And now the conclusion to Flight to Alcázar

Everyone in America knows Jacquie is gaseously challenged.

That didn’t bother me when we started dating. I mean, the asthma attacks, the burning eyes, the emergency room visits, and the flash fires, I could deal with all that. I just kept telling myself that some day I would be dead and it would all be over, and that made it all ok.

Besides, you have to put things in perspective. We lived in Greenpoint, a convenient few blocks away from New York City’s largest aggregation of excrement, the Newtown Creek Waste Treatment Facility, famous for its egg-like “digester tanks,” known to the locals as the Shit Tits.

Now how much more noxious, I used to ask myself, could Jacquie’s effluvium possibly be stacked up against those four giant Shit Tits?

A little, but that’s not the point. The point is, I held my nose and, because I wasn’t busy that Saturday, got hitched up to my special lady.

It didn’t take long, however, for the true dimensions of Jacquie’s intestinal character to manifest. One day, we were late heading to a friend’s party. As we rushed toward the turnstiles to catch an arriving subway train, Jacquie dropped her Metrocard. I got a little impatient.

“We’re going to miss the train,” I said.

“Don’t rush me,” she said. “You wouldn’t like me when I’m rushed.”

“If we’re late it’s your fault.”

She grit her teeth, snarled, and her irises turned yellow. From the sulfur. “I warned you,” she said. “I am Blastula.”

I was scared. I won’t lie. I watched Blastula bend to pick up her Metrocard. The resulting pressure in her abdominal cavity must have been too much. It squeezed out a fart that rocketed her over the turnstile and into the waiting subway train just before the doors closed behind her. The irony is, she got to the party on time, and I was late. But what I saw that day was something I never wanted to see again. Blastula is someone you don’t want to meet in a dark alley unless you have a match and you want to see a fireworks show.

So when Jacquie told me a few weeks back that we were being evicted thanks to Blastula, I didn’t want to believe her. I didn’t want Blastula back in my life, in our life. Ruining everything. If it were Blastula, we surely would be evicted, no question. But if it were something else, maybe I could convince our landlord to let us stay. So I waited for my flight to Auckland, thinking of possible alternative reasons for our landlord’s displeasure.

To be honest, Jacquie and I haven’t been the best of neighbors. Since we lived in Mt. Eden, property values have bottomed out, and we are not welcome in most shops. Because of the sulfur.

So, maybe if it were something else, some particular episode, we could apologize and make things right. I remembered:

1. The Girl Guide Episode

It was a cold, rainy afternoon, a typical summer day in New Zealand. There’s a knock at the door, and I open it and standing there are these 10-, 11-year-old girls that to my recollection looked a lot like the one in this police sketch:

I stifled my desire to scream in terror, fearing that it would only make matters worse to agitate the Girl Guides.

“Would you like to support the Girl Guides by buying some biscuits?” the leader said.

I thought the only way to get rid of these meth addicts would be to buy a couple of boxes. And thinking that the “Girl Guide” “biscuits” would be just like a Girl Scout cookies–you know, edible–I thought, everyone wins. But mostly me because I’d have a delicious cookie, and I would longer live in fear.

So I bought two boxes and sampled one of these “biscuits”.

“Oh, my god,” I said. I spat out half an uneaten cookie. “Girls, come back here a minute. Where did you make these cookies? In pottery class? I think you need to give me my money back.”

They were flummoxed, but I was able to get my money back when Jacquie threatened to fart near them.

2. The pet ducks episode

One day Jacquie wanted a pet duck.

She wouldn’t be dissuaded.

“I always had a duck growing up,” she said. “It had its own duck pond, but it liked to swim with us in the people pool and she and the hen used to clutch their eggs together and they were inseparable. We all had ducks growing up.”

So we went to Pet Stop, New Zealand’s one stop shop for all your pet needs.

“Oh, no, Jacquie, we’re too late.”

“I want a pet duck,” she said.

Her irises turned yellow. So we bought all the pet ducks that were hanging the shop window, plus a nice plastic pool for them to swim in.

Then we came home and let the ducks go free on the lawn we shared with our neighbors and their two young children who liked to play on that lawn.

But the ducks seemed unresponsive, and pretty soon, we lost interest in them, but our neighbors kept giving us looks, because every time they passed our door, Jacquie was passing gas.

3. The newspaper headline episode

One day I was sitting on the front step reading the local free newspapers, when Matt, the neighbor-husband came home from work.

