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Sikes Herbert: Triangle Player
by Chris Duncan


Entry number one: August 11, 1983. I am what one might call a musical genius. Jesus gave me perfect pitch. Thank you, Jesus. In addition to my angelic singing voice, I am a virtuoso triangleist or, if you prefer, triangle player. My wit ain't bad either, let me tell ya. After a hearty meal I can arouse hysterical, pee-in-the-pants laughter by farting with uncanny precision any of several requested ditties. I'm grounded and earthy, a real people person, small in stature, delicately fingered, lithe, and attracted to hairy obese men that will treat me like the imp that I am- really put me in my place. Smack me around. Humiliate me. What really gets my juices flowing is the right kind of fat-assed bastard who can eat a greasy hamburger with one hand and spank me and auto manipulate me with the other.

But I digress.

Let's see. What else? I knew I'd ramble. My hair is wispy and unruly, yet transcendent, kind of like kelp at the ocean's bottom, flowing this way and that, gorgeous, an ingredient in ice cream. I paint my nails-nothing ostentatious, mind you. My name is Sikes. Sikes Hebert. Not HEE-BERT. It's French. A-BARE. I've just turned thirty, but I could easily pass for fifteen or, maybe, at least twenty-three.

I am speaking into a tape recorder because my shrink Mr. Lipchitz (whom I call "licks dicks") says that I am not in touch with the feelings of my inner child, and that I should record my thoughts. This led to a debate on the differences between thoughts and feelings. After two hours, he finally told me to shut the fuck up and keep a fucking diary because he was the fucking doctor and he fucking says so. Can one's very own doctor tell one to the shut the fuck up? I'm like, Who's paying the bill here, buster? A little respect would be nice. But, admittedly, people are often intimidated by my intellectual capabilities-particularly doctors. So I try to ignore their trite put-downs and occasional outbursts. I told him I'd keep a tape-recorded diary until my hands healed from their carpal tunnel surgeries (too much triangle practice and auto manipulation during my mid to late adolescence). He shook his head and stared at me saying nothing, obviously amazed by the genius incarnate sitting in front of him.

So after a week of procrastination, I sit here atop my Betty Boop comforter in my bedroom of my parent's trailer where I still live, rent free, recording my very first diary entry. I feel warm in my trailer bedroom, kind of cuddly, like a puppy that's just eaten his warm milk and Puppy Chow and is looking for a nice spot on the carpet to take a shit. My parents, though definitely unlearned and simpletons, recognize talent when they see it, so they take care of me, fostering my abilities all they can with what little they have. We all get along pretty well, me, Mommy, Daddy, and Jism, our albino cat, named, of course, by yours truly. I told Mommy and Daddy that Jism was one of the stars in Orion's belt. They just nodded their heads and said, "Oh, really." They haven't a clue where Orion's belt is! But all is not a Leave it to Beaver congeniality at the Hebert household. Just this morning, Daddy told me to quote, "Keep my perverted shit out of the bathroom!"

He can be so funny. "Daddy," I said, wrapping my arms and legs around his right leg. "It's just a butt plug." He shook me with hostile belligerence and kicked me off, flinging me into the refrigerator; I could hear him mumbling none too quietly as he stormed out our trailer's front door, "Goddamned weirdo little freak bastard sum'bitch queer-ass pansy fucker." Daddy can say what he wants, but he keeps me in triangles.

