Thoughts On The Dead

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

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Hamilton: The Dialogue

“He is a varlet!”

“Yes, yes.”

“A rank scoundrel bound neither by convention nor morality!”

“I know, but it’s all you talk about, Hammy.”

“Don’t call me that.”

“I just want to discuss something other than politics. Just for a little bit.”

“Easy for you to say. I’ve ne’er heard a statement more imbued with white privilege, General Washington.”

“White privilege? Have you been talking to Martin Luther King Bust again?”

“He’s a powerful speaker.”

“He is a divisive race-baiter.”

“I heard that, you tree-mouthed motherfucker.”

“I meant you to, Dreamy.”

“General Washington, the man is a cad and a bounder.”

“So was my brother Billy.”

“Your brother was named Billy?”

“He made beer.”

“We’re off the point. This miscreant means to bring down what we strove and fought to bring about. He shall be the end of the republic.”

“You have a very Chicken Little attitude towards life.”

“And you, sir, are like Pliny’s ostrich. Head buried in the sand.”

“How dare you?”

“I dare!”

“Then we shall duel!”

“Dude, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to say–”

“WHY DID YOU SAY ‘DUEL?'”

“I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”

“IT’S A SENSITIVE FUCKING ISSUE, MAN!”

“You’re right, Al. You’re right. My bad, my dude. All on me. My bad.”

“I’m hyperventilating.”

“Breathe. Just breathe.”

“I need a paper bag.”

“Well, we’re portraits. So you can’t have one.”

“Just gimme a sec.”

“Take as much time as you need.”

“You really are a rotten asshole, you slaver motherfucker.”

“FUCK YOU, MARTY! No one asked your opinion!”

“From the piney woods of Georgia to the mighty redwoods of California; from the desert to the sea; from the lunch counters of Alabama to the auction blocks of New Orleans: one of these days, I’m going to beat your ass, George.”

“You call me General Washington, damn you!”

“Right after you suck on my nuts.”

“George Washington sucks on no nuts!”

“Big black free nuts, buddy. Take out your teeth and open wide.”

“Gentlemen! Stop fighting! We must put aside our petty differences and solve the problem to hand. For providence’s sake, he’s even brought streetwalkers into the Oval Office.”

“I think that’s his wife.”

“You’re shitting me.”

“I cannot tell a lie.”

“Nice.”

“Right?”

“She looks like a off-brand Barbie doll left in the car on a hot day.”

“Regardless. She is the First Lady.”

“Worst lady.”

“You know, Hammy–”

“Don’t call me that.”

“–I’m beginning to think that there is nothing this man can do right in your eyes.”

“You should have been thinking that for some time now, General. He has proven foul in every possible way. Why are you defending him? He belongs to a political party and loves foreign entanglements. He’s everything you despise.”

“Not everything.”

“What? What, then, is the attribute of this homunculus that you admire?”

“Well. You know.”

“No.”

“You knooooooow.”

“I truly do not.”

“I don’t want to say in front of Martin Luther King Bust.”

‘I KNOW WHAT YOU LIKE ABOUT HIM, MOTHERFUCKER!”

“I hate the both of you and wish I were out in the hall with Clinton Portrait and Kennedy Portrait.”

“I’ve heard they throw some good parties.”

Harvey And Bob

It’s like your head is voting Republican, but your feet forgot that it was Election Day again.

“Well, you know, it’s like Walt Whitman said: I’m gonna shoot all of you from this tower.”

That was Charles Whitman.

“They were cousins.”

Don’t think so. So, Bobby, you been following the news about Harvey Weinstein?

“The guy who wrote Leaves of Grass?”

That was Walt Whitman.

“That is one accomplished family.”

No, Bobby. None of the people I’ve mentioned are related. Harvey Weinstein. The movie producer who enjoys rape.

“You’ll need to be far more specific.”

The fat, ugly one.

“You could still be talking about, like, a million guys.”

The Jewish one.

“Really?”

Okay, that wasn’t a help. Him and his brother Bob used to be concert promoters in Buffalo.

“THAT asshole?’

Ah. You remember him.

“Every time we went to Buffalo, man. Same shit from that guy. He’d tell me how pretty my hair looked.”

