Wave-Particle Duality or Sweet Oklahoma Pussy
by Eric Arnold
In my father’s house there are many mansions.
My father is a moonlighting school bus driver, and he accelerates by taking his foot off the brake. Not like the young ones, heavy on horse size pills and speeding through the yellow lights. He lays it down cheap as tilapia, gently as a hug, just enough to get by and maybe cut the cancer from the prostate, maybe cut the coffee from the cream. My father is where it begins, because there is nobody more like me.
Those hardwood floors have made you indolent. That LA traffic has left you searching for bad words, for marriage counselors or carafes of clams casino. I don’t know how to ask you to stop and listen to me for a second without sounding like there is a piano underneath me, without sounding like I’m fuel for a cause, without sounding like I’m not impressed by the nudity of others. O to see you naked reading my words: the amplitude, the frequency, the wavelength of God.
It begins with my father, but it does not end with my children. It goes on. The light of my blood, the mass of my name. Soft fascism in the nation of time.
Combing Kansas for sperm banks, working I-135 Topeka and back. Building something with the hands of aging women, their bony or chubby pre-arthritic fingers. The wives of the impotent, the portly and unfuckable, the reluctant lesbians, matrons after all. Building a family, I’m the patriarch by a color-coded vial of spluge, by the undeniable cheekbones and auburn locks of a generation. Undeniable, undeniably my own. I’ve hit Kansas before, but Kansas likes being hit so I’m hitting it again. I’ve got an account with some of these places, and sometimes I even forego the fifteen dollar payment, pocketed with a nursely grace by the white-clad employees as they stow my liquid, mark it as preeminent with an embellished description of my character and physique, the top of the bucket, the first off the shelves, I’m assured.
In my father’s house there are many mansions. But there is only one Father.
Oh Jesus, right?
There was someone that told me once about wave-particle duality while sucking on a speared green olive raised drippingly from martini glass to mouth, something quantum. Just multiply your momentum by Plank’s constant and you will have your wavelength. Smaller than your ass it will be, thinner than your high index bifocals. And a photon, a drop of light, is not without mass, momentum, force. Shoot a few through a microscopic slit onto the screen sixth graders watch film strips of Sweden, and they’ll pile up in bands, constructive interference of the waves of light separated by shallow chasms of mutual destruction. And then there’s the uncertainty I’m sure you’ve heard of on your watery books on tape, the paradox that you cannot know where each individual photon will end up, but you can be sure they’ll all arrange into those shiny white bands. That probability is all you can have. Where is the light? Where is the electron? Where are your children? Probably digging your grave, you immortal piece of shit.
And am I talking to myself, or are you listening? It goes on.
In my father’s house, there is my father. Eating ice cream with his hands. Picture that. The pink sherbet dripping from his fingers, glazing his scruffy bubble of a chin. The kitchen is moistly lit by the purple dusk out the window, filtered by the live oak that becomes its own shadow at night. The school bus, colorless at this hour, is occupying the length and breadth of the driveway. His hair is still red at the temples, but frosting on his protruding belly, his scaly chest, wrapping over his shoulders and down his back. The carpet a lamentable landscape, a melting tundra. The furniture dull and growing less uninteresting in the uneven fading of fabric. A mutt in the bathroom, toenails on tile. The front door open. The screen door closed. The night disappointingly silent. Father can you feel me? Like a puppy turning into a dog, I cannot name the day when I stopped following, nor the day when I fell back into your footsteps like the twinkle into Clint Eastwood’s eye on the sixty-five inch projection screen.
Evangeline is investigating the prospects of eating a bite size cheesecake, purchased by the half-dozen, squeezed into the muffin holes of a plastic container by the fair-skinned employees of the bakery. Crudely connected to the supermarket next to the Circuit City. French women in Oklahoma. In spite of my suppositions, birth control seems to be a problem, as neither Evangeline nor Margherite have conceived. Other men’s wives can’t resist the way I tuck in my shirt, the way I unlock my Grand Cherokee from immense distances, the chirp of the security system rising over the southbound squall of migrating Canadian geese. I flatter myself, as you can tell. There are only two, really. Evangeline and Margherite, goddesses of the Oklahoma City chapter of the Alliance Francais, lauded for their Parisian authenticity, attendant at all these wine, gruyere, and pretend to speak French cocktail parties without exception. They accept sex like shiny credit cards, that must be how they ended up here, and I groan for them to give me a son I can see, to let me weep into their petite and impersonally perfumed breasts for fear of death, while their men are making par on the fifth and fourteenth holes somewhere out beyond the backyard.
These French women I fear swallow chalky and refrigerated pills nightly to keep their wombs unburdened by my glory. I have found evidence somewhere near the bathroom sink of one or another. These French women, these French women. These French women, I fear, have little regard for Jesus. Jesus, who I have come to understand would not steep to birth control. Jesus, who is the rock.
