Uncle Ray

   They say the earth is trying desperately to grow a nervous system; it is a living thing and has something to tell us: "You're killing me." They say the web is the nervous system and the communication from the earth isn't a big booming science-fiction voice from the sky it is just the simple exchange of information-- I say we're fucked. You can't squander vague clues on stupid, brutal peasants with murder and greed in their hearts; they're too busy making global decisions. And don't even think about blaming the "uneducated" masses. The other day a 3-year-old girl dropped dead because she ate watermelon slimed by machined cow gore at a corporate feed trough. Nobody wants to come to terms with the apocalyptic vision of the earth as a flea-tortured dog slogging backwards into the creek with a stick in it's mouth, ears back, eyes closed, face beatific as it launches a stickful of feverish blood-gorged single-minded goners to their reward. There are too many things to buy right now.

   Hello, Goner! Maybe you have a ten-ton front door that can only be opened with a screwjack? Maybe you put tinfoil over your windows if you live above ground? Maybe you eat standing up in the kitchen? Maybe you talk to yourself? Maybe you use boxes for furniture? Maybe you have prescriptions instead of a lover? Maybe you don't know anybody who does not lie? Maybe you work with television addicts? When you move do you tell anybody? When they downsize you do you stay out of circulation as long as possible? Do you dust your telephone? Do you buy Halloween candy and eat it all yourself? Does your corner store have two solid aisles of Choreboy and throw-away lighters? Is everything too loud? Do you use more noise to drown it out? Do you binge? Did liquor stop being fun? Have you found an effective substitute? Do you accept sadness? Do your neighborhood dogs AND their owners misbehave? Do you watch movies at home and say the word "love" out loud? Do you buy ONE set of good chopsticks? How about this: have things started happening in the daytime that are worse than your nightmares? I couldn't stand anything anymore so I moved into a hole in the ground. See what happens when you get well?

   This is what I did: I started Clone Jesus Radio. That's right, my own micro radio station. I took the name from some horse's ass (Bryant Gumbel) on tv who asked a guy in all seriousness if they could get Jesus' DNA from the Shroud of Turin and clone him. I don't know what the guy answered or if he slapped him or pointed at him and laughed. I'll bet Bryant got paid a lot of money to do that-- what would it take to get him to wear panties on his head like a beret? Anyway I just stole the name and affixed it to this radio station-- kind of like naming a pet: "We just hauled off and named the rabbit "Mothra" and that was it." I am Uncle Ray. Mostly I am not on the air. Then I find a place on the dial and drop in. My playlist: Fuck You. My service to the community: Thanks for nothing and Fuck You too. My politics: Mother-fuck you. Maybe I just needed the romance of being a felon back in my life but I could have fucked a sheep for that or done just about anything that actually involved money and me having some. I am awfully goddamn old to be Billy The Kid. These are strange times-- I should have paid attention to the thing about cloning Jesus. He could wind up in the cell next to me: Jesus, assorted pipeheads and old Uncle Ray, slammered for firing up a CD.

   Are they making you piss for everything now? I hear you have to piss to get on the "real" radio stations. Your piss any good? There isn't much you can do anymore without someone up your cock. I had to piss for some place when I lived in California. The ladies wouldn't let me close the door and when I didn't piss fast enough one of them stuck her head in to see what was up. I asked her to marry me. I read this Kem Nunn book about surfers and he speculated that shark embryos begin to eat each other before they're born, so that only the most predatory ones are actually born. I had this piss test nightmare where there were shark embryos in my bladder and they were eating each other; I was trying to piss the remaining survivor into a cup this lady was holding and I couldn't do it fast enough to get hired. She told me to get the hell out of California, that I'd never work in her state again. Even in the dream I kept thinking: How did it get to this?

   Maybe today on the show I'll piss-test all the artists I play. I hear the industry is doing that now with their artists. Imagine if they did this in the '60's: "Cream didn't break up, son, they just had bad piss -" What if Michelangelo came up positive halfway through the Pieta? Here's Mary holding an unfinished hunk of something. Would whoever stopped it feel pretty good?

