The small girl stared at the scolding woman, gradient of seventy-five degrees. The small, but bigger than the girl, boy stood to a side. The woman turned, too quickly for the boy to change his expression or disappear. He looked at the floor, sideways at the girl, as words poured on him, as if spouted by a generous mouth offering potable water, without cease, in an old French town. The little girl stuck a thumb against each nostril and flapped her hands at him. He frowned and earned a louder barrage, without punctuation, commas periods falling away. Now the woman turned this way, now she turned the other way, and the children exchanged grimaces and tongues out and waggling fingers. At last, the woman stopped, waved her hands threateningly, then uttered a brief phrase, and walked out. The children dived under the bed, and poked and squabbled and laughed. The woman returned. The children fell silent. “Where are you?” the woman asked, and started scolding again. The girl rolled her eyes and made a face. The boy tickled her. She started shaking with laughter, soundlessly, and watching her, he started giggling, soundlessly as well. “Idiots,” the woman said very loudly and left again. The two children continued to giggle in silent spasms until one coughed up a drop of bile. And then they laughed out loud. For many years.
Laughing out loud, real, unaffected – no irony, no falseness – laughing-out-loud is among the most ecstatic experiences of being alive. So should I, could I, how should I write LOL prose? I find this a hard question (as in, the answer is not obvious) and a difficult question (as in, this question is likely to require looking blankly at a dead end, in other words, inadequacy). Most often, what makes me laugh out loud is self-shiftingly vulgar irony, and so I fluctuate – though with very little shifting, of self, or anything else – between mumbling internally, “I can’t write that kind of prose” (as in, I’m not a comedian, which, I tell myself, is a non-literary figure, for the most part), and mumbling, perhaps externally, “I can’t write that kind of prose” (as in, I’m not clever enough to write that kind of prose, especially since prose means restricting my palette for vulgar irony to one medium, words; in other words, no sound, no smell, no grimace, no gesture, no pokes, no mirror neurons, no palpable, malleable time, or, if any of these, just a little, a blotch, a line, in very limited registers).
If I could draw, like Nicole Hollander, for example, this’d be a different story.
(or) Perhaps not.