Written by Zac Chastain
But deep in the darkness, the hateful heart beats on. The beast was wounded, but still its veins coursed with ink-black blood. While we sat licking ice cream cones and riding merri-go-rounds through the summer months, fattening ourselves on a deluded sense of safety, the monster regained itself. Pound for pound, it consumed the earth’s waste, gorging itself on Smirnoff Ice, Panera gourmet sandwiches, and crap from horses, in order to ascend once more…
It is November. A cold day, even for Texas. The romantics walking around in light fall jackets must bow to winter now. Their dream of some Indian summer long forgotten. Conor stands proudly beside that swing set he remembers now as if from another lifetime. His hands are in his pockets, he watches his daughter swing.
“Daddy, Daddy! Watch me!” she sings, rising higher.
Beautiful Giovannia, he thinks, smiling at her. He is most proud of the sneakers on her feet, proof that he’s raised a fighter. Not this one, not on my watch.
How he’s fathered and raised a 17-year-old girl in just under a year he doesn’t question, nor why a 17-year-old girl would go to the park with her father and demand he watch her swing. Such things are of no importance to him in this hopeful moment.
Giovannia swings higher, shaking the swingset’s entire frame, far too old and overweight to be swinging on a child’s swingset. The sun is setting over the distant hill. A sheep bleats ominously in the distance. Conor does not know it is being butchered for its fur, made into boots to be worn by a hung-over 19-year-old girl in a hoody and sweatpants that say “Pink” on the ass. He is sure those days are gone.
Miles away, Zac hurtles towards Texas in his Toyota Prius, getting un-American gas mileage, calling Conor’s cell over and over again to no avail. In the meantime, he tries to reason with himself:
Calm down, Zac. Remember what we said in the early days of Le Resistance D’Ugg: “Ugg is only the first half of the word ugly.” And verily it was branded long ago with that most guttural of auditory rejections: “ug.” Not even a word, but rather a sound made upon looking at horrific road kill: “Ugh. That’s disgusting.” Or upon hearing a particularly loathsome person is joining your friends on yet another outing: “Ugh. Not her again. I wish that skank would just die.”
And Zac did wish that skank would just die. But it wouldn’t. It had been born from filth once more. They would have to return the One Ugg– the One pair tied together by its horrid faux-fur tastles and draped heavily about Zac’s neck, to the firey mountain in Australia from whence it came. Zac remembered his conversation only hours before with James Gandalfino, actor turned surfer turned fashion designer:
I wish the Ugg had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened!
So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.