Canada: A country so square that even the female impersonators are women.– Richard Brenner
WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER EIGHT: PART FOUR: THE FALL
What’s the use, Yob? What’s the use of having money in this lyin’ town? Them as hasn’t got and them as has got will cheat and rob the ones who are caught smack in the middle and who only hope and pray to be left alone. City life is random—anything can happen, and at any time—ye can dip your rookers into a box of genuine Cracker Jack and come up with a river of blood—or shake hands with a millionaire and notice he’s wearing your murdered wife’s ring. It’s hard to be a Greenie in a country of rogues—damn hard, unless you’re a plaster saint, or a wandering vagabond such as I once was. But even as green as I was, even as a little Yob I knew all about Cap’n Aston.
Police Captain Tom Aston was a tall and burly Yellof of about forty-five; hideously scarred; no one knew why, so of course it put all the Yellofs to the Guessing Game. He was like a fat whore—loud, took up a lot of space just because he could—Notice Me is the message, I may not be much to look at but I sure can raise a fuss. He was an ordinary man, of ordinary intelligence, but he would act all smart and crazy just to get people to look at him and think he was someone special. But he was just a man. And the way he acted got him in big trouble—he acted crazy for so long that after a time it was no longer an act.
He had a bull-like temper, which was a sight to behold. Like an earthquake slow rumbling—his phiz would turn gashly white, then blue, then red, and his temples would sweat and his eyes would squinch up as though he were looking upon the face of God until finally his mug split in two from the nose down and he became a sort of roaring cove, full of tiger growls and angry beehive noises, shattering every eardrum in hailing range, and his arms would windmill around and he would bluster and pound his fists—ah, it was a masterpiece of tantrum work. Knowing this, folks steered well clear of him when he was in one of his goofy fits—even though they was enormous fun to watch.
The Prosties all swore–and, ah, how them magpies could chatter–that he got into a bar-room altercation with a notorious bruiser who didn’t take kindly to being shouted at by a copper. Some connoisseurs said it had all the hallmarks of some dandy knife-play by Jake—Jake the Butcher they called him—I hope it goes without sayin’, Yob, that you should never get into a knife fight with a man they call “The Butcher”—he was a bearded cove with a wild look in his eye—like a Rooshian anarchist, though he was as American as they day was long. They say that, in any event, a neat little carving shiv was applied to carve a new terrain into Aston’s map.
Jake the Butcher was a soft-hearted man unless provoked—ran a shake-down racket in Old Town, but it was a cute shake down racket—he would pick a swanky joint but not too swanky and would simply hang around in the doorway or vestibule of the establishment in question looking totally disreputable and scratching himself in all the wrong places and frightenin’ the ladies until the business owner paid him something to go away—he always split his take 20-80 with the harness bulls, so there was no help from that quarter—he was always welcome at the Seven Stars, the low basement dive run by Tipsy Smith—he actually elevated the tone of that particular establishment.
However Captain Aston got that scar, it was large, and prominent; you couldn’t miss it; if you looked at it closely it was enough to make you gag. It was a raised as high as an eyebrow and ran the length of his pan –from his right eye all the way down to his chin. He warn’t any too handsome to begin with–tending on the beefy side–a fat man with thinning black hair and a spit curl only a moron would envy–but the scar made him downright unlovable.
When he’d go to the cathouse for a gratis screw you could smell him from fifty paces because he’d douse himself with perfumey water in the hopes the Soiled Doves, they somehow wouldn’t notice his scar.
Womenfolk all go for a Yellof who smells good. But listen, Yob–usin’ too much foo-foo is far worse’n usin’ none at all.And know ye this, and know full well—whores—unless they is on the hop and on their last leg of the race—whores notice everything about a Yellof. They can probably tell within an ace how much money he has, how long he lasts, and whether he knows the mayor or simply pretends to be a big shot. Usually it’s the latter—whores know the one big secret about menfolk—they is mostly bluff and bluster. A man who keeps his promises and does what he says and never cheats is one in a bushel.
The whores couldn’t help but look at his scar, and it frightened them, and they would steer him toward back door work whenever possible so they wouldn’t have to stare at his ghastly phiz.
And, wouldn’t you just know it, Scarface Aston was also in on all the nasty Badger Game action in Noxtown; he knew every crib in town. Not only that; he also knew where all the peepholes, sliding panels, hidden closets and secret trap doors were to be found. And did he use this interestin’ knowledge to fight crime? Hell no! He used it to work fist in glove with the con artists.
He saw it as shaking down the bad elements, but the truth is, once he took their money he was in their pay. That’s why, if the “Mike” or Sucker balked at being roped and tied, Captain Aston could always be relied upon to talk sense into the Greenhorn. “Doin’ all we can, Sir—whyn’t you go along home, now, there’s a good fellow—we’ll call you right away if there’s any further developments.”