* * *

Entry number two: August 15, 1983. Fuck. First of all, I am disgruntled to the nth fucking degree. Daddy has ordered me to quote, "Put my lazy weirdo ass in gear," and help my Uncle Gene on his bull-insemination farm, which conceptually, granted, does sound inviting and exciting and provocatively stimulating, but in reality is grueling work. And totally thankless. These bulls don't give a flying fuck about anyone else. As long as they get theirs, they could give a fuck less about anybody else's needs-bastards. My forearms are getting so hard and gross; these purplish big veins keep popping up like I'm a heroin addict or something. I'm even growing black hair on my knuckles and big toes, due to my constant physical exertions with the bull peckers. I've Naired them, of course, but Jesus, talk about depressing. Do you have any idea how hard it is to jack off a bull? It ain't easy. They grunt and snort and whine and moan and crap and are just awful. Uncle Gene doesn't give a big shit. He's just like Daddy. They think it's funny when I am forced to perform manual labor, even though my heart beats like a humming bird's, and I'm on beta blockers. Uncle Gene just says, "You're slacking, Sikes. Keep jacking, boy." He sits on a wooden bench out in the barn while I'm on my hands andknees, struggling to hold this big hollowed out vagina thingy that I pull back and forth over the bulls' monstrous dongs, and good Lord, do they groan and carry on. Jesus, one of the bastards took FORever to get off. I mean, good grief, my back is aching, my feet hurt, my neck feels like it's going to fall the fuck off, and all Uncle Gene can say while he's trimming his damned dirty nails is "Keep stroking, Sikes. I believe he's getting' close, boy. I can see him tensing up his ass muscles."

Christ! Daddy's got me by the balls. If I don't help Uncle Gene, whose wife broke a hip trying to jack off Buddy, a real mean assed prick who considers his cock his and his alone (I know the type), Daddy won't pay for me to attend triangle camp at Julliard next fall. Daddy's mean and spiteful. Just because I haven't landed an orchestral position doesn't mean I don't have talent, but you can't tell him anything. I've attended triangle camp every year for twenty-three years, and I'm not going to miss out on the instruction I need just because Daddy's a motherfucker. Mommy cries when I talk to her and tell her about my unsightly forearms and how I've got a scrotal rash because of all the sweating I've been doing. Mommy told me yesterday that Daddy "got hot as a firecracker," because he opened what he thought was his New American Farmer's Magazine and instead discovered my new issue of Men on Wheels: Truck Driving Beefcake. "He's never going to pay for your triangle schooling now," said Mommy, whimpering, sniffling, close to a genuine sob.

I told her, "Mommy," I said. "He'll pay." And you can bet your sweet ass he MOST CERTAINLY WILL PAY. I'm busting my hump here at No Bull (the name of Uncle Gene's farm; I could definitely have come up with something better. What about Sweet Bullabies? Or, perhaps, Shooting Bull-its?). My fingers are so sore and calloused and cracked open. Neosporin doesn't touch the pain. Mommy and I cried together tonight over the phone. We cried and I said, "I'm holding you in my heart, Mommy," and Mommy said, "I'm holding you in my heart, too, Sikes."

* * *

Entry number three: August 17, 1983. Not good. Not good. Not good. Did you get that? Not motherfucking good. "What's not good?" you ask. Well, let me tell you. I've got hemorrhoids that actually jingle jangle between my legs. When you've got a hemorrhoid that hangs lower than your nuts, you know you've got problems. They are bigger than big. They have a fucking life of their own. One of them actually has its own heartbeat. I've seen it pulsating. I told Uncle Gene, and he rolled his eyes. "Sikes," he said. "You've got bigger problems. We've got to get a load out of Buddy today. It's imperative."

Imperative is a big word Uncle Gene is proud that he knows, so he uses it a lot. Last week it was indubitably. Everything was indubitably. With sweat running down my back and into my ass-crack, I say to Uncle Gene while I'm jacking off Duke, who keeps smacking his lips together in a very disgusting manner: "It's hotter than hell out here!" "Indubitably," he says.

Indubitably this, fucker.

I can barely walk. My cracked and calloused fingers are throbbing. My tummy is upset. I've already commented on my anal problems. I called Mommy, and she told me she's running a warm salt-water bath for me in her heart. I said, "Shit, Mother, I need a bath in your heart like I need a hole in the head. I need you to get me the holy hell out of No Bull. Triangle camp starts next week, and I need to start practicing. Hang is already going to completely embarrass me-little bitch." Hang is this eleven-year-old Korean bitch who was born with a silver spoon shoved in her mouth-or perhaps I should say silver chopsticks. She mocks me with her triangle virtuosity-little bitch. Of course, some people can practice twenty-four seven instead of stroking bull cock all day long.

