Wednesday’s Child

The man stood out. The man stood out because he wore nothing but a girdle and heavy beard. He knelt on the searing summer sidewalk as would a searing summer sun beat down a fading town. Suddenly, he sprang to his feet and hollered, “Here will God build His church! For this is holy ground!” Years later, long after the man disappeared into the black hole of Marshal Froggner’s police cruiser, Betty Box’s cigarette wrinkles shook when recounting that day.

“You just had to be there,” she said, her dried up head perched inside the menacing hot metal of institutional cosmetology.

No one really knew Marvin. Karla, the only person at Hornback Loans who might have known, never discussed their dinner date. Workplace tensions heightened after she filed a restraining order. Because of a typo, 500 feet of court ordered distance became five, allowing Marvin to sit six carefully measured feet from Karla, silently mouthing easily understood obscenities.

The great ship was going under. Captain Land, the usually stoic skipper, collapsed under the weight of impending doom. Physically restrained after yanking women and children away from of the few remaining lifeboats, the captain broke free and leapt into the last boat, sending several girls falling into the icy arms of certain death. From the rising stern, a cry broke through the din, “Way to be awesome!”

Survivors say the loud shout that drowned out awful wet wails could have been either sarcastic parting shot or heart-felt cheer celebrating unimaginably craven behavior.

William scaled the bar stool and ordered his usual poison. Cleaning whorehouse water closets earned three free ryes every night. Fondling the shot glass with stubby fingers, standing just high enough to glimpse his wide forehead in the mirror, he smirked remembering Abbot Fergus’ last tongue lashing: “Deadwood is no place for nasty, drunken midgets.”

The auditorium rattled with anticipation. After enduring the high school jazz band blow a piercing homage to “Swing Thru the Ages”, anticipation became noisy expectation. On cue, stage lights erupted revealing Little Waco in shimmering rhinestone readiness.
“How’s everybody in Bacon City! What a good lookin’ crowd! It’s great to be here with y’all!” Whoops and claps oozed with seamless synergy into Boone Beam’s familiar falsetto. After the final pluck of “I’m Sorry (But You Made Me Beat You”) diminished as friends on moving day, more than one man inside Coach Hole Memorial Auditorium squeezed his woman’s neck just a little tighter.

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Hey, Richard

Thought your FB post needed more than a usual drive-by comment. I’m not social networking much these days. My life isn’t that interesting and my social network consists of three cats. Had my camera been working, I would have snapped a few at the annual Shaggy Bark/Dead Bug gathering last weekend. The weather was abnormally nice. It is usually colder than the Pope’s pecker down in the holler. This year bonfires were just an affectation, instead of smoky suppliers of needed heat. But I took a small bottle of bourbon just in case.

I haven’t thought of Lyles in many moons. It doesn’t surprise me that you saw him at a gun show. I’ll never forget the evil thing that he and Pearl Street Communards did to the Crown Prince of Bosnia after an especially decadent binge. The Crown Prince made the fatal mistake of passing out; Lyles, Daniels and B. Boston Bond decided to draw a Bosnian Death Mask on the unfortunate bastard’s face with black and red Mark-A-Lots. At some point, the Crown Prince came-to and staggered away from the debauchery. Lyles, the first to notice our sprawled, unconscious blue blood was no longer on the living room floor, raised his gin and shouted, “He has risen! Long live the Crown Prince and Commerce Bank!”

Somehow the Crown Prince managed to navigate the steep front porch steps, locate his dented Camero and veer off into a balmy north Joplin early morning. He was pulled over three blocks later by Johnny Law for making a left turn without any reasonable expectation of successfully completing the maneuver. Alas, the Crown Prince was unaware that his face was fucked up with crude bohemian pornography. His subsequent mug shot is the stuff of legend. Adding insult to injury, the Crown Prince was placed on an extended psychiatric hold due to his shocked surprise-cum-wild freak out when finally confronted with a mirror.

