Sunday Stories: “Five Studies of Romulo as a Triceratops”


Five Studies of Romulo as a Triceratops
by Patrick Benjamin

1. Romulo Working

A sermonette on coordination sparking sparkling acclamation. Fifty-or-so sets of hands clapping. Candlight dying as the night grows up. One more quick galaxy before we carriage.

Paperboys loiter impregnating the stage directions with disorienting tension. Torsion pops perverts’ hands from their wrists. Their night-toucher hands pyramid on the pavement as the weirdos wait for the pictureshow.

The churchbells curse out a sanctimonious six o’clock. Cops talk about the Balkans and Croatia is quiet save mortar shell.

The theater is selling Polaroids of mountain peaks and lush valleys and barren valleys.

If you tell Romulo the secret word he’ll let you beyond the velvet rope.

The secret word is welcome.

So then a swelling of welcomings.

To Romulo the perverts whisper, “welcome” and Romulo to the perverts welcomes with “welcome.”

Once all the welcomes are over Romulo shuts and locks the door and with a guest appearance by a small flashlight, he seats the perverts for the performance. The lights will go up when they must, and the curtain will rise when the time’s just right.

Those whose parents haven’t passed were invited and all but Treasure­—the failed tailor—arrived from towns both far and local hours early.

Romulo’s burliness was configured by runs in the park and laps in the lake.

A pervert in glasses asks another pervert in glasses if he has a good relationship with his mother. The asked pervert’s knee begins to bounce.

Romulo silently mouths a few passages and puts the play down, stands, sits again, grabs the play and reads the lines again.

Yet another pervert in glasses takes from his coat a steaming wrapped thing and the perverts to his left and right take notice of the steam and smell.

Romulo puts the play away and mouths the lines knowing he hasn’t a chance but will do his very best.

An old orange bus creases onto the theater’s street and squeals as its movement ceases.

A fat pervert asks at no one in particular if someone can make it warmer where he is. A few perverts around him nod wishing the same.

Romulo tugs at ropes behind the curtain, arranging things, mouthing his lines. The perverts are fairly docile considering their captivity. Romulo hopes none of them change their minds. He’s rehearsing his lines in his head.

Good morning, boys.

One strap of his overalls is caught on a lever and the curtain budges. Romulo can hear the perverts whispering and scratching at their flies. He peaks his head from stage left and finds that some of them have stood up. Some are ambling. Some sets of eyes are darting and he turns to dig through a prop-box.

The bus is leaving with one pockets-full driver and no passengers.

The travelers lug their suitcases, satchels, and grocery bags to the stage door and knock once each.

Romulo has most of the perverts back in their seats and is conducting a second go-round of The Wheels on the Bus with the half-filled air-horn. In his back pocket he keeps a retractable measuring tape and hands it to the pervert he especially recognizes, telling him—the pervert—that he’s in charge until Romulo returns.

The pervert gestures to Romulo’s pack of cigarettes. It’s come a bit loose in his shirt pocket. Romulo wags a disapproving finger and the pervert throws the tape-measure at the curtain.


2. Romulo at Home

Business as usual. Chopping up lines, antagonizing the tarantula with weed smoke, fixing a butter sandwich. Holding out a hand to try and stop speeding cars. Attempting to touch time. To put a finger in it and stretch it apart.

An egg thrown against a brick wall and what of the embryo but birdseed and mineral oil. Allergic to dander and teeth. When the desert comes up in conversation it metaphors, dries up talk, and having to lie is hard enough without bringing in issues of where there is to live and where he does.

When hypnosis doesn’t work astronomy’s not the worst bedfellow.

Laptop in the washer, grenadine in the waffle batter, bitters in the apple sauce. Tapioca pudding doesn’t ask its slurper where to sit or bring a housewarming gift. The butter, however, is polite and pleased as punch to be so.


3. Romulo Takes a Walk

The gravel spoke steadily. A giant crunching his cereal between giant teeth one step at a time. There approached a person. Someone indescribable. Not because they were so fantastic or impossible, but because there’s really nothing much to say. They were ordinary. As simple as a person could be. But not quite. For that would make them somewhat exceptional, them being the most simple of all simple people. They were average and not making a fuss about it. Simply walking on gravel. So unworthy of mention were they that none around them took notice. Not a glance. Like the thought of someone walking instead of someone walking. When they took to the trail, and away from the gravel path that descended into the pit of tires and trash, it was though they hadn’t.


