Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Jump Up On The Scene

You’ve all forgotten about Chubb Rock, and I won’t stand for it.

A Rundown Of Michael Cohen’s Cell Phones

Manhattan federal prosecutors seized as many as 16 cell phones when the FBI raided the home, office and hotel room of President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen. – NY Post, 4/26/18

  1. The wife knows about this one.
  2. For the bitches.
  3. Strictly for gay stuff.
  4. Cyrillic alphabet and international SIM card.
  5. Giant Motorola brick-phone for taking throwback photos with.
  6. “Bat Phone” that only Mr. Trump has number to.
  7. The one with all the porn on it.
  8. Just for prank calls. (“Hey, sizzle-chest! I’m gonna shit on your dog!”)
  9. Limited edition (Red) phone by Apple and U2.
  10. Broken flip-phone that Mr. Trump accidentally threw at my head as hard as he could while calling me a loser. (Sentimental value.)
  11. “Party Phone.” (Dealer’s number, Uber app, no camera or microphone whatsoever; that’s all.)
  12.  Used primarily for calling Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling’s 1-900-DIAL-A-JOKE.
  13. Looks like a phone, but is actually a fart machine.
  14. T-Mobile Sidekick covered in pink faux-fur and rhinestones that spell out KING COHEN.
  15. Phone for calling other phones when they get lost.
  16. Google Pixel. (For taking pictures of the family, because nothing is more important than family.)

A Song Of Ice And Fire On The Mountain

Jeff Chimenti looks terrible.

OR

Did Billy’s shirt stop rendering at his nipples?

OR

Either the rest of Dead & Company needs platform shoes, or we have to cut off Josh’s feet. This is just unaesthetic.

OR

Get yourself a big-boy pair of suspenders, Mork.

OR

“LITTLE POTATO! THAT MAN STOLE MY DRAGONS!”

“Jesus, ‘Ye, not now.”

“MY DRAGONS ARE THIS BIG.”

“Wouldn’t that make them just lizards?”

“DO NOT QUESTION MY SKILLS AT HERPETOLOGY, LITTLE POTATO!”

“I do not want to be called that.”

“PRESIDENT TRUMP SHOULD PUT ME IN CHARGE OF THE VA. I WILL HELP THE SOLDIERS WITH MY FREETHINKING AND DOPENESS!”

“Why hasn’t Kim had you tranked yet?”

“MY BODY REJECTS THE POTIONS!”

“I completely believe that.”

“TELL FATTY TO WRITE FASTER!”

“I’m not gonna do that.”

The Untitled Charlie Rose Project

Charlie Rose — whose PBS show was canceled following allegations of sexual abuse — is expected to star in a series where he interviews other men who face sexual harassment scandals, Page Six reported.

The show would feature Rose alongside men such as comedian Louis C.K. and former NBC anchor Matt Lauer, who both had sexual harassment allegations lodged against them last year. – The Hill, 4/25/18

“Good evening to you all, and thank you for joining us on Don’t Call It A Comeback. This is the first show, and we’re just so excited to be here producing what we hope will be television that’s not just entertaining, but perhaps will spark a national debate about sexism, harassment, and when enough is enough. My first guest is the former host of NBC’s Today show, Matt Lauer. Hey, Matt.”

“Hi, Charlie.”

“How are you, my friend?”

“Not well. When I think about all that happened, I’m just sickened.”

“You’re talking the women you took advantage of?”

“No, being punished for it.”

“Oh, good. Because I’m there with you, but in a folksier way.”

“It’s just outrageous how much people get away with. I feel like these women are abusing their positions of power.”

“Yes. Yes, exactly.”

“And they’re just going to treat us however they want to!”

“It is, as you said, outrageous. How are you coping?”

“Charlie, I can’t leave my house. Well, houses. I can’t leave any of my houses. I was in Florida for the season. Couldn’t leave the house. Now we’re back in Montauk and I can’t leave this house, either.”

