#776 MARCH 21, 2014
Copyright 2014 FRANCIS DIMENNO

There are charms made only for distant admiration.–Samuel Johnson


“You’ve been hiding something from me, my little Yob.” said Peter Ketman to Cadger Tandy. “And you know what they say. ‘Unruly boys ought to be whipped.’ That’s the Rule of Saint Benedict.”

The two of them–the man of forty and the twelve year old–were seated in the Seven Stars Tavern, which was characteristically quiet, it being 11am on a Thursday, and the customary loochers and the well-known blowers and guzzlers were not yet awake. The Tavern was a small room, ill-lit, and smelling of stale smoke and bitter hops and musty sawdust. Dust motes danced in the air–illuminated by sporadic sunlight which fought its way through the grime-streaked upper windows of the basement establishment

“I told ye I dinna want that ye should meddle with the charmed world, but I see ye be in a bad way with Smash Conklin, and that it will consume ye unless something be done. Now first we must call down blessings upon the place wherein we perform our charms. And not to horse around Yob, but I needs must call down my most powerful spell in the place where it will do the most good, which is why we be seated here, though if Red Mary found us out she would surely plant her sharp diggers in my dial face and paint it with streaks of blood red.”

“Latcho Drom! I call down my blessings upon this place. On behalf of what amulet do I call down blessings? Crux Sacra Sit Mihi Lux.  Impart your blessings upon all vessels in this place, by the power of the most ancient glass loving cup, the vessel of vessels, the holy Grail. It is the Grail that I say and the Grail that I invoke. An ancient glass loving cup in a glass beer mug? How can such a thing be? By the power of Benedict I do declare that the renowned glass drinking vessel stands in its invisible place of honor behind the oaken bar! How can such a thing be? By the power of St. Benedict who will foil all lushmen who also covet great power. How can such a thing be? It must be so, for it is by the power of St. Benedict–who will foil all armed lush-rollers on the far-off dockside where they roam and steel blades flash and lushes are so rolled. A dozen young blades with knives like gleaming teeth may send vagrant refractions of efflorescing light off into the dusty moonlight which permeates the vast depths of those quayside moorings, where men in shabby clothes are busy anent their pilferings. But to no avail. For, wait! Impart your blessings unto all vessels in this place and may the ancient glass loving cup take real shape  anent the stench of this hellhole–a stench which verily would gag a maggot. How can such a thing be? It must be so, for the power of St. Benedict and the cross shall make it so. Latcho Drom!”

Peter Ketman’s eyes were rolling in his head by now, and a faint froth appeared around his lips. It took him several minutes to regain his composure; once he did, he stroked his thin red whiskers and spake to Cadger Tandy as follows, in a deep voice with occasional high inflections provided for emphasis.

“Before you go to looking after the bad uns, you is got to have a handle on who is going to help you, and call down blessings on your friends–or the folks as will leastways be your allies. Specially if ye intend to go up agin The King Devil of Hell. Mr. Monster his own self, Non Draco Sit Mihi Dux, who is got us all in the grip of his terror and who plays with us like a squeeze toy. He tosses us like a medicine ball. He scourges us like angry dog worries a bone. I speak of Mr. Cokey–S is Sam, T is Tom, O is Orville, L is Louis, A is Andrew, S is Satan. He Who Must Be Obeyed. Whose Name Ye Mought Not Mention. The Well-Upholstered Behemoth. Well, Yob, agin a man like that–man? some call him Devil–some call him Ape–agin a man like that it canna hurt to have sometimes a gang of seemingly low-down loochers as has eyes that see and ears that hear into places where you can’t allus be. Vade Retro Satana, Nunquam Suade Mihi Vana – Sunt Mala Quae Libas, Ipse Venena Bibas!”

Ketman then took out a brass medal and stroked it.

