I have no words. Trust me. You’ll not have a finer five minutes, not this wretched year.
I have no words. Trust me. You’ll not have a finer five minutes, not this wretched year.
“Thoughts on my Ass!”
Where are you getting all these children from?
“The mall. Bus stops. Wherever.”
Stop stealing children, Billy.
“Nah. The markup on ’em is astounding. I’ve completely stopped kidnapping dogs for the reward money. All about kids now.”
This is no good for anyone.
“Hey, I’m good to the little monkeys. Feed ’em, buy ’em some toys, give ’em beers.”
“What? They’re not allowed to have alcohol. Just beers.”
Does he have a name?
Do you know it?
That’s a Dylan tune.
The boy’s name is not Mata Hari, Billy.
“What’s the difference? I yell out, ‘Hey, little fucker,’ and he pays attention. We’re simpatico.”
Give the child back.
“Give? No. Sell the child back. Do I have to explain this scam to you again?”
What if the parents don’t have enough money?
“Someone does. Someone’ll buy the kid. They’re a lot more valuable than you think. Gotta get white ones, though. People who buy children are racist as shit.”
“But until he goes back, or to the highest bidder, I’m gonna teach him some stuff.”
We know. Skank.
“Other stuff, too.”
“Wearing red ballcaps.”
“And skank. You were right: most of the lessons are skank-based.”
Stay away from kids, Billy.
“We’re all slaves to the free market, Ass.”
As usual, Jennifer Boylan makes a good case over in the (failing, lying) New York Times comparing Trump to Gump; her thesis is based on a reputed conversation between Erick Erickson, who is to be taken exactly as seriously as his name suggests, and an anonymous Congressfucker in a produce section somewhere in Alexandria. This Rep–most likely the living avatar of Staten Island Peter King–describes Basketball Head thusly:
“It’s like Forrest Gump won the presidency But it’s an evil, really stupid Forrest Gump. He can’t help himself. He’s just an idiot who thinks he’s winning when people are bitching about him.”
Professor Boylan goes on to make her case comparing the two idiots. She writes beautifully, as always, but I must respectfully disagree with her. (And the Congressman, but without the respect. Fuck you, nameless government employee.) Yes, both Trump and Gump are mammals. Both, too, are nominally bipedal. The Krebs Cycle applies equally to both men.
But to posit a Forrest Gump who is “evil [and] stupid” is like talking about Darth Vader, but without the suit and he’s modest, kind to animals and children, and obsessed with hockey. We all–factual and fictional alike–have within us certain essentialities of character. A cruel Gump is not a Gump at all, just as a lazy Teddy Roosevelt is not a TR, or a giggly, loose-lipped Elizabeth II isn’t the Queen of England.
But, Enthusiasts, we surely must be able to compare Le Merde Orange to a fictional character. But whom? Moriarty doesn’t fit: while both men are clearly evil, Moriarty was a genius who could hold his own in a fistfight. (Sure, the fistfight was against a middle-aged opiate addict, but still.) Dracula is similarly wrong: both men suck, but Dracula could dress himself. Lara Croft? Both she and Turnip are children of privilege with big ol’ floppity tittyballs, but there is little correlation beyond that.
Perhaps Shemp? Shemp was a physically unattractive man, unpopular with the public, and replaced a much more talented and beloved performer.
Maybe Elmer Fudd. They are both perpetually confused, involved in disasters of their own making, antagonistic but cowardly, and convinced that the outcome will be in their favor no matter what the facts on the ground say. The two also resemble giant ugly babies.
Jabba the Hutt is too easy a comparison, so let’s move on.
What about Garfield? Hmm…
And they both shit in a box in the corner! There you go, Enthusiasts: the fictional character Donald J* Trump most resembles is Garfield. You’re welcome.
*The “J” stands for “Jamoke.”
I give up. Officially and publicly, 2018: I give up. Full and unconditional surrender. Whatever it is you want, you may have or do. I’ll tell you where the money is. You can do unpleasant sex things on me. Uncle, I cry. Whatever it will take to make you act like a normal year, I will do that and I will do it with vigor and joy. 2016 and ’17 were just awful; you, 2018, are fucking weird and I can’t take it anymore. All I’m asking is that you at least pretend to try to make sense. It seems like you’re just free associating at this point, 2018. Please, please, please stop being like this.
Thoughts on the Dead
PS Also: please don’t kill any more Rock Stars.
“Josh, slow down.”
“You’re like 40 years off, Weir.”
Nothing says “professionalism” like a couch pillow lazily stuffed in a bass drum.
