‘Rattata’ & ‘Cubone’

19. Rattata

I was glad for a friend who loved garbage as I did. Who was born from it and for it. Who loved my books because of their cheapness, because the titles were lewd though not meant to be but whose covers were because breasts and filth remain popular, even if in secret. I read them and you ate them, sinking your teeth into each pulpy morsel. Your mouth was foaming and I was concerned. You said to shut up and let it foam. You made it clear that we were not friends.

Today I woke to find you gone and have no name to call out into the wild. I tried giving you a name once, but you rejected it. You said that your proper name rolled easily enough from tongues used to fashioning weapons from words. You thought so little of my tongue. I search the gutters and the brush wordlessly. The tall grasses and dark corners of basements. Landfills, abandoned houses, traps left out to poison and kill you. At night, when bright eyes shine out from the pores of the earth, I pray that two are yours. Stay the night, please. If you must, chew on me.

104. Cubone

“Wears the skull of its deceased mother. Its cries echo inside the skull and come out as a sad melody.” – Pokémon Yellow

Each of us wears our mother—her presence or her absence—but you have chosen to wear her skull. I want to tell you how fucked up this is, but that would be rude. We drink, then I ask how you came by the skull of your mother. You say nothing because I know how it happened, I’ve asked before, and you don’t want to repeat that story, not really. But here is how you came to wear your mother’s skull:

First, your mother died. You did not see her die as you were busy clawing your way out of the egg, but as you are wearing her skull we can be sure she is dead. The rest you saw, having broken free, having wiped the amniotic fluid from your eyes. You were already learning how to walk. You were walking towards your mother. But she wasn’t breathing, and your father, wearing his mother’s skull, was wailing, and this was the first thing you heard. Sure, there was the wind. Sure, in the distance, innumerable animals shrieked, but your father’s pain was local. Immediate. Then your father removed your mother’s helmet—her mother’s skull. It was the only time you saw her face. Was she beautiful? Hideous? This you’ve never shared. Your father skinned your mother and cleaned her skull. He placed it upon your head. It didn’t fit at first, but you grew into it.

When your father died, there was no story to be told; he just died. You did not claim his bones. You didn’t even cry. Why would you? Your father was good to you, but he was also your father. I want to say how fucked up that is, but I still have a father and a mother. You are crying now. You will cry all night. Your cries are beautiful, notes from a dream instrument playing in the heart of a deep cavern. Your cries are your mother’s cries. They fill the room, but they don’t bring her back.