Posted on March 7, 2009


consider josie and jamie two girls so harmless they could serve on your neighbourhood watch squad. but when parrysh zephrys asked them to move so that he could park his car more easily (they were queuing in front of the ice cream parlour ably named ‘gross palace’ a favourite teenage hangout) with the words: ladies, would you mind moving up the pavement just a bit? they all but bared their teeth at him: we dont have to do anything you tell us to, said josie. you are not our father, said jamie. parrysh didnt know what to think or reply. it seemed such a simple matter to ask for and he didnt feel old enough to be their father. so he drove around the block and parked half a mile away.

when parrysh reached the ice parlour, josie and jamie were just finishing their cones. they recognised him and waved. hello old man, josie said. pervert, jamie said, just a little too loud not to be overheard. a dozy young man next to her perked up and asked: whazzup, ladies, can i be of assistance? and jamie turned to him: that bloke is a total bore! josie giggled. the young man looked sternly at parrysh who had planned to join the queue, but the two girls were in his way. would you just let me through please, he pleaded. but they wouldnt, this much was clear.

[…a few words about parrysh zephrys, PhD. he was a therapist who
specialised in couples therapy. many divorcees in this town adored
him for his delicate way of getting through to their husbands,
many husbands appreciated his way with women which had helped them
keep their dignity, and even more couples were applying themselves
diligently to their relationships using zephrys method “work it
out or walk away” – also the name of his national bestseller.]

[…josie and jamie though less innocent than their looks, also were
no harpies and no sluts. growing up in a mid-sized town had
however hardened them beyond their years. they were suckers for
attention and stimulation in the form of pills, parties or pancake
breakfasts, and as young women must, they were not going to take
any shit from anyone, the very least from men operating outside
of their mating range.]

[…and the young male bystander – he went through a very sleepy
phase of his life and really did not know what to do with himself
yet. he didnt even think his given name was right for him because
it seemed too unexciting and unpromising to him so that i won’t
share it with you either because he might already have changed it
as you read this. neither josie nor jamie were his type-he was in
fact gay but had not disclosed this truth even to himself yet.]

i just want to get an ice cream, parrysh said, i have got nothing to do with either of you, so leave me alone. this was untypical for him. though he was a great assertiveness coach, he had always had problems standing up for himself.

at this point, the young man was willing to turn his back on the situation, and also josie and jamie were losing interest in parrysh who could not easily be wound up. but just as they were beginning to move aside, shrugging, gerry honeychurch who sold the ice in ‘gross palace’ that night, shouted across the crowd: we’re out of chocolate, sorry! this was the flavour for which the ice cream parlour was famous, and it was the only reason why parrysh zephrys had taken his car that he hardly ever used (which is why he lacked training in parking) and driven downtown. something inside him that had possibly been pent up and festered for a long time broke free in this moment: he shook jamie who stood closest to him and cried:


he pushed jamie so that she fell against a car. the girl let loose a high-pitched, indignant scream. her friend used a much-practiced move to quickly pull out her pepper spray and a full load straight into parrysh’s eyes who cried BITCH! and fell to his knees in agony. the young man felt a strong urge to just disappear from view, but instead he threw himself with his entire weight on to the parrysh, got hold of his head and pounded it again and again on the concrete pavement, all the while feeling simultaneously like a lion and like an idiot.

when parrysh zephrys returned home that evening still without ice cream in his belly but enriched by experience and a whole lot more street-wise than before, after two hours in the police station which resulted in the officer john wesson-smith hearing the life stories of four individuals recently linked by a pathetic row in front of ‘gross palace’ (the ice cream parlour whose name i do not seem to tire of mentioning), he was happy and didnt know why. only later it occurred to him that he had touched and had been touched not just emotionally and that he was glad to have left the all-too-comfortable position of the one who only looks at malaise and misery as if on the outside, always on the outside.

© 2009 finnegan flawnt

Posted in: wordoftheday