Thoughts On The Dead

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

Nudielicious

Here’s another shot of Garcia’s Nudie Suit from behind; the outfit maintains the usual Dead motifs: skulls and roses and bullshit. Nothing says Grateful Dead like skulls and roses and bullshit.

Fuck it, might as well empty out the Nudie Suit library in one easy-to-find place. Here’s Bobby:

Is that a chicken? I think that’s a chicken. Here’s another of Bobby:

The son of a bitch just didn’t have a bad angle.

Say “Cheese.”

“Cheese!”

You look spiffy.

“Flash, baby.”

Awesome. This is Phil:

But you already knew that. (Check out the cowboy boots.)

This is a better shot of the weirdo Strat from late ’72:

This is 12/12, and he also played Numbers (I just named the guitar) on 11/22/72 at the Municipal Auditorium in Austin. We know this from this picture…

and this article.

I gotta be honest with you, Enthusiasts: this research horseshit is not for me. I’m exhausted. The president’s right: facts are for suckers.

And we finish up with a shot featuring both the Nudie Suit and the weird guitar. I brought all the threads together.

And you without a Pulitzer.

I know, right?

Live Nudies

The Nudie Suit experiment has never been properly explained; this sounds like a job for Lost Live Dead. There’s not many pics of The Boys in their suits, and they only wore them for a few shows: one (or more) of the Winterland run in December ’72, and then again at New Year’s. The outfits came out again 2/19/73 in Chicago, and then made their final appearance on 3/19/73 at Nassau Coliseum. (And not even for the whole show: everyone changed during set break.)

Wait, you’re saying. Those sound suspiciously like facts, TotD. You don’t traffic in fact and research.

Stop talking, I’d say, or I’ll throw myself out the window and you’ll never find out how the Little Aleppo story ends.

Wow, you’d reply. That got dark real fast.

And then I’d start crying. Are you happy? Is that what you wanted?

Stop this.

They did it. It’s all their fault.

Who is “they?”

Them.

Just stop it.

Fine. The dates from Winterland and Chicago may be wrong–I’m just going on Archive comments–but the Nassau show is a confirmed event. There is, Enthusiasts, evidence.

Look:

Bobby says in an interview that Garcia had his first, in fact had his before April of ’72 because he brought it to Europe with him (even though he didn’t have the balls to wear it onstage.) After March of ’73, though, they were gone forever. Phil still has his…

…and it still fits. (Phil went a little low-key with his, which I disagree with. What’s the point of a Nudie Suit if it can’t be seen from space?)

Who has Garcia’s? Gotta be worth something, more if it hasn’t been laundered.

But let me start at the beginning: 1902 was a terrible time to be born Jewish in Kiev. There’s never been a good time, but 1902 was worse than usual.

“Izzy?”

“Yes, Schmuley?”

“We should go somewhere where there aren’t Cossacks.”

“What is it with those guys?”

“They just seem to like hitting us with sticks.”

“And kicking.”

“Kicking, too. Let’s go to America.”

“You mean the Land of the Free, a country built on immigration that would never turn away needy and desperate refugees?”

“No, America.”

“Oh, okay. At least there’ll be jobs.”

“Sure.”

And so on.

One of these newly-arrived Jews was a young man named Nuta Kotlyarenko, who renamed himself Nudie Cohn and became a tailor, first in Minnesota where he met his wife Bobbie; they opened a shop in New York selling underwear to showgirls, and then moved to Los Angeles in the 40’s to make Western Wear. Spangles and frills and themes, and the last one is the most important: the key to the Nudie Suit is the theme. Anyone can slap some rhinestones onto a jacket, but a Nudie has a raison d’etre.

Look at this bullshit:

That’s some down-home bullshit right there.

That’s Porter Wagoner (right), and he was the first Country star to start wearing Nudie Suits; in fact, Nudie gave him his first suit for free, thinking it would be good promotion. It was. Soon, every male Country star had to have a Nudie Suit.

Hank Williams had one:

The notes represented his love of music.

Gram Parsons had one, too:

The drugs represent his love of drugs.

Every artist has a masterpiece, and Nudie Cohn was certainly an artist. His greatest suit of all time may have been both his simplest and his flashiest. You’ve seen it before once or twice:

“AH’M BACK!”

No, you’re not. Shh.

