They lived next door, all four of them: Buck Bitcher,
Betty Bitch Bitcher,
Bucky Bug Bitcher, and Bonnie
Bitcher. Their real surname Macintosh—
after the computer, not the apple. I don’t know who
pegged them with that moniker: neighborhood legend
claims it was Jim Tank, the blubber-butted dj
with a beer belly bigger than the full moon.
He had a way with words, in the words
of one of his friends. One Jersey day Jim
staggered onto his lawn and heard
the whole family bitching: The
is shining today, I wanted it to rain, Buck
Bitcher complained. I’m
where are my bugs? Bug
Baby Bitcher—called that because she was the baby
of the family even if she was 30— griped,
Oh, you’d bitch
if your nuts were chocolate.
Bitch Bitcher moaned, groaned, and bellowed
through the walls, Aw,
none of you sad cartoons
are happy unless you’re
miserable. Jim Tank
Screamed louder than a crooked politician
in an aircraft hangar, SHUTUP!
YOU FUCKING BITCHERS!
After that day everybody referred to them
as the Bitchers. Talk of a reality show surfaced,
but Bug Bitcher demanded more money
than Buck or Betty—I mean Bitch—Bitcher.
Rumor was they were
the model family
for Fear Thy Neighbor, an
about dysfunction and murder.
But they were just nonviolent
bitchers with no friends. They didn’t work, collected
disability and bitched it wasn’t enough money,
though Jim Tank told me they
Friday nights, just the four of them, holding bitching contests:
I don’t eat in restaurants
anymore because every time
I do, I find a long black
hair in my chili, Buck Bitcher bitched,
swigging a hot Bud down his gullet. Well, you’re
too damn tight
for anything else, it serves
you right, you dirty old man-bitch,
Baby Bitcher yelled. I’m
depressed, Bug Bitcher cried,
all forty years of him, I
don’t have my favorite food.
Bitch Bitcher snarled,
Bug, how did I ever give birth
to such an ugly kid
Robert Crumb wouldn’t draw him.
Year in, year out, Jim Tank recorded the family
and their repertoire
of bitchograms, he called them.
Said he was going to collect them in a book titled
Four Decades of the Bitchers.
That was nasty
if you ask me. He was an awful person
despite the fact he kept me ten years after I ran away
from my family, The Macintoshes—
I mean the Bitchers—when I was 16. The whole town
searched for months. I had
to skedaddle: I tired
of the bitching about burnt pancakes, horny nuns,
and the governor they called The
Cheeseburger. The fattest bull in Texas is skinnier
they bitched in unison. I was afraid I’d grow
up a bitching Bitcher. I’m grateful to Jim Tank
for hiding me so well, though. We had fun recording
the Bitchers and laughed at them. I don’t think
the Bitchers ever had fun when I lived with them.
But I do. I’ve overcome my first sixteen years,
and didn’t even mind—much— Jim Tank making a pass
at me. After I kicked his ass, he didn’t try any of that crap.
Oh, my moon hurts, he
cackled. I cackled, too. I lived
in his basement, where I used to cream him at Texas Hold’em
every night until I decided to go to the World Series of Poker
and finished third in a field of 5,219. I won six million bucks,
bought the house on the other side of the Bitchers, built
soundproof rooms for the obvious reason. The Bitchers
never caught on I was their long-lost son because all they
could do was bitch, bitch, bitch. Why’d ya
Haven’tcha had enough of
’em? Jim Tank asked. I said,
Naw, man, I’m lucky, I have two families: The
who’ve never smiled, and
you, who can’t keep
from smiling. Now I call
that a sonofabitchin’ delight.
David Spicer has published poems in Alcatraz, Midnight Lane Boutique, Third
Wednesday, Scab, Oddball
Magazine, The Literary Nest,
The Tipton Poetry Journal,
Synaeresis, Chiron Review, Ploughshares, The
American Poetry Review, and
elsewhere, and in the anthologies Silent Voices: Recent American
Poems on Nature (Ally Press, 1978), Perfect in Their Art: Poems on
Boxing From Homer to Ali (Southern Illinois University Press, 2003), and A
Galaxy of Starfish: An Anthology of Modern Surrealism (Salo Press, 2016).
He has been nominated for a Best of the Net three times and a Pushcart once,
and is the author of one full-length collection of poems, Everybody Has a
Story (St. Luke's Press), and five chapbooks, the latest of which is From
the Limbs of a Pear Tree (Flutter Press), released in August of 2017. He is
also the former editor of Raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books.
Ann Marie Rhiel is
the Assistant Art Director for Yellow Mama Webzine. She was
born and raised in Bronx, New York, presently living in New Jersey. She
reconnected with her passion for art in 2016 and has had her work exhibited in art
galleries around northern New Jersey ever since. She is a commissioned painting
artist, who also enjoys photography. Her work has also appeared in Black Petals
and Megazine Official.