The Terminator (or How I Learned to Love My Mother)

by | Apr 6, 2021 | Bending Genres, Fiction, Issue Twenty

Imagine it—a four-foot-eleven, ninety-pound Jewish woman from Brooklyn with a metabolism permanently set to hummingbird, who constantly tries to shovel partially hydrogenated high fructose food into your face. Her hearing must have gone out years ago because she never responds to anything anyone says with the faintest shred of relevancy. She’s been sporting the same enormous Peggy Bundy hairdo since 1982, and she looks exactly like a skinny dwarf Jewish grandma version of Brian May, wearing black stretch pants, complete with elastic bands around the heels of her feet, for that optimal tucked-into-your-gleaming-white-tennis-shoes look.  

She’s buzzing circles into the carpet next to you as you are trying to watch a movie that you love. Every other second opening her mouth to repeat something she has already repeated countless times. And with each incessant note of her nasally voice, all the muscles in your shoulders tighten and your skin begins to crawl.

Whatever it is she’s about to say, you don’t want to hear it. You already anticipate the seventeenth inquiry about filling your half drank glass of water, or the thirty-second about whether or not you’re ready for dessert yet because she really wants to make you her favorite—a scoop of ice milk in between two graham crackers. And goddamn it, yes, it is delicious, but if you have to hear her talk about how it’s low fat because it’s made with ice milk instead of ice cream one more time without the slightest acknowledgement that she’s been telling you that damn near daily since you were five, your brain might just implode.

But, for once, she doesn’t mention feeding or hydration. No, she has something important to say. Wisdom to purvey. Through Terminator.

See, THAT’S why you should never list your home address in a phonebook! If Sarah Connor hadn’t listed hers, HE NEVER WOULD HAVE FOUND HER. There wouldn’t even need to BE a movie!

Whole realities skewed together in her mind. She talks with certainty about how if only James Cameron would have consulted her she could have saved Sarah from all that stress—which you know is really terrible for your health—not to mention the lives of her Walkman-happy roommate and that sweet brawny idiot that Steve Martin once wrote love letters for in Roxanne. Ham sandwiches flying! Forgotten iguana!

But she’s not done. 

See, and THAT’S why you always need to be in shape enough to run away if you ever have to. Just IMAGINGE what would have happened if Sarah Connor was FAT!

This one causes her to go off on breathless tirades about how she hasn’t always been so fit, and it wasn’t until she discovered the secret of Margaret Richard’s acute muscle clench workout that she learned how to maintain her tight little body.

She splays herself out on the rug in front of the television and starts to demonstrate. On her back, legs spread apart. One arm a stiff triangle bent behind her head, the other pressing firmly down onto her stomach. Panting and bobbing, heaving up and down, her eyes uncontrollably darting at you to see if you’re paying attention. She begs you to come place your hand under hers, so you’ll believe that the tiny controlled movements are actually working her abdominal muscles. You don’t want to. 

Then, with knees folded and feet tucked under, she starts to do butt clenches. Squeezing her entire ass off the ground as if some obscene pelvic exercise specifically designed to make you have to see what your mother would look like fucking. 

Do you see? Do you see? It’s so easy! Just clench and release. Clench and release. Do you see?

You see, you tell her. Again and again. Practicing your patience. Every second in her presence an equanimity test.

It can never just be a movie for you now. It is all of your mother’s neuroses scrambled up with all of her butt-clenching wisdom. Her panic, her principle, her inability, like the Terminator, to EVER STOP. Because she can’t be bargained with, she can’t be reasoned with. She doesn’t feel pity or remorse or fear. She absolutely will not stop. EVER. 

Until she is dead. 

You finally see it again without her, excited to enjoy the steamy motel sex scene without interruption, the way you had always wanted. Sarah and Kyle’s fingers clasping together. Clench and release. Clench and release.

But the whole time, you can’t stop thinking about how disgusting it is that Kyle Reese has been free-balling it that entire time, naked and sweating inside rancid hobo pants.

That’s when you hear her voice, echoing perfectly in your mind.

See, and THAT’s why you should never have unprotected sex with such a dirty penis, even if he is a gorgeous virgin from the future.

And you realize it’s too late. Your future has already been written.

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