips and continued to type. Now my right ear is often flooded with white noise. which incidentally was also her last. as is American custom to corrupt all of the bountiful wisdom of the Chinese. Falling in Love Perhaps the greatest tragedy of Mayonnaise’s story is that. The evidence is all there. When did she first taste it? A mere few months before her 30th birthday. She was snickering. “Lily. and this was no coincidence.” She had added. he sent a song he had written on acoustic guitar entitled. I still wear the shirt she stretched out. The two had met for the simple reason that most people meet online. thin fingers were dancing across the keyboard. After restoring the Cola to its proper level. In Dutch. Because there is just something delightfully wicked about snickering.3. . until nearly the very end. Purplecow said all the right things--and what a catch! A musician with a day job! He also liked artsy movies. she excelled at these types of pointless customs that convince us that we are in control of our lives when so clearly we are not. a site amongst hundreds offering a non-committal friend/date service. The fortune cookie from the Chinese restaurant that night had read: “Good things come to those who wait. typing. happier than she had ever been in her miserable life. He even had a small plot in a Brooklyn community garden. and lonely. only that signing it brought me one step closer to her cherry-blossom perfume.” Then she began to type again. Mayonnaise had made a habit of refilling at the perfect intervals so that the ice never completely melted yet neither was the Cola watered down. or in Spanish. her slender white hand lifting a mug of Blue Sky Natural Cola. “algo.
The rest of the day. The face that met them at the summit was strangely beautiful in its cruelty.The next morning. as she took the remaining steps in a huff. smiling.” no doubt the most flagrant distortion since “yellow cake uranium. this is precisely the type of effect she had on the world. Each fantasized of traveling somewhere together. the two wifi-crossed lovers stumbled on the subject of dreams. a caterer. said her mother) and brought the steaming bowl over to the computer screen. Only a fool would not envy that feeling. Signing off. and why wouldn’t she? Mayonnaise was in love for the very first time. blinded by the harsh winter sun. She slept soundly that night. afraid that she would finally call the cops. dreaming. Back then. Purplecow wanted to tour the world playing music in town squares. Mayonnaise secretly envied his normal family life. she poured a container of Whole Foods yellow pea soup into a bowl. Purplecow told her a bit more about his parents. she gazed at her “Fields of Italy Calendar. Casey. Ellis braced himself for an attack that did not come. the wars. Here Mayonnaise revealed her innate pessimism and Purplecow his artistic optimism. she bounded down the stairs. responding to a Purplecow message. I giggled all night while I nursed my pride and iced my knee.” That day. her rare good mood made it incredibly difficult for her to clear her throat and bark. Mayonnaise hated them and did not know or would have cared to know that they had both lost their jobs in the “slowdown. and then quickly hid the chat window as her incompetent boss paused to talk about a few upcoming conferences. dreaming. who would no doubt spread their black moods to other victims through the Mayonnaise virus. for at almost eleven-thirty. the state of the world. She was crooked over the computer screen. she had managed to worsen the day for eleven people. By the time Mayonnaise reached her office. we know what she really meant. the two were in love from the very beginning? . their ritual. his father. reheated it over the stovetop (because microwaves caused cervical cancer. talking softly about their lives. They could not know that Mayonnaise would be dead within the year. They talked for hours. There on the stoop outside her apartment building were two stoners named Casey and Ellis. fresh from a particularly steamy dream involving Purplecow. shielded his eyes. Mayonnaise sent him a brave email: “by the way--loved the song! Until tomorrow…” Of course. however.” dreaming. There she waited for him. like in a fairy tale. And must I remind you--this was with theoretical love in her heart. “Don’t you two losers have anything better to do than to sit here wasting your lives?” They looked up slowly. This is true. and being loved by someone deeply gives you courage. Each moderated the other’s extremes. global warming. Yes. A nameless philosopher I came across in a Dove chocolate wrapper once claimed that to love someone deeply gives you strength. a music teacher and mother. and went to bed. Mayonnaise had always wanted to visit Florence. she brushed her teeth. But maybe I’m wrong. At home that evening. They discussed the recent presidential election. It wasn’t until after lunch that the morning storm clouds dissipated. The day I met my Mayonnaise. Is it possible that. Nearing the end of their session.
