Sunday, February 7, 2010
I realised two things last night-
1) No one wants to hear about the progress of your book deal as much as you want to talk about it- except your husband, who will spend two hours dissecting every detail of an agents email with you over Tandoori Chicken. That is how you know that you have true love.
2) Sometimes, it may look as if things aren't going to go your way, maybe God has forsaken you, but that's when you learn the true meaning of zombie-baby-cemetery night.
It started when I drove by the lawn of a local church last year. They had one of those fake baby cemeteries up-if you do not live in the south you may not know about this- hundreds of tiny white crosses and a sign that usually reads something like "10 million trillion babies murdered each year!"
This baby cemetery did not disappoint. It's crosses were accompanied by a sign that read "262 Babies die each day"
So, of course, I thought about changing the sign to "Barbies" but in the end I decided to collect a whole bunch of doll arms and bury them halfway out, reaching upwards, like that scene in the Thriller video when all the zombies are trying to claw their way out of their graves.
It's not so much that I am Pro-Choice, it's more that I am Pro-Zombie.
It can take a few days to collect enough doll arms for a project of this magnitude. When I had enough to carry out my mission I drove over there.
Crosses were down. Gone.
"GOD DAMN IT!" I yelled.An old couple turned to stare at me as i circled the block slowly again and again, hoping that I was mistaken, that maybe they had been moved. Nope.
So, it turns out they only put it up once a year, the fake baby cemetery is seasonal.
Last week, as i drove Ruby to school, I spied the return of the little white crosses.I called Jeff, who was spending the week in D.C. on business.
"It's on. Come home. Now."
"Petal," he sighed "I can't cut my business trip short to vandalise a church. We're grown ups now."
"Fine, fine, I'll do it myself."
"NO!" he panicked."Wait! If you go alone you're going to do something stupid and end up in jail!I'll be home on Friday, just wait."
"Fine." I said bitterly. He may be right, I thought. So I waited, four long days, until he could be present to supervise.
On Friday morning, killing time before I picked him up at the airport, while browsing at my favorite thrift store, I stumbled upon a giant baby doll. The name of this doll is "Baby Alive." I know this because every time a commercial for this doll comes on TV Ruby jumps up and down and screams-"I wanna buy dat!"
to which Jeff replies-"What do you have to do?"
She sighs, resigned. "Get a job." she says, and toddles off, presumably to work on her resume.
"Baby Alive" is an animatronic monstrosity, a big eyed, open mouthed robot baby that moves around when batteries are inserted into its butt, opening and closing its mouth, saying "I'm hungry!" If you 'feed" it, it will poop. It's a spectacular feat of engineering, and I paid the 3.99 it cost, clutching it to my breast with excitement.
"Baby Alive, indeed." I muttered, as I took it home.
When i picked up Jeff from the airport, he expressed some misgivings about my plans.
"There are probably cameras all over that place."
"Bullshit." I said."How much trouble can we get into for putting a doll on someones lawn? remember you thought i was going to jail for putting that pigs head on that guys doorstep? relax."
"Wait until tomorrow night-we have babysitting." My impatience rising,I agreed. this is what you do when you are married, you compromise. Fine, we can go to that restaurant, you say. Okay, you agree, we can do it like that for FIVE minutes, then don't bug me about it again for six months. Fine, you say, I will wait to bury my doll-zombie on the Church's lawn until tomorrow night.
Friday night was spent painting the doll like a zombie.
Saturday morning dawned.
"This is it." I thrilled when I awoke. It was like Christmas morning, finally here at last.
I had the bag packed, Zombie baby, digging spade, tiny sign that said "And one came back." I was ready.
The day passed slowly. I am compulsively impatient. Minutes dragged on for hours. Finally i dropped Ruby off at my moms. We ate some Indian food and waited for dark.
We called up John and Donna, our friends who make films, to document."I need at least four shots of tequila and another man to do this." said Jeff."Wait a minute-I sound like I'm about to make a gay porno."
Donna answered the phone.
"I am up for it. John is down. he's in his fireman pajamas." She said.
I put my hand over the phone."Donna says John isn't coming." I whispered to Jeff.
"NO WAY! I will not be the only rational male there. Tell her we're coming over!" He did a U Turn in the middle of the road and began to speed to their house.
"We're coming over" I told her.
"No,no, he's really in a shit mood. Don't come over." she said.
"It's too late. We're coming." I hung up the phone.
John was hiding in the back room when we arrived. His teenage daughter answered the door.
I handed her Baby Alive.
"Here. Take this to your father and tell him to get his big girl panties on. We need him." She held it by its hair, away from her body.
"What IS this?"
"Never you mind. Just go show your dad." She carried it down the hallway and disappeared.
After a few seconds I heard a man scream.
John came shuffling out, half asleep, holding Baby Alive away from him like it was diseased.
