I hope some of you enjoyed my bizarre and quirky compilation, Chinese Box: to appear on Amazon some time in 2020! For the next three days, we’re going to have a loooooong read: Volumes 1 to 3 of Honest Adolph, a gripping spec-fic novel of the near-future USA! More news soon on the Amazon book of this as well! The original release was delayed on account of ill health, but feel free to keep up with updates by favoriting the Glossy News site on your web browser, liking us on social media and following my personal Patreon! Become a Patron!
Now, prepare to dive in… This is a WACKY ride!!!!!!!
(P.S. Don’t forget there are some free Amazon Kindle book deals of mine, running from 7-11 December!) 😉
Chapter 1: The Dreamer of the Dreamer
America was founded upon a dream.
Oh my God, Senator Bubble!
But not all dreams reflect reality alike.
So as you can see, the emergency vehicles…
The dream of individualism
And of a free-ranging liberty
A liberty that laughs in the face of king and cleric
All this is a dream that still persists today, of all days.
Dear God! He’s alive… oh God, oh God, oh my God….
There are many in this world who say this dream is a delusion.
It’s a miracle. America, hope from amid the ruins…
There are others of whom it can be said, the spirit of liberty beats within their heart
And the swinish iron gates of The Greater Good
And the Evil Spirit of Kollektivismus shall not prevail in their grunting
Against the only name given under heaven…
Dear God, it’s a gift from Heaven…
Senator Bubble, oh wait, or is he…
The only name by which any person may be saved…
And where is Adolph Adams?
Adams! Adams! Adams!
He isn’t here….
‘How is my hair?’ muttered Senator Marcus Charleston Bubble, as Marta patiently dusted his bruised cheeks.
‘It is better,’ murmured Marta in a voice that only the meager and petty idealists of fortune and opportunity could have dismissed as mundane. But Senator Bubble was no such cringing shopkeeping fanatic. He was a man of destiny. And like all true great all-American patriots, he didn’t care who knew it!
Senator Bubble also didn’t care whether Marta knew that his interest in her was not purely professional.
‘Oh for God’s sake, you frickin’ stupid Mexican!’ he snorted. ‘I told you to be careful with that cheek. Oh for cryin’ out loud! Are you trying to kill me as well? I coulda decided to die there and go out in a blaze of glory, that would’ve really sent a message out to the terrorists that we have our martyrs, and no stupid Arab fanatic or Manchurian fig-peddler with a suicide belt can ever match us for glory signalling! But I decided to live, because I wanted to love and serve my country: America, the shining city upon a hill, and God’s anointed blessing for all the ages! And here you are, trying to succeed where those dirty little oasis rats have failed! What kind of a cackhanded, shiftless, time-wasting, money-grubbing Mexican Jewess beanerita have they given me this time?!’
Marta withdrew her brush, glaring indignantly at Senator Bubble’s cold, fishy eyes.
‘Well? You got something to say, sweetheart? Whew! You know, you Mexican girls look really hot when you’re angry! Just seein’ you standin’ there with your arms akimbo, that nice way you’ve got that curly hot-ass Latina hair pulled back like that; I can think of quite a number of other jobs I would hire you for if it were up to me!
‘Whoooaaa! Sweet Jesus K. Vivashwana, but aren’t you ladies hot when you’re angry! Well hey, thank God they aren’t giving me any more of those prissy bitches from that England country, and Norway, and Italy, and other shitty North Europe nations like that.
‘Ah now come on, Marta, don’t be like that. Do you sulk like that in front of your husband when he gives you a compliment? I bet he doesn’t offer you the golden opportunities I offer you; make of that what you will, Marta baby! Waheyyy! Stick that in your pipe ‘n’ smoke it, Marty girl!’
‘Of course not!’ Marta spat. ‘I do not have no husband! But when I will have a husband who shall be treating me the way you do, I just shove this broom handle there up his fucking ass! He will not, no, you can be sure Senator Bubble, he won’t never speak to me like that the second time!’
Bubble grunted. ‘That’s a clean floor!’
That didn’t work. Bubble attempted a more conciliatory tone.
‘C’mon now, girl, don’t be spoiling your niiice, sooolid, Meeexican wooork ethic with this unclean behaviour. Y’know, believe it or not, I actually kinda like you! But don’t be spitting on this niiice cleeean flooor you’ve made for me?
‘Hm! I mean, God knows what you people could have; I mean, you ever watch the news? I mean the real shit, Fox News or CNN or shit like that, hell even NBC, at a push! Anything but not that boring global shit and the absolute downright treacherous crap they are coming out with about our party.
‘Yeah, I mean, they say you Mexican people have got a bit of an Ebola thing coming on, or is it Zeta? Hey, alpha, beta, gammon, alphabetti-sphaghetti-la-la-la, I mean God knows what you crazy-ass Latin folks will be thinkin’ of next! But you know what, Martha darlin;’ please, please, please, just don’t you be messin’ up my shit, alright?’
Marta flicked her fringe in frustration.
‘I don’t never do it for you nor for no other person else! You see this what I do, it is what is in my contract!’
Bubble roared with laughter. ‘Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Gotta love a bit of free contract and economic liberty, huh? That’s what we’re all about here!’
Marta, at the point of tears, waved the make-up brush.
We do not have the time, Senator Bubble. We shall begin it all again? Or…’
Bubble’s face lit up with the greedy light of the middle-aged establishment lecher he was: young enough to not need Viagra, but old enough to wish he had a use for it!
‘Mmm. More spicy Mexican ah-ah-ah, Senorita! Whew! Saaayyy-na-torrrr Bahhh-bayl! Let’s all hop on board the Marcus Fuckin’ Express-arama-fications, baby! You just have literally no fuckin’ idea how you make me feel when you…’
Overcome with frustration and anxiety, Marta swung her hand, although fortunately for the future of His Glorious Nation, her hand collided aimlessly with a week-old whiskey bottle on Senator Bubble’s ‘Dream-Desk.’
(Senator Bubble never explained why it was his Dream-Desk, or why, if what Marta had heard was correct, he only called it his ‘Dream-Desk’ to people of certain narrowly-circumscribed demographics. She thought it was better not to ask).
‘Faaaaaack you!’ sobbed Marta, in utter desperation. ‘Faaaaaack you! I am not a Mexican, no, why, I have been telling you a thousand times I am from the Nicaragua!’
Senator Bubble’s face flushed like a raw ham, and he started panting heavily, as though he were in the middle of some arduous athletic task, like going to the second Dominos away because those bastard Jew folks from over there in Creeptown were having some sort of stupid kvetch-party while stupidly pretending the pepperoni was kosher. Who were they trying to fool? Not one thing ‘kosher’ about these guys, that’s for sure! I trust these guys about as much as I trust dim sum and fuckin’ chicken balls for Christmas dinner!
Or how about because that creepy black guy from the office across the street was dining there again, and Senator Bubble wanted to save himself the bother of ‘accidentally’ knocking over his drink again and ruining his pretentious suit, which some low-level token office guy like him shouldn’t even be allowed to wear anyway. Urggghhh! What an arrogant, entitlement-ridden, social-climbing bastard!
‘It’s not your look,’ Bubble hoarsely murmured to himself.
Marta stamped her feet in fury. ‘Why you always do not treat me with the respect? I work sooo hard for you, I am working sooo hard every day, I am always on time, I always leave late, my child, she is worried, and the nurses, I have to pay her more and I cannot, no listen to me Senator Bubble, I am angry now, now please listen to me, Senator Bubble, I cannot…’
Bubble finally lost his temper and started banging his chunky New England fists on the solid oak that some stupid Polack loser or whoever the hell that guy was from that more or less Ukrainey-crazy kinda country had gifted him as a token of… ‘appreciation.’ (Appreciation? Whatever the hell that pretentious claptrap is supposed to mean in purely value-free and neutral strategic geopolitical diplomacy terms!)
Now of course, everybody knew that as soon as Bubble became aware of any intolerable and downright unbearable slight, be it imaginary or otherwise, the only thing he could do was to discipline the despicable traitor against the Great Georgian Interest of Our Common GOP-Manity by whatever means necessary.
‘Shut the fuck up, you greasy spic!’ He roared. ‘Never, ever talk to me in that demeaning, degrading, and insulting way, alright? Do you realize, not even the Chinese or the Ayyyrahbs talk to me the way you do? So what does that say about you?
‘Oh, and hey, by the way! Check this shit out, young lady! All this crap about Niagara or Ni-caaaaar-a-goooooo-wahhhhhhh, or whatever the hell the greasy Zio-liberal media are calling it in those slick, metropolitan tones of theirs…
‘Well, let’s just say it isn’t precisely… ‘plumb center on the facts…’ as we like to say in politics.
‘Huh? You got anything to hide? Huh-huh-huh? You got anything to hide, Marta chicken?!’
Marta’s face turned pale. ‘Se… Senator Bubble…’ she wept, tears streaming down her face in terror.
‘Yup! You got it, girl! I know absolutely everything about you, you stupid, stupid, illegal sack of crap! Don’t you ever dare think I’m as stupid as I look, Marta baby! I know all about you! And believe you me, young lady, I can have you slung out of my glorious nation with nothing in the world to your name but half a shitty Colombian cloth-shoe and that couple of cheap-ass shit-rubbers that Shilton Nixon…’
‘Don’t mention this man’s name, for God’s sake!’ Marta wailed.
Bubble’s face shifted slightly in the direction of a malevolent grin. He was a fairly dynamic character; albeit, and in accordance with a certain pet phrase of his: ‘within reason.’
‘Oh. Ohhh! Well! Bit o’ guilty conscience huh? Well let me tell you something that might be of interest to you before you go a looong way away to some shitty Third World hellhole across the border. Now let me tell you something young lady, you were supposed to be here to work hard, not ‘play hard’ with the creepy bankers. Hell, even my colleagues here don’t trust that guy, and they’re pretty good judges of character, believe you me, sweetheart!’
Martha had no choice but to tell the ugly truth.
’The man, the man… the man, yet this bastard, he forces me, he tricks me, and can you just understand…?’
Bubble laughed so hard and long at this, he thought his rib cage would finally cave in. Fortunately, the bruising around his ribs was sufficiently recovered to prevent him from doubling over in agony.
‘Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!’
Martha grasped Bubble’s sleeve. ‘Senator Bubble, it is not a joke! And it is not a lie! Never! Never, I swear to you, Senator Bubble, yes, I am swearing to you now, no, I did not have a choice… the man, this man, you see, he blackmails me…’
Bubble finally made a perfunctory effort to stop laughing.
‘Buyer’s regrets, huh?’
Bubble spat out a rather repugnant-looking gob of spittle, narrowly missing Marta’s left ear.
‘Or should that be… liar’s regrets?’
Bubble laughed even longer and harder at his oh-so-witty jest.
‘Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Oh wow, oh my gosh, let me tell you something, this girl has some chutzpah!
‘But hey, you know what, baby? That shit was three whole months ago. This is Georgia, and we do things a little differently than California. You see what I’m getting at?’
Marta’s mouth gaped in horror.
‘No… no… no…’ Marta murmured, her lip quivering in dismay. ‘But it is a mistake… no, you see, it is surely a mistake… you know this bastard, you know, this Nixon, he has the impotence…’
Bubble roared in triumph, and pointed to a newspaper he had just unrolled.
