THE INFORMATION #775 MARCH 14, 2014

THE INFORMATION
#775 MARCH 14, 2014
Copyright 2014 FRANCIS DIMENNO
https://dimenno.wordpress.com

He who joyfully marches to music rank and file has already earned my contempt.–Einstein

WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER NINE: PART ONE: THE MAYOR OF HELL

After warning me that there were certain things I was too young to know about, Old Doc Ketman apparently reconsidered, and decided that in my case, a little knowledge was a dangerous thing, and so he suggested that we walk and we talk. We strolled through a dusty alley and stopped in front of his horse-drawn wagon; the horse was in its stable and so we leaned up against the back of the unhitched conveyance.

“In my time I have fallen aft of the foul fiend,” said Ketman. “I refer to Cokey Stolas. You know you’ve fallen foul of the Mayor of Hell,” he said, giving me a rueful smile which failed to conceal his bad teeth, “when you walk into a room and people sees you and they whisper ‘Stolas, Cokey Stolas,’ and then they stop talking. You cruise the avenue and it is like you are the prow of a boat–people who might ordinarily walk right past you go skimming off to left and right, and cross the street to avoid you. ‘That’s him,’ they whisper. ‘That’s the guy. Gee he looks like a swell. But I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes. Not with The Big Man agin’ ‘im.’ “

“In all the bars–in the Seven Stars tavern most of all, Yellof–you can bet they talk–even of old Doc Ketman–in the most guarded of terms. They give him credit, sure. They say those stories about the whore murders was a frame-up. But they also say other things. They say that they wouldn’t want to be the yellof who the Big Man is got his eye on. They say Old Doc Ketman is a poisoner. And yet it’s the Big Man his own self who would know from poison. Some say he favors arsenic, others say he goes to the pharmacy for good old number nine–strychnine. Works fast. You know old Skip? Harmless duffer. Made a flub. Kilt the prize roses of the Big Man. Soon after, he went into convulsions and choked to death. Good reason they also call the Big Man “Chokey,” though never to his face. Well, they don’t know it, Yob, but old Doc Ketman has charms that make him immune to most poison, and also give him keen hearing, and he can also read lips. I can hear what they say or at least I can see it and I can’t say as what they say is totally unfair. Sure, I work the roots, and I reakon I could poison a Yellof if I had a mind to, but I never use my root-craft for bad. But Stolas has no such scruples. You ever cross him, you best beware. He has a powder he puts in a woman’s drink, makes her act wild. Soon enough she’s down on all fours and barking like a dog. What’s worse, she don’t care who her Mammy or Pappy is and you can do whatever you like to her.”

 
“They say that the late mysterious murder of the little shop girl’s folks was done by the shop girl herself, who was made wild by drugs provided by Stolas. I have no idea. I don’t meddle in matters which concern me not. But I wouldn’t put it past him. It sounds a good deal like his work. A hooded man–sniping from the roof of a bank at passerby? Believe it or not, sounds to me like more of Stolas’s mischief. Good way to prompt a run on a bank you don’t care to have in close competition. Small wonder then, that they call him The Mayor of Hell. All the school teachers know who he is. Reason being, a you have a likely lad, aged sixteen, big burly fellow, good at games and fleet of foot–he won’t go to the high school but will like as not fall into Stolas’s net and become his flunky. He has any number of young Blutos at his beck and call, and it’s said that he kin mesmerize ’em–make ’em slaver like dogs. I been around, Yob, and I heered things, and many of the things I hear are not meant for outside ears but I hear them all the same. Fact is, only thing the folks in Noxtown is got to do with their nights is spend them in drinking, and drink loosens the tongue, and a man who can hold his drink and also hold his tongue is a rarity, and still more rare the man who drinks to forget but can remember everything he did the night before–that man is one in a hundred. Stolas knows this, and knows this well.”

“I do not say this lightly, but that man is the Devil, or one of his high priests–there’s a laugh–that such a man would be priest of anything, even evil–and well has he earned his title, spoken only sotto voce–‘The Mayor of Hell’. Hell, yob–there’s a grim story. But well has he earned it, says I. Your ears are too tender to hear half of what this man has done. Lord Jesus, thy wounds so red will guard me against death.”