There goes the judge.
The middle of the night’s got its own economy, heroes, political third rails. It’s a whole different place than daytime, which is why it takes so long to get there. There’s that first little bit, the couple hours after evening when folks fuck and drink and watch teevee and wash the children, and then there’s the final squeezings, that inky-purple patch that morning people and joggers claim as their own–because they’re greedy fucks, morning people and joggers–but between them is the middle of the night, which is ruled by cannot.
Can’t have a fancy wedding at two in the morning. (And bear in mind we’re not speaking of Las Vegas here, just normal locales.) Fan belt’s not getting replaced; shit, the bus isn’t coming by for hours. Translators and stenographers are of little to no use; piano tuners, even less. Your options for ethnic foods are severely curtailed. Art museums, pick-your-own apple farms, pool supply stores: no, no, no. You could not adopt a pet or a child in the middle of the night, at least not legally. The teevee went off at three. Draculette signed off–“Good night, boogers. Try not to die.”–and then you were on your own. You could get a drink, or a burger, or stabbed, but that was about it and some folks couldn’t even get out for the stabbing. Look up next time you’re walking through the middle of the night: always a few lights burning with the curtains drawn. Listen, too, and you’ll hear the same voices. Babies crying out hungry, and dying men calling out lonely. Bong-induced coughing fits.
And the AM radio. AM radio lives in the middle of the night, and that’s when Mark Lake did his show on 770 KHAY.
He had competition, too. Draculette and the Late Show ruled the ratings because all the other stations literally stopped coming in clearly around eleven at night, and the FM stations from over the hills got crackly, as well, but the AM powered up at night. FM and teevee are line-of-sight transmitters, but the AM signal gets bounced off the ionosphere and back down to your car radio. When the sun goes down, the air cools and this sends the ionosphere hurtling upwards, increasing the stations’ ranges. It’s just trigonometry, but it brought in all kinds of sounds to Little Aleppo at night. The super-station blasting 150,000 watts from Tijuana, with that scratchy-voiced guy who seemed far too excited about introducing a Dion record. From New York, even: Jews pretending to be Italians, and speaking quickly as a magic trick. There was KJRC from El Paso, and they only broadcast about Jesus and never, ever played a Chuck Berry record, not even once, and you could sense it immediately upon setting on the station; you could listen for only two minutes and know–comprehend in your soul, dig?–that not only did these motherfuckers not play Chuck Berry records, these motherfuckers probably didn’t even own a Chuck Berry record, and by golly what kind of way is that to live? It was understandable to pray to Jesus in the middle of the night, but no one could bear being lectured at about Him at that hour. It was too late to rock and roll, and too early for Jesus.
So Mark Lake didn’t play records. There were recordings, but never records. Mark played stuff he’d get sent. Servicemen, and folks who served, but just not in uniform, and government contractors. Their names and ranks were never revealed.
“It might be as dangerous for you to know their names as it would be for them to be known,” Mark would say. He had a voice from the West: all his consonants got clipped and dropped and swallowed, and the vowels flattened out, and there was almost no nasality. His jaw did more work than his lips did; they sounded thin, and just along for the ride. In stories from his childhood, he would always mention the desert. He never mentioned which one.
“Caller, you’re on The Middle of the Night with Mark Lake. You got Mark.”
“Hey, Mark. Big fan.”
“Uh-huh. What’s your name?”
“I wanted to talk about the Silurian Hypothesis.”
“Oh, yeah. Fascinating stuff. Love to. What’s your name, caller?”
“I’d rather not give it to you, Mark. My safety is paramount on remaining anonymous. I know too much about this.”
“About the Silurian Hypothesis? That there was a lost society of reptile-people around 350,000 years ago? How could any knowledge about that put anyone in danger?”
“Oh, okay. That makes sense.”
“Very jealous of the reptile people. It’s like an inferiority complex thing with them.”
“I can see that, sure. Now, caller, how did you come by this information?”
“Working for the amphibian-people.”
“In what capacity?”
“They have specific toilet needs that we as primates don’t take into account when designing buildings. I had to do a lot of modifications for them. They secretly own every racehorse. It’s like how that one company sells every brand of glasses? The amphibian-people own all the racehorses.”
“There’s a lot that never added up about horse racing that, with your contribution, now makes more sense. Why are you coming forward now?”
“They like to purge their human support staff every few years, so I felt my life was in danger.”