As Marta stared at the headline, her body was racked with fear and pain and even remorse (although she, quite unlike the vile lothario she had surrendered to, had nothing to be ashamed of). Her heart hammered like a drill, her skin broke out in a terrified sweat, and vicious, brutal waves of nausea punctuated her guts with endless, remorseless billows; this was a fear unlike any she had ever known, except for the day she made that horrendous sacrifice to appease Shilton Nixon, the notorious ‘Wall Street Hornet.’
he headline said:
Shilton and Philomena: ‘Number 9? Hell, We’re Just Getting Started!’
Bubble rubbed his hands in glee. ‘Looks like it’s not just you! Shilton and his wife have been just little too bit busy for comfort too, huh?! Well, just as well we’ve got the rule of law in this country. I know what people like you do when you can’t keep your legs together! Well, you know what? This is Georgia baby, the shiniest God-fearing sparkle of all the stars and stripes put together.
‘Oh, and for what it’s worth, let me tell you something, Marta. I tell you Marta, you know, you aren’t the first girl this tricky banker buddy of ours has wangled his way around; and you sure as hell won’t be the last!’
By now, Marta was incapable of saying anything more. She sobbed and sobbed, but she knew, as deeply and as intimately as she had ever known it, that in the presence of Senator Marcus Charleston Bubble, she was not merely dealing with a man with a heart of stone; for there is no heart of stone that cannot, one day, be melted. Otherwise, why should any human being keep on breathing?
But Senator Marcus Charleston Bubble did not have a heart of stone.
Beneath the innumerable folds of toxic, self-consuming fat and sweat, there was only a bottomless chasm from which nothing beautiful, true or good could ever issue, and which nothing beautiful, true or good could ever pass by without being sucked in and annihilated in the cold, frigid, empty void between his ribs.
Marcus Charleston Bubble, as far as this world is concerned, should have been pronounced dead upon arrival.
However, Marta’s child was not. Months later, the unlamented and friendless Martha was to finally give birth in the kind of ramshackle hut on fowl’s legs that passes for a hospital in Cuba.
Yes, Marta’s child was alive upon arrival.
But that was but little consolation.
Because two months later, Marta and both her children were dead.
Starved of all hope, starved of all kindness.
And most of all… starved of love.
But why should you or I care about this?
After all, it is none of our business.
And Senator Marcus Charleston Bubble was always a firm believer in the eternal truth that everyone knows their own business best.
But then, not everyone lives out this proverb in the same way.
The distance between Marta’s self-reliance and the self-reliance of Bubble is not a distance of scale or of magnitude.
It is a gulf truly cosmic in scale, an abyss absolute and beyond all comparison.
The difference between imperfect human frailty…
And absolute, unqualified depravity.
Chapter 2: Two Spoons An’ Yer Quarter-Half
‘Yes, I said Saul Frickety-Frick Friedman,’ insisted Marcus Charleston Bubble, slamming down the phone. ‘Keep an eye on him. You know what he and his tribe are like.’
Saul Friedman paced anxiously around his office. His rather peculiar guest was not exactly renowned for his timeliness. ‘Well, this old schmuck ain’t no Immanuel Kant, put it that way!’ he lamented, anxiously stirring his coffee, and trying to remember if he had measured it out right this time. ‘Frickin’ 2-spoons-and-a-half-quarter, this schmuck calls me,’ Saul murmured.
All of a sudden, Saul’s face jerked upwards. ‘Oh wait, was that a redundant one? Schmuck plus schmuck, I mean, reflecting purely in terms of euphony; oh God, God help me, I’m doing it again. Hm, hm, give me…
‘Hey Lucy, gimme that frickin’ cloth again, would ya?’
His intern handed Lucy the cloth.
‘Yeah, yeah, yer welcome… I mean, uh… thank you… thank you Lucy, that’s a really good thing you’ve done… heh heh….’
Lucy threw Saul a typically ironic look. There are some people in this world who can be encountered only with an attitude of wonder: not adoration or hero-worship necessarily, but with a stance midway between ironic eye-rolling and fearful awe. In Lucy’s eyes, the New York Senator Saul Friedman was precisely just such a person.
‘It’s my job, Senator,’ said Lucy, not knowing whether to laugh, freak out or find something to distract herself from the incessant fussing of the gawkish former professor before here; a humiliated castaway from the academy (of whom it could be said, at least, the campus was not worthy!) but hardly at ease in the world of politics either.
All of a sudden, Saul’s voice broke out in another outburst. His mannerisms had been the butt of merciless satire in the media; and, anxious and jittery as Saul was by nature, what hurt him most was not any personal slight, but the ammunition such cartoons, stories and comedy sketches gave to the increasingly militant ‘ASL’ or ‘Anti-Semitic Lobby,’ as he sarcastically named it.
Sadly, the environment for Jewish people in the USA was indeed very far from comfortable; and the only consolation Saul could find for his anxiety was the fact that at least he wasn’t in Europe right now.
Or indeed anywhere else at all, apart from the USA.
All of a sudden, a thought grabbed him by the throat, like a ferocious, half-starved tiger fastening on a helpless half-attached chunk of gazelle meat. Of course, this was a not uncommon occurrence for Saul Terence Magilligan Friedman. ‘These bitches!’ he almost squeaked. ‘These frickin’ bitches!’
Lucy fixed her eyes on Saul in horror.
‘Come on Senator, get a grip,’ pleaded Lucy. ‘There’s an election coming soon, maybe you can convince the next President to pursue a different agenda…’
‘Agenda? These bitches!’ he roared and spluttered, hacking up every now and again to set the seal upon his passion. ‘Don’t want no fuckin’ agenda, just want these bitches to mind our own goddamn business! Ain’t none of our frickin’ concern, Lucy, I swear! These bitches…’
Lucy started shaking. Saul’s nervous fits always worried her. What would happen if one of his ‘sessions’ came upon him in the Senate or in a Press Conference? Lucy spoke with as much calmness and gravitas as ever she could.
‘Now, Senator Friedman,’ she spoke, gently and tenderly, as though consoling an old flame who had just gone through another needless break-up. But lest there should be any doubt: in this case, this is not fully a merely figurative turn of expression. For, Lucy genuinely loved Senator Friedman, although she knew full well that the clumsy and gawkish Senator would never suspect it in a million years.
‘Now, Senator, Friedman,’ Lucy said, as though she were a nurse lulling a fearful child to sleep. ‘These ‘bitches’ won’t be around forever.’
Senator Friedman murmured a soft ‘Mm-hm.’ But then he sat bolt upright, quivering in terror. ‘Is that… oh dear God, what the frickin’ hell did I just say? Did I really use that vile word to talk about….’
Lucy waved her hand. ‘Don’t worry, Senator Friedman. As far as I’m concerned, you can call these bastards whatever the hell you want! Let’s not get hung up on that one!’
‘Ohhh,’ moaned Saul, throwing his head on his hands in despair. ‘I swear, I frickin’ to swear to ya, Lucy, I didn’t mean to say that word. Women ain’t bitches Lucy, believe me. I swear, I frickin’ swear I didn’t mean to…’
Lucy started trembling. ‘Um, Senator Friedman….’
‘Saul!’ the Senator appeared to snap. Apparently realizing that he had spoken in a manner that could be easily but inaccurately, mistaken for brusqueness (when in fact Saul was angry with himself, and not at all with Lucy), Saul murmured low:
‘Saul, Saul, Saul. Yes, that’s it. Saul, Lucy, you can call me Saul! It’s fine, yeah, Lucy, Saul, Saul is my name, Saul. But, Lucy, I mean, these frickin’ bitches, Lucy!’
Lucy was really concerned by now. ‘Um, Sen… um, Saul, I’m really sorry to say this, but have you had your…’
‘Yeah. Yeah. I think so. Think so, yeah. Had ‘em, yeah. Once today.’
Lucy didn’t seem so convinced. ‘Could you maybe, you know, maybe just… like we did yesterday…’
Saul, relieved at Lucy’s concern for him, rooted around in the top drawer of his desk.
‘Second drawer,’ suggested Lucy.
‘Oh yeah, yeah! Sorry, second drawer, it’s this, uh…’
Things weren’t getting any better. ‘No, second, Saul…’
Saul finally found the second drawer, ‘Oh, yeah, sorry, I mean I thought you meant the second, uh, the…’
Lucy stepped forward to the desk. ‘Could I…’
Saul withdrew his hand, more in frustration than in anger. ‘Suppose. Yeah, yeah, you might as, you might as well, Lucy…’’
Lucy found the pills.
‘Don’t worry,’ Saul took pains to reassure her. ‘There’s ten left.’
Lucy checked inside the box of pills. ‘There are indeed.’
‘Ha! Least I’m frickin’ good for something, hey?’ grimaced Saul, with something finally approaching a smile, at long last.
Lucy almost cried. ‘Senator! Oh, there should be eight now. Not ten! But what about this morning?’
Saul’s face fell. ‘Mmm. Mmm-hm. Yeah, well yeah. Um. Hm.’
Lucy threw up her hands in despair.
‘Mm. Left ‘em at the coffee machine. Coffee machine, yeah!’
Lucy, by now, was genuinely tearful. ‘They took it away. It can’t be the coffee machine. Don’t you remember? The coffee machine, they took it away…’
Saul’s voice trailed away, almost into nothing. ‘I… I thought… but why’d they take it away? But why? I don’t… I mean…’
Lucy trembled. ‘Saul, you said you didn’t want it any more. You had no use for it.’
Saul lowered his head in shame. His mind drifted back to the golden days of university which seemed so long ago.
And to one day in particular, although the events on this day had happened long after Saul’s graduation.
Yes, Saul was dreaming of one day in particular.
The day that he grabbed his old classmate Adolph Adams by the neck, shook him to within an inch of his life, and finally persuaded AA to run for office.
Chapter 3: Waiting for the Messiah
The raincoat dripped. His forehead dripped. Every last atom of body and soul; soaked to the marrow.
‘Hey! Where’s my fare, you English cheapskaaaaate!’ roared a voice in the distance. A car door slammed, and a cascade of horns descended upon the City of Unbearable Frickin’ Insomnia, as Saul Friedman never tired of calling it.
But this man was no Saul Friedman. For, rather than muttering and fidgeting his way through the town, bumping markets stalls, deadening his elbow on irrationally planted lampposts, and coming within an inch of colliding a child or ten into an unanticipated hospital vacation, the man who was coming to visit Saul Friedman inched with cat-like tread throughout the city.
No matter what obstacles present themselves to his cautious eyes, this most feline of urban dwellers evaded them all.
Nothing could thwart him.
From speeding street-cars, to vindictive cops who had nothing better to do than enforce the purely arbitrary and pettifogging ‘don’t walk’ regulations, there was nothing that would encumber the sumptuous arrow-flight of this gorgeous man.
The office at last.
The gloves slipped off.
Long, slender pianist’s fingers pirouetted towards the sparkling intercom buttons.
The task was done.
A buzz, a click. Into the elevator.
Through the corridor.
To the door.
Three taps precisely.
Clean, clinical, cleanly-clink-precise!
And a nervous guffaw greets our brave young Darcy.
‘Ha, Adi, fuckin’ Adi, yer grand old foot-dragging bastard, ya! Comin’ right atcha, son!’ Saul Friedman threw open the door, threw a fist-bump which was, sad to say (or not?) was very nearly a left hook.
