The Adventures of Kudos the Poet - Part II
"Anyone can be charming nowadays," Kudos the Poet expounded. "That's the problem with this world. You take a barrel of maple leaves. Even if you decided that you really wanted to chortle at the company picnic, you would not. With issues such as sandals, it is a matter of volition."
Kudos and I sat on top of the tatami roof of my great aunt Wei-Wei's bed-and-breakfast. Neither of us wanted to play the fashionable video games that had come out in the past three years, so conversation seemed to be the only option. I was glad. It started to drizzle. What made the rain wax the impatient heart into solitude?
Kudos had grown up in Monterey Park, California. Everyone in his family wanted him to be a astrophysicist. His mom surrounded his bed with silver candelabras till he turned 15. His dad made him dress up as a sheep-herding chemist for Halloween every year till he turned 18. His older brother performed as a juggler from the age of six in the second-largest Asian-American owned-and-operated circus in North America, and the family followed him around the country for several years till the circus industry slowed down. His little sister collected enough sharpened pencils to place third at the Hallibrook Festival of Uninvited Oddities. All in all, he had a childhood with a sufficient quantity of happiness.
On his eighteenth birthday, his mother discovered what must be one of the ultimate nightmares of any concerted family member: Kudos was thinking of becoming a rhyming poet. Not just any poet. But a poet who refused to write in free-verse, who only operated in the bewildered fixedness of monstrosities like ottava rima.
It happened that Kudos accidentally left his membership card for the Society of the Secret Pantoum People (SSPP) -- a rebel offshoot of the mainstream organization People for Pantoums -- on his dresser drawer. The SSPP was dedicated to returning the traditional rhyme scheme back to the writing of the pantoum and had been charged by many a poetry editor with "rhyming at all costs". A group of shiftless, undocumented bums. (At least the free verse poets were documented. You have to give them credit for that.) His mother was about to give Kudos a book of dim sum recipes for his birthday when she spotted the card before Kudos had the chance to hide it under his glass figurine of Nikola Tesla. His mother screamed, and his whole family ran to his room.
A search of the room began. Dozens of poems, hundreds of poems, thousands of poems. Hidden in the covers of textbooks, in his trigonometry notes, in yellow sticky notes underneath a bowling pin lamp. Rhyme, rhyme, rhyme! The habit had spiraled into addiction. While Kudos's mother and brother restrained Kudos, Kudos's father and sister seized all the evidence. Kudos's mother dialed the poetry emergency hotline and told everyone than the authorities would be there in less than half an hour.
Suddenly, Kudos managed to shake himself free and started to run. The chase had begun...