APRIL 2016
Copyright 2016 Francis DiMenno

  1. 901. You are being relentlessly tracked by a cold-blooded killer.
    You may not believe it, but you are God’s worst enemy.
    903. Your vanity will ironically result in hideous disfigurement.
    904. The man you’ve been following will turn around and kill you.
    905. Your court-appointed psychiatrist is even more insane than you.
    906. You can’t handle the truth. You can’t even handle lies.
    907. If you weren’t completely corrupt, you’d be nothing at all.
    908. You live at the intersection of Homicide Street and Murder Alley.
    909. Your crime partner has escaped jail and seeks revenge.
    910. Your new wife allows strange men to buy her gifts.
    911. Your life’s a dead end street; you cannot turn around.
    912. Your existence is a circle that adds up to zero.
    913. You’ve committed no crime; but your life is a crime.
    915.You eat their anger and excrete pure hatred.
    916.Fool–you’re practically telling them where to stick the knife.
    917. You spent your whole life. Payoff–a big fat goose egg.
    918. Nothing burns in you but a cold hard flame of emptiness.
    919. You’re no longer in the picture–but you never were.
    920. They see nothing in your eyes because your soul is dead.
    921. The path is full of enormous bumps–you feel every one.
    922. You’ve a long walk ahead of you. Better walk faster. Run!
    923.If you fall, nobody, but nobody, will pick you back up.
    924. Your mother will be reduced to working in a Waffle House.
    925. They are through with plotting revenge; they are ready to act.
    926. That sinking feeling will continue for the rest of your life.
    927. How can you escape when you can’t even move?
    928. The system works. It just doesn’t work for you.
    929. Your sole happiness consists in enduring a miserable existence.
    930. You didn’t start the fire–nor can you put it out.
    931. Once you’re out of the picture, the facts will add up.
    932. Prosperity is around the corner but you’re in a dead end.
    933. You’re a tough nut, but you’re up against The Nutcracker.
    934. Santa never came to your house–wrong neighborhood.
    935. You think they’re on your side. they never were.
    936. Your own brother sold you out–for a bottle of rotgut.
    937. You don’t care about yourself–They’ll take care of you.
    938. Every double-crosser in town knows you’re in it, deep.
    939. You are a never-wuzzer with delusions of has-been.
    940. Every cheap dame around has told you to Amscray.
    941. They’ll steal your inventions, then sue you for plagiarism.
    942. That Barmaid with the Panther Eyes has her hooks in deep.
    943. You’re a champion swimmer when you dive into that bottle.
    944. They all know you’re very busy–busy with them reefers.
    945. You pushed her away without meaning to. She’s gone forever.
    946. The competition you must eliminate had the same idea–first.
    947. Your mind is racing–but it isn’t built for speed.
    948. You hate their so-called “lies”–but they’re telling the truth.
    949. She had a heart of Gold. Now she’s full of Lead.
    950. You hocked your wedding ring. Pusher sold you baby laxative.
    951. You’re a sucker–there’s no percentage in wising you up.
    952. You drove the getaway car–all the way to Argentina.
    953. Dirty cops, flirty dames, bloody money, cold stiffs, tommy guns–death.
    954. Some rob you with a shotgun; some with an even bigger shotgun.
    955.No one is innocent–least of all, you.
    956. Your love is not unique–it isn’t even love.
    957. You are headed, not for the top, but right back to the bottom.
    958. You’re a dead man, Jim–even if you don’t know it yet.
    959. It’s too late to change–nobody cures a fried egg.
    960. While the sun shines the moon plots your downfall.
    961. They DID kill the Umpire–and you’re next, Sucker.
    962. You shouldn’t have gotten involved–now there’s no way out.
    963. Your wife’s jealous ex-boyfriend is known as “Psycho”.
    914. Thirty years of hate kept you warm; trouble is all you know.
    964. You will be hated for no other reason than being born.
    965. Your compromise will permanently embitter both parties.
    966. You “don’t believe in winners and losers”? You lose.
    967. You don’t sweat much–for a guilty man.
    968. Many more killers will be closing in real soon.
    969. Tomorrow is another day–but you won’t live to see it.
    970. They don’t even care enough to end your misery.
    971. Thirteen? Nowadays all numbers are unlucky for you.
    972. The Champ is very jealous of your pretty face.
    973. Once an acid casualty–soon you’ll be a real one.
    974. “Avid fan of heroin” is not a compliment.
    975. The only happy people you ever see are on television.
    976. Your murderous psychosis is actually the least of your problems.
    977. Women look into your eyes and see only a dead man.
    978. Slob–your wife convinces a hungry drifter to murder you.
    979. You’re not one of God’s Children, but the Devil’s Bastard.
    980. God is dead–and very soon you will also die.
    981. Police say your murder technique is trite and derivative.
    982. The truth won’t set you free–you’ll get the Chair.
    983. God never helped you before, and He’s forgotten you now.
    984. You’ll leave it all behind–but there’s nothing ahead for you.
    985. They taught you to be bad, but not strong.
    986. You think you’ve seen everything, but you’ve seen nothing.
    987. Impossible for you to go crazy–you were born that way.
    988. Your story might have been happy but for blind chance.
    989. 100 little things that didn’t matter; one big thing fatally left undone.
    990. It’s the last inning of your life. Score: 0-0.
    991. You’ll hand it all over, but they’ll kill you anyway.
    992. You really are a damned fool–you understand nothing.
    993. You’re an evil influence on all your so-called friends.
    994. Involuntary manslaughter? Nothing doing. You’re going to fry.
    995. Over your dead body? What will be, will be.
    996. Keep a stiff upper lip–they’ll destroy the lower one.
    997. All humanity has declared total war on you alone.
    998. It’s not the end of the world–just your world.
    999. There’s always a bright side–until they blind you.
    1000. She kicked you in the heart–and broke her leg.