“We? Have you and your wife reconciled?”

“Hell, no. I’ve been renting Instagram models.”

“Smart financial move.”

“This has ruined me, Charlie. Ruined. I’m down to $200 million.”

“Have you thought about getting into Bitcoin?”

“I’m all in on Bitcoin.”

“Wonderful. Just delightful. My next guest is a comic, a filmmaker, a writer, a chronicler of life’s complications and contradictions: Mr. Louis CK. Thank you for coming, Louie.”

“That’s not what your intern said.”

“Did you masturbate for one of my interns?”

“No. I masturbated at several of them. But I’ve been really thinking about everything that’s gone on, and I’ve decided to change my ways.”

“How so?”

“I force young men to watch me jerk off now. Much more acceptable.”

“Completely fine. It’s like people have no sense of humor anymore.”

“PC culture, huh?”

“Mmm. And my final guest, an award-winning actor and bon vivant, Kevin Spacey.”

“Thank you for having me, Charlie.”

“Kevin, before we begin the interview: your hand is on my penis.”

“Oh, look at that.”

“Might you remove it?”

“Sure.”

“You replaced it with the other hand.”

“You were not specific in your request.”

“No hands at all on my penis.”

“Oh, sure, great. Could you bring my one of the interns that Louis was using?”

“Of course! Anything for the great man!”

Fini.

Of Course They’re Friends

Oh, for fuck’s sake.

“Listen, man, you really should hear ‘Ye out. He’s making a lot of sense.”

“MY BLOOD HAS DRAGONS IN IT!”

“See? Don’t you feel like your blood has dragons in it sometimes?”

No.

“I mean, not real dragons. It’s a metaphor.”

“NO! REAL DRAGONS!”

You need to get away from him, Josh. He’s gonna hype you up and give you free ugly shoes, and you’re gonna get overexcited on Twitter and praise Duterte or something.

“You cannot argue with the fact that crime is down in Manila.”

Dude, please. Pull up. This man is in a death spiral.

“If you’re in a death spiral, pulling up is the single worst thing to do.”

It was a metaphor.

“SOMEONE EXPLAIN TO ME WHAT A METAPHOR IS AND DO NOT USE JEWISH DEFINITIONS!”

See! He’s already onto anti-Semitism.

“Well, from what happened today, you’d have to assume that anti-Semitism would be the next step.”

True. But you don’t have to be standing next to the volcano when it erupts.

“MY WIFE KIM IS VERY GOOD AT WRESTLING!”

Run, Josh.

“He’s got such interesting ideas on trousers.”

Like?

“He thinks they’re possessed by Jewish demons.”

All trousers?

“ESPECIALLY CORDUROYS!”

“Why do you want to censor his free thinking?”

I don’t. I just don’t want his free thinking to splatter on the Grateful Dead’s legacy.

ZZZZZZZZAP!

“Holy shit!”

Oh, for fuck’s sake.

Wally, did you disintegrate Kanye West!?

DO NOT CALL ME THAT. AND, YES.

Why?

THE SAME REASON THAT ELVIS KARATE’D HIM: ALL-CAPS IS A PRIVILEGE, NOT A RIGHT.

You two are very needy.

THE KING AND I HAVE MUCH IN COMMON.

Like?

WE ARE BOTH GLORIOUS.

Yeah, okay. Why didn’t you disintegrate Josh?

“Y’know, I’m standing right here.”

HE HAS NOT OFFENDED ME. AND THE DADDIES SEEM TO ENJOY HIM. HE IS MY LITTLE POTATO.

“Don’t call me that.”

HELLO, LITTLE POTATO.

“Seriously, stop that.”

zhveeeeEEEEEEE

“What was that sound?”

DISINTEGRATION RAY WARMING UP.

“Little Potato it is.”

YAY.

