Offal /8

Offal /8

For this provocative new episode of the series FRATTAGLIE (Offal), in addition to an illustration by our manuelaCh, we also have a special contribution by Silvia Trappa, regular reader of Frattaglie and protagonist of the issue number 10 of the monographic magazine of contemporary anomalies OR NOT which was presented on June 10th at the Rotonda Bistrò, the cafeteria situated in Milan within the Rotonda della Besana. OR NOT 10 is now available.
Many thanks to Silvia!!!

offal 8


 by Gianluca Mercadante

Happy Birthday

– Darling…?
– …
– Psssttt! Darling…?
– Mmm.
– Were you asleep?
– Umpf.
– We have to talk, Darling. Come with me.
– Affo irroning…?
– What was that, Darling?
– At four in the morning?
– Yes, Darling, at four in the morning. This issue is extremely urgent. Come on, get out of bed and follow me into the living room.
– Ok, Dear.


– Here we are, Darling.
– And that… that… what in God’s name is that thingamijig, Dear?!
– That thingamijig, Darling?
– That, Dear. That thing sitting in my favourite armchair!
– Her name is Daisy, Darling.
– Daisy?! That thing has a name, Dear?
– Yes, Darling, that thing has a name. Her name is Daisy.
– But… Dear… for God’s sake, what the hell does that thing called Daisy on my favourite armchair want from us at four in the morning?
– On what day, Darling?
– Sorry…?!
– At four in the morning on what day, Darling.
– How the hell should I know?! Do you think I have the faintest idea what day it is at this ungodly hour?! At breakfast time I invest in the stock market, at midday I make a note of the weather for the next two weeks and at dinner time I predict the future, on the rare occasions when I’m not discussing it directly with Francis.
– Francis the plumber, Darling?
– Pope Francis, Dear.
– …
– …
– Anyway, today is your birthday, Darling.
– Ahh… and… so… Daisy is…
– Daisy is your present from me.
– I’m speechless, Dear.
– You don’t need to talk to her, Darling.
– Dear… how do I put this… All right, tell me honestly, is there something wrong? Between us, I mean.
– Between us, Darling? Are you crazy? Everything is great between us.
– You don’t think I’m… er… a good lover anymore..?
– Are you kidding? You are a fantastic lover, Darling, you’re wonderful.
– So… what’s all this about?
– Because you’re going to cheat on me, Darling.
– What?
– It happens to all couples sooner or later, Darling. So I’ve taken action to make sure that we never end up in the “broken couples” category.
– But Dear…
– Prevention is better than cure. People of our generation grew up with that slogan. The best effects of brainwashing aren’t produced until a long time afterwards, and here are the results, Darling.
– So a blow-up doll is the result of a complex re-interpretation of reality carried out in the twists and turns of your diseased mind, Dear, triggered by an advertising slogan from thirty years ago? The kind of thing you would only find at an advertising museum, if such museums exist?
– I found it on YouTube.
– Answer my question, Dear. We have friends who have split over far less.
– I suppose that could be… one way of seeing things.
– All I’m seeing at the moment is that it’s twenty past four, Dear.
– Twenty-seven minutes past four, Darling.
– Exactly.
– Do you want to sleep with Daisy, Darling?
– Good God, no!
– Do you want me to participate? I’m a modern woman with an open mind.
– Absolutely not!
– So you don’t appreciate my present?
– Well…
– Say it!
– No, Dear. I don’t appreciate it. I don’t appreciate your present at all, Dear.
– …
– …
– …
– Dear…?
– Yes, Darling?
– Isn’t there at least a version with an interchangeable wig?

You can never be too hygienic

– Mum, where did you get all those bags from?
– From the market. With the euro you’ve got to be careful how much you spend, we’ll all be destitute before long. Help me get them out the car, will you?
– Of course, I’ll take over. How much did you spend on all this godforsaken stuff?
– Oh, hardly anything. I took the money from you; I’ve already spent all my monthly pension.
– From me?! Mum, the only money I have in the house is in my bumbag, which…
– Exactly, you made it so easy for me! Anyway, don’t worry, I’ll give it back to you.
– So are you going to tell me how much you spent…?!
– All of it. You had fifty euros, didn’t you, or near enough? Well, I spent it all. Oh, but wait till you see what I bought! Look at this complete set for the bathroom, do you like it?  There are three mats and even twenty disposable covers. You know, for the toilet seat…
– Mum, for goodness’ sake, we do our business at home, not in the pub.
– So what? You never know where germs might be hiding. You can never be too hygienic, my dear son.
– Hygienic? You mean you think these ridiculous plastic things to put on the floor and twenty stinking paper toilet seat covers are hygienic?
– Of course. See how these mats are made? Can’t you see they have sticky-back plastic underneath? All you have to do is dust around them and Bob’s your uncle.
– Right. And what about the twenty toilet seat covers?
– They were free. I always grab whatever I can get in life. Also… well, it doesn’t matter, we all know.
– What do we “all know”…?
– Come on, don’t beat around the bush with your own mother. What do you do in the bathroom for half an hour?
– I read. I like comics. I read them more in the bathroom than anywhere else.
– Yeah, yeah… I see your comics strewn around the house, not a crease or dog ear in sight. And you expect me to believe that you read them? In the bathroom?!
– I collect comics! Some people buy two of the same one — one to read and the other to keep. For the record, I open mine very carefully to keep them as they are. That’s why they look brand new!
– So I should just pull the wool over my eyes and assume that the bags under your eyes are due to intense and continuous reading, correct? An activity which you indulge in twice a day, if not three times, locked up in the bathroom for half an hour. Oh, please! You’re just like your father.
– What do you mean?
– Never mind. I’m going to put those twenty toilet seat covers in the bathroom, so there. If you want to use them too, be my guest, if not… live and let live. Ok? Here, have a look at this lovely denim jacket! Twelve euros. They were almost GIVING it away.
– Mum, I…
– Does it suit me? It’s one of those ones that you leave open, with a high waist. Very in fashion nowadays.
– Mum, I’m going to the loo. I’ll take a comic with me to read.
– Ah, of course, darling, go ahead. I’ll try these wedges on in the meantime. Oh, hang on!
– What is it…?
– Do you want a toilet seat cover?