“Oh Laddie Buck,” said Doc Ketman, weaving back and forth, “ye dinna ken what vengeance and fury resides in the heart of The Almighty. Cross Him up and your sins will find you out. His love, which is the sweetest of nectars, must logically be equally matched by His awful wrath most furious and terrible.  Sometimes, you will be tempted by the evil one–Vade Retro Satana– But be Ware–the Infinite God does not do false. Nunquam Suade Mihi Vana. God is Great and makes his presence known. Sunt Mala Quae Libas. Quite commonly you will see a Sign. And that sign will come at the exact point that you decide there is no God. But nkow ye well that unbelief is evil. There is no percentage in unbelief. Ipse Venena Bibas.”

“Take, for instance, the squint-faced fatty-faced  Mr. Adam O’Day. Latcho Drom! With his black and yeller teeth you might expect to be able to set down and play ragtime on his choppers like a red-lamp whorehouse piano. I call down my blessings on him. Latcho Drom! The grace of God and his benevolence be with thee. Him as is allus cracking wise, always laughing, always finishing your drink before you have a chance to drain it yourself, then profusely apologizing, then offering to buy ye another, then never following through. I should snicker myself. Latcho Drom! Trotter Head, I forbid thee my house and premises.”

“Don’t get me wrong, Yob. Mr. Adam O’Day, he meaneth well. Meaneth well…in the way that the road to Hades is paved with good intentions. Latcho Drom! Gambles his pay as he doesn’t drink up on things like stray dog fights and cockroach races. Trotter Head, I forbid thee my horse and cow-stable. Him, with his imbecilic spit curl and slicked-down black hair as black as pitch, as black as the grinning heart of a whore, as black as melted midnight, as black as a dead end alley full of black cats, as black as the Mayor of Hell’s black riding boots. Trotter Head, I forbid thee my bedstead. A grinning enigma is Adam O’Day. Not so stupid as he looks, though maybe even stupider, what with his red nose and his black and lonesome eyes, as lonesome as a single baby tooth, as lonesome as Santa Claus on December 26th, as lonesome as an icicle in July. Latcho Drom!”

He closed his eyes and incanted.

“Ipse Venena Bibas. Poor Adam O’Day. Small wonder that he was allus seeing something funny, the way he was raised by his Pappy.  Trotter Head, I forbid thee that thou mayest not breathe upon me. The Pappy was allus belittlin’ him, tellin’ him he warn’t much, that he was Count No Count, that he allus done things the hard way because he was hard headed like his sainted mother as had died in childbirth and why couldn’t he be more like his older sister who didn’t take no guff.  Trotter Head, breathe into some other house. When things was going great for him, he would allus do something that would end up by causing himself more pain and heartache. If he was flush, it was drinks all around. If he was low, he was too proud to ask his friends for as much as a nickel. Allus laughing, sure, but I think that secretly he’s as sour and as bitter as a rotten tangerine.  Trotter Head, begone, until thou hast ascended every hill. He was in a bit of a pickle, all right. He had friends, but none of them would do him no favors. Trotter Head, begone, until thou hast counted every fence-post. Allus laughin laughin laughin–he dressed in swell rags and was allus jolly him, though from time to time he lost his temper and began fighting crockery like an angry gorilla. Trotter Head, begone, until thou hast crossed every water. Latcho Drom! Angels approach him as they done Saint Sarah in her dream when she was old and barren, saying she would give birth to Isaac, whose name means laughter. Bring thou light unto this barren soul. And thus dear day may come again into my house, in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Latcho Drom! Amen!”

Ketman then slid off his chair and fell flat on his back straight onto the dirty floor, and he fought back with a peculiar grim madness when Cadger Tandy essayed to help him up. “All part of the spell,” he hissed through broken teeth. “All part of the spell. Dinna meddle–unruly boy. LATCHO DROM!”


Elephants Know How Dangerous We Are From How We Speak

40 Worst Book Covers and Titles Ever




Everything ever written could be interpreted as an annotated suicide note.


