I drink your health against the wall!–William Ernest Henley
WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER TEN: PART TWO: NEMESIS
Adam Tyler wasn’t the only big-time loocher to make a local Saloon his favored haunt. Judge Rance Sniffle was also known to haunt those precincts, for he surely favored a snifter or two.
Late afternoon in early winter, and the sun had already done its work and was resting in repose just below the horizon—and if you were outside you could see a kiss of it peeking over the craggy horizon of Noxtown—looking all green and gold and illuminating the bare trees which arose with skeletal limbs along the near horizon. It was a bitterly cold day, however, and anyone with any sense was indoors, howsoever poor the shelter.
And poor indeed was the shelter at the Seven Stars Saloon. That winter’s week there had been a minor thaw and the floor was slick with water and clumps of sawdust. The old coal stove was sending out a mass of oily smoke, and the dimly illumined room was made even more smoky with the fumes of tobacco. A bunch of the boys were, as the poem goes, whooping it up, though their celebrations soon began to take an ominous turn.
At the bar, Tipsy Smith tried to look interested and even engaged as the usual fat and useless-looking barrel boarders sidled up to the bar in a bald-headed row and roared and boasted and loudly called each other and jokingly made with billingsgate in the form of nonsensical accusations:
“You’re a real character, ain’t yuh, Jack?”
“Say, listen, Sunny Jim–I don’t need to carry your coals. I’ll give you an ear-wigging!”
“You and whose army? I’ll comb your hair!”
“I hear you have a colt’s tooth. Why, I hear that you’re nothing more than a Kid-stretcher and a Cradle-Robber!”
“And better. Proud of it, too. And don’t you forget it!”
“They say you’re also a chaffing cheat!”
“Say, Little Boy, does your mother know you’re out?”
“You! You’re nothing but a muffin-faced Tin-horn!”
“And no whistle.”
“You’re a pestle-headed know-nothing!”
“It takes all kinds.”
“I hear tell you’re a low-down Burglar!”
“And you’re my angling cove.”
“The man in the crocusing-rig says you’re a snow-bird!”
“You bet! I’m as bad as they make ’em!”
“And the abrams all say you’re a Bindlestiff!”
“That’s me. Free and easy. I’ll tell the world!”
“You’re a real dingbat, ain’t ya?”
“You’re another. Who’s your hatter, you bacon-faced Yob?”
“You’re not worth a continental damn!”
“Maybe not. I’m no damn curbstone-broker, such as yourself.”
“No back talk! Don’t you catch the wind of the word?”
“Don’t you wish you may get it!”
“Are you trying to quiz me?”
“Aww…I’ll tell you. Three blue beans in a blue bladder! Bla bla bla. I’ll make cold meat of you.”
“You kill my cat and I’ll kill your dog!”
“Just try. I’m as tough as they make ‘em.”
“None of your cheek! I’ll snatch you baldheaded!”
“Black is the white of your eye. You’re all talk and no cider!”
“Be careful around me—or I’ll fetch you such a knock as will give you the collywobbles!”
“Aww, enough of this piff-paff. Let’s liquor up!”
“Dang my buttons! I don’t care if I do!”
“I believe you, my Yob!”
“Good! Au Reservoir!”
“Humf. Kack. Haww….
The voice of Judge Rance Sniffle was heard booming above the strains of babble.
“Let me tell you all an interesting little story about a recent decedent.”
At the hopes that the Judge would prove a grasser, and of hearing some hot gossip, the vox populi hushened.
“Once there was an old miser who lived in and ran the cheapest and dirtiest rooming house in all of Gleason’s Corners. Which, if you’ve ever been there, you know to be a very poor community indeed, Humph, Kack, One in which the poor little children walk around barefoot and eat grass. An old-fashioned place where they still sell fresh cackleberries and pickles by the barrel at the General Store.
“Many a time was this old miser–his name was Mr. McCabe–nobody seemed to know his first name–he was ageless—what was I saying?. Humf. Kack.
“All the same, rumor had it that he kept on his premises a tin box–a wonderful tin box–full of all his hoarded gold. He never welcomed outside visitors to his humble abode. No…he was afraid that somehow they would manage to tie him up and find his wonderful tin box. He was even afraid to let the neighbors see his garbage. He would bundle it up and go out late at night and deposit it elsewhere—or so the neighbors said.
“Mr. McCabe, he was so stingy he would re-use a one-penny stamp, over and over, until it was nearly falling apart. Not that he ever had much need for one, since he never paid his bills. He bought everything on credit. Merchants would trust him for the money because they all heard he had a whole stash of gold coins in his wonderful tin box.