Mark’d hang up on you, but he wouldn’t tease you. He took the confessions of the weird, and he had his vows just like a priest. No screeners. You called, and he answered. This was, he often told his listeners, the way of nature. The Lord meant for us to screen our calls, we would’ve been born with secretaries. You called, and he answered, and you could tell your story. He’d poke at it a little, edge it towards the juicy chunks, slap it back in play when it rambled towards the railing, but it was still your story. You could tell it on the radio, late at night.
Workers from Dulce Base had called in, with a strange clicking sound in the background like a tape recorder running. Folks had the wrong ideas about aliens, they said. They were time travelers. The gray ones with the necks and the big eyes? They were us from a million years from now, and all of them–there were currently 411 at Dulce Base alone–had broken the timestream getting here and had no way back; they were hellaciously pissed about it, hence all the anal probing. A sizable portion of the Defense budget went to entertaining them.
Fran Kukla called in every month or so. She had discovered what she called the Moving Mountain, which was a mountain that moved. Fran wasn’t great at naming things, but she could spot the fuck out of a mountain.
“It’s in Utah, Mark. I’m in Utah, right outside of Provo, and Moving Mountain is here. I’m looking right at it.”
“This is exciting news, Fran. I’m glad you call me first with these things, it really means a lot.”
“Oh, thank you, Mark.”
“Now, Fran, do you perhaps have a camera on you?”
“I do not, Mark. You’re just going to have to take my word for it. I could describe it for you if you’d like.”
“It looks like a mountain.”
Fran was good at spotting mountains, not describing them. She and Mark would talk for a while, and then she’d hang up and call back in four or five weeks with Moving Mountain in her sights, this time in Mobile, Alabama or somewhere.
Lights in the sky hovered, zoomed, changed direction impossibly fast on The Middle of the Night with Mark Lake. Drexian warships loaded for bear play peak-a-boo behind skyscrapers in Chicago, Hong Kong. A case was made to give voting rights to maple syrup. Squatch still lurked in the hills and hallucinogenic mushrooms grew from their scat. Most of the Senate were cyborgs; most of the House were androids; the Supreme Court were all secretly related to the Royal Family, and also reptile-people. Virtually everyone is a reptile-person, if you think about it. Reagan (who is also obviously a reptile-person) set up a task force called Glorious-28, which was supposed to take a census of alien life on earth, but ended up collaborating with the Drexians and infiltrating the Department of the Interior.
“Oh, sure,” Mark would say. “Department of Interior doesn’t belong to us anymore. Not for a while.”
The world was shadowy, but a shadow needs a subject. There had to be a reason, Mark’s callers demanded. Someone did this. Someone is responsible. The world wouldn’t have done this to itself, after all. The world was too messy and confusing to be random; hell, it was too damned random to be random. There had to be someone behind all this. Moriarty’s out there. Satan dwells. Amphibian-people gonna getcha.
“Mark, I agree with the last caller. February clearly doesn’t exist.”
“The evidence is there. However you wish to interpret that evidence? Well, that’s up to you. But I do agree that there is strong, strong evidence that the month of Febraury is fictional.”
“It’s a way for the government to get an extra four weeks of work out of us for free.”
“It’s amazing it’s gone on this long.”
“It’s the Big Lie theory.”
“I actually called to talk about Operation: Full Moon.”
“Yes, yes. The Navy’s experiments into weaponized lycanthropics. I hear that they’re still working on it.”
“Me, too. My sources say that they’ve been successful and turned several sailors into werewolfs. I had one question, though, Mark.”
“I have many questions. But go ahead with yours.”
“Sure, okay. Uh, why the Navy? I don’t understand how it helps you to have a werewolf on a boat.”
“The Navy has people who leave the boat.”
“Yes. They have guns and everything.”
“Huh. Okay. That’s good information, thank you. But it does bring up another question.”
“Questions tend to do that around here.”
“Would the werewolf sailors still have their guns?”
“Now, that’s interesting. It depends. Were your sources specific that they had been changed into werewolfs, and not wolfmen?”
“Quite specific, Mark. I pinned him down on it.”
“Then they would need some sort of custom weapon.”
Mark Lake took your calls until there wasn’t any more night left, picked up the phone himself and let you tell your story. He’d add yours to his, and the listeners would place it with theirs. You weren’t paranoid, Mark’s patience said; the world was stranger than it seemed, but you were not. His show was called The Middle of the Night because that is the only time it could exist, and it was on AM radio broadcasting live and strong from Little Aleppo, which is a neighborhood in America.
For Art Bell.
“Thanks for doing this.”
“Thanks for having me, George.”
“Let’s start simply. Did you ever think you’d write a book?”