   On the bad days I don't come out of my bunker. Things feel good down there in the dark. I know a guy who works for the salt company. I want to know what they do with mines when the salt is all gone. I just want one tiny corner of one mine under our lake but he says that will never happen. He says even I don't know what real darkness is. (I told him I did). He says one night some hump went home early and left him to look for his car in true darkness. He had to make repeated passes back and forth across the area he thought his car was in. He couldn't find it and he couldn't stop looking for it. It took him over an hour to bump into it; he had to literally walk into it. That is darkness.

   Who should I play? They say music is medicine and I have furniture made out of boxes of tapes. I have whole couches made out of cassette cases. I eat on the floor Japanese-style on a dining room table fashioned out of six boxes of records covered with a dollar plastic throw. Somebody told me guys in Antarctica use CDs for shaving mirrors. That's good to know. Today I will pace while I choose the first hour or so on the run, then I will pace some more. This is going to thrill my twelve listeners. I think I know most of them. No set lists; I like to walk around and pour it out-- boy howdy, Jackson Pollock. I hate to talk on the air. There was a time when I would have gotten liquored-up and ranted like the guy describing the Hindenburg burning, but no more. If you're going to do a drive-by don't pass out leaflets in the middle of it. I start with "Right On" by the Tony Williams Lifetime from 'Turn It Over.' As long as the disc is up I jump it to "Big Nick." The sub-title of my show is WHATEVER THE FUCK I WANT FOR AS LONG AS I WANT. When I did this show for Beezer at the other pirate place in town, he made me change the name. I had deep misgivings about doing a pirate show for someone else. Beezer and his playmates sulked when I didn't attend their get-togethers. I wouldn't talk to them about music or argue with them about music. I wouldn't argue with them about anything, and this perplexed them. When Beezer's girlfriend let a stranger in a windbreaker into Beezer's house "because he was nice and acted like he knew us," Uncle Ray walked him to the street and called Beezer's girlfriend an asshole. He was a big guy and I am not and all he needed was a cardboard sign around his neck saying "pecker." He had that half-smart gleam about him that says "I will die for whatever the Majority wants." It was time to fake the wherewithal to put Uncle Ray on the air in the bunker.

   It wasn't that hard. They say if you can read you can cook. If you can lurk you can figure out how to put yourself on the air-- once you get a credit card you can get another one and then you can get another one for that one. When I did this some genius had begun packaging "bad-debt bonds." The more cardholders that went tits-up, the better for somebody's smoke 'n' mirrors act. Remember "honor snacks."? I guess it works the same way. Look: I grew up with the Vietnam war. It came out of the same video box as Johnny Quest from the time I was about ten until it was my turn to go-- if you weren't a complete numbnuts you didn't want to go and you would do anything not to-- once you made that decision it sure seemed like the assholes owed you a party-- anything that came after beating death was a bonus-- so, what can I tell you? Guys my age are crows. We loiter in the trees and take your shiny things and spook you for the sheer fuck of it-- and nobody weeps too much when we get run over, do they? How about a little fire, scarecrow?

   And how about a little bunker for Uncle Ray? That wasn't too hard, either. I keep in touch with the neighborhood drunks, crows all-- the crows of various generations-- it is a rough go if you won't drink with them but they recognize a kindred fuckup and they can always use an interpreter or a designated driver or somebody who has been paying attention. And some places have hot cashew machines and barmaids who pay attention. And Arlen Roy Demeter, a drunk with a bunker in his backyard and no driver's license. Arlen is a scavenger on disability and I drive him around on trash day. He parks his van in the street. In his garage he has golf clubs, skis for water and snow, 8mm movie projectors, tennis rackets strung like fishing nets, croquet balls, a bb gun with no sight, a dishwasher that will not work but looks good, a Dirt Devil that works in reverse, a croaker sack full of sprinkler heads, four suitcases made before 1950 (all full of flash cubes), a blackened gas grill with melted knobs (if it were a tabloid headline it would say "Stop Me Before I Kill Again"), countless virtually new single shoes (he has plans for these at the V.A. hospital), four Flinstone microwaves, hula hoops, a large box of vacuum tubes he's hoping will fit the five or six tv sets stacked in one corner-- those blocky hundred-pound fuckers film students blow up in their first movies-- and on and on and on. What I've described is maybe a couple week's haul. Here's the kinky part: he has eleven washing machines. He isn't half bad at washing machine rehab but he will not sell them; I've learned not to ask why-- it is obviously a subject he struggles with. One day he told me with some discomfort that he couldn't sell one to somebody he doesn't know. I now have two. I think the idea of two washing machines UNDER his lawn is somehow comforting to him. We dug this motherfucker ourselves when I backslid into the liquor a couple summers ago-- we've given his garage a basement, Clone Jesus Radio a launching pad, Arlen Roy a driver and Raymo a little peace in the valley. The pirate squat is virtually unheard of in this region, so-- so I guess I had to run the pirate flag up everybody's ass because I am a crow.