Anyway, Nudie Cohn died in 1984, but you can still get “Nudie Suits;” they make periodic comebacks adorning roots-rockers or alt-country acts. (You really can’t wear a Nudie Suit anywhere other than the stage. If you walk into a Taco Bell dressed like this, you will get gorditas thrown at you.)

Circling back to the Dead (this is about the Grateful Dead, remember), we still have many questions. Why would Garcia have had one in the first place? A Nudie Suit wasn’t an impulse purchase, nor could it have been a gift: they were hand-made, so you have to visit Nudie for measurement and fittings, and very expensive. And recall that Garcia got his before everyone else did, so it wasn’t a group decision. Garcia–in an entirely out-of-character move–bought himself a Nudie Suit out of nowhere? None of this makes sense. Bobby was the one who thought he was a cowboy. Someone explain this to me.

Like I said, the rest of the band thought it was a spiffy idea, so they followed Garcia down to the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, where Nudie’s of Hollywood was located, and fancied themselves right up. Bobby and Billy looked like this:

“I was gonna get skank on the legs, but I settled for pot.”

Quiet. This is not a dialogue post.

“Ah, suck my nuts.”

Great.

Even Keith had one, though there’s just this one black-and-white photo of him:

Poor Keith. He doesn’t want to be in a Nudie Suit. He knows he’s not pulling it off. Aw.

Much like the Farewell Shoes, Mrs. Donna Jean was not included. She did, however, wear a very fetching red number when the rest of the band payed dress-up. She looked like this:

Another alternate reality created, another unwritten future. What if they hadn’t learned to write songs? What if they buckled down and rehearsed and continued being the band they were in ’77? What if Brent didn’t die? And: What if they gave a shit about what they looked like?

Alas, it was not to be. The Nudie Suits were put in the closet, and the tee-shirts and jeans came out; in the 80’s, sweatpants and short shorts replaced the jeans. Never again would the Dead have “stage clothes.” But for a moment, they looked bitchin’.

I Ain’t Gonna Work On Ja Rule’s Farm No More

LSD can’t kill you.

Killed an elephant once.

They gave the poor fucker three million times the proper dosage, and administered it intravenously.

Still dead.

Three million times the proper dose of anything is deadly. Remember your Paracelsus.

That stuff’s all Greek to me.

I see what you did.

Yeah?

CELL PHONE NOISE

Goddammit.

Benjy?

I kinda hope. Think of all the alternatives.

Sure.

Yello?

“TotD? It’s Benjy.”

Hey, Benj. You still at the Fyre Festival?

“You mean Benjytown?”

What?

“We’ve turned the island into a commune. Me and the survivors.”

Survivors?

“I won’t lie: there’s a shitload of dead white people here. Actually, you know, there’s parts of white people. There was a little bit–”

Of cannibalism.

“–of cannibalism. Yeah. More than a little bit, if I’m honest.”

Um. Benjy?

“I didn’t eat anyone.”

Thank God,

“I tasted a couple people, though.”

Why?

“It was the only gluten-free option.”

Benjy, please don’t start a commune on the ruins of the Fyre Festival.

“Already done, bro. We got the whole beach planted.”

Can’t plant on a beach, Benjy.

“Why?”

Like, a billion reasons.

“We’ll see when harvest time comes, won’t we?”

We will.

“Tonight’s a pig roast.”

One of those feral hogs?

“Sure, yeah.”

Benjy, is it long pig?

“I am going to level with you here: the cannibalism took. People got into it.”

Stop eating people and planting in sand, Benjy.

“Ja will provide.”

I’m just gonna pretend you were talking about God and not–

“No, Ja Rule.”

–Ja Rule. Dammit, Benjy, Ja Rule is not going to help you. Ja Rule is the reason you’re stuck on that island barbecuing trust fund kids.

“We are not barbecuing trust fund kids.”

No?

“Of course not. We’re eating the poor people first.”

Gotcha.

“Vive la Commune!”

Make Exumas great again.

“You know it.”

Little Aleppo Has Friday On Its Mind

Augusta O. Incandescente-Ponui, whom everyone called Gussy, lived at 19 Robin Street and her living room window overlooked Cagliostro’s, which was a pizza place, among other things. There were always large gentlemen sitting outside at the tables, and sometimes cars that were too fancy for the neighborhood would pull up. When that happened, everyone on the sidewalk would find something else to look at. Gussy liked her street, and she liked living across from the large gentlemen outside Cagliostro’s. Police stations are always on the most dangerous blocks, but the streets where large gentlemen gather are always the safest in town; when she walked home alone late at night, she would turn off the Main Drag onto Robin and when she smelled pizza she knew that she would make it home safely.

