Day Of The Minotaur

With apologies to Thomas Burnett Swann.

It was Minotaur Night again at the House of Sled: the intermittent Friday when my Olympic lifter client shows up to have his huge flanks and rump tenderized with my fists, my elbows, an electric powered Thumper, and a two by four. (Just kidding about that last.)

This always seems to happen on the same day as capital-S Shit: shit happens teefor example, this morning, departure to the gym was complicated by the whiney chiming of my super-duper digitally programmed washer, telling me that the tub wasn’t draining and to check the hose and filter already. Some man — I am sure it was a man — designed the filter compartment so that, when you open it, water glurts helplessly out onto the floor because the access panel is too low on the washer to let you slide even the shallowest of receptacles in front of it. A mop became involved. This always happen when you are in a hurry.

For example: on returning, I opened the back screened porch and the massage room only to find that the slightly opened windows at both locations admitted a reek of petrol that suggested a Molotov Cocktail operation was in progress on the premises. Investigation revealed that my dipwit gardener David had neglected the agreed on storage system for his lawnmower fuel supply, and a couple of canisters were afloat in an old recycling bin just under the porch. Do you know how many times you have to wash your hands before they stop smelling of gasoline, once you wrangle a mess like this? With someone undressed and on the table?


About Thomas Burnett Swann. I have a few of his cheaply published Ace mass market paperbacks from the sixties and seventies, delectably romantic mythic yet quotidian stuff. He was dead by the time I read them, I think. I don’t even have to go back and pry the volume off the bookshelf to remember his colloquy involving  a Cretan woman and a rural farming couple (think American Gothic) from the distant exurbs: “Rouge your nipples, dear?” (Cretan fashionable dress at one point exposed the breasts; cosmetics followed; human nature.) The farm wife catches her husband’s eye, implying desire for a smart outfit that would allow similar adornment. “Some things is best left indoors,” grunts killjoy (or realist) spouse.

Later novelists admired him.

He called on us to re-imagine a Golden Age and long for it. On days like this I am totally down with him.

bird of fire


8 thoughts on “Day Of The Minotaur

    • I think a little bit, though I wasn’t aware of it at the time. Just things like talking about rouged nipples tended to relegate you to the category of “science fiction and fantasy” that no one took seriously enough to be outraged about it — published only by pulp houses like Ace whose productions often jostled one-hand books on cheesy bookracks.

      Anyway this is the kind of stuff I was reading while my contemporaries were banging on about the Revolution and reading manifesto-like works of fiction that all seemed to work out to “nobody loves me everybody hates me I’m gonna eat some worms.” They never took me seriously. I still don’t take them seriously.

      • I was reading non-standard stuff too, but I seem to recall everyone talking about Ayn Rand but I don’t think many of them read it. Ditto on the taking seriously.

        • Oh lord of hosts, let’s not even think about the people who even imagined they had read Ayn Rand. My much older ex husband was vaguely of her generation and actually crossed paths with her pussy-whipped consort Nathaniel Branden once or twice, being as my ex’s own dad was a famous freaking psychologist (they should not be allowed to breed). He formed an opinion or two about Branden, which came out to, well, he was pussy whipped. I tried to read Rand once. It was like a bodice ripper written by Henry Ford.

    • I’m not altogether sure how to take that… Incidentally Rhubarb is the name of a novel by the divine H. Allen Smith (whose other works boast titles like Still Circling Moose Jaw and Life In A Putty Knife Factory), about a cat who inherits a baseball team. I love Smith and cats but baseball bores me so I dutifully collected it but it’s still unopened on my shelf. Perhaps something for the summer.

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