   I dance down here: the monster dance, the tall-walk dance, the crotch-grab point-dance and the crow-hop-on-the-scarecrow's-hat dance. I don't want to dance with you. Ever. Thank-you for not asking.

   Beezer's girlfriend sent me cookies. You could use them for throwing-stars. Beezer wants to borrow my turntable. I know if I did this I would never see it again. I've set Arlen the task of finding him one on his morning trash day walks-- he cases the neighborhood before we roll and plots the course. He'll come back lit up like a pinball machine over a hot water tank. When we get there it'll have tits painted on it and bullet holes. If they ever made hide-a-beds or walk-in freezers with turntables built in, Arlen will find one. Beezer has seven of my books he can't find any more. When the goons take hydraulics to Beezer's door, he'll be across town buying a bong or looting his mom's ATM while they piss on his Phish DATs. I would dedicate today's show to him, but fuck it-- I remember the pecker saying "I don't recognize your voice" when I pointed out the edge of their property. I imagine he'll have something equally hilarious to say when we meet again. I segue into "Factory" by Warren Zevon. I play some Ornette Coleman, "Una Muy Bonita," then I play some solo Bill Evans. I hate to even mention names, 'cause somebody who has never amounted to much will want to fight passionately over somebody who has done something. This used to drive the Beezers crazy-- they wanted to argue about music but I keep praying to god my asshole period is over. If you dig something, dig it. They had things built into their heads more rigid than any setlist. I've talked to jazz guys who caught my show, and they are equally perplexed but usually gracious in their puzzlement:

   I was diggin that Mingus you played the other day.

   Myself When I Am Real.

   Him on the piano?

   I guess, yeah.

   Then what the fuck happened?

   Blue Cheer. It was time for some Blue Cheer.

   If you say so. I don't suppose you could sorta group stuff together and get a flow goin. Would that be too much to ask?

   And so on. One jazzhead paid me quite a backhanded compliment. He asked me if I ever opened a pirate restaurant could he just stand outside and watch me force-feed shitheads whatever I wanted while they bitched and choked and whined. I don't fare so well with the Earnest Army of Today's Music Nazis. Some of them were born with very tight playlists in their psyches; if I can't play Type A I better play Type B real fast-- these are the same people who become deeply disoriented with free time on their hands-- they act like their inner ear has just gone haywire on them.

   There used to be a phone here but people called. I know, not too smart. I was nice at first then I had five or ten fucked-up phone pals calling every show. All guys. Young guys thinking about killing their parents. Guys my age who told me they smelled like vinyl. An unemployed guy who wanted to talk about being unemployed. I wondered what it was about what I played that attracted no girls. Was it a biology thing? Could they tell just by what I played that I was not the kind of mate who would build them a nest and hunt food and reproduce? I moved the computer into the bunker and let them e-mail. Man, if only real life had delete. At first I just got e-mail from my ex-phone pals telling me I was a fuckbag for not playing their tune. Then I began to get these sorta skewed, half-brainy missives from a vaguely horny girl who never talked much about music; this excited me until I realized it was probably the windbreakered pecker I threw out of Beezer's place. When your signal only reaches to the mailbox it leaves you with a sorry-assed listener base-- I think I'm gonna stream over the web just as soon as somebody e-mails me and offers to come here and show me how to do it. Ok, that is only partly true. I'll do it as soon as they do everything while I pretend to watch-- I claim this is an Irish thing-- there are computers all over my city that have footprints and bullet holes and axe handle trauma-- put there by "my" people. A jackass would try to out-stubborn a computer-- I've seen this-- but it takes a true Irishman to throw down on the motherfucker when he has had enough. Everybody knows Fords were a good thing in the 'teens & twenties but look at all the fucking Ford fractures they caused until you didn't have to crank them anymore. Every day we crank and crank on these things while they buck and spit and go mule on us and send us into screaming fits of rage-- I am waiting for the electric starter with all the patience my green ancestors could spare.

