by Brian Kerstetter
Last year O. gave me one of his photos as a christmas present. It’s a photo that has always made me laugh because it’s simple, amusing and a little retarded, like O. himself. Now it hangs on the wall of my apartment, just above my grandmother’s 1920’s pink couch.
The photo is a winter landscape with about 100 small photoshopped creatures scattered on top. Each creature is half naked human (porn actors from the internet) and half animal. When I first saw these silly human-animals (manimals) he created, I asked O. what it was like to live with such a small brain. In revenge, he made me a large print of the photo and hung it in my living room for all to see.
My apartment in brooklyn happens to be on the route of the new york city marathon, so every year I host a marathon breakfast party. This year, an old friend from ohio was visiting new york with his wife and three kids, so I invited them to the party.
When the guests arrived, the kids – two girls and a little boy named Jake – threw their coats on my bed and walked directly to O’s photo. The two sisters pointed at the photo, whispering to each other. Jake looked up at it with his mouth open, blinking.
Then he took off his shoes and climbed on the couch to get a closer look. He touched the half-human, half-animal images, one by one, saying the name of each animal “horsey,” “monkey,” “elephant,” “kangaroo.” He then ran his finger over the women’s naked breasts, one at a time, in silence – he must have thought they were funny-looking, like a big toe or a bushy mustache.
The two sisters also climbed on the couch to examine the “manimals.” The older one liked a fat black man with the body of an ostrich; the younger girl preferred a skinny redhead with the body of an elephant. Suddenly Jake turned to his mother, pointed at the photo, and screamed across the room, “Look, mommy, a naked lady with the animals!”
The party went quiet. Both parents came over to Jake, they saw O’s photo for the first time. The husband looked at the photo with a serious face, like an art collector, but I knew he was looking at the beautiful breasts of the half-woman, half-zebra. His wife looked at him, then at me. “What is this?” she asked.
Before I could respond, Jake shouted, “LadySnake!” then pointed at a big breasted blonde with the body of a hog, “LadyPig!” Inspired by her brother, the youngest daughter pointed to a half-man, half-donkey, and shouted “ManHorse!” Little Jake was jumping up and down on the couch, screaming,”LadyPig! ManHorse! LadyPig! ManHorse! – BOOBIES!”
That is how my 2006 new york city marathon party ended, with the word “boobies.” The mother quickly bundled the kids in their jackets and escorted them outside to watch the race. The other guests left behind them.
From my window I saw my friend and his kids, a nice family from ohio, cheering the runners as they passed. And I distinctly heard little Jake scream at a couple of Italian runners “LadyPig! ManHorse!”