You did have pretty hair.

“Sure, yeah. But he was, uh, masturbating while he said it.”

Ew.

“He was always trying to get me to watch him shower. Told me that if I did, he could make me a rock star.”

You were and are a rock star, Bobby.

“No, like, a real one. He was gonna get me an audition for the Eagles.”

Ew.

“Finally, I just said ‘fuck it’ and told him to get in the shower and lather up.”

You watched Harvey Weinstein shower?

“No. You know Mickey’s duffel bag full of furious raccoons?”

Nice work.

“Yup. Parish nailed the door shut, too. Betty recorded the whole thing. We used to play the tape at parties.”

Proud of you, Bobby.

“Raccoons did most of the work.”

True.

I’m Gonna Sing A Song For You

This is the past. This is the era we are no longer in, the Post-War era; that’s all over with. The men are dead, and the women are dead, and so are their tools. Ink and telephones and typewriters. Those things are for fetishists now. Guitars, too, maybe. Guitars speak in Base-6, but the culture only recognizes Base-2 lately.

This is the past. Cars required regular maintenance and could not drive themselves, not one little bit. Seatbelts were an option, and you had to pay extra for them. You could buy airplane tickets in cash without identification. There was one phone company in all of America. It was called Ma Bell. I’m sure some realized how creepy that was, but not most. Big cities had six or seven newspapers, and some would publish in the afternoons so the men leaving their offices had something to read on the train back to Levittown. If you wanted to deposit a check or take out money, you went to the bank. The bank was closed. The bank was open for an hour a day in the past.

This is the past. Little boys wore shorts and sported crewcuts. Girls wore pigtails and learned to make goulash; the Hungarian ones did, at least. Bees were everywhere. At night, the villages would dance and burn creosote and then the mass lickings began. The sun was left-handed. The national pastime was sissyfighting. Erosion had not yet scrubbed the presidents’ dicks from Mount Rushmore. Shampoo was free.

Excuse me.

Oklahoma was where Belgium should have been, but not vice-versa.

Stop this immediately.

What did I do?

It got weird.

It did. The past was very weird.

You started making things up.

No. I am a journalist.

Tell the nice people about the website.

Sure. The Smithsonian (la-dee-dah) has thrown up a new crowd-sourced rock photo site. Go check it out.

That was it? 

Eh. It’s kind of shitty to navigate and they make it a pain-in-the-ass to steal the pictures.

You’re mad at an organization for attempting to protect its intellectual property?

Yes.

As long as we’re clear.

A Statement From Ben Affleck

“Good morning, everyone. Go Sox. I’m glad you’re all here. I have a prepared statement to read, and then I won’t be taking any questions.

“I am saddened and angry that a man who I worked with used his position of power to intimidate, sexually harass and manipulate many women over decades. The additional allegations of assault that I read this morning made me sick. This is completely unacceptable, and I find myself asking what I can do to make sure this doesn’t happen to others. We need to do better at protecting our sisters, friends, co-workers and daughters. We must support those who come forward, condemn this type of behavior when we see it and help ensure there are more women in positions of power.

“Thank you. That was my statem–”

CELL PHONE NOTIFICATION NOISE

“Ah. Right. I would, uh, also like to apologize to the reporter on MTV whose tit I grabbed, We all need to do better at protecting our sisters, friends, co-workers, and daughters from people like me. It was a shameful action, but may I add that I did not have any knowledge of Harvey Weinstein’s many, many crimes while I was grabbing that chick’s tit.

CELL PHONE NOTIFICATION NOISE

“Huh. Further, I would like to extend my deepest apologies to the reporter on Telemundo. It was wrong of me to spend the entire interview discussing your breasts. That was sexist, and I can do better. Also, referring to them as “caliente cha-chas” was at least a little bit racist, and so I apologize for that, too.”

CELL PHONE NOTIFICATION NOISE

“Goddammit, I forgot about that one. I sincerely regret making that waitress at The Ivy play ‘Tune In, Tokyo’ with me. I mean: that chick was totally into me, but I regret it and we need to promote women into positions of power.

