“Any philosophy that, being in operation contradictory to the ways of the world, tends to produce a character at odds with it, such a philosophy must necessarily be but a cheat and a dream.”–Melville
WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER TEN: PART THIRTY-FOUR: KINGDOM COME
Count Victor Justin was now scrutinizing Pappy O’Day, as though determining whether that old gentlemen were worthy of receiving the confidences he was about to bestow. Apparently, everything about him was satisfactory, so he resumed his tale.
“Mother died when I was seventeen. Father remarried a year later and got religion; this time for good. I finished high school, though barely. Mother’s death hit me hard. I always had trouble feeling anything. I always lived for the moment and never worried about the future and certainly never thought overmuch about the past. I suppose Mother was the only person who could keep me from running wild, and when she slipped this mortal veil, I fell in with a bad crowd.
“They were petty criminals, drug-users, and worse. Low-life Yobs and Yellofs. I learned a great deal from them, however, and can honestly say to you right now that I don’t regret a thing. Me, I’m in favor of always focusing on the present day. The past is gone and is beyond your control, and the future is now.
“I always had me some grand ambitions; I thought I would be a politician, and maybe one day even President. My father told me I had better be a lawyer. I clerked in a law office for a short spell; I didn’t like it, and soon left. Learned quite a bit about the toils of the law, however, and how to avoid them.”
“My trouble is that whenever I was part of a group, I always wanted to be a leader, and if I couldn’t be one, then, why, I would take my ball and go home. Pretty soon I took to low company. Laying lookout for a gang of pickpockets. Later, I fell in with a crowd of card sharps who plied the waters of the Mississippi in search of Savages.
“So back in the Halcyon days of my misspent youth, before I had even heard wind of Tom Aston and the Gib Yellof, I learned well the tricks of the confidence man. You might not know it, but a good con man has to be something of a sleight of hand artist. And the most gifted ones need must also be as skilled at misdirection as any stage magician. Of course, the guff those fellows peddle isn’t really magic at all, but only trumped up fakery. My good friend Houdini will tell you as much. What the con man does—use mere words to effect physical changes and exchanges—is much more akin to genuine magic and partakes far more of the strictly occult. I’m not one to boast, Yobs, but I can put one over on nearly anyone if I have a mind to. Once a sucker is hooked, it’s just like fishing—you use a spot of patience and skill; and you reel them right in.
“The one thing you have to avoid in this racket is women. They can be deadly pisen to a man of sense, since they have a tendency to drive men luny. What with their jealousy and their vindictive nature. I never once knowed a woman, howsoever lovely, who wouldn’t turn ugly if she felt she had been double-crossed. A good con man is better off staying far away from the members of the gentler sex, so-called.
“What’s more, womenfolk can be quite sharp, and make an unhappy foe for the less than scrupulous. Where their interests are concerned, they notice every little thing—every inconsistency, every little piece that doesn’t quite fit, and every falsehood which is by necessity fabricated in order to sell the story more convincingly.
“Yobs, I hardly ever worked in any one place for more than a week or two, but by using the power of observation—also somewhat akin to magic—within a day I had thoroughly cased the joint and knew more about the weaknesses of the place than the owner or the proprietor. Not only did I know how the Yellof made his money, and how much of it was pure profit, I also knew by their demeanor which employees were stealing and which ones were too honest to snipe so much as a used-up postage stamp.
“Businessmen are mostly stupid. Oh, I don’t mean that they’re dumb in any conventional sense; when it comes to making money, some of them are quite smooth. No, but the dishonest ones in particular think that they’re smarter than everyone else and that rules don’t apply to them—in that way they are very much like their natural allies and sometime-adversaries, the lawyers.
“That is why they are so easy to fool. Tell them about a sure thing and they won’t stop to ask the most elementary question of all, which is one I would dread to hear but hardly ever would; namely, ‘Why are you telling me this?’
“Businessmen mostly act, not on logic, but on instinct. You may blanch to hear this, but ‘tis true. If a story told by a fastidious gent sounds plausible, then they will trust that same gent come hell or water high. Right down to the end of the nubbin.