Opening shot: explosion. A shack in the Utah desert.

Establishing shot: 1966. Docu footage unspools: Viet War, race riots, LBJ with head in hands. Credits roll.

Long tracking shot of California farmland. Another explosion, this one large enough to level a city block. Lemon groves are devastated by wildfires.

Cut to: Office penthouse. The silhouetted figure of a man is seen and heard shouting into two telephones. Camera reveals he is XAVIER BRAND, a creepy white-haired industrialist with a withered face and a rather louche black mustache who, for diabolical reasons of his own, is trying to corner the world’s supply of lemons and Borax. Distinguishing feature: His right index finger is actually a nail file. He compulsively grooms his nails the whole time he is talking on the phones. His SECRETARY grooms his toenails.

Cut to: Exterior of office. A man with a rope and grappling hook is climbing hand over hand up the side of the building. He is FRANZ NEUMANN, sworn foe of sinister cabals. A grinning crewcut blonde giant. Distinguishing feature: His lemon-yellow eyepatch. He climbs the rope with agility and grace. He is obviously a highly-skilled gymnast.

But will he make it up the side of the building? I think not. BRAND’s sinister henchman–a midget wearing a bowler hat–undoes the hook from the cornice of the building. NEUMANN falls. An enormous American eagle swoops in and catches him. NEUMANN is whisked off to the mountaintop fortress of none other than…

UNCLE SAM, who tells NEUMANN that HE MUST NOT FAIL and provides him with advanced weaponry and two accomplices: A parrot who can mimic anybody’s voice and a cigar-smoking chimp who is an explosives expert.

A series of complications ensues, but, ultimately, Xavier Brand is foiled, Neumann gets the secretary, and a series of Fab detergent posters plastered about Futuropolis mutely testify to the fact that the surfectant now does indeed feature the miraculous novelty of “Lemon-Freshened Borax”.

What is gossip but the way in which humans squawk their warnings at one another?

People are sometimes criticized for treating soap operas, television personalities, and other fictional and quasi-fictional constructs as though they are actually real.

But as far as our individual minds are concerned, it is possible that ALL people are, in essence, fictional characters. We can never say we truly know or can even predict with reliable certainty the actions of another.

It is interesting to speculate whether reality programs and other television shows of this nature are rewiring our brains or whether our brains are already wired to create fictional narratives about other people, whether they are real OR imaginary.