She was safe in bed now, at ten in the morning on a sunny and quick day in Little Aleppo; it was Friday, and everyone was wrapping up their affairs, getting their ducks in a row, putting a bow on things so that nothing was hanging over their heads for the weekend, the glorious sainted promised declarative performative restorative weekend, that was coming up fast. Monday through Thursday, people count the days til the weekend, but on Friday they count the hours. You can hear Saturday night from Friday morning.

Gussy was not alone. Her nose and upper lip were pressed into the back of Big-Dicked Sheila’s neck, and every time Gussy breathed in she could smell Sheila’s sweat and hair dye–Firetruck Red this week–and she spooned against Sheila’s back, both of them on their right sides. Sheila did not have hips, but her ass plumped out, and it rubbed against Gussy’s pubic hair, which was black and thick, and Gussy rubbed back. They were half-asleep and half-fucking. Gussy was bigger than Sheila, but so were most: Sheila was 5’4″ in the tallest heels she could walk in (she usually didn’t wear heels) and slight everywhere except her cock, which Gussy was holding.

There was a ceiling fan, and on the dresser was a teddy bear from Gussy’s childhood named Wilbur.

She kissed the back of Sheila’s neck, still asleep but not; her right arm was under Sheila’s head, and she leaned into it and put her lips on Gussy’s bicep and sucked, and Gussy made a very small noise from her nose and pressed her pubis against Sheila’s ass and stroked the back of her ankle with her foot. The bedroom was in the back of the apartment, and still dark. Gussy had thick curtains, quilted blue with white fluer-de-lis embroidered on; they blocked the light and muffled the sound from the alley. Cats fucking and bums going through the trash, and sometimes fucking.

And the bed. There was nothing bigger than an Ultra King, so Gussy bought the Ultra King. She had not had a real bed since moving out of her parents’ house, just futons and floor-mattresses. Once, a tatami mat, but Gussy woke up with an aching back; she didn’t understand how the Japanese did it. When The Tahitian started to make money, it was the very first thing she bought. The bed was as broad as Kansas, but offered more lumbar support: it would sleep four comfortably, or eight people could fuck on it.

“Gus?” Sheila murmured.

“Mm?”

“What time is it?”

Gussy lifted her head and looked past Sheila to the clock on the nightstand .

“Little after ten.”

Sheila smiled and said, “We were up late.”

Gussy bit her on the shoulder, not hard, and pulled her in tighter and said, “Yeah,” and squeezed her cock, and squeezed it again, and squeezed it again until it pushed back against her hand, plumping in her grip.

“You’re up now,” she said into Sheila’s ear, and then stuck her tongue in it.

“Fuuuuuck,” Sheila said and turned over.

The door to the bookstore with no title opened, and the bell went TINKadink.

“Deacon.”

“Venable.”

Deacon Blue was not tall, and he was not wide; he was dense. Solid. He radiated a size his body didn’t possess, and if you asked people how big he was when he was not present, they would peg him for a larger man. He was in his shirt-sleeves–it was a beautiful morning–and his forearms were tattooed: an old and faded naked woman on the left, a fresher cross on the right. The deacon’s hair was long, graying, receding at the temples, and pulled back into a ponytail. His fu manchu mustache was also graying, but very neat, and the skin where his neck met his chin was creased and bumpy from overshaving.

Mr. Venable was sitting in his customary spot, wearing his customary suit.

“I need a book.”

“I can’t help you. This is an ice cream shop.”

Deacon Blue ignored him and said,

“On Tommy Amici.”

“You didn’t strike me as a fan.”

“Oh, the man’s got a voice like an angel.”

“One specific angel, I’m thinking,” Mr. Venable muttered into his coffee as he took a sip of coffee from a mug that read HARPER OBSERVATORY: WHERE THE STARS SHINE.

“Where am I looking?”

“Middle aisle. Then turn left. Down three rows. Left again. Ladder up to the annex. Go right, but if you hit the Foreign Pornography section, you’ve gone too far. Then you’ll meet a sphinx. It will be small, but please do not underestimate it. Answer the riddle. Take the ladder back down. Turn right. If you see ducks, ignore them. You should be in the Poetry section. That’s wrong. You got lost. Get out of the Poetry section. Then come back here.”

