Issue XI: Overheating
In which your editor monologues and roasts
Hello fellow toads,
Happy Toad Tuesday to you all! You know how I said I’d recant my excitement for summer in a week or so? Well…
Dramatic Monologue from the Editor
Morning heat is the worst, when you can feel it starting to weigh down your lungs and drape heavy and wet over your arms and you know it’s only going to get worse and you still have an hour of outside work left to do. Like swimming through tepid water only to reach a sauna at the end; choking on the sun-warmed flower petals of summer as they’re shoved down your throat. My cumbersome, waterlogged body slogs along. The AC is broken again and the shade seems to have decided not to show up today. I make a lackluster effort to water my plants. My brain goes dormant in temperatures above 90 degrees, so I’m not even sure if the water is being sloshed towards the right roots, trickling down and rising up again to feed withered stems and leaves.
I admit defeat and go lay in the grass and try my best to decompose. Let the bugs have my body! I’m too depleted to swat them away.
In the afternoon, the heat reaches its crescendo and everything comes to a standstill. Slow, slow, keep moving slow; the planet is cloaked in gases and the billionaires orbit underneath in their private jets, going round and round and round while we all bake to a crisp down here. If I had the cashflow, maybe I would have a private jet lined in cashmere, maybe I would have a big fake butt, then suddenly no butt, big boobs, then no boobs, big lips, no lips, become nothing. Maybe my body would follow trends to fit into phone-sized photos until I died looking plastic and more “25” than I ever looked at 25. Maybe when the next heatwave hit, my torso would melt away and soak deep down into the earth, tainting its soil. Maybe future suckers tending their parched gardens in between water wars wouldn’t be able to get even a single stalk of rhubarb to sprout where I decayed. I saved you a chore, I’ll think as I melt into the lawn, no greens for you to water ever, ever again.
Tomorrow the HVAC guy will be here, tomorrow the HVAC guy will be here, I chant in between chapters of my brain’s dripping monologue. We think about cooking, flip the burner on low, immediately flick it off again. I ponder an afternoon pot of coffee, but I can’t imagine shouldering even a single additional degree of warmth and ending up saddled with a warm beverage to choke down. I lay on the floor and stare at the opening screen of my video game as jangly music plays and pixelated birds fly past. Vincent expends his available energy watching Pawn Stars on his phone. I think about looking up a quiz, Which Pawn Star Are You?, but decide to just call it and say I’m the old man. Vincent can be Rick or Big Hoss.
My mom texts again and says I’m welcome to come over. I ponder giving in and peacing out. At my parents’ house, I usually end up planting my doughy, perspiring body on the canapé and binge-reading half a novel while CNN or NBC drones through the TV.
Pappy calls my cell, his greeting a succinct, “I got some bad news for ya”. The well’s turned off again. I toss three pairs of underwear and some bike shorts in a tote bag and flee the scene.
When shall I return? Who could say.
By Custard Whimbley, Professor of Literature
Salutations, book freaks, and welcome back to the nook where we just love a book!
I have a real humdinger for you—I’m talking about Jawbone by Mónica Ojeda, as translated by Sarah Booker. This poetic, visceral novel weaves past and present events to pull readers into an ever-tightening and intricate web created by the minds of a group of fifteen-year-old girls.
When the girls discover an abandoned building, they pull each other into a world imagined by their leader, Annelise, and her second-in-command, Fernanda. From Annelise’s psyche spring stories about the White God, who comes to girls in their white age. The girls also perform physical and psychological dares, becoming ever more feral each time they enter their private world and worship at the feet of something mysterious and primal.
Annelise’s twisted games intensify when she involves one of their teachers, Miss Clara, who has become unstable and paranoid since the death of her mother and a traumatic event involving previous students. (I won’t drop any spoilers here since I’m certain many of you may be ready to sink your teeth into this novel soon!)
You’ll likely want to read this novel if you enjoy long, poetic sentences and paragraphs, lots of pop culture references, The Craft, William Faulkner, and/or any literature on the Salem witch trials.
5/5 coffee reheats
By Marguerite Grey, Cartoonist-At-Large
The events detailed below happened shortly before Addie and her compatriots forced an innocent man in the wrong place at the wrong time to watch a haunting episode of the Teletubbies.
This issue is dedicated to my staple summer look of a large button down and high-waisted, wide-leg pants.