Mt. Vernon is a quaint burg. There is only one bar, one barbershop and one overpriced coffee hut. I have never been to the bar or barbershop. My father goes to the barbershop and returns looking like a character from The Turner Diaries. The big ta-do is the annual Apple Butter Making Days. I lost interest in attending the festival after discovering the women make apple butter fully clothed. This is probably due to the large Mennonite presence. I do like wandering about the VA hospital grounds. The oval walking track encircles a well-manicured lawn populated with impressive oak and maple trees. And since the track is next to the building that treats soldiers with head trauma injuries I blend right in. Go with the flow, that’s what I say.

It is cool that you’re teaching an art class. If you need a nude model, let me know. I’m proficient in Roman, Greek and Guatemalan poses.  Scratch the Greek.  At my age, posing Greek is problematical due to sporadic bouts of incontinence.
Hi Ho!

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End Times without all the Armageddon

Who knew that blacks, Latinos and smart women would end the hoary Reagan Revolution? I did not. My best guess was two drag queens welding stiletto heels. By next week, Fox News will use a laugh track for evening “opinion” farce and old-fashioned rim shots to augment vague approximations of verifiable information deadpanned by Shepard Smith or an interchangeable leggy blond. Since Fox News is the closest thing to propaganda porn, why not maximize Gretchen Carlson’s intellectual cleavage. Having the former Miss America splay between Doocy and Kilmeade in baby doll bra and star spangled panties not only honors the seldom mentioned troops, but also provides Kilmeade something to stare at besides the wrong camera.

National Review dogmatists do not know the Reagan Revolution died Tuesday night. Quite a few believe the historic defeat of their shape-shifting Mormon tax cheat is due to Chris Christie’s treasonous betrayal after an untimely act of God drenched Mitt’s magic underwear; damn the luck. Real Americans, poised to elect a legitimate white president, were distracted just long enough for Obama to confuse them with phony displays of bi-partisan competence. What else explains why Dick Morris and Peggy Noonan, both highly paid charlatans of puffery bullshit, sniffed a lopsided GOP victory? Even George Will, so smart he can wear a bow tie in public without kids badgering him for ice cream, predicted an easy win. Small wonder Karl Rove lost his dook when Ohio went colored, placing Megyn Kelly into the role of hostage negotiator: Please, Karl, put down the gun. Nobody has to get hurt.

Karl Rove, also known as The Architect, is currently traveling abroad. Spotted in Reagan International lugging two heavy suitcases, rumor is that Karl’s first stop is Buenos Aires for plastic surgery before going on the lam. Nate Silver gives Karl a 12.4% chance of surviving Koch Brother retribution. Taking the risk of appearing immodest, I confess that I was once a math whiz before confusing fourth grade fractions made me an alternate selection for Short Bus school transportation. Ergo I can write with confidence that there is an 87.6% chance freelancing Tong button men eventually corner Karl in Bangkok’s only Courtyard Inn.

Geoff Caldwell, my favorite homegrown wingnut, is rather subdued. He is taking time off to kiss goodbye whatever the “it” is he said he would kiss if Obama won. A week is a long time to kiss “it.” Let us pray that Geoff’s kisses are not French. French kissing “it” is too European. Perhaps Geoff could French kiss “it” goodbye just a little if Tennessee Ernie Ford’s vocal rendition of The Old Rugged Cross provides musical accompaniment. I have no idea why, though.

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The Graveyard Shift

The Romney campaign is dying an ugly death. Facing an impossible path to the presidency, he has nothing to lose by doubling-down on lies and unleashing one last round of race-baiting ads targeting the few undecided miscreants left in Klaven Korner, Ohio.