The stranger deftly stepped back.
‘Who… well, who in the hell even is this guy?’ muttered Saul, twitching his eyebrows in disgust at the rather uncongenially clean and slick figure standing before him.
‘Good evening, Senator Friedman,’ purred the visitor.
‘Hm. Yeah!… Same.’
Lucy cast Saul a gentle but firm glance of warning, as Saul’s rather peculiar behaviour towards Captain Catty-Glance was hardly without precedent in recent times.
‘G’d evenin’ yerself,’ muttered Saul.
‘Indeed it is, indeed it is,’ was the reply.
‘May I ask the reason…’ whispered Lucy, disconcerted at the sleek and glossy appearance of the peculiar clean-shaven, bare-pated, softly spoken Englishman before her.
‘Oh, now! A gentleman never bestows a reason upon an idle questioner.’ The stranger’s beaming voice dripped and treasured with a glossy whiff of exquisite cinnamon and honey, that was really quite overpowering to the average ear.
‘Yer gonna tell us yer business or what?’ murmured Saul. ‘I got someone else coming in a short while. So this shit o’ yers better be good, alright?’
The curious gentleman beamed with such a gleaming façade of generosity of spirit that one might almost be forgiven for crediting him with the utmost sincerity and gentleness.
Saul frowned. ‘Yer not one of them goddamn media assholes again, are yer?’ Saul spat. ‘Just frickin’ sick o’ this crap. I told yer all, I am not runnin’ fer office. There are better people than me fer that one.’
And ohhh, those broad white teeth!
‘Ah, dear me! Well, wouldn’t you care to reconsider? For, as inadequately acquainted as I may justly consider myself thus far to be, considering the current political establishment in our gracious sister nation, I would humbly beg leave to submit that even if (let me concede but this!) if there do indeed be some who are more qualified than you, these ‘some’ may nevertheless at least (if I may dare presume to take this liberty!) be very far from ‘many.’’
‘Ah, now is that by any chance a hypothesis worth entertaining? Or am I perchance genuinely, genuinely wide of the mark?’
‘Well, yer the expert. Seems pretty clear yer’ve already made up yer mind,’ grunted Saul, slamming the door in disgust. Saul sat down in silence at his desk.
‘He won’t come, y’know,’ he murmured.
Lucy gazed with compassion upon her hero; a compassion not entirely untinged with admiration for the sheer skill and mastery this grumpy, rather Oedipal old fusspot had shown in expelling that poor little Grub boy, the disingenuously sinister shade that just some few minutes before had haunted the already rather desolate office.
‘He’ll come, for sure,’ in a voice so low and gentle, it was almost a whisper. ‘He’ll come.’
Saul sighed. ‘Let me let you in on a little secret, Luce. The wait for the Messiah is the Messiah himself. He’s always coming, he’s always at the door, but we’re all too frickin’ taken up with our own petty concerns. Yeah, and y’know, we’ll never see him, just never see him for who he truly is.’
Lucy smiled. ‘Well, sure, but that’s the burden of being God, right?’
Saul grunted irascibly, but not without a hint of amusement and tender affection for the rather green and sheltered intern who stood before him.
‘Ah, Lucy, Lucy, Lucy, Luce, you just got it all hot-damn ass-backwards, aintcha! Ah, dear God, woes-a-me! You out of your freakin’ mind, Luce? The Messiah ain’t a God. I mean, let’s be honest. He’s not even anyone special. Not one bit special, this guy. Not one bit frickin’ special at all, Lucy!’
Lucy frowned, not sure whether to take this as a sign of the apparently serious deterioration in Saul’s mental health; or just as one of his quirks, or as something. But was there a difference, really? How could she be expected to know? The man she loved seemed to be ebbing away, bit by bit, like a strong fortress of sand that was gradually crumbling into a dull, blank, empty space on a deserted shoreline, where the last feeble heartbeat of the human race, one day, would finally cease to halt.
But oh, those quirks. ‘My autistic genius,’ she used to call him in her dreams.
But Asperger’s Syndrome was probably a pretty minor concern, in the grand scheme of things. Or was it even a concern at all? Or was it a strength? Or both?
But then, why bother? As a young semi-pious Catholic woman from rural Georgia who had somehow managed to get lucky here with her first ‘serious’ job, Lucy often felt awash in the big city. There were so many things she just didn’t understand.
But then again, in his own curious way, the same was true of Saul. And if such was true of Saul, how much more so Lucy herself?
All of a sudden a thought struck Lucy with extraordinary vividness. She was so consumed with exciting and trepidation, she almost jumped a foot in the air.
‘So… the Messiah isn’t God, or a god, or anyone or anything like that. And he isn’t even anyone special… but who, then? Who is he, really? Or… or she?’ (Lucy’s Catholic conscience smote her breast with an unbearable fury as soon as she uttered the latter two scandalously daring words of that sentence).
Saul sat up, polished his glasses with his ragged sleeve, and looked Lucy straight in the eye. This was almost unheard of; but when Saul fixed his eyes on you, and wouldn’t let go for all the world, you knew he was in deadly earnest.
‘The Messiah, Lucy…’ he hoarsely whispered.
Lucy’s eyes fell in shame, although deep down, she knew she had nothing to be ashamed about.
Saul’s eyes gleamed with a radiance almost devilishly dizzying in its furious intensity: but Saul himself, it seemed, was a devil of light, and nothing other.
‘The Messiah, Lucy… he’s one of us. He’s not any of those guys… them guys, way up there. Nope.
‘No, Lucy, now listen you here, Lucy! The Messiah…
‘He’s in every one of us. He’s not any one man or woman or person, taken on their own. And more…
‘He is every one of us.
‘Yes, Lucy, the Messiah is one of us. He’s the supreme individual. And he is good to us, and he is generous. He only asks us one thing to us, and he only asks one of us.
‘Lucy, the Messiah…’
Saul’s voice was tightened and shrunk to an almost unbearable gravity of gruffness.
‘The Messiah has only one message for us. What sayst thou, my dearest friend, my most vicious enemy, my tenderest, well-beloved ones…
‘To the individual?’
Lucy turned away from Saul. She put her hands to her eyes and shivered uncontrollably. She cried, and cried, and cried. The tears did not stop.
The tears did not stop.
How could they?
How could they?
Not after all this.
Chapter 4: Sisterhood is Treason
Senator Bubble snorted as he flicked through the news channels. ‘Oh for the love of God, would you quit chewing that gum like a fuckin’ imbecile, Sandy?’ he roared. Sandy spat out her gum.
‘Not on the… hey, well you know what? Whatever! You want to live like a swine, I can treat you like a swine, sis!’
Sandy smirked. ‘You’d be nothing without me, Mark.’
Marcus’s piggy little swine-eyes disappeared under a cataclysm of rolling, gleaming bulges of almost suppurating fat.
‘You are a punk rocker, Sandy. You know who I am?’
Sandy rolled her eyes. ‘At a wild guess, I’d say just some big shot establishment politico who sits on his ass in this office all day and tries to think of new ways of throwing the women, gays and minorities in our state under the bus, purely because it suits his pitiful, fragile little straight white guy ego.’
Marcus smirked. ‘Straight little white guy, huh? You ever heard of any civilization worth the name that wasn’t governed by these ohhh-so-awwwful-nasty-littlestraight-ass-white-guys like me?
‘C’mon, answer me, sis! Tell you something for nothing, Sandy, if we went away, you people would be the first to scream out at us on bended knee, pleading for mercy. I tell you what, if we ever finally do go Galt and let the blacks, and the abortionists, and the flaming black abortionists, and the Riot Grrrl transgender witchcraft homosupremacist dyking fraternity run the show…’
Sandy strode over to Marcus, grabbed his collar and laughingly put all 200lbs of worthless Beltway-craving pork refuse against the wall.
A genuine spasm of terror flashed over Marcus’ face.
‘Never… ever… ever make any snide comments about Jane again.’
Marcus squinted so hard, it looked like he was trying to pop his eyes, if there was anything substantial enough to be even worth the popping.
‘That is sooo fuckin’ stupid,’ Marcus muttered. ‘His name is ‘Jake.’ Not ‘Jane.’ You’re catering to this guy’s delusions. He’s not even gone full-blown-castration-ops yet. Or whatever the PC term for that one is by now. I swear to you, Sandy, I mean I can’t even keep track of this shit!’
Almost more amused than furious, Sandy towered over Marcus and pinched his cheek…
Just like when they were growing up, and Marcus used to mock the girls about their periods.
‘Ow! Fuck you!’ roared Marcus.
‘Don’t worry, Marcus,’ sneered Sandy. ‘Transgender people in Egypt are going through a hell of a lot worse now, thanks to your party’s Blitzkrieg against the secularists.’
Marcus quivered with rage. ‘They weren’t secularists at all, Sandy. They are authoritarian tyrants, who hate our freedom, and want to bring literal socialism to Egypt, just like Stalin!’
Sandy roared with laughter. ‘You actually still think ‘socialism’ and ‘Stalinism’ are synonymous terms? What, is it like still the 80s or something?’
Marcus wrinkled his bulging brow, with a gaping bewilderment that was not so purely contrived as one might assume, but that was every bit as defiant as one would generally expect from such a ‘notable public figure’ as Senator Marcus Charleston Bubble.
‘Yes. Yes I do. Socialism is tyranny. By definition!
‘Socialism is tyranny, progressivism is tyranny, flaming liberal capitulationism is tyranny, fascism is tyranny, the homosexual agenda of a sizable proportion of the evil Nazi brotherhood is tyranny, Islam is tyranny, other terrorist creeds are tyranny, especially the ecovandals, and Episcopalian heathenism is tyranny, and the stupid liberalizing media vermin infesting Jew York Shitty and Jew York State are destroying this country too!
‘Oh, and by the way, so is that loser fake-ass RINO Saul Friedman. Satisfied?’
Sandy glared at Marcus. She loathed him now as much as ever. ‘I’ve noticed you never say this shit openly on TV, Marcus. Any particular reason?’
Marcus pushed Sandy away and, in the process of doing so, stumbled and fell on his gut.
‘You asshole! You pushed me, Sandy! I’m the governor of Georgia, the actual Georgia governor, and you pushed me!’
Sandy put her foot on Marcus’ neck. ‘You don’t have the courage of your convictions. Why don’t you go on NBC and tell everyone what you really think about… well, about pretty much everyone!’
Marcus rolled onto his back, consumed with fury.
‘Pretty much everyone? Dear God, sis, what the hell are you even talking about? Anyone who is a patriotic, God-fearing citizen can be a part of this country. Does it seriously say anywhere in our party’s Constitution that we can’t have any fucking queers in it?
‘No, now look, Sandy! I have absolutely nothing whatsoever against people who are fucking insanely deluded enough to… to get their fucking dicks chopped off. You know, just so long as they aren’t doing it openly and shamelessly, in the street, in front of our kids!’
Sandy kicked Marcus in the ass, her slender foot almost disappearing forever beneath the suppurating folds of grease and wrinkled pale ‘n’ pink.
‘Really? Really, Marco boy? People castrating themselves in the streets? You know what, I think you actually need to start seeing a therapist, Marcus, because your sexual fantasies are starting to take over your life. You’re starting to actually believe your own pathetic smears.