Two Steps Nearer To My Grave

On Twitter: The folks I chat with regularly are quite lovely. Educated and erudite, if excessively enthusiastic about Neil Young. We have pleasant little conversations, and participate in communal jokes; I know the weird bullshit they like, so I send stuff I find on the innertubes over to ’em, and they know about my obsessions, so vice versa. And all the folks I follow but don’t talk to? Entertaining bunch. Some are politically insightful, and others are actresses I have crushes on, and one pretends to be Richard Nixon. Salt of the e-earth, those fuckers.

But everyone else? Everyone else on Twitter should be buried up to their shoulders below the tide line. Let the sea come in, let it drown our sorrows.

Which is to say that illustrious member of the Comment Section JES got the trivia question about Queen right via Twitter.

From the eponymous first record, and live in Houston ’77, it’s Keep Yourself Alive. (FUN FACT: Freddie has the exact same haircut as Madge the Manicurist from the Palmolive commercials.)

Take Another Piece Of My Royalties

A reminder: Queen is the greatest fucking band that ever lived, even when they weren’t all that good and stealing songs from Janis Joplin. (FUN FACT: One of only two Queen tunes that feature all three vocalists on lead.)

You Should Have Seen This Coming, Honestly

Ah, fuck.

“Welcome me back.”

No.

“People don’t want to hear your little Tiny Town stories–”

Little Aleppo.

“–they want more John Mayer. They want John Mayest.”

English doesn’t work that way.

“Ask me about my clothes.”

If I don’t, will you still talk about them?

“Oh, yeah.”

Go ahead, then.

“My shoes were made by a blind man who hates me.”

Makes sense.

“They took eight months to make.”

Why?

“Someone hid his tools and he couldn’t find them for seven months.”

Sure. And the toppermost?

“This is a brand-new creation from Japan’s number one toppermost designer.”

What’s his name?

“Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs.

No.

“See the pattern? It’s a reference to my last album.”

How so?

“No one notices it until I point out it exists.”

That sounds right. Can you leave? There’s another two months before Dead & Company tour. Go play around on social media.

“I AM THE KING OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND ALL OF MY BRAINS ARE VERY OPEN AND SMART.”

Oh, shit, I know that voice.

Ah, fuck.

“WHY WILL JOSH MEYERS NOT LET ME TAKE HIS CHILDREN TO DISNEY PLANET? I HAVE MANY CARS!”

Kanye, you need to get the hell out of here and call your shrink.

“MY IGNORANCE IS SHRINKING AND ALSO MY FINGERS ARE MADE OF SPAGHETTI AND DREAMS.”

Uh-huh.

“DONALD TRUMP IS LIKE MARVIN GAYE BUT WITHOUT THE SILENT LETTERS.”

You’re not making any sense, buddy.

“KANYE MAKES DOLLARS! I HAVE MADE MORE MONEY OFF MY SHOES THAN THOM MCCANN.”

I don’t think that’s–

“THOM MCCAN’T!”

Wow.

“MY POSITIVITY WILL OUTSHINE THE NIPPLES OF HATRED.”

Leave.

“YOU CANNOT GET RID OF ‘YE WITH YOUR FASTIDIOUS SOUP!”

Buddy, I’m just saying–

KARATE NOISE!

Ah, fuck.

Hey, King.

“ONLY ONE PERSON ‘ROUND THESE PARTS GETS TA SPEAK IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, MAN.”

What about Wally?

“AH SAID ‘PERSON,’ YOU WOOLY BOOGER!”

Sure.

“WHY IS BRANFORD MARSALIS SO ANGRY?”

Okay, that’s it. Everyone out of the pool.

“THANK YOU VERY MUCH.”

Oh, stuff it.

On Background In Little Aleppo

The Kools were on the counter before Iffy Bould reached it. Two packs, soft, and the same amount of matchbooks atop them; their front covers had “Holly, Wood, and Vine” written on them, along with a phone number, and on the back was a drawing of Lady Justice with her blindfold on her forehead, and she was winking. The slogan read Let us explain what you were doing.

