By S.T. Cartledge
Jethro Depp's first birthday party began with a bang and a thud. I tripped coming down the stairs into the back yard and no, I wasn't carrying the cake or the knife to cut it, so don't ask. I tripped because I always do. Because Tim Burton designed my house and he thought it would look really cool if the geometry was all out of whack. It does look really cool, but it's not practical at all. I tripped and fell down the stairs and landed on a balloon. Straight on the chest. Bang. I got up and dusted myself off. The sensation of falling down stairs felt more 'burn-ey' than usual. My shirt caught fire briefly, before it disappeared into my chest. I looked down and saw a little star just below my left nipple. I looked around to find my wife, Saxophone Lucy, and forgot that she had gone out to pick up the cake. But there was no one around. No one. Not even one-year-old Jethro. I forgot this was meant to be a surprise party. Everyone was hiding. I didn't think at the time that it was odd to throw a surprise party for a one-year-old, considering he wouldn't have a clue as to what was going on. But I liked to think Jethro was smart for his age. In hindsight, it was not my finest hour, but I'm sure you can cut me some slack. I mean, after all, I am Johnny Depp.
Saxophone Lucy fell down the stairs and landed on her big, honking saxophone nose. The cake went splat. That's why she usually buys a backup cake to bring in via the side gate. It takes longer, going on the windy path through the montage of warped gothic landscapes. And you usually need to have a can of goth repellent spray, handy for all the goth kids that hang out in that part of the yard, playing goth games like 'put the gothic stickers on the slanted window before old man Depp catches you.'
Saxophone Lucy got up with a toot and said, “where is everybody?”
I shrugged. I examined myself in Saxophone Lucy's shiny brass face and thought about how I'd fuck me. Then the mashed cake got sucked up into my chest-hole and started revolving around my star.
“Holy shit,” Saxophone Lucy said. “You have a star in your chest!”
“Yes,” I said.
“And a cake planet.”
“Uh-huh.” I stared at my reflection in her face and wondered if it was weird that I wanted to make out with myself. No, I decided.
“Cool,” she said.
“Did you buy the white dwarf balloons this time around?”
I pointed at my chest.
“Don't worry. It's hot.”
I picked at the hole. It felt like it was getting bigger.
“Don't pick at it,” Saxophone Lucy said.
“I can pick at it all I want,” I said. “I'm Johnny Depp.”
Jethro fell down the stairs and Tim Burton, Quentin Tarantino, and David Lynch jumped out from their hiding places and yelled 'surprise!' Jethro pulled a shard of broken glass from his forehead and clapped his hands. Saxophone Lucy picked Jethro up and took him to his high chair at the table. We sat down with Tim, Quentin and David and sang happy birthday. Tim and David reached into the hole in my chest and grabbed pieces of cake from the cake planet that revolved around my star, but Quentin didn't have any because he was going on a diet. I reached into myself and got a piece for Jethro and he mashed it into his face. Then I ate a hotdog and Tim threw a hotdog into my space hole and it started revolving around my star. Then David and Quentin took turns throwing party food at my hole and trying to get it sucked into my gravitational pull. Then they gathered all the balloons and popped them right up against my skin, creating more stars. Then they got a little more sophisticated and started arranging particular foods around particular stars. There was a fairy bread cluster and a meat pie cluster and a fruit salad cluster, and they designed little cupcake moons to revolve around some of the bigger planets. And the pizza planet cluster with the asteroid belt made from all different sorts of toppings.
By the end of the night, I was an entire solar system. I wasn't sure if this was damaging my fuckability until I pulled a cherry tomato from the pizza planet asteroid belt and I was about to eat it when I saw a little man standing on it in a space suit, planting a tiny flag on its surface. Life. The universe. Everything. I was this tiny little man's everything. And the everything of Jethro and Saxophone Lucy. And the entire film industry. And the everything of celebrity culture and celebrity fandom. I smiled and thought about how I could be the new face of astrology fetishists. I bounced Jethro on my knee and thought about how popular I was.
_____________________________________________________BIO: S.T. Cartledge is a robot-alien-zombie-clown-vampire-ninja-pirate-werewolf-cowboy who writes fiction that poaches all your friends and then hangs out with your dad. And then it tucks you into bed real tight and teaches you about the human condition. Such fiction can be found on websites such as Bizarro Central and the New Flesh, or at the author's website: http://themanifold.wordpress.com/