   What do you wanna hear? If it is what I wanna hear then you are in luck! Let's throw down, ok? Here goes some Jack Bruce and some AMC and some Chris Connor and some SeaTrain and some War and some more Ornette (God bless him and his MacArthur grant-- see what happens when they burn your car?) and some Dexter Gordon and some Blues Project and some John Cale and some Alex Harvey and some Bob & Ray and some Mel Brooks and some Arthur Alexander and some Jim Pepper and some Eddie Lang and some Richard Thompson and some Subhumans and some Unknowns and some Burning Sensations and some Moms Mabley and some Blowfly and some Hartz Mountain Parakeet Training Record and some Chieftains (before they started recording with RATM and the Jim Rose Circus and Charo and Steve Reich and Laurie Anderson and Hank Snow) and some Firesign Theatre and some Memphis Minnie and some Pixies and some ZZ Hill and some Latimore and lots and lots of Monk (the true president of the United States) to finish things off.

   Well, almost finish things off. First I have to dick with Yogi. OK, this is a chickenshit thing to do but it started out as what passes for innocent fun in my life. We have this guy in town, Yogi, who does this blues show on one of our "legit" stations. One day it dawns on a friend and I that in all the years we've sorta subconsciously tuned the show in he hasn't played anybody that anybody else would recognize. If he does, it is from a gig the guy did on the wrong side of nowhere-- something newly discovered from the vaults when the artist was zoned on Transmission Medic and toad sweat and bathtub speed and bad pirate liquor. And it has to be from a sideways venue in a city named by a misanthropic pessimist on his way to certain doom. Live hootchie-scrunch hoedown cornball jammin' where the guy yells out the name of the town and harangues the audience (never more than fourteen from the sound of it, and always eight sheets to nowhere like him) and makes his axe talk and yammers with his fucked-up band and tells jokes. I don't have to tell you this is truly amazing stuff when listened to in the right spirit-- and this is where my friend and I ultimately disagree-- I insist Yogi is a performance artist and he is whopping up this shit in his basement just for us-- when he throws down his show, it is a one-of-a-kind PERFORMANCE, an installation from the heart. Certainly with a great deal of malice toward all, but Jesus Christ-- how many people still think Andy Kaufman was an asshole, you know? His whole reason to live was to get under your skin while he threw down these amazing things that were essentially wasted on rubes and squareheads. Just to ram it up the ass of my bro who hates him I send him an e-mail:


   the guy is a life-saver-- I'm on the couch in a deep, deep coma, right? The last thing I remember is hearing that they're gonna whack 'Fresh Air' a half hour early so they can treat us with a special little wing-ding from 'The Capitol Steps,' those people who make Mark Russell seem like Denis Leary on the outside of an eightball of crank-- (BTW: we start in on that lizard twat Michael Feldman next, no?) and, damn, I go from deep coma during the 'Capitol Steps' to probably legally dead during 'those two Canadian ladies,' aka "As It Happens." BTW: dissing THEM is like killing a mockingbird at my house-- I won't have it-- them and golf on tv have given me some of the deepest, most rapturous, "Burlington-Northern-pullin'-outta-the-world" naps I've ever had. Anyway, I'm in a coma dreaming that I'm in another coma dreaming that I'm dead-- I'm walking toward the white light, I'm seeing Tim Buckley and Jim Morrison (the Micks always show up first-- biggest pranksters?) and Mickey Mantle, and The Bambino's goin' 'hey kid, ya look like you could use a cold one,' and then I START TO COME OUT OF IT! Something is drawing me back from the abyss and back onto this mortal coil. A voice. A guy playing bad rags. Like maybe the same guy playing the same bad rag ten times in a row. There's no way I can just lay on the couch and die. I MUST get up and get to the radio before what appears to be the same fuckin' annoying Okie shitlover plays another rag-- and I realize, by god, as I always do, that Yogi has saved my life yet again-- but this ain't any week, dad, it is pledge week! So fuck it, I walk to a pay phone, make my annual pledge for 12k, earmark it for Yogi's show and give them your name and work address.