“What happened to the turtle?”

“What turtle?”

“Used to be a turtle on the matchbook. If you drew him right, you could go to art school,” Iffy said.

“Fuck I know about turtles? Fuck turtles. Cowards.”

Esperanza Guillaume hated. This may have been the result of owning a liquor store in the shitty part of a shitty neighborhood for 20 years, or she may have been like this as a child. No one knew, and no one bothered to ask, as they knew this would get them cursed out by Esperanza. She hated the drunks who feigned sloth on the sidewalk waiting for her to open in the morning, and the last-minute assholes who couldn’t decide between two $4 bottles of wine as she yelled “WE’RE CLOSING, SHITEYES!” late at night. The kids with fake IDs who thought she was stupid. The cops who stopped in and smiled as pints of whiskey disappeared into their pockets. The whores who drank banana schnapps. The stick-up boys who thought the idea of robbing her came to them first. God help you if you asked to use the bathroom.

“Cowards?”

“Hiding in their fucking shells. Fight like a man.”

There was no bulletproof glass separating Esperanza from the customer at 792 Liquors, and she had a .38 in a holster on her left hip. Her name was stitched on the gun belt in flowing white cursive, and after her name were check marks. Many of them. No one bothered to ask. Short, gray hair and enormous eyeglasses and smoker’s wrinkles that radiated around her mouth.

“You don’t see me hiding.”

“You’re not a turtle.”

“Because I work hard.”

“Forget I brought it up.”

“No, now you got me worked up over those lazy motherfuckers.”

Iffy tossed a fiver on the counter, grabbed the Kools. One in the inside pocket of his checked sport coat. A little raggedy; elbows with a bit of shine. The other WAP WAP WAP against the back of his hand, and then the cellophane spirals off. His nails are very short because otherwise they clack against the keys of his typewriter, so he has to dig the foil up with his fingers, and he rolls the detritus up into a tiny ball that refuses to stay a tiny ball and springs back to form. Esperanza hands him his change, a buck, and holds out her hand palm-up. Iffy gives her the trash, and she puts it into the basket under the counter. FLUP FLUP his middle finger flicks the underside of the pack and two brown filters emerge. Takes both, offers one. Esperanza takes the smoke with her left hand, right slides the ashtray in between them. FFT POP is the sound of the match, and even though they are inside and there is no wind, Iffy cups his left hand around the flame as he lights her cigarette and then his own. Shakes out the match. In the tray. Kools go in the hip pocket of the jacket. Matches, too.

“Whaddya hear about the guy?”

“Which guy? No guys around here. I ain’t been laid since Ford.”

“Huh.”

“That’s a fucking drought, when you stop counting by years and start going by presidents.”

“You know who I’m talking about. The big guy.”

“The one beating the shit out of the muggers? I see him, I’m shooting him.”

“Why?”

“He put my little cousin Marielito in the hospital. That kid’s no mugger.”

“What was he doing when the guy beat him up?”

Esperanza blew out a plume of smoke FWOOO and hacked once, twice.

“Oh, he was mugging someone. But he’s not a mugger.”

“You’re talking about the dichotomy between action and character.”

“I’m talking about that big fucking lunatic kicked Marielito’s jaw into his fucking shoulder. Who’s that painter that doesn’t know how to paint?”

Iffy tapped his ashes into the tray.

“Picasso.”

“That’s what he looks like. The boy’s all fucked up.”

“Still at the hospital?”

“You know how you can get beat so hard you start pissing blood?”

“Sure.”

“He’s crying blood. The boy is fucked the fuck up. Yeah, he’s still at the hospital.”

“I might go talk to him.”

“You doing a story?”

“Apparently.”

“Good. You find out who this asshole is.”

Two speed freaks walked in–the door went BZZZZ–and split up as to examine every single label in the store more efficiently. They smelled like ammonia and scams. Iffy walked towards the door, turned back, said,

“The Aleppo Avenger.”