“I actually wrote a children’s book several years ago. It was about a giraffe named Taffy. He gets adopted by a family of horses, and feels different because of his height.”
“Did that come from personal experience?”
“No, George. I have never been a giraffe.”
“I also wrote a few drafts of a YA novel about a very special girl named Bockheim Worldstomper.”
“What’s so special about her?”
“She’s freakishly tall.”
“Mr. Comey, let’s get back to the president.”
“You say in your book that President Trump ‘has wee little baby hands that could barely grip one of my gargantuan fingers,’ ‘looks like a raccoon fucked a creamsicle,’ and ‘the stench of one who didn’t wipe properly, if at all.'”
“What’s your question, George?”
“Isn’t that a bit petty?”
“George, I attempted to be as descriptive as possible in my book, A Higher Loyalty, available now for pre-order on Amazon–”
“How did you do that? We’re talking.”
“–and part of that description entailed a full reading of Mr. Trump, who also has a whiff of cheap meat about him. Like, if you left a bagful of sliders from White Castle out in the yard all day.”
“Yeah, that’s actually what he smells like.”
“I have a way with words.”
“Now, the first time you met Mr. Trump was at Trump Tower right after the election.”
“Yes. CIA Director Clapper and I went over to brief the President-Elect on several security matters.”
“And what happened at that meeting?”
“It very quickly turned into lunch. The President-Elect had a party sub delivered to the conference room. I would estimate that he put away at least 18 inches of sandwich in less than 20 minutes. Let’s say an inch a minute. He ate with no joy, his jaws grinding in a machine-like fashion. It was as though he had been tasked with the meal rather than blessed with it. I was afraid for my soul, George.”
“Because of the sandwich?”
“No. The sandwich was delicious. It was the gestalt of the thing. Reince Priebus was kneeling at the President-Elect’s feet, and he would snatch the scraps right out of the air with his mouth.”
“I was deeply unsettled.”
“Having temporarily sated himself, the President-Elect called out, ‘Okay, fucky-sucky time.’ Three women of an uncertain provenance entered the room. One of them commented favorably on my height, and rubbed my arm in a suggestive manner.”
“How did you respond?”
“With a boner. I am a happily-married man, but I’m still human. The boner was unbidden, and golly I wish I hadn’t gotten it, but what we’re missing these days in our politics is the truth. And the truth is: I stiffened”
“The President-Elect noticed my tumescence, and, using his middle finger and thumb, ‘flicked’ my glans through my trousers. I was deeply unsettled.”
“I would imagine.”
“It was as if the world had gone mad. The President-Elect stood up on his toes so as to be closer to me. He called me ‘Jim.’ My penis hurt, and I wanted to rub it but felt that would be inappropriate, or that Mr. Trump would take it as a mating signal. ‘Jim,’ he said, ‘I need boner loyalty.'”
“What is that?”
“I have no idea. He said it around a half-dozen times.”
“Was there more penis-flicking?”
“There was, George. Plus, Reince Priebus was chasing two of the women around the table like Harpo Marx.”
“This is a hell of a meeting.”
“You should read the book.”
“You’re getting good at this.”
“Yes, I am.”
You all know Mr. Completely. He used to prowl the streets of Portland as their very own crime-fighter, the Tree Octopus, but he gave up the vigilante game after spraining his hectocotylus one too many times, and now he putters about the house drinking gin at noon and firing off warning shots at bad dreams. He’s a Friend of the Blog.
Anyway, he was the one to hip me, and therefore you, to Wild Wild Country, the Netflix documentary about the Rajneeshee cult up in in Oregon, and now he’s the first one to turn on it, and rightly so: it was a well-painted car with no engine, no guts to it, there was no there there. Just a handful of talkative Baby Boomers defending their actions and subject to no challenge at all, which I suppose the filmmakers thought would read as an Errol Morris take, but the thing about Errol Morris movies is that he’s right on the other side of the camera asking unpleasant questions. He doesn’t just let a woman convicted of multiple felonies in multiple countries write off her actions to religious devotion.
So: if you wanna know the real story–including the most important question: where the fuck did all the money come from?–then here is your reading list:
Or–and I think this is the best option–you could say “Fuck it” and buy a tee-shirt:
This high-quality garment was conceived in the U.S.A. and made in some shithole for you, the First World lottery winner. Why should you buy this shirt? Here’s 16 reasons:
Can you please not call your nephew a Baby Nazi?
Good. You’re a monster and you deserve to be improperly numbered.
They knew who they were asking for a favor.