“Simon, I’ve been meaning to ask what you planned to do with these, um, ducks you’ve left on the lawn.”

“Our pet ducks?”


“Yes, well, they’re not much for pets now, ever since the rats got to them. Oh, there’s one now.”

“Yes, well, um.”

“You think we should take them to the vet? They look like they might have rabies.”

Matt was speechless, probably out of respect for our poor ducks, which at that very moment were being attacked by another wave of rats.

“Hey,” I said. “Cheer up. Check out this terrible headline.”

Matt read the headline. “What’s wrong with it?”

“It’s a lie. How in the world can lepers touch anything?”

“You’re a dick.”

Just then, there was an extended, muffled rumbling from within our flat.


So, the Girl Guides hated us, our neighbors hated us, and the lepers hated us. Not to be redundant.

And remembering all those episodes, I knew there would be no pleading. Blastula, I realized, was involved in every situation.

When I returned home, Jacquie was in high spirits.

“I’ve already found us an apartment, in Parnell.”

The highest concentration of wankers in New Zealand.

“You’ll love it,” Jacquie said. “It’s got a washing machine, and it’s in a historic deco building. Called Alcázar. Like in Spain. See?”


Come back soon for the exciting epilogue to this incredibly stupid blog post.

Most Ill-Favored Nation Status

When it comes to beauty, Kiwis must be graded on a curve.

I know this statement is hard to take, but I have every reason to believe it’s true because of the high regard I hold for my own opinion.

Thus it is with a heavy heart and a generous dose of self-satisfaction that I hereby grant New Zealand “most ill-favored nation” status.

Kiwis, please don’t be upset. Look on the bright side. At least you’re not British.

In fact, if anyone is responsible for causing offense in this post it’s obviously the British.

The British spent hundreds of years dumping their most wretched citizens on distant shores. Scientists say this explains why Australians, for example, are so difficult to look at.

And historians agree that the British established their empire mostly out of a painful awareness of their own horse-like countenances. The unfortunate teeth, the flaring nostrils of an endless schnoz, the galloping around on all fours and the immitigable desire for salt-lick. Of course you’re thinking, “But that’s just Prince Charles. Surely there are good-looking Brits?”

Yes, there are. Now that the wretches have been sent away, the best-looking Brits, like Amy Winehouse, finally have a chance to stand out, (assuming they can stand at all.)

New Zealand’s membership in the Commonwealth obviously means it was not exempt from Britain’s off-loading scheme. The ill-favored were dispatched here beginning in the 1830s and 1840s. The worst of these were sequestered in a “wanker colony” called Parnell, today considered Auckland’s most thriving community of ill-favored wankers.

A window in Parnell. A window on Parnell.

For the rest of New Zealand, Britain’s plan took an unexpected turn. Former Brits improved themselves through such local circumstances as miscegenation with the Maori, the introduction and application of toothpaste and dental floss, and a switch from British cooking to actual food.

So, chin up, Kiwis. You’re not as bad looking as you think you are.

Unless you’re my neighbors, the Von Trolls. Thanks to a mix of Australian, New Zealand and British blood, the Von Trolls are ill-favored par excellence. They seem engaged in a kind of genetic “race to the bottom” in terms of looks, intelligence and personality.

The Von Trolls recently tried to ingratiate themselves to human beings by getting into the spirit of Halloween. They bought candy and decorated their porch with fake cob webs. To add to the illusion that their house was an authentic portal to hell, they had young Polly-Anastasia do her voice exercises on the front steps. As a music major (with a minor in Manatee Vocalization so she’ll have, you know, something to fall back on) Polly-Anastasia was able to scare the shit out of every living creature in the South Pacific.

It was this disturbance that had Jacquie run out of the house.

“What’s that terrible sound?” she said.

“Relax,” said Dabney Von Troll. “It’s for Halloween.”

“Oh, I see,” Jacquie said. She turned to Polly-Anastasia. “I should have guessed. What a wonderful mask your daughter has on. So grotesque. Rubbery, yet lifelike. What are you supposed to be? Let me guess: deranged mule?”

“I’m not wearing a mask,” Polly-Anastasia said.

“Oh,” Jacquie said, “well, that’s ok. It’s still a great costume. Your parents must be proud.”

Maybe, Jacquie, maybe. But remember, she’s being graded on a curve.