"What the fuck is this?" He growled."I was sleeping! Get out of my house." His eyes barely open, he tried to push us to the door.
"No way, dude. You owe me. Get some shoes on, we're going to go bury that halfway out of a fake baby grave."
"WHAT? What the fuck is wrong with you two? You're thirty five years old. I don't even know what you just said."
"Please," Jeff grabbed his pajama leg "Please don't make me go with the women alone."
"Oh, all right God Damn it. I hate you people." Donna, standing behind him, began to clap. Now we would have our video, and Jeff would have his male companion.
"Wait!"yelled Donna."Let me take a picture!"
As she grabbed her camera she whispered to me.
"Should we go alone? The Buzzkill Brigade is kind of bumming me out. Jeff thinks you're going to get arrested, John is in a pissy modd."
"Nah. Let's make them go. That way, we have someone to blame it on if the cops really do show up."
"All right but I'm just telling you, I'm going to have to do it from behind for like, a month, because of this. Did you see his face? He is not happy."
I posed Baby Alive.
"Breast feed her!" said Donna.
"NO!" yelled Jeff from the living room."Do Not Put that on your blog!"
"I won't!" I promised.
As we drove over there, we explained the plan to John.
"So-it'll take about thirty seconds to dig the hole, put baby Alive in, and pack it down. then the sign. then the photos."I prepped him."This has to be strategic, it's a busy road. Worst case scenario-cops pull up-what do you say?"
"OH my God-look at what some teenagers did!" Donna piped up."We just had to stop and take a picture! Isn't that terrible?"
"That's my girl" I told her. We rode in silence. The time had finally come. Baby Alive would be resurrected, Sunday morning's church goers would arrive to see her, halfway out of her grave, ready to sprint after them super-fast like 28 days later. They would see the arms of her fellows, rising from their tiny white crossed graves.
As we neared the giant church, John began to shake his head.
"Wait a minute," he said."I thought you were talking about that Korean church off that little side street. This is that big catholic place? Look how well lit it is!This is getting worse and worse by the minute. What have you guys gotten me into?"
"John's brother is the head of a big Pro Life group in San Antonio," Donna whispered to me "His parents are missionaries."
"No way y'all!" he yelled. We were stopped at a light, the brightly lit white mega church glowing ahead of us like a beacon."I'm going to get excommunicated! My parents will cut me off! You didn't tell me it was on the busiest street in Austin!I'm out!" He crossed his arms.
"Please John," I laid my hand on his arm."Make my dream come true." I implored him.
When the light changed, we rolled slowly around the corner to the spot where the crosses had been sticking out of the ground all week.
They were gone. Again.
"NOOOOOOOO!" I wailed."Why did this happen again?"
Everyone was silent as we stared at the empty church lawn.Jeff turned the car around.
"I'm sorry Petal." he said softly.
"Now I know there is no God." I said.
"Maybe your God is a prankster." said Donna."He just pulled a big prank on you that's for sure." She patted my hand in sympathy. We both looked at Baby Alive, snug in Ruby's car seat, her bloody,black zombie mouth open in anticipation of her big day. It would never come.
"I'm sorry Baby Alive. I tried." She remained silent, dreaming about brains.
"Lets go get some treats and watch Zombieland at our house on Tevo." said John, obviously relieved."Stop at that grocery store up there."
We pulled past the handicapped spots, looking for a place to park.
"How many handicapped people do they think are going to come shopping here?" asked Jeff as we rolled past at least twenty reserved spots.
"This is the handicapped HEB." said Donna."Did I tell you about the last time I came here? And I saw this pimped out glitter van with the vanity licence plate that said-'GIMP-1'? That was my favorite handicapped person ever."
"As opposed to your most hated handicapped person," said John.
"Oh yeah, I don't even want to talk about that guy." she shook her head as we walked into the store.
As we browsed for treats, I couldn't shake my disappointment in the hand that fate had dealt me.
"Cheer up Sunny," said Donna." Here-" she said, holding up a bedazzler."Lets buy this and bedazzle our vaginas."
Even a new craft project couldn't cheer me up. I shook my head.
Then suddenly, it dawned on me.
"Oh my God." I told her." I know why it didn't work out! I understand God's Plan now!"
I grabbed the Bedazzler box from her and began to jump up and down.
"It was delayed so i could Bedazzle Baby Alive!God hasn't forsaken me-He is just telling me to 'Wait" that's all!" All the people in the frozen foods aisle turned and stared.
My faith was restored. That's the thing about God, y'all, He always has a Plan. Sometimes what looks like a tragedy is actually His grand design unfolding in complete utter perfection. Zombie baby Alive didn't get buried on the lawn because it just wasn't her time. She wasn't ready.
My faith restored, I decided that I would Bedazzle, and wait, with the peace of knowing that everything will work out the way it is meant to, even if I can't see how in the moment.
God works in mysterious ways.