WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER NINE: PART TWENTY-ONE: THE MAYOR OF HELL
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time
Myself and Cadger Tandy the both of us stood by with Red Mary as she sat
on her four-poster bed withdrawing from chloral and troubled in her mind,
and spewing her dribble. I could make sense in dribs and drabs of what spilled forth from her frothy gob–a few phrases in particular here and there leapt out at you and rang the bell.
“People in Noxtown are freaks. Scarred. Deformed. All
men are false at heart. Bad boys ought to be horse-whipped. Horse whip
them all! Not you, Cadger Tandy–they shan’t whip you. [In an aside to
“The sun shines on the factory and the whorehouse alike. Ah, but
thou little knowest what harm thou hast done. Who needs those slummers
from uptown? Horse whip them as well. Stop tickling me, Yob, or
you’ll make me sweat. [That was me, trying to tickle her to make her
laugh and bring her out of her foul mood.]
“If women had the vote, we would sweep all the rascals out.
‘Cept maybe the good-looking ones.But Uglyface would have to go.
[She was referring here to her nemesis and tormentor–and lover?–
“Go back to your Circus, little man! Give your
soul to Jesus! What do you have to lose? Consider the alternative.
Hear me. Obey me. Army of the damned. The mayor is a clown. Everyone
knows the real power on the throne is BM. He worships the rat-blood
thirsty devil. Man with a foolish grin? Not him! He’s over 21. Has
got a crew of reporters on his apron strings. Plays tag with the Shah
of High Muck-a-Muck. Hot shit. Mit onions.
“The Christians pass out their papers door to door, don’t cha know,
while the devil prefers to do his business from the City Hall.
You all know who I mean. Take the hot iron away
from the crooks and pimps and give them to whores and
ministers. Make the mayor conduct his office hours from a hot dog
stand. I may be nuts. There ought to be at the very least a tax on
wife-beating. Wouldn’t you say? That would swell their coffers, and
how. I had a swell little whore who called herself Little Jane but she
looked like a Muriel so I called her Little Jane. West of the Westies.
Flat as a flounder. Some little biscuits. Oh, I’m just spinning.
Buckets of tears. Angels. Lobsters. Bury me in my grave.”
Her eyes rolled up in the back of her head. Doc Ketman gave her a
drink of some kind of herbal tea. She resumed her spiel.
“Look to all the fires that are set by mice with matches! Take away
their work and let them earn an honest living. Let the bums take over
the street corners. That’s right, Pretty Boy. [She was talking to me,
and managed I think to raise a blush.]
“Let them own all the garbage. The city seal is an
eagle taking down a pigeon. It’s all a big So What. I
think I would like to wear my hoop skirt. And garters and bustles.
Make all the loochers do without. The rats are taking over.
Deutchland Uber Alles! The mice are here! Send in the cats. I got a
terrier who loves to kill rats. His name is John Otis Cross. Turn off
all the lights at night, but don’t do it sloppy now. make the people
make do with gas. I would cut their throats with a dull knife, if I
could. Horses for courses.”
Well, as you have probably guessed by now, a little of this sort of
talk goes a long way. But after a while there was also a fascination
to it, as though you could somehow assemble the broken glass of her
mind and make some mind of a mirror of it.
Like when she talked about rats and devils, she was talking of the
preacher and the big man, but when she said something like “You may
fire when ready, Gridley,” she was just parroting the newspaper
headlines of nearly a decade ago which were still tangled up in her
“Fire when ready! Fire away! Make them heathens dance! Make it all go
smash. Teach the beggars their proper place is out in the streets, on
the mooch! Home of the brave! Call in the Indians from the
reservations. She shimmies and she shakes like a bowl of jelly. By the
people, for the people, and of the people. By God! I need a million
dollars. I need a million dollars. I need a hundred thousand dollars.
Long Live Admiral Dewey! Why did the British lose the war? Because
they didn’t have their hearts in it. Brother against brother. Blood on
thier hands. Spill some ink. Blow some bubbles. Striped shirt organ
grinder pays no heed to the top hat man who has no pity for the Monk.
The Monk the Monk the Monk the Monk. Birds and beasts.
The cat swallowed the canary. Shake a tail feather. Dinner is served.”
It was though half the plugs in her brain were slowly being
disconnected and were fizzing and snapping in the empty air. You could
almost smell the metallic odor as her mind continued to run off the
“Shoulder to the wheel. Happy the devil. Table for two. Double time.
Upsa Daisy. Drill ye tarriers. A sword, a funnel, a playing card.
She finally ceased her ramblings with the plaintive cry, “O, why don’t
they leave me alone? Why don’t they leave me alone? Why don’t they
leave me alone? Why don’t they leave me ALONE?”
