Monday, May 09, 2005

Come to Kenya

I woke up with a huge hangover today. Cecilia and I had gone with some of her friends to see Prefuse 73 at the Bowery Ballroom, and I drank too much. I think I might have embarrassed Cecilia, because she left early by herself.

I found Thom Yorke was sitting on my couch in his Care Bears pajamas eating a bowl of Count Chocula.

"You look so tiiired, uuunhappy," he said in between spoonfuls.

"Yeah, yeah, it was a late night," I mumbled. When I went to make breakfast, I found an empty carton on the kitchen counter.

"God damn it, Thom!" I shouted. "You drank all the milk again!"

"Get off my caaase!" he replied, curtly.

Thom and I spent the morning watching Smurfs reruns. I was angry and confused. What had I said last night to Cecilia that had upset her?

Then I had an idea. I turned to Thom and said, "Let's go to the zoo."

He pointed upwards. "From a greeeeeat height."

"Bring an umbrella."

When I get depressed, the zoo always make me feel better. Because of the noreaster, it turned out to be practically empty. Thom was really into it. "Mooooonkey!" he announced, pointing. "Baboooooooooooon!"

Thom forced me to stop at the gift store. He bought a large box of Hot Tamales and a novelty baseball cap with plush tiger ears . He began to prowl rather than walk. "We have liooons and tiiiiiigers!" he declared before bounding off.

I wandered around by myself and ended up standing at the bison enclosure. "Why did I get drunk last night?" I asked them. "I like Cecilia. But I acted like an idiot. Is it because I found Thom Yorke dressed in a powder blue tuxedo in the bathroom passing out moist towelettes?"

One of the bison slapped at a fly with its tail. I shook my head. "I must be going crazy."

I stood quietly for a few minutes. It began to rain a bit harder. I could feel wetness seep through my jacket.

All of a sudden, Thom Yorke pounced on my back. "Aaaaaah! Puuuuuuuma!"

I laughed as I tried to fight him off. "Okay, okay, you can let go now! You got me!"

Thom looked very pleased with himself. He then noticed that I was soaking wet.

"Come on, raaaaaaain down," he said matter a factly as he opened up his umbrella.

We huddled together underneath it and walked quickly back towards the subway.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Old Devil Moon

I took Cecilia out again tonight. We agreed to meet at this Cajun restaurant in the East Village at nine. I promised not to be late this time.

I went home to get ready, but I couldn't find Thom Yorke anywhere. The only sign he had visited my apartment that day was the trail of Runts that ran from the couch to the fire escape. "Why aren't you here when I need you," I muttered.

I had trouble deciding what to wear and how to style my hair, and I ended up being twenty minutes late to the restaurant. Cecilia was smoking a cigarette out in front with an irritated look on her face.

"Do you always test your dates this way?" she quipped.

"Uh, yeah. I mean, no. I'm sorry."

We were seated at a booth along the wall. I tried making small talk, about work, but she looked bored. When our waiter came to take our order, I was relieved.

"Great, lets get some food," Cecilia said, with a similar look of relief. "What are your specials?"

Our waiter paused before replying: "Veggie Jambalaaaaaaaaaaya!"

My whole body tightened up in panic. Thom Yorke stood in front of our table. He was wearing torn acid wash jeans, a faded Dukes of Hazzard t-shirt, and aviator sunglasses. He had on a wig of long black dreadlocks. He looked like a hillbilly Rod Zombie.

I felt dizzy. How would I explain this to Cecilia? I had completely lied to her about being stalked by Thom Yorke.

Luckily, she seemed not to notice. "Mmmm, that sounds good," she said, "I'll have the jambalaya."

"Siiiiir?"

"Uh, give me the blackened fish."

"Big fiiiiiiish eat the liiiiiiitle one?" Thom asked.

"Uh, sure, the big one, the catfish special."

After Thom had disappeared into the kitchen, Cecilia burst into laughter. My face burnt with embarrassment. I was sure she had caught me in my lie.

