Thoughts On The Dead

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

Page 3 of 783

Wild West Facts With Only The Man With No Name Trilogy As Reference

  • The West looks shockingly like Spain.
  • People in the Wild West did not speak English, they were overdubbed into it.
  • If you hear Oooweeoo Bwah BWAH Bwah, you should fucking run.
  • Marksmanship is dictated by where your name comes on the poster.
  • Bad guys break into crazy, over-dramatic laughter at the drop of a hat.
  • You can be nicknamed Blondie even if your hair isn’t blond.
  • You can be nicknamed Lefty even if you shoot with your right hand.
  • If you come across a child or a cripple, flip them a coin; they will have information you need.
  • Everyone in the Wild West has heard of each other.
  • Sometimes, men with Mexican names will look Jewish as hell.
  • Matches will light when struck on anything, including human flesh.
  • You just might run into Klaus Kinski.
  • Shooting a rope in half from 100 yards off with a rifle from 1851 is eminently doable.
  • If you are left to die in the desert but rescued, you will briefly have some cheap-ass burn makeup on your face, and then be absolutely fine.

All Rise

There goes the judge.

The Middle Of The Night In Little Aleppo

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?”

“The amphibian-people.”

“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?”

“Plumber.”

“Okay.”

“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.”

“Purge?”

“Eat.”

“Of course.”

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.”

“Yes, please.”

“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.”

“Absolutely.”

“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.”

“Oh, really?”

“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.

A Partial Transcript Of James Comey’s Interview With George Stephanopoulos, 4/15/18

“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.”

“Sure.”

“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.”

“Bad man.”

“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.”

“That’s weird.”

“I was deeply unsettled.”

“Then what?”

“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”

“All right.”

“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.'”

“Boner loyalty?’

“Yes.”

“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.”

It’s All About The Bhagwans

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:

  1. Les Saitz’s 20-part series from the Oregonian that covers everything from soup to nuts to 93 fucking Rolls Royces.
  2. Excerpts from Win McCormack’s book The Rajneesh Chronicles, originally published in Oregon magazine in 1983.

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:

  1. You’d be buying it from Amazon, and that would make Basketball Head angry.
  2. All the words are spelled right.
  3. Doubles as a tourniquet.
  4. Brother and Sister-in-Law on the Dead made it, so your purchase helps feed and clothe Nephew on the Dead.
  5. Conversely, you not buying the shirt is taking food directly from a baby’s mouth.
  6. And not just any baby.
  7. This one:
  8. Can you live with yourself starving Nephew on the Dead?
  9. If that’s the kind of person you are, then maybe I’ve misled myself about this site.
  10. Maybe we’re Stormfront.
  11. Is that who we are as a community?
  12. You tell me, Enthusiasts.
  13. Buy a shirt or we’re all Nazis.
  14. Even the kid.
  15. Your non-purchase of a tee-shirt makes NotD a Baby Nazi.
  16. How dare you make my beloved nephew a Baby Nazi, you motherfuckers.

Can you please not call your nephew a Baby Nazi?

  1. I didn’t! I was conjecturing. It was a what-if and…oh, look what you did. We’re back to one. You fucked up the formatting.

Good. You’re a monster and you deserve to be improperly numbered.

  1. Fuck you.

Buy a tee-shirt, everyone!

  1. Botd and SiLotD are not going to be happy with this plug.

They knew who they were asking for a favor.

 

Random Responses From Steve Parish’s Reddit AMA

  • Keith’s was the biggest, but Ramrod got that name for a reason.
  • Nah, fuck expiration dates; that’s just Big Dairy trying to squeeze an extra dollar out of you.
  • We don’t speak any more.
  • Wally knows what he did.
  • One finger is cool, but any more than that and you’re gay.
  • Gropius? Fuckin’ Gropius? Gropius couldn’t wipe Mies van der Rohe’s ass after Taco Tuesday.
  • Okay, yeah, I’ll give you the couch; Gropius could design the fuck out of a couch.
  • I’m talking big picture here, man.
  • I never punched anyone, cuz you could break your knuckle on someone’s jaw real easy, man; what I did was the old-school Bunny Foo Foo head bop: closed fist WHOMP right on the crown of the skull.
  • On tour, we used to hide a toy in the cereal box for Bobby to find, because he’d be a nightmare all day if he didn’t.
  • We were brothers, man, we were brothers and one of the things about being a brother is treating your sisters like shit.
  • Of course I would ride a unicorn, man.
  • There was nothing underneath Brent’s beard.
  • Just a void.
  • If you stared into it for more than a second, you’d wander around fucked-up for a week or so.
  • Number one rule to being a roadie is to wear a vest; after that, you know, you gotta set the equipment up and whatever.
  • I never saw TC naked, but he offered quite a bit.

