BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER TEN: PART TWENTY-TWO: KINGDOM COME
I remember to this day what the shyster lawyer Titus Peep said to me
as he took my money and cheated me out of my score. “Count, I can
charge you whatever I like because you’re strictly small-time; a
chumperoo; a fart blossom. I could comb your head with a three-legged stool and you wouldn’t say a mumblin’ word. I’ve got the whip-hand, and you’re good and waggled. You think you’re a screamer, but you’re a scowbank, a mountebank, a rasher of wind. You are a gentleman of the three outs. Furthermore, you have gone out of God’s blessing into the warm sun. Fit only to pester the denizens of a low ale house. You’d sell your Maw for a tib fo occibot. If it weren’t for me, you’d be a Mizzer and a stewbum. As it is, you are a veritable Leary-cum-Fitz. If not for me, the only prospect you would have would be that of an old lag. You may talk large, but you’re loose in the hilt, and everyone knows it. You’re a blackguard, a bubblehead, and a fop-doodle. You dress like a flashy spark, but you’re little more than a fiddler and a Jack Pudding.”
“What did you say to that?” said Adam O’Day.
“Well, Sir, I ups and I says the following. I says, ‘What are we to
make of you, Titus Peep? Such a person as you have revealed yourself to be, with your splenetic cavalcade of callousness, low wit, and querulous badinage? I’ll tell you a story of Old Mother Money. You are most aptly cognomened, because you are as tight as they make ‘em. You are a malignant wet-blanket; a gripe-fisted ignoramus with the sensibility of a half-trained water spaniel and the soul of a thieving counting-house clerk. You are a cultural infidel without even the sense to pay heed to the advice of people who have seen trouble and who magnanimously seek to assist you in avoiding the same.
“You are a mental malcontent; an indiscriminate
solipsist; a myopic creature of the zeitgeist, a bawling cad; a
whinging malcontent, a spectacular eidoloclast scarred inside
with vile thoughts; a vendetta-seeker in a graveyard; a dragonslayer
of spooks; a barely articulate word-tinker.”
“I don’t need to take your guff,” says he.
“Oh, yes you do, says I. It’s about time that someone told you this.
You are a veritable pasha of piffle; a baron of despair; a czar of
self-loathing; a maharajah of pointless malice. You are the top cat of
offal; the big cheese of ephemera; the overlord of disordered and
confused pseudo-ratiocination. Judging from the elevated level of your discourse in this little exchange, you pride yourself on possessing a level of maturity and sound judgment, in respect to which the screaming infant is your equal and the unborn bantling infinitely your superior. By now, an intelligent person with a bare modicum of self-respect would have realized just how very outclassed they are. Or would have at least attempted to respond in kind.”
“You—you!” says he.
“Never fear. I quite understand your inanition. You are, indeed, an
autochthonous rube micturating in a gutter of your own finding and
fouling. Let’s face it, Shyster. You come from a world where ugly
illogic is a way of life. In your vile atelier, the soup du jour is
happy horse apples, the main course is inarticulate ad hominem blustering, and for dessert you dish up a heaping helping of inexplicable rodomontade. Tut tut! Too bad for you. Because I just rolled a seven, you sculpin. And you’re faded, fucked and forgotten. Of course, if you’d prefer to persist in playing handball with your own shit, that’s entirely up to you.”
“Not a word of that is true!” says he.
“Yes, indeed. So why deny it? I have painted you a picture, Peep. It’s
a portrait of a vindictive soi-disant oracular quasi-literate. You
remind me of a spiteful monkey ladling down hot pitch upon hapless
passersby from a high tree occupied by a rabble of similarly
autocoprophagous baboons of your despicable tribe. Apparently the
world’s assessment of your intellectual capabilities and
accomplishments have so addled your already fevered brain that, like a garden-variety sneak who stands at the edge of an unsuspecting crowd, hurls a fizz-boom, then calmly walks away, you continue to decline to make your avocations known to the world at large. And
fittingly. Judging from your double-crossing a perfectly good client
such as myself, you are as fond of depraved and corrupt practices as
the devil himself is fond of snatching away from God’s ultimate mercy theoretically repentant sinners. When it comes time for them to autopsy your cancer-riddled corpse, I do hope they find some vestige of non-cancerous tissue there, so they can at least bury you in a shoebox.”
“And what did he say to that?” said Tipsy Smith the barkeep.
Pawnbroker, because it looks like you’ll be taking a long trip soon,
and you’ll need to be travelling light.’ Y’see? I lost my temper with
the shyster, and it looks like all bets are off. So if he comes
askin’ around here, you don’t know me—see? But not to worry—he won’t. He don’t know about this place, unless one or both of you tell
him–then I’ll know who my true friends are. Because I’ll tell you
something about the lawyer-man. I don’t understand him and he don’t understand me, and I would just as soon keep it that way. Sure, I make my livelihood in fleecing suckers, but I do it with a smile on my face and a song in my heart. Him, he’s supposedly on the up-and-up, but he fleeces his clients all the same, and never a smile will crack his face, the ball-headed rascal. He takes no joy in what he does, but he does it all the same, like some automaton designed to squeeze the last drop of blood from a stone. But ye need not worry boys—he’ll get his one day–and when he does? I’ll be perfectly happy to dance on his tombstone.”
5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST
6* DAILY UTILITY
11* DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA
799. FRAMED PICTURE OF JESUS APPEARS TO BLEED