"Daddy ain't gone pay," Mommy says, crying. "Not with you getting those perverted magazines in the mail."

"Tell Daddy it was sent to me by mistake!" I respond desperately.

"But it weren't no mistake, baby, and you know it. I know it. Daddy knows it. Even Jism knows it. And honey?" Mommy says.

"What?" I say.

"Daddy found one of those dirty men flicks underneath your mattress. Baby, it's filthy. It's filthy as filthy can be. Why, my heart felt like it'd been wading through a soggy cow pasture after I'd watched two minutes of that-that-that shit, Sikes. I felt like I was caked with cow-shit, baby."

"Which one?" I ask her. "Which one did Daddy find? Was it Forest Hump? The Ass Menagerie? Huh? They're all pretty vanilla, Mommy. No fisting or golden showers. Jesus, Mommy, I didn't mean for Pops to--"

Mommy cuts me off saying, "You never mean to do anything, Sikes," and she starts sobbing on me and hangs up. She doesn't answer when I try to call her back. Great. Terrific. Then Uncle Gene screams at me: "Get off the phone, Sikes. We gotta drain Buddy's main vein. It's imperative. Hurry it up. God, boy, if somebody don't get you off your mama's tits."

So I limp out to the barn, feeling like I've got burning charcoal stuffed up my ass, and all I can think is: Fuck, I should be practicing my triangle. I AM AN artist! Uncle Gene reclines on his stool and starts trimming his nails. "Don't spill any, Sikes."

Before he can finish I say, "It's imperative, right?"

He shoots me a dirty look. "Yeah, that's right," he says. "It IS imperative. We're talking white gold coming out that pecker, Sikes. White gold." He starts coughing and spits a glob of phlegm to the ground that would disgust a maggot. Uncle Gene breaks the string of phlegm with a finger and says, "What you waiting on, an invitation? Get to it."

Every muscle in Buddy's gigantic body is quivering like he's in the middle of the DT's or something as I lower myself to my knees and momentarily stare at the fake vagina thingy in my hands. "You might need to play with him for a minute or two, Sikes," says Uncle Gene between hacks. ""He's kind of slow to pop a boner."

My life is a living hell. I repeat: my life is a living hell.

Uncle Gene yells at me, "Tug on his nut sack, Sikes. Not too hard. That'll get a rise out of him-pun intended. Ha ha ha."

I'm sitting underneath Buddy, pondering why Jesus has deemed it necessary that I endure this humiliation. I know He's my friend and He knows better than I what I need. I smile. I really do. I smile, because I'm a suffering artist-a triangle player who will certainly be better than Hang. I will overcome. I will! I will! "OK, Uncle Gene," I say. "You're probably right. I WILL tug on Buddy's nut sack." I'm happy and friendly and see the world in acid-trip colors. I love everyone and everything, even my motherfucker of an uncle who winks at me. "Now that's a boy," he says.

Life is great.

I even love Buddy. I'm going to get that white gold right now.

"Buddy," I say, grabbing a huge tube of K-Y. "Get ready for a trip to Ecstacyville!"

Uncle Gene cackles at my antics and enthusiasm. "That's a boy," he says. My world is sunny as I wrap my wounded hands around the most enormous set of bull nuts you can imagine. Buddy whines angrily and snorts and shuffles his feet like he's a drunken eighty-year-old man at a Ralph Stanley concert. "Easy!" screams Uncle Gene. "Massage, damn it! Don't jerk."