Aardvark Body Rub
Abner’s Mattresses
Alibi Bar
Alice’s Restaurant
Amusement Arcade
Anarchy Club
Ants in My Plants
Anytown Chamber of Commerce—“Since 1973!”
Anytown Public Library
Apple Mary’s Fruit Stand
Aragon Ballroom
Atlas Spa
Authentic Wild West Ranch
Automat—Sandwiches Sliced Before Your Eyes
Awareness Club
Baba Bam Bam
Babylon Dance Hall
Bargain Basement
Beckerman Bakers
Beehive Industries
Beer Street
Beggar’s Bush
Benedictine Monastary
Bigtown Big Boy’s and Fat Man’s Shoppe
Billygoat Tavern
Biograph Theatre
Black Cat Saloon
Black Kat Lounge
Blacklight Posters
Blind Ale House
Bluelaw’s Tavern
Broadway Deli
Brotherhood of Eternal Love
Brown Derby
Burnam’s Museum
Café Trocodero
Carter Reagan Insurance
Champagne Eyes Beauty Products
Ching Chaw’s Corner Newsstand
Chop Chop’s Chinese Eats
Church of Abu Simbel
Church of I Am
Church of Original Sin
Church of Saint Mary Ovary
Church of the Avatar
Church of the Fundamentals
Church of the Good Mormons
Church of the Lower Case jesus christ
City of Champs Sporting Goods
Cliffdweller Arms
Coconut Grove
Commerce Building
Communist Bookstore
Condom King
Conservatory of Music
Convention Hall
Country Day Boy’s Academy
Country Road Tap
Della-X Underground Nitro Factory and Gravel Pit
Deserted Warehouse Flea Market
Dillinger’s Gas Station
Donderbeck’s Butcher Shop
Dun Roman Apartments
Eight Ball Cafe
Eightysix Club
Elmhurst Girl’s Academy
Essen’s Supermarket and Superette
Exclusive Nightclub
Factory Outlet Used Factories
Father Coughlin’s Shrine of the Little Flower
First National Co-Operative
Fisherman’s Paradise
Franciscan Convent
Freshair Taxi
Fun N Games Amusement Arcade
Gaiety Burlesk
Genuine Liquors
Gin Lane
Gobble n Go
Gooch’s Finishing School
Good Girl’s Clothing
Goofy’s Joke Shop
Grab N Growl
Grape City Beer Distributors
Grime Alley Beer Garden
Guru Dev Chitra-Bhanu
Guru Maharajah
Gypsy Rose’s Tearoom
Handbags and Gladrags
Having a Wonderful Wine
Head Shop
Health Brat
Heartbreak Hotel
Herring Pond Seafood
His Holy Name Cathedral
Hotel Morovache
House O Good Eats
Iceberg Slim’s
IWW Bar & Grill
Jack and Charlie’s 21 Club
John Hollowlegs’s
Johnson’s Tailor Shop
Joke N Smoke Shop
Jolly Roger’s Tap
Junky’s Arcade
Kew-Liga Tobacconist
Khrushchev’s Shoe Store
Kiddy Litter
Kip’s Flophouse
Lawn Order Garden Supplies
Lazytown Café
Liquor, Inc.
Little Brown Church in the Vale
Little Friendly Eating Place
Lonesome Cowpoke Western Wear
Luetgert’s Gourmet Foods
Madame Fatal’s Private Men’s Club
Magnolia Jungle
Main Street Armory
Man’s World
Manpicker Day Labor
Marine Surplus
Maw Green’s Boarding House
Mercury Office Products
Mickey Finn’s New Deal Bar & Grill
Midvale Orphanage
Mike Fink’s
Milk Bar
Mistelbach’s 24 Hour Store–Lottery Tickets
Molotov’s Cocktail Lounge
Monte Cavallo’s Italian Restarant
Moon June Palace
Moravian Brotherhood
Mr. Fixit’s Auto Repair
Mulligan’s Grub
Murder Castle
Must & Roth Furriers
My Place Bar and Grill
Naked Lunch
New EST Temple
Newsboy Legion Clubhouse
Nichol-Flopp 24-Hour Theatre
Nick’s—Formerly Martini’s
Off-Track Betting
Old Opera House
Our Boarding House
Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Package Store
Palooka’s Celebrity Bar
Panorama Hair Salon
Paper City
Parlor Furniture—30 Years Without a Sale
Pinball Pizza
Pittsburgh Fat’s Pool Parlor
Please Don’t Eat Daisy’s Flower Shop
Plymouth Brethren
Pop’s Choklit Shoppe
Poppa Wheelie’s Bike Shop
Proletarians R Us
Pump It Up Sex Novelties
Pursuit of Happiness Men’s Clothing
Quality City
Quasiland Spaghetti factory
Red Square Grille
Redbrick University
Redline Properties
Regent Pop
Rise Club
Roadside Zoo
Robber’s Roost
Robin Hood’s
Rotfleish and Blutbrot Attorneys
Route One Diner
Roy El Hotel
Roy Rogers Taxidermy
Salt of the Earth Health Foods
Samson Agonistes Health Club
Sapere Aude Bartending School—Where You Only Mix With
the Best
Savananda Jayanthi
Scarlett O’Neill’s Boarding House
School for the Blind
Self-Realization Fellowship
Shave and A Haircut Barber Shop—No Shaves
Shih-Fu Sheng Yen
Short Stop Filling Station—When You Have a Blowout
Invite Us to Your Flat
Shuffle Inn
Sign of the Poisoned Glass
Sin Bin’s
Sloppy Joe’s—Police Eat Free
Smitty’s Birdland
Sol’s Shoe Repair
Solid Jackson’s Shoe Shine
Soy Joy Food Coop
Spiritualist Home
Sport’s Kennel
Square’s Bar
Squeaky McClean’s Housekeeping Service
Sri Swama Satchida-Nanda
Storefront Library
Swank Tux Rental
Tally’s Corner
Temple of Baal
Temple of the 10,000 Voices of God
Terminal Cafe
The Academy
The Adventure Club
The Atomic Cafe
The Big Store
The Bijou
The Cheap Loaf
The Cherub’s Rest
The Coffee Bean
The Colonial Inn
The Cracker’s Club
The Crown
The Devil
The Dove
The Drinking Club
The Eight Ball Café
The Elite Motel
The Fireworks Factory
The Flower Stall
The Glass Bar
The Glens Apartments
The Glove
The Gold Club
The Golden Fleece
The Great Winter Garden
The Hamilton Club
The Hip Bagel
The Hop Joint & Coffeetime Lounge
The Hotel Astor
The Jefferson Club
The Juke Joint
The Knock-Out Place
The Last Stand
The Lion
The Lobby Bar
The Low Dive
The Madison Club
The Magic Wallet
The Man in the Moon
The Men’s Club
The Nun
The Old John Raines Hotel
The Old Log Inn
The Old Temperance Hotel
The Palladium
The Passion Pit
The Patricians Club
The Pick Rick
The Planter’s Café
The Plate House
The Play Den Disco Strip Club
The Player’s Club
The Pleasure Bar
The Purple Zebra
The Rack
The Red Barn
The Roxy
The Shuttle
The Silly Boy Lounge
The Snak Shak
The Spa
The Steelworker’s Club
The Tee Many Martoonis Club
The Three Cups
The Three Tons
The Thunderer: An Alternative Weekly
The Underworld Cafe
The Vice District
The Washington Club
The Whiteman Apartments
The Wild One
Theosophist Gathering
Toot N Kum In Garage
Torpedo’s Subs
Trailways Café
Trinity Cathedral
Tubby’s Trough
Twenty Per Cent Pawn Shop
Umberto’s Coney Island
Uncle Elby’s General Store
Uncle William’s Useless Things
Union Headquarters
Union Station
Walt’s Variety Store
Way and Light Bookstore
Weary Willie’s
Western Union
Whiz Fun & Games
White’s Collars
William D. Fard Church Mission
Willie the Sweeper
Yes U Kan Tractor Trailer School
Young Spatacus Ice Cream Shoppe
Yum Yum Tree
Zucchini’s Squash Courts  

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