 

Go check it out, unless you’re allergic to Reddit, which is an excellent choice.

Yo Soy Llama

Just say it, Your Holiness.

“I no-a wanna say it.”

Please? Just say it.

“I no-a wanna.”

Just one time.

“Taboot-a, taboot.”

Yay!

“No more-a dis.”

Yes, sir.

The Road In To Little Aleppo

There is only one way into Little Aleppo, except for all the other ways. There was the harbor to the west, obviously. One might, with the aid of an industrial boring machine, tunnel one’s way to the Main Drag. There was no airport, but there was a dedicated helipad at St. Agatha’s with the big H painted onto it. A mathematically incongruous number of blimps had crashed slowly and humorously into the neighborhood. Parachutists, too, but they were to a man set upon immediately on landing and robbed of their silk, and also their fancy goggles. If you were willing to put in the effort, and probably die along the way, you could get to Little Aleppo from the west, or from under it, or from above it.

But if you were in America, then the Segovian Hills were in the way. They were not hills–they were called that because English speakers prefer a certain rhythm to their phrases and “Segovian Hills” danced from your mouth while “Segovian Mountains” stuck in between your teeth like peanut butter–there were sheer drop-offs and boulder fields and droopy soil that would slip-slide you down a thousand feet in five seconds. There were seven. Lincoln, Faith, Fortitude, Chastity, Pulaski Peak, Charity, and Booth. Left to right if you’re standing in the neighborhood looking east. They were jammed together and their junctions just as dangerous as their summits, except for the saddleback pass between Mount Chastity and Pulaski Peak called Christy Canyon.

Before there was a road, there was a trail bushwhacked by a man named Furlong Christy in 1861. He had surveying equipment, and he took careful note of all his observations in great big notebooks carried by two semi-free black guys whose names no one bothered to write down. They also carried the surveying equipment. Furlong laid out the switchbacks necessary to keep the route from becoming too steep. Trees were uprooted, and sagebrush burned. The land was made more efficient for transit and commerce. Sometimes, Manifest Destiny meant telling mountains to go fuck themselves.

The Pulaski had been using the pass for hundreds of years to trade with the inland tribes, but they did not keep horses and had no wheeled vehicles and so they did not need a trail; they walked over using any number of routes depending on how late in the day it was or how much stuff they had to carry with them.

But the Whites had carriages and wagons and pullcarts and mules and horses, and those things requires a trail.

“What is that thing?”

“The device on the tripod he’s looking through?”

“Yeah.”

“It’s called a…well it’s called a <theodolite> but there’s nothing to translate that to. I saw one in a book once,” Talks To Whites said.

Cannot Swim tried to say theodolite, failed, got past it.

Furlong Christy’s team had crested the pass that morning and for a moment, miles away and in the sky, the men were silhouetted against the sun with their equipment and their notebooks. No one in the village saw them at first, but no one saw Here And There standing in the middle of everyone at first, either. She was barefoot, and her black hair streaked through with gray was loose, and she was the shaman. Physical maladies were treated by Tall As The Sky, who was the medicine man, but spiritual remedies only came from Here And There. She lived south of the village, and kept her own fire. Sometimes, she would disappear entirely for weeks at a time, and other times she would appear right the fuck next to you in the middle of the night. Here And There scared the shit out of the Pulaski. She pointed towards the White man and the Black men on the peak of the pass, and the tribe looked up and saw them, and then looked back and she wasn’t there anymore. Everyone truly hated when she pulled that bullshit.