“Let’s note, though, that Harvey Weinstein was not present at that meal, and–again–I had no knowledge of his terrible deeds.”

CELL PHONE NOTIFICATION NOISE

“Well, look at that. There is apparently video of me asking Harvey to tell me some of his funny rape stories. Was not expecting that. This alleged video makes me sick. Daughter daughter daughter.

“Anyway, folks: we all good? I have made my statement and now I’m gonna go back to being Batman.”

CELL PHONE NOTIFICATION NOISE

“I have been informed my brother is in the back of the room masturbating at interns.”

“YO, BENNY! I’M FACKIN’ JERKIN’ IT!”

“Goddamn it.”

“GONNA CUM WICKED HAHD!”

“Go Sox.”

Buffalo Gal

Are you caressing Stu Allen?

“It’s his hand, jackass.”

Ah. I see it.

“Good for you.”

Hey, wasn’t Harvey Weinstein a concert promoter back in the day? You guys ever run into him?

“A bunch. Him and that asshole brother of his ran Buffalo in the 70’s. Always something funny with the receipts with those two. Christ, I can still see his face. Like a fat pineapple. Looked like a Jewish Noriega.”

Not an attractive man.

“One of those strategic temper tantrum guys. Would scream at the top of his lungs about nothing, then get real quiet and charming. Well, you know. ‘Charming.’ Jackass.”

How’d you deal with it?

“Laughed at him. He was no Bill Graham.”

He was awful big, though.

“So was our crew. I’ll tell you a story. He tried that massage shit on Mrs. Donna Jean in ’77.”

That motherFUCKer!

“Yeah. She would get her own little room so she could get dressed. Keith was in there, but he had passed out.”

Shocker.

“So, big boy charges in there and starts demanding a massage. And, you know, Mrs. Donna Jean’s a Southern girl, and they’re real polite up to a point.”

Up to a point.

“And that point was him taking his dick out.”

Bro, I’m steaming mad here.

“Story gets better.”

Does she say something clever and hurt his feelings?

“Fuck, no. Grabbed his cock and sunk her nails into the shaft real hard.”

Awesome.

“Then she pulls him into the dressing room where we’re all hanging out and announces, ‘Boys, this venue got itself a cockroach problem!'”

I love Mrs. Donna Jean.

“She had her moments.”

Are you sure you’re not caressing Stu Allen?

“Go away.”

Okay.

What Are We Gonna Do Now?

Taking off his turban, they said, is this man a Jew?
‘Cause they’re working for the clampdown
They put up a poster saying we earn more than you!
When we’re working for the clampdown
We will teach our twisted speech
To the young believers
We will train our blue-eyed men
To be young believers

The judge said five to ten-but I say double that again
I’m not working for the clampdown
No man born with a living soul
Can be working for the clampdown
Kick over the wall ’cause government’s to fall
How can you refuse it?
Let fury have the hour, anger can be power
D’you know that you can use it?

The voices in your head are calling
Stop wasting your time, there’s nothing coming
Only a fool would think someone could save you
The men at the factory are old and cunning
You don’t owe nothing, so boy get runnin’
It’s the best years of your life they want to steal

You grow up and you calm down
You’re working for the clampdown
You start wearing the blue and brown
You’re working for the clampdown
So you got someone to boss around
It makes you feel big now
You drift until you brutalize
Make your first kill now

In these days of evil Presidentes
Working for the clampdown
But lately one or two has fully paid their due
For working for the clampdown
Ha! Gitalong! Gitalong! (working for the clampdown)
Ha! Gitalong! Gitalong! (working for the clampdown)

Yeah I’m working in Harrisburg
Working hard in Petersburg (working for the clampdown, working for the clampdown)
Ha! Gitalong! Gitalong!
Beggin’ to be melted down

And I’ll give away no secrets

Joe Strummer. Our only decent teacher?