“Fuck you talking about?”

“Guy needs a name. Can’t sell papers without a name.”

“‘Aleppo Avenger?’ Get the fuck out of my store with that. Fuck is he avenging? He’s running around the Downside punching poor people.”

“I’ll work on it.”

“Take a six-pack of Arrows with you if you’re going to see Marielito.”

Iffy nodded, veered off to the nearest cooler, grabbed a sixer with its cardboard carrying case.

“Nuh-uh. Nuh-uh. Cans.”

Iffy nodded again, replaced the bottles, hooked his fingers through the plastic tabs of the six-pack. He walked out BZZZZ onto the Main Drag, and Esperanza stubbed out the Kool and watched the speed freaks speed.

Before the Whites, there was no alcohol in the valley that would become Little Aleppo. There were intoxicants, surely–the leaf of the peregrine maria tree, and the psilocybin cybelinus mushrooms that grew from squatch scat after the rains–but neither the Pulaski nor any of the tribes that preceded them had fermented the fruits which grew bountiful all around them.

After the Whites, there was alcohol fucking everywhere (and the valley had been named Little Aleppo). There was whiskey, because it was America, and there was tequila, because it was California. And beer, of course, steam beer so-called because the fermenting tubs were placed on the roof of the Büntz Brewery and cooled by the breeze from the harbor; this threw up great pilpations of steam, smoke signals for the thirsty. The beer was light and sweet and around 6% by volume, but people could handle their booze better back then. Men drank while they worked, and women drank in the home, and children drank because they worked because the past was terrible. Working women, too, tippled. The first business in Little Aleppo was the mine that carved out the Turnaway Lode, and the third was a hardware store, but the second was a bar. The fourth through 19th were also bars. Upscale with paintings on the wall and ladies you could rent, or a plank across some barrels where you’d get punched in the asshole for speaking French. Taverns, saloons, dance halls, hoocheries, bierhausen, nominal restaurants, grog huts, and the long-ago ancestor of Beer-Cooler Ethel, Goat-Bladder Murph, who would squirt a penny’s worth of rotgut into your mouth right on the sidewalk. Finding water that wouldn’t leave you shitting out your ears might take a while, but you could always get a drink.

Temperance came to Little Aleppo by rumor; it was some story a guy at the bar told. Large women with hatchets destroyed saloons on occasion, but they had almost always been drinking in said saloons up until the destruction began, and the weapons were not produced out of principle, but because motherfuckers were talking shit. A man’s drinking habit was not cause for public policy, the neighborhood thought, and neither was a woman’s. The kids should probably cut down, the neighborhood further thought, but again: not the government’s business. Little Aleppians believed that the government which governs best is the one which stays on the other side of the continent.

But America snuck in, and on January 17, 1920, Prohibition became the law of the land. Locals had a rather Jewish feeling about the Volstead Act, in that they thought it would pass over them, but the neighborhood awoke to the sound of crashing glass and shouting men. The LAPD (No, Not That One) was rousing innkeepers and bartenders and boozeslingers and my God even Goat-Bladder Murph! The cops were pouring the alcohol into the Main Drag, some of it, and carrying off the rest. Sharp-eyed residents noticed that they were carrying off a lot more than they spilled. These same observant folks also saw that several establishments, the newly-opened Irving Club included among them, were not party to such molestations. Later that day, those watchful locals made the barrels and cases and kegs going into the Irving, via the back door, and carried in by the same cops who had carried them out of the other joints.