‘And by the way, why don’t you actually speak with Jane? Or is it beneath you? She can tell you there is a hell of a lot more to being transgender than getting your sack cut. I mean, I should know. Jane is the woman I am spending the rest of my life with!’
Marcus struggled to his feet. ‘Look, you don’t even understand what’s going on here. You aren’t even a proper lesbian!’
Sandy roared with laughter. ‘A “proper” lesbian? Like what, you mean, the “girls” on your laptop?’
Marcus bellowed at the topic of his voice: ‘Are you insinuating that Senator Marcus Charleston Bubble watches immoral and ungodly videos?’
Sandy condescendingly patted Marcus on the head. ‘No, Marcus. I’m stating a cast-iron fact. I don’t even need any evidence for it. We’ve all got the measure of you, brother dearest!’
Marcus gestured to the door. ‘Listen, you need to go now. I have some video research to do. Oh, here we go! No, just shut the hell up and listen, Sandy! I am looking at the videos of when I got pulled out of the wreckage. There are all these weird, self-indulgent narcissists who have absolutely nothing better to do with their time than go over these videos for hours on end, trying to claim it was all staged, and the building didn’t actually fall on me when those filthy Sahara maggots from the United Iranian Embassy, or Emirates, or, or whatever, blew up that building. These guys must be pretty sick, twisted, anally paranoid narcissists to just sit flicking through these videos hour after hour. I’m going to have a look at these videos, gather several files of evidence, and see if there is some way we can evade the SLAPP laws on some technicality, so that we have have these idiotic Jew comedians in Friedmansville bleeding shitty beat-up shekels out of their asses for a thousand years!’
Sandy swaggered over to the door. ‘Remember Jane and I are singing at Pigpunk Scandal the night after tomorrow in Tucson. The offer’s there! The first Bubba Sands tour is the biggest event in decades! And you don’t want to fall any further behind the curve, Marcus!’
Marcus threw an empty cup, which Sandly deftly ducked. ‘For the last fricking time, no!’ he roared. ‘Look, I’ve nothing against the transgenders, I mean, these transgender community folks, you know, like this, this husband or however you call this guy of yours, OK fine, girlfriend, whatever! But no way, Sandy, I tell you this: I am not having my own sister promoting this immoral transgender lifestyle, this transgender supremacist Kool-Aid cult of yours, or encouraging the Jewish school boards to indoctrinate our kids in this worthless, suicidal depravity.
‘I mean, don’t you realize that it’s this hippy liberal free love bullshit that’s causing these filthy Arabs to come to our country to try and kill us, and destroy our way of life?
‘If it wasn’t for all you queers and trannies with your alternative lifestyle nonsense, there would be no such thing as this dirty Arab terrorism.’
‘You people are the only thing standing in the way of peace!
‘So think on, sis! Behind closed doors, for sure, you can be my sister! But in public, you can forget it! As soon as we step outside these doors, our family ties no longer exist. If you want to bring shame on your family with this crazy lesbo punk music bullshit of yours, well, that’s your funeral. But I ain’t havin’ none of it! Just don’t you dare ever forget my first priority is to my country, and not to your infantile delusions of a counterfeit liberty and freedom that is 100% unrecognizable to me, and let’s be honest, to pretty much anyone else in this world with a shred of conscience!
‘Yup! The moment you walk out that door, you are not my sister any longer. If I saw you lying dying in the street from a sudden AIDS attack or something foolish like that, there are plenty of other folks out there to dial 911.
‘But I’ve had enough, Sandy. America First, America Last, and American Everything In Between. And if you freedom-hating sexual decadents don’t get with the program, well you can go and live in some other shitty country that suits your idiotically highminded artistic-nihilist standards!’
This last barrage of cuts was the most cruel of all. Sandy kept her composure, and left the door. She reached the elevator, and all of a sudden burst into floods of tears.
If it wasn’t for all you fuckin’ queers and trannies with your alternative lifestyle nonsense, there wouldn’t be no such damn thing as this here dirty Arab terrorism…
‘That’s exactly what our father said before he burst that blood vessel. And Marcus said it on purpose. My own flesh and blood; the only one left. I lost the love and the affection of my father because I couldn’t live this way; not like that. I tried, I really tried so, so hard. And now we are the only two left. And my brother is getting his revenge.
‘And the pills just aren’t working any more. Jane… I’m sorry. I’m so, so, sorry. I just can’t do this any more.’ Sandy’s quivering hands reached inside her handbag, one last time.
‘I’m doing this for us; if only you could understand, Jane. If only you could understand…’
Sandy’s screams echoed terrifying across the lift shaft, as the elevator gushed with blood.
The bill for elevator repairs and cleaning-up Marcus was to send to Jane the following week was the least of her concerns.
But Marcus made sure to add as a parting shot:
So make no mistake, Jake, or Jane, or whatever the hell you want to call yourself. This bill is not an olive branch. This is all strictly business. I haven’t forgiven you and your stupid brofags for killing my sister. I just wish that it was you who had killed yourself instead. At least I’d still have had someone left. Just go ahead and fucking do the decent thing, would you?
Well, preferably after you’ve coughed up, huh? Guess there’s at least one good thing left in this world you can do, huh?
Oh, and by the way… before you go crying to those liberal shills of yours about this letter; I know all about this health insurance crap of yours. Non-disclosure of HIV positive status, AIDS, whatever, is an offense under federal law. So, I would seriously advise you to watch your step if you’re inclined to try anything funny! Make of that what you will….
Still, if nothing else, I’m glad the suicide got to Sandy before that filthy gay plague of yours did. Ha! Thank Heavens for small mercies, hey?
So I’m gonna make you a deal, Jakie boy. Just you cough up the cash, give me my money (cos I sure as hell always gonna know what’s mine! WOOP WOOP!) Aaand, seeecooondly (red line for emphasis, son!) just you shut the fuck up, and then as far as I’m concerned, you and your shitty insurance fraud ‘oversight’ never even existed! Deal?
I mean, I’m not gonna lie to you. I could go come down very, VERY hard on you, so fucking hard you have LITERALLY NO FUCKING IDEA!
But actually, for what it’s worth: I’m just that little bit too distraught about what you’ve done to Sandy to be genuinely angry. So I guess I’m not bitter, Jake; I’m giving you a really good opportunity to give some money back to this state and undo some small part of the damage you’ve done. Take it or leave it!
Chapter 5: Dirty Videos
This is the transcript Senator Bubble took of the first video he watched after Sandy spoke with him for the very last time in her life.
Otis Spengler (pedantic jerk!): An incredible update on the explosion in Georgia earlier today. The emergency services are even now pulling out more survivors from the wreckage of The Amber Hornet Discotheque. Investigations into the cause of the explosion are ongoing, but Daesh have explicitly claimed responsibility for the attack. Rumors that the elite college fraternity ‘Parthenon of Iowa’ were meeting in the basement remain to be confirmed. I guess I won’t say any more about that for now, but it seems something very dangerous and sinister is afoot. Have a look at this footage. Seems that there are some people, whoever they are, who genuinely hate us, and who hate the best of what we stand for. (Don’t make it sound so frickin’ creepy, you liberal asshole! It’s just a few friends meeting up to have a few beers and check out the wildlife!) But just look at this incredible footage!
[Senator Marcus Bubble gloriously emerges from the wreckage. Only needs two medical girls to help him to his feet].
Otis Spengler: Wow. Just… wow. I’m just in awe. I mean, isn’t it just an incredible sight, Cassy? A guy like Senator Marcus Bubble emerging from the wreckage like that. Somebody up there, or somewhere or other, I guess, must really love this country. It’s a miracle! It’s just not of this world, that’s what I think. Pretty out of the ordinary. Whether it came from up there, down there, wherever, it’s not just the kind of mundane, mediocre happenstance that seems to be a staple of our political environment right now. (Well, no frickin’ shit, Otis! Why do they pay you to come out with this inane claptrap? Sounds like some stupid five-year-old kid who’s just discovered who Santa Claus is!)
Cassie-Jane Helman: Oh, wow! It’s Senator Marcus Bubble. (Well, who else was it gonna be? I was there, you weren’t! Just deal with it, you prissy liberal hack!) Oh, gosh, this is just so… incredible! (Would you just quit gushing? I’m sick of this slick, metropolitan coastal sensationalism. Why don’t you tell them about the time I saved the buffalos from… Oh and the liberal Georgia media didn’t even thank me! They came out with all this pedantic’ conflict of interest’ claptrap… Oh well, you know what? I’m frickin’ done with this shit already. Fuck you, Otis and Cassie! You didn’t succeed in spoiling my moment. But I’ve got even bigger plans come atcha in the near future… plans that are soooooooo frickin’ big, you can’t even imagine. So suck on that one, you pretentious prog-hole asshats!)
Chapter 6: Waiting for Adolph
‘Yes, I said Saul Frickety-Frick Friedman,’ insisted Marcus Charleston Bubble, slamming down the phone. ‘Keep an eye on him. You know what he and his tribe are like.’
Lucy tried one more time to persuade Saul to go home. ‘Ain’t got a home. Just a nice apartment, a nice this and that, but there ain’t frickin’ nothing like home there. Just sick o’ this shit!’
Lucy gazed with her customary refined gaze of compassion mingled with anxiety. ‘What shit do you mean, Saul?’
Saul bowed his head. ‘Frickin’ shit, Lucy. Frickin’ shit.’
Lucy cautiously took a step closer to Saul. ‘You haven’t done any shit,’ she pleaded.
Saul laughed grimly. ‘Fuck no! Yer right, Lucy. I haven’t done shit! All my life, I ain’t done shit. Got it in one, genius!’
Lucy tutted. ‘You’ve done a lot of great things. I’d like to do just a half, even a quarter of the great things you’ve done, Saul.’
Saul wrinkled up his face in horror. ‘Like what? I ain’t done shit. I’m not like Adolph, y’know. I want this poor little schmuck boy running for president, like he promised me all these years ago. And I ain’t takin’ no for an answer! Little weasel ain’t gonna wriggle outa this one, I can tell yer! We need a solid pro-speech, pro-privacy and pro-peace candidate. There’s only one person who can do that: Adolph Lyndon Adams. None of the rest of ‘em measure up.
‘Frickin’ neocons! Frickin neocon bitches, liberal interventionists, Ima gonna make sure these bastards don’t get away with it! If there’s anyone who can preserve our constitution and make our shit right again, it’s this guy. Otherwise we’re all frickin’ fucked!’
Lucy drew up a chair. She could listen to Saul kvetch for hours. Except right now, it wasn’t really ‘kvetching’ at all. She knew that Saul was a very ethically serious person, and that behind the irritable, fussy persona, Saul was a person of good heart and character who was genuinely bewildered and terrified by the tidal wave of surveillance apologism, warmongering militarism and generally self-seeking depravity engulfing Washington. Oh, if only Saul were a good Catholic! She would nurse him in his old age, and take care of him forever.
‘Hell no,’ she thought to herself. ‘Father Jacobs isn’t here now. If only I had the chance, I would marry him, and I would brave all the legions of hell to be the Orpheus to my Euridice; blessed Saul, O my blessed, fallen Saul.’
Saul was convulsed in a fit of sneezing. ‘Romantics… romantics! Frickin’… frickin’ fool romantics!’ he managed to groan at last.