The elders usually took to the Learning Fire to make decisions, but did not need to this time. Cracked Smile said,

“You two. Go up there and find out what’s happening.”

Cannot Swim and Talks To Whites shouldered rifles and marched off towards the hills. They passed the Reverend Busybody Tyndale on the way.

“You know what that is?” Talks To Whites asked.

“What are we looking at?”

“The men on the pass.”

Busybody squinted, tilted his head, squinted some more.

“Boys, my eyes are not what they once were.”

“Helpful as always, Preacher,” Talks To Whites said, and clapped the small man on the back, and the two Pulaski cousins continued east, and then upwards until they were about 300 yards to the north and downwind of the foreign men. They could smell tobacco. Cannot Swim had led them up, picking through the wooded thatch that covered the bottom half of what would later be named Mount Chastity. Neither man had been in the hills for several years; neither had ever wanted to go back.

A tree had fallen onto a boulder, creating a window, and tall grasses had grown within the window. It was a perfect hunting blind.

“What is he doing?”

“Like, measuring the land. How far away things are, how much higher or lower.”

“Why?”

“It’s a White thing. They need to know exactly how far places are from each other.”

“Really?”

“It’s like a fetish with them. Oh, and building. You have to do this before you build anything.”

“We built our kotchas, and we did not need to do whatever the hell this is.”

“Big stuff.”

“Like what?”

“We don’t have a word for it. <Bridges.>”

Cannot Swim turned to look at his cousin. He had been to the town that would one day grow into C—-a City once, and not for very long, and he did not wish to repeat the experience. He had only spoken to two Whites in his entire life; they may as well have been Martians.

“What is a…bidge? Budge?” He could not quite pronounce it. The hard R sound only comes at the beginning of words in Pulaski.

“<Bridge.> It goes over a big stream, which is called a <river>.”

“River,” Cannot Swim repeated. He could say that one. “How big of a stream?”

“Streams get fucking huge, dude. The ones that flow into the lake? Nothing compared to rivers. As wide as the whole valley.”

“Wow.”

“Yeah. And the <bridge> goes over that. They make them out of rocks or something.”

Cannot Swim kept an eye on the White man and the Black men. The device on the tripod seemed to require an inordinate amount of fiddling with. The White would adjust the dials, of which there were many of varying sizes, and peer into a little circle, and then adjust the dials again, and then he would shout at the Black men, who would pretend not to hear him, and he would shout again, and now they answered, and they brought him large notebooks that Cannot Swim could just about make out had drawings and sketches in it, along with small scribbles that he assumed were what Talks To Whites had said was called “writing.”

“Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why do they build these things?”

“So they can get over the river.”

“Why don’t they just live on one side of the river?”

“The Whites don’t live on one side of anything.”

The White man was yelling at the Black men again, and the two Pulaski were quiet. They were sitting cross-legged, and Cannot Swim pulled two peregrine leaves from his satchel. Handed one to his cousin. They both spat out the dried and flavorless leaves they had been chewing, rolled up the fresh leaves that were the size of a child’s hand and 13-pointed and waxy, and chewed anew.

“What’s he saying?”

“The White is calling the Blacks lazy.”

“But the Blacks are carrying everything.”

“It’s a long story.”

Cannot Swim’s tunic had a squatch embroidered on the front to honor his bravery during his Assignment, which was the Pulaski coming-of-age ceremony. He had been taken by one of the creatures, and had to fight his way out by himself. (And three other men with rifles and a pissed-off horse, but the tribe didn’t need to know all the details of his bravery.) Talks To Whites’ tunic had a half-dozen hummingbirds on it. He liked hummingbirds.

They watched the two Blacks talk with each other, motion towards the sun starting to droop in the west. They are ten yards off from the White, who was not paying attention; he was playing with his device. Now the Blacks speak to the White. The White hollers. The Blacks do not holler back, but they raise their voices and point at the sun.

“What’s happening?”

“The Blacks want to head down. They say it is getting late and they don’t want to be up here when it’s dark.”

“And what is the White saying?”

“He is calling them cowards.”

“But they’re absolutely right. It is dangerous up here at night.”