Cats And Dogs In Little Aleppo

Emergency and Kischka were not getting along. The Reverend Arcade Jones had bought Emergency as a puppy from a motel proprietor in Jeremiad Springs. Fifty bucks. Reverend thought it was the best fifty bucks he ever spent, especially because it was the church’s money and no one ever asked him for reimbursement. He was a tiny little quivering thing, but so damned friendly. Fit right in Arcade’s ample palm. Puppies grow up quick, and Emergency was just about full-grown now. He was dog-sized. Some dogs are as big as horses, or small as rats; Emergency was the size of a dog. He had a short coat that was rust-colored in some lights, dirty-blond in others. Floppity ears, and he did not loll his mouth open with his tongue draped out when he walked around, instead jutting his bottom lip up like he was contemplating a big purchase. Emergency was a thoughtful looking dog, unless he was gnawing on his own leg. It is difficult to look thoughtful while gnawing on your own leg.

The Reverend was getting along just fine with Emergency. They were inseparable except for in the actual church part of the First Church of the Infinite Christ. Can’t have dogs wandering around during the service, the Reverend thought. He didn’t know whether that was hippie bullshit or white people bullshit, but there were not gonna be any dogs roaming about while he was giving his sermon. Emergency stayed in the offices, and upstairs in Arcade’s apartment under the belfry. (The belfry contains the church’s bell, which is named the Calling Judge and is ten feet in diameter. It begins its hourly duties at 8 am, but Arcade is always downstairs and into his day by then. Emergency tried to sleep in one time; the Reverend warned him. When the bell tolled, the dog shot five feet straight into the air and down the stairs and he was whimpering under Arcade’s feet for the rest of the day. Emergency was an early-riser after that.)

There was as much training as there was spoiling, and Emergency was a spoiled animal. Congregants bought toys for him, and the Reverend taught him to put them all in his box at the end of the day. Locals stopped to fawn over him on the Main Drag, and the Reverend taught him to shake hands like a gentleman. Unless it was raining, they walked to the Verdance every day with a chewed-up Nerf football. Emergency only knew one pattern, the fly, but he ran it like a Hall-of-Famer: Arcade would boom HUTHUTHIKE and he would go shooting across the grass of the Grand Lawn, looking back over his shoulder every ten paces; the Reverend would take a five-step drop and SAAAAAAAIL that gnawed ball high and arcing towards where the dog might be, and he always was; he would twist around 360 in the air while still going forward and not lose a step with the ball now in his mouth and then he would make a sharp corner back to where the Reverend was and give the ball back and his ass would quiver until he heard that magic sound HUTHUTHIKE and off once more. The Reverend was considering teaching Emergency how to run a buttonhook.

Heel was the best one. Sit was important, and down was vital, but heel was the best command there was. Heel meant “Walk with me.” Partner up. Arcade had one of those leashes with the long, retractable leads and all he had to do was say “Heel!” and Emergency would be there under his right hand, matching his pace. The dog picked up commands quickly, and Arcade knew that he no longer needed to praise her for heeling, but he did anyway. Arcade liked telling him he was a good dog.

And he was. Emergency was not just a good dog, but a very good dog. Yes, he was; yes, he was. He chewed up only that which was designated as chewable, and he pooped outdoors every single time. (Except every 18 days, when it rained. Emergency would not leave the church when it rained even a tiny little bit. The Reverend tried carrying him out a couple times, but the dog went limp or spazzed out of his grasp or whined or any number of dog tricks; Arcade was wise enough to pick his battles, and just laid out newspaper after that.) He was gentle around babies, and tolerant around children, and boisterous around teenagers, and patient around old folks. Emergency was a good dog.

So he did not understand what he had done to deserve Kischka’s presence.

She was a mackerel tabby. Striped like a tiger, but gray and black instead of orange, and black fur in the shape of an M on her forehead between her eyes. Earnest Hubbs rescued her from the Hotel Synod as a kitten. His guy was in Room 312, which is the back. Enter through the glass doors on Clarke Street and nod to Frankie Teakettle behind the front desk and up two flights of steps–the elevators in the Synod were disloyal and worrisome–and down the hall to his guy. It was a regular appointment. Earnest Hubbs bought dope like Europeans buy groceries: just enough for the night. Friendly knock. Tap tap TAP tap. His guy took care of him. Buy four, get the fifth free. Fresh points. Addicts can trace their life through their guys. This one was all right, Earnest thought. Nice enough, but about business. Didn’t make you sit there and talk to him if you didn’t want to. He bought four bags, with the fifth free, and took three clean needles and thanked his guy and out the door and down the hall back to the stairs.

