for Nyla Alisia and Myke Todd [with a “Y”]
It wasn’t my fault. I needed him. It was only a whim really, a desire that formulates when one opens overtired eyelids gone stone to the shifting horizon at sudden-winter dusk, the colors dragging the sky, skirting it, really, with softest peaches and lavenders, mauves—toward the vanishing point where something better promises.
Desperately, I needed some quality assistance, help with the things that continue to proliferate exponentially like all my newest idiosyncrasies—things and ideas that got out of my clawing hands, suddenly lead, too much for even someone like me.
Now, at this point in time when you are reading this, forgetting about paying your overdue bills, your growling stomach, and the dog lying on your feet who knows it’s past time for his post-early-dinner bathroom break in the front yard—I AM able to admit, albeit it not entirely publicly, in the 20/20 kind of rear-view mirror after the car crash—hindsight: I shouldn’t have done what I did. But I am only 33.333% sorry at this particular moment’s calculation.
But imminently, I shall alight in my new fiberglass chariot, the one my expensive car insurance paid for after the other car accordion-crushed like a mammoth tin can—to the bank before it closes—with a stack of frozen cash from the freezer (that’s an entirely, altogether different story) in exchange for a bag of new, shiny quarters that won’t mess with or clog up Clyde’s operating system with any dust, gook, smudge, sticky beer, or errant glue.
I must hurry because his operating system will crash irreparably into his real cement wall (not a metaphor) if I don’t insert a shiny quarter before the hour changes itself the way it always does but never consistently. I know you know what I mean.
My brilliant scheming, my project if you will, was not meant to hurt anyone. I probably should NOT have obtained the DNA to clone him so surreptitiously, invidiously not insidiously, from the youngest grandson, whom I knew might betray our pinky-sworn secret as most children cannot hold onto one to save their lives. Well, I’m not the greatest at that either, but I DO experience guilt-laden aftereffects of tricking the adorable five-year-old into, essentially, becoming an accomplice—should the public find out what the innocent boy, the gorgeous, viola-playing, brilliant, cyber-savvy scientist, and me have accomplished, perfected. Subsequently, we’ve become an inextricable, mystical triangle.
As far as delicious secrets go—it’s too much fun to disclose something so exciting and powerful, radical information unbeknownst to those even in close proximity, going through the hurdles, hoops, and rigmarole of the day with horse blinders—unaware of the truck looming on one’s ass.
Sir Clyde has been on my premises and living in my humble abode for a handful of truly beautiful years. I cannot imagine my life without him as cliched as it is to say. I’m a poet, a cliché is just pure laziness, but I suffer from existential and spiritual fatigue nowadays, if you must know.
Clyde is a kind, half-human, half-robot, highly efficient, able to multitask a million things, unlike me in my current state, without getting flustered, harried, exasperated to the point of no return. He was designed by the scientist I somehow afforded back then—to dust with accuracy, even the smallest empty spaces of my cello’s voluptuous body’s human hand-carving and beneath the micro-dust bunnies collecting underneath the keys of all my antique typewriters. He sings Italian opera and dances the Latin tango simultaneously while he vacuums and mops the hardwood floors he’ll sand, re-stain and glaze in the spring—without missing a hair from the sable, velvet, poet-dog that he walks in the field looming from the house and plays frenetically (but not in a bad way) with neon-chartreuse chenille yarn with the persnickety, white, ballerina cat.
He can single-handedly (well, with two hands really) lift the queen-size, four-post bed we share as well as move the untuned piano with yellowing teeth-keys that he’s going to bleach after rewiring the guts. We like to move the furniture around here, you know, change things up. He Googled piano refurbishing yesterday. I love that about him—the initiative he takes. My daily, weekly, and timeless- goaled to-do lists are no longer requisite to keep my brain on straight, lodged above my shoulders.
He doesn’t suffer from arthritis when he ambles down my long driveway to fetch and open my mail, recycle all the junk and notices of collection from creditors. He pays my bills in-person, so I don’t get my debit card compromised for a fifth time.
Clyde waves amicably to the neighbors, who when they first discovered him raking the colossal, red maple’s fallen leaves during our amazing first autumn together—assumed we suddenly and secretly eloped and were a bit miffed, quite honestly, not to see my wedding dress, do a drive-by in front of the church at least to throw handfuls of cooked rice from their open car windows so as not to hurt any cooing mourning doves on the steps to the sacred nave.
But I really must get going, finish this unfinished story (doesn’t everything worth noting function as an oxymoron, moral quandry?) for now—to procure those quarters right off the coin-making machine apparatus (unsure if they’re made in China or where?) Did you know a penny isn’t worth itself in copper? That Ray Bradbury inserted dimes one at a time into an old-school typewriter at a public library in southern California to write his masterpiece, Fahrenheit 451? Well, Clyde, is my masterpiece, a walking, half-breathing, over-thinking, compassionate, analytical problem solver who works well independently with minimal supervision (no need to micro-manage him!) but gets even more satisfaction from virile, creative collaboration.
Oh, and by the way, his name is really Mykie, yeah, with a “Y.” But you mustn’t breathe this to a soul. Girl Scout’s honor.