Overqualified: HBO: Yellow fever.

Re: A family act.

Dear HBO,

Stop me if you've heard this one. A woman walks into a talent agent's office, without an appointment. She says "I have a pitch that you're going to love," and she smiles. When she smiles it's like you are young again. When she smiles you feel like your life will change, and soon. That's how this talent agent feels. For the first time in years, the talent agent remembers the sound of summer peepers. She remembers lying in the long grass just above the beach on Prince Edward Island. She remembers the crazy old white man who used to live down the road, who used to call her "niglet" when her parents weren't around, who used to tussle her hair and tell her that she was going to be famous. These are the happy memories that sneak up on her when she sees this woman's smile.

"Alright," the talent agent says. "Let's hear your pitch."

"Thank you," the woman says. "It's a family show. Me and my Chinese husband are on stage, dressed up real nice. He's in a traditional Chinese outfit and I'm wearing this elegant ballroom gown that we've had altered to accommodate my pregnant belly. My husband helps me into my chair and heads off stage. He comes back with our violins. He vanishes again, and this time he comes back holding a bottle of pickles and sets it on a stool beside me. A microphone lowers and hangs above me as I begin to eat the pickles. You can hear the crunching of the pickles throughout the auditorium.

"'People say that it's natural to get weird cravings when you're pregnant,' I say, 'but it's a private joke between my husband and I that I've got brain damage from getting too much of his jaundiced chink sperm up my nose.' Then my husband pulls out a knife and cuts my clothes off. His eyes go wide and he's a crazed yellow savage. We fuck on stage, my pregnant belly hanging low as he bends me over the chair. Our breathing is loud through the microphones that hang down over us. I don't know how else to show people what he means to me. This is the closest we can come to bringing the audience into our bedroom. They see us lying there, after I've convinced him once again that our rape games don't make him a bad person. The whole audience is there for that moment when we're both just drifting off to sleep with our arms and legs together and in the quiet and the heat I whisper 'Next time I want you to wear my grandfather's trophy necklace of gook ears while you eat me out.' He laughs, and it's a startled, beautiful laugh. He pulls me close and whispers 'I love you,' and kisses my forehead. 'You're my little sand nigger cunt,' he says."

"And that's it. That's our act," the woman says.

"What would you even call something like that?" says the talent agent.

"The Aristocrats"

Anyway, HBO. When people love one another, they can say the most horrible things. Words have the power we give them, and if we say those things to the people we love, and they become our private jokes, who's to say that's wrong? This secret, shared embrace of what is wrong can help us find a world all our own.

I want to film a series of profiles just like this.


Joey Comeau