Mr. Venable leaned forward and pulled a gently-used copy of Tommy Boy: My Life With Mr. Amici by Jacob George out from under a pile of books and papers on the table in front of him.

“And I’ll give you this.”

Tommy and Jacob were on the cover, Jacob standing behind the seated Tommy, who was in his photo shoot hairpiece. They looked so happy. When the tell-all was published, Tommy tried to have a hit put out on Jacob.

“It really is the customer service that keeps people coming back.,” the deacon said.

“I aim to please. I miss, but it’s the aiming that’s important.”

Deacon Blue picked up the book, riffled through it, stopped at random and read:

Mister A. had set himself a challenge that awards season. He wanted to fuck all of the Best Actress nominees, and even though one was a lesbian and one was 70, Tommy got it done. Wow,” the deacon said.

“That’s mild,” Mr. Venable replied Deacon Blue flipped forward a few pages.

In addition to my normal supplies, I also made sure I always had some thick foundation makeup and a few pairs of ladies’ sunglasses; sometimes girls would come out of Tommy’s room in the morning with some bruises. Lovely guy,” he said, and leafed through the book some more. “How much of it you think is true?”

“Oh, a jilted employee would never lie, would he?”

Mr. Venable swiveled around in his chair and plucked a hardcover from the shelf behind him. It was The Singer, a classy and well-researched biography of Tommy. It had appendices and footnotes and an overflowing bibliography; it was nowhere near as fun as Jacob’s book. THUMP it dropped on the table. The dust cover was embossed and glossy, and the pages were thick.

“This is the respectable version. Many respectable publications wrote respectable things about it. There were awards, I believe.”

Deacon Blue scratched his ear; he had scars on the lobe from where the piercings had grown over.

“Can’t argue with an award, I guess,” he said, and picked the book up and held it with the other. “What’s the damage?”

“Twenty.”

The deacon pulled a neat fold of bills from his front pocket, snapped off a twenty, handed it over.

“Stay for a cup of coffee?”

“Got some reading to do,” Deacon Blue said, and the bell on the door of the bookstore with no title went TINKadink.

“How do you take it?”

“Sweet and creamy,” Sheila yelled back.

Gussy padded down the hall and into the kitchen, naked, shielding her eyes against the sunlight slipping in from the living room. The tiles on the floor were yellow and white checkerboard, dingy but clean, and she opened the jar shaped like an elephant where she kept the coffee and scooped it out into the filter, and then water, and then the switch, and the wait, and then there would be coffee. Gussy brought it home from The Tahitian in gallon-sized baggies; she had no idea why anyone would order coffee at the movies, but some people did, and so the theater always had a percolator going.

Her bellybutton was sticky, and she idly picked the flaking, dried cum from the fine hairs below her navel. She was on the pill, but didn’t trust it, and made Sheila pull out.

The Tahitian’s schedule was held to the fridge with a magnet from Graceland, and ticket stubs and pictures. Her mother, dead almost two years, and her brothers. One was in Phoenix doing something she was pretty sure was insurance fraud; she had no idea where the other one was. None of her father. The front page from The Cenotaph the morning after the grand reopening. A black-and-white glamour shot of Cara Thorn.

Gussy got two mugs from the cabinet: one said HARPER ZOO: WHERE ANIMALS ARE, and the other was dark blue. Milk and sugar. Milk milk milk and sugar sugar sugar. Coffee. Coffee. She carried them back to the bedroom, where had left the door ajar and flipped it open with her foot. Sheila was half-under the covers and smiling sleepy. Gussy could see her flat, skinny chest–a boy’s chest–and her cock draped on her thigh–a man’s cock–and somehow it still read as feminine: the angle of her shoulders or the jut of her jaw, something Gussy could not quite articulate but was still there and radiating from Sheila: pure Yin, woman through and through, and Gussy did not quite understand it but she went with it. 90% of life in Little Aleppo was going along with things you didn’t quite understand, Gussy thought. She handed the dark blue mug to Sheila, got into bed next to her, close.

The women sipped their coffee and tried not to fall in love with each other.

“So…”

“Oh, God,” Gussy said.

“What?”

“Is this gonna be some kind of ‘Let’s be friends speech?'”

“No, it’s…no.”

Sheila put her coffee on the nightstand and got up on her knees. She leaned over and kissed Gussy.

“I don’t wanna be friends.”

And she kissed her.

“I don’t wanna be friends.”

And she kissed her again, and Gussy did the thing she was trying not to do.

