In the Spring of 2o18, an edited version of Travis is a Real Peach was published in Gone Lawn issue #28.
Travis Ramekin was put out after his laundered shirts had been sent back creased at the seams. He drove downtown and really let them have it. When he arrived home the pasta was boiling over and James was nowhere in sight.
Travis placed his keys and wallet on the kitchen counter. “James?” A faint light emanated out from under the pantry door. He peeked in and there was James, curled up tight and rocking under the pale glow of an Edison bulb. James picked his head up and looked at Travis. “My parents are coming to visit.”
A few days later, a taxicab dropped Mr. and Mrs. Del Buenos off in front of Travis’ and James’ charming brownstone. Mr. Del Buenos tipped the cabby a fiver and helped his wife safely avoid the potholes to the curb. When James met his parents at the door his mother lavished him with kisses and held his face. His father patted him on the back and tousled his hair. “You’re too thin and you have circles under your eyes.” Mrs. Del Buenos didn’t stop talking from the moment she greeted her son outside until they had reached the fourth floor and stood in front of the door to the apartment. Before he opened the door, James turned to his parents. “There is something I should probably tell you about Travis.”
The door opened. Travis took a formal, low bow, graciously grabbed the coats off the gaping couple and whisked them through a labyrinth of topiaries, climbing vines, white birch, tulips and birdsong. The furniture was draped with Virginia Creeper and moss grew up the William Morris wallpaper on the North side of the sitting room. Mirrors (there were several) reflected a vast, canopied forest. Two Turtle Doves carrying a flowing banner in their delicate beaks swooped low enough for the Del Buenos’ to read the inscription, Welcome D & M! The banner was abbreviated because the doves could not have handled the weight of a full, embroidered sentence.
Overhead, a honking flock of Canada Geese appeared. Mr. Del Buenos ducked and Travis said, “I apologize for the geese. My supplier was out of swans. Not the same, is it?” In a clearing in the woods stood a thick mahogany table dressed with four impeccable settings. “James and I thought we should all get to know each other over lunch. Hungry?” He walked to the table, pulled one of the chairs out and invited Mrs. Del Buenos over by patting the cushion. Travis then began ladling an extremely fragrant soup out of an immense terrain. The consommé was gorgeous to look at; a bubbly paste with a slick of translucent purples and blues, poured over seared scallops and succulent, glossy mussels. Dollops of sour cream bobbed in the center of each bowl, frothing over like clouds. Travis had paired the meal with crusty artisan bread and a sweet young wine from Portugal.
“How did you two ever meet?” Mrs. Del Buenos was beginning to feel the yummy effects of the wine. She batted her eyes and splayed her arms across the table. James and Travis told the story of how they first met and Mrs. Del Buenos shared a story of how James acted as a baby. The pink sky melted to lavender. When Travis jumped up to replace the spent beeswax candles in the candelabras, Mrs. Del Buenos turned to her son and said, “I really love his nose ring, James. It reminds me of my bracelets.” She shook her wrist and the bangles pinged like chimes. His father leaned in. “I’ve noticed his teeth are pretty big.” His mother exclaimed, “James! He is so talented! There are trees in here! I can’t get over how beautiful everything looks. How does he do that?”
“Travis can do anything.”
Mrs. Del Buenos dabbed her eyes with a napkin. “Travis, I adore him. You have my blessing.”
“Danae, he’s half of a cow.”
“Shut up, Maurice! Every time we leave the house you ruin everything!”
“Excuse me?” Travis’ backlit silhouette cast a massive shadow across the table. “Did you just refer to me as a..” He paused for dramatic effect, “..cow?” Carefully and with the agility of a prima ballerina, Travis navigated his great frame around the carnage of feathers and goose poop. He opened the drawer of a breakfront, withdrew several linen napkins and in the blink of an eye sculpted eight origami linen swans surrounding an origami linen monkey sitting in an origami linen basket that was being held up by the trunks of four origami linen elephants. Several origami linen clouds billowed past an origami linen hot air balloon and an origami linen sun rose and set behind the table, followed by an origami linen moon with, lo and behold, and origami linen cow jumping over it.
“HA!” Travis glared defiantly at Mr. Del Buenos. “Could a cow do that?” Mrs. Del Buenos started clapping. Mr. Del Buenos blanched.
“Boy! That..that was quite a feat Mr. Travis!” Mr. Del Buenos tapped the trunk of an elephant with his finger and his wife slapped his hand away. “Where would you ever see something like that happen, I mean, typically?”
Travis sighed. “Minotaurs are exemplary kinetic sculptors. I guess you didn’t know that, most humans don’t.” Mr. Del Buenos’ eyes grew as round as saucers. “I did not know that!”
“We have a bad rap. All we’re known for in this world and several others is causing chaos. We’re very good at it, of course.” As he spoke, Travis whittled a sprig of parsley out from behind an incisor with his claw. “It’s our defining feature.” Mr. Del Buenos maniacally nodded his head in agreement. “Of course it is!” and for the rest of the evening, love croaks from amorous frogs, besotted by a cobalt sky pin-pricked with stars, serenaded the jovial foursome over dessert wines, port and french pastries.
The following Spring and right before Equinox, Travis and James were married on a Celebrity cruise ship under a full, pink moon in a civil ceremony officiated by the Captain. There was a small reception on the promenade deck afterward and only James’ parents, some close friends and a few thousand passengers were in attendance.
Although domestic life was sometimes a chore and James would usually over-react when life served up a minor set back, it was something of a lucky turn that he had chosen to share his life with someone who was practically addicted to hysteria. It worked out perfectly for everyone involved.
It was a match made in heaven.