I had been in jail for at least twenty-four hours when my cousin Budcock arrived to talk; well, talk isn’t the word because I am nearly a famous artist on the literal cusp of oeuvres of artwork that will just blow the socks off of everyone—even people who listen to Hip Hop music if you can believe it; so, no, talk isn’t the word: maybe confer? But I don’t think that “confer” is strong enough to describe what happens when my artistic, mental teeth really bite into an idea and hold on like a wild dingo eating a lemon.

The situation was more like when a pilgrim journeys to one of those old geezers who lives on a mountain top. You know, the kind you see in old picture books where the old man is wearing a little burlap sack over his Neanderthals and who grows a long gnarly beard but who has ten or so beautiful women—I’m talking really beautiful like five star ratings in all categories—sitting around, you know, haremming him: fanning him with palm branches, slapping flies off emaciated flesh, and feeding him grapes. All this while he meditates upon the deep truths of existentialism—like how existentialism sometimes throws you a curve ball and you just have to run with the punches. Stuff like that. And these girls just love it, you know, and never back talk, ask for it, or need to be disciplined, and the pilgrim—vis Budcock in this scenario—comes from miles around for just a little wisdom from the old man on the mountain. This is what it was like when he came to visit me in my jail cell.

Because you’ve probably never met my cousin Budcock, I should say one thing about him before we go any further: this Budcock compulsively knocks over mopeds. Yes, that’s what I said: compulsively knocks them over in the street. My mentor, Dermot Dermot, was telling me that Budcock has manifested a nexus of sexual aggression, fear, and guilt all together and projected this nexus onto mopeds. I learned about nexi last semester in my non-binary basket weaving class at school, but I can’t remember the specific term for when someone makes a nexi of stuff and projects it onto other stuff. I remember discussing nexi during the lecture on willow baskets, though. Willow baskets are some of the most non-binary baskets out there.

Budcock is permanently banned from all Italian cities after he spent last summer there with his mom. Imagine a sunny day on the Riviera at about breakfast time. Here Budcock comes walking down the Riviera and he pauses at a cafe. A line of mopeds stand outside the cafe. Various Italian brands. I don’t know all the brand names; Vespa comes to mind. The owners of these mopeds are an assortment of Italian gentlemen and ladies doing what Italians do for breakfast. This cousin of mine wouldn’t even pause to consider if the Italians had ordered and are distracted by sustaining food and beverage; no, he just reaches out a neurotic hand and pushes, for example, a red Vespa. He moves on to a blue Bullet and heaves with double neurotics. True, Bullets are not mopeds, but Budcock’s neurotics are full of the joy de vive and all that. Next comes an old orange Duval, which probably deserved to be pushed over, so he goes at it with elan. He continues pushing and heaving with elan until he reaches the end of the line of mopeds; it doesn’t matter if ceramic espresso cuts fly past his head; no. He is oblivious to the screams of rage as a circle of angry Italians form around him. He only pauses when, finally, the second cousin of a mobster’s brother croissants Budcock across the back of the head, trips him, yells the Italian equivalent of “dog pile” and the whole group dog pile Budcock until a police officer arrives. I asked Budcock about the moped issue when he entered the jail:

Rufus: How is your moped-pushing addiction, Budcock?

Budcock: Worse.

Rufus: Worse? How could it get any worse?

Budcock: I’m doing it in my sleep.

Rufus: This sounds bad; you need therapy.

Budcock: I’ve been to therapy; for a while I stopped knocking over motorcycles and bicycles, but now I’m sleep walking.

Rufus: I would think therapy would help; it helps so many.

Budcock: For me it has been a mixed bag.

Here I remember pausing to run an artistic hand through my air and I looked at Budcock with one of my most insightful looks:

Rufus: Why do you hate all forms of two-wheel transport?

Budcock: My therapist says I should blame my mom.

Rufus: Of course! I could have told you that.

Budcock: It would have saved a lot of money if you had.

Rufus: Why don’t you buy one?

Budcock: Therapist are really expensive!

Rufus: A moped or a motorcycle.

Budcock: My mom won’t let me.

Rufus: I see; I see. I know exactly how you feel.

Budcock: I don’t know what to do! I woke up in a stranger’s garage this morning!

Rufus: Perhaps you should try non-binary basket weaving?

The end.

Artwork: Pink moped, 2022, pencil on paper, Castelo de Vide, Portugal.