Sheila laid back down. She was nestled into Gussy, face half on her shoulder and half on her tit, and she picked up her coffee and took a sip.

“I was just asking about the meeting. The one at the Victory Diner.”

“You gotta see Reverend Jones eat. It’s amazing.”

“He’s a good man.”

“I like him.”

“We should go to services one week,” Sheila said, and that was the first plan that she had suggested to Gussy, the first suggestion that their relationship projected into the future past coffee and a lazy morning fuck; Gussy liked that, but she had a good poker face and sipped her coffee.

“Mm-hmm,” she said.

“How’d it go?”

“Wha?”

“The meeting.”

“Good. Good.”

Gussy was rubbing the crown of Sheila’s head with her chin, back and forth softly.

“No details?”

The ceiling fan spun above them. It clicked on and off with two little chains, and Gussy had attached pink fuzzy dice to them. They swayed in the breeze.

“Sheila.”

“Gus?”

Gussy put her coffee down and sat up. She knew this tone of voice: it was the same one her teenaged employees used when they had fucked something up.

“Ask me what you want to ask me.”

Sheila put her coffee down, too, and pulled herself up; she sat cross-legged to the side of Gussy and stroked her naked thigh with the fingertips of both hands. She said,

“You’re gonna think this is funny.”

“We’ll see, won’t we?”

In a souvenir ashtray from Monk’s Casino on the nightstand, there was a half-smoked joint from the night before. Sheila leaned over Gussy’s lap slowly to fetch it, and she hesitated there with her ass sticking up in the air; Gussy ran her hand up the back of Sheila’s thigh, and brushed her fingers against her balls and smacked her ass, not hard but firmly, and Sheila made a little noise and smiled as she FFT flicked the yellow lighter and relit the joint and then she settled back on her heels in a posture like a Japanese lady at a tea ceremony with the smoke still in her lung; curlicues of white smoke flared from her nostrils as she leaned over and Gussy opened her mouth and she PHWOO shotgunned the pot smoke into her mouth and then kissed her as hard as she could.

Sheila sat back and decided that the truth was the easiest path to happiness. Sheila had often found in her life that path through avoiding the truth, or ignoring it, but this time the facts seemed to be the most expeditious method.

“Tiresias completely spaced during the meeting and she has no idea what the plan is.”

“Really?”

“What?”

“That’s it?”

“It’s a big deal,” Sheila said, and took another hit off the joint; she brought her lips to Gussy’s and PHWOO the smoke went into her mouth throat lungs, and Sheila’s tongue followed: she took up Gussy’s tit in her hand, and rubbed her thumb over the hardening nipple and when she opened her eyes, she found that Gussy’s eyes were open, too, and so she kissed her some more.

“Okay,” Gussy said. “It’s a big deal.”

“We must defend our island.”

“We shall fight them on the Main Drag, we shall fight them in the Segovian Hills, we shall fight them in the Verdance.”

Sheila kissed her again.

“But, really, her whole part in the plan is to wear something low-cut. Laugh at Tommy’s jokes, that sort of thing. Reverend Jones and Doctor Arrabbiata are gonna do the talking.”

Gussy took the joint from Sheila, ashed it, handed it back.

“Uh-huh. She’s gonna start talking.”

“That’s not the plan.”

“Guarantee you she’s gonna start talking.”

“I don’t think she’s supposed to.”

“We’re not talking about perfect worlds here, baby, we’re talking about Tiresias. I’ve known her a while, and she doesn’t shut the fuck up. She’s, like, loquacious.”

The joint had just hit Sheila.

“Loquacious.”

“Sure, yeah. This is good weed.”

“I’m surprised you don’t recognize it. It’s from Precarious.”

Sheila took a big toke off the joint that was more rightly by now a roach; she held the smoke in and blew it out her nose slowly.

“Oh, yeah.”

Gussy took it from her, hit it, and said,

“He drops off an ounce every few weeks. Rent for that jackass sound system he tricked me into sheltering.”

“Wally’s not that bad.”

“Yeah? Imagine all the chairs in your shop talked back.”

“He means well.”

“Precarious or Wally?”

“Either one. Both,” Sheila said, and slung her leg over Gussy’s lap so she was straddling her, and she took the joint and put it between her lips to free her hands to play with Gussy’s tits. Gussy put her hands on Sheila’s thighs, and then her flat stomach and over her jutting clavicles and around her neck; Sheila bent her head down and took Gussy’s thumb in her mouth and they didn’t talk much for a while thereafter.

