“Xorpus of Xarl”
We joked about Xarl’s wife constantly.
Xhris started it:
One day Xhris excitedly beckoned me from the hallway as I passed Xarl’s office. Standing at his desk while Xarl was away making photocopies, and with both hands gripping the framed photo of Xarl’s wife, Xhris detailed the bizarre sexual acts he’d forced onto “the hottie Mrs.Xarl” last Sunday while Xarl ran errands with their young daughter. (“The hottie Mrs. Xarl” was not quite shaped like a drum of crude oil, but telling the difference between the two would be difficult if they were both draped in a black blanket.) I was a very fast learner. I confided to Xhris that after Mrs.Xarl cleaned herself off, cooked dinner for her family, tucked her daughter into bed and made love to her husband, she awaited his deep, nocturnal breath as signal for a post-sex slumber before sneaking to my apartment, where i chained her orgasms with my lancaster cheeseburgers until she resembled the smeared contortion of a toppled oil drum.
We choked on laughter with tears in our eyes as Xarl returned. Xhris gave him a confident, friendly head nod that Xarl returned with a raised, suspicious eyebrow.
Discovering the paradise of true love is a universal, ongoing quest in this cruel and unforgiving life. I believe that the intimacy Xarl shared with his wife, the bliss that they created in the corporeal form of their infant daughter, and the tender realm they cultivated as a home served as the best definition of the success and power of a love impervious to the cruelest of jokes; but we welcomed the challenge.
Like sport we violated that intimacy, while maintaining our professionalism. The time which used to be defined as our shared midday meal was now treated as an informal roast of Mrs.Xarl, and practice for the imminent holiday party. We agreed that verbal jokes made any time before or after this roast was off limits, but we wordlessly traded insults using a complicated language of smug glances we invented for our eyebrows and cheeks so as not to queue outsiders in on our joke. We were reaching unhealthy obsession with record pace. I couldn’t remember talking to Xhris about anything other than Mrs. Xarl, which now seemed like the only shred of similar interest that remained between us.
Erin was tired of our game and pleaded for us to stop harassing Xarl’s family, but we never harassed Xarl’s family; we never photographed the bathing Mrs. Xarl from the deserted barn across the street with our new telephoto lens purchased with the cash we lifted from Xarl’s wallet at lunch, we never pricked our cocks and covered those prints with cock blood and mailed them as fake ransom notes to Xarl’s nonexistent cousins in Lancaster, and we never smeared our army fatigues with the rancid turd of a wild boar and egged Xarl’s junior’s soccer practice. Xrin didn’t understand anything.
I don’t blame Xenny for inviting Xarl to dine with us. He was eager to become involved himself, and consequently couldn’t exclude anybody. Still, this slight lapse in foresight definitely couldn’t inhibit the ridicule of Mrs. Xarl; it was all we had. Ultimately we viewed the experience as an impromptu dry run, and I swiftly switched our classic Mrs.Xarl moniker to “The Red Eyed Slut” to spare Xarl’s feelings and keep our best material a secret until the holiday party, which was only two seasons away. As we warmed up to this new moniker Xarl laughed nervously alongside us, unsure of the context of our comments. Throughout the meal we relentlessly heaped insults from this buffet of cruelty, much like Mrs. Xarl’s generous portion of my full bodied lancaster cheeseburger chains every tuesday night while Xarl attended spin class. Our raucous laughter was met by the stares by every jealous onlooker in the cafeteria.
Obsession was an insult: this was not a shallow joke anymore, this was a major project for humanity. I was laying the foundations of a new mythology, and my lancaster cheeseburger was like the cup of a carpenter. But who was the carpenter’s son?
Besides a mistaken chuckle at his wife’s expense, Xarl never expressed his feelings in the workplace. My daily snoops through Xarl’s workstation provided my infant faith with a surplus of symbols for it’s expanding tapestry of mystery. As Xarl photocopied invoices I sniffed the seat of his chair and tore through fresh boxes of unsealed envelopes, even sifting through the week’s payroll shreds for the clues. I needed the clues. Beyond every relic is a cabal, and I nursed my complex from the seat of Xarl’s chair on a feast of the spirit.
