THE INFORMATION #895
What great thing would you attempt if you knew you could not fail? –Robert H. Schuller
WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER TEN: PART SEVENTY-SEVEN: KINGDOM COME
“Did I ever tell you-uns,” said Count Victor Justin to Tipsy Smith, the suds-puller at the Seven Stars, “about the time my former pard Jake Leaming met that fat piece of shit, that soulful Johnny black as coal in his heart, the so-called musician Prince Faraday? Oh, it was a match that was truly made in hell–the swishy old con-man and the fat old pig with the whiskey breath who still fancied himself a hit with all the ladies fair. Haw! They all snickered at him behind his back–called him Chubbins, the Oleaginous Romeo, and worser names still. Prince Faraday fancied himself a musical genius on the basis of he once shared a bill with the legendary Blind Tom. Haw! As though genius could be transmitted through the air, like a miasma! He is an opinionated failure whose fleeting fame is long past him, yet he continues to pontificate like some sort of oracular savant about all manners of matters about which he knows far less than nowt.
“So what do you suppose happened.” said The Count, “when Prince Faraday fatally collided with Jake Leaming? Nothing edifying, I can assure you,” he added, taking a pull at his schooner of beer, “but I’m going to tell you anyway.”
“It was a dark and stormy night. They both were right here at the Seven Stars. The two former adversaries made for a real Mutt and Jeff team–Jake Leaming tall and lean and Prince Faraday, dressed all in black, and short and stout, with grease on his collar and, no doubt, larceny in his heart. Just like all musicians. Never knew an honest one. They’re always stealing each other’s instruments, and moaning about it, all the while indulging in back room chatter regarding who the latest sensation is and who is low man on the totem pole. Jake Leaming, of course, needs no introduction. The world’s expert on everything, or so he would have you believe, and always with one eye open for the main chance. The man would bet on a tumbleweed rolling down the alley in a city which had never seen nary a one, and you shouldn’t be surprised if, right after making that bet, a tumbleweed did indeed materialize. A real hustler. Could talk a starving dog off’n a gut wagon. No truck with the ladies, ner the Bible. If he has any dealings with the ladyfolk at all, you might say that he was in different–like the Greek bridegroom on his honeymoon. He’s a real maricón. Spends all his ochre in getting duded up. Runs with The Fancy, and all the fancy-men, too, whenever he takes a notion. You might have seen him on a yacht. One time he even took a ride on one of them new-fangled Zeppelins. Faraday was standing at the bar, nursing a beer, when in walks Leaming.
“‘Mr. Thingumbob! How are you, you stupid old fat-head?’ says Jake Leaming to Prince Faraday, ‘Tell me, Yob: how did a sleek young yellof such as you once were end up as a dipsomaniacal garbage-picker? Don’t tell me–let me guess–bad business decisions was it? Or maybe you were snapping at that bottle of Duffy’s Pure Malt Whiskey for so long that you shat your brains out of your ass. You’re a real wet blanket, you are. An aggressive multi-directional nitwit. The proverbial turd in the punchbowl; the guy who put the ‘fun’ in funeral–your own. Aww, c’mon–chase up a smile, you old grouch. You’ll be dead soon enough. Sooner, if I have anything to say about it. You’re already dead, in the eyes of many. Mumbling your way through a mouthful of greasy fried clams and reduced to obsessively dwelling on the glories and splendors of thirty years ago. Nowadays, I heard it said, you can’t even draw flies. You ought to be on the stage, all right–the first stage out of town. All the young hoofers snicker at your condition. You ought to know about this. They say you can’t find a booking because you can’t read music, and also because you’re so bloated from stuffing your fat face with cheese and bacon that your greasy fat fingers go sliding off the strings of your guitar. They say that you can’t even play ‘When the Saints,’ let alone anything with more than two chords. They say that you’re always straining to get anywhere near the notes and not quite finding them. Tell me, is all that true? Are you even more than all washed up? Old and in the way? Don’t answer. Expecting you to be honest about how old and pathetic you are is like waiting for the cat to walk on two legs–you’re hoping for an eventuality that will never arrive until maybe the crack of doom. I also heard you played in a restaurant and had a tantrum when the owner wouldn’t give you free drinks, so you micturated all over a pile of white aprons he had left in a corner to be washed. That’s all on account of the fact that when you were a strapping lad your Daddy beat you with a slippery elm club while your mother treated you like you was Pius the Ninth.”
Faraday snapped back at Jake Leaming right smart. “Shut your stinking cake-hole, Captain Queernabs. You skipping, twisting, woman-acting man, why can ye nae stop your barking, as though anything you had to say made so much as a lick of sense? Look at you–thin as a rail–drinking that battery-acid java and sniffing them asthma powders, I reakon–what dost thou here, midst the riff and raff? Looking for a likely lad, I’ll wager. Damn, but thou art a nitwit, wot? Whither goest thou, ye cadaverous mooch? I hear tell that you like your steaks to be just like your boys–rare and tender. Ought you not be canvassing the gutters for some fresh meat? Morphodites like you thrive best at the chimes of midnight, when the poor blameless horses are safe asleep in their stables. Never mind that you belong in prison. Maybe you ought to stop snuffing those powders and check yourself in to an asylum for the insane. You have all the diseases and weaknesses known to man, due in no small part to your evil habits, self-abuse, profligate excesses, and loathsome vices. They should of strangled you in the cradle.”
“The two of them went at it in that vein for a goodly while, until Prince Faraday decided that he was wasting his time, and left the bar, all the while snorting his disdain. Leaming, of course, was jubilant at having given Faraday the breeze. And rightly so. Faraday always was a character who was too big for his britches, even back when he had something to say. Now he’s just a fat-faced deadbeat with an overgrown sense of his own worth. Noxtown is full of them. Bloated no-talent frauds who somehow think they deserve to be treated like musical geniuses. They’re running a long con, sure, but the only people they’re fooling is…themselves.
“So fadeth all past glories! Haww….”
YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN
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This is the beauty of these pompous hipsters – they think they’re individuals, but they’re really just the same. Yeah, you all wear Warby Parker glasses just like all frat guys wear Costas. And you all listen to Ella Fitzgerald just as all frat guys pretend to hate pop country. You’re collectively all the same person.
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CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE.
854. SOLVING THE TRADE IMBALANCE
I SAY WE PRINT A TEN TRILLION DOLLAR BILL AND WHEN CHINA COMES KNOCKING WE GIVE IT TO THEM, SAY THERE YOU GO THANK YOU VERY MUCH DEBT PAID IN FULL NOW GO AWAY AND DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU IN THE ASS ON YOUR WAY OUT!!!