   I dig Yogi so much I tape him. Which I guess is where the trouble started. Sometimes I try to emulate his shows at about the same time he is doing his. Which is deeply respectful if I'm not wrong about him. I thought we could be bros. I went through my shit one night and I came up with some off/way-off blues squankin' from outer space and I dubbed some pedestrian bad-medication yammer in and whopped up a gig by Crooked Dick del Honed and his Somas County Housewreckers caught live at the Bakersfield Monkey Races. Then I broke my own rule and talked on the air and mentioned that I dig Yogi so much I tape him and that certainly there were other Yogi-heads out there and would they trade with me? I insisted that I would not rest until Yogi-heads from all over the planet were united and his stuff turned up on eBay & Napster & Fuckster & Humpster & Dumpster & Dickens & Fenster. I insisted I was not the only person hip to him-- that if by any chance you weren't, it was time to stop being a rube in Rubeville and get with the program 'cause Yogi was hipper than Lord Buckley in an elevator fulla Shriners. I gave an e-mail address and the only e-mail I got was from Yogi, pretending to be unhappy. What else would he say? And since it was Yogi he was obviously telling me in the only way he could that he was happy as hell to have a bro-- I wrote back in the same spirit. Anyway, the unhappier he pretends to be the more I pretend to dick with him. Caw, caw.

   So up we go with some Harmonicats playing the Sleepy John Estes songbook at the Del Mar racetrack during the Del Mar Fair in whatever year Raquel Welch escaped La Jolla High School and caused Pachucos all up and down the coast to stop cutting each other long enough to commit furious Onanism and curse life in eloquent poetry. I could look it up but the Harmonicats thing was toil enough-- free beer for the neighborhood drunks honking into plastic harps I got at a local thrift store, a bag of giveaways for a failed Mafia rib concern-- they had tiger decals on them-- when the drunks left I picked them up with BBQ tongs and double-bagged them with two twist-ties. I felt like Phil Spector.

   You know what would really finish this off? Something neither Yogi or I can touch but I'll bet Yogi's dying to-- some Don Roth. That name ring a dim bell? You a blues freak? He was in this rippin' east coast band with all the usual '60's baggage-- fill in the proper trajectory on the graph, make all the normal stops for sodomy at the hands of the industry, dope problems, personality clashes, even some chart success-- all the standard stuff-- but throw in this wild card: Don was a full-bore mental case nobody had ever seen the likes of. Did I say was? Don was from here and we have him back. He is our madman. You can see Don at a couple places around town wearing out his welcome like a kleptomaniac at a jeweler's convention. I myself cannot stay away from his gigs. He is a smorgasboard of insanity and he does to you what the insane always do; he makes you play his game. You listen. You pay attention. Christ, you have to-- you can't turn your back on anybody that crazy-- and you run your own ass ragged forever playing the chump's game, trying to figure out what in God's name is wrong with him, wanting to help, wanting to diagnose, thinking there's a way to save him-- you feel like a townie at the mouth of the mine cave-in, an innocent bystander outside an engulfed house with screaming inside-- there's somebody in there! My god, there's somebody in there and I have to get him out! But Don doesn't want out, he wants you in there with him. And Don isn't crazy, not completely-- he's sure as hell bent, but who isn't? And that's the problem with the bent: they get away with murder 'cause the world gives them a free pass once they put on the bent hat. My best guess is this: on any given day Don Roth is about 31% crazy, 49% mean and 20% fuck-ass pig-ignorant. Take your pick, make up your own stats, I don't care-- tomorrow the percentages will shift around a bit. Nobody is the same person every day.

