By Jeff Nazzaro
In heavy traffic on the 405, I said, “I never said I’d never go to Disneyland.”
We were on our way to Disneyland. She drove, I navigated.
“What did you say, then?”
“I said I’ve never been and never really had a desire to go, even when I was a kid.”
“You’re going now.”
“Try not to sound so excited.”
“You’re not going to be all critical and have a terrible time on purpose, are you?”
“I may criticize some things because I always do, and that’s one of the reasons you love me, but I’ll have fun.”
“The 91 is coming up,” I said. “East.”
She merged onto the 91. It was worse than the 405. We’d be on it for twenty miles.
“As part of having fun, though,” I said, “it is imperative I not enjoy myself.”
She made a frustrated noise.
“What?” I said.
“Why bother then?”
“It’s a joke. You know I was reading Baudrillard’s thing about the hyperreal and want to see for myself. Like that time we went to happy hour in the Bonaventure Hotel downtown.”
“We got drunk and couldn’t find our way out, so we gave in and rode the elevators for an hour.”
“People movers. Red Circle goes the highest, but you liked the view from Blue Triangle the best.”
“I thought you said you couldn’t understand half that Baudrillard shit,” she said.
“True. But the other half explains exactly what I’m talking about.”
“Something about Disneyland being fake.”
“No, completely real. Turns out it’s the rest of L.A., and America, that’s fake and Disneyland exists so when people go they feel like it’s this big, magical experience. Then when they leave they realize how real their real lives are.”
“Sounds about right.”
“Except they’re not,” I said. “Real. Or any more real than Disneyland.”
“Fantastical characters strolling around in dreamlike trances?”
“Weren’t we at Venice Beach the other night?”
“And West Hollywood a couple weekends ago,” she said.
“Exactly, and what did we say? Just people walking around, working, eating, drinking, screwing, whatever. No different from anywhere else. We got back to tame little Westchester and were like, ʻWow, imagine living there?ʼ We do.”
“So why bother going to Disneyland, spending a fortune, when we can stay home and it’s the same thing.”
“To have fun,” she said. “But if you’re not going to have fun, what’s the point?”
“I’ll have fun.”
“Have whatever you’d like. Just don’t ruin it for me.”
“I won’t, I promise.”
She found clear sailing in the carpool lane.
“I know for you it’s important to forget and have fun because come Monday you’re back to that ridiculous office with the grownups and their Kafkaesque meetings and regulations. But for me it’s a little different. I draw comics about life in other dimensions. My whole life is being a kid, but I have to try to understand some of this stuff.”
The carpool lane jammed up.
“Well understand it, explain it, sauté it in safflower oil and sprinkle it with sage, just don’t ruin it for me.”
“Do I ruin it for you in bed?”
“Is this a trick question?”
“When we were first together, falling in love, sex for me was pure you. After awhile it cools off, does for every couple. So when that happened, I tried fantasizing, you know, you’re not you you’re this actress, that supermodel, the woman in the red dress, whomever, only it never worked. I don’t know them and I’m certainly not in love with them. So I make you into the hottest version of you I can conjure up—you the supermodel, you the actress, you the French Open qualifier with the red clay stains on her socks.”
“And that does it for you?”
“That’s Disneyland, baby. That masks the absence of that goggle-eyed, love-drunk feeling of those first few months. It’s connubial bliss. Every night, I’m going to Disneyland.”
“Why not just have it be me and fall in love with me again every night?”
“There’s cruises for that,” I said. “Seriously, it’s too abstract. I can recreate you, but not the emotion. I’d be flailing away in a mental void. It would be as bad as trying to get off to French cultural theory, or finding apples and pears in Jackson Pollack paintings.”
“You just let me have my fun at Disneyland today,” she said, “if you want to have yours at Disneyland later.”
I had no problem understanding that.
Jeff Nazzaro lives in Southern California, where he writes short fiction and poetry. His flash fiction has appeared in several literary journals, including Café Aphra, Fewer Than 500, Fear of Monkeys, and Flash: The International Short-short Story Magazine.