"Wow," she said, "our waiter is crazy, huh?"

"What?"

"Our waiter. What's with that strange Creole falsetto? I love it, so much local color."

A busboy brought out our meal and we ate quietly. I kept scanning the back of the restaurant, looking anxiously for the dreadlocked Thom Yorke.

Cecilia sensed my nervousness. "Are you feeling alright, Paul? You seem distracted."

"Uh, its nothing."

Behind me, I heard an accordion break into an up tempo zydeco tune. I sighed. The last thing I needed tonight was a fucking accordion.

"Wow, Paul, look!" Cecilia exclaimed. "Our waiter is up on stage."

I spun around in my chair. Thom Yorke sat up on a little elevated platform, a cherry red accordion flapping back and forth between his hands. He began to sing.

"We having a dance on the ol' baaaaaaaaayoooooouuuu!"

People started clapping their hands. I turned to face Cecilia. She smiled and grabbed my hand.

"Lets dance!"

Monday, May 02, 2005

Cyrano de Yorke

I asked Cecilia out at work today. She seemed genuinely enthused, but then she asked the question I had been dreading. "You're not still being stalked by that Chris Martin guy are you?"

"Uh, no, actually, it was Thom Yorke," I replied, sheepishly. "But he doesn't come around much anymore."

We agreed to meet at nine at the Stone Park Cafe. I went home to get changed, and I found Thom Yorke in my bedroom closet eating handfulls of Poprocks.

"Nice dreeeeeam!" he shouted, holding out a pressed aqua shirt.

"No, Thom, I can't wear that, its too formal."

"Open your skuuuuuuuul?" he asked, handing me a ripped Pixies shirt.

"No, no, that’s too casual."

Eventually, we decided on rust colored t-shirt and a pair of jeans. Thom insisted on styling my hair. He was very fussy. He bit his lip as he worked, and the poprocks made him foam a bit in the mouth.

"Can I go yet, Thom? I'm going to be late."

"I sliiiiiiiiip away," he snapped. He shuffled off into the other room to watch MacGyver.

I ended up at the restaurant at nine thirty, a good half hour late. To my surprise, Cecilia was still there, standing in front of the restaurant. "Uh, hi there," I stammered, "Sorry I'm late."

"Its okay."

We stood apart from each other in silence. I struggled to think of something else to say. I could tell this wasn't going well.

Suddenly, from up above, I heard an angelic voice cry out. "Your craaaaaazy kitten smiiiiiiile!"

"What was that?" Cecelia asked.

"Uh well," I replied quickly, "I said I like your smile."

Although the sidewalk was dark, I could see Cecelia blush. "Well thanks. So lets go get something to eat before I collapse, okay?"

As we entered the restaurant, I looked up at the rooftops. They were empty.

He was gone.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Office Romance

Dean, one of my coworkers, cornered me at the copying machine today. He was ahead of me in line. I don't like him very much.

"So, dude," he began, "I heard that Cecilia is totally digging on you after you went out for drinks."

"Uh," I replied. "I don't know. Anyways, I've got this policy -- no dating in the office."

"But dude, you've got to cut that meat."

"What?"

"You know, dude," Dean continued, making a saw-like motion with his right fist. "Cut that meat! Cut that meat! Cut that meat!"

I wanted to run back to my cubicle, but I really needed to make these copies.

"Look, Dean, there are other reasons too," I said, thinking of the fact that I am being stalked by Thom Yorke.

When I got home that night, Thom Yorke was watching A-Team reruns on my television. He had his hand buried deep in family pack of jujubes. When he saw me, he got really excited.

"Staaaaaars and aaaaastrrraaaal cars!" he shouted, pointing at the television.

"The super must have hooked the cable back up."

Thom grinned. I undid my tie and got a drink from the fridge. I debated in my head what to say, how to phrase it.

"Hey, Thom," I began. "I was thinking of asking this girl out on a date."

"I am baaaaaaack to save the uuuuuuniverse," he said, pointing towards the fire escape.

