“City Hall,” by Chris Tarry

Apr 20th, 2010 | By | Category: Prose

Assuming that love actually did take place—that love between two City Hall employees (one from Sewage and Disposable Income Studies, the other from the much-less-heralded Bikes and Bike Rack Division), was indeed a manifestation of actual love, of real love, of throw-your-arms-around-it-and-cry kind of love, and not a by-product of lonely-office, interdepartmental ballyhoo (or flirting, as it’s commonly known)—then the current variables, social media studies, and other weights and measures can be correctly applied. That is, of course, assuming one takes into consideration the length of the courtship, the male’s intent when initiating said courtship, and the female’s acceptance of awkward and uncomfortable silences surrounding said attempt. See also: The Water Cooler And Its Socioeconomic Ramifications.

For ease of study, the male (Bikes and Bike Rack Division), will herein be known as Kenneth. Or Ken. Or K. Or, “don’t Stop, faster harder my city hall love machine,” as indicated in the advanced relationship moniker established by the female, who, from this point on will be referred to as Franny. Or Fran. Or F. Or, “my little ball of hot wet love,” as referenced by the reciprocating, passion-induced awkwardness of Kenneth. Furthermore (additionally, along with, as well, besides, likewise, moreover, not to mention, to boot, what’s more), their place of residence, or Quickly-Acquired Domicile, will herein be referred to as The Apartment. Or Home. Or, when used in conjunction with common catch-phrases adopted in passing by Kenneth and Franny, as House. See also: Take Me Right Fucking Now, Right Here, Right Inside This House. Other acceptable substitutes to the aforementioned title may also include: Inside This Apartment, On This Goddammed Bed, or Right Here On The Kitchen Floor (Kitchen Floor and Goddammed Bed acceptable substitutions in that they exist inside the Quickly-Acquired Domicile and should be seen as such).

The semantics are still very much up for debate. But, one thing is clear. Kenneth and Franny seem to have dislodged themselves from the typical City Hall pairing with confirmed acquisition of one or more of the following items:

(1) Color-Coded Toothbrush
(2) Mother-In-Law
(3) Unofficial Cousin (See also: Ned. Or Neddie. Or Ned, Franny wants you gone).
(4) Fridge Magnet
(5) Mutual Friend
(6) Cooking Utensil
(7) Slow Cooker
(8) Couch Surfer (See also: Unofficial Cousin)
(9) Twins

The speed and procurement methodology surrounding the arrival of Twins, and the reaction of Kenneth and Franny to the realities of such an unexpected event, has established (within the Apartment) a heightened sense of self. A state that, in itself, generally negates the continued union or implied pair-bonding experiment. See also: My Life Is Over: A study in surprise and life-altering events.

The addition of Twins is interesting insomuch as it has been shown that excessive verbiage and unlimited use of selected erotic colloquialisms while taking part in the pair-bonding ritual does not generally lead to genetic pairing through offspring, let alone two offspring, let alone two offspring created through the union of Sewage and Disposable Income Studies and the Bikes and Bike Rack Division. That specific type of cellular division is more commonly seen in late night shenanigans, drunken forgetfulness, or, quite often, just plain stupidity. See also: I Think We’re Out of Condoms, Do It Anyway, We’d Better Call Your Mother, and I Didn’t Ask For This: A study in promiscuity and fast unions.

The arrival of the twins confirm the acquisition of one or more of the following items:

(1) Crib
(2) Toy
(3) Diaper
(4) Sick
(5) Tired
(6) Hemorrhoid

[Note: Due to an extended and somewhat arduous strike at City Hall, the facts surrounding the addition of the third offspring are somewhat unclear. For more information on this specific timeframe, one is asked to review the following: Continued Courtship and Sexual Attractiveness, Pornography For Couples, and, The Pleasures and Dangers of Early-Morning Pair-Bonding.]

Timing of sporadic (uncommon, less frequent, not that often, not right now, or better make this quick, the kids are asleep) pair-bonding rituals within the Home will, for the purpose of this study, be broken up and expressed as a ratio. A ratio defined by the standard median age of infants in the Household, to the number and frequency of pair-bonding experiments taking place within said House (use of the word “experiments” not to be taken in a way so as to suggest actual experimentation within the pair-bonding ritual).

