Saturday March 23, 1996

Had Par-Lot for the first time.

It tastes very tart, like a light lemon, and the smell is hormonal, personal, like I'm sniffing a clean crotch. I don't feel anything yet.

I took Par-Lot out of its habitat. The baby had formed above it perfectly. It had a little spot of furry mold on it, but otherwise it looked great. Both mom and baby were as strong and taught as skin.

Then something awful happened. I was trying to pour out the fermented juice and I slipped. At least a gallon of it spilled into that scary crack between the oven and cabinet, where carrot tops and onion rings and Peeps and Prego and aspartame yogurt have all dropped into the past year. I could hear it trickling into the crack and I panicked, thinking this yeasty thing would grow out of control, so I scrambled and got the Tilex and sprayed it down into the darkness... and then I stopped myself, because, what if... it starts a creepy cancerous xestrogen version of Kombucha that will poison everyone and make them go insane, crazy, lunatic, wacko, one sandwich short of a picnic? It's probably gestating right now, spreading behind the cabinet.

Monday March 25th, 1996

In Rosina Fasching's Book, there is a section on "Iris Diagnostics." Larry and Virginia and I sat in front of each other for an hour staring into each other's irises. Of course mine are made up of striations and markings. According to the chart, I have high cholesterol deposits, spleen problems, trouble with my pancreas, frontal cavity, eye, nose, groin, stomach, cerebrum, back of the head, oral cavity, and clavicula. My body is breaking down, my eyes full of ulcers, and here I am getting stoned, and here I am holding in my pee—there are two spots on my forehead that are dry and need cortisone. I have cotton mouth and spotty irises.

Thursday March 28th, 1996

I got very drunk at Tramps with Brenda and Jamie, and then we went to this party that Eric told us about, on Broadway. All we knew was that the hostess's name was "Dimples." She had made a lot of food. I ate 2 pizza slices, 3 servings of apple crisp, spinach mayo dip, buffalo wings, 4 bourbons, 2 cokes, a shot of vodka and 2 beers. Then Eric, Brenda, Jamie, Greg and I went to the Boiler Room, where I had a Rolling Rock nightcap. I remember knowing that if I closed my eyes while I sat on the pool table, I would become sick.

I stumbled in at 5 am and Virginia was up. She had gone to Jim's and gotten very stoned. We slurred the word Kombucha, and in a moment of lucidity, poured it into our McDonald's Last Action Hero cups. I passed out on the couch. Virginia made it to her bed, with her hose around her ankles.

Amazingly, I don't have a hangover today!

Sunday March 31st, 1996

This last batch of Kombucha is much better—it tastes like yeasty pancake batter. It's more like an astringent than the last one, which is exactly what I want; I want something that will kill germs inside me, that will blast and clean out my intestines better than Kitty Dukakis could hope for. Virginia stopped taking it for a while because she's been feeling a little nauseated.

Monday April 1, 1996

I woke up, drank my Par-Lot and left for work. On the train, I suddenly felt the need to shit. Of course I was stuck on a rush hour A train. I had to stare at that Hepatitis warning poster and clutch my stomach. At the Penn Station stop, I ran out, racewalking to the scary bathroom, past the sinks and old men in overcoats touching themselves, past the men at the urinals peering at each other's erections, and past occupied single stalls and dozing addicts, to the big handicap stall in the corner, closing the large door, frantically jimmying the dented, bent lock, covering the toilet seat with a fast patchwork blanket of tissue.

The Kombucha is working like an organic Drano, sitting above the intestinal clog of dollar beers, Thursday night margarita specials, jello shots, pasta and chicken fingers, fresh Farm Rice and Beans, carbonated grapeade, Coffee Fudge frozen yogurt, and it sizzles through them like blue acid crystals, smoking and weeding and unclogging every orifice and pore.

Kombucha, Oxycute me! I've strayed.

Wednesday April 3rd, 1996

I used Par-Lot juice on my face tonight. I just sort of spread it all over my face, and it either neutralized all the oil and made my face feel balanced and less active, or it just covered it with its blunt unsticky fermented self, creating a fake mask like cover-up.

Then I thought, well, why not spread it everywhere? So I got naked and splashed it all over myself like Jean Nate; It's wet and cidery, slightly vinegar and douche, thin and goosebumpy and yeasty, and then I thought, why not submerge myself in it? So I ran a bath with just hot water (to try to kill the mimicking estrogen and bacteria that our municipal water treatment plants can't get.) I poured a gallon of Par-Lot juice in the water, coloring it with a very slight tan tint. I stepped into a scorching Par-Lot bath; it burned the bottom of my feet and my genitals, and I lay there, clutching them. Then I dunked my head, my face searing, my eyelids burning, and I opened my mouth and let it in, drank it hot, and thought, "I am a tea bag and the Kombucha is working its way into every pore, invading every cell wall, swimming in every organ, unclogging and thinning me and cleaning me out! Clean me out!"

Friday April 5th, 1996

Our apartment is overstocked with Kombucha babies. No one wants them, so I have to give them back to the earth. I picked them up like a cafeteria worker, with a Key Food bag, and ran outside, barefoot, looked for the earth, and then just slapped them on the side of the tree near my building.

Later on Virginia and Jim and I were running to the 2 train, and we passed the tree in its little plot, where the babies were all folded over and flopped, and Virginia gasped, "That...That looks like Par—" and I told her to shut up and keep walking.

photos provided by Virginia Heffernan

MIKE ALBO is a writer/performer who lives in Brooklyn where he continues to down Kombucha tea. Some of his fiction will appear in the July issue of STIM.

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