‘Who?’ whispered Lucy, her sky-blue eyes sparkling with wonder and delight.
‘The war pigs. Frickin’ war pigs, don’t tell people I said that, don’t tell ‘em nothing, Luce, or we’re all frickin’ fucked! But the frickin’ war swiners, they’re killin’ everyone. Soon they’re be no-one left to kill. Only us. Just us. We’ll have to face the world alone, or die alone. Just us, nobody else in this whole goddamn world, Lucy!’
Lucy’s heart leapt with a holy terror. She dared to hope against hope. What on earth was this strange, irascible man driving at? Could it possibly be? Had he been hugging close this great secret all along?
‘America!’ he almost screamed. ‘America, Lucy. If everyone else is gone, we might still make it. But I’m not sure I want to live in that kind of world, where so much truth and beauty and joy gonna be lost.’
Lucy’s hopes were cruelly dashed. She wept and wept and wept. ‘Of course,’ she told herself; over and over and over and over again. ‘Of course, he’s an older man, he’s an older man, of course, I’m his intern, and he’s an older man, and what on earth was I thinking, dear God, blessed Maria, be with me in my time of trial, hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee…’
Saul sat bolt upright in horror. ‘Oh, oh, ohhhhhh, for Chrissakes, Lucy, I’m sorry. Been fuckin’ kvetchin’ on and on like this, you’re so frickin’ tired, Lucy. Get your rest.’
Lucy shook her head. ‘I don’t want any rest. I just want to be here and listen to you talking.’
All of a sudden, Lucy froze in horror. What the hell did she just say?
If Saul understood what Lucy really felt, he didn’t show it.
‘I ain’t got nothing interesting to say, Lucy. Go and buy a frickin’ cat and it can at least meow for you. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I sit here and whinge and moan about what people in my party (and the other one) are doing, but I can’t seem to do shit!’
Lucy bowed her head, tears still streaming down her cheeks.
‘I’m goin’ home,’ muttered Saul. ‘But Adolph will come. He’ll come, Lucy. Remember what I said…
‘Check that email.’
Lucy’s pained eyes followed Saul for every last moment, until he finally shuffled out of the room. ‘I’ll check the email as Saul says; and then I’ll go,’ she whispered to herself.
Lucy opened the last email of the day. It came from high up. Higher than most.
All of a sudden, Lucy screamed in fear, and ran out of the room, not even so much as stopping to collect her coat.
Chapter 7: The Great RINO Hunt
Saul Friedman stood proud, if not so tall, before the cameras. It was here, in front of an audience, that he was in his element. No matter how bowed and broken he was before any small circle of friends, family or intimate colleagues, his stance and demeanor before the cameras exuded an immense gravity, warmth, and the kind of solemnity that has nothing whatsoever to do with the ‘sick soul’ of his fellow American William James, and everything to do with the ‘healthy soul’ that stares evil in the eye, and does not once ever dare to flinch.
Saul Friedman fixed his piercing grey eyes upon the camera, as though there were some vision mortal enemy on the other side of the screen that he was determined to ‘pin.’
The haunting melody of ‘Sisters of Mercy’ rang in the ears of his soul, even threatening, with merciless humility, threatened to drown out the Rush overture a well-meaning but somewhat gauche supporter (make of that what you will!) was blasting out from a neighboring office block.
Saul Friedman cleared his throat, and wiped his brow. No Presidential tears for him! After all, today was not primarily about Saul Friedman, as he saw it; so what place was there for grand gestures. ‘He’s come to serve, and not to be served,’ whispered a well-meaning aide.
This particular aide, quite unlike Saul himself, was actually guilty of some fairly pronounced neocon sympathies; but Saul really had not the least appetite to repudiate the hypocritical comment, nor to feel rancor at the patronizing allusions to the man that, as Saul himself knew well, was not ‘The Messiah.’
Now that is being interpreted: not the only one.
Saul glanced round at Lucy. Wide-eyed, she trembled in awe. ‘For America,’ was the message on her lips; but no words came out. Saul knew what she was saying; the fastest route for any message of love is heart to heart. Saul faced the cameras.
‘America!’ he growled, with a lion’s roar to strike fear into the heart of any mediocre opportunist and ‘career dynamic.’
‘America!’ was the response of a few stragglers who had managed to evade the security personnel.
‘And what is America?’ Saul roared.
‘Freedom! Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!’
Immediately, the security forces began bundling out these wicked right-opportunist (some would say left-infantilist!) Neo-Yippie hooligans who had dared to turn up to support just such an evil enemy of the nation as Saul Friedman.
‘Alright punk, put your ass in the air! This is journalists only!’
One wicked, unprincipled interloper roared: ‘Constitutiooon! Justice shall not be bought or sold! Who’s payin’ the cops around here?’
That didn’t go down well. Another cop, more well-meaning, said: ‘Listen son, just doin’ my job, a’right? I don’t make the rules, my job is to make sure the rules are followed.’
‘Now you take care of these young people!’ warned Saul, wagging his finger. ‘Now, don’t you ever harm a single hair on their heads. Because even if the law doesn’t hold you accountable, there is another law above you: the Constitution! So do you all have a care to remember the ancient verity: ‘As above, so below!’
All across America, in every city, town or village, and in many an isolated ranch or homestead, there was at least one person who remembered Magna Carta, and the ideals for which Friedman stood. These ideals were high; but not at all high minded. They were noble; but not at all self-exalting. And, of course, were the laughing stock of The Great and The Good; but they were never once forgotten by the true inheritors of the Founding Fathers, of Frederick Douglass, of Harriet Beecher Stowe, of Emerson, Whitman, Thoreau, Dubois; and of a thousand silent martyrs who had left this life dreaming that one day, the dream of liberty would come home to just such a hearth as theirs, and abide with them, and nevermore leave their side.
‘I am an American,’ proclaimed Saul Friedman, his voice gracefully descending to a low murmur. ‘And every American is an American. But not all the Americans among us in the corridors of power know what this truly means.’
Far, far away, Senator Marcus Charleston bubble spat in inarticulate outrage.
And in Tucson, Arizona, Jane Chauvert of Bubba Sands felt the first glimmer of hope she had felt for a long time.
In Washington, office after office exploded into peals of scorn and derision.
But why worry? If Friedman had heard the warmongering Stormtroopers of Goodness mock him so, it would have encouraged him further, if anything!
‘America is about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and an infinity of virtues. But most of our leaders have but three ideals: support death, servitude and the pursuit of profit! And believe me, my friends and my fellow Americans, these are not the ‘redeeming vices’ which even the mediocre ‘career opportunist’ and white-bread cynic have by the bucket load! No, my dearest yokefellows on a common venture: today, our Establishment political class are devoted to mass-murder, oppression and abject barbarism.’
The top Republicans, huddled round a vast screen in what Friedman would no doubt sneeringly have named the ‘Central Command,’ gaped in horror. Friedman was supposed to be giving a resignation speech! A resignation speech, for God’s sake! But he was, you know, like this talking like some kind of treacherous flaming Cold War Marxist, in bed with all them despicable Russkie Soviets!
This discredited, unpatriotic Senator was supposed to be meeting the media in order to acknowledge his errors, or at the very least, to give a brief acknowledgment of how he could no longer count on party support, and would not be running in future. But this despicable, cynical, pacifist charlatan was now standing up before the eyes of the whole world, and denouncing one true patriotic party of the greatest nation on earth!
Is it possible to think of anything more ungrateful than this? Or indeed, anything more viciously, hideously opportunistic? The Republican Party had given Saul Pinko Flaming Friedman all he ever had; and out of sheer bitterness and resentment, this filthy, entitlement-ridden isolationist traitor was now throwing it back in their faces!
The filthy Arab terrorists who bombed the Amber Hornet would never have done it, if it weren’t for the pitiful pinko pacifism of spineless, reptilian vermin like Friedman. That’s why he had to resign. Right? RIGHT?
Well? You tell me! You just flaming well tell me, if you dare. How many, I demand of you, HOW MANY INNOCENT AMERICANS must be sacrificed on the merciless altar of politically correct, Arabophiliac sentimentality? This unpatriotic bastard wasn’t prepared to either love or to leave the Sweet Land of Liberty; only to munch and burrow away at the founding pillars of The Great Exception. He should count himself lucky he was getting away with this. How great a nation must the United States of America be, when the First Amendment applied even to treacherous, evil Jew parasites like Saul Terence Magilligan Friedman!
But the stark, staring horror of it all did not last for long. After a short while, people started getting up, pacing around the room, groaning, moaning, arguing, making enraged phone calls to whoever they thought could be bothered to listen.
The speech continued.
‘I have tried my best, as other have tried, to turn our party onto the right path. America was meant to be a City upon a Hill, not the abomination of desolation upon 7 funeral mounds!’
Even the most jaded hacks and ‘career dynamics’ gasped at these words.
‘I am no man of God,’ groaned Saul Friedman, raising his fist in prophetic denunciation, and glancing fearfully heavenward, like the rugged and ragged St John of the Apocalypse, fearfully awaiting the windows of heaven to open in wrathful indignation, and perhaps for this dread one last time, and for that alone.
‘No, I am no Man of God!’ Saul roared. ‘But I am a man of America: and I will tell you this. There can be no extremism in opposing militarism; and moderation in the pursuit of peace is the most unforgivable of vices!’
The suppuratingly pudgy Republican top brass howled like wounded hyenas. What on earth would the enemies of America, at home and abroad, think when they heard these evil, self-serving and opportunistic words? Dear God! This vile person had done more than Osama Bin Laden, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi or 60s hippie crack peddlers to destroy America and give succor to the evildoers who were besieging us.
Had this despicable hooligan not the slightest shred of conscience?
With every ringing phrase, with every insulting word and still-more-insulting breath, he was throwing open the doors of the citadel, so that all manner of jihadists, Communists, Mexicans, homotards and Arab infiltrators could take courage at his words and finally bring about the final destruction of America.
It was as though this evil traitor, in a gross parody of the noble words on the Statue of Liberty, was saying: ‘Give me your liberals, your socialists, your Muslims and your queers.’ Was there nothing that could be done to stop this vile, rabble-rousing demagogue? Couldn’t we just… ‘do something?’ But we’re going to have to be smart about this. Evil America-hating zealots like this guy are never short of allies. For every true patriotic American, there are a hundred traitors, and ten thousand indifferent, imbecilic sluggards among the masses. America is not a democracy, and we never said it was. It’s a Constitutional Republic. And we are damned if we’re letting this self-styled ‘non-interventionist’ bring about the total destruction of our country with his arbitrary attempts to redefine right and wrong!
‘I shall never hold my peace concerning what our leaders are perpetrating upon us! And not only upon us Americans. If you are an Arab, you are just as much a human being as I am. If you are a Copt, you are just as much a person, every much a human individual, as I am. If you live in Syria, or Iraq, or Egypt, you have exactly the same inalienable right to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as I! If not more; for you have been deprived of your rights by the evil ones; and some of those evil ones are among us today, in our nation! And I speak not solely of the jihadists; but also of those who make common cause with jihadists, with their unprincipled and diabolical schemes to destabilize the Middle East and North Africa; because these insidious serpents, these vile and vicious Stormtroopers of the Greater Good hiss and whisper in their hearts:
Any new power bloc, by definition, can only be a hostile rival civilization, with whom we are foreordained by blood, foresworn to clash forever!
