The Gift of Shower Gel, Christmas Eve 1997

As a kid, I knew all-too well its weight, its shape, my welling
disappointment.  It's ushered into my hands by aunt; uncle
typically backgrounded, nodding with false involvement.
It’s a football! someone shouts, No! It’s an upright piano.

I play along, guessing Ladder, feel my blood vessels pinching at
the sides of my mouth.  All is not lost.  I shake it - it could still be
a G-con 45.  If I squint hard enough, I can imagine the utopia of
Destruction Derby 2. I begin to open the lifeless, unholy trinity

of Shower Gel, Body Spray, Post Shave Balm.  Give me
anything.  Give me the anonymous metal hexagon
of Quality Streets, or ironic socks, or last year’s Now 35 -
would kiss two cheeks twice for a calculator watch.

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