17TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE
Work is the curse of the drinking classes.–Oscar Wilde
WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER TEN: PART SEVENTY-ONE: KINGDOM COME
“Jake Leaming,” said Count Victor Justin, ” was a hell of a grifter. A legend in his own mind. Like many of that breed, he had very little use for womenfolk; but, unlike them, he made no bones about it. So it got so that he would bend the ears of any Yob who was in need of free liquor and warn’t too particular about the company he kept. And man alive, could that Yellof ever spiel a line of easy patter. Get him to talking about politics, and you’d never hear the end of it. About how the Republicans are little more than a party of rich plutocrats, except when they ain’t. About how appropriate that the Democrats are the party of disunion and can’t even put their own house into order. About how democrats are all a bunch of emotional drunks who are easy to roll, while Republicans tend to be more stingy with their ooftish and kind of offish. About how we ought to declare war on Canada, as all the land the frost heads say is theirs rightfully belongs to the U.S. of A., including all the gold–Hah Hah Hah, the gold!
“Then he’ll go on a tear about gold versus silver, though nobody cares any more, as that issue was essentially settled about ten or fifteen years ago. The processes involved in the mining of ores which bear precious metals. A foolproof way of sussing out Fool’s Gold, also known as Iron Pyrites, which are sometimes valuable because apparently small bits of gold have been known to be found in conjunction with it. But he’d go on for hours about geology and chemistry and all the rest, just as if he were lecturing a roomful of attentive college students, instead of some of the most dissolute rabble to come down the pike since Coxey’s Army. And then he’ll blab about the tariff. On and on. Just about the most boring topic devised by man, and, of course, he happens to be the world’s expert.
“How much of his palaver was genuine knowledge and how much of it was inspired by the fumes of alcohol, ether, and nitrous oxide, for which he had a sneaking fondness, no man shall ever know. You’d mistake him for a learned man, all other things being equal. And that’s the way he liked it. He had what you might call ulterior motives for his always wanting to be in the right. He was a veritable walking encyclopedia, and his memory was impeccable, but his morals certainly weren’t. You laugh to hear me talk about morals in the same breath as I talk about confidence men, but, as I mentioned before, the grifters of my acquaintance had a certain code of honor. They would never take a sucker for more than he could afford. Certainly, they would never knowingly rob a mark of his most precious possession of all–his health and sanity.
“You’d pick him out as one of the sunflower brigade just from his dandified appearance and high-pitched whining voice alone. O, he tried his merry tricks of seduction on me once! I guess he must have forgotten who I was. I rebuffed him in no uncertain terms, and the very next day he behaved as though nothing had happened, which means he was either a very good actor or he had been so debauched that he had completely forgotten what he had been about the night previous.
“He was known to go basket shopping–outside of schools, along the docks, in low taverns and bar-rooms, and the like. With his plausible line of patter and his fat and open pocketbook he was therefore able to lure many a young yellof to his rooms, and get him good and likkered up, and then he’d have his way with the youngster. This sort of behavior did not make him a popular man with many of the other grifters, who tend to be a quite forgiving bunch, on the whole. You could have a chloral habit that would fell an ox, and they would simply shrug. You could kick the gong around the whole night long and they wouldn’t care–many of them used hop themselves, as a kind of diversion while off the job. You could have a string of wives and a fair number of corresponding bastards arrayed like stars in the night sky across the whole span of this great continent, and they wouldn’t put up a yip. But these same grifters could be very puritanical in other circumstances. Particularly when it came to ‘the love that dare not speak its name’. If they indulged in this vice outside of prison walls, they kept very quiet about it, and were usually circumspect. Not Jake Leaming, though. He would talk about his ‘conquests’ as though he were a sort of full-fledged philanthropist, instead of merely the roughest and lowest sort of beast consumed by unnatural lusts and helpless in the gripes of his longings.