Cigarettes for asthma

– Mummy, d’you know where Uncle Baz took us for lunch?
– Where, darling?
– To McDonald’s!
– I see. And… did you like it, sweetheart?
– It was GREAT, Mummy!!! Why don’t you and Daddy ever take me there?
– Because, my little lamb, at McDonalds they cook things that you children shouldn’t eat whilst you’re so young.
– But Uncle Baz takes Daniel there at least once a week, and it hasn’t killed him!
– Sugar-bunny, whose son is Daniel?
– Uncle Baz’s, Mummy!
– Exactly!… And whose son are you?
– Only yours and Daddy’s, Mummy!
– Only? What do you mean by that…?
– Err… Look, Mummy!
– What’s that?
– The toy that came with my Happy Meal. Isn’t it awesome?
– Well.
– Why don’t I ever get any toy with the things you cook, Mummy?
– Because, love of my life, in the things Mummy cooks, there’s a present that’s a LOT nicer and a LOT bigger!
– Really, Mummy? What is it?
– My love, angel face. All the love I have for you.
– But… but love isn’t a present! If it was, I would have found it in my Happy Meal!
– You’ll have to eat a lot more Happy Meals, my little gum drop, before you understand what love is…!
– I’ll understand soon, then.
– Oh, really?
– Yes. Daddy told me he’ll take me to McDonald’s again.
– Did he really, little treasure? And just when did Daddy tell you that load of cr… ahem, I mean… when did he tell you that?
– Just now, on the balcony. He was smoking.
– Oh, you see, pancake, Daddy was joking.
– Really?
– Really.
– Perhaps you’re right. Daddy always jokes when he’s smoking on the balcony.
– That’s right.
– Mummy?
– Yes, sweet cheeks?
– Did you know that Uncle Baz smokes cigarettes which are different from Daddy’s?
– What do you mean by “different”, snuggle bunny?
– He doesn’t split them all like Daddy does. And he burns that brown rubber in them.
– Ahem… oh, God help me… Darling… er… you’re right… your Daddy… your Daddy smokes different cigarettes to Uncle Baz. And the… the brown… the brown rubber he puts inside… is for… is for asthma. You know that Daddy has asthma, don’t you, sugar pie?
– I’ve got asthma too, Mummy. Can I smoke with Daddy?
– …
– …
– Mummy?
– Y-yes, sweetie…?
– I won’t smoke Daddy’s cigarettes, but can I have a playstation for Christmas? Daniel has one and he plays on it every day with Uncle Baz.
– All right… we’ll write a letter to Father Christmas and… we’ll see, ok?
– But Daddy told me that Father Christmas doesn’t exist, Mummy.
– Give me strength… was Daddy… was Daddy on the balcony when… when he told you that?
– Yes, Mummy.
– And… and was he smoking the cigarettes for his asthma?
– Yes, Mummy.
– Then he was joking, baby. Daddy always jokes when he smokes his asthma cigarettes. It’s explained in the list of possible side effects. Now then, light of my life, before you ask me what side effects are, before Mummy goes out onto the balcony and pushes Daddy over the edge with all his asthma cigarettes, before I am tempted to call Uncle Baz and explain to him once and for all why we are so different although we are brother and sister, COULD YOU PLEASE FINISH YOUR BOILED VEGGIES AND STEAMED FISH?!
– But…
– They’re ever so good for you, my love.
– Doctor, I’m having a parental crisis.
– The crisis is affecting everyone nowadays.
– I’ve found out that my Mum is cheating on my Dad.
– Do you want me to prescribe him some headache pills? Is your Dad one of my patients?
– Not exactly. My Dad is your lover’s husband, Doctor.

Illustration by ManuelaCh


Gianluca Mercadante was born in 1976 in Vercelli, Italy, where he resides and works. He has published “McLoveMenu” (Stampa Alternativa publishing, 2002, Parole di Sale prize), “Il Banco dei Somari” (NoReply publishing, 2005), “Nodo al Pettine — Confessioni di un parrucchiere anarchico” (Alacràn publishing, 2006), “Polaroid” (Las Vegas publishing, 2008), “Il giardino nel recinto di vetro” (Birichino publishing, 2009), “Cherosene” (Las Vegas publishing, 2010), as well as the e-books “Io ho visto tutto” (Milanonera publishing, 2012), “Casinò Hormonal” (Lite Editions publishing, 2013 — which has become a small literary sensation on the e-book market) and “Caro scrittore in erba…” (Las Vegas publishing, 2013). Dozens of his short stories have appeared in anthologies, specialised magazines and in the Italian book series Giallo Mondadori. He has written literary criticism articles for the Italian daily newspaper “La Stampa” and for the magazines “Pulp” and “Satisfiction”. His most recent work is entitled “Noi aspettiamo fuori” (Effedì publishing, 2014).

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