   There are a handful of constants in Don Roth's life and the primary one is that he didn't make any sense to anybody yesterday and he isn't going to tomorrow, either-- Don is never happy but he takes a certain amount of spiteful glee in this. And I DO have tapes-- dare me to play them? These are just walk-thru nights and I'm not happy with 'em—- he just wasn't INSPIRED on these particular nights; I've seen some true prize-winners, my friends. What is an evening with Don like? Can he play? Can I give you some insight into his bent wig? Is it really that macabre? Well heck -

   Since you asked-- Don lives in a yurt in an isolated corner of the trainyard not far from here. Some railroad lifers love the blues. You can't see the yurt for the underbrush. Every morning Don decamps from the yurt and circles it once counter-clockwise. That is his first circle of the day. Then he counts his paces over to the ancient mothballed roundhouse (there are 371-- this is important) and circles it counter-clockwise as well, for his second circle. Don knows that a UFO is coming to rescue him from us.(Maybe it is round and spins counter-clockwise?) It is 371 light-years away. They speak to him directly and they have told him this. They have also told him that you and I and pretty much everybody else are fucking scumbags he just has to endure until they show up and toast us while he screams and laughs. His assignment, which he has accepted stoically but with no small rancor is to take the occasional gig, dazzle us with his formidable talent (and believe me here-- he may not be Mike Bloomfield or Roy Buchanan-- and we know how they ended up, don't we—- but he could throw down with 'em all day) while he pauses between tunes to gleefully warn us about our impending demise at the hands of peckers from outer space coming to save him and barbecue us. I don't know what their rig looks like for sure but apparently Don has seen it and they're coming 371 light years with one empty seat. Whatever Don Roth met at the crossroads it had an agenda like Charles Manson's and a 19-foot wingspan.

   Ooooh, yeah. Instead I'll play some Sonny Rollins and some spoken-word something and I'll figure out spoken-word WHO while the Sonny spins. The two go together for me for this reason: about five years ago I went to see Ministry and that reformed junkie (I hope so; if anybody is trying to kick anything, I'm pullin' for ya) Al Jorgenson has this tape of Patsy Cline playing before they come out into this huge fucking basketball dome-- if it wasn't Al's tape it should have been-- what former or practicing junkie wouldn't adore Patsy Cline and deep, solid heartbreak? He and his bros storm onto the stage like Nazi-Mongols and he yells "turn that shit off" and they're off to the races-- what could make more sense? It was time to throw down. I will ask you again: what could make more sense? About a week later I take one of the neighborhood zombies to see Sonny Rollins and this local ass-gasket who I think does news on the television on weekends comes out with a prepared talk and begins to skin all of us with a rusty fishing knife. Maybe he thought we were all there by accident? I have no idea what he said but it sounded like "I had cocoa this morning and the toast was a little underdone so I gave that little lever a few flicks-- you know how if you MOVE it with your thumb it gets too done and you have to start all over again? I hate that so I just flicked it and then I started some Orange Pekoe tea and my wife woke up so I made her some too and I found Sonny Rollins across the street in the park and bought him a shirt and it is a great thing that you are all here with me listening to me explain how I am a jazz cat like you jazz cats and we are about to dig Sonny Rollins who can't get on until I finish telling you something about me and us here where we live digging us digging US." I become murderous and without shame at moments like this. I finally turned to the zombie and screamed "Am I the only motherfucker here who saw Ministry? SHUT the fuck up, turn the Patsy Cline the FUCK off and get your sorry, lyin', jazz-inventin' ass back to the free drinks." The zombie and I were immediately surrounded by blissful, angry, frightened silence. Ass-gasket remembers the free drinks, winds it up and gives everybody a break. I'll kill a motherfucker who tells me why I showed up somewhere.

   Which brings us to the spoken word part: the only other thing I ever saw as shameful as that was the time some bagload in new LL Bean togs hauled his fat ass out on a stage in Santa Douchebag, California and began to explain Thomas McGuane to the audience WHILE THOMAS MCGUANE WAS SITTING THERE. It was a revelatory moment because poor T.M. was obviously in pain about being there and doing what he was about to do and the bagload could have been auctioning him off for all Tom knew-- he just wanted it to be over-- and anybody who respected Tom McGuane to begin with loved him for doing it-- especially when just about the first thing he said was "I'm terrified but you have to do things that terrify you." I resolved right there that if anybody ever had to explain who I was and why I was there it was my fault for being there but if they tried to do it anyway I would cut their ears off. Never, NEVER let the other guy decide what trespassing is-- he's probably crazier than you. So I'll tell you what-- you decide what spoken word person gets played-- I'll name a name and some asshole will whine 'cause I didn't play ____________ instead so in this story I play ________________. You happy? There you go. Off for today, then.