"What?" I ask, violently yanking you were then Buddy's bulging balls toward the floor. Simultaneously, I hear Uncle Gene scream, "Oh shit!" and see a hoof flying at light speed toward the middle of my eyes. Blackness. Jungle heat. I'm sliding down my drain into a pit of angry monkeys, baboons with shiny red asses, their teeth gnashing, and the air humid and heavy.

* * *

Entry number four: The day after my last entry. All is not well. Buddy nearly decapitated me. I'm not exaggerating. Were in not for what the neurologist called my "freakishly thick skull," Buddy's blow to my head would certainly have killed me. Thank God for thick heads. Anyway, Mommy ordered Daddy to let me come home to recuperate. So here I am in bed, my Betty Boop comforter wrapped tightly around my waiflike body, my hair wispy as usual, my lips cherubic and awe-inspiring, and I'm sporting a rather chic patch over my left eye (Buddy's terrific kick to my head caused my left eyeball to dislodge and dangle from my head. What a funny sight I must have been. I suppose I caused the EMT guys a good belly-laugh. Too bad I was unconscious to experience the joy emanating from my soul. I give and give, and I'll never stop giving. People need people like me).

No Bull and my hideous Uncle Gene and all those huge bull peckers seem like a distant nightmare now that I am back in the safety of Betty Boop and my doting Mommy's loving care. Mommy: what would I do without her? She's been a real trooper: applying ice to my dangling hemorrhoids, a thankless task, certainly, but one which any mother would gladly do for her adult artist son. Mommy is very good with doctoring hemorrhoids; she's helped me out quite a bit in the past. After a really raucous weekend my lily white, cute bubble bum usually needs some soothing, and Mommy is right there to do it. Daddy just grimaces at me and Mommy. What an A number one asshole he can be! He wouldn't apply ice to my hemorrhoids if I were suffering worst that Job-you can bet your sweet ass on that one. At least the sonofabitch is going to pay for me to go to triangle camp. I'm so excited. Earlier today, while Mommy was diligently applying ice to my ass, Daddy pokes his-as usual-angry looking face through my door. "Sikes," he said. "You still want to go to faggot camp?"

Ignoring his playful repartee, I gleefully answer, "Why, of course, Papa Bear. Baby Bear is so happy! Mommy Bear, did you hear what Papa Bear said?"

Mommy, crying with delight, replies, "Yes! Yes! Yes, Baby Bear, I heard."

Mommy and I are crying with joy, literally sobbing with ecstasy, when Daddy guffaws and shakes his head and mumbles barely coherently as he goes into the kitchen to grab a snoot of liquor, "Anything to get your freak ass out of my damned house, pansy-assed sad excuse for a son dear God what did I do to deserve this I should've pulled out why the hell didn't I pull out talk about a wasted load God Almighty."

"Mommy Bear?" I say, lying on my side while my mother plays armature proctologist. "Baby Bear love you with all his heart." I growl like a bear.

Mommy, kisses the top of my left buttock and says with a jovial laugh, "Mommy Bear loves Baby Bear beary, beary much." Then Mommy growls at me. I love Mommy. Even Jism joins in the fun. He jumps up on my bed and licks my nipples; dainty nipples they are, a light pink, the color of fog filtered suns. I scratch Jism's head and wish for only a split second that Daddy had the ability to love like me, Mommy, and my little pussy.

* * *

Entry number five: September 1st, 2002. Yippee! I'm the happiest thirty-year-old triangle player in the world. I'm at camp. I'm in a dorm room and, thank God, my floor has a community bathroom and there are absolutely no partitions in the shower room. None. Zero. That deserves another yippee. Yippee! I mean, er, how humiliating and embarrassing this situation is going to be!.


My raging 'roids are pretty much better. For precautionary purposes,I apply large gobs (via my fingers) of Vaseline up my poop-chute prior to my thrice daily BM's so everything'll be nice a lubed. I wouldn't want to exacerbate an already tenuous situation, if you catch my drift. What else? Hang has apparently got the big head now that she's turned twelve and already has an orchestral position. It's all about who you know and who you blow-little bitch! Oh well, at least at the end of the day, I'll have my self-respect and her best buddy'll be a jug of Listerine. That was catty, wasn't it? Mee-aww! Scratch! Scratch!

