Duluth vs. Pittsburgh!

by Kyle Flak


            The loudest thing I've ever heard is a dinosaur screaming at me in one of my dreams. It said, "Don't go to Pittsburgh!" Whoa, man. My ears are still ringing!

            But nonetheless here I am, still in Pittsburgh!

            In some ways, it's a fine city. For example, we have a guy here who handcrafts wooden unicycles out of trees he raised himself!           

            But, of course, I still do miss Duluth. If Duluth were a woman, she'd be Jane Seymour's character in Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman.

            Sometimes I get up really early, before even the birds are awake and just moan and wail, thinking about Duluth. I've got a "Twelve Months of North Country Fun!" calendar that features Duluth on both the January page and on the August page, but really that is not really enough Duluth for me. Enough Duluth for me would pretty much be if I basically just became Duluth and got to feel each part of myself in well, yeah, I guess pretty much a rather sexual way, I don't know.


            So my ex-wife Lucy called me up the other day and said, "Look, I know we've had our share of differences, but maybe we could just meet up again, here in Duluth, and kind of sort of just see how things go?"

            What? Where did that come from? Wasn't she the one who, like, threw a hot ham biscuit at my head and didn't even care that there was tasty expensive real Dijon mustard gradually seeping into my already really pretty irritated eyeballs? I was like, "Honey, baby, you know I got seasonal allergies and my eyes also get irritable and reddish anyway because I don't sleep too doggone much, now why'd you go and throw that hot ham sandwich at my face?"

            Her only explanation: "Whoops. Forgot about the Dijon."

            Forgot about the fucking Dijon??? What the fuck?

            I don't understand people. I don't understand people who don't pay attention to their mustards.

            First you got your classic yellow, then you got your spicy brown, then you got your fucking Dijon. It's like way up there, see where I'm pointing? Way up at the sky. I'm talkin' way up there. Higher than birds go. Like fucking outer space and shit. Dijon spends time with dead saints and shit. Up there above the clouds, playing harps, napping when everybody else gotta go to work and shit down here in Pittsburgh.

            So, like, fuck, as much as I love Duluth—is home really a place where loved ones pretend that Dijon mustard just, basically, doesn't exist? Like it's some vapory phantom that dwelleth only in the crazed imaginations of coked up disco dreamers and barely legal mad scientists with the idea of tenure taken to its full maximum selfish advantage and shit? A place where the phrase "warming zesty Parisian sting" doth have no meaning, no effect, no weight, no gravity, no political power or freedom???

            Yeah, I'm gonna call that Lucy back, tell her her presence totally ruins the pristine natural beauty of the great city of Duluth. Its hills, its waterways, its shoreline, its eateries, its charming little side streets—all ruined while she's still in town.


Kyle Flak

Kyle Flak's newest book is called I AM SORRY FOR EVERYTHING IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE UNIVERSE. It is scheduled to come out in January 2017 from Gold Wake Press.