“There are two worlds, as you may have reckoned. One is the ordinary world whose air you swim through and never give a thought of–like a fish in a pond ye are–bulgy eyes and all–never nane the wiser of what you are and where ye be, because ye never give it a thought. But then there is the other world–call it the Underside if ye will–ye see it when you get a knock on the head, or when the wind is knocked out of you, or when ye just wake up in the morning or just before you go to bed at night. Some see it when they be lost in drink and their spirits start to leave their bodies. It’s a shimmering world, and there’s nought in it that can be trusted to last, but some men have said that this is actually the real world, and, at the very least, the world in which all the magic spells commence, and also the home of earth’s holy matter. Lord Jesus, thy wounds so red will guard me against death.”

 
Ketman paused to light his pipe, and, once he had gotten it going, and the acrid smell of an highly aromatic herb had filled the air, he turned to me and very seriously intoned the following.
“Like unto the prophet Jonas, as a type of Christ, who was guarded for three days and three nights in the belly of a whale, thus shall the Almighty God, as a Father, guard and protect me from all evil. Jesu, Jesu, Jesu.” And he crossed himself.

“Do ye not know–I might well ask myself, do ye need to know?–could such things be–I don’t know how to say this–but maybe God is not good. Maybe God is simply the difference between what we now know and what we used to know before we knew how to talk or think. Maybe God throws bombs from on a height. Maybe the Devil is the True Friend of Man–he gets involved. He is down and dirty. God…God, he don’t much care. He’s a shy one. You’ll never see Him where people gather–in a church or an the type of social club where all the Dagoes go, or in a gin mill or a private club or, for that matter, any place where two or more gather. Where is he? he ain’t there! That’s because God is a very Private Yellof. He’ll come to you, if you know how to ask, but if you ask wrong, or you ask Him for the wrong thing, it’s the devil you’ll find instead. And the chances of asking wrong are a dozen to one. More, if the truth be told.”

He stopped to puff at his pipe, which was empty, so he tapped out the ashes and put it cob-end op in the front pocket of his red flannel shirt.
“Here’s a word to the wise: Don’t never kill no bugs if ye can help it. If ye be willing to take life, ye be in rivalry with God. Christian ascetics was famously loathe to kill vermin. In fact, there’s a quote from some saint or somebody who deliberately scarred his flesh so maggots grew; and he also told his followers not to kill them, for their wee lives were sacred. The God-Mad is more than slightly crazy. The bedevilled also. Lord Jesus, thy wounds so red will guard me against death.”
 
“Back to the recruits of Stolas, there’s some devil work there, to be sartin. God gives ye a second chance; the devil gives ye a second chance; but Stolas gives no second chance. Just once you fumble the ball under Stolas’s eye, and ye be doomed. Dead men tell no tales. So ye grow up in a tenement and your family all work in the mills and ye quit school and the mills close their doors and half the bridges are falling down but nobody is being set to do the work of fixin’ ’em and all ye see everywhere is misery and people starvin’.”
 
” ‘Need a job? Go swim in the river!’ the Boss man says to you. But the river is cloudy. Ye dare not even fish it, let alone swim there. Eleven years of schoolin’, and ye speak like a bohunk. No manner of manners. You were born in a drafty hallway of a grim shack. Ye have no friends, and your family is not too sure whattae do with ye. And so who do ye go to? Healthy braw of a boy. Ye go to Stolas. He is the Devil. I says so. And he is come to do the Devil’s work. Ye dinna hear it from me, though.I dinna speak lightly of the Evil One.”

He paused and gave me a shrewd look.

“That there’s a recipe for another Smash Conklin.”

 

I was surprised at the mention of that name, but Ketman looked at my calmly and said, “His sins are as red as his beard. Lord Jesus, thy wounds so red will guard me against death. Lord Jesus, thy wounds so red will guard me against death. Lord Jesus, thy wounds so red will guard me against death.”

 
And as he stared at me with eyes as black as obsidian Ketman crossed himself–slowly, and callously.
 