Jesus is the rock. Why did I say that? What does that mean? I’m just tendering soldiers to the kingdom. I’m just feeding the fish and doing the wash. I’m uniting the collie and the bloodhound in holy matrimony and whispering apologies at the commercial break. And what are wars, fish food, shit-stained panties, weddings and penitence without a rock? I think this is the logic of faith, although it was never explained to me.
The rock. The rock falls into place.
Everything falls into place, everything in spite of everything’s uncertainty. The infinite probabilities are one in the end. Science, faith, or a shipbuilder’s math. The splotches of morning light diffracted under the curtain, onto the furry Comfort Inn bedspread. My army of children lining up single file in a dream to bear their father’s name, the militant posture of a cosine. Particles and waves. Faith. Thirty-nine miles from Omaha and its all-you-can-eat buffet of sperm banks, dotting its suburbanity like bald eagles in a swamp.
This is how it’s done. Park confidently, enter gleefully, speak quickly and forcefully, painstakingly evading the inefficiency of being misunderstood. You are on a mission to create, between a board meeting and a luncheon. “I have an executive luncheon to attend.” This is to appear hastily philanthropic, as if it were marked on the day’s agenda by an Ivy League educated secretary, not an excuse to jerk off in a pure white room while a bloated lady mops in the hall, humming songlessly. You say, “I’ve done this before,” and they might even remember you. Tell them to code you Orange Seven, and they’ll do it. All my children are Orange Seven. They want to believe in the sperm of good men like you, with the impatience of significance, the pensive Protestant brow and curly red hair, the designer suit with the patriotic tie or the blazer slung over the shoulder, the intergenerational salesmanship, the not being as fat and ugly as they are, the apparent lack of intention to seek out and violate the recipient of your donation, the willingness to navigate your own history into the future, mark yourself as a continuous function. They fasten a bar code to the orange cap of the vial that says yours is the most desired seed.
Then you drive across town and you do it again. It goes on.
In my father’s house.
“In my father’s house there are many mansions,” those words a recollection from the time I went to Mass with Margherite. Kneeling on the vinyl cushion suspended inches from the old wood floor, while traffic outside on the interstate spliced the jaundiced Father’s words. In my father’s house there are many mansions, there are many ways to be faithful, abounding permutations, but there is only one faith. One rock. One end, falling like a hailstone from your infinite probabilities. Jesus. This, perhaps, is the logic of faith.
Then there is the logic of something else. Faith in creation and fear of destruction, that is the logic of our defiance of entropy, our cells compiling into a tower of self-awareness as the universe expands indefinitely, going home to its original nothingness. Faith in the summation of our waves, the constructive interference, like a laser beam caressing a cornea, seducing it back into perfect vision. The logic of life. Faith in creation, the logic of fatherhood. And the creator? Fear of destruction, the fear of death. Yes, but the lines we can draw to infinity with the yolky swirls of our sun-white semen. The lines. Yes, and the exponential growth of our mass, numbers falling out of numbers, machine gunning through all dimensions real and theoretical. Thank you. Thank you, who? Thank you for the lines. The rock. The logic of life, the logic of fatherhood, the logic of God. The logic of faith.
p = l/h. I’ve been told it’s true.
Evangeline and Margherite, I’m sorry this cannot be a love story, but you can come with me to the sperm bank in Norman, take the first exit off I-35 before you get to the car dealerships, the lazy river of Chevrolets. You can’t come back into the room with me, but you can sit there in the waiting room, synthesizing melodic French conversation on the plastic blue chairs, among the swimsuit editions that lie at your feet, glowless in the air conditioning. Evangeline and Margherite, terminal. Oh these French women in Oklahoma, oh that sweet Oklahoma pussy, denying my infinity. Sit in the waiting room and be the radiation, be the end of all that went into you, be the mass of two bodies and no more. I will be masturbating into a sanitized jar, approximating immortality.
And you. Listen.
Listen to me. Pull over into the nearest gated community, the nearest fake Irish pub, the nearest hostage negotiation workshop with a pink awning and tinted windows made out of not-quite-glass. Put your foot on the brake. Listen to me, listen to your father. This school bus makes wide right turns. This school bus stops at all railroad tracks. This school bus is really quite long, longer than it is yellow.
In my father’s house there is light and mass, there are mansions made of us. Mansions of our wavelength, we will all fall in line like photons on a screen, like electrons, like planets in orbit. Interference, I’m collecting interference, and I would give it my name if I could. We, measured probability, we, the exactitude of flesh. We are waves, and then there is the wavemaker. Father, God, Jesus, dad. Dad?
Dad is asleep on the couch, the Cowboys game flashing blue and gold on his crown, his lasagnaed skin submerging into his dreams, the blue light dodging his dreamlessness. father, Father. Dad, your wavelength is small but I can feel you through these walls.
The lesson is: I can feel you through these walls.
About the author:
Eric Arnold is 23 and a student of public health in London. He grew up, with varying degrees of success, in Montreal, Oklahoma City, the Dallas area, and finally at Brown University in Providence. He has spent much of this (life)time writhing in his own insignificance and inability to accurately predict the future, although he has been attempting to work through these problems by writing. His work has recently been published at EliMae and Monkey Bicycle.