“Again, there is a lot of context and history going in between those two tribes that you just don’t get.”

The two Pulaski men sat there for only a few more minutes before the Blacks ceased talking to the White, turned their backs on him, and began ambling eastbound and down the pass. The White screamed after them, and then gathered up the black device on the wooden tripod in both of his arms, followed. Yelling all the way. When the cousins could no longer see their heads, they rose from behind their hide and walked west, into the sun and back home.

The Whites did not live in the mountains, which they named the Segovian Hills, for a long time after settling the valley, which they named Little Aleppo. Several men moved up there over the years, but they did not live up there for long, nor did they come back down. The Hausen Cabin is now a tourist attraction on Mount Fortitude. That was a family, and the neighborhood held out hope for a Tarzan, or perhaps Mowgli, type of situation; no sign of the child ever surfaced. Locals were angered by that one, focusing their rage not on the parents who brought a baby up into a mountain where monsters lived, but on the monsters. Hunting parties would coalesce in the taverns; rifles would be fetched; hills would be swarmed. But squatch are guerillas: you see them when they want you to see them, and usually that was the split-second before a humongous hand-paw shwopped your head off your shoulders. It was like fighting the Viet Cong, but if the Viet Cong were composed exclusively of Wookiees. No one made this observation, since it was 1889, but if you traveled back in time and explained the concepts of the Viet Cong and Wookiees to Little Aleppians, they would be all, “Yes. It is exactly like that. Did you really travel back in time just for this?”

The railroad could never defeat the barrier, not without multiple Hiroshimas worth of dynamite, and so for decades the only way in was the zig-zagging trail first surveyed by Furlong Christie. It cut brown back and forth up and then back down against the green. No grasses grew on the path, wildflowers and daffodils along the edges.  It was slow, but none of the vehicles of the time had brakes or a suspension, so it was advisable to go slow. There were drop-offs where you could see the bones of wagons that had tried to make good time; the bones of the men and horses had long been the vultures’ meal. Or the condor. California still had condor then, great stinking flocks of them. Travelers crossing the pass into Little Aleppo would use them for target practice.

August 9th, 1903, was an auspicious day for Christy Canyon, and for Little Aleppo: first car to make the crossing. It was a bet between two drunks in C—-a City, one of whom a State Senator, and therefore rich enough to afford an Oldsmobile. The car was called a Curved Dash, and it was mass-produced. Cadillac and Duryea and Jeffrey made cars before the Olds Curved Dash, but they were relics. Hand-kitted like a carriage. This Olds, though, was the future. Men becoming machines to produce machines! My God, America was something, wasn’t she? That’s what the State Senator would say to his constituents when he bought them beers. He’d lead the men from their taverns to look at the car.

It was a leather bench on top of a wooden platform, essentially, and that was on top of a cast-iron suspension that rode on four sickly wheels–so skinny you wanted to feed them–with wooden spokes. In 1903, it was still possible to get a splinter from your car. The engine was in the middle, under the seat, and it made 5 horsepower. Steering was via tiller, which us like a rudder, but drier. The brake was a lever: when pushed forward, it would apply a wooden block directly to the wheels. The State Senator called the handle the Baptizer.

“If you ain’t a Christian before you push the damn thing, you sure will be once you do. I had me a Hindoo fellow in here not two weeks ago. Let him drive. Second he laid his hand on the Baptizer there, he accepted Jesus Christ into his heart. Now ain’t that a thing? True story, fellas. Who wants another beer?”

“I don’t want no beer, Senator. I want a ride home!”

This was at a joint called Limpy’s in C—-a City. Sawdust on the floor, pickled eggs on the bar. Regulars could cash their checks there, and they were a solid voting bloc. Women weren’t allowed in. It was a 1903 kind of joint.

“Wait, I do want another beer, too. I want another beer and then a ride home.”

The men all laughed and the State Senator called out,

“Who said that?”

Billy McGlory was at the end of the bar, and his sleeves were rolled up over his thick forearms; heavy boots, and a flat cap pulled down lowish on his eyes. He finished his beer, wiped the foam from his prodigious mustache, turned around to face the State Senator.