Not that the Irving was a joint. Shit, it was swanky: the chain on the toilet was gold-plated, and all the glasses were clean instead of just most of ’em, and immensely-stemmed women sauntered about selling cigarettes and cigars and hits of ether and zip guns and pocket Constitutions. Stylish. The fellows wore tuxedos and the skirts wore dresses. Scandalous. The public casino was in the back: roulette, craps,  blackjack; the room upstairs was for poker, and more exclusive. Salacious. There were private dining rooms that for some reason had beds in them. Spectacular. The Irvettes did the can-can, which was some Parisian shit. Billy McGlory didn’t get into that. When the girls kicked real high, everybody could see their underpants. What more was there to think about? The one thing Billy did know was that Prohibition was the best thing that ever happened to a bartender.

Some months before the Volstead Act went into effect, this conversation took place:

“We got a visit today.”

“Santa?”

“It’s September, Billy.”

“Who the fuck came to see you, Sean?”

“Chief of Police from C—-a City.”

“Royster came? In person, like?”

“He did.”

“Why didn’t he call on the telephone?”

“He did, but we kept pretending we had a bad connection and hanging up on him.”

“Tactical decision.”

“We figured no good could come from talking to him. So the bloated fucker shows up in his fancy dress blues. The man’s enormous. It was like the ocean walked in.”

“And what’d he say?”

“That we gotta shut down all the booze. All the bars, liquor stores, whatever. You gotta see the stack of fuckin’ legal documents he threw at us. Fat as he is.”

“You didn’t bring ’em over?”

“No. Oh. Should I have?”

“Jesus, you’re fuckin’ thick sometime. Send somebody down with ’em when you get back to the station.”

“Okay. So, what do we do?”

“As we’re fuckin’ well told, brother. Prohibtion will be the law of the land, and we are solid citizens. We’re a nation of fuckin’ laws, Sean.”

“Sure.”

“So you and your boys are gonna shutter every fuckin’ gin-joint in this neighborhood.”

“What about the ones we own?”

“Except for those.”

That was a conversation that took place some time before the Volstead Act went into effect.

In ’33, the 21st Amendment nullified the 18th, and America swore to never do anything that dumb again. The country kept its self-made promise for almost four years, and then made marijuana illegal so as to have work for the new government employees hired to prohibit things. Booze was back, anyway, and well-regulated this time. Prospective purveyors needed something called a liquor license. You had to apply, for fuck’s sake, and the government–of all fucking people–was allowed to turn you down. You couldn’t sell beer next to, or within, a school anymore. No more ratfights in the basement. Jesus Christ, you had to pay taxes. What’s the world come to when you have to pay taxes?

“Gimme one of those.”

“The cigarettes or the beer?”

“The cigarette. I’m on duty. And it’s nine in the morning,” Fancy Delaware said.

“Lots of people drink at nine in the morning,” Iffy Bould answered.

“Who?”

“Alcoholics.”

Fancy Delaware had a blue ballcap on; it had a yellow cartoon ox on the front, and was pulled down to the tops of her sunglasses, which were black and she thought she looked bitchin’ in. They were the ones whats-his-face wore in the movie where he danced in his underwear. She had a butt-chin and a white coat and blue scrubs and neon yellow sneakers. People who wear scrubs every day tend towards outlandish footwear.

Iffy wore brown lace-ups that needed a shine.

FFT. POP.

“Thank you.”

FWOO

“Any time.”

FWOO.

They were standing behind the dumpster on the far side of St. Agatha’s parking lot. Iffy was used to meeting sources in secret: Town Fathers in Foole’s Yard, and whistleblowers at Harper Zoo, and assassins the Town Fathers had hired but neglected to pay in The Tahitian. Iffy always wanted to tell them, “We don’t have to be so dramatic. Just call me,” but everyone thinks they’re in a movie and so passwords and dead drops were involved.

There was no subterfuge this morning, however: Fancy was on her way to the dumpster for her twice-daily smoke break when she saw him slouch up. She didn’t like to smoke in sight of the hospital.

“The guy.”

“There’s quite a few. Which one?”

“The one who’s been giving you extra work.”

“The Muggerfucker?”

Iffy snorted a puff of used Kool out his nose.

“Is that what you’re calling him?”