‘Peace, liberty, secularism and democracy cannot be permitted to be sustained and perpetuated; for if such were the case, so these embittered pedants reason in the darkness of their hearts, then America would no longer be The Grand Exception! On the contrary, other nations would have proven that they can make their own way without our tutelage! This is what is most unbearable to them; and this is why they are deliberately destabilizing vast swathes of the globe, leaving a monstrous and barbaric trail of destruction and devastation in their wake! The loathsome, white supremacist neoconservative and liberal interventionist mafia have unleashed oceans of blood and mourning, and clashing steel… And why? ‘Because they are truly the evil ones!
‘If you are a conservative, a true authentic conservative must never support the ‘Big Government,’ indeed the monstrously ‘Colossal Government,’ of primitive, Neanderthal warmongering. Likewise, if you are a true, a genuine liberal, you must never support the illiberal, indeed the downright savage brutality of ‘liberal interventionism.’ But why be divisive? Let me say just this one thing more: if you are an American, you… you… y… y’ mu… y’m…
Lucy screamed in horror as Saul Friedman clutched his chest and stumbled to the ground, his spectacles falling in disarray in the mud. ‘Senator!’ she wailed, cradling her beloved’s white-whiskered skull in her gentle arms. ‘Get back!’ roared a cop, gesturing her to leave.
She would not.
‘C’mon, girl, there ain’t nothing you can do. This poor schmuck needs an ambulance, a’right?’ Lucy struggled to her feet, tears streaming down her face. All of a sudden, she bowed her head and took off like lightning; no-one knew where! A sheet of pills fell out of her pocket, and lay unremarked by all. But that didn’t matter.
These pills had nothing to do with anxiety.
They were the other pills.
The pills for his heart.
And this very day, Saul Friedman had forgotten his first three pills.
Lucy had tried her best, but she had not found an opportunity to remind him.
The opportunity was lost.
Or lost forever?
Try as she might, Lucy could get no peace of mind on this point.
She had killed him.
By her carelessness and neglect, she had murdered the man she loved.
Saul needed that reminder.
And she wasn’t there for him when she needed him most.
Why should she even go on living?
There’s a special place in hell for all ‘em lousy bastards who ain’t tryin’ all they can to prevent the needless suffering of the innocents.
That was always what Saul Friedman said.
And that why his party hated him beyond measure…
With a perfect hatred that would pursue the wounded, haunted soul of Saul Friedman beyond the grave, unto the uttermost reaches of a bowed and broken Kosmos.
Chapter 8: ‘If That is Your Humanity, I want no Part in Humanity.’
Marcus Bubble finally had his opportunity to publicly denounce Friedman. And by hellfire, would he make the most of it!
Affecting a professorial dignity and gravitas, Bubble stood one-legged, shifting from side to side and fiddling with his bulging pockets. Even good old fronty-pouchy LBJ himself, (this most sacred of peaces to his most luscious of bones!) had never had the chance to avail of such tailors as those great American patriots whom the rapacious ‘super-jackal of Georgia’ could command. (We leave to the esteemed discretion of the enlightened reader, this same great be-vexed question of whether this most highly esteemed ultrapredator could command similar sums of booty).
Otis Spengler squirmed in agony. With a hangover like this, interviewing this loathsome glob of rancid neoconservative bile and bitterness was the last thing in hell he wanted to do. Was the current performance not proof positive that Bubble was incapable even of assuming the faux sophistication (not to say elegance!) of just such velvet-liveried knuckledraggers as Irving Kristol, Leopold II, and the immaculately swishy-cloaked Ayatollah Khomeini (or Captain Chickenbone, as Saul Friedman and a few not-so-peaceable dissidents among his opposite numbers were wont to call him… though not all these, by any means!)
No use. He just had to try. Spengler had been shilling for a good ten years by now, and he was always searching for a little moment of opportunity, the merest crack in the imposing edifice of establishment media complicity with the carnivorous mass murderers infesting the hallowed heights above the low Potomac sewer of his perennial fear and loathing.
‘President… Bubble…’ groaned Spengler. (Was it a groan?)
The audience erupted into laughter. Even Bubble, curiously enough, was amused by this bizarre gaffe from a journalist normally renowned for his steadiness, solemnity and (ever now and then) a shadow of verbal cunning and trickery that could so often wrong-foot even the most fleet-of-foot career politico and Beltway supremacist.
After permitting himself a modest guffaw (albeit perhaps not fully so modest as Bubble himself judged it), Bubble sneered: ‘Well hey! Many a truer word was spoken in jest, hey?’
At these flippant words, the elderly grandmother of a waitress killed in the Amber Hornet atrocity burst into tears.
But who cares about her anyway?
‘Hey! Would you quieten down there already?’ shushed a notable foreign policy think tank intellectual. Petty Marshall was never in the mood for sentimentality, particularly when there were greater things at stake than the mere subjective sentiments and emotions of the benighted, patriotism-skeptical masses who swarmed before the enlightened eyes of this gracious God-among-maggots.
‘Look, everyone. People are talking about Presidents. What kind of a President does America need? Well, as I see it, and I’m sure not a few of you are going to agree with me, the best way to answer a positive, constructive question, is always to answer it via its opposite.
‘Or at least, that’s a pretty good point of departure, as I’m pretty sure can all see. Sooo… what kind of President does America not need? Any ideas?’
‘Fuckin’ anti-white Zionists!’ roared a voice from the audience.
A rather green little aide stared in horror. So far, he was every bit as unschooled in how Bubble managed his crowds as he was unfamiliar in how Bubble managed his other property and assets.
‘Heh heh,’ sniggered Bubble. ‘I don’t think we can say that now, can we? Uh-uh! Try again, buddy!’
‘The fuckin’ Jews are destroying my country!’ roared the heckler.
‘Right! You know what?’ said Bubble, perceptibly affecting a certain sternness and solemnity of tone. ‘Our country is in danger, we are in big trouble right now, people are angry. I got it! But let’s make sure we are blaming the very best people we can possibly blame. So, let me ask each one of you in your hearts, and you can all use your God-given consciences to answer in your hearts; and better still, out loud. Roar it, shout it, let 10 000 American freedom-loving patriots, and 10 000 times 10 000 more, make our day of rage and glory against the enemies of our country, of your country and mine: America, the greatest goddamn nation on earth!’
The mob immediately began roaring incoherently.
‘America!’ roared Senator Bubble, pounding the prissy Florida podium so hard the wood started coming off in splinters.
‘America!’ roared the assorted horde of respectable bigots and hooligans from the dregs of society: the ungovernable mob of subterranean, resentment-mongering anarchy howled in joyous fury like seventh devils in heat.
Bubble stopped pounding. He smirked. His piggy eyes scanned the bodies, if not the very hearts and souls of his gaudy carnival of flimsy, soulless marionnettes.
‘Have any one of you ever heard of this guy Saul Terence Magilligan Friedman?’
Immediately the whole valley of torments blazed into light, with a glory not of this world, and far less of any blessed sphere above it.
‘Hang the bastard!’ Was the chant.
Bubble waved his hand in mock disappointment.
Pausing for the right moment to intervene with the highly conspicuous ‘good form’ which was something of a good trademark of his (and a pirate’s merchandise he guarded as jealously today as he had attempted to guard Sandy’s ‘dignity’ and ‘honor,’) Bubble raised the hand of glory and smirked:
‘There will be no hangings in America today! We don’t kill unpatriotic traitors who disagree with us… but boy oh boy, do we make it hot for ‘em!’
Curiously enough, this did not appease the crowd, but only appeared to rile them further. Oh, what an utterly curious and inexplicable unintended consequence! Could it really be, then, that like so many other neocons and liberal interventionists, Senator Bubble had just made yet another ‘honest mistake’ in long, long line of ‘honest mistakes?’
The blessed ingenu segued his dainty palms like an Alexandrian altar-boy on Ezekiel’s ice.
‘But let me tell you something, my fellow Americans: there can be no place for treason, pacifism and any disproportionate and unreasonable criticism of our people!’
The hooligans roared with carnivorous delight, white and yellow teeth alike gleaming with anticipation as they licked their chops in excitement.
‘The future must not belong to those who love not the beauty of our glorious nation!’
Hellfire and howling.
‘If you believe isolationists have a part to play in our America, shout it out!’ came the roar.
A ripple of amusement.
And little by little, a swelling tide of hilarity that, if anything, threatened to surpass and even swamp beyond measure the violent tsunami of bitterness and loathing Bubbles had earlier summoned.
‘OK! If you believe America should play our God-anointed role in this world, standing up for the beleaguered and oppressed, and letting not one tyrant on this earth ever have a decent night’s peaceful sleep in his bed, shout out our FUCK YEAHHHHHHHH!’
By now, the hyena’s den was an utterly deafening place for those with the unhappy fate to be caught in the jaws of Hell.
Otis gaped in horror. By now, he had completely forgotten about the barracking he would get from his bosses about losing any remotely serious opportunity to engage with Bubble; he was now so horrified by the barbaric army of saber-wielding skeletons before his eyes, he dared not even breathe.
He sensed the the vast, vast troops of sober, sneering, jackbooted Teutons; marching lockstep to a music he could not once discern, nor venture to imagine.
He saw an eagle tearing shreds out of the faces of Jewish children too terrified to so much as shed a tear.
He heard the terrified screams of weeping Iraqi children who had been desolately clutched and carried away in the swooping talons of the callous, stony-hearted bird of prey.
He saw the half-corpse, half-infant-devil Khmer Rouge barbarians sullenly dragging the kidneys and livers of their own infants to Tricky Dickie to carve up and munch; as this ruthless humanitarian carnivore smacked his lips at the raw, organic vitality that, one day, would pass down his august bloodline to even more shameless and depraved inheritors of his cannibalistic death cult of child-sacrificing lunacy.
A tattered scroll descended from the sky; God knows what it said, but it had something of the savor of:
FROM YOUR CHILDREN’S ASHES, A TRUE HUMANITY NOW EVER FORTH SHALL SPRING
He perceived the weeping parents offering all they had, as little as it was, they carried it all in their trembling hands. begging, pleading, imploring the eagle to have mercy upon their one lost sheep… their one innocent, lamb, their child, their child, their own child, the only child they had left.
The eagle, motionless, shrewdly surveyed the trembling, bleeding, creatures of tender flesh and blood before them. One naïve child walked over to pat the eagle, not realizing with what kind of wild beast they were dealing.
The child loving caressed the feathers to the eagle. The innocent child pointed to the funny cat and gentle hound who were now affectionately sidling up to the eagle. The cat purred with heartfelt love towards her new friend, and rubbed herself affectionately against the husky legs of her new friend. The gentle puppy barked with innocent delight, and joyfully wagged his tail, tenderly licking the feathers of his newfound chum.
And just at the very moment the child leaned to kiss the eagle, just as he would kiss his two funny friends, the eagle let out a blood-curdling scream.
Deafened, horrified, the child released his grasp and feel backward in dismay. The eagle picked up the kitten and puppy and immediately swooped into the air with its newfound prey. The child somehow found the strength to stagger to the ground.
‘They’re… my friends…?!’ stuttered the child, his staring in the wide-eyed incomprehension of a thwarted innocence already ruined, laid to waste; this hour and forevermore.