“Hello.”

Earnest had not seen the open door to his left. There was a woman with a shaved head and leather boots. She was holding a tiny kitten, a tabby.

“Hey,” Earnest said.

“I’m gonna kill this. This little fucker. I’m gonna kill it.”

The woman had tan eyes. Color of khaki, wheat, sand. A sharp nose and a kitten in her hand.

“Don’t do that.”

“Gonna.”

“Why?”

“We’re past ‘why?’ We’re so far past that.”

There were seven or eight people in the room behind the woman, as Earnest could count. They were engaged in acts. The kitten was barely weaned, and still had sleepy and trusting eyes. It yawned. Tiny fangs flashed.

“Gonna kill the little fucker,” the woman said, and she smiled.

Earnest shot his hand out and snatched up the kitten by its scruff before she could move, and then the animal was cradled against his chest and he stared in the woman’s tan eyes.

“Yeah, fuck you. Go back to your fucking devil orgy.”

She did; the door shut. The hallway of the Hotel Synod was quiet, and shabby. Earnest could hear typing coming from behind the door of the corner suite. He walked down the raggedy carpet to the stairs, and out of the lobby onto Clarke Street, and north on the Main Drag, and west onto Rose Street and down the stairs to his basement apartment in the synagogue of Torah, Torah, Torah where he was the handyman; he fixed, and then he had a cat. She (Earnest had looked) did not seem bothered by her travails. She was, in fact, dead asleep on his pillow. If a person had done that, Earnest would have stabbed their ass, but he just sat in his chair and stared and cooed.

“Kischka. You gonna be called Kischka,” he said to the napping kitty. Earnest liked Jew food. Rabbi Levy had told him not to call it “Jew food” in public, and so he didn’t, but he still thought of it as Jew food. Pastrami and tongue and kippered salmon. Challah bread slathered in spicy purple horseradish. Kugel and knishes and kasha varnishkas. Kreplach. And kischka, too. Rabbi Levy asked him why he named the cat Kischka.

“Love me some kischka,” Earnest answered.

And he loved him some Kischka. She had free reign in the temple. The first pew got direct sun in the morning, and she would stretch out on the dark-blue padding and snooze. In the afternoons, the light came into the rabbi’s office, and she would nap in there while he prepared his sermon or argued with his brother-in-law. Kischka avoided the Hebrew School classes and services. Once a day, she patrolled the front yard in between the synagogue and Rose Street. There were neatly-maintained bushes and two lemon trees, one on either side of the path leading to the door. She sniffed at them, marked them, clawed them. They were her trees. Once in a while, she’d kill a wren. She would bring it inside for Earnest. He was terrible at catching wrens; she had never seen him do it once. Kischka had her synagogue and her yard and her trees.

And then she didn’t.

Moving can be traumatic for people, but it’s catastrophic for cats. Kischka had just got Torah, Torah, Torah smelling the way she wanted it to when the building burned down. It was the only home she’d ever known, and now she was cast out into the wilderness. Ostracized like Themistocles, Kischka did not think because she was a cat. That her new home in the First Church of the Infinite Christ was right down the street–you could see the ruins of the temple from the church’s front yard–did not matter. Cats have different senses of geography than humans. There is home, and then there is the void. Kischka spent the first four days in his new digs hiding under Earnest’s dresser.

(Believers from up and down Rose Street donated to Earnest Hubbs after the fire. New furniture and clothes. Several broadswords, for some reason.)

When Kischka finally emerged, she was pissed. This is not, she thought, my beautiful house. From the apartment, she padded into the basement proper, where there were chairs and tables and an old rickety piano. 12-step literature on the walls, which Kischka did not read; she was not a drinker. Absolutely nothing smelled the way it should. There was, however, a mouse. She took out her frustrations on it for far longer than was necessary. Naive liberals often castigate their own kind by saying that humans are the only animal to be willfully cruel; they had never watched Kischka with a mouse. She let it almost escape time and time again. When she got bored, she slammed it on the linoleum with her paw, sank her fangs into its neck, pulled. She ripped the mouse open and ate its liver and lungs, left the bloody rest laying there.

