Listen to "Zappa Science"
read by Emilia Phillips
“Beakers, Florence flasks, little petri dishes full of
mercury—blobs of mercury. I used to play with it all the
—FZ, The Real Frank Zappa Book
Spider eyes, metallic roe: the mercury beads that his father carries home in petri dishes, smashed on the floor with hammer, spattering hardwood, the gummy mirror, a sludge lacquering the boy’s bed- room. In the hall closet, a feed bag full of DDT. Innocuous, his father says. Safe—only kills bugs. Frank shoots BBs at firecrackers, through beakers, the pop, the break, the glass flying into yard, the flower bed where the sun turns the necks of marigolds, glistening in the liquid bloom pushing through his mother’s skin as she weeds out the clover.