When you stop to think about it, when we gossip about another person, we are merely transmitting signals to one another. Whether the signals truly identify the nature of the stimulus is open to question. I’m no scientist–far from it–but it’s an interesting thing to speculate about. Mainly, whether gossip of any kind is not really simply an ADAPTIVE mechanism, hard-wired into the primate brain. For example, observe how monkeys hoot when they see a snake. This mechanism may even be hard-wired into the brains of lower animals; for instance, birds who emit raucous shrieks when danger approaches.

This argument may be reductive, and perhaps even slightly out of line, but it is all food for thought.

One final note: Gossip is hardly ever good news. For that, we have get-togethers which we call “celebrations”.

In our affinity groups, we gather and repulse one another like magnetized filaments.

In much the same way that birds yearly flock to migrate south in a V formation.

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana…is number 12 on the nonfiction
bestseller list.–NYTBR 4-10-11

1. The Glass Blower of Kabul
2. The Wrinkle Chaser of Kandahar
3. The Pure Finder of Herat
4. The Branding Agent of Mazar-i-Sharif
5. The Funeral Clown of Kunduz
6. The Litter Bearer of Jalalabad
7. The Silver Miner of Lashkar Gah
8. The Used Ox Salesman of Taluqan
9. The Glass Harmonica Player of Puli Khumri
10. The Salvage Diver of Khost
‎11. The Orgy Planner of Ghazni
12. The Beekeeper of Sheberghan
13. The Hat Blocker of Sari Pul
14. The Exfoliator of Farah
15. The Qat-Chewer of Mazar e Sharif

My latest flight of introspective fancy has arisen from a
contemplation of a Flintstones episode which was brought to my
attention by Scott Shaw! It is the one in which Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm
have a hit single with their recording of “Oh Let the Sunshine In”.

Note Pebbles’ eyes whenever she sings the word “frowners”. Creep-tastic!

Incidentally, I wrote a parody of that song when I was 11 years old.
It went as follows:

Oh let the booze pour in
Chase it with some gin
Drunkards never lose
And boozers always win
So let the booze pour in
Chase it with some gin
Open up your mouth and let the booze pour in!

This episode was obviously one of the many ham-handed attempts by the
dominant culture to satirize the musical fads of teens by offering
them an alleged “real music” alternative to the trash their unformed
minds are invariably drawn to.

Note, for instance, George Jetson’s hot jazz drum solo for the intro
of Howie Morris’ “Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah.”

Note too that in the “New Lives of Superman” story from roughly the
same time period (Superman # 182 January 1966) that Superman, as
“Clark the K” approves of the “Super Cool Cat” and his Elvis riff, but
not of the Rolling Stones type band composed of louts who sing lyrics
like: “His lordship whines we stole his poke….”
Also see:

Kevin Wollander writes: “I always felt that Bill [Hanna] and Joe
[Barbera] never “got” pop music of the rock age. All representations
of it on shows of this era, not only at Hanna-Barbera Studios, pretty
much summed all rock/pop as “noise” or that teen-age disease–even as
hip as [Bob Clampett’s] “BEANY & CECIL” was, check the middle of the
“Snorky” story, the worst of all ages, the teen-age, and
check carefully, in that story in which Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm sing,
how Fred is tooling the radio dial only to have a frantic reaction
when all stations are playing teen rock. The feeling of sitcoms back
then, before and slightly immediately after the “invasion” of the
Beatles was pretty much that this “phase” is inevitable and,
hopefully, it will go away. I don’t even think that animators quite
accepted bebop jazz, either, and that style of music could have worked
as soundtrack for some theatrical cartoons if characters could have
been created to represent the beat generation…. Remember that other
FLINTSTONES episode, when Fred’s backwoods relatives came to visit and
never left…until it was realized that the one thing that they
couldn’t stand was “that bug music”. Everyone in the neighborhood
donned long-hair wigs and started playing barely musical melodies on
their guitars which, of course, eventually drove the hayseeds away.
Pop music was that one rung on the ladder that no one crossed until
much, much later.”

There are countless examples of this tendency throughout recorded
history, in which old fogies blast the fads of the young as decadent
and pointless. There may even be examples of Neanderthals cussing out
those new-fangled Cro-Magnons….


Thursday October 29, 1812

Castle of Victor Von Frankenstein
99 Monster Island Road

My Dear Doctor Frankenstein,


On the date referenced above I had left my calling card with your servant but I thought that I might also take this opportunity to initiate a correspondence with you.

