by Javier Calvo
translated by Graham Thomson
The neon lights of the motel are
reflected in old Flanders glasses. Inside the room, a cigarette slowly burns down
between his thick yellow fingers. Behind him, Lisa is sitting on the bed. A sheet half
covers the yellow nakedness of her childs body. Flanders silently watches the cars
flash past at speed on the interstate. Lisa is taking slow melancholy gulps from the neck
of a bottle of Jack Daniels. All of a sudden old Flanders short-sighted eyes
encounter the reflection in the dirty glass of the window of little Lisas round,
alcohol-fuddled eyes. That moment encapsulates all of their lives. Their present, their
past and their future. It is all there, inscribed in the deoxyribose-nucleic skein of the
sweating night. The years of apprenticeship, the first job, marriage, the slow incursion
of boredom, the kids and, in the end, the sudden discovery that neither work nor family
can promise more than a resigned and unremarkable decline. And the embryo of what lies in
store for them: Flanders old age, the final pangs of melancholy and the efforts to
conceal his secret life, that false compartment where the last vestiges of his desire are
concentrated. And Lisa leaving, going far away from little Springfield, to a brighter
future of big cities, doctorates cum laude, academic seminars and a senior post in
the administration that her parents will contemplate with tears and the blissful smile of
irremediable ignorance. A future in which Ned will be no more than an escapade to be
forgotten, exciting for the two or three weeks it takes to sate the little girls
curiosity. Its all there, exposed, beneath the revealing light of the neon sign. The
past versus the future. The fag end in his yellow fingers. Ned Flanders.
"Subversion is a type of
violence reserved for the strong. All that is left for the rest of us mortals is
Homer Simpson and Ned Flanders meet in an old Ford
parked under a streetlight. Flanders cant let himself be seen in Moe's bar because
it might get back to his wife or his friends in the church. Moe's bar is for those fevered
late nights when the drugs have wiped out every remnant of caution. Flanders scans the
street with his short-sighted eyes before opening the car door and getting into the
passenger seat. Homer is behind the wheel, drinking from a large can of Budweiser and
listening to an old Pete Seger tape. He greets Flanders with a belch and a dazed smile.
Homer hands him a brown envelope. Flanders takes it
with a trembling hand and a feverish expression.
"Are they as good as you promised me?"
"Theyre great. I took them in the
"Oh." Flanders opens the envelope and gazes
with reverence at the photos inside. "Ill reward you, Homie!"
Flanders rests his plump yellow hand on Homers
crotch. Homer sighs and lets him massage the hot bulge.
"Youve got to bring her to me,"
Flanders whispers in his ear.
"No, not that...," Homer murmurs.
And the Springfield night is filled with a rhythmic
"Subversion is an abysmal
regression. Once something is subverted, we convert it into a supplement of subversion
itself. Thus the subversion becomes the object of a new subversion. And so on
successively, to infinity."
Bart Simpson crosses the living room, behind the sofa
on which his family sit lost in contemplation of the television. The stroboscopic light of
the TV is reflected in the yellow of their faces. He goes down the stairs to the garage.
He darts a last backward glance to make sure no one has seen him and closes the door
behind him carefully. Then he moves various boxes of tools strategically arranged on top
of a table until he finds what hes looking for: the long flat box of a pair of Sears
pyjamas. His hands trembling with excitement, he carries the box into the gap between the
car and the wall. He lifts off the top and lays it on the floor. Inside are half a dozen
magazines with glossy pages. For a minute, Bart contemplates the photographs in the
magazine, which invariably show muscular men masturbating and muscular men performing
fellatio. His fathers most prized treasure. Although he is too young to understand
his own sexuality, Bart realises he is destined to take after his father. That with time
the boyish pranks are beginning to make way for other things. There is no sense in
resisting. He knows what his father does with the man next door when they go fishing on
Sundays. On occasion, while his family are sleeping, he has climbed out the bedroom window
and shinned down the drainpipe just to look from a distance, hidden behind a trash can, at
the dilapidated and fascinating effigy of Moe's bar. All night long there is the sound of
laughter in the upstairs rooms, mixed with cries and with other kinds of exclamation Bart
doesnt yet know how to interpret. But now, as he looks at the muscular bodies in the
magazine, he knows he will understand them soon. A jolt of excitement shoots through his
pelvis. He opens his shorts.
"Subversion is a productive
function of what we know as desiring machine. The problem is that the desired is a
germinal flow in which we search in vain for persons or even for discernible functions
such as father, mother, son, sister, etc., since these names designate nothing more than
intensive variations on the body determined as seed."
Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari
Homer moves his big calloused hand over Apus
naked and surprisingly smooth chest. They are lying on the floor in the back of the shop
at Badulaque, among crates of beer and boxes of Pringles. Homers trousers are
somewhere by the door, tangled up with his friends shirt. He has had a lot of lovers
in his life, but no one excites him to the point of making him forget all caution as the
beautiful Apu does. Homer contemplates his body with admiration. He loves his dark, fleshy
lips. He loves his moustache and his greasy hair. But what he likes best is his skin. It
isnt yellow like the skin of the Springfielders . Its a healthy shade of
brown, and it gives off a faint aroma of sweat and Asian cigarettes. On the other side of
the curtain that separates them from the shop, Homers two sisters-in-law are beating
on the counter with fury in their faces.
"Subversion is what we have
worked for all our lives. Subversion should be not a means but an end in itself. Only in
that way can we prevent the Revolution coming to a standstill."
Ned Flanders is sitting peacefully by the same bend of
the river where he meets Homer every Sunday when he hears the familiar screech of the
wheels of his neighbours old Ford. The car appears in the midst of a cloud of dust
and stops after fender-ramming a number of trees. It seems that Homie is drunker than
usual today. Flanders lays the fishing rod down, gets to his feet and slowly walks towards
the car. As he gets nearer he hears the familiar chords of the Pete Seger music his
neighbour always listens to. For a moment, as he watches Homer bang his head on the roof
of the car and climb out, tottering to the rhythm of Segers guitar, it occurs to him
that this unsteady and repulsive image represents the languid, fat-assed, silent debacle
of his whole generation. The generation that was going to change the world. Homer drains a
can of Budweiser and throws it at a tree. He belches and stands there looking at Flanders
with an expression that is a mixture of annoyance, tiredness and hungry desire.
"Have you brought her?" Flanders cant
keep the note of longing out of his voice.
Homer doesnt answer. Flanders looks in the back
window of the car and even through the dirtiness of the glass he can see the crawling
shape of little Maggie with her eternal dummy and her skin of the purest and healthiest
shade of yellow you could imagine.
"Oh, Homie," Flanders says with a catch in
his voice. "This time Ill give you more, much more. Ill pay you back with
Homer answers without looking at him, his gaze lost in
some point of the river that flows squalidly past:
"I want you to do it to me quick," he
grunts. "Hurt me."