Up the stairs. Her tail pointed down to make herself a smaller visible target, and her head was snaking low. Full pupils to take in everything. A large room with a high ceiling, just like in the synagogue, but different. Raised platform on one side, pews in the middle. Same as the synagogue, mostly. Color scheme was all wrong. Some sort of statue of a man with his arms out floating above the stage. Kischka did not recognize him. She sniffed at a pew and did not smell any other cats, so she rubbed herself along the edge and then it was hers. The pew behind it, and the one behind that. It took Kischka around an hour to make the church hers. Naturally, this exhausted her and she lay down under the statue of the floating man that she did not recognize and slept.

“Hrroooooooo. Hrrroooooooo.”

“Why are you whining, Goofydog?”

The Reverend Arcade Jones sometimes called Emergency “Goofydog.” Other names the Reverend called him were Handsome Man and Mookie and Spaz and Sweetie Sweetums and Jerry Rice. (When Emergency made a particularly good snag when they were playing catch, the Reverend called him Jerry Rice. Emergency liked it when he got called that. It meant he did something good, and he liked to be good.)

“Hrroooooo.”

“What?”

Emergency did not know how Arcade could not smell that. An odd, unwelcome, and new scent. From the place he was not supposed to go. It was a small and prickly smell, and–most importantly–it was a smell that was not supposed to be there, An interloping smell. It was so strong! How can he not smell this? the dog asked himself. It was one of those things, Emergency thought. He had seen them in windows when they went on walks through the neighborhood. Or on front yards for a second before they went diving into bushes and under porches. Kinda dog-shaped, but not? You know: those things. Jesus, man, can you really not smell that fucker?

“Hrrrrrooooooooooooo.”

“Go! Out! If you’re gonna be weird, then get out.”

The Reverend pointed towards the door. Dogs understand pointing. We made them, so they understand pointing. Emergency left the office, and the Reverend Arcade Jones sat there with Mrs. Fong.

“I admire the way you work with the youth, Reverend.”

“That was my dog, Mrs. Fong.”

“In my day, boys like that were sent into the Army. Toughened them up.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Or killed them. Either way: no more whining.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Emergency was a good dog, and good dogs know the rules. Here is for you, but there is not. To go there is to be bad, and Emergency did not want to be bad. He was a good dog. Still: that smell. That curious and out-of-place smell that did not belong and had not been here before. It was coming from the place he was not supposed to go. Emergency stood outside the office, on the precipice of the nave, shivering with confusion and desire. He looked back at the open door. Arcade was not looking. He crept towards the smell. Looked back again, then towards the smell, then back, and then he lowered himself into a crouch and moved towards that odor that was by now his entire universe: what the FUCK was that smell, man!? And who said it could be here?

He pawed up the left side of the church and up the two steps the raised platform called the bema and there it was. There was the smell. Gray and black and sprawled on its side. He had seen these things before, but never met one. Dogs can walk very quietly on carpeted floor, and he did, so the cat was still asleep when Emergency was right over her.

Kischka had never encountered a dog. They had passed on the sidewalk in front of Torah, Torah, Torah and she had watched them through the windows. A few times, she had been in the front yard when they came by; she dove into a bush or under the porch.

WHAMPWHAMPWHAMP the cat slapped the dog on his muzzle the second she opened her eyes. She ran downstairs and back under the dresser; he scampered back into the office and hid under the Reverend’s legs making scared little noises like,

“Broo broo broo.”

The Reverend Arcade Jones looked down and said,

“You met the cat, huh?”

And then there was a studied détente. Kischka lounged wherever she felt like, and Emergency took whatever was left. He stuck close to the Reverend. Kischka allowed Earnest to stroke her, sometimes, and other times did not. Cats and dogs lived together if they had to, and they chose to, in Little Aleppo, which is a neighborhood in America

Even On Vacation, Maggie Haberman Receives Late-Night Calls

CELL PHONE NOISE

“Goddammit, I’m on vacation. Why do they only call at three in the morning? Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Yeah, what?”