The eagle jerked to a dizzying halt, shaking the trembling puppy and kitten, who were so terrified, they could only gaze down despairingly upon the tearful eyes of their friend. They had thought gentle Moe would take care of them forever! All their lives, they had known only love and affection. Every time the bad and rude and nasty cats had scratched her, she had always been able to come home and be loved. And to fall asleep in the loving arms of the one who loved her beyond measure.
The puppy, his lip quivering in tears that (as we shall see presently) would never have a chance to stream out from his gentle, trusting eyes, remembered the day he had first been taken to a house of love. He was loved, he knew love, but that was soon to be over forever. And ever. And ever…
The boy lamented.
The little girl cried.
The eagle eyed the child with a shrewdness and coldness devastating to the soul. By now, the child was screaming at the top of his voice, ‘They are my friends! I love them! They’re my friends! Please don’t hurt my friends! ‘Please, oh please, please, please, mister eagle, please don’t hurt my friends! I love them! They are my friiieeennndddsss!’
With an utterly barbaric squawk of triumph, the eagle opened wide the bottomless cavern behind its beak, and with a callous flick of its head, it dashed the child’s two playmates and beloved ones upon the ground.
A long distance to fall.
The child stood, frozen stiff in horror.
A chill, sousing breeze filled the air, fit to prick and tremble the very marrow of the sternest of souls.
Presently, he stumbled towards his two friends, to try as he might to give them what little, meager, comfort that within him was.
Crawling over in desperation, innocent as any infant, he started to caress their gentle heads. But all of a sudden, he screamed in horror.
This tender child, young and free as the spring air, had never ever known, never so much as even suspected what a broken neck was supposed to be.
He knew now.
Chapter 9: Occident’s Downfall, Spengler’s Uprising
‘No, no, I’m not having it!’ spat Truman. ‘You are absolutely cuckoo-fuck now, you understand? You get this head of yours sorted out, or you are not going to be working for my news channel! What the hell possessed you? All of a sudden, you start writhing and squirming, like some freakin’ Pentecostal-Smokin’ Jehovah’s nutballs! You’re damn lucky none of the other news networks turned their cameras on you at that moment. I almost wish they had done, because then I coulda slung your ass so far out that door your balls wouldn’t ah touched the sides!’
‘I told you, something weird came over me. It’s out of character.’
Truman paused. He took a long drag of his Havana. He took on a more meditative tone.
‘Look, son,’ he murmured. ‘You know the definition of ‘out of character’ in our business?’
‘No, sir, muttered Otis, who had very little tolerance for the weird, whimsical faux-philosophicalities of his boss.
‘Suicide. Suicide. Career flamin’ suicide, that’s what we call it. You wanna read Henry Ford, read Ronald Trump, read Ludwig von Hayek, Miltie Smith, it’s all in there!’
Otis groaned. What kind of an ignorant asshole gets to the top of a prominent media company and thinks ‘Ludwig von Hayek’ and ‘Miltie Smith’ have anything useful to say about anything?!
Or maybe Gideon Truman was just playing with his head again. He’s a pretty shrewd guy, right?…
‘Well, you know what?’ said Otis. ‘Maybe suicide is under-rated.’
‘Oh-ho, how many times have I heard that one. ‘I’m sick o’ this crap, I don’t like it here, don’t like the boss, don’t like the pay, the hours, so I’m gonna just throw in the towel and hope good old Giddy Truman here is gonna be ape-caddy enough to fall for it. You out of your freakin’ mind, son? This kinda junk charade might just play out there in the sticks, say Kansas or Mississippi or Euroweenieland or someplace else like that. But ya know what, son? I’m too damn too smart for you. I’ve seen it all before. You’d better believe it, bitches!’
This is it. Oh, God. This is it, Otis, and don’t you ever be such a goddamn fool as to let these stupid scruples of yours…’
‘Mr Truman,’ breathed Otis, quivering internally, but maintaining his customary composure.
Truman frowned. This sturdy, unflappable giant of Big Journalism was now genuinely bewildered.
‘Mr Truman,’ said Otis, with a careful deliberation and seriousness that made Truman sit bolt upright in his chair.
‘Mr Truman,’ repeated Otis one last time. Three’s a charm! ‘… I can’t, in all conscience, permit myself to do this job any longer.’
Truman stared, open-mouthed, in horror and in absolute amazement. You could have heard a pin drop.
Or, at least, a penny…
All of a sudden, Truman started foaming at the mouth.
He jabbed his finger in inarticulate fury, bobbing his head and rocking in his chair, utterly consumed with rage. If you were the kind of person who confuses cynical opportunists with the safe and toothlessly mediocre practical man, you might have ventured walking into that office unarmed. But then, Truman was not at all the spiritual brother of the practically-minded career politician who demonizes gay marriage advocates on Monday, snarks a little on Tuesday, murmurs ‘Mehhh’ on Wednesday, says ‘well, what the hey, guess we’re gonna have to put up with it!’ on Thursday, and by the weekend is already asking with bewilderment how any one of those ‘braaahhhn fawwwks’ could ever oppose the common sense progress of the greatest goddamn nation on earth.
Nor, of course, was he the confrere and compatriot of the mundane, talentless and relative impotent shill who tries to strike a highminded (but far from idealistic!) balance between not killing a few more innocent people than is necessary (such as on the basis of a maliciously concocted dossier of lies and palapable fabrications), and not killing innocent people at all. For the latter perspective, as we all know and agree, is just as extreme and partisan and one-sided as the former!
No. This guy was the kind of boss who wouldn’t let his media company be the first one to die for the sake of a mistake; damned if people started saying Otis Spengler had been workin’ for us, before he worked against us!
(Lest there should be any doubt at all on this subtle point, ‘working against us’ really meant doing pretty much anything at all, other than what he was currently doing. Even flipping burgers with Elvis Costaggio, and the Panzer Lama, and Elrond Hubbard in some dead-end shanty grill place in Wyoming nobody had ever heard of, would be rank treason! Truman would rather drop a thousand ton bomb on his own family fuckin’ home and city before he would let that happen!)
‘Listen here, son!’ he spat. ‘You’re my best boy! You’ve been like a son to me!’
Otis stood firm. ‘I’m very proud for the opportunities you’ve given me.’
Not grateful, but proud. Otis was trying to avoid a cloying sentimentality that would risk derailing this rare moment where he could see a chink of light poking between the rigid, callous blocks of his gilded prison cell.
‘Ahhh, Otis, Otis, Otis, for Chrissakes!’ wailed Truman. ‘You’re worth more to me than the other guys put together. These lazy, worthless assholes! Don’t you realize what you’re doing? Grateful? Grateful people don’t run away. You’re black and you’re proud, Otis.
‘Well good on ya for it! Can’t blame ya for that one! Huh? Well hey, Ima tellin’ you son, if there’s anything in this world I admire in a worker, it’s a guy, black, white, or any color of the goddamn L-G-Q-T-L-M-N-O-P rainbow who knows who he is, and who, y’know, he knows where he came from!
‘Oh for God’s saaake!’ whined Truman. ‘L Ron flamin’ Hubbard on a cosmic pork truncheon! I mean, didn’t you see that stupid poll about our journalists? If you leave, how the hell are we gonna manage without you? I picked you out, I raised you from the flamin’ gutter, cos I knew you were someone special, kid! None of the other boys can probe these bastards like you can! Let me tell you somethin’ Otis, I’m in this business for hell knows how long, but I tell you what; there’s no-one, there’s just no-one who makes these bastards quiver in their sanctified Beltway ballet-shoes like you do! Who’s gonna hold ‘em to account?!
‘Lookie here, chicken, you are one flaming smart African American, boy! Don’t ever think I’ve ever seen you through any other lens. See these lenses, boy? See what I’m seein’ here?
‘I see a poor little black boy called Otis Spengler, sprung fresh from the ghetto like some kinda Venus Aphrodiddly from the head of Hephaestus, or y’know, whatever the male version is of that one, I mean whatever, (who frickin’ cares!) and yeah, it’s like I see, I see this bright guy and he’s already head ‘n’ shoulders above all the dumbass kids in that dead-end college o’ his, and I’m gonna raise you up, and I’m gonna make journalism real again, and I’m gonna make sure you are a model citizen and one damn fine African-American fellow citizen, boy… yes sir!
‘You can sit at my table,you can puff on this old cigar once in a while, and you’ll be like the son I never had, because, y’know, because of that slutty New England bitch who went off with that greasy Jew comedian, y’know, the squeaky little Saul flamin’ Friedman soundalike…
‘Look, it’s not every poor little black kid coulda done what you’ve done? Right? You coulda been sitting there injectin’ heroin or, or I dunno, playin’ Grand Theft Auto, or even tryin’ it out for real, I mean fuck knows boy, like ya see these goddamn inner cities and all these here superpredator anarchistic hoodlums, oh well thank God you were spared that fate, Ida cried to see you miss your chance to be just like the other kids here, I mean ol’ Giddy Truman woulda broke his crazy old heart here, Otis boy, he really woulda, Ida had nothing left, flaming zilch, Otis, I woulda…’
Otis’ mind was recently drawn to recent allegations of pork-barreling involving a certain prominent propaganda outlet, but he dismissed the thought. Consistency is not necessarily the hobgoblin of small minds; but perhaps insisting upon it, on this occasion, would be unnecessarily derailing, and throw up some unnecessary obstacles in his path to freedom.
‘He ain’t got no shame to be one damn smart cookie o’ a poor little black boy who been makin’ good as fuckin’ noontide babycakes… and how!
‘Well, where does all this pride come from? Huh? Don’t you ever think you’re gonna run away from me, Otis! Don’t leave us. You’re like flamin’ family to us! Closest we ever had huh? C’mon bad rude boy? What man him be doin’? Heh-heh! Damn, but do you boys love that song! Yogurt fuckin’ Baba, huh? He’s as much one of you guys as you are one of us! C’mon homie, let’s chant up this funky shit together!
C’mon mon bad guys!
Whitey down me hood!
Chillin’ wit ma niggaz’
Cos ma shit smoke good!
C’mon bad guys!
Me skin it whitey lika sugar!
Hater Zio-bitches flip a disk
Yogurt Baba him me boogie!‘
‘There are plenty of talented journalists. Here…’ Otis permitted himself this one extravagant liberty: ‘… and elsewhere, perhaps, as well.’
Truman dashed his ‘Spirit of Kosovo’ mug upon the ground. A single lone green tea ‘Contras para Marcos’ leaf slopped down moistly upon a glob of Colombian chocolate, which Truman had spat out not long ago on Veterans Day, when he had heard how that fucking whingeing Jew comedian Saul Friedman had shat all over my troops by leaving that stupid RINO button undone on that pretentiously checkered, cheap-ass-New-York-dime-store-values shirt of his.
Dirty Commies, grub-bearing spics, and ohhh… those filthy, flea-ridden Mexicans (or near enough, I suppose!), treacherous pinko pacifists: les extrêmes se touchent!
‘You… you… damned traitor!’ he spat, so much taken up in fury that he could no think of anything less hackneyed and cliched; at least for now. Later on, it would be another matter, no doubt!
‘I’ve made up my mind.’
