#733 MAY 24, 2013
Copyright 2013 FRANCIS DIMENNO
Don’t you get the idea I’m one those damned radicals. Don’t get the idea I’m knocking the American System.
I don’t even know what street Canada is on.
I’ve been spending the best years of my life as a public benefactor.
All I ever did was to sell beer and whiskey to our best people. All I ever did was to supply a demand that was pretty popular. Why, the very guys that make my trade good are the ones that yell the loudest about me.
This American system of ours, call it Americanism, call it capitalism, call it what you will, gives each and every one of us a great opportunity if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it.
WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER SEVEN: PART FOUR: THE PLAN
Cadger Tandy, as related by Baby Boy Maddox, resumed his tale of the Seven Stars Saloon.
Tipsy Smith took great pride in overlooking the cavemen in his acrid basement dive and, with the help of Stingaree, his favorite slippery-elm club, keeping the peace at that vile snuggery.
It warn’t much, but it was one-quarter his’n, or so he was promised by the real owner of the joint, none other than Judge Rance Sniffle, the crooked barrister—also known as Judge Fixit of the Honorable Court of Noxtown. Tipsy Smith had the help of worn-out cinder drab named “Growly” Bet, who got into a scrape with none other than the legendary Hellcat Maggie and was later replaced by a sloppy and unkempt cleaning lady named “Lousy” Louisa who, rumor had it, used to work for old Joe Kennedy himself. In exchange for his quarter share, Tipsy Smith kept the place open at nearly all hours—you’d often see him fall fast asleep in the middle of wiping a filthy glass with an even filthier rag. He worked for what amounted to over 100 hours a week, all told, closing only between the hours of 5 and 11 am—Rounders hated the high sunshine like pisen—and all day Sunday.
But, as I said, he was young, and furthermore, he had certain ambitions to someday run his own place 100 per cent, and then retire at an early age to a little cabin deep in the piney woods, where he would never again have to hear the jabber of jockeys and gamblers, boxers and mobsters, firemen and constables, and all the bent and semi-bent members of the demimonde, to say nothing of the underworld, with its jockers and rounders, plungers and trollops, safecrackers and gorillas; its muggers and its bummers and its men who were more than willing to do the Big Job for the price of a bottle of cheap rotgut or sometimes even just a snap or two at the jug.
But before Tipsy Smith blew town for good, he wanted one thing more than anything—he wanted the tender regard and genuine embraces of Red Mary—whore though she may be.
Funny how some menfolk love their womens all the more when they’re in their high dudgeon. You often see old married couples where the only palaver between the two long-sufferin’ parties is when Hubby does or says something stupid just to provoke a response from Wifey—he bathes in her scolding—you can see the old rascal grin from ear to ear as Wifey makes with the tongue lashing—I can’t tell you how many times I seen it with my own eyes, Yob.
I’ll tell you again that the not-so-distant past was a strange world full of old people with weird stuff in their heads. Crazy notions that just wouldn’t wash no more, only they just didn’t realize it. Because they just didn’t get it. Because they just didn’t have room in their tiny little heads.for none of it. Thirty years of taking care of screamin’ mewling bairns and tellin’ off their tomcattin’ sons and sluttish daughters had done taken all the starch out of ‘em. They was all done in. So in their golden years the two of them together is like two scorpions in a bottle a pinchin’ and a lungin’ at each other like mindless things.
Like, I’m strolling through the Park in Harmony, and this is what I see. Long-married Wife and Hubby in an evening out on Hicktown. Nothin’ fancy—they’s frugal; ain’t got much spending dosh; they allus eat th’ Early Bird Special at the same tired old chophouse as has been dishing out the same old cheap slop since God was a pup. An all-starch diet; filling, yes, but nothing else. White food. Yellow food. Cheap saltines, mashed potatoes, flour gravy, canned corn. Chicken-fried steak that even the lowest dogmeat bum would turn up his nose at. They don’t order a drink; they order ‘a water’. And it’s all in the way they say it—“Waiter–Bring us a water.” Like their shit don’t stink. For dessert, maybe they’ll splurge, and buy a gumball from the vendin’ machine. And then they count the tip out in pennies and go their merry way. And, mind you, this is climax of their big night.
But next, Wifey is got to promenade the town, her Man in tow. For starters, they stop and stand in front of the brightly lit shoe store on the main drag. At the corner of First and Main. Place is done up like a jewelry store. All manners of ladies shoes on pedestals in the front display and in the recessed bay windows to the left and right that she has to stop and gape at before she goes through the dusty outdoor vestibule into the store proper.
