DECEMBER 4, 2015
Copyright 2015 FRANCIS DIMENNO


Count Justin Victor continued to excoriate Prince Faraday. “What kind of self-regarding Lady Fair desires to be seen with this ill-omened toad-eater? This piece of fudge? This lifeless fat pig? Let alone perform with him the types of circus acts better left untold, or at least best left behind a veil of secrecy? She needs must be a run-down doxy of quite mature years, and, to be sure, although she might be happy to have anyone at all, even she would not be overjoyed being paired up with this disgusting blubber-guts. ‘This cheer,’ she would croak, mumbling through withered gums, ‘Ish my beau.’ Haw! And her Beau, on his very best day, is a beat-down Dandy. He wears a cowboy hat, mayhap, to hide his baldness, and otherwise parades around the town all in black, and dresses like a jingle-jangle Macaroni. “This here scorpion clasp on my bolo tie,” says he, “is deadly…just like me.” And this Johnny black as pitch would roam the streets on a moonless night and only vague outlines of his profanely oleaginous form would be discerned. As he marched in the filthy gutter (where he was born and to which he would inevitably return) it would look very much like Arabs stealing away with their tents ‘pon the midnight drear. Accompanied arm-in-arm by a cackling hag. Call Cotton Mather! Is it the black shadow of the most plump Prince Faraday and a broken down town whore–or is it a witchy woman accompanied by her blob-like familiar? Hmm?
“You know me–I’m very tolerant, not only of the world’s religions, but of all the world’s other foibles as well. You don’t see me throwing rotten eggs at corner ranters, or shushing blagging braggarts. No man much past the age of forty, I suppose, has the vitality to be constantly upset over matters which do not directly concern him. But I am outraged by this bloated sluggard who calls himself a ‘performing artist’. His greatest feats, I have discovered, are at the dinner table. His days as swaggering master of the seraglio are long gone, and he contents himself with sitting in the corner of an old lady’s garden, eating her cakes and drinking her Dandelion Wine.He doubtless also takes Laudanum for his toothache, mercury for his venereal diseases, and radium water to combat general sluggishness. I have seen him with any number of hideous hags, both withered and bloated, who keep him well-fed on sweet goods in exchange for certain unmentionable favors. Mine is not to criticize, but these aged Beldames and Hussies think the world of him–until such time as he has leeched all he could from them–then he moves on and the old ladies are left only with sweet sweet memories of a bloated hog who played for them his cracked melodies on an old and out of tune guitar. They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. But Prince Faraday, I fear, why, he has no heart–he’s all stomach. Nit! Nit! What do you say to that?
“And what kind of a legacy has he left behind? Other than eagerly gumming down any broken meats and other slop left over from the Free Lunch? ‘I performed on stage with the Swedish Nightingale,’ he’s been heard to murmur, slurring through his broken teeth as he downs a stale bread heel. It’s a lie. An infamous falsehood! Rather than grace the world’s great stages, as he likes to boast, he has instead perpetrated his antic perambulations in every variety of low dive. I will admit he has performed in many venues. He has been seen to ply his trade in every dirty tavern, swarming with the dregs of humanity, some with horrible warts on their noses and awful gin blossoms from an excess of food and drink, and other consumptive wretches as pale as a wraith in the full moon, with fingers like twigs and faces that would scare a googling sprat out of a year’s growth. He has performed all around the countryside, sure. Every doss-house, ale-house, house of ill-repute, bagnio, bordello, cathouse, shithouse, doghouse, roundhouse and madhouse has seen his horrible burly face. 
“Prince Faraday was on the bum for many a year and even the hoboes couldn’t stand his caterwauling. Years and years ago the coppers raided one the jungles where he was flopping. Offered a chance by the local bulls to play his way to freedom, he proved so bad a songwriter that they locked him up and put his guitar in a separate cell. When they searched him, all they found was a pack of greasy playing cards, a two-shot sleeve-sized derringer, and a soiled handkerchief. He was wearing a grimy fat-man’s vest with red checkers, a frayed red velvet jacket, a thousand-mile shirt, a belt fashioned from a rope, a dapper little bow tie, a musty derby hat, a watch fob without a watch, some drain-pipe trousers, and some adorable pointy brown shoes. He had a curly black mustache and full hair of coal-black hair, back in those days. Some of the bums say he was an Irish Jew, whatever that means. Hwat? A stingy drunk?    
“But anyway, back to the ladyfolk. When they see this ice-cream Dandy a-blobbing his way down the street, surely their reaction must be one of equal shock and horror. I never pretended to know how the gentler sex forms an opinion, only I surmise that nowadays only the most wizened hag or crone would have anything to do with this dirigible-sized mooching pest. All the bad things you can say about a scrounger, you can say about Prince Faraday. Not only is he without talent, but he is scathing in his denunciations of those with far more talent than himself. There, I find, is the rub. Twas ever thus, I’m guessing. That’s the real beef I have with him, I suppose. If he were just a faint-hearted loocher as kept his yap shut, he would be tolerable. But, as all fat men do, he has to swagger his stupid opinions about. Makes for a most uncomfortable conversation. Be it sporting events, religion or politics, you can always count on Prince Faraday to have a fatheaded and uninformed opinion. And nothing could possibly be more offense to a man of good sense, who strives to maintain an even temperament, than this blubbery clodpate. I sincerely hope that, from this day forward, he stays far away from me…and mine.”



The National Institute of Justice’s National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs)

Barney Google creator Billy De Beck also maintained a lesser-known, but absolutely delightful strip called Parlor, Bedroom & Sink Starring Bunky.







824. Worst Christmas Song Ever?

This contender makes the loathsome “Little Drummer Boy” come off like The Eroica. Makes the interminable Dominick the Italian Christmas Donkey sound like Noel Coward by comparison. 

It was almost Christmas time
There I stood in another line
Tryin’ to buy that last gift or two
Not really in the Christmas mood

Standing right in front of me was
A little boy waiting anxiously
Pacing ’round like little boys do
And in his hands he held a pair of shoes

And his clothes were worn and old
He was dirty from head to toe
And when it came his time to pay
I couldn’t believe what I heard him say

Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my mama, please
It’s Christmas eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry, sir, daddy says there’s not much time
You see she’s been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes would make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful, if mama meets Jesus tonight

He counted pennies for what seemed like years
Then the cashier said, “Son, there’s not enough here”
He searched his pockets frantically
Then he turned and he looked at me

He said, “Mama made Christmas good at our house
Though most years she just did without
Tell me sir, what am I going to do
Somehow I’ve got to buy her these Christmas shoes”

So I laid the money down, I just had to help him out
And I’ll never forget the look on his face when he said
“Mama’s gonna look so great”

Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my mama, please
It’s Christmas eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry, sir, daddy says there’s not much time
You see she’s been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes would make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful, if mama meets Jesus tonight

I knew I’d caught a glimpse of heaven’s love
As he thanked me and ran out
I knew that God had sent that little boy
To remind me what Christmas is all about

Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my mama, please
It’s Christmas eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry, sir, daddy says there’s not much time
You see she’s been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes would make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful, if mama meets Jesus tonight

I want her to look beautiful
If mama meets Jesus tonight

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