WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER TEN: PART THREE: NEMESIS
Who was it who called Judge Rance Sniffle out? That was ragged, stone-faced and immovable Musky Dan, who, strange to say, for a barroom loafer, was a strangely learned man; an A-1 copper-bottomed savant of sorts. He held down the fort, so to speak, at the Seven Stars. And he (and fat faced Happy O’Day, with his yellowed and blackened teeth, and his paw Count “No Count” O’Day, bald, ragged and toothless) would get into some awful arguments over every kind of nonsense. Sometimes Jimmy Ragmop the barkeep’s sometime assistant, and the bar handyman Jack the Painter, would also get roped into the discussion.
But this time, for some reason, it was personal between the Judge and Musky Dan. Maybe the Judge had managed to jug some halpess Pally of the old man. More likely, it was because his usual argument-mates were too easy to bulldoze and Musky Dan craved some fresh meat.
“People who do bad things often come to bad ends themselves.”
That was Musky Dan, again, who, on this Sunday in December, was letting the Judge know that his rumbustious behavior had not escaped his notice.
“Cut that,” said Count O’Day. But no one paid him any mind. Least of all his son., Both of them had a mean glow on from drinking the Tanglefoot generously served up by Tipsy Smith the barkeep. (Tanglefoot was also known as All Nations. It was a touching dedication to the inveterate Lushington that the lees of unfinished drinks would be poured into a big copper kettle and served at a penny a shot to some of the more impecunious members of the tribe. The very smell of this brew was frequently enough to make a Newfoundland Dog drop dead at twenty paces–but never mind that. For the inveterate Boozer it was veritable Nirvana.)
“The Judge, he’s a good man,” said Happy O’Day. “Good for nothing.”
“I think you should be shirkomshpect,” said Count O’Day, “when talkin’ about The Judge.”
“The Judge is a real agent. A bachelor’s bantling, and a gentleman of the back door to boot. Why, he would of been 86’d from any lot I ever ran, and a long time ago. I know his type, and well enough to say Al-A-Ga-Zam. He’s a chuffing dandy, him. A balmy cove. But I know his type. What makes the Yob so mean? Must have been the water when he was growing up. Maybe his black Mammy was fond of paregoric. Or maybe his pappy locked him up in the shed during one too many evenings so that one too many mornings he had scraped his hands raw trying to claw his way out. You hear all kinds of rumors. But I don’t put too much stock in stories. Facts is what I want. And I know it’s a stone cold fact that the Judge, why, it was him behind that bank run we just had, goin’ in there like the Lord Almighty, sometimes twice a day, and casting aspersions on the owner of the bank and loudly demanding his money. Wasn’t too long before even the greenhorns figured there was something phony about the place—something not quite on the up and up—and they lammed out of there with their shekels. One withdrawal is a transaction, two is a nuisance, and three is a run on the bank. Who knows what interest the old devil had in making that place go bust, only of course he had an interest in a rival bank across the street which, don’t repeat this in perlite company, but it was owned and operated by the big feller—you know who I mean—Mr. Fresh. The man with all the bananas. The Man with the Hairy Nuts. The Big Dog with the Brass Collar. The Big Hard Cheese. Onery, Twoery, Tickery, Tin.
And Musky Dan crossed himself.
“All the same, yuh hadn’t ought to say that about the judge.”
“What do you care, Count No Count? You remind me of an Ace of Spades. You’re just like some old Biddy, I do declare. Next thing I know, you’ll be hankerin’ after a sparkin’ ring and some itsy bitsy lacy frillies. Let me tell you. Just the other day I was crossing the street and some fat old hag started bellowing abuse at me—something about how I should cross at the intersection. And you know what I told her? ‘Madam—you are a maleficent Crone. A certified wooly-brained caterpillar. A crack-brained blabber and a chaffer. Alamacrack, Tenamalin Pin Pan, or my name ain’t Musky Dan. Good God Damn, am I a White man or not? I’ll cross the street when I please, where I please, and in a matter which gives me the utmost pleasure and causes you the utmost pain. Where do you come from, anyway, you insalubrious old biddy, to attempt to control my comings and goings? ‘Well I never,’ says she. ‘No,’ I says back to her, right smart, ‘and you never will!’ You Never Will! Hee haw haw! Tweedleum, Twiddleum, Twenty-one. Black fish, White trout, Eery, Ory, You are OUT!”
“Thank You, Humf. Kack,” says the Judge, all of a sudden looming himself up all biggety like a big pasty toad in a mud puddle, “Thank you, Mr. O’Day,” (and I thought, probably ain’t nobody called him Mister since the War Between the States) “but I am quite capable of defending MYSELF against the imprecations,imputations and depredations of low and reckless scoundrels who, not only do not themselves believe in the value of hard work, but who also scoff at those who attempt, in their own humble way, to accomplish some good in the world.”
“That’s rich,” said Musky Dan. “That’s rich.” And he seemed temporarily flummoxed. Though not for long.
JOHNNY AND SHUGGIE OTIS’ FILTHY, HILARIOUS BLUES/SOUL PARTY RECORD
CAB CALLOWAY’S HEPSTER’S DICTIONARY: LANGUAGE OF JIVE’ (1939)
TERRIBLE HEAVY METAL T-SHIRTS
METAL IS AWFUL
SCREWED-OVER COMIC BOOK CREATORS
5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST
JERRY LEWIS: THE END?
6* DAILY UTILITY
THE STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO….
BLUTO LAUGH REEL
Telltale Signs Of Undercover Infiltrators
INEXPLICABLY COMPELLING (AND JUST PLAIN WEIRD) JESUS PAINTINGS
11* DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA
PUBLIC IMAGE TWITTER FIGHT
CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE.
779. LO AND BEHOLD!: DOES TOLERATED USE GIVE AN INCENTIVE TO PLAGIARIZE? AN EXAMPLE THROUGH THE MUSIC OF BOB DYLAN