The Story of Mr. Shitter’s Skull (and how GMR lives with a life of weirdness)

While walking the dogs in the cove one day without GMR, I passed a pile of leaves with something white sticking out. I backtracked and kicked at the leaves, and there among them was—A Skull! Wow! Without hesitation (that hesitation is what normal people feel, I guess, in these situations), I picked up a stick and poked it through the eye holes and continued my walk. All the while, humming away, la tee dah. If anyone looked out of their window, they’d see a grinning wild-haired woman (because that woman never brushes her hair unless she has to leave the cove and go into “town”) brandishing a skull on a stick, two dogs at her sides, and her pockets bulging with who knows what (rocks, feathers, bark, buckeye seed . . .)

Once at home, I call to GMR, “Come see! Come see! Look what I found!” Now, about this time, GMR is on alert. Oh oh. What has my wife found? Already inside the little log house are rocks, bark, a hornet’s nest, pieces of bark or wood that looked interesting to his wife, a jar filled with buckeye seeds with two big feathers sticking out of it, and various other “natural elements.” The porch has rocks, small stumps, a large piece of bark that looks like a prehistoric fish, and other thingamajigs found on walks in the cove and woods. “Hurry, come see!” I repeat.

GMR walks out the door, and I say, “Mr. Shitter’s Skull! Mr. Shitter’s Skull!” I’m holding the stick with the skull attached, grinning my fool head off.

GMR looks at the skull and says, “Wow!” Of course his “Wow!” isn’t as enthusiastic as mine, but he at least tries to pretend it’s exciting. That his wild-haired fool-grinning skull brandishing wife isn’t off the deep end, but just how she is.

I say, again, “It’s Mr. Shitter’s Skull!”

GMR says, “Well, okay! Yeah . . .” pause . . . he doesn’t know what I’m talking about. I say, “There’s that scene in the Sweetie book were Sweetie talks about how she buries her cat and later finds the head, the skull, and so she hangs it over the door of her cabin. I just happened to be working on that scene the other day! What a coincidence that I’d find my own Mr. Shitter’s skull! It’s WEIRD! It’s PERFECT! It’s KISMET! It’s a strange coincidence!”

GMR nods, his face in neutral, “Yeah it sure is!” Then I wonder if he means ME being a strange coincidence. Huhn! I say, “We got to hang it up! Like Sweetie did!”

Now GMR still has that neutral look. I say, “Outside, though, since that’s what Sweetie did.” The relief in GMR’s eyes was kind of pitiful, you know? That the skull wouldn’t be InSide.

So, he finds a spot, “Here?” I say, “Hmmm,” he tries another, “Here?” “Hmmm,” … “Here?” Yeah, that’ll do. I think that’s a good spot. I thought over the door like Sweetie, but this is okay…yeah.

Hammer hammering, and GMR soon has Mr. Shitter’s skull hung up on the logs of the little log house. I pass it every time I go down the steps, or up the steps, as you would if you were to come visit me in my little cove. You’d head up our stairs, and something white would catch your eye and you’d turn your head to the right and there it’d be—Mr. Shitter’s skull staring at you.

Just now, I paused in my typing, here in my “study” where I write, and in this room I see the eclectic mix of who GMR is, who I am, and then who we both are. There are things from New Orleans, there are lots of cd’s and LP’s, there are many books on the shelves (including mine!), and there are rocks and pebbles and pieces of bark, and pictures of family, and leather chairs, and soft throw, gifts I’ve received from readers and friends that made their way in here.

And, looking at these things, and thinking about all the things I’ve “collected,” sometimes I imagine I die and GMR remarries and the woman comes up to the little log house and stares around in horror at all the “Natural” elements I have around, and especially she stares in horror at the hornet’s nest and even more at Mr. Shitter’s skull. And as GMR packs up his Kat’s rocks and bark and hornet’s nest and skull and tree stumps and et cetera, he knows his life will never be the same. There will be order and normal, a little less craziness, a little more boredom and regulardom. Yes, that’s what I think. Of course.

I think I will be missed.

———————

Next up: when GMR thinks there are TWO people in the room, when there are actually Four or Five people in the room.

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