Segue time: Daddy, the evil motherfucker, didn't even bother telling me goodbye this morning. However, Mommy and I had a good cry together. I know Mommy'll miss me. And my cat, too. My little pussy loves me. Jism looked so pitiful, I let him lick the peanut butter residue from my PB&J sandwich from the backs of my molars-he loves that, and I thought he deserved a special treat since I'm abandoning him for a month. Daddy saw Jism tonguing me, and he let loose with a diatribe of hateful expletives directed right at yours truly (he also through a couple of hateful remarks at Jism to boot).

Mommy started sobbing, but I stood my ground. "Mommy," I said. "He's not worth it!"

Then I said: "Jism needs love too, Daddy! Go ahead, Jism, lick all you want!" Daddy then tells me to get my shit out and that he never wants to see me again, and that I'm an embarrassment to him and always have been-same old shit, S.O.S., you know. I go up to him, my mean old sonofabitch Daddy, and hug and nibble on his right earlobe-trying to irreverent and whimsical, you know. I want to give Daddy love, my love, but he won't take it. I whisper playfully, "Papa Bear's a meanie weanie!"

Daddy takes a punch at me but I duck deftly. Daddy is too drunk to make contact. He storms out of the trailer, and Mommy drives me to the airport, during which we both cry our gigantic hearts out. Did I mention my Mommy is clinically obese? No? Well, she is. Mommy told me that she'd like to get as fat as the universe, because that's how much she loves me. But I digress.

Segue number two: Get this: The director of the camp tells me this morning that "your name isn't on the registration form anywhere," so I tell her, "Honey," I say, "I've been coming to this camp for over twenty years. Somebody needs to get their shit straight and it's not me."

Mommy starts crying and I have to tell her to shut the fuck up right there in front of God and everybody. "HEE-BERT, HEE-BERT, HEE-BERT," the twit keeps saying trying unsuccessfully to find my name on her stupid registration forms. "My name is A-BARE," I say. "A-BARE-it's French."

The twit keeps shaking her head. "Nope, not on here. Nowhere."

People are starting to snicker. Why, I've been attending this camp longer than most of these little fuckers have been alive! "What instrument to you play?" the twits asks me. Can you believe that! What instrument? I'M A MOTHERFUCKING TRIANGLE PLAYER! EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT!

My lard assed mother says, "Triangle. Sikes, plays the triangle."

Then the twit's eyes light up. "Oh," she says. "I've found you.

Somebody thought your first name was your last name. That's what threw me for a loop." I'd like to have thrown that stupid bitch for a loop. She had a lisp, too. Did I mention that? Instead of Sikes she'd say Siketh. Talk about annoying. I'm definitely complaining to camp management about the treatment I've received. You should have seen Hang pinching off a
giggle. Hang, with her stupid triangle earrings, loves it when I look stupid. Fuck her! She needs to go eat some roasted dog or something and leave the triangle playing to me.

Whew! I had to blow off some steam. I just need to remember that I'm where I'm supposed to be and, Lord willing, an orchestral position will come a'knocking at my trailer's front door, and you can bet your sweet ass I'll be ready to open it and say, "Howdy, Mr. Director, c'mon in!"

But I digress. I've got to go practice.

First I've got to go take a shower. I hear the water running.





About the Author


I'm 29-years-old and live with my wife and daughter in the hills of southwest, Virginia. Currently, I'm enrolled in the low-resident MFA/Creative Writing Program at Queens University of Charlotte, NC. My most recent publications can be found in or is forthcoming in SMALL SPIRAL NOTEBOOK, INTERTEXT, CARVE, BOOMERANG UK, SOUTHERN OCEAN REVIEW, and 3 AM MAGAZINE.