On Tuesday evening last at 10 post meridian an unearthly shriek, demonic grunting, and a series of sickening groans were heard to emanate from your demesnes, and it has also been brought to my attention yesterday that many of the municipal pump faucets that morning were seen to have been running sanguine with what I hopefully must assume was the blood of some animal.

I can assure you most sincerely that I do not wish to meddle with your property rights. I have no interest whatsoever in whatever it is you do in that castle of yours, insofar as your activities shall not have any effect upon the orderly workings of the Town of Ingolstadt.

However, when town residents repeatedly complain about the ghastly noises and uncanny doings emanating from your precincts, would you not agree that it is my duty as a town official to make a respectful inquiry?

Accordingly, Herr Doctor, would you be so kind as to send your representative to my offices on Friday, October 30, at 1:00pm sharp so that we might discuss this unpleasant matter? I hope that in so doing that we can therefore arrive at a mutually satisfactory agreement.

Manfred Winkelstein
Department of Health
Town of Ingolstadt

Thursday November 5, 1812
The Hon. Count Von Falkenstein
Lord Mayor
Town of Ingolstadt

Herr Mayor:

In response to your recent missive, countersigned by the Chief of the Constabulary:

Much to my infinite frustration I addressed the animal mutilation issue with Count Frankenstein’s attorney on October 30. At that time I was assured that the matter would be resolved in such a way that would be of mutual satisfaction to both parties. I’m afraid I grew rather insistent that the matter be resolved at once, and was blandly assured by Von Frankenstein’s rather smug attorney, Herr Blankenfeld, that such “unfortunate occurences” were “regrettable”, but were to regarded as “things of the past”. He further assured me that there would be “no repetition” of the “offending behavior”.

In no way do I find this man’s assurances either plausible or even credible.

From the start I have gotten the distinct impression that Frankenstein cares not for the rules and regulations of the town of Ingolstadt. His electric dynamo creates a noise nuisance and flocks of game birds flying over it have been observed to have been struck stone dead. As you know, Frankenstein has flat out refused to observe certain proprieties. I sometimes wonder if he is actually a Doctor at all. His actions seem to me either unethical or actually constituting outright misfeasance; notably, his late attempt, which you surely must recall, to pay his property taxes with straw rather than with gold coin; his persistent way of staring at one’s skull as though measuring it for some unfathomable but likely infernal purpose, and, finally, his publicly sworn oath to usurp such prerogatives as men of sense all agree belong solely to the Maker of the Universe.

Furthermore, in terms of getting him to make improvements on his property to bring it up to the standards set forth in the town building code, I have been aggressively lobbying his attorney for the slightest concession in regards to that matter, but Von Frankenstein has simply refused to budge.

I have had to put up with his stubborn inanition for the past week. Result: Once again, Frankenstein himself, or, even more frustrating,  certain creatures of this despicable man acting without his authorization, have given me one more of what have proven to be a series of shortsighted–can I go so far as to say  nonsensical?–promises; then he proceeds to do nothing, and, as the problem grows worse, more draconian alternatives will eventually have to be implemented, and months of delay will be the result. In the interim, I get a reputation for intransigence among the townspeople, the villagers are inconvenienced, and my staff is demoralized.

Pray forgive my tone, Herr Mayor. Permit me to assure you that I have been monitoring the Frankenstein matter. I  will call upon him again tomorrow at  2:30pm and will issue you a status report in regards to the situation no later than Monday, November 9.

Manfred Winkelstein
Department of Health
Town of Ingolstadt

Monday November 9, 1812
The Hon. Count Von Falkenstein
Lord Mayor
Town of Ingolstadt

Herr Mayor:

As I promised in our previous correspondence of 5 November, I once again called upon Herr Frankenstein very early that Friday and left my card with his servant, a nasty little hunchback whose face I seem to recall as similar to that of a man under suspicion by the Danzig police for a series of inexplicable cadaver mutilations. I was told that the Doctor was very busy and could not at that time suffer any disturbance.

I then rather slyly lingered outside of the precincts of his castle walls and, noticing that the Castle seemed to be suffused with a peculiar, unprecedented variety of ambient heat, I therefore out of a sense of idle curiosity measured with a mercury thermometer I happened to have to hand the ambient temperature immediately outside the castle walls and achieved the following results:

10:45am: 52 degrees (the outdoor temperature was 38 degrees.)

