THE INFORMATION #949
Most of the trouble in the world has been caused by ten to twenty percent of folks who can’t mind their own business, because they have no business of their own to mind, any more than a smallpox virus.–William S. Burroughs
WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER ELEVEN: PART THIRTY-TWO: DAYS OF WRATH
As the days began inexorably inching toward midsummer, Count Victor Justin was very seldom inclined to share a glass with his boon companions in the dark confines of Seven Stars Saloon, but, rather, would take a flask along as he walked side by side with young Cadger Tandy down the crooked streets of Blowtown and Noxtown and sometimes north across the Salt River as far as Gleason’s Corners.
“Yob,” said the Count, “I’m going to tell you something I wish’d I’da knowed ages ago. It would of saved me endless grief. To wit, the following: ‘Never get into a pissing match with a skunk. You might win, but you’ll both come out of it smelling mighty bad.’
“But that begs the question,” said Cadger Tandy. “Of whether you can work with anybody at all. According to what you say, most people will squeal. Con men are liars and not to be trusted, and they gamble, too. Women will always turn you in on account of how they’re jealous. So tell me, Count–just who can you trust?”
“I’m glad you asked, Yob. Mostly,” said the Count, “the only people you can truly trust are your own kinfolk. But, then again, if you’ve known somebody all your life, and you know that they’re with it and for it the same as you, then, perhaps, you can maybe work with them, though you must never absolutely trust any of the bastards unless they’re blood relatives, and sometimes not even then. And you should certainly never trust the word of a bull. The bulls are clever, you see. They’ll lie to you from the second they get you in custody. They’ll tell you that your pard is dead, so you might as well spill the beans. Even worse, they’ll tell you that just before he died, your pard confessed to all, and implicated you in the process. That’s why it’s so important that you impress on your pard the need to be absolutely silent whenever the coppers come sniffing round. Even if they rough you up, you’re supposed to say as little as possible. In the last extremity you can snitch if it’s a matter of life and death–but you never implicate your pard. You can lay the crime on the head of another grifter–a Yellof who is already on death row is a good choice, if you happen to know one. He won’t much mind. What can they do–kill him twice? And, that way, you won’t get the reputation as a stool pigeon. The code of honor is strict, but it’s not unbending. There’s always a little bit of give in almost any rule. That’s the way most men are made. A world where the rules are followed to the letter would not be a paradise–it would be a nightmare land called Hell. Even in Tsarist Russia there are exceptions to the rule. Unless, of course, you happen to offend the Tsar, or the Tsarina–or one of his little Tsardines, ah heh heh heh.
“The trouble with working with confederates is that it always turns into a pissing match. Two Yobs can often work hand in hand. But very often a job requires three, or even four. And that’s when you start to get factions. One party always feels left out. That leads to jealousy and strife. And that’s how most grifters get caught. There’s always a stool pigeon a-slouching for the station house and just waiting to be born.
“You will find in the course of your career that most people are strangely willing to snitch you out. Trolley car drivers; hat-check girls; newsstand vendors; soda jerks. Even bellhops will shoot the breeze on your doings unless you bribe ’em but good. And, in that sense, you make them your confederates. Which is all to the good, I suppose–because some of those babies are smarter than the coppers.
“Here is the one sure-fire rule of thumb that you can take to the bank, Yob: That people will talk. Very seldom does a Yellof say to himself, ‘Sure, and I have quite a lot to occupy me mind at present, so I think I will mind me own business.’ No–instead, they will, at the very least, bury you with what they consider to be good advice. Usually, it is completely uninformed, and in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, you would be far better off doing the exact opposite. Often, they will open their silly chatterboxes and blather to their fellow dimwit next door, just so as to have something to say. It’s getting so you can’t even dispose of a body by wrapping it in a Persian rug and wrestling it out the back door late at night without some tomfool with a flashlight accosting you right in the middle of the street and asking if you need any help with that. It’s almost–almost!–enough to make a Yellof want to trod the straight and narrow.
“Mark my words: whenever you try to do anything out of the ordinary, fools will talk. And what they have to say will, in practically all cases, not be worth repeating. Why should it be so? I guess it’s because people want to feel as though they, too, are important, even if they have nothing original to say. Especially if they have nothing original to say. For, if they did, they would be saying it, instead of wallowing as they do in mere cant and bluster and trite platitudes, and quotidian horseshit. You would not believe some of the asininities that are drawn forth in the interests of affirming the blatantly false–even from the pens of supposedly learned men! Your university professors are some of the very worst offenders in this regard. They are so myopically attached to the milieu of their own musty institution that they cannot see one single cubit beyond its ivied walls. Your Salt-of-the-Earth types are quite right to be leery of the pronouncements emanating from these double-domes. Not that your average slob is any prize-winner hisself, when it comes to competing in the intelligence derby. He is every bit as prone to believing in superstitious nonsense as any of your so-called intellectual practitioners are in embracing loony theories that only a drooling goof would entertain.
“Let’s face facts, Yob–most people don’t think; they only react, like a sunflower that will eventually grow to face the bright side of the fence. That’s why it’s the job of such as you and me to operate in the twilight shadows of the day and, preferably, under cover of the night. We might stumble, every now and again–but we’re much less likely to take a fall.”
WORLD WAR III
THE REAL ANDY OF MAYBERRY
DREW & JOSH FRIEDMAN
BESSIE THE HEIFER
DINO & JERRY DRUNK ON THE SET OF THE CADDY
Dino bowed out of The Delicate Delinquent because he didn’t want to play a cop.
You see, he hated cops.
Maybe because he was an inveterate shoplifter.
And thus a beautiful and lucrative and slightly homoerotic partnership was ended.
PSYCHEDELIC COMICS OF THE 1960S
ACTS OF VIOLENCE
THE ORIGIN OF “DO YA THINK I’M SEXY”:
JORGE BEN JOR
11* DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA
The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)
How Digital Detectives Deciphered Stuxnet, the Most Menacing Malware in History
Gone Forever: What Does It Take to Really Disappear?
12* CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE
THE WORLD’S BIGGEST CONSPIRACIES
1) Farmers control the nation’s food supply, and
2) Eisenhower was a Communist, and
3) AT&T dominates the dotard communications network of senile gummers and dyspeptic gramps and grannies.