John Branseum


Savage at a Cocktail Party

     I was born too aggressive, with an ax and a full set of teeth. But since then Iíve taken up tai chi and I refuse red meat. I have mastered bio-feedback, shutting my eyes and counting to ten, throttling a sponge-like ball that says LIFE in big blue letters. When my bloodlust gets really bad, I chop trees.

     At the Ryanís party, the urge gets really bad. I am smiling at the limp noodle conversation and wishing for a big seal club. I excuse myself and go to an empty room bristling with watercolors of our hostess naked. Gazing out the window, I admire the war green of their holly trees, berries like the entry-holes of arrows. I do not want my friends to know I am biting my fingers. Is it possible to scream without letting on that I am? A song perhaps?

     I donít know any song past the first couple of misstated lines. I walk to the buffet table, greedily eye the autopsied chicken and julienned vegetables. Itís all too much. I creep to the fuse box and turn out the lights. An intruder! I shout, and then begin screaming and throwing food.

     My friends bleat like sheep and stampede out of the darkened room. I throw elbows left and right, get in some good solid rabbit punches, and as well bite someoneís forearm. Then theyíre gone and itís only me. While I beat myself up, I think of craggy hills and burning oak.

     Finally, I emerge into the lightened room where my friends are waiting.

     ďHeís gone,Ē I tell them.