"No, no, you don't have to leave. Its just, if I go out with her, I need you to promise not to stalk me that night."

Thom looked hurt. He sighed heavily and started pouting. There was a red jujube stuck between his teeth. "I prooooomise to be gooood," he whispered.

"You always say that." I stared at my shoes. I felt guilty for treating him this way. "Look Thom. If you promise to just stay away, just for a few hours -- "

I looked up, but Thom Yorke was nowhere to be seen. The window to the fire escape was open.

Without a word, he was gone.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Basic Cable

Last night, I was watching reruns of American Gladiators when my basic cable went dead. I tried switching the channels. I turned the cable box off and on. I even tightened the coaxial cable on the wall outlet. Nothing.

Then, all of a sudden, the screen came to life with psychedelic images of cartoon bear heads. "God damn it!" I exclaimed, rushing to the door.

When I got the basement, I found Thom Yorke in overalls and a wifebeater sitting next to the cable box. The main line had been cut out of the wall and was running into a DVD player in Thom's backpack.

"Thom, what in the world are you doing?"

"Buuuuuzes like a raaaaadio."

"Thom, you've got to put the cable back on."

"Over my deeeeeeeaaaad body."

"The super will kill me if he finds you about this."

"Tyiiiiing down our aaaaaarms."

I couldn't take it anymore. In a moment of complete rage, I grabbed Thom by the shoulders and began to shake him. "Look asshole! If the super finds out that you've rewired the building's cable to play your Radiohead.tv, he's going to evict me!"

In a moment of clarity, I let go of him. He looked surprised and hurt. I felt very ashamed.

"Look," I said, quietly, "I just need you to stop."

"For a miiiinute there, I loooost myself."

"Yeah, I did buddy. I apologize about that."

Thom unhooked the cable line from his bag.

"Soooomething big is goooooonna happen?"

"No Thom," I replied. "I'll call the super. He'll come fix the line."

We went upstairs together. The television screen was filled with static. I picked up the phone to call the super.

"Hey Thom," I said, still feeling guilty. "When I'm done with this call, do you want to play some Parcheesi?"

Thom nodded and began to set up the board.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Gym

I was on a stationary bike at the gym today when I noticed Thom Yorke walking towards me in a white tracksuit. He wore lots of sweatbands, and looked like a gangster Bjorn Borg.

"Not again," I whispered under my breath.

Thom smiled and raised his sports drink up, as if toasting me. "Acceeeeeeeeeeeeelerade!" he declared. He seemed to be in a really good mood.

I nodded to acknolwedge his gesture and then turned up the volume on my iPod.

Thom climbed on an elliptical machine to my right. I could tell he didn't usually come to the gym. He turned the speed on his machine up way too high. He kept getting hit in the chest by the moving poles.

"I'm on a roooooooooolllll!" he exclaimed.

I felt really embarrassed for him, so I decided to try to help.

"Look Thom," I explained, "you've got to adjust the speed here. Like this. Otherwise you might hurt yourself."

"It's gonnna be a glooooooorious day!"

"Your welcome."

I decided I'd had enough of the machines and decided to put some time in the weight room. Luckily, there was no sign of Thom.

I went to the locker room and began to get changed. I heard strange chanting from the shower.

"I'll swaaaaallow till I burst! Uuuuuuuuuuntil I burst!"

With great trepidation, I walked to the entrance to the shower room. Thom Yorke was there, wearing a Union Jack speedo and swim goggles.

He was singing. "I will not cooooooontrol myself!"

When he saw me, he became really excited. He began running around the shower, turning on other faucets.

"I don't need a shower, Thom."

"Don't leave me drrrryyyyyyyyyyy!"

"I'm leaving now, Thom."

He began to pout. I hate it when he does that. He looks so sad and lonely.

"Look Thom," I said, against my better judgement, "want to come over to my place to play some Hungry Hungry Hippos?"

Thom began to do his shuffle dance.

"I have to warn you, one of the heads is broken off, so it will be an uneven match."

"Hiiiiiipos! Hungry, hungry hiiiiiipos!"