The bell atop the First Church of the Iterated Christ is named the Calling Judge, and the whole building shimmies when it strikes the hour WHONGG followed shortly by the bells of St. Martin’s, and St. Clemens’, and St. John’s. Eleven a.m., and the church is as quiet as it ever gets. There are ex-drunks in the basement telling each other the same stories they told last week. Mrs. Fong is at her desk; she picks up the phone and says “Hello?” (Mrs. Fong answers the phone every time the Calling Judge tolls.) Deacon Blue, sitting on the ratty couch in the same office, doesn’t look up from his books. He is taking notes.

The Reverend Arcade Jones is in the nave, second pew on the right near the aisle. He has laid his suit jacket, orange, next to him and his hands are between his knees. The crucifix bearing the Christ is suspended above the bema of the First Church of the Iterated Christ as though by magic–from the pews, you cannot see the supports–and someone has put a Blue Oxen baseball cap on Jesus’ head.

And the preacher prays,

“Lord, please.”

And that is his whole prayer, because the preacher knows the Christ and knows that anything else is a waste of breath and time, and so the preacher says it again, and then once more for good measure. Better to beg God’s mercy than ask His plans, and up above there was a bell still ringing out the hour; it was eleven in the morning in Little Aleppo, which is a neighborhood in America.

Fyre Wheel Burning In The Air

I had a cousin who got harvested.

Yeah?

A lot more common than we’re told. They picked him clean.

Hotel room?

Woke up in the bathroom with “Call 911” written on the mirror.

Well, that was nice of them.

Except that they had taken his eyeballs.

Ah.

CELL PHONE NOISE

I should take this.

Could be Hollywood.

Never know.

Yello?

“The situation on the ground is deteriorating.”

Benj?

“Things are not good at all here.”

Is it raining?

“The VIP guests are throwing their own poop.”

Wow. Benjy, how did you even get involved with the Fyre Festival?

“Me and Ja went to the same boarding school.”

Okay.

“Again: this is not my fault. I was given every assurance that the venue was built. Huh. That’s odd.”

What?

“Didn’t Pablo Escobar used to own hippos?”

Yeah.

“Okay. That’s where they came from.”

There are hippos?

“Hungry ones. The childhood game did not lie.”

Hippos are vegetarians.

“You should tell them that. They just ate an Instagram model. Luckily, the feral dogs are attacking them.”

There’s nothing lucky about that, Benjy.

“Wow, now the sharks are involved. I’m getting a lot of nature time here.”

Benjy, please try to save some people. Or something.

“This is an every-man-for-himself situation.”

You have responsibilities. You are supposed to be in charge.

“No one is in charge here. Fear is in charge now. Soon, hunger will reign. Then, violence will be king.”

Are you high?

“Well, no one told me that the festival was gonna be canceled, so I dosed on the plane ride over.”

Great. Stay safe.

“You sending Precarious?”

Yeah, he’ll be right there.

“Don’t blame Ja for this.”

I blame Ja for this.

Fyre Festival Head Billy McFarland Issues A Statement

Today is the toughest day of my life, and will continue to be until sometime next year when I plead guilty to multiple felonies stemming from today, which has been very tough for me. You’ve seen the “photos” and “videos” and “evidence,” but please let me tell my side of the story.

I love three things: computer programming, rapping, and the ocean. When I met Ja Rule, he dropped an incredible freestyle about fucking bitches on a yacht. We had the perfect relationship: I wanted to hang out with a cool black guy, and he wanted someone to pay for things. We were best friends. One time, we took flying lessons and the planes were old and rickety. I told Ja that I was worried.

“Rock stars don’t die on planes, dog,” Ja told me.

We crashed the planes, but we didn’t die; after that, my rule was “Listen to Ja.”

The island we were on was called Exumas, and we fell in love. Like all new lovers, our immediate instinct was to have a luxury pop festival. We started the marketing campaign as soon as we got back, and then we designed an app and threw a party and rented a yacht to fuck bitches on. We also booked talent, and had a meeting about logistics. It turns out there were roadblocks.

Check that: there were no roadblocks because there are no roads on the island. Also, no sewage, clean water, electricity, or internet. Plus, there’s only one place to land a boat, and it’s inaccessible at low tide. We were astonished at the lack of infrastructure on the deserted island.

Still: Ja Rule thought it was pretty.

