The day you could no longer buy leaded gasoline was the saddest day for every waiter in America who was dependent upon the “leaded” or “unleaded” joke whenever approaching a table to offer caffeinated or decaf coffee. Now the coffee service was a hollow gesture. A mechanistic gruel. But Broadway beckoned. And “Leaded or unleaded the musical” opened to pour box office. Which, trivially, was a joke in the first act.
Here lies the town liar.
Laid low in a comic quagmire.
Caused by lack of social graces.
Got shot at approximately 40 paces.
A fair number, give or take.
If one doesn’t ruminate.
Wait, stop to consider before you wish on the monkey paw. Might this be another raw deal like our contract with the devil, the genie, and the magic fish? Weird repercussions. Better to just wish everything away! Yes, wish it all aw
There’s been… A terrible accident involving a li’l scientist atomic pile kit. The rec-room has been evacuated. It’s projected not to be safe for 100,000 years. I spilled root beer on the kit even though the instructions clearly stated no food no drink near kit. I have removed the aa battery, but it is too late. There is no use crying over spilt uranium.
The president has come to survey the area. Jesus, he looks like a deer in headlights. One of his handlers proposes we build a concrete wall around the area. To keep out the mutants. And to advertise a casino the president gets kickbacks from. That anti-mutant son of a bitch. He hires them to save money. Luckily he was too close to the pile and he melted down. And sank toward China. Their problem now.
The president has risen from the sea as a weird prehistoric monster. He demands that he is “the real green new deal.” The ACLU complained a giant lizard could not be president, but the supreme court ruled otherwise. Typical.
The loyal opposition came. At the seashore. He came out strongly in favor of appeasement. He says giant mutant Republican presidents are not the problem, there have been very good ones. They are regular Joes. Like lobbyists. He says that only corporate acquiescence could help solve the true problem, which is that wealth distribution doesn’t work. And more prisons will help reduce bankruptcies.
He took some corporate cash. An infusion he shot in his arm like junk. Then he was destroyed by the president, accidentally, as he spoke of the many points of agreement he held with past.
Then the president smashed an insulin factory with his tail. He said he only respected diabetics who were not diabetic. He was given plenty of time on every major network and every minor network, which he ate right up.
Shockingly, he won his reelection bid against the only other viable candidate, viability being judged by the top media conglomerates, beating out in a landslide his opponent, the honorable Spuds McKenzie, corporate dog.
Frito-Lay brought back the Frito Bandito. The people’s attention slowly drifted away.
It will normalize. Like the market.
People will pay for the promise of escape.
The money is in the resistance.
This is normal now. Say it.
Monsters are unlucky in love. Cupid explains. Some monsters are closer than others. There is a monster who only dines on one half of any available loving couple, A specialty. You can judge a person by their hat. If you want to protect your children (and see them less) you send them back in time. Hungry lions. The suicide machine built with love. Hate mail. Oscar Wilde judges the beauty pageant.
A bouquet of thorns. Falsely called the black book.
Tragic Stories (disguised as jokes).
“It is better, in every scenario,
to steal someone’s heart rather than break it.
That is my official stance on theft.
Trust me, I looked at all the scenarios.”
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It was a dusty, blow away town. The crowds here were larger than otherwise, since people here had nowhere else to be. Nowhere they wanted to be otherwise. Surely this was encouraged by the entrance fee, reduced to a scant two bits, cheaper, brother, than the run down movie “palace” on what passed as small town Main Street.
The movie house had worn carpets where the tents at the freak show were bare earth. It had dim lights where here there were full views. Couples would kiss there, in the balcony, if they were not interrupted by an usher serious about a morals policy. Here there was freedom. Still, there was less often kissing among the visitors, as the atmosphere was not as encouraging to amorousness amongst the patrons.
And they were patrons. They made all this possible.