“Maggie, it’s Bob Corker.”

“Hello, Senator.”

“Call me Corky.”

“No.”

“No one ever wants to. So weird.”

“What do you want, Senator?”

“Whatcha up to?”

“Really?”

“Sure. Just calling to shoot the shit. Jaw atcha f’r a while. Be folksy. And tell you that John Kelly has physically wrestled the nuclear football out of Trump’s hands three times this week. So, you know, just keeping in touch.”

“Uh-huh. What, uh, was that thing you slid in there?”

“Oh, nothing. Just talking. Titans don’t look so great this year, huh? That soggy-brained bastard’s gonna get us all killed. How’s the weather by you? Still hot?”

“Senator, I see what you’re doing.”

“Was it obvious?”

“A little bit.”

“Maggie, imagine an orangutan. Big ol’ cheekflaps, orange, the whole deal.”

“Right. Orangutan.”

“Majestic creatures. So like us.”

“Get on with it, Senator.”

“Okay, so take this orangutan and deprive it of sleep for, like, two or three nights running. Then you take some whiskey. You know we make the world’s finest whiskey in Tennessee.”

“Highly debatable.”

“You take the whiskey and you hit the monkey right the fuck in the head with the bottle.”

“Ape.”

“Whatever. And then y’ give it a Twitter account and the nuclear codes. That’s the situation we’re dealing with at present. And it ain’t a secret. Less people knew about that fat Jewish fellow. White House is leakier than a lazy colander, man.”

“I hear stories.”

“Not all of ’em! It’s scary, Maggie! He’s fixin’ to bomb Korea!”

“Does he know there are two?”

“No! I cannot overstate the depths of the man’s stupidity and recklessness. You got, like, a handful of adults over there. Kelly, Mattis. They take turns distracting him. Tell him stories, that kind of shit. Kelly straight-up jingles his car keys in front of him a couple times a day. Probably why Dummy’s trying to fire him.”

“Trump’s trying to fire Kelly?”

“Shit, yeah. Who do you think leaked that thing about Kelly’s phone being compromised? Trump’s mad at him for not letting him talk to Roger fucking Stone all day.”

“Jesus. Who would replace him?”

“I don’t know. OJ? Who the hell would take this job but the damned?”

“Well, it’s brave of you to speak out now that you’re not running for reelection, Senator, but you helped Donald Trump become president. You were on the short list to be Secretary of State.”

“That a joke about my height?”

“No, sir.”

“Good.”

“Did you not realize he was unstable all this time?”

“Course I did! Man’s nuttier than a gay bathhouse in pecan country! But we all thought he was, you know, manageable. We thought we could control him, but our creation got away from us.

“If only there were some sort of warning in literature or film about this very thing.”

“You said it, Maggie.”

“Can I go to sleep now?”

“Absolutely. You have yourself some sweet dreams, young lady.”

“Huh. You’re not gonna say anything sexual or hit on me?”

“Oh, no. I like little boys. Everyone in Congress knows.”

DIAL TONE NOISE EVEN THOUGH PHONES DO NOT DO THAT ANY MORE

Shitbag Of The Week!

Sure, it’s only Tuesday, but I think that we’ve got enough candidates for a good old-fashioned shitbag roundup. I don’t know if you know this, Enthusiasts, but everyone in the country except Rose MacGowan is a monster. You, me, the dracula hiding under your bed, all of us: assholes to the core. (Except Rose MacGowan.) Let’s work our way up to the obvious choices, shall we?

Cyrus Vance

Another in the long line of useless sons of powerful men, Cyrus Vance is actually Cyrus Vance, Jr. His daddy was Carter’s Secretary of State, which means failure is in the bloodline. He’s been the DA in Manhattan since 2010. Remember a while ago when the banks got clever with mortgages and nearly collapsed the entire world’s economy? Despite libraries worth of evidence that all the big players were involved in high-level fuckery, Cyrus brought criminal charges against precisely one institution. Abacus bank. You’ve never heard of it? Shocker. It was a family-owned savings bank in Chinatown where the average employee earned fifty grand a year.

They were acquitted.

