Gone Lawn
a journal of literature
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Gone Lawn 28
Spring, 2018

Featured painting, Etude Catalan 1 by Jean Wolff.

New Works

Jennifer Peper

Travis Is a Real Peach

Early in the afternoon, a taxicab dropped Mr. and Mrs. Del Buenos off in front of Travis' and James' charming brownstone. Mr. Del Buenos tipped the cabby a fiver and helped his wife safely avoid the potholes to the curb. When James met his parents at the door, his mother lavished him with kisses and held his face. His father patted him on the back and tousled his hair.
"You're too thin and you have circles under your eyes."
Mrs. Del Buenos didn't stop talking from the time she had greeted her son outside until they had reached the forth floor and stood in front of the door to the apartment. Before he opened the door, James turned to his parents and said, "I should probably tell you something about Travis."
The door opened. Travis took a formal, low bow, graciously grabbed the coats off the gaping couple and whisked them through a labyrinth of topiaries, climbing vines, white birch trees, tulips and birdsong. The furniture was draped with Virginia Creeper and moss grew up the William Morris wallpaper on the North side of the sitting room. Mirrors (there were several) reflected a vast, canopied forest. Two Turtle Doves carried a flowing banner over their heads inscribed with the words, Welcome D & M! The banner was abbreviated because the doves couldn't have handled the weight of a full, embroidered sentence.
Overhead, a honking flock of Canada Geese appeared out of nowhere, just skimming their heads. Mr. Del Buenos ducked and Travis said, "I apologize for the geese. My supplier was out of swans. Not the same, is it?" In a clearing in the woods stood a thick mahogany dining table dressed with four impeccable settings. "James and I thought we should all get to know each other over lunch. Hungry?" He stepped over to the table, pulled one of the chairs out and invited Mrs. Del Buenos over to have a seat by patting the cushion. Travis began ladling an extremely fragrant soup out of an immense terrain. The consommé was gorgeous to look at; a thick, bubbly paste with a slick of sheer purples and blues, poured over seared scallops and succulent, glossy mussels. Dollops of sour cream bobbed in the center of each bowl, frothing over like clouds. Travis had paired the meal with crusty artisan bread and a sweet young wine from Portugal.
"How did you two ever meet?" Mrs. Del Buenos was feeling the yummy effects of the wine. She batted her eyes and splayed her arms across the table. James and Travis told the story of how they had met and Mrs. Del Buenos shared a story about how James acted as a baby. When Travis jumped up to replace the melted beeswax candles in the candelabras, Mrs. Del Buenos turned to James.
"I really love his nose ring, James. It reminds me of my bracelets." She shook her wrists and the bangles pinged like wind chimes. His father leaned in. "I noticed his teeth are pretty big."
"James! He's so talented! I can't get over how beautiful everything looks. There are trees in here! How does he do that?"
"Travis can do anything."
His mother dabbed her eyes with a linen napkin. "He is quite a peach, that Travis. I adore him. You have my blessing."
"Danae, he's half of a cow."
"Shut up, Maurice! Every time we leave the house you ruin everything!"
"Excuse me?!" Travis' backlit looming silhouette cast a massive shadow across the table. "Sir! I beg your pardon? Did you just refer to me as a..." He paused for dramatic effect. "...COW?" Carefully, Travis navigated his great frame around the carnage of feathers and goose poop with the grace and agility of a prima ballerina. He paused to pull some fresh linen napkins out from the breakfront drawer and in the blink of an eye, sculpted eight origami linen napkin swans surrounding an origami linen napkin monkey sitting in an origami linen napkin basket that was centered in the middle of four origami linen napkin elephants. Several origami linen napkin clouds billowed past an origami linen napkin hot air balloon, and an origami linen napkin sun rose and set behind the table, followed by an origami linen napkin moon with, lo and behold, an origami linen napkin cow jumping over it.
"HA!" Travis glared defiantly at Mr. Del Buenos. "Could a cow do THIS?" Mrs. Del Buenos started clapping. Mr. Del Buenos blanched.
"Boy! That... that is quite a feat!" said Mr. Del Buenos. "When would you ever see anything like that...typically?" He tapped an elephant trunk with his extended finger. Mrs. Del Buenos slapped his hand away.
"Minotaurs are exemplary sculptors. I guess you didn't know that. Most humans don't."
Mr. Del Buenos' eyes grew as round as saucers. "I did not know that, Mr. Travis!"
Travis sighed. "We have a bad rap. All we're known for is causing chaos. In this world and several others, destroying things is our defining feature. We're very good at it, of course."
Mr. Del Buenos enthusiastically nodded his head in agreement. "Of course!"
The following spring and right before Equinox, Travis and James were married on a Celebrity cruise ship under a full, pink moon in a civil ceremony officiated by the captain of the ship. After the ceremony, there was a small reception on the Promenade deck. Only James' parents, some close friends and a few thousand other guests were in attendance. Although domestic life was sometimes a chore and James would always over-react when life served up a minor set-back, it was something of a lucky turn that he had chosen to share his life with someone who was practically addicted to hysteria. It worked out perfectly for everyone involved.

It was a match made in heaven.

Jennifer Peper writes: "In 2017 my short story, The Harpy was published in Woven Tale Press. In 2016 my essay, Middle-Aged Yoga; A Review was published in Knee-Jerk Magazine. In 2018, my illustrations were published in Taxicab and I have collaborated in several exhibitions, including A Book About Death, a traveling literary and visual art exhibit that visited Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, CA and the Queens Museum in Flushing, NY. I participated in the New York Foundation for the Arts MARK09 professional Development Series and in 2011 I was the Artist-in-Residence at the East End Arts Council in Riverhead, NY. Thank you for considering my work."