The following is an excerpt from the hitherto undiscovered writings of the late Jason M. Miller, who died unexpectedly last month after a long battle with a gun wielding quadruple amputee. Little is known of Mr. Miller’s life, save for what can be gleaned from the few photos that survived the 2007 fire that consumed his home, garden, and life-sized wax figures; it is therefore a gift of no small value to historians that these writings were ever found.
Awoke early again. Stared at the walls, the ceiling, and footboard. Wondered, for what seemed like the thousandth time, why we don’t recoil in horror at the sight of our own toes. Could not help but wonder: why am I here? What is the nature of the soul? It was only after pondering this for an hour that I realized I was not in bed at all but was, in fact, running naked down the street wearing only a coon-skin cap, tearing pages out of Descartes’ Discourse on Method and screaming “Esse est percipi!!!” over and over.
Life is funny…
Fought with Lizzy again. God, how I hate these silly spats! It’s always the same thing – shouting, spitting, pulling out hair, crying and, ultimately, sobbing uncontrollably on the floor in a puddle of urine and blood. And that’s before she even gets in the room. I must address my anger issues…the poor woman doesn’t deserve this, even if I have suspected her lately of shenanigans. Why should I mistrust her? For one thing she’s been spending more and more time with Marcos, the pool-boy. She says that it’s imperative they discuss matters related to proper pool care and maintenance, and that it is of the utmost importance that they meet frequently, at night if necessary, or the pool might fall into irreparable disrepair. I try to point out that we don’t have a pool, but my objections seem to only make her angrier and demand more money. Maybe I’m being unreasonable…
Met with Branford early today for a light lunch. He’s looking good, though I must say I’m a bit worried about him. He recently founded a society of academics who insist that all of the deaths at the end of Hamlet were Portia’s fault, and he wanted to know if I was interested in joining. Of course I demurred, being an adherent to the well-established theory that Portia was in fact the manifestation of Hamlet’s inner struggle with his homosexual cravings toward Guildenstern. I mean – even a cursory reading reveals as much! He even went so far as to invite me to speak at their first annual dinner next summer, but I refused. It isn’t that I’m not a powerful speaker – it’s just that lately I’ve lost confidence in my ability to persuade an audience. Last year, for instance, I spoke before the National Society of the Hearing Impaired, and after a brilliant and impassioned hour or so of speaking was met with only blank stares.
Found our daughter Sarah brooding out back by the chimenea again. I have to admit that lately I’ve had a hard time communicating with the girl. She’s over three now and should be able to understand me when I ask her to clean up after herself, but all she does is laugh mirthlessly and continue collecting her dead squirrels.
I’m beginning to think I should have read some of those parenting books Lizzy hoarded…
Decided a walk around the garden might help my mood. How brilliant all the colors of spring are! Hibiscus, geranium, crocus, variety upon variety of rose – everything seems to be blooming at once. I inhaled deeply for some time, lost in nature’s glorious fecundity. Eventually I was overcome by all the beauty and must have passed out, because I awoke some time later naked, bruised and covered with dirt. Disoriented, I managed to catch the mearest glimpse of my neighbor Saul running out of the yard. Oddly, he was also nude. I imagine he must have been bathing and, hearing me cry out, rushed over to my garden without hesitation. Upon seeing me revived he most likely rushed back to his home to grab a towel. It all makes so much sense, though I still can’t explain the turkey baster and Maraschino cherries.
Lizzy is so distant today. I long for the days of our courtship, when all was in the future and everything seemed so, so…possible. Lord, she was funny then! I remember the first night I asked her out – it was to the movies, to see the film “Moulin Rouge.” She nearly choked on her anchovies, then told me she’d rather spend a couple of hours in a dark room with the Khmer Rouge. Oh how I laughed! I remember her response: “I’m not joking, asshole.” Pure Lizzy. And so deadpan!