“I’m your man.”

The State Senator called for a beer for Billy, and shook his hand and said,

“Where you live, son?”

Billy McGlory hated being called son.

“Right over the hill in good old Little Aleppo, sir.”

Now the State Senator stopped smiling, but just for an instant. He was well-practiced at smiling through anything; the man had once gladhanded through his own tonsillectomy.

“Unless your new toy can’t manage a wee incline.”

Limpy’s was watching. There was an equal sentiment towards the State Senator winding up the hero or the chump in this interplay. He did buy quite a few drinks, and hand out quite a few jobs. On the other hand, the money for the drinks came from the kickbacks he required for procuring the jobs.

The bartender put a fresh beer in front of Billy, and Billy laid a $50 next to it.

“I says your buggy won’t make it.”

The State Senator had the best teeth in the bar, and a silken necktie, and a wallet that did not fold and so was twice the size of modern models. He withdrew it from inside his maroon coat and took out a $50 and set it atop Billy’s.

“Finish your beer, son.”

Sound travels faster through steel than it does through air, but sound travels fastest through a bar. Limpy’s erupted. A bet! It was 1903: there was no radio, no teevee, no internet. There were Mark Twain’s novels, the Bible, the morning paper, or you could drink. The past was far more boring than we’ve been led to believe, so when something actually happened, people went bugshit. Side wagers sprouted, and then wagers about the wagers–meta-wagers–branched off from these; the gambling became fractalized , and a fellow named Lonesome Jimmy became so over-excited that he ran straight into a wall, shit himself, died.

A crowd gathered, kibbitzed, judged each other’s clothing, tipped their hats, obviously there was more betting, street vendors picked off the hungry and impulsive, men ignored the exposed titties of the whores to sneak a peak at dignified ladies’ ankles, rootless preachers heckled Satan, more cigars and pipes than cigarettes, hats hats hats hats so many fucking hats, the Sheriff was so tall, and the State Senator was tall, too, but Billy McGlory was not–5’4″ or thereabouts–so he had to hop up into the Olds.

“What’s the time?” the State Senator cried out.

Someone shouted that it was just after one o’clock, and the sun’s nearness to the hills backed that up. He cranked the z-shaped lever at the front of the machine once, twice and BANGPOPOPOP the engine caught and rumbled, and now the State Senator is in the driver’s seat and he shouts,

“Who’s got a gun?”

And everyone does, and they fire into the air to mark the beginning of the journey; the State Senator shifts one of the levers–there are three in front of him–all the way forward and the car lurches ten inches and goes HOCKPLUH and the State Senator says,

“Tricky to get into first.”

He shifts the lever, which is wooden, forward again. Slower, and with his right hand turns the dial controlling the choke, and HOCKPLUH ten more inches.

“Y’know what? Fuck it: we’ll pop start it. Everybody! Push!”

Everybody pushes and once the car hits around five miles an hour the gear catches and there is a sound like THROPTHROPTHROPVRRRRRRRREEEEE and the Olds Curved Dash is pulling away at what is, even given the year, not a particularly swift pace. Now there is more gunfire, this time in celebration. The two men yell at pedestrians to disinhabit their path; they make it to very nearly 20 miles per hour by the time they leave C—-a City.

It was almost dark by the time the two hit Little Aleppo. The front wheels had lost their rubber entirely, and one of the rear suspension leaves had collapsed; both men had needed to piss in the radiator; a horse, spooked, had thrown itself off an embankment at their presence. Coming up, Billy had leapt down from the seat–the load needed lightening–and he almost rolled under the contraption and then caught her up–the Curved Dash was making just about a walking pace–and then he hopped back up for the descent, the application of the braking mechanism during which causing a small fire in said braking mechanism that both men needed to piss out.

But they lived. August 9th, 1903. First car over the mountains.

“There was something about a bet?”

“That there was, Senator.”

Billy McGlory handed the State Senator a banknote as they puttered towards the Main Drag. Locals cheered them on from the sidewalks, and kids tumbled out of doorways to gaze in wild wonder. The car was filthy, and so were the men.

“Is there a hotel in this neighborhood?”