“To be sure, Mr. McCabe had a real bee in his head about money…I suppose it was because once upon his time he was truly poor…he would only ever dine on soda crackers, and old cheese for which he paid a penny at the grocer’s…I do believe the old man stole cheese from mouse traps…when he would open his coin purse, you would see a spider web…a moth would flutter out. Humf. Kack. Haww.
“Anyhow, McCabe would use almost any form of chaffing palaver or lying excuse to avoid paying his bills, and folks used to talk all the time about the magnificent heaps of gold coins he liked to run his fingers through late at night by the light of the moon streaming in through his cracked window pane. The window was broken because he was too mingy to repair it. He used cheap planks of scrap wood to chink up the broken window. His tenants always complained that he never turned the boiler on. For all they knew, the house didn’t even have so much as a coal stove, let alone a boiler. They brought plenty of blankets if they expected to sleep in any one of his drafty rooms, which he rented by the night–pay in advance. Twelve cents a night–the lowest price in town. Other places charged twenty or even thirty cents. Humf. Kack. The tenants would bang for heat, but it would never come up. Old man McCabe didn’t mind the banging—it tunrs out that he was slightly deef.
“Not him for putting his money in a bank—any bank–oh no! Banks have been known to fail–and what would become of all his money if that were to happen? McCabe had a daughter–a beautiful daughter–she would never come to see him except in the dead of night. She was poorly dressed, and when she would leave his house she would always look desperately unhappy. One day the daughter came to him and she fainted dead away from hunger right on his doorstep. What did he do? He let her stay there, but finally an ambulance was called and she wasn’t seen no more.
“He was scorned and reviled by all his neighbors for being such a mean miser, but did any of this change his ways? No. McCabe grew even more miserly, and he stopped going to the general store and instead he would scrounge for his supper from trash cans. And when he died himself–as all men must–but all too soon in his case, due to hunger and cold–do ye know that the tenants searched high and low for that wondrous tin box? But not a one of them could find it. They concluded he must have buried it somewhere. The sight of all them yaller boys going to waste while they all half froze was enough to drive some of the tenants wild.
“Anyhow, the house was condemned, and the police conducted a thorough search of the premises, in case there were evidence of foul play, and, under some loose floorboards, do you know what they found? That’s right–it was the wondrous tin box. And do you know what they discovered when they opened it? Nothing.
“Nothing, that is, but a little note. Do you know what the note said?
“Dam you all–you’ll never get my money!” Humf. Kack. Haww….”
Amid this badinage a booming voice arose.
“Larf it up, Judge Sniffle. Your time will surely come.”
LET ME PLAY WITH YOUR POODLE
ROTTEN COCKSUCKERS BALL
BY William Ernest Henley
THE DEATH TOLL COMPARISON BREAKDOWN
Roy Aleksandrovich Medvedev published an article in 1989 that broke down [the Stalin] death toll: 1 million imprisoned or exiled between 1927 to 1929; 9 to 11 million peasants forced off their lands and another 2 to 3 million peasants arrested or exiled in the mass collectivization program; 6 to 7 million killed by an artificial famine in 1932-1934; 1 million exiled from Moscow and Leningrad in 1935; 1 million executed during the ”Great Terror” of 1937-1938; 4 to 6 million dispatched to forced labor camps; 10 to 12 million people forcibly relocated during World War II; and at least 1 million arrested for various “political crimes” from 1946 to 1953.–Barry Geibel
Weirdest States in the Union
5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST
PINDOSTAN: RUSSIANS RAGE AGAINST AMERICA
6* DAILY UTILITY
10 THINGS GROCERY STORES WON’T TELL YOU
LOOK OUT! SOVIET BLOODY POSTERS
MAN AWAKENS AFTER 12 YEAR COMA
6 Biggest Drops in Quality Between Albums: Bob Dylan, Prince and More
HOW FACEBOOK KNOWS YOU BETTER THAN YOUR FRIENDS DO
FACEBOOK AT WORK
11* DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA
CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE.
778. THE WEIRD AND TERRIBLE IDEA OF ROMNEY 2016
It’s kind of weird that the only reason Romney would actually be running would be to avenge his father after the media jumped all over him in 1967 for his “brainwashed on Vietnam” comment. As Mark Anderson points out, “Rand Paul referred to Romney’s candidacy as an act of insanity, “Doing the same things over and over again expecting different results.”