“Yeah. That asshole’s a real asshole. You gotta see these kids.”

“That’s why I’m here,” he said and looked at his notebook. “Marielito. Shit, I didn’t write down his last name.”

“I can’t tell you it’s Germain.”

“I won’t write that down.”

He wrote it down.

“There were two more waiting for me this morning when I got in. You ever see a donkey stomp a coyote to death?”

“No.”

“You don’t want to. These kids are fucked up.”

“Kids?”

“16, 17. They’re committing street crimes. You grow out of that in your twenties. Ever see an old mugger?”

“Age leads us to indoor felonies, I suppose.”

“Right. You want to sit down while you rob someone. Some of these poor bastards are going to be sitting a lot for a while. Maybe forever. He literally shoved a guy’s leg up his own asshole.”

“Sure.”

Fancy took off her sunglasses; her thick eyebrows were just as black, but hairier.

“Lit-uh-ruh-lee. Let me say it all doctor-like: patient presented with left leg inserted in rectum up to the middle of the tibia and fibula.”

“I don’t think your knee is supposed to bend that way.”

“I know it’s not. I learned that fact at medical school. The human knee is incapable of that motion. I got all sorts of books that prove it.”

Iffy copied down her words in shorthand. It was 198-, and he was a reporter, so he knew shorthand.

“How’s Marielito?”

“He’s fucked up.”

“People keep saying.”

“That motherfucker the Muggerfucker punched his jaw into his shoulder.”

He looked up, and the Kool that was dangling in the corner of his mouth dropped its ash in response.

“Wait, he really did that? I thought Esperanza was making things up.”

“His jaw. In his shoulder. His mandible worked its way through his neck and into his fucking shoulder. Again: something that medical school had assured me was impossible.”

She put her sunglasses back on. Fancy preferred the night shift. It was simply more interesting, but she forced herself to take a week of day shifts every month. The real world happened during the day, she thought, and she knew that she could drift from it if she was not careful. Her eyes never did quite adjust to the sun, though.

“Did you put it back?”

“The jaw?”

“Yeah.”

“Not me. They called in specialists. Team of them. They said they never saw anything like it, either. Well, first they said, ‘What the fuck kind of neighborhood are you running here?’ and then they said they never saw anything like it.”

“Rude.”

“Surgeons.”

“Sure.”

Fancy clocked her butt to see how much she had left FWOO and said,

“You have to do something about this.”

“Me? I’m gonna write a story.”

“Yeah, that’s what I mean. Write the real story.”

“Some would say that the real story is a man taking back the streets for law-abiding citizens.”

“Is that what you think?”

“Playing devil’s advocate.”

“Don’t. Devil’s got enough advocates.”

He nodded, and did not write that down in shorthand in his notebook.

“This guy’s an asshole. He’s the bad guy, If. Get the story right.”

She stubbed out her Kool with her

“I didn’t tell you Marielito is in Room 402. Don’t walk back with me.”

Fancy Delaware flapped her white coat like a stork’s wings as she walked across the parking lot of St. Agatha’s and back to the Emergency Room entrance, new glass doors fixed into the old masonry with the department’s motto chiseled above: Quid hoc fecisti, ut tibi. SWOOSH the doors withdrew for her and then SWOOSH they clapped shut behind her, and Iffy Bould counted down from 30; when he was past “one,” he crushed his cigarette under his brown lace-up and carried his notebook and a six-pack of beer towards the story–whatever the fuck it would turn out to be–in Little Aleppo, which is a neighborhood in America.

Doing Lafayette Proud

“This is probably the best shoveling job anyone’s ever done, and I am so proud to be burying Barbara Bush. She was such a classy, classy lady even though she looked like a grandma and was a 3 in her prime. In her prime!”

“Oui are not burying ze First Lady, Monsieur President.”