Hubby hates watching his wide drool over expensive footwear like he hates having to drink ice cream punch at a party over-run with screaming brats. He has his own hobbies and interests, y’see, that the Wifey cares nothing about; and none of ‘em involve shoes. Mostly drinkin’ and laughin’ and carrying on and talkin’ stupid nonsense about sports and local politics and other nothin’ topics in a loud tone of voice with a bunch of other loudmouths in some smoky gin mill.
Hubby would rather have his eyeteeth pulled than accompany Wifey inside that musty leather shoe-brothel dominated by an obsequious clerk with frayed knees on his pants from kneelin’ down and touchin’ ladies’ tootsies. She wants to go in; he opts to stay outside. Maybe grab a quick snort at a local rookery. Nothin’ doin’. Wifey insists and he knows full well she’ll make his life a livin’ misery—she’s studied her whole life just how to do it too—if he don’t cave in to and humor her obsessive whimsies.
So he goes into the shoe store, lined with boxes of toggery, but he makes sure her stay, and his own misery, is brief–mostly by dropping strong hints that she’s “only lookin’”.
What can make a measly shoe clerk more surly than the thought that he works like a slave and crawls on his hands and knees for pennies per hour?
The thought that none times out of ten, he’s forced to go groveling around on the sales floor on the whim of some fatuous old biddy as don’t know what she wants, don’t like anything you show her, can’t make up her mind about one damn thing, and has no intention of buyin’ anything anyway, so that the whole edifyin’ spectacle is nothing more than a power grab. Hubby treats me like shit, but I’ll sure give this young shoe-clerk the runaround, and that will ease my ache and shame.
So they’re finally in and out of the shoe store and go strolling down the boulevard of the one-horse cheapjack tank town looking for divertissement. There ain’t none to be had, and well they know it, too—they been living in the town their whole life through and know every hidden corner of it and they ain’t been anything new there since the time Jenny Lind the Swedish Nightingale made a s’prise visit back in 1863.
So they walk down the street and Wifey reads out loud every ad in every shop winder. Drives Hubby wild, this habit of hers. What’s with all the talk talk talkin’? After fifty years of wedded bliss, she’s said enough, he’s heard enough, and some peace and quiet would sure be nice, if only for a change of pace. But no—she’s got to go yak yak yakkin’, and he is got to bear it in silence—like a Man. But when he ventures to say something in that low phlegmy rumble of his’n, she ain’t listenin’ no how. Her hearin’s gone bad from all the screamin’ bairns and she’s too vain to tote an ear trumpet. So she gabs, he grumbles–and somehow they get by.
The sun is low and the moon is high and they go strollin’ through the park—the same park where first they sparked and courted nearly fifty years gone. Same stone wall; same old oak tree, same winding path, same acorns underfoot.
And then they shuffle home and wait for yet another dawn.
Anyhoo, I contrived to bring them together–Red Mary and Tipsy Smith. By hanging around the Seven Stars—no place for a little Yob like me—Red Mary expressly forbade it–and letting the word slip out—accidental on purpose, like—I made sure that Red Mary would catch me and it was worth taking a licking and enduring her cold stares at suppertime. It was all according to plan. Tipsy Smith did get a good gander at her in all her delightful wrath—and it was love.
And so…time it was to put my plan in motion.
THE RISING SUNS
Ry Cooder, Taj Mahal, Gary Marker, Jesse Lee Kincaid and Ed Cassidy. Circa 1966.
THE TRUTH ABOUT AMERICA’S SECRET, DIRTY WARS
RED BLOODED STORIES
Amazing how contemporary and vital this publication remains.
NO USA FOR HIM
5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST
STOLEN LAPTOP RECOVERED WITH JESUS PHOTOS
6* DAILY UTILITY
BOOMER SUICIDE SPIKE
The great American novel is written on Bazooka Joe bubble gum wrappers.
FAVORITE GOETIC DEMONS
BY JOHNNY ANGEL WENDELL
FRANKENHEIMER’S SECONDS ON BLU-RAY
11* DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIAON STEAMPUNK
As the world endures de-evolution
I’ll go back to the industrial revolution.
CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE. 687.
INFANTILIZING THE CLASSICS.
L’il Inferno starring Hot Stuff.
Pride and Prejudice featuring Playful Little Audrey.
The Turn of the Screw–guest starring Casper and the Ghostly Trio.
Catch 22 with Sad Sack ‘n’ Sarge.
The Great Gatsby–with Richie Rich and Mayda Money.