Prospects are excellent for a joyous victory celebration at Dr. and Mrs. Von’s McMansion. I might even break a court ordered mandate that forbids the consumption of tequila within 35,000 feet of public school property and/or hanging on to anything remotely motorized. Because my lawyer and I are on the outs, I am not sure if I can drink tequila alone in an abandoned cemetery. I will admit that enforced tequila abstention saved me money in the unplanned emergency room visit department. Occasionally I miss waking up with strange, some of them, anyway. Those that left previously undetected prosthetic limbs in bed while hopping to the bathroom do not spawn romantic memories of past Charles Bukowski-esque sex. In my miscellaneous drawer, are dentures once presumably worn by a faceless, hopefully not legless, one-night stand. Assuming the act of standing was physically possible. I spent several days in nervous anticipation waiting for the owner to reclaim her smile. Adler suggested I make contact via the newspaper’s lost and found section. This seemed like a bad idea, rife with potential existential drama. Not thinking clearly at the time, I thought about leaving them in the mailbox, but soon nixed the idea over fear that my mailman might have to report his find to postal management. It is odd that Jane Doe would not want them back. They are a nice set, no Mt. Vernon Dental Clinic One Day Wonders.
Halloween came and went without any burning paper sacks of cat shit-as-trick left by vengeful ex-in-laws. It has been several years since donning my usual costume and attending Fat Man’s annual ghoul fest. I always went as Cousin Walter. It was easy. I wore a JC Penny business suit, cheap polyester tie and tried to sell cornered attendees life insurance policies. My neighborhood must not be considered fertile trick-or-treat territory. There were no little kiddies ringing the doorbell. Last year, I was surprised to find two little goblins standing on the front porch with their bags at the ready. Unprepared, I quickly improvised and gave them each a Bic lighter and Tupperware containers of sweet and sour pork. It was either that or Styrofoam go cups of Uban.

Nate Silver of 538 fame upgraded Obama’s chances of winning to 79%. Earlier today, Dick Morris informed Fox News xenophobes Romney would win in a landslide. Go figure. I plan to watch Fox News election night just to see if Sean Hannity can refrain from using the N-word, assuming Dr. and Mrs. Von have another television available. I am all but certain they do.

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Error Coded

I have no idea what happened to the laptop last week. Suddenly, without fair warning, the computer told me that I did not have permission to use it anymore; and then the Windows program retreated into something called ‘safe mode’, which is a kinder way of saying that the computer was brain dead, and perhaps time had come to pull the plug.
I am old enough to remember when computer nerds carried stacks of punched cards around, sticking them into big machines that eventually spit out reams of wide white paper covered in binary numbers; or something like that. Had I not spent my undergraduate years (all six of them) in various states of legal and illegal intoxication, slouching about the Liberal Arts in red-eyed artistic affectation, I might have sensed that the nerds were learning a marketable skill. Alas, I dressed like a surplus store Man Ray, just another naïve B.A. floating down the academic drain known as gradual school before obtaining an advanced degree in Marginal Employment. Foresight is not one my innate gifts.
Rhiannon, my great-niece, scares me when she makes her thin gadget perform feats of wireless wonder. I do not believe she is a witch, but I have suspicions about her mother. The nephew of my blood assures me that most kids in Rhiannon’s pre-school class are equally as facile with their small magical devices. I get nervous when Mr. TiVo wants me do something with the remote control. Back in my prime, when I often took Willie Nelson’s lyrics too seriously, I shot to death a VCR.  While I considered the early morning gunplay cathartic, the owner of the VCR did not. Although I had no sympathy for the god damned VCR, I did feel pangs of Yukon Jack-fueled remorse for the television, an innocent victim unfairly doomed by close proximity. Much wiser today, I merely threaten electrical demons with a kitchen knife or dewy pipe stem.
For three days, I battled wits with System Restore. Once I waited with cautious optimism for two hours while the computer pretended interest in fixing the mysterious malfunction, only to mock my nervous anticipation. Disgusted, I gave serious thought to buying another and treating the black Compaq abomination to eight nine-millimeter slugs from the Luger Uncle Frank claimed to have pried from a dead Nazi’s hand, a far-fetched story since he served his country in Alaska during the war. Moments after exchanging flannel lounging trousers for less eccentric retail shopping attire, Paul phoned to share his badly needed expertise. He is a Computer Science major with a Porsche and a wife who can still crack open eggs on her ass. It is true. I have seen her do it after making repeated entreaties during a rather wild Thanksgiving party. Paul told me to write down his instructions.
“Are you writing this down?”
“Yes,” I lied.
“I’ll wait until you get pen and paper.”
Denouncement: I’m even more jealous of Paul; I avoided giving Best Buy another dollar of my ex-wife’s Wal-Mart stock money; and I have no idea what a registry might be.