We built an entire city on that island, no matter what multiple reports say, a grand palace of a jewel that would befit our guests and the superstars we had booked for the performance. There was a theme park, and a sports complex, and black-box theater for experimental dramas. The food was sumptuous and scrumptious, and there was so much of it. The tables fairly groaned with the feast! The glamour villas were made of alabaster and acceptance, and they dotted the grounds; I had built a paradise.

Me and Ja had built a paradise.

And then there was this huge storm, swear to God, and everything got washed out to sea without any record of it every being here at all. Guests started to arrive, and we immediately panicked and left the island to begin planning next year’s Fyre Festival. All of this year’s guests will receive 10% off of their tickets for next year’s exclusive event.

Sincerely,
Billy McFarland

Fyre On The Mountain

What do you think the Fourth Wave of feminism is going to be?

Straight-up murdering men in their sleep.

I’m surprised that wasn’t the First Wave.

If men were women, they wouldn’t put up with men’s shit.

And if they were anteaters, they would know what they were having for lunch.

Sure.

CELL PHONE NOISE

Is that you?

No.

Shit.

Yeah.

CELL PHONE NOISE

There’s maybe a million people I pray this isn’t.

Get it over with.

Yello.

“TotD? It’s Benjy.”

Oh, hey, Benj. What’s up?

“Nothing, everything’s great. Listen, you got a minute and a Paypal account?”

Are you in jail?

“Worse.”

What’s worse than jail?

“They hired me to run the Fyre Festival and it’s not working out.”

You’re in charge of that nightmare?

“I didn’t realize it would be this difficult.”

That’s gonna be the quote of the year, isn’t it? Why are you on top of an RV?

“The situation here has gotten a bit iffy.”

Sure.

“None of this is my fault! Ja said he was taking care of things. I was just supposed to be the on-site manager for the weekend!”

This is your fault, Benj. Didn’t you do any due diligence on this thing? I’m reading reports that everyone but the customers knew this was going to be a disaster for weeks.

“Ja looked me in the eyes.”

Stop calling him Ja.

“He said, ‘Dog, we good. It’s gonna be lit.’ And, you know, that’s as good as a signature.”

It’s not.

“I’m gonna give you a little update on the action here: cannibalism is rampant.”

Already?

“These kids were not prepared for calamity. Everybody here grew up in a house with a three-car garage. The collapse of reason and teamwork was almost immediate. Remember the security footage from Event Horizon?”

Yeah.

“It was like that. Several influencers were ripped to shreds.”

Nothing of value was lost.

“I just hope Ja’s okay.”

Fuck Ja! He did this!

“Oh, shit, they got the boats.”

What?

“The kids have commandeered the tenders and are attacking the yachts.”

That’s not good.

“They’re just ramming into them at full-speed. It’s like the Battle of Salamis, but everyone’s wearing Apple Watches.”

Benjy, you should get out of there.

“That’s why I’m calling. Send money.”

No.

“Send Precarious.”

Maybe. You gonna be okay for a minute? Can you defend the RV?

“Oh, yeah. It’s not just me.”

No? Who else is there?

“Heeeey, man.”

Hey, Soup. Should’ve figured when I saw the RV.

“What time is Woody Hayes on, man?”

Benjy, I’ll get back to you.

“Quickly.”

Oh, yeah.

Guys, You’re In The Wrong Chairs

“It’s your turn to call him, Senor Prime Minister.”

“No, Mister President. I called him this afternoon.”

“How many times did you explain NAFTA to him?”

“Seven.”

“Wow.”

“I counted.”

“Justin, I can’t take another conversation with this baboso. I got problems of my own.”

“Your people are not fond of you.”

“They truly despise me. How you doing?”

“The internet loves me.”

“How about Canada?”

“Mixed.”

“What if we both call him?”

“At the same time?”

“Double-team him.”

“Ew.”

“Sorry.”

“Not a great image.”

“Not like the last guy.”

“Peña, I’m not gay but I would totally have gotten my three-way on with the two of you.”

“We were the hottest continent.”

“Dude, by faaaaaar we were the hottest. You seen some of the scrubs running Asian countries?”

“Muy feo. So: we both call him. Good cop, bad cop.”

“Yeah, maybe. Who’s the bad cop?”

“We’re talking to Donald Trump, man. Obviously, the guys with the Mexican accent is gonna play the bad cop.”

“Right.”

“Head in the game, Trudeau.”

“You’re right, you’re right. I got my mind on the playoffs.”

“What is it with you people and hockey?”