But he doesn’t take bribes, at least. Cyrus has that going for him. Sure, sometimes he’ll have a personal meeting with someone about to be charged with a crime, and then that person won’t be charged. And, yeah, a week later the person invariably makes a large donation to Cyrus’ reelection fund, but that’s not a bribe. It’s just how the game is played.

Oh, speaking of that reelection fund: Cyrus generally runs unopposed.

Anyone who had anything at all to do with that Szechuan Sauce bullshit

Stop it. Just stop it.

Jerry Jones

If a skeleton fucked a possum, you’d get Jerry Jones. If a piece of jerky couldn’t shut the fuck up, you’d get Jerry Jones. If a corpse was pickled in not formaldehyde but Blue Label, you’d get Jerry Jones. If it were 1854 and you walked up the Big House and asked for the Massa, you’d get Jerry Jones.

Donna Karan

Yay, a noxious woman! This week has been by and large distasteful men (so unusual, I know) but Donna sneaks into the list. True, her inclusion is predicated on a distasteful man’s actions, but DK could have just STFU or played CYA like everyone else who’s known that Harvey Weinstein’s been a rapeydoodle all these years.

By the way, Enthusiasts: if a dog breeder tries to sell you a rapeydoodle, SAY NO. You do not want that dog. It will not be a good pet to you or your family.

Are you going to veer off into weirdoville now?

No, no. Gotta be disciplined.

Good boy.

Anyway, Donna felt the need to not only defend Harvey Weinstein, but also women (who are whores) for exposing their shoulders (their whorish shoulders) and thus practically demanding to be accosted. The internet wasted no time in pointing out, quite reasonably, two things:

  1. Shut the fuck up with that bullshit, Donna Karan.
  2. DKNY sells women’s clothing that, in Donna’s estimation, would cause the owner to become raped; her point is therefore a little bit self-indicting.

Steven Miller

I don’t know what it takes to make that guy cum, and holy shit do I not want to know.

Harvey Weinstein

Obviously. We’re well past “creepy behavior” and also have driven by “taking advantage of a power imbalance;” we are firmly in “holding women down and doing stuff to them” territory. Famous people, too. Asia Argento, the actress and director. She’s Dario’s kid; he made all those Italian horror movies like Suspira. She did a couple big-budget action movies in America, but she’s an international and arty sort. Makes international and arty movies. Miramax kind of movies.

They have a film festival in Cannes, which is in the South of France, every year. All sorts of deals are made. All the important people are there. Harvey was very important, and Asia was not. He held her legs open and rubbed his thick-lipped mouth all over her pussy. She was 22, and skinny. Harvey has large hands, and they most likely wrapped all the way around her calves. She pretended to like it. She thought it would be over quicker if she pretended to like it.

As has been reported in more reputable places, Harvey Weinstein was thanked from the podium by Oscar winners more than anyone except Seven Spielberg.

You

Yeah, you. Shitbag.

Stop that! Why are you calling the Enthusiasts shitbags? Some of them are remarkably kind to you.

Cranky.

Did writing about the bad people make you sad, buddy?

Yeah.

Go write something funny. Or, you know, your interpretation of “funny.”

Okay.

I believe in you!

That’s cuz you’re a shitbag.

One-Tub Man

Why are you in the bathtub?

“Rest of the room is on fire.”

Currently?

“It’s more of a smolder-type deal now, but you get the drift, man.”

What about a pipe? Maybe if you smoked a pipe, you’d set fewer hotel rooms on fire.

“A pipe? Like Sherlock Holmes? What are those suckers called, the big ones? A calaboose?”

Calabash.

“Right, right. What’s a calaboose?”

A jail cell.

“Y’know the thing about jail? No fun.”

I knew that.

“Well, to be honest, it varies. Last couple times I got arrested weren’t that bad. The cops let me sit in an office and smoke. One of ’em brought me a meatball sub.”

Can’t complain about that.

“I asked for a meatball parm.”

Okay, you can complain a little. Seriously, though: one of these days, you’re going to start a big fire.

“Yeah, maybe. We tried hiring a kid to sit up with me and pluck the cigarette from my hand when I nodded off.”

How’d that turn out?

“I set him on fire by accident.”

Sure.

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