1*SALUTATION
TROJAN REGGAE BEATLES TRIBUTE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JudvHD1w3g

2*REFERENCE
FRAGMENTS FROM GREENWICH VILLAGE
By Guido Bruno
http://www.bohemianlit.com/full_text/bruno/fragments.htm

3*HUMOR
5 EASY WAYS TO SPOT A B.S. STORY ON THE INTERNET
http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-easy-ways-to-spot-b.s.-news-story-internet/

 

4*NOVELTY
Holy Modal Rounders – Bird song (1971)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nurgP9wb5o
 
5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST
 
6* DAILY UTILITY
 
7*CARTOON
THE REAL PANELS THAT INSPIRED WERTHAM’S ATTACK ON COMICS
http://cbldf.org/2013/10/designer-examines-werthams-attacks-on-comics/
 
8*PRESCRIPTION

ECCENTRIC ROADSIDE
http://eccentricroadside.blogspot.com/

 
9*RUMOR PATROL
RUSSIAN TRAVEL TIPS FOR VISITING AMERICA
“Only 5% of American Hoboes have been blinded from drinking Wood Alcohol!”
http://mentalfloss.com/article/54461/4-russian-travel-tips-visiting-america

 
10* LAGNIAPPE
ALSO SEE:
 
11* DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA
COMIC FORMULA
“My biggest complaint about life is that”…is a good stand-up formula. If you could come up with twenty pithy observations, you’d have a five minute set and could go onstage as a comedian. In fact, my biggest complaint about life is that too many comedians seem to be doing exactly that.
 

*11A BOOKS READ AND REVIEWED

AN AMERICAN CHILDHOOD. DILLARD. ***1/2
AMERICAN FUN. BECKMAN. ****1/2
BATGIRL 3. ****
BATMAN INC. 1. ****
BEST AMERICAN COMICS 2013. ***1/2
BUY SHOES ON WEDNESDAY…DIVENCENZIO. ***
CAPE FEAR. MACDONALD. ***1/2
CHILD OF TOMORROW. FELDSTEIN. ***1/2
FALL GUY FOR MURDER, CRAIG. ****
A HARD DAY’S WRITE. TURNER. ***1/2
HOW TO DRINK SNAKE BLOOD IN VIETNAM. MAY. ****1/2
INFOGRAPHICA. TOSELAND. ***1/2
JAMES BOND OMNIBUS 3 & 5. ***1/2
JFK: A PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMOIR. FRIEDLANDER. ****
KARL MARX: DAS KAPITAL. ***1/2

THE LOUDEST VOICE IN THE ROOM. SHERMAN. ****

MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL. BERENDT. ****1/2
THE MONEY MASTERS. TRAIN. ***1/2
NIGHTMARE IN PINK. MACDONALD. ***1/2
THE REAL STATE OF THE WORLD ATLAS. ENLOE & SEAGER. ****
RED HOOD: THE LOST DAYS. ***
SECRET SPELLS AND CURIOUS CHARMS. BEISNER. ****

TRAPPED UNDER THE SEA. SWIDEY. ****
TROUBLE IS MY BUSINESS. CHANDLER. ***1/2
TWILIGHT AT MAC’S PLACE. THOMAS. ***
TWILIGHT OF THE ASSHOLES. KREIDER. ****

ZERO HOUR. KAMEN. ****

CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE.
733. STARBUCKS
Starbucks is for junkies who wish to Christ they still used drugs. All the ritual and expense and all the cult behavior, and all for a batch of badly burned beans served by a brusque Barista.

CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE.
734. LIBERACE
“Liberace…is the summit of sex–the pinnacle of masculine, feminine, and neuter. Everything that he, she and it can ever want. A deadly, winking, sniggering, snuggling, chromium-plated, scent-impregnated, luminous, quivering, giggling, fruit-flavored, mincing, ice-covered heap of mother love. This appalling man—and I use the word appalling in no other than its true sense of terrifying—has hit this country in a way that is as violent as Churchill receiving the cheers on V-E Day. He reeks with emetic language that can only make grown men long for a quiet corner, an aspidistra, a handkerchief, and the old heave-ho. Without doubt, he is the biggest sentimental vomit of all time. Slobbering over his mother, winking at his brother, and counting the cash at every second, this superb piece of calculating candy-floss has an answer for every situation. Nobody since Aimee Semple MacPherson has purveyed a bigger, richer and more varied slag-heap of lilac-covered hokum. There must be something wrong with us that our teenagers longing for sex and our middle-aged matrons fed up with sex alike should fall for such a sugary mountain of jingling claptrap wrapped up in such a preposterous clown.”–William Connor

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