Now, every so often you’d get a queer duck who wouldn’t play ball—so as a last resort, Aston was called in again. Like as not, if his soft line of soothing patter wasn’t enough to square the beef for good and all, then he would whistle up his good friend–Mr. Shanghai Jack.
THE DRIVING STUPID
THE REALITY OF AIR FRIED BORSK
THE DIAMOND MINE
VOICES GREEN AND PURPLE
SUMMER READING FLOWCHART
WHAT READER SPECIES ARE YOU?
10 WRITING TIPS FROM JOYCE CAROL OATES
STRANGE DECISIONS OF FLORIDA JURIES
LOGO DESIGN GONE WRONG
THE NEW G-MAIL
5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST
WHOLE FOODS AS FAUX-HIPPY WALMART
THE MYSTERIOUS HISTORY OF MARIJUANA
6* DAILY UTILITY
WHO WROTE IT—LENNON OR MCCARTNEY?
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT COMICS
BIG BROTHER AND RACISM
KRUGMAN EXPLAINS: OBAMACARE WILL WORK
WHAT’S WRONG WITH AMERICA
Conclusion: We are Sparta instead of Athens. But this is such a sweeping generalization that it is virtually worthless. Furthermore, “Highest-paid public employees” is not the best metric to use to make what is otherwise a valid point. This infographic is an oversimplification which itself smacks of anti-intellectualism.
“As Long As You’re Here”/”Ereh Er’ouy Sa Gnol Sa”
11* DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA
I’M NOT SO SURE ABOUT OBAMA ANYMORE….
But I can well imagine what would have happened if Obama had actually been the fire-breathing socialist his ideological enemies have painted him to be. He would not have won re-election. He may not even have remained viable during his first term. Changing the 35 years of systematic depredations perpetrated by the money-men was never going to be an overnight job. We can say that this is the great recession, and, if nothing else, the man in charge of running things is not making matters worse and may have saved us from a far more catastrophic fiscal downturn.
Reagan and W. increased the debt. BHO inherited an unholy mess. But maybe we shouldn’t blame the Republicans and the Democrats. Party politics is for suckers. Blame the system. Then ask yourself–who profits? Literally? As always, throughout virtually our entire history, it’s the men with the greenest eyeshades and the sharpest pencils–with the biggest erasers.
11A BOOKS READ AND REVIEWED
1973 NERVOUS BREAKDOWN. KILLEN. ****
ALCOHOLICA ESOTERICA. LENDLER. ****
BATMAN: JOKER’S ASYLUM 2. ***
CRIME VICITIM STORIES. WACHS. ***1/2
DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC? OFFIT. ***1/2
THE ELEMENTS OF EXPRESSION. PLOTNIK. ****
FINAL CRISIS AFTERMATH: INK. *1/2
HIT GIRL. MILLAR. ****
HOLY TERROR. MILLER. ***1/2
SKIN FLUTES AND VELVET GLOVES. HAMILTON. ****
A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR LIFE. GRYLLS. **
WALLY WOOD: EERIE TALES OF CRIME & HORROR. ***
WHY MARX WAS RIGHT. EAGLETON. ****
CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE. 699.
THE MINIMUM WAGE IS TOO HIGH…
Never mind that for some time it’s been far lower than its peak in 1973– believe it or not, many people believe the minimum wage is currently too high. It is simplistic to accuse them of ignorance. There is nothing to be gained by being condescending toward people who just don’t understand how many poor people there actually are. There are also far too many factors in play to make a blanket accusation like “sheer stupidity.” Some of the believe that the wage is too high arises from ideological and cultural dogmatism as well. People are bound to believe some peculiar and foolish things. It is useless trying to open their eyes; they need to see for themselves what poverty is all about. Of course, management claims they can’t afford to pay more. If they were honest, they would say they don’t feel as though they can afford to pay more. The small struggling business owner is actually one of those phantasms that wealthy conservatives like to conjure up as a bugbear. If they cared about small entrepreneurs any more than they cared about poor people in general, I sure would like to see some proof of it. It is laughable to think the big businessmen have the interests of the small businessman at heart, because usually they do everything they can to drive them out of business. The bottom line for them is not human wreckage, but Return on Investment. It’s sickening, but a fact’s a fact. Businessmen tend to think with their heads instead of their hearts. FDR enacted the minimum wage because people were starving, and eating out of garbage cans. I imagine that many of these good Christians would like to see a return to those good old days. The stock market would certainly start booming–which nowadays under the new dispensation seems to be the be-all and end-all of all human activity.