   That pecker is probably out there in the peckermobile wondering why Arlen Roy Demeter's clothesline posts are so elaborate and appear to migrate on any given day. Arlen, bless his scrambled heart, grasps the basics of what I do and is emphatically in favor of anything that jacks it up the G-Ment's crack. For my part every once in awhile I throw him a long, raw-boned no-fuckaround set of real country-- I always give him a heads-up in advance-- and sometimes if I can sneak out the hatch real quiet I can catch Arlen and his wife Lucille dancing in their kitchen like they did when they got married as teenagers close to fifty years ago-- this country has words for guys like me: criminal criminal criminal!

   Sometimes Arlen comes out and we play with the computer; he calls it "fishing." The other day we found a girl rollerblading naked-- there's this JPEG and she's naked in a cement culvert and she pees out her name-- or somebody's name-- it says "Ella" in the pee-trail on the sun-swept concrete-- amazing penmanship-- it is quite a feat. Isn't ballroom dancing an Olympic event now? And she looks so happy and so completely un-self-conscious. There's a Hitler bio that claims he probably had a hole in the side of his dick (we all know he only had one nut) which could have been fixed pretty simply even back then. Instead he got it into his head that a filthy Jewish prostitute caused it somehow and about 20 million people died. And that ninny who blew up that building in Oklahoma with all those kids in it? He was a virgin. I say drop your drawers and talk it out. Anyway, Arlen calls her "the rollerbladder," which is pretty good. So we lurk around and find her and then click over to Bourbon Street live and you can go to Antarctica or watch people in a deli in San Diego and we watched ol' Vic Chesnutt fuck around one night in a club in New York. Sometimes I just sit down here and have what I call Dolphin Days. I lurk on this motherfucker and sing the song of myself out into the infinite whatever the fuck. I send e-mails to everybody I know that mostly say "how the fuck ya doin', Milwaukee!" I guess that's what I do. Want a resume`?

   Boyohboyohboy!! It looks like Yogi is on right now and he's throwin' down some Luther Cornhawk & The Ginchlords from a flatbed truck in a hardware store parking lot in Hogbang, Tennessee in 1966. Luther even mentions the name of the hardware store but I'll be goddamned if I can catch it on the first pass-- I'll have to really dig into the tape later. Sounded like Luther had a mouth full of wood pulp at the time, plus he was excited because he had (completely unintelligible) sittin' in with him that night too for probably the only time ever. If there was a general gig-theme it was that they were both awfully fond of women and feelin' pretty damn good and they knew the folks out there knew that was right. I don't know how I'm going to convince Yogi I love him without intervention from the authorities. Maybe before the drive is over I'll pledge more money to his show.

   I have one final overture, an olive branch, planned. Arlen found an electric guitar the other trash day and there's been this amp in the garage forever. I have been teaching him the Hoyt Axton tune "Snowblind Friend." Well, I've got him listening to it-- I can't play dick but he's been picking it up pretty good and he doesn't know this but I tape it all. When we get a pretty good take I'll even break down and eat Beezer's girlfriend's cookies if they'll help me hot-rod it a little with a tweak & a track here & there with the gear of their tribe. I need a name for Arlen's "band" and a venue & a decade but it'll come. You can't rush these things. Yogi, my brother, I am hip to you and we will be friends. You are a mighty and unappreciated artist of the first order.

   When Beezer's girlfriend comes over to hang (translation: they REALLY wanna borrow my turntable) I have a monitor playing a Godzilla movie. Arlen found a perfectly functional 19-incher in the trash-- go figure. It has helped me realize my dream of video with no tv, so I keep images going without the great big lies and hysteria assaulting me. Like "news" stories about people in their 60's and 70's who have "decided" retirement isn't for them and they "want to stay active" so they're still working in a cardboard box factory four hours a day for scrub wages and no benefits 'cause they're pulling down a skeleton pension somebody hasn't managed to steal from them yet. "These people are great workers," the vampire they work for tells the camera jovially. And if you're beyond about age seven you can finish his thoughts for him: They'll take any shit we can dish out 'cause what the fuck are they gonna do? If Hitler had about ten million of these they would have built him just about anything he needed to rule the world and been damn glad to do it for nothing and without being asked twice.