"All right, but you have to promise not to sing that song while we play."

There was a shriek and he was enveloped by the steam.

Like that, he was gone.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Afterwork Drinks

I invited one of my coworkers, Cecilia, out for drinks after work today. She's very nice to me around the office, and I needed to tell someone about the Thom situation.

"You think he's stalking you?" she asked, after I had told her the story.

"I know it sounds silly," I tried to explain, "but he just shows up, everywhere."

Cecilia did not seem convinced. "Okay, last night," I began, "I was buying beer at Aces, when Thom Yorke leapt out from behind the Doritos stand and started warning me that 'one by one, its going to fall, one by one'."

"What's that mean?" Cecilia asked, skeptically.

"How should I know?"

We sat in silence for a little while. Finally, I said quietly, "You must think I'm crazy."

It was getting late. We agreed to share a cab home to Brooklyn. We sat in silence for most of the ride. I felt like such an idiot.

As we were crossing the Williamsburg Bridge, our driver offered us a small, open box of candy up through the opening. Then his voice rose up from the front seat. "Would you like some juuuuuunior miiiiints?"

I was paralyzed with fear. He had found me.

"Sure, thank you," Cecilia replied, reaching for the box.

"No!" I quickly grabbed her hand. "Don't you see, that's Thom Yorke!"

Thom Yorke's face appeared in the opening. He was wearing pork pie hat and day glow sunglasses. He began whispering. "To the ground, to dust, ground out, like duuuust!"

Cecelia sat in quiet disbelief. Eventually she spoke up. "What's he going to do with us?"

I shrugged. All I knew is that we were Thom Yorke's prisoners now.

In the front seat, Thom began to sing a quiet, plaintive, and somewhat familiar melody. "Kniiives out, caaaatch the mouse, squaaaash his head, puuuut him in a box..."

Cecelia strained to understand the words. "What is he singing?" she asked. "I don't understand. What's he saying?"

After I explained, I could see the fear begin to take Cecelia. A desparate look gripped her face.

"Don't do anything silly, Cecilia," I whispered, but I could tell she was not herself.

"Look, Thom just let me go!" she pleaded. "I love your music!"

"Stop Cecilia!" I tried to intervene. "You'll only make things worse."

"Please," Cecilia begged. "I own all your records, even Pablo Honey."

Thom became instantly enraged. "Squaaaaash! Choooooke!" He swung the cab violently through traffic.

"You're making him angry!" I shouted. I gripped Cecelia's arm, but she was frantic.

"Please don't hurt me, Thom!" she begged. "I liked Kid A, really I did. And I don't own any records by Coldplay! Or Travis! You have to believe me, Thom!"

Upon hearing the names of those other bands, Thom began to scratch at his skin. He shook his fists violently against the steering wheel. Junior Mints spilled out onto the dashboard.

We were driving through Brooklyn now, its brownstones whizzing by us. Cecilia was crying, but I knew what I had to do.

"Thom, listen up Thom," I said calmly. "I'm sorry Thom. I'm sorry for avoiding you."

"Traaaped like piiigs, so aaaalone."

"I know, Thom," I explained. "I'm sorry for that. I've been under a lot of stress at work."

"Theeeey're out to get you."

"I know," I said. "I don't like my job either." The car slowed down, and stopped at the curb.

I opened the door. I could see his profile in the streetlight. I felt pity. "Look Thom," I said. "Stop by anytime you want, okay?"

"Reeest your sleeeepy head."

"Sure, Thom, even on work nights."

"From a greeeeeat height?"

"No, don't use the fire escape," I replied. "I'll leave an extra key under the mat."

I found Cecilia on the curb. She was shaken but the color was returning to her face. "You speak...Thom Yorke," she said, with admiration.

"I didn't know I had it in me," I shrugged.

Then I remembered I had forgot to pay Thom for the ride. "How much do I owe you, Thom?" I said turning back towards the cab.

Thom didn't answer. The tires of the cab squealed.

When the dust settled, he was gone.