” Yes. You could have it all. Purplecow had found Lovelily’s profile untraditional and mysterious. That was it. Lovelily28: Thanks.” she said. . Lovelily28: Ha! Purplecow: Why no profile picture? Lovelily28: I could ask you the same question. so he sent her an IM: Purplecow: Like your flower. are you real? Purplecow: Sometimes. my dear. I will never forget the first words my Mayonnaise spoke to me just after she had tripped over my crutches. Why Purplecow? Purplecow: Embarrassing tattoo. “I’m taking them. take them--and my heart. Pure and true. ladies and gentlemen. Love. I remember thinking. Purplecow: Smart girl.Mayonnaise had liked the screen name Purplecow instantly--it reminded her of her before the nickname. “If you leave those damn things in the hall one more time. You could have it all. Lovelily: So Purplecow.
not even from the deliciously fat. She popped in Chicken Run and curled up on the couch. On the subway ride. and tripped a man who had held open the closing doors for his girlfriend. clueless Babs who never seemed to realize that her neck was practically on the cutting block. No doubt. Mayonnaise had been instrumental in pushing through Congress tax incentives for clean energy and a ban on illegal logging. as it turns out. Election. trying to calm down. the other employers of the firm were tired of Mayonnaise’s annoying snickers. Mayonnaise didn’t either. nervously waiting and hoping for the chance to enter the big dating game. Purplecow didn’t really remember much of Carrie. At home. Immediately. Nevertheless. Roles In addition to ruining the lives of others.4. and paving the way for the Tropical Forest and Coral Conservation Act. she put her purse and jacket down so no one could sit next to her. brave heroine-chicken who led the others in her coop to safety. having slept only a few hours. It seemed to be working--that is. Mayonnaise made a Bloody Mary. despite what her mother had often told her--that her father had been an alcoholic and so she must never drink when upset. Those who might condemn her as a wholly destructive creature would do well to remember that ruthless people are exactly who you want on your side when humanity battles the very worst of itself--the corporations and governments who would gamble the world for cheap gasoline. stepped on the heel of a woman who had been applying lipstick. She thought about calling in sick. one must get hands dirty. Mayonnaise found little comfort in Chicken Run that night. to keep the world clean. though in truth she was perhaps more Mrs. the evil owner and general embodiment of pure evil. So what had Purplecow asked Mayonnaise to upset her so? Purplecow: I just don’t get it. and like most players on the sidelines. because in the realm of environmental lobbying. In 2008 alone. left the office. and. glaring at countless banners assuring her that hemorrhoid help was on the way. or Mean Girls. Tweedy. we most resemble. tightening organic farming standards. until Purplecow asked a question that made Mayonnaise suspicious of his identify. than Ginger. Then again. and. Monsanto’s self-destroying seeds. but at this point he was very much infatuated with the elusive Lovelily. I maintain that only someone as vicious as Mayonnaise could have done it. After a .” Tommy was lying through his fingertips. Of course. rose from her desk. the plucky. and ninety-nine cents a pound boneless chicken breasts. Why won’t you let me see you? Is the reason that you don’t have a photo because you’re a celebrity? She woke in the morning. they liked all the same movies. I can make her happy. But alas we so often champion the characters in books and movies whose goal it is to defeat the villain that. she closed her computer. subconsciously. It was four o’clock. But the two had been talking about movies they liked. panting “put me in coach. Mayonnaise also had a day job as a junior associate at a top environmental lobbying firm. without ceremony. She hated everyone on the train and showed it. Mayonnaise had always loved the movie. The lines of the couch pillows had left a crisscross pattern on her face.
I was really busy at work. who looked up as she entered (more out of surprise that she was late). Purplecow: Right. straightening paintings. Glaring at her co-workers. She put on Pandora and sang along with her Yeah Yeah Yeahs station as she tidied the living room. It was cold and raining. talk tonight? Here’s a song about Sebastian. The message from Purplecow read: “Sorry if I said something wrong. and dreary—a day that fit her mood perfectly. An emotive of a face winking appeared on Mayonnaise screen. she watched a program about global warming deniers and another regarding Japanese whaling—a new potential target. she finished two glasses of wine before eight o'clock. Afterward. dusting. what was your best role? . She probably cackled. That evening. come on. Now you have to answer my next question. Mayonnaise logged onto Frogpond. Lovelily28: …fine. Mayonnaise sat in her cubicle. yeah. Meryl Streep. Live dangerously. the rest of the day was gumdrops and sunshine. toots. sorry--I biked today and got caught in the storm. She also insinuated to her boss that the secretary. who had apparently commented negatively about one of Mayonnaise’s outfits. welcome sound: Purplecow: Hey. The weatherman had said it might snow. okay? Lovelily28: hmm… Purplecow: Come on. she picked out an outfit while uttering the mantras of her mother. When she logged on. She wrote memos and copy. Lovelily28: About the other day. Just one question. was stealing office supplies. I don't deserve you. putting away magazines. Then she heard a familiar. Purplecow was not online. So. no matter what.scalding hot shower. then we’re finished. At lunchtime. ignoring their mindless prattle. vacuuming. frigid.” As far as Mayonnaise was concerned. Lovelily28: Actor. planned an environmental conference in San Francisco and another in Boston.” It was a typical winter day in New York: overcast. Purplecow: Yeah. You’re gonna miss me. Purplecow: You mentioned the other day that you wanted to be an actress. and re-enforcing posters with sticky tack. busied herself with phone calls to potential donors. baloney like “Success equals intelligence plus application. Lovelily28: I don’t know… Purplecow: All right. right. yeah. after most of the other employees had left to get away from her.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?