When my frantic snoops discovered a stash of crude sketches, bizarrely bereft of the blood or vomit of his disturbed daughter, I realized that the truth was expanding, and that the Red Eyed Slut was but a sequin on the cocktail dress of my ambitious xorpus. Xarl was a secret seer, and these drawings were his. These drawings really creeped me out too. I was never afraid that this sick Xarl joke was on me, but these pictures looked so much like me. Xenny said I was being paranoid.
While Xarl rummaged in his trunk for the rifle I compared my hips with the hips of the stick figure; I lifted my shirt up and pulled my pants down slightly below my waist so Xhris could observe and compare the curves and see for himself this eerie similarity that Xarl’s fecal bereft sketches contained. I was ignored. My news of this mighty mystery did not please Xhris, and his dour mug warned me against further investigations. This seemed a secret between Xhris and Xarl, and it was no secret that Xhris ceased all pretense of our relationship with my discovery.
Xhris’ intense feelings for Xarl had resurfaced with Xrin’s predicted boredom of the Mrs. Xarl project, which was merely a temporary distraction from Xarl’s inevitable rejection of Xhris that I misinterpreted as our budding friendship. I didn’t like how Xhris fashioned my purpose as a temp bestie in his transparently farfetched relationship with a straight, married coworker, but I wasn’t sad yet. His feelings had become stronger than one’s love for country, and besides, Xarl couldn’t love Xhris in the same way he loved Mrs. Xarl, or Xarl’s junior. And he had too many great things already: a car, a job, a home, a wife, a daughter, a box, a rifle, and maybe a boat someday. Xhris was being dumb.
I was not about to abandon Xarl’s xorpus, as its importance to humanity far outstripped Xhris’ petty office crushes. Despite empty threats of termination I attempted another successful search party, making tiny, concentric laps outside Xarl’s office, waiting for him to leave to make more photocopies. Just as I was overtaken by a fatal wooziness, Xarl looked ready to leave for the evening, so I gave him a head nod which he did not return, and began riddling out his file cabinets. As I lifted my face from Xarl’s seat my eyes were met with the motion of Xrin crouching low to the floor to lift the water tank to the top of the cooler, revealing a relief map of lancaster in her stretch marks, and proving divinity over coincidence. Symbolism was everywhere.
I found the box beneath Xarl’s desk. This black, six sided conundrum without hinges and only a single slit was a personification of Xhris’ weakness: one way in, no way out. When Xhris cried and lamented Xarl’s lack of emotion, claiming senility, I believed him at first. The dense, handwritten notes that accompanied these sketches in Xarl’s black box disclosed further enigma. Maybe Xarl kept his feelings in this box, wrote them out and hid them away, nothing more than proof of a layman’s expression, and an admirable, unparalleled professionalism for keeping those expressions to himself. If given another chance I would respect the confidentiality of a person’s box.
Any euphoria experienced as I chained those lancaster cheeseburgers across the receptacle of Mrs. Xarl was a speck when compared to the despair I experienced upon forced entry of that box. The terrible truth unveiled caused a complete reversal of my previous beliefs in close to less than a moment. Everything tipped over. Feelings of sympathy or apathy were swallowed by a depressive adrenaline that death couldn’t cure amid that final leap. What could have been cheeseburgered naturally and safely into a transformative love for Xarl’s daughter was mutilated like the lobe of a tribesman, probably traced up and stuffed confidently into that fucking box. I needed my cheeseburger for the next, great verifiable act that would fashion someone a martyr. To spin this great revelation into a message was no longer my calling. It had to be intimate, and it had to be anal, it couldn’t be love if it wasn’t anal, and it would have happened while Mrs. Xarl took their junior to spin class if Xarl didn’t storm the office with his rifle.