“Maybe a 2. Not hot. All of my wives were hotter, so I win. Very sad, though, but she’s being buried on the lawn of the White House. That’s tradition. All the first ladies are here. Nancy, Lady Bird. Hillary will be here one day, and she deserves that. For the crimes she committed, Hillary Clinton should probably be buried alive, but we have to be nice. They told me to be nice. Michelle Obama will also be here, but in a different section of the lawn. You know. Over there. Those people go over there.”

“Zis izz not what izz ‘appening, Donald.”

“Melania? Where’s my Melania? Melania?”

HATEFUL WOMAN PRETENDING NOT TO HEAR A SCUMBAG NOISE

“Melania?”

“Melania? I guess she’s not here. Very busy, King Macaroni.”

“I am not ze king, and zat izz not my name.”

“Never in the history of first ladies has there been one who did so much. All day. This, that, bing bang, she’s all over the place. She talks to the children, and their faces light up. Great, great first lady. And she doesn’t tell people what to eat, like Michelle who was a man and a Nazi. Many people don’t know this, but Larry Kudlow told me. You know Larry Kudlow?”

“No.”

“Real winner. When he’s on teevee, I’m watching. That’s why I hired him. He brought his own makeup girl, and you should see the tits on her. Real yabbos. You say ‘yabbos’ in France?”

“No.”

“And not fat! Some girls, they got the tits because they’re hogs, but this one got a little waist, tush, nice. Then: bing bong boobs. There they are. You got fat chicks in France?”

“No.”

“Lucky, very lucky. That’s what they say: Lucky Pierre. Very lucky. You should see all the fatties around here. I got one. Something wrong with her eyes. Great on teevee, though. Send her out, she yells at the lying, failing, Jewish media. They work hard.”

“The Jews?”

“No, fat chicks. Over-achievers, fat chicks. Everywhere except in the gym. Frenchy, you are gonna love this State Dinner. No one in maybe the history of State Dinners has done a better job than Melania has setting this up. She is just super. Melania?”

SLOVENIAN CATALOG MODEL LOATHING IN SILENCE NOISE

“Where is she? Melania?”

“General?”

“Melania?”

“Monsieur President, perhaps we should talk about ze Iran deal.”

“At dinner, at dinner. You are not gonna believe it. Do you have Chick-Fil-A in France?”

“I do not know what zis is.”

“It’s the pickle! I’ve had chicken sandwiches from everyplace, the most beautiful chicken sandwiches, and no one else does the pickle. Adds so much to the flavor. And, you know, you walk into Chick-Fil-A and the kid behind the counter is a real American. He doesn’t rap at you, nothing. It’s not Burger King. Let’s just say that. Anyway, we got Chick-Fil-A piled to the ceiling. All you can eat, which is an idea I came up with for the Trump Shuttle. All the peanuts you could eat, and people called me up, ‘Mr. Trump, thank you for the peanuts. Everyone else skimps, but you showed real class and brains with the peanut thing.’ People gave me such spectacular compliments.”

“What ze fuck are you talking about?”

UNSECURED CELL PHONE NOISE

“President speaking.”

“Vous just answer your mobile? Is zat a Blackberry?”

“Shh. Important call. Hey, big guy!”

“Hello, The Donald.”

“Are you shoveling, too? Great, wonderful, what luck. I’m here with King Macaroni–”

“Zis is not my name..”

“–and we’re shoveling. The best shoveling, but now that I see you’re shoveling, I think you might have an edge. Just a little one, but you are truly a hell of a shoveler. Are you planting a tree, Mr. President?”

“Da. Is tree asked too many qvestions.”

“Beautiful, great, burying. Hey, listen: we’re having a little get-together here tomorrow night. We would be so honored, probably the most honored people that have ever lived, if you would stop by.”

“Zoot alors, do not invite Putin to ze dinner!”

“I vould love to, The Donald. Vhat is menu?”

“Chick-Fil-A.”

“Vonderful. Putin love pickle.”

“Sacre fucking bleu.”

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