“My days of big-time swindles are also long behind me. But my having hobnobbed with members of the demimonde has alerted me to one home truth: that criminals will always claim they were railroaded. And sometimes they are. Captain Tom Aston is none too scrupulous on that score. He doesn’t care if you’re innocent, and he knows your innocent; if it’s better off for his interests that you spend some time in the pokey, then, by the Holy Man, he will do his damndest to see that you end up in stir. But for all their hollering about how they are innocent, what crooks will never tell you is about the 99 times that they committed a crime and got away with it. That, of course, is an inflated figure; most crooks are pretty dumb, and I would say that for every forty capers, one of them goes seriously wrong and that’s how they get caught out—from not knowing all the angles before they go in, and from not having an escape plan all hatched and ready for when things go south, as they inevitably will, for, as the poet says, even ‘the best-laid plans…gang aft agley.’ Savvy?”
Slim Gaillard & Slam Stewart – The Harlem Congeroos
Slim GAILLARD & His Trio
“Chile & Beans O’Vootee”
NYC SUBWAYS IN THE 1980S WERE NO JOKE
FBI FILE ON GEORGE CARLIN
Pat Roberston: Dow Plunge is God’s Punishment for Planned Parenthood
5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST
WOMAN SEES TRUMP’S FACE IN HER TUB OF BUTTER
WHITE POWER TRUMP SUPPORTER
TRUMP TALKS LIKE A 10 YEAR OLD BOY
The Definitive Political Orientation Test
SPY VS. TRUMP
SPY MAGAZINE: COMPLETE ARCHIVES
5 Mind-Blowing Lessons from Psychedelics Experts
General Walker and the Murder of President Kennedy: The Extensive New Evidence of a Radical-Right Conspiracy
GEORGE GOBLE, DEAN MARTIN, & BOB HOPE ON JOHNNY CARSON
11* DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA
POST-MODERN GIBBERISH ESSAY GENERATOR
*11A BOOKS READ AND REVIEWED
ALL NEW CAPTAIN AMERICA 1. HYDRA ASCENDENT. ***
APOCALYPTIGIRL. MACLEAN. ***
AVENGERS AGE OF ULTRON: PRELUDE. ***
AVENGERS: SCARLET WITCH. **
AVENGERS THE INITIATIVE 3: SECRET INVASION. ***1/2
AVENGERS WORLD 1. AIM PIRE. ***
BIRDS OF PREY 4. THE CRUELEST CUT. ***1/2
CALL ME BURROUGHS: A LIFE. MILES. ****
THE DIVINE. LEVY. ***1/2
EAST OF WEST 1-4. ***1/2
FIFTY YEARS OF THE AMERICAN SHORT STORY VOL. 2. ABRAHAMS. ****1/2
FLASH 3. GORILLA WARFARE. ***1/2
FLASH 4. REVERSE. ***1/2
GOTHAM ACADEMY 1. ***
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 3000. 1. TIME AFTER TIME. ***
HARBINGER 1. OMEGA RISING. ***1/2
HARBINGER 2. RENEGADES. ****
THE HERO. BOOK ONE. RUBIN. ***1/2
JLA 6. KELLY. ***
JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED 1. ***
MIKE’S PLACE. BAXTER. ***1/2
MORNING GLORIES 1-8. ***1/2
- MS. MARVEL 3. CRUSHED. **1/2
NEIL GAIMAN’S LADY JUSTICE. **
OPERATION NEMESIS. BLAYLOCK & SILVA. ***1/2
PUSSEY! CLOWES. ****
RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE…AND EVERYTHING ELSE. LEWIS. **1/2
SEVERED. SNYDER & TUFT. ***1/2
SHIELD 1. PERFECT BULLETS. ***1/2
THE SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN 1. ***1/2
SUPERMAN UNCHAINED 1. ***1/2
TECH JACKET 1-3. ***
TEEN TITANS 3. DEATH OF THE FAMILY. ***
THOR 1. GODDESS OF THUNDER. ***1/2
UNCANNY AVENGERS 1. THE RED SHADOW. ***1/2
UNCANNY AVENGERS 2. THE APOCALYPSE TWINS. ***
UNKNOWN SOLDIER 1. HAUNTED HOUSE. ****
UNKNOWN SOLDIER 2. EASY KILL. ****
THE WAKE. SNYDER & MURPHY. ***1/2
WILSON. CLOWES. ****1/2
X-MEN SECOND SOMING REVELATIONS. ***1/2
YOU CAN’T WIN. BLACK. ****
YOU’VE GOT TO READ THIS. HANSEN & SHEPARD. ****1/2
YOUNG INHUMANS 1. ***1/2
CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE.
811. REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS
The Republicans are the party of the ten year old boy. The Democrats are the party of the fourteen year old girl.