Managed to write for the first time in a while. This damned novel has been driving me insane! Specifically, I’ve been wrestling with the plot – how can I tie everything together before the denouement? I mean, if Tessa is to wed Brock without damaging her reputation with the other seamstresses, then how do I explain her kissing young Pablo behind the broken Stülcken Derrick in chapter 49? And if (as I’ve repeatedly foreshadowed) Nancy, the whittling instructor, survives the fiery crash that not only kills both the sousaphonist Emmanuel and his marmot Gustav but also wrecks his daughter Flora’s Segway, then how can I justify the orphan Trent finding the Peregrine Falcon under his Vicar’s settee in chapter two? Add to these troubles the fact that my publisher has been threatening to recover the advance, claiming that the material is inappropriate for a children’s picturebook, and you’ll see why things are difficult. Philistines! What do they know? They’re not artists!
Found a note on the kitchen table this morning from Lizzy. Says she’s had it with our marriage and that she’s taking Sarah and moving to the Batu archipelago with Marcos. I’m still in shock. Even worse, upon inspection of the house it appears that she has taken all of our unflavored gelatin as well. Her cruelty astounds me.
I am halfway through a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. I fear I may need the remaining 3 ounces just to sleep tonight.
Can’t write today. Still in bed. Feverish, disoriented. Bathed in sweat. Moaning. Time ticks by with agonizing certainty.
Tuesday – evening
Just read this morning’s entry and thought I should clarify – it was the cat that was in bed, not me. She’s been sick with myxomatosis, the poor thing. I’m actually doing fine!
Still no word from Lizzy. I’ve already resigned myself to a life of solitude, though I’m still adjusting to the empty house. How strange it is to not see all of the live baby crocodiles in Sarah’s room! I still can’t believe that just a week ago we were all together – laughing, dancing, reading excerpts off the backs of cottage cheese containers out loud to each other. The kitchen now lacks the warm, comforting scent of baked mung beans that I had so come to associate with life with Lizzy…
The pain is unbearable…
I actually thought of going back to church today. It seems ages since I counted myself among the faithful, and I think the sudden changes in my life may be pulling me back to organized religion. Still, I can’t shake the feeling that there is no God. I know this rationally, yet part of me craves some sort of meaning in life. But which religion beckons me? Christianity is out, as are Islam and Judaism. Considering Raëlism, if only for it’s liberal views on sexuality and quadrupeds…
It’s been a long time since I’ve entered anything into this old diary, but I’ve been very busy. Things are looking up! I got another advance on a book deal from a new publisher; they’re extremely interested in my idea for a novel based on the migratory habits of the Black-tailed Godwit. They’re even saying it would make a good feature film. Imagine that! Apparently a respected actor – I think the name they mentioned was C. Thomas Howell, or something like that – is interested in playing the lead! I smell blockbuster!
My health has improved as well. I’m much leaner, and my blood pressure is back to normal. Doctor says that I’m as fit as ever, though he’s still concerned about what he calls my “horrific partially absorbed twin arm thing.”
And there’s a new love in my life! She’s a wonderful girl, full of energy and quick-witted. She spends much of her time pushing a shopping cart around the bike path by the beach. There is so much clothing in her carriage that you’d think she lived out of it! And even though we lack a shared language – she mostly just grunts – we communicate wordlessly whenever I pass her by on my way to my synchronized swimming lessons. I feel like a kid again!
I think I’ve really turned a corner!
Was set upon by a marauding gang of malcontents today while walking back from the library. Several boys, no older than twelve, shouted foul names at me and waved pointed sticks in a very threatening manner. Why me? I don’t even know what an “Ass-tard” is! I’m unable to acertain what I could have done to incur their ire, but they seemed very intent on causing me discomfort. One of them even threw down my copy of “Little Woman.” I’m not sure I’ll ever find the page I was on…
Oh, would that my life were more like the March’s!
And here the diary abruptly ends. No other written records of Mr. Miller’s life remain, though researchers are pouring over newspaper archives, pulling any “Letters To The Editor” that include the words “wallaby” and “onanism” in the hopes that more will be found. Historians can only hope.