One last try. One last throw of the dice, except that Truman never gambled. He was no doubt of that special breed who is by their very own inherent nature a winner. Of course, we are speaking here of mere gambling, which latter is (when all is said and done… and how!) a sucker’s game for the mediocre ‘win here, lose there’ kinda folksies ol’ Giddy T had always viewed with such understandable (if deplorable) contempt.
‘I know what this is about,’ he whispered.
‘Do you?’ Otis almost whispered.
‘All a ruse. A ruse. Goddamn crazy old fool Giddy Truman, it’s all been a goddamn ruse, and I never even thought about it. Hey? OK, you wily old bastard you, I get it know. You got me, and like the old fool I am, I took you at your word. I know what this is all about.’
Otis sighed with resignation. He was well enough acquainted with how Truman had a particular ‘lens’ through which he inspected, calculated and balanced up the world around him. Even now, he felt a twinge of regret and pain that Truman assumed everybody else has precisely the same philosophy of life (if I may beg the liberty to call it that!) as did Truman himself.
Truman affected a grim smile. ‘How much, Otis?’ he hoarsely whispered. ‘How much? Name your price.’
Otis shifted imperceptibly on his feet. Oh, God. I’m falling. Save me, someone. Save me.
‘You are our best asset, there is no-one out there like you. No, no, let me tell ya somethin’ son, when it comes to human capital and to media resources, you are just…’
At these magic words, the spell was finally broken. Otis awoke, and realized, dizzy with joy and a holy terror impossible to imagine to those who have not described, that he was seeing for the first time with the eyes of his soul. He was hearing with his true ears, the ones within.
One heart beat, a moment.
One heart beat, and beat forever.
Chords of tremor.
‘Mr Truman, I will be handing in my notice tomorrow. Thanks. It’s been a beautiful time. But I am not your human capital any longer. If your desire right now is for some resources to manage, I am afraid I cannot oblige. There are some things in this world I care even more about than money.’
He reached out to shake Truman’s hand, in a gesture far more sincere and well-intended than it would ever be possible for Truman to realize.
Truman glared at him. All of a sudden, Truman petulantly swung his chair to face Petty Marshall Award for Services to Patriotic Journalism poster behind his desk. (Now that is an achievement!)
Otis also shifted himself, and faced the other way. Behind him was a door. It had always been there, and he’d never even realized it.
Otis paused one last time, as myriad complex memories flooded his soul; so rich and concentrated and dazzling were they, each one was almost indistinguishable, even imperceptible. Every crumb of truth, ever mongrel’s scrap of integrity he had managed to snatch from the rich man’s table glared with a provocative, icy flame. These burgeoning pinpoints of light were burning so fiercely, joyously and intoxicatingly, that he could not tell if they were hymning him glory, or condemning him to the little inferno of the party of ranting Dante and trembling Eichmann.
He closed his eyes, and opened them.
He was still here.
Otis Spengler walked out of the offices of Steel Diamond Media.
Bloodstone Boulevard and the Iron Pulse Bistro would never hear the steady footfalls of her most famous son again.
What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his own soul?
Otis Spengler could not succeed in reassuring himself that he properly understood the question, let alone understood the answer.
But at least he knew the question existed.
And that was more than could be said for some.
Chapter 10: Bleeding for Freedom
The bedside lamp flicked on once more.
It had been on and off more in these past ten hours than in the previous month.
I cannot count.
These pitiful flesh-scrapings from a felled tree of these thousands; soggy-rank with tears, sodden with such wrong-ridden kind of ink, still doggedly stood and saluted, giving forth words both good and evil, no matter what the cost.
Hot tears blazed. Lucy’s eyes swam with fury.
She had almost lost her Saul Friedman forever. How dare they? These evil people. How dare they!
And they printed the speech in full.
They never do that.
So why this?
Senator Marcus Charleston Bubble, instead?
But what about Saul? What about Adolf Adams? Or Patti Stone? Or Wallace Quincey? Or the Miller brothers? Or Harriet Fox? Mary Avivah Russell? Stanford Cohen? Ubuntu Grace?
No-one who stood up for what is right ever got more than a few lines.
How could they?
How could they?
How dare they?
What gave them the right?
That’s right, everybody. I have seen at first hand the atrocious dangers terrorism poses to our country. I almost perished when I was consulting with my fellow Georgians. If a Georgia Senator can be almost killed when he is going to meet his fellow citizens, the people of his own state, well… God alone knows what our enemies are prepared to do to anyone else!
But let’s not beat about the bush. Terrorism cannot exist without support and help. One terrorist on his own can’t do much. Even a bunch of terrorists, say ten, twelve, twenty, twenty hundred, twenty hundred hundred terrorists, can’t do anything unless there are some people out there who want to help them out.
People who hate this country.
They hate our destiny!
Look, let me be clear. I’m just like all of you. I am not made of stone. I’m not callously indifferent to the welfare of our nation and of our leaders and of our people, our citizens, our own fellow Americans who are in danger every day because of people who envy everything we stand for!
But this is not true. You’re sick and tired of traitors and cowards, I’m sick and tired of ‘em too! You’re disgusted and fed up with lousy, overpaid freeloaders who are getting paid to spew hate on our airwaves, I feel angry about that crap too, believe me! And you know what? I’m angry, I’ve had enough, I’m disgusted by these treacherous, unpatriotic pacifist rabble-rousers, I’m gutsy as fuck, and for what it’s worth: I swear, we just aren’t gonna take it any more!
This is America! The land of the brave and the free! It’s not a land for the spineless, the weak, the craven, and the cowardly.
You know, the Indians, those guys who were here doing whatever they do, you know, on this hallowed soil even before our forefathers reached this land, well these curious friends and intriguing little fellow patriots of ours; you know, they have a custom. When they travel, and there is anyone too weak and cowardly to carry on, they just drop them on the side and carry on walking on home to the holy city. For these people knew well, as also did our Founding Fathers, that the foundation of a sound and true republic is courage, and strength, and that there is nothing that will corrode the character and spirit of nation, and bring it to its knees, as the kind of weak-kneed highmindedness and parasitical, do-gooding, dewy-eyed misery-mongering as we can see all around us here today.
No! No! No! We must not ever let this be! Don’t you ever let them get away with sapping our strength, our vitality, and don’t ever think about selling the soul of our nation for fool’s gold! Don’t ever settle for peace at any price, because no matter they tell you, that’s what these guys stand for. And guess what? They know it!
And they are afraid… afraid of us!
That’s right. They fear us even more than they fear the jihadists! Because the jihadists will never win; but we have God on our side, and the Constitution, and the Founding Fathers, and you know what? For what it’s worth, well let me tell you: the International Community know we mean business, and they will support us to the hilt, on our pilgrimage towards the greater good, one nation and planet under a righteous and rightly-judging God, and mutual advancement of our common wellbeing and the universal freedom and prosperity of all!
Yes, we are a nation of pilgrims, we carry very little with us, but we carry one thing, and one thing alone: the dream and the hope of eternal liberty, the greater good and the eternal progress of man and of all his great creations and accomplishments!
There are people in this land, who hate your nation!
Oh! Well hey! What are you chanting? What’s this I hear?
Ha! You got it! Smart people? You all know exactly who I am talking about.
That’s right! Who is responsible for placing us in danger, with their vicious, brutal, unbridled rage against our well-regulated, transparent and accountable systems of surveillance?
Yeah! Who wants us to be overrun with vicious, violent, Arab jihadists from the desert who hate our freedom, and who not only hate the entire International Community, yeah even the Chinese and the Norwegians, but who bear a special motherloding hatred and extra-special-uber-duper loathing for the leaders of the world?
Alright! Who is talking about freedom of speech at the expense of keeping us safe, and is always making lame appeals to Benjamin Franklin, instead of thinking about the present, and the actual real and pressing dangers with which the American people are confronted?
Who is an unprincipled and demagogic (ha!) rabble-rouser and revisionist who hates our Constitution, who tramples the insight and vision of the Founding Fathers underfoot in the name of the expediency of the moment?
And who is it who is plotting to replace our true and authentic and ever-God-given liberties with vicious license, unbridled anarchy, and crypto-socialist authoritarian madness?
Well, I told myself this morning I wasn’t going to name any names. But while I hate the thought of criticizing someone from my own party, yeah, even someone who has behaved reprehensibly and persisted in placing us in danger, and even in mortal peril, every day of our entire lives: there are some things I hate even more than this!
I hate disloyalty.
I hate treachery.
I hate pacifism.
I hate apologists for murder.
I hate every single terrorist sympathizer, without exception!
I hate true-believers and rampant ideologues and fanatics.
I hate cynical opportunists and schemers, above all things in this world.
All these can be summed up in two short words.
Anyone care to give me an answer?
Give me an answer, American people! YEEEAAAHHH! WOOOOOOOOOO!
Give me an answer in Michigan! Give me an answer in Kansas! Give me an answer in Arkansas! Give me an answer in North Dakota! And Utah! And Mississippi! And bring it on home to GEEEOOORGIA!
Whew! Let me tell you something! That felt good. Did it feel good, people? Let me hear you scream. Let me hear you roar. America! America! Or better still:
Yes, Saul Friedman has departed us in body. But many of us fear this guy is still with us in spirit. So don’t you ever dare be afraid, people! Cos you know what? Right is on our side. And sooner or later, right will prevail. Curve of justice and all that, y’know, whatever. One day, our long walk to freedom will come, cry the beloved people, Nelson Mugabe and all his brave-ass black folks, these guys are all my brothers, peace be a yada yada, peace be among us all, whatever!
Well. I am going to run for President. Are you with me?
Ha! Yes, I know. And guess what? For what it’s worth, I’m with you too!
And we are going to do some great things that not one of you have ever dreamed of.
But I need you on side.
So, listen to me, my friends: don’t you ever, EVER give in to fearmongering, and don’t you ever, EVER give in to intimidation, or emotional blackmail, or wild rhetoric, or propaganda, or pitiful ideological nonsense, or artful manipulation, or any of the hateful crap the regulated media are spewing out about us.
Don’t cede an inch to the quivering cowards among us.
THIS IS AMERICA!
WE ARE AT WAR!
AND ANYONE WHO STANDS IN OUR WAY WILL BE ANNIIIHILAAATEEEEEEEEED!
Almost asleep at last, Lucy jerked up in horror.
Her bedsheets were awash with blood.
It wasn’t supposed to be her period.
She threw her head upon her arms, and sobbed, and sobbed.
Even her own body was against her.
Her own evil body was her enemy.
It wanted to kill her, just as Senator Marcus Charleston Bubble, and Dickie Klindel, and Lynton Goering, and Eva Vernon Letterman, and Benito Scarlett Muskogee, and the entire intellectual top brass of the Ruby & Sinclair Nixon Foreign Advisory Theoretical Institute, all wanted to kill her… ‘husband.’
‘My husband,’ she murmured to herself, over and over again, as though it were as clear and unquestionable as high truth itself.
But it was a lie.
Saul Friedman had not died after his heart attack.
But he would never know how much she loved him.
He had gone on artistic retreat to Boston, to get a bit of perspective.
‘Two months, Lucy girl… two frickin’ little old months, is all,’ he murmured, with that same old, sane old, gravely furrowed half-rabbinic brow which made her heart leap with a passion that always appeared a thousand times fresher and newer and more vital than the last exhilarating somersault of thwarted tenderness.
‘No,’ she whispered. ‘No, it will never be. I know he won’t come back.’
Would she ever see his face again?