“Couple of ’em.”

“Are any not completely disgusting?”

“One of ’em.

Dogs ran alongside the Olds. The automobile was an outside-context problem for a dog. It had not heard stories about rich people buying horseless carriages, nor seen pictures in Collier’s magazine. The dog could not intuit that this was merely a horseless carriage, because dogs have no innate sense of technological evolution. The universe is as it is, and them WHAMMO and holy shit that is an entirely new thing. With new smells and new sounds, and maybe I can eat it? The dogs nipped at the tires. No, I cannot eat it. What it is, I cannot tell you. I will bark at it. The dogs barked at it. The car did not respond. I will bark louder at it.

The cats of the neighborhood showed no obvious interest.

“The Norwegian’s a real swanky place. Every room’s got its own toilet.”

“You don’t say.”

“They got carpets and everythin’. It’s like you died and went to heaven.”

“Point the way, son.”

Billy smiled.

“You can’t go like that. Neither of us can. We’re covered in half the fuckin’ hills and two tons of horseshit. We could do a minstrel show.”

The Olds, having no windshield, kept none of the dirt of the trail from them; the muck had coated their clothes, and made their faces so dirty that they resembled blackface performers.

“And you know the Norwegian ain’t lettin’ that type in.”

“It’s segregated?”

“No, they don’t admit actors.”

“Standards are everything.”

“We’re gonna stop at my house, wash up. My ma’ll brush up your clothes and my da’ll get us both drunk. Then, to the hotel.”

The State Senator could not argue with this plan, so he followed Billy’s route to a brick two-story on Moran Street. It was like Dublin exploded outwards when they pulled up: redheads girls appeared from the windows, and pale men who did not talk about their emotions from the door; good God, the State Senator thought. There weren’t enough potatoes in the world to feed them.

“Clarke.”

“Mm?”

“You spell it with an E, right?”

“Yes. C-L-A-R-K-E,” State Senator Clarke said.

“Thought so. My ma’ll probably want to write it down. She takes pictures, and she writes down all the names and whatnot. It’s like she’s gatherin’ intelligence or somethin’. Mothers, right? Come on in!”

Billy usually gets the credit for stealing the first car in Little Aleppo’s history, but technically it was Liam. Having no idea how to start the Olds, he simply hitched it to a horse and rolled it away in front of every inhabitant of Moran Street, none of whom saw anything. State Senator Clarke never made it to the Norwegian, and when he woke up with a monstrous headache the next morning in the Verdance, he found that the $50 he had won was gone, and also the rest of his money and shoes.

“We could shoot them.”

“Maybe we should try other options first.”

“Sure, yeah. But I’m just saying that shooting them is on the table,” Cannot Swim said.

“I just don’t know if that’s going to produce the desired result.”

Talks To Whites threw another blackberry into his mouth. The cousins had come upon a tree heavy with ripe bunches of the tiny, sweet fruits and they had both snatched handfuls to put in their satchels. They ate them like popcorn as they came out of the rolling, gentle foothills of the mountains. The sun had just set, but it was light out still. It was the time of day that fireflies call home.

Both men had filled out since they were teenagers, even though neither had been a teenager because the concept did not exist in the Pulaski culture. Cannot Swim was taller and wider than Talks To Whites.

“We need to find out what they’re doing.”

“What they’re doing is building one of those things you talked about.”

“A bridge.”

“Yes. That. However the fuck you pronounce it. Their language is an insult to my ears.”

“You’ve mentioned.”

“They’re building one. Across the mountains. You said it yourself. They want to live on both sides of the river.”

“They won’t want to live here. Why here?”

Cannot Swim did not look at his cousin. as they walked side-by-side across the grassy outlands that surrounded their village. Their satchels bounced against their hips.

“You affection for them makes you stupid.”

“Fuck you.”

“You buy the rifles for the tribe.”

“Yes.”

“With what? What do you use to buy the rifles.”

Talks To Whites’ stride did not break, and he nodded. Threw a blackberry in his mouth.

“Real early tomorrow, we should get everyone to go to the streams and pick out all the gold and hide it.”

“Gosh, y’think?”