The barker intoned as much when he spieled, “Friends, you make all this possible. Were it not for you these unfortunates would languish in poverty and obscurity. Shame, my friends. Shame. We expose the wonders of the natural world. A view of humanity and decency. We thank you for your kind patronage. And please, no screaming in the tents. This way to the attractions.”
Hard times. These small towns were the only thing keeping the show afloat. For now.
“Mr. Mayor,” said the barker as he tipped his hat to a little old man at the head of the line. He knew this man from his years in the trade. And he wasn’t the Mayor, just the oldest man in town. And a grump, as well. But everyone treated him as if he were the mayor, as an act of street magic. A psychic pay-off.
“Hmph,” answered the mayor, as he flitted his hand in the air, shooing the barker away. But the barker stood where he was and smiled as the mayor passed by and in. It is a service industry.
The old man came as a tradition. He had experienced a good night here, at a traveling carnival, so many years ago it was the last century. And he relived it, just a taste. A tantalizing remembrance faded through the years. When he was here it was as close, and as far, to or from the fact as he got. It was happiness and sorrow. Punishment and reward.
But it was best not to speak of it, for it was, at its heart, at that time, forbidden.
Inside a tent, people gathered before the stage. They were muted. There was an eagerness to proceed. The crowd stood hungry. Alert.
The curtains billowed.
“Ladies. Gentlemen. Fear-st your eyes at the sight. Incomparable. Are we not all in our heart alone? Do we not stand by ourselves in the wilderness looking for a trail? A clearing? A safe shelter? This girl was kept down in the cellar at the estate of her family and spoken of only in hushed tones. But here, at last, now…”
And the curtain parted. And she sat overlooking the crowd.
And there was an instinctual gasp, collective. As all viewed her in silence thereafter. It was even as if the mayor was impressed.
They looked at her. And she at them.
It was what they did. The onlookers looked on. But what would the spectacle do? It was the spirit of reciprocity. If they could look in, we could look out. For what is one to do when they are reduced to spectacle but to become a spectator? To look out from oneself. To assimilate.
They look at us. We look at them.
And we wonder.
The faces, the bodies. The hidden truths unspoken. Passions. Dreams. Lusts. Hope. Illusions. Disillusionment. Despair. Apathy. Silence. Depression.
Look out at them and read it in their faces and bodies. Worn in. Weared out. Lost. Each, in their way, lonely. Abandoned somewhere, sometime.
Time passed and no one said nothin’.
Then the curtains closed.
“Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, I am always impressed by the maturity of our patrons. And we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. And if you will proceed to the next attraction I’m sure you will find something quite different, though who can say what one sees rather than another? A matter of perspective.”
The old man was bitter. All he saw! He saw! The mayor he was resolute. “Weren’t nothin’ wrong with that girl ‘ceptin’ the…”
But he got pushed aside by the crowd as they made for the exit, and on to the next social distraction, talking about how shocking it was. A release valve for the strain of the mainstream. There but for grace…
When he was a boy he saw a theatrical extravagance, or so it was billed. Two men presenting selections from the bard, but they were just making it up, talking gibberish. And while it got good word of mouth in the beginning, by the end the town came to tar and feather the charlatans, who escaped before the last show, leaving all the people in town alone in the hall with rotten produce, tar, and feathers. And no one would talk about what happened next. But the old man remembered. And he laughed.
But people today ain’t got the sense of yesterday.
It’s time for a tale of love. A love story, if you will.
As old as the fingers of fate that surround.
Heartwarming! Hearts on fire.
“Someone Else’s Memories” and “Line of Flight” from the album The Politics of Desire by Revolution Void licensed under Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0.
“Winner Winner!” “Divertissement,” Schmetterling” and “Off to Osaka” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
A sparkling new podcast episode which dares tell the truth about wishes and the human heart.
“Winner Winner!” “Divertissement,” “P.I. Tchaikovsky Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy,” “Ghost Dance,” “I Knew a Guy,” “Camille Saint-Sans Danse Macabre” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0