This ratio is currently defined as 3:0—a rating that correlates quite often, and with surprising consistency, to the frequency (periodicity, persistence, recurrence, repetition, rhythm), of Kenneth’s observed “Alone-Time.” See also: I Can’t Believe I Caught You “Alone-Timing” While The Kids Were In The Next Room.

[Note: Due to a long and protracted coup (revolution), and a fierce battle over the rights and ownership associated with City Hall, the following number of years were lost in the study: eighteen. For information on standard pair-bonding rituals typical to this time period, please seek out the following: Parental Intimacy And Other Physical Rebuilding Experiments, You’re Old Enough To Take Care of Yourself, and Don’t Ask Me, Ask Your Mother.]

Confirmed acquisition of one or more of the following items:

(1) Breast
(2) Textbook
(3) Boyfriend
(4) Additional Driver
(5) Marijuana
(6) College Tuition
(7) Same Sex Friend and Lover
(8) Experimentation (See also: I Was Just Going Though a Phase, And Other Standard Teenaged Responses)
(9) Europe

With the acquisition of Europe, Textbooks, and College Tuition, it has been observed that Kenneth and Franny seem to be experiencing a sense of loss, or void when participating in standard day-to-day activities such as lawn maintenance, vehicle care, and dining room table discussions. The noted upside, or general connectedness observed within the newly silent, and recently re-acquired Quickly-Acquired Domicile (the Apartment), however, has been noted in the increased number of pair-bonding rituals. See also: I Remember This Kitchen Floor, and The Top of the Washing Machine Seems Unused.

[Note: City Hall has been closed for renovations for a period of twelve years. For information relating to this time period, please refer to the following sources: Physical Coupling And The Realities Of Cramped Cruise Ship Cabins, and I Never Thought I’d Live To See The Day: A study in common life-altering phrases.]

Confirmed acquisition of one or more of the following items:

(1) Denture
(2) Grey
(3) Large TV
(4) Comfy Chair
(5) Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
(6) Cancer
(7) Grandchildren

Tenderness and the holding of wrinkled hands have predominantly replaced most activities commonly associated with Kenneth and Franny’s post pair-bonding ritual. Conversations containing warm, heartfelt, and often overlooked verbiage (as it relates to this study) has permeated much of their lives. Numerous frisky and adoring statements by the frail and undernourished Kenneth can be directly and immediately quantified in the grateful and reciprocated gentleness of the healthier, and younger, Franny. The acquisition of Grandchildren has intensified the need (compulsion, demand, duty, longing, obligation) for pictorial displays throughout the Quickly-Acquired Domicile (see also: Headquarters), and relegated Kenneth and Franny’s attendance at various and continuous yearly functions to a somewhat matriarchal role. See also: Don’t Jump On Grandpa, Back In My Day, Is The Tree Crooked?, and Uphill To School Both Ways.

[Note: Due to a government-issued (and much needed) long weekend, City Hall has been closed for the following number of days: three. For a complete study typical of this time period, please consult the following title: Yes, This is Her; No, He’s Not Breathing; Please Send Help.

With the passing of Kenneth, confirmed acquisition of the following single item has taken place:

(1) Loneliness

If we are to believe, for a moment, in love that is worn, love that is longstanding—the kind of love where throwing one’s arms around it and crying is just simply not enough—then one must also take into account aging, understanding, and grace. At the very least, phrases of unmatched longing and grief, as they relate to the tear-stained sheets of the now, suddenly older and often frail, Franny, must be considered. Support throughout the pair-bonding experiment has been abundant (bounteous, copious, cup runs over with, eco-rich, exuberant, luxuriant, mucho, no end of, overflowing, plate is full of, plenteous), that much is certain. More mysterious is the connection, physical or otherwise, that when severed, could conceivably induce such a rapid and undeniable decline in Franny. A fact that speaks to the strength of a bond that would see two City Hall employees, one from Sewage and Disposable Income Studies, the other from the much less heralded Bikes and Bike Rack Division, see to it that a life containing one without the other, is, in fact, no life at all.

File submitted, study complete: City Hall Case # 2378-908-45


Chris Tarry is a musician and fiction writer living in Brooklyn. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The G.W. Review, PANK, Cell Stories, The Paradigm Journal, Opium Magazine, Northville Review, Drunken Boat, and others. He makes his living playing bass in New York City, where he’s also hard at work on his first novel, The Wedding King of Vermont. He’s originally Canadian and has won a bunch of Juno Awards, which are like Grammy’s but pointier. You can find him at http://www.christarry.com

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