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I, Watt

The secretary was young. Her youth gave the Tootsie Pop she rolled around her tongue a candied innocence Dick Watt found compelled to watch until the wet cherry-flavored sugar was gone and nothing but the stick remained. He wasn’t sure if Carol knew he was watching through the magazine. Maybe she always licked and sucked with the same intense pleasure when alone. He remembered that Dora had put a banana in his overcoat’s pocket, blaming Watt’s usual cigarette lunch responsible for lingering flu-like symptoms. Watt, a risk taker before the war, came home with an addiction to acts of reckless abandon. Sometimes it paid off and sometimes he awoke in the hospital with multiple stab wounds. Dr. Gosch, the burly court-appointed psychiatrist, suddenly opened his office door as Watt approached Carol with the banana.


Watt was no stranger to The Spotted Cock. Ricky Jeremy, the dive’s owner, saw Watt as he strode through the dark foyer. He excused himself away from two skinny prostitutes, meeting Watt near the stuffed bear.

“No trouble tonight, eh Dick?”
“Not from me,” said Watt. “I’m just here for a good time.”
“Yeah. Okay. Remember, you still owe me for the last good time. You shot up Fat Bobby pretty bad. He cries like a baby every time he takes a piss. He was my best bartender.”
“That’s what he gets for being a wise guy. He’s lucky I didn’t do to him what I did to that Jap in Guadalcanal.”
Jeremy flinched. “Fug, Dick, you gotta let it go. The war’s over.”
Watt leaned in close. “It ain’t for me. When I crawled out of that pit I promised myself I’d take nothing from nobody again. Ever.”
“Sure, sure Dick. Whatever you say. But one of these days you’re gonna get in some real trouble if you keep shootin’ people you don’t like.”

Watt forced a smile.  “That’s why I became a cop.”

Excerpts from I, Watt


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A Genre in Regression

Excerpt from Axe of Dilapidation

King Bovane softly toddled to the window, careful not to cut himself with his dead father’s massive, jewel-encrusted broadsword. Buff from the waist up, King Bovane was cursed with tiny legs and feet. Only near-sighted slave girls and court intimates were allowed to view him standing, and then not for very long. Priests from an extinct cult known for its clumsy combination of boring ritual and laughable science were blamed for Bovane’s queer deformity. (The High Priest and his Less-High assistant improperly mixed the late King’s traditional pre-bride mounting cordial with unstable bird semen. The potion was intended to enhance the size of his offspring inseminator, as his bride was known to be unnaturally fond of black stallions and a hoarder of large pepper mills. When Bovane was eventually wrested from the Queen’s gaping womb, joyous hurrahs quickly became blood curdling screams: The Slaughter of Fools began in earnest).

Bovane struggled to climb mossy steps attached below the sill. The massive, jewel-encrusted broadsword was bothersome, but a symbol of authority with an aristocracy addicted to spontaneous violence.  He peered through thick glass down to where several vendors pulled their wheel-less carts across cold pavement. Rubbing his pointy goatee, Bovane wondered if the recent tax on wheels was a bit over-the-top. Although his kingdom was in dire financial straights, his suggestion to raise taxes on the rich nobility was met with sour disapproval by rich nobles sitting on the Council of Extravagance. It was the Earl of Pearl who petitioned for a tax on wheels not used for aristocratic conveyance, sport and war. The Earl’s idea was roundly applauded, and so the grating sound of wood scraping stone echoed throughout Barnia. Adding insult to injury, peasants who defied paying the tax were given two choices: death by slow strangulation or beating their families to death with a shoe.  Exhausted rubes who opted for the alternative were themselves killed after their dreadful labor because of an intentionally ambiguous time clause inserted into the law.

Three full moons earlier, Bovane felt compelled to intervene when hearing of how an armless flax farmer had tried to club his wife and eleven children with a turd-encumbered wooden clog clenched between toothless gums. His decree that the shoe could be attached to either foot or hand when meting out justice was considered an act of inspired kingship by court toadies. Persuaded at spear point, the armless flax farmer gave mushy praise to Bovane’s judicious sagacity. The King, making a rare public appearance, his tiny legs and feet cleverly disguised beneath wool blankets, accepted the recent widow’s homage, and smiled graciously during the awkward dirty feet-to-hand exchange of sacked raisins.

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