“You people?”

“Justin, mi amigo.”

“Peña, my friend.”

“Let’s not fight.”

“We need to stick together.”

“Si. We just need to weather this storm. Okay, so when we call, you’ll talk about the proud and long history of the Canadian/American relationship, and I’ll threaten him with nationalizing the Ford plant in Chihuahua.”

“Don’t say Chihuahua.”

“No?”

“He’ll start thinking about dogs and we’ll lose him.”

“Si, si.”

“And I don’t know if the history approach will work. The president doesn’t know any history.”

“You think he knows who fought the War of 1812?”

“I don’t think he knows when it happened.”

“You got a plan?”

“You still got El Chapo wrangled or did he get away again?”

“We got him in one of those all-plastic numbers like where they keep Magneto.”

“Super. Give him to Trump.”

“I’m not handing a Mexican national, no matter how big of a criminal, to that jackass. Or any president, for that matter. Out of the question.”

SONIDO DE TEXTO

“Besides, El Chapo just escaped again.”

“He’s good.”

“Slippery.”

“Peña, listen: every leader has burdens. Our predecessors have faced wars, depressions, droughts. Trump is our burden. He’s our World War II.”

“I am not up to this task.”

“Probably me neither, buddy, but here we are.”

“Si. Okay. But it’s your turn to call him.”

“I got an idea.”

“I’m open to anything.”

“What if I FaceTime him? And when I explain NAFTA again, I use a whiteboard and markers and visual aids?”

“That’s not bad. But call soon.”

“Why?”

“Almost teevee time.”

“Oh, right, yeah. I’ll talk to you afterwards.”

“Bueno suerte.”

“You, too, ehh?”

Ain’t Nobody In The Bed But You

What?

“Hello. I’m Paul Stanley, and this is my bedroom.”

Okay.

“How about I play you an acoustic version of Tears Are Fallin’?”

Nuh-uh.

“Kick off your shoes, and come on up. Lotta room.”

No, thank you.

“Have you eaten?”

What the fuck are you doing here?

“Carved out some quality time for you.”

Why?

“We’ve grown apart. Come up on the bed.”

Stop this, Paul Stanley.

“Such a big bed. Room for all sorts of things.”

I don’t understand what’s happening.

“I’ve joined Dead & Company.”

You haven’t.

“Sure. Me and Robby–”

Bobby.

“–were talking and we decided that our fanbases overlap so much that it’s a no-brainer.”

Your fanbases do not overlap.

“What about you?”

I’m an outlier.

“Come lie on the bed.”

This is odd.

“It’s happening.”

Which part? Where you join the Dead or where you molest me?

“Both.”

Neither.

“Half has already come true. Josh is here.”

What?

Is that still your bedroom?

“I have a very fancy bedroom.”

Wow. Is that Kevin Bacon?

“I have very fancy friends.”

Wow. John?

“Yeah? Oh, hey.”

What happened to Barbra?

“Cheating on her.”

Sure. Is Paul Stanley in Dead & Company?”

“Yeah.”

Did you set this all up just to be in a storyline?

“I really felt like you didn’t give my album enough attention.”

DIAL TONE NOISE EVEN THOUGH NO ONE WAS ON THE PHONE

“Hello?

“Yo?”

“I didn’t know he could leave.”

A Religious Holiday

Well, isn’t this nifty? Who says government doesn’t work for the people?

This is, however, the final draft of the document. The first version was quite different; one of the Haight Street Irregulars broke into City Hall and stole a copy so I could share it with you:

PROCLAMATION

WHEREAS the Grateful Dead’s concert at Barton Hall at Cornell University on May 8, 1977, was perhaps the best show they played that week, depending on whom you ask, and

WHEREAS the show has become a local cottage industry, and

WHEREAS on the other hand, you pop Cornell in the tape deck of your Datsun and turn that shit up, and you have a good old time, and

WHEREAS there is no Sugaree or Half-Step, precluding the show from ever truly being the greatest show of all time, and

WHEREAS it was snowing when the students exited the building, and

WHEREAS it has been said many times by many people, the best people, that Cornell was just a tremendous show, a real top show, and probably the best of all time, which is what many, many people are saying

NOW THEREFORE, I, Dan Klein, Vice Chair of the Tompkins Legislature hereby proclaim May 8, 2017, as

GRATEFUL DEAD DAY

WHICH means that all members of the Grateful Dead are eligible for up to 10% off at participating local businesses.

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