4. Romulo’s Grocery List

Libya, McDonald’s, Greece, Hurricane Harbor, D-Day, Al Jazeera, Lizzie Borden, Butte, Brunei, Islands, Butter Knife, Atlantis, Peach DMV, Rewound Cassette, Upper Darby, Hanging Gardens, Sex Dungeon, No Doors, No Windows, Split-Tit DMV, Fashion Bug, Narnia, Manlantis, Athens, Home Team, Grass Snake, Stains, Ladder DNA, Quorum, Quebec, Yukon, Mashed Nose Peak, Thorned Paws Through Bars, The Elliptical Kristofferson, Swearing In, Ginormous Praying Clasps, Bra for Three, Leo Minor, Cruel Gables, Killadelphia, Circle City, The Valley, Jiffy-Lube, Alpha-Beta, Turtleneck Wallprint, Pleather Diaspora, Mint Julep, Shirley Temple, Tom Collins, Gang Surgery, Irvine, Topeka, Bus Security, Stomach Cum Spit Take, Soup Slurp Dementia, Brooklyn Homebrew Orthodox, Orphan Cancer, Cancer of The Hair, Cat Guts, Jarhead Popsicle, Nippon, Sedona, Eureka, Red Cheeks, I.U.D., Livestock Triage, The Peacock Strut Review, Underwater Speakeasy, Hanoi Cabaret, Nanking Adoption Latency, Tobasco Over Ovaries, Crumpet Betty, Film To TV, Lake Mead, King’s Cup, American Speedboat, Grandfather Speedboat, Chum Bucket w/Cell Phones, This Is Spinal Tap, Welcome To The Dollhouse, Chaucer, Dante, Plath, Woolf, Goethe, Dickens, Tolstoy, Sontag, Hawking, Voltaire, Thomas, Morrison, Locke, Hume, Kierkegaard, Colette, Unread, Kansas City Kansas, Kansas City Missouri, Waffle Melt, Sleepy, Grouchy, Goofy, Sleeping Beauty, Venus, Pluto, Endor, Mao, Amy, Ann, Lyn, Decapitated Gram-Knees, Ltd. Cinnamon, Former Senator Romijn, LACMA, Calamari Scar Plate, Pinebox Chocolates, Two Left Feet, Lodi, Newark, Camden, Wildwood, Fanged Mares, Clawfoot Blood Tub, Contagious Vampirism, Bakesale Misandry, Mendicant Veterans’ Blogosphere, Loreal, Uncle Ben, Stage Razor, Kindergarbage, The Lollipop Guild, The Monastic Order of Weatherstripping, Autocannibalize Fingers and Feet, Jelly Donut, Tire-Pulled-Scarf, Liquid Sail, Dead Yellow Ranger, Continental Birthmark, Lime Pop, Clearly Canadian, New York Seltzer, Slice, Crush, Kill, Destroy, Clinton St., Candle Count, Erotic Kefir, Murder Bullets, Loki, Pan, Pubis, Puck, Bog, Mitten Kidneys, The Hangover, Titanic, Halloween, Demomology, Phalosiphy, Matterbation, Relidjun, Saturn, Geo, Strap-On Musketeer, The Reenactment, Feast Ghost, Civil Twilight, Camp Candy, Smores, Skin, Reno, Greenwich, Entertainment Tonight, Cash Cab, Taxi, 48 Hours, 60 Minutes, thirtysomething, 20/20, Sunday Morning, Spiked Cocoa Guggling, S.W.A.T., Alabaster, Lingerie Coupons, Insensitive Batman, Milk Money, Houseguest, Bernadette Peters, Stuffed Drain Apologist, The Wright Brothers, Mr. Goodbar, Mr. Clean, Snow Angels, Vitus, Jesus Christ Superstar, Tide, Shout, 3M, Breach, Trumpet, Spared House, Gary Gygax, Scary, Creepy, Amscray Easter Incest, Confetti Security Systems, Chelsea, Madonna, California, Morrison, Algonquin, Waldorf Astoria, Ritz, King, Crichton, Koontz, Teak Aisle Fisting, R.I.P., Rest My Case, Case Closed, The Defense Rests, Just Sayin’, Trubs, Probs, Totes, Sesh, Fave, Bestie, Mean Pity, Jungle, Flame, Justice, Pixel, Level, Bar, Bell, Triangle, Knob, Bic, Kraft, Brawny, Big Dog, Lady Godiva, Cln. Sanders, Igneous Bunker, Wedding Hospital, Messy Judo, American Jilt, Enola Gay, Interrupting Cow, Paleolithic, Zone, Grapefruit, South Beach, Atkins, Hydroxycut, Man About Town, Nagasaki, Manchukuo, Mengjang, Vichy, WWW, Catheter, Rations, Maytag, Science Fair, Mathlete, Wanking, Snogging, Shagging, Knackered, Thatcherism, Reaganomics, Bob Vila, Fucking, Fingering, Fisting, Sipping, Spitting, Motorboat, Kennel, Kneel, Gnaw, Laud, Pauline Automata, Luau, Hobby Lawyering, Cock Baptism, Papa Doc, Dr. Spock, Dr. Zhivago, Dr. Huxtable, Dr. Richard Kimble, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, Dr. Connery, Nurse Caine, Dr. First Lady, Dr. Boredom, Dr. List, Cpt. Ron, Lists, List, Sigh, Lull, List, Bore, Shrink, Ugh, Belch, Blah, Whatever, Stop, List, Meow, Cat Sound, Obviousness, List, Bell, No, Repetition, Sandwich, Rather, Pizza, Addition, Ice Cream, Addition, Autoerotic.


5. Romulo Fails to Make His Father Proud by Killing His Brother, Remy

Much, much more came out than if he’d done it himself. Searching along the rocky bridges of bone and bacteria for halved and quartered bread bits, Romulo’s tongue’s protuberances found a nerve making mix the localized sting with bodywide euphoria. Concussed. All cummed out.

Pleasantly empowered by the awkward crouch of the man below him, he knew he could get away with it. He shot his hips and thrust his big hairy hands pulling back at the man’s reddening neck, forcing his wet-tipped cock into the man’s right eye.

Over the sharp cry and subsequent groans and sobs he laughed with mean gusto. He coughed a gob in his palm and slapped the slightly shivering thing’s bald spot and left his hand glued there while he positioned his tube, directing a hot current of slimy piss coating the man’s groin, filthying the couch cushions beneath.

Their father laid a plate of unpackaged string cheese and sweet pickles on the coffee table and grumbled into their mouse gnashed Lay-Z-Boy to loudly chaw an open-faced jelly sandwich. He stood—and rather suddenly so—rubbed his teary bruised eye, licked flecks of preserves from his mouth’s corners, dried his sticky head with a hairy wrist, shook piss off his thighs, made the clicker make Pat Sajak shut up, and zagged down the moist hall.


Patrick Benjamin is a writer living near Los Angeles. His work has appeared in The Collapsar, Entropy, Trop, and on Black Clock’s blog. He is a Senior Associate Editor for Black Clock.

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