11:15am: 61 degrees (the outdoor temperature was 42 degrees.)

12:40pm: 68.8 degrees (the outdoor temperature was 42 degrees.)

1:40pm: 75 degrees (the outdoor temperature was 44 degrees.)

At 1:55pm the temperature outside the castle wall registered as an astonishing 84.2 degrees, while the outdoor temperature was no greater than 45 degrees. The temperature of the exterior walls seemed to be rising at a rate of 7 or 8 degrees every 60 minutes. Flocks of migratory fowl are once again observed to drop stone dead when flying over the castle. At this time I myself feel rather enfeebled.

I immediately set forth upon my steed and after a nearly two hour ride called upon my old friend Professor Gruenberg at the University here. He told me that the phenomenon was virtually inexplicable to him–unless Frankenstein were somehow tapping some source of enormous source of energy within the thick stone castle walls in excess of 2000 degrees Fahrenheit; one, furthermore, sufficient to throw off the above-mentioned radiant heat as surplus temperature. Professor Gruenberg has suggested that  the government in Danzig be notified and the militia should perhaps be alerted. I will await your instructions in these matter.s In the interim, I shall keep you apprised of developments as they occur.

I have also noted with some alarm that as the the icicles which flange the castle eaves are melting, and that the water therefrom turns to steam before it even hits the ground. The outdoor air intake which serves to ventilate the interior of the castle is covered with a sticky red fluid which might be…blood?    
Manfred Winkelstein
Department of Health
Town of Ingolstadt

Tuesday November 10, 1812
The Hon. Count Von Falkenstein
Lord Mayor
Town of Ingolstadt

Herr Mayor:

Quite the afternoon. Seeing double. I called upon Frankenstein this AM. Felt I would be remiss in my duty to the village if I neglected to attend to this situation as quickly as possible. F. most hospitable. Offered me a delicious herbal tea. Head feels kind of funny.


Tuesday November 10, 1812
The Hon. Count Von Falkenstein
Lord Mayor
Town of Ingolstadt

Herr Mayor:

The matter regarding Victor Von Frankenstein has been resolved in a most satisfactory fashion. Frankenstein’s experiments are wholly benign. The Doctor was merely conducting a series of procedures the results of which bid fair to offer great advances to medical science. The intense heat of the castle is caused by insufficient ventilation. The problem has been rectified. For my part, I have signed on to become the assistant of Doctor Frankenstein and am therefore resigning forthwith my position as Director, Department of Health, Town of Ingolstadt.

P.S. Please address all future inquiries regarding the state of Frankenstein’s affairs to Herr Blankenfeld, Esq.

Manfred Winkelstein (alias “Igor”)

…Shall we blame/ A dog’s rapacity upon/ The carelessness of man/ And
query thus the need/ T’ solicitously discard/ Our punctured tins? Fie
on’t! / When Tray, Blue and Queenie ceaselessly besot our yard/ And
turn a quivering face against the deed!–The Tragicall Melodrama of
Rin Tin Tin

‎[The Ranger] in telling us not to steal the pickanick basket/
Delights in seeing us steal the pickanick basket/ For he has not yet
been superceded by/ A world which has no need of parks, or
Rangers, or n-yea-hey-hey-hee, of food..–Prologue to “The Yogi Cycle”
(Yogi Tyrannis, Yogi at Colonus, Yogi Agonistes), attr.

THE BOOK OF SCOOBIE 10. 1. A tax collector of the town did come to Shaggy
and did say unto him, 2. Master, when the doorbell doth ring, Scooby
beginneth to bark. 3. And when visitants come late at night, this
barking of the hound doth surely make the neighbors wax sorely
wroth. 4. And Shaggy did reply: Verily, friend, I say unto ye, and Yoinks, it is
actually very simple. 5. When ye doorbell doth ring, thou shalt give
unto Scooby a snack. 6. And Scooby shall lift his tail and bow his
shoulders and circle three times his bed then go to the Msyetry Machine. 7. And
thereafter any time ye doorbell doth ring Scooby shall go unto the
Mystery Machine in expectation of a Scooby snack and so peace shall
reign in thine home forevermore.​


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