They did not speak the rest of the trip. It was the time of the fireflies.

President Trump Examines His Military Options

INT. OVAL OFFICE – RIGHT AFTER FOX & FRIENDS

“Lemme see hands. We’re gonna vote, even though I’m the President of all the people, even the blacks. We’ll vote, but maybe I’ll just do what I want. Who knows? We could do voting, we could do my idea, we’ll see. Okay, voting. All in favor? Opposed? Beautiful, wonderful, the ayes have it. We’re getting cheese in the crust. General?”

“Yes, sir?”

“Where’s my General?”

“You’re literally making eye contact with me, Mr. President.”

“General?”

“Sweet Jesus, take me now.”

“General! There you are. I thought the Deep State got you. General, make the call. Cheese in the crust, which was my idea. I called up the CEO of Pizza Hut, told him, he did it. Millions. Millions, this guy made from jamming cheese in the crust. I told him to do it. Great guy. You should see his yacht. Call for the pizza, General.”

“We’ll get to the pizza, sir. But, once again, who are these people in the Oval Office?”

“Good friends of mine from Mar-A-Lago. It’s a membership perk for the real winners. Unlimited cocktail shrimp, plus you hang out with me for the day. Watch the greatest president in US history from up close. In many ways, these spectacular people are the real historians of our age. Great, great, wonderful folks. Some of ’em don’t speak English, but they’re rich, so it’s okay.”

“Have they been vetted?”

“Vetted, shmetted.”

“Holy God.”

“Are we doing the God bit now? Let us pray.”

OVAL OFFICE FULL OF RICH PEOPLE BOWING THEIR HEADS NOISE

“No, we’re not doing the God bit, sir.”

“I pray very well. The Pope told me that. Better than him, that’s what he said.”

“Sir, we have a meeting scheduled with–”

“You hear that, everybody? Meeting! Very exciting, wonderful, okay, great.”

“–General Mattis to discuss…sir, it’s top secret. We need to get the civilians out of the room.”

“You heard the General, folks. Sorry. Let’s go. C’mon, I’m gonna show you the Lincoln Bedroom.”

“Not you, sir. You’re not a civilian anymore.”

“I knew that. I was testing you, and you passed, unlike the slimy James Comey, who didn’t even see my hands. I never showed him my hands, not once, and in fact never met him in person, so his book must be fake news. Excellent work, General.”

“Okay, out.”

RICH PEOPLE EXITING OVAL OFFICE NOISE

“Very forceful. Strong. You’re the best general, General. Can I promote you?”

“No, sir. I retired from the Army, so–”

“You’re promoted. Bing bong. Done, there you go. You’re not just a general, you’re a major general.”

“That would actually be a demotion, sir.”

“Bing bong.”

“Whatever. Listen, Mattis is here.”

“Ooh, great. General sandwich. All my generals in one place, and I have the best generals that anyone has ever seen. They’re all tall, really sharp. The best generals.”

“Yes, sir.”

KNOCK KNOCK

“Oh, here he is.”

“Is that the pizza?”

TALL MAN OPENING THE DOOR FOR ANOTHER TALL MAN NOISE

“John.”

“Jim.”

“How’s he today?”

“He’s a gibbering fucktard incapable of even the most basic thought.”

“So, the usual?”

“Yup.”

“He’s gonna call me Mad Dog, isn’t he?”

“Yup.”

“You want a xan?”

“Yup.”

TALL MAN GIVING ANOTHER TALL MAN A XAN NOISE

“Muchas Garcias, brother.”

“Where you headed to?”

“Gonna get shitty in the Treaty Room. Got a bottle of Cuervo stashed in there.”

“Save some for me. Gonna need some when I get through with Momma’s Special Angel.”

“Mad Dog!”

“Fuck, he saw me.”

“Courage.”

TALL MAN WITH A RUINED REPUTATION SLINKING OFF TO THE TREATY ROOM TO GET SHITTY NOISE

“Mr. President.”

“Mad Dog! Where’s my Mad Dog?”

“Standing in front of your desk, sir.”

“Mad Dog?”

“Not out the window.”

“Dog? Mad Dog?”

