FEBRUARY 26, 2016
Copyright 2016 FRANCIS DIMENNO

No man succeeds without a good woman behind him. Wife or mother, if it is both, he is twice blessed indeed.–Godfrey Winn

Count Victor Justin addressed the assembled bar-room loafers gathered around the large rectangular bar at the Seven Stars Saloon. “Won’t you all sit still and pipe down for a minute? Be more like the old cowboy–don’t say nothing that don’t improve the silence. Tipsy, why don’t you bring a round for the boys? It’s on the house. And the effort they put into downing their drinks will keep them from flapping their gums, and buy me a blessed moment of tranquility. 

“I don’t know–is it me? Am I getting old? Should they shove me in the dotard’s corner because I’m old and in the way? It seems that everything nowadays is noise noise noise. Noise and rickety-rackety-rack–the clanging of the goddamned electric trolley, the ringing of the dod-blasted telephone, the buzzing of the infernal doorbell which ought to be outlawed, or, at the very least, damned to tarnation–whatever happened to peace and quiet? Seems to me a man doesn’t need a new-fangled burglar alarm when a good old hound dog will raise a ruckus and wake all the neighbors when a thief in the night makes his clandestine forays into your domicile. But that’s the way of the world. The new and untested topples and defeats the tried and true–every time. 

“I blame the womenfolk. With their child-like love of novelty, and their fripperies, and their need for fancy clothing, they’re the ones who create a market for the cotton mills to sell their output. Used to be the good old church bell would wake us up. Them days are gone forever. Now it’s far more likely to be the lunchtime factory whistle. I don’t mind. I have made it a principle of my life to sleep until noon every chance I get. It is a great hardship for me to waken before ten am on any given day. I suspect that others feel much the same, only they ain’t in any position to do nothing about it.  

“Don’t get me wrong–I love women. Their rosebud lips remind me of cupid’s bow. And their white teeth are verily like snow shut in a rose. I just love to hug ’em and kiss ’em. But I’ll love them and leave them. I’ve probably got a bairn in every one of the 45 states. But that suits me. Women should be quiet, and stay at home and raise the kiddies, and don’t interfere in the work of men. What is all this foolishness I hear about the working girl? Them gals need to work–to find them a husband, if they can. And keep him, if they know how. The answer is simple. Be submissive to your husband and be modestly dressed. Otherwise, you are just a whore. It’s all right there in the Bible. Not that I place much stock in everything the good book says. But in this case, they’re right on the money. Why O why must a woman go around and pretend to be a man? I’m not blowing sunshine up your ass. If the cat had kittens in the oven, we wouldn’t call them biscuits. I mean the she-males in their pantaloons and their short hair who act all mannish. Why?

“I am a loveless critter at base. I would rather pay cash money for my caresses than enslave a woman, good or bad, by making her my wife, and having to live with her volatile temper, or the guilt feelings at her eternally meek demeanor. Nobody wants to fuck a martyr. Maybe that’s why nuns are cloistered the way they are.  

“Here’s what else irks me about the womenfolk. They warm their cold feet on you when they’re in bed. They fart, and pretend it wasn’t them. They flirt with other men at parties and social gatherings–outrageously so, almost as if you haven’t bought and paid for them. I don’t mind a little independence in a woman; but there’s such a thing as going too far. Plus, they’re as jealous as a cat is of her kittens when it comes to hubby pitching some clandestine woo. And why won’t the damn hussy darn your damn socks? Or sew your fucking buttons on? Or get the goddamn ironing done in a timely fashion? Or use the right dad-blamed soap to do the laundry? Why must she always be half an hour late when you’re waiting to meet her under the big clock downtown? Why must she have a pretty new dress when she’s parading herself around the town, but wear any old thing when she’s in the house and it’s just you as sees her?

“And why, oh way, will she ask you for your advice and not follow it, or, even worse, she won’t ask you for your advice at all, but instead just run out and do as she pleases, spending your money like a drunken sailor on shore leave? Now, you may say that these are the musings of an idiot. But I’m only talking cold hard facts here–cold hard facts and nothing more. 

“It starts in the home, and how her own mother raises her. I am firmly convinced of that fact. 

“My own old mother was no saint. I can say it; though I dast another man to utter so much as a yip agin her. In that case, it’s the horse-whip for sure. Any man who won’t defend his own mother agin the depredations of starngers is no man at all. I firmly believe that, and I don’t believe in much.  

“My mother taught me everything I know, and I don’t mean that in a good way. She was no sort of big hugger and kisser herself…never seemed to care what i was up and about doing…and if she caught me in a lie she would just haul off and smack me.

“Back when I was a sprout, I used to think my Mamma knew it all. Then I was convinced my Pappa knew it all. Then I thought that I knew it all. Now I realize that nobody knows it all. And that nobody ever has, ner ever will.” 


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Here’s a List of Truly Awful Similes [from Grenville Kleiser’s Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases:]

A breath of melancholy made itself felt like a chill and sudden gust from some unknown sea

A glacial pang of pain like the stab of a dagger of ice frozen from a poisoned well

A name which sounds even now like the call of a trumpet

As amusing as a litter of likely young pigs

Brute terrors like the scurrying of rats in a deserted attic

Cheeks as soft as July peaches

Debasing fancies gather like foul birds

Dull as champagne

Each moment was an iridescent bubble fresh-blown from the lips of fancy

Easy as a poet’s dream

Grazing through a circulating library as contentedly as cattle in a fresh meadow

He snatched furiously at breath like a tiger snatching at meat

He was so weak now, like a shrunk cedar white with the hoar-frost

Her dusky cheek would burn like a poppy

Her expression changed with the rapidity of a kaleidoscope

Her hair dropped on her pallid cheeks, like sea-weed on a clam

Her laugh is like a rainbow-tinted spray

Herding his thoughts as a collie dog herds sheep

His nerves thrilled like throbbing violins

His talk is like an incessant play of fireworks

I was as sensitive as a barometer

Laughter like a beautiful bubble from the rosebud of baby-hood

Like a crowd of frightened porpoises a shoal of sharks pursue

Like a damp-handed auctioneer

Like a festooned girdle encircling the waist of a bride

Like a slim bronze statue of Despair

Like a summer-dried fountain

Like dead lovers who died true

Like Death, who rides upon a thought, and makes his way through temple, tower, and palace

Like some unshriven churchyard thing, the friar crawled

Like the detestable and spidery araucaria

Like the sea-worm, that perforates the shell of the mussel, which straightway closes the wound with a pearl

Like thoughts whose very sweetness yielded proof that they were born for immortality

Love had like the canker-worm consumed her early prime

Odorous as all Arabia

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