THE INFORMATION #834
MAY 1, 2015
All faults may be forgiven of him who has perfect candor.–Walt Whitman
WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER TEN: PART SIXTEEN: KINGDOM COME
“I suppose,” said Count Justin Victor to Tipsy Smith and Pappy O’Day,”I suppose that you think or feel you should be perfectly well chuffed when the Big Man picks you out for special notice. Never a word of it. Oh, he’ll be perfectly cordial, because that’s the way the Big Man operates. He’ll say come in, and offer ye a good cigar, and ask ye to take a seat. But allee samee, he will scrutinize you with especial vigor. For it has been truly said that ye must never seek to beard the lion in his den. That’s the one and only mistake I made in my ane encounter with The Big Man.
“You know the Yob I mean. The Gib Yellof. He whose name must never been spoken. He may seem mellow of countenance and gentlemanly by nature. But hell hath no fury, and et cetera and et cetera. I’m taking my life in my hands just by mentioning his name. Surely his malice shall follow me all the days of my life, and me and mine won’t be worth a plugged nickel, if He ever gets wind that I’m spieling about his doings. But I know you, Tipsy Smith; I know you of old; yah, you’re a cagey one; you know how to keep Mum. And you, Pappy O’Day; you wouldn’t be after stirring up no trouble; all this is for your ears only.
“The first thing I’ll say is that the Big Man has filled his dusky den with priceless antiquities of fabled provenance from the four corners of the earth. I know well the sound of my words can dazzle; but even my finest phrases must fail miserably to describe even the merest moiety of his gatherum omnium. Priceless jade; sparklers the size of your meaty fist; fine silver mirrors gilded in solid gold; exotic birds and beasts; great works of art; unique manuscripts.
“If’n I feel the need to talk low it’s because the Gib Yellof has spies everywhere; he’s as suspicious as Tiberius of old. I’m telling you true that if you write his name on a piece of paper you must burn it, lest it fall into his hands. O burn, o burn, o burn that paper! The whores is smart. They call him by harmless names he would never guess the meaning of in a million years. Sophisticated Ciss has named him the Kennel Master, because he has a way with dogs, and with harlots, too, though he don’t often go Girlin’ as he has a wifey at home. Dirty Sally calls him Booger Bear because, at 300 pounds, he doesn’t walk, but sort of lumbers, like even the best-trained Circus Bear. But don’t, whatever you do, call him the Fat Man! Fool! That Blubber is all muscle. He can walk 20 miles; heft 500 pounds like you’d handle a puking baby; throw a javelin the length of two football fields.
“I shouldn’t be saying these things, but it’s very important to know that the Big Man—the Gib Yellof—Johnny Cruel, as some of the harlots call him—is Master. They say his bloodline goes all the way back to old Pharaoh in Egypt as was mentioned in the Bible, and I can readily credit this as fact. He’s no Snarling Creampuff. For verily, he is the Boss of Bosses; Son of Ra; a Tough Nut to Crack; Private Enterprise, Corporal Punishment and General Largesse all wrapped up in one. You must beware of letting his shadow fall over yours; that makes you his slave. Although it is said that as a slave-master, he is a good one; all his thralls are fat and sassy because they never say nor do anything to cross him and they call him Lord.
“But in his younger days—watch out! He mellowed some since then, like good whiskey, and you wouldn’t think to look at him that the bearded rascal ever got up to any anti-social mischief; but you’d be wrong. He was Hell Himself, and he brought it wherever he went. He was a Fool-Killer; a kill-crazy yob; a deadly cove. A man who tangled with him on a Friday didn’t often live past Monday; and that’s why, once upon a time, they called him The Sunday Man. Back in those days, why, where that man spit, the grass would never grow. He allus had a plentiful supply of Chloral, of Cocaine, of Morphine, or of any pill or powder your heart desired, and he warn’t back’ard about sharing’ it none. But beware! Once you were brought into his toils, there was only one way out—total subservience to HIM. He has his helpless drug and booze slaves a doin’ his bidding to this very day. Remind me sometime to tell ye how he made a vassel out of Smash Conklin, using rotgut and sweet talk. But that’s a story for another day. Don’t think that he neglects the smallest detail concerning the goings-on here in Noxtown. You can be dead sure that not a sparrow falls, and et cetera. He knows everything that goes on. Remember that any letters which mention his name need to be burned, and the ashes thrown into the canal or better still, scattered to the four winds. The Gib Yellof does not like to have his name and his likeness bandied about. He doesn’t want to be the Mayor; he OWNS the Mayor. After all, why rent, when you can buy?
“You must promise me, Yobs, as long as you live, that not one word of this will ‘scape your bloodless lips. I’m counting on you Yobs, because the Gib Yellof is the Boss of the Boss of Bosses. The Keeper of the Castle. Mistake me not—he’ll sneak up on you one fine day, and then—well, then that will be just too bad. Weak sisters and pump-suckers know to keep out of his way. Because that’s the Law of Noxtown, and you’d do well for yourself to never forget it.
“Namely, this: The Big Man wants you out of his WAY. He wants you out of his WAY!
“That’s why they also call him the Big Cat. He’s just crazy for meat—eats practically nothing else—it was good enough for Pater, says he, and it’s good enough for me. Maybe that’s why he always had a bloodthirsty glint in his cold gray eyes, even when he was a pup. They say his grandpappy dreamed dreams and seed visions. Well, Sir—the B—The Gib Yellof—he plays them visions out. And some!”
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