“I don’t know why you’d look in the wastepaper basket, sir. I’m clearly not in there.”

“General Mad Dog?”

“Now you’re just staring at the ceiling. Right here, sir.”

“Mad Dog! There’s my dog! What’s up, dog? The blacks say that all the time, and then they make the rap gestures. What’s up, dog. You ever meet Ludacris?”

“I haven’t, sir.”

“Good business mind. You know, for what he is.”

“Sir, I’m here to talk to you about the situation in Syria.”

“Add more milk.”

“Not cereal, sir. Syria.”

“Very bad. Obama started that war. Personally. May have also been born there. He kind of looks Syrian, right? Many people who know Syrians have told me that Obama is definitely a Syrian, and these are real smart people. Winners, sharks, my very good friends. Obama was Syrian.”

“Uh-huh, yeah. Sir, we have a plan ready for your approval to bomb selected sites within Damascus that we believe may be key to the chemical weapon program.”

“They can’t do chemical. This is what everyone who knows anything says. Shooting? Bing bang bang? Sure, go ahead, shoot your guns, whatever. Sometimes these things happen. Bing bang. But chemical? No, not chemical. Very, very bad. Chemical. It’s a big deal.”

“Yes, sir. Now, there may be blowback from the elements backing Assad.”

“Fuck ’em. Bomb!”

“Such as Iran.”

“Fuck ’em. Bomb! Bomb, bomb, bomb.”

“And Russia.”

“Excuse me?”

“Russia is backing Assad.”

“Fake news.”

“No, sir. Everyone on the planet knows this information.”

“Maybe we should wait. Two weeks, kick it around. Maybe we should see what Hope thinks. Hope!”

“She quit two weeks ago, sir.”

“Hopester!”

“She is in a different state, sir.”

“Hopey!”

“For fuck’s sake.”

“She’s probably in the bathroom. Amazing control on that girl. She goes when she wants to. Holds it in for days. It’s a miracle.”

“Sir, the conflict with the Russians might be ameliorated by, through back channels, alerting them to pull their troops from the sites we intend to destroy.”

“Good idea.”

CELL PHONE DIALING NOISE

“That better not be who I think it is.”

“Mr. President!”

“Da. Is Putin. Hello, The Donald.”

“You gotta be fucking kidding me.”

“President Putin, everything in America is going so, so, so beautifully. The jobs, everything. Trade deals are being made, but I get no credit for at all, but America is winning again and it’s a real compliment to me. How’s the weather in Moscow?”

“Is snowing.”

“Great, snow, the skiing, gloves, wonderful. Listen, Mr. President, we’re gonna shoot some rockets at Syria in a little bit. Maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow, who knows? Anyway, your men should duck out of the way.”

“Vhere vill you shoot these rockets?”

“Syria.”

“Is big country. Vhere exactly?”

“You ask the best questions. I got no idea. I’m the big picture guy. All the details, I leave to my staff. Hold on, let me put the Mad Dog on. He can tell you the locations.”

“Holy shit, do not put me on the phone with fucking Putin.”

CALL WAITING NOISE

“Mr. President, we’re gonna call you right back. My pizza’s at the front gate.”

“Vith cheese in crust?”

“Bing bong.”

Who Says A Basic Bitch Can’t Play The Funk Music?

We’ve found it, Enthusiasts. The 800-pound gorilla of Sincere Acoustic Covers; the silverback that turned Dian Fossey into a woman; an ape whose cape King Kong wouldn’t tug upon. We have ourselves a winner, folks, and yes the song is not truly all acoustic, but it does have whiteness in spades, and whiteness is truly the most necessary component of the SAC.

Is it breathy? Oh, it is breathy.
Is it slow? Slower than a dead turtle.
Are there banjos? Fetch Granny her girdle, thar be banjos.
And does Taylor mean it? She means it, maaaaaan.

I don’t mean to sound overly dramatic, but this is the worst thing that’s ever happened to black people. I am including slavery and that time the Urkelbot ran amok in Indianapolis. They are owed reparations for this bullshit here; the song may in fact be a hate crime.

But I don’t hate you. Cleanse your palate with funk:

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