From whence would he recruit these wretches? You’ll be surprised when I tell you that, when he couldn’t get boys, his “recruits” come from all walks of life. Twisted alienists, strutting fops, babbling hunkies, Italian barbers with thick mustachios, drunken sailors, bent merchant seamen, dissolute family men, hungry counting clerks, lonely jobbers, desperate horse-thieves, threadbare scriveners, government factotums, murderous hoboes, down-at-the-heels gamblers, whoremasters, spymasters, former slavemasters, shivering cripples, shuddering slaves of demon rum, congenital morons, syphilitic pimps, lubberly Bedlamites, and, to top it all off, the usual gang of shirtless moochers and cadaverous spongers who are to be found haunting and hovering near every Free Lunch, every wedding, and every Irish wake. All the scoundrels, in other words, which normal men flee the sight of, Jake Leaming would welcome with open arms–not out of the goodness of his heart, no, but as possible future subjects of his heartless exploitation! Take heed, Yobs! Beware the friendly stranger–especially you, young Cadger Tandy! Especially you! I say–beware! Be wary of the man who speaks poorly of womenfolk–or not at all! For he very likely has…a terrible, terrible secret!
GREEN MAGNET SCHOOL
Here is another real blast from the past. Just listen to that intro!
GREEN MAGNET SCHOOL
Members of the band has assured me that the tape recording is of an actual person.
WHO IS OLDER AND YOUNGER THAN YOU
26 RESTAURANTS WITH HILARIOUSLY TERRIBLE NAMES
HOW MANY NUKES WOULD IT TAKE TO BLOW UP THE ENTIRE PLANET?
TEN RIDICULOUS FAKE PUNK SONGS
(Let’s Dance) The Screw Part 2
SAMMY DAVIS JR.
MY MOTHER THE CAR
HERMIT ARRESTED AFTER 27 YEARS IN MAINE WOODS
Arsenio Hall Sues Sinead O’Connor Over Accusation of Giving Drugs to Prince
TEN OF THE MOST DISTURBING FOLK SONGS IN HISTORY
25 TRULY TERRIBLE CARS
Are there any Trump supporters here? You–in back of the crowd–with your hair slicked over half your forehead, and the toothbrush mustache–you’re looking tanned and rested after your trip to Argentina–so glad you were able to escape the Fuhrerbunker.
I liked Trump’s policy statements, but I’m sure they sounded much better in 1933, in Germany. You hear about his latest foreign policy statement? He’s going to build a wall around Mexico–and conquer the Sudetenland.
Actually, it’s unfair to compare Trump to Hitler. Hitler was an actual decorated war hero. And we all know how Trump feels about P.O.W.s. I don’t suppose John McCain will be on the ticket with him any time soon….
Actually, Trump has had extensive foreign policy experience, especially with people from Sicily. I would say more, but I don’t want two gorillas wearing purple suits named Tony Cigars and Two-Fingered Moe to come over to my house and offer to break my thumbs.”
Who should Trump pick as his running mate? Paul von Hindenburg would never accept the number two slot, and besides, he’s not an American. John Wayne is dead, and even Clint Eastwood isn’t crazy enough to accept. Maybe Mel Gibson, seeing as how they have so much in common.
Speaking of ancient history, do any of you remember the last time a politician tried to run his wife for higher office due to term limits? It was George Wallace, when he was Governor of Alabama. Quite a distinctive heritage.
Bill Clinton had the prize-winning hog at the Arkansas State Fair. But they made him put it back in his pants.
No wonder Hillary’s having a hard time. She’s so frigid that midgets perform the Ice Capades on her face.
Who is she going to pick as her Vice President? I think she should enlist Monica Lewinsky. That would be one way of getting her off her back.
Bernie Sanders is still in the race. Which reminds me–when I was about three years old I had a toy car that I would smash against the living room wall again and again. Puts me in mind of
the Bernie Sanders candidacy.
I agree with much of what Bernie says–it’s his supporters I can’t stand. I look at them and I think, “Aww…isn’t that cute? They’ve discovered partisan politics!” They remind me of what happened when I took my first drink. I felt all warm and glowy inside. Then I had another, and another. And I began shouting at people who disagreed with my opinions. Then I had a couple more drinks, and began throwing empty bottles into a crowd of people. Then I slipped and slid in a pool of my own vomit, and became weepy and snappish towards the people who were trying to help me get up.
Partisan politics–don’t even try it once.
They say Bernie has no foreign policy experience, but that’s obviously untrue–he was mayor of Burlington, which is only on hour from Montreal, where some of them speak French.
I think it would be a real election if Donald Trump decided to enlist Bernie Sanders as his Vice President.
They’d be talking about it in the media for–ohh, the next few days.