I took that as my cue to vamoose, sure enough, though I was scared
to. Doc Ketman said that he would keep her company and dose her good
and see to it that she did no harm to herself.
I don’t know what kind of cute stunt he tried, but the next time I saw
him, which was about half an hour later, he had a pretty prominent
black eye and all he would say to me in way of an explanation was,
“Oh, she’s back to her old self, she is. No need to thank me.” And
then he looked sort of sickly and excused himself. But Red Mary, I was
glad to see, was sleeping soundly–maybe for the first time in weeks.
DONALD JENKINS & THE DELIGHTERS
100 BEST AMERICAN NOVELS 1770-1985
GUITARIST PLAYS ALONG TO SOBBING JAPANESE POLITICIAN
5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST
MANIC PIXIE DREAM GIRL
6* DAILY UTILITY
46 LIFE HACKS
WORLD WAR ONE PROPAGANDA
SIX REASONS LIBRARIES ARE THE NEW CUPCAKE
THE BLEAK DAYS OF SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE
NEIL HAMBURGER ON CURRENT MUSICAL ACTS
MIKE LOVE IS KIND OF AN ASSHOLE
‘Over, and over, the crow cries uncover the corn-field’, means the city buildings have covered the farmer’s fields, and the crow can’t eat buildings. I’d guess all the money Mike Love spent fapping with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for ‘spiritual enlightenment’, and ‘taping into the higher-mind’, was wasted.–Valkyrie Ziege
11* DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA
THE TEN BIGGEST CLASSIC ROCK DOUCHEBAGS
This indignant screed reminds me of a stand up act where the comedian hates everybody. “The Beach Boys couldn’t surf! They couldn’t even swim–IF DENNIS WILSON IS ANY INDICATION!”
Who represents the true, shining face of rock, according to the author?
Roky Erikson, apparently. If he were to read this, I can imagine his response.
The problem with journalism of this type–if you can even call it that–is that it cherry-picks negative facts for shock value–but leaves you no place to go after dismissing the idols with feet of clay. More wit and less vitriol would seem to be called for.
(I mean, calling Paul McCartney a douchebag is soo…1971.)
Anyway, there is a long list of other idols with feet of clay which one can demolish…but for the fact they have already been raked over the coals too many times. Off the top of my head: The Eagles, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Ian Anderson, Jimmy Page. Then there are the critical darlings –sacred cows who have been canonized and who thus will never be criticized: Phil Ochs, Syd Barrett, Roky Erickson, Skip Spence…and, for that matter, Roy Orbison. Rock criticism is all too predictable. It has long prided itself on recognizing and rewarding “authenticity,” which is faintly ludicrous seeing as how rock and roll is itself a derivative form essentially based on tropes utilized in Western Swing, Bluegrass, shouters and honkers, jump tunes, boogie-woogie and blues.
This article essentially offers the same ooky fascination one feels when reading avowed rock-hater Albert Goldman on Elvis and Lennon.
CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE.
753. HEY–WHAT ABOUT THAT CRAZY CELEBRITY?
If you’re like most people–and who isn’t?–then you’re probably just
like everybody else.
You think about celebrities 24 hours a day.
You wonder what makes them act this way, and perhaps you realize that
pondering this dilemma has given your own insignificant life added
I mean, I don’t want to beat this topic into the ground, but–they’re just nuts!
Not a day goes by that you don’t look at the front page of the paper
and see the following:
Remember that controversial musician?
Prosecutors declare the notorious musician will soon be investigated
“My lawyer has instructed me to not comment at this time” says the
musician to reporters.
And as for me–I. too, bask in the reflected glory of my own
controversial opinion regarding this matter–one that is identical to
millions of others.
In fact, it seems that everybody who makes the news for whatever
reason is, de facto if not de jure, a celebrity.
Because all too often, this is what you read in your typical
Remember that controversial sports figure/politician/criminal?
Fans/pundits/prosecutors say/think/declare the notorious sports
figure/politician/criminal will soon be investigated for
“My lawyer has instructed me to not comment at this time” says the
sports figure/politician/criminal to reporters.
What we really ought to be writing about is something like this:
Remember that controversial species?
The planet they called “earth’ was made an uninhabitable hellhole by
what one of their number deemed “the damned human race”.
After 16,000 years they have been replaced by a more clever race of
Or maybe even this:
STODGY BUT UNIVERSALLY UNDERSTOOD HEIROGLYPH ON ASTEROID
The Universe began collapsing yesterday.
In spite of its name, the Universe, also known as the “cosmos,” is
survived by other, more distant star systems.
The expanding universe was 13.73 Billion Years old.
The Universe has been advised by its attorney to make no comment at this time.