The Man Responsible for Taco Bell's Advertising Tends His Roses.

The man responsible for Taco Bell's advertising puttered among his rose bushes, carefully pulling back branches to clip the dead heads and scoop them into a plastic bucket. One of those white utility buckets like house painters use. It was light, repetitive work which occupied just enough of his brain to induce a kind of walking meditation. Pull, reach, snip, drop; pull, reach, snip, drop. And the idea that by the end of the day, by his hands, the roses would look virile again added another layer of mental pleasure to the chore.

Pull, reach, snip, drop. He felt like a hunter, the dead buds his prey. The sun was high. He felt fed by the sun, as these roses were fed by it, except to reach his full potential, the man responsible for Taco Bell's advertising did not need these roses at all, but these roses depended upon him to reach their full potential. He fed them as much as the sun did, as much as the rain.

He watched the muscles in his forearm as he clipped. The tension as he squeezed, the kinetic crest of the snip, the tendon's release as the hungry mouth of the blades sprung back open, dropping the dead roses' heads. Beheading the few for the good of the many.

The man responsible for Taco Bell's advertising found a clump of four, five wilted buds near the center of one bush, near its heart, and his breath got shallow and quick as he opened the blades of his clippers to their widest point, slid the steel around all five of the dying roses' necks, perfect domes of sweat rising in the thicket of his forearm's hair, he closed his eyes and initiated the first molecular step of millions that, strung together, built the four-act biological ballet he had directed, danced and watched a hundred times already that afternoon; Act I: Pull, Act II: Reach, Act III: Sni-

Beep beep.

Clippers falling to the hot dirt. Left eye twitching, he looked out over his yard to the street, to his neighbor driving past, waving. The man responsible for Taco Bell's advertising, behind his smile, through gritted teeth: "You are so fucking stupid." And out the rear window of his neighbor's car, his neighbor's small son waved at him too. "Filth. FILTH." He picked up the clippers and wiped the blades on his shirt.

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