   Beezer's girlfriend thinks it is zany that I am watching G. I tell her that this is not a Godzilla movie, that I am watching home movies of my dad's shop picnic from 1961 which was held every year at an infamous and now-defunct amusement park and that what she has mistakenly identified as Godzilla is actually my mother. Beezer's girlfriend insists I am funny. She never met my mother, who croaked a couple months ago still trying to wreck everything because it was there. If this bothers you then just wait until I croak and take your best rip at me. I've already been to hell.

   Hey, not to get sidetracked (fuck no) but what do you do for money? You have to have it. Every day when you get up the world has a big wooden slat busted out of a fence or something and at the end of it there's this big rusty screw screwed through it and the world beats and beats you with it and screams the word "money" over and over until you get the message. When you drop dead it MIGHT stop. Until then you arise each and every morning to the song of the money ass-whipping coming down on you. You go to some place and work until they tell you not to come there again or you jump from the burning madhouse ship you're on to another one and hope for the best until IT burns down to the waterline or gets rammed or pirates invade and sodomize everybody from stem to stern after they've robbed you. Come on, admit it-- I've just described your job, haven't I? Which ISN'T my job, (I don't have one) but I care about you so I did it for free. The penchant for doing this makes me pretty much unemployable and very susceptible to exploitation. Then they fire me for being the first one to yell "fire" when I see the ship getting boarded and torched. Those are the happiest days of my life. I collect unemployment which is the only secure, guaranteed income I have ever drawn. Check this out: if you ask for a raise while you're working they'll tell you there isn't any money anywhere and they'll go broke if they give you one extra penny that they haven't managed to steal from you routinely. Then you are a marked man if you say "open the books and show me." Then they fire you a couple weeks later because you signed an "at-will" agreement because it was the only way to get a job in the first place, telling them it would be an honor to get shot out of a cannon in the parking lot on the day they decide they don't like your shoelaces any more; shot straight into the unemployment office where you fill out some forms, wait a couple weeks and get "awarded" _____ grand spread out over at least the next _____ months, which would have been a whopping fucking raise at the gig that just blew up on you-- Capitalism: You just gotta love it. They always say there is plenty of food to feed everybody on earth but every day children starve to death because there is a "distribution problem." Substitute the word "money" for "food" and there you go-- every day you try to get up and explain that up is up and down is down and here comes the big stick with the rusty screw in the end. The madhouses are full of people who knew enough to duck.

   So check this out: I tell Beezer's girlfriend about these squares I go to work for and the gig is they need people to name things. (I'll waste a good story on anybody). A business comes to them and they need a name for something they sell or do. So these assholes charge the business a lot of money for this name, these words, this THING made of words that this other company needs that they'll pay money for. I sit through an interview with my potential new Kahuna; his skin looks like marbled, spoiling beef and he refuses to say anything loud enough for anybody but dogs to hear. I meet three other guys on the way to my interview with Pops, the honcho, who insist they'll pretty much blow him once for every day he stays alive. I see the guy's lips moving and I tell him I am not deaf but he'll have to either die or speak up before we'll be able to work something out where I can pay my rent and he'll be able to do whatever it is he does that makes him happy and costs so much money. As it turns out, what he needs the money for is so he can continue to fuck his retarded secretary and her retarded sister, also hired as a secretary and backup floozie but I don't know this until after I'm hired, and let's face it-- my next stop was the car-wash across the street, which in hindsight would have been the best way to go but once somebody hires me I stop going to job interviews, which is wrong.

   So Pops "likes my style" 'cause nobody has ever had the "balls" to tell him that they can only see his lips moving; I have helped clear up a deep mystery for him, which I guess was why people made coffee for him when he was actually asking them to close the window and send in one of the floozies. But I guess what really sealed it was when he told me about the things they had named and I began naming better alternative names for everything he mentioned; he would die before he admitted this, of course, but he had one of those guileless light-up faces every poker player dreams of playing across from. A true anomaly for a scumbag like him; but to give him his props I discover later he has taped this—- no wonder he lit up! They always taped everything. So here I am turning tricks for him before I draw my first check; even his retarded floozies were smart enough not to give it away -

   So after the shake-down things are going great; as usual I am deeply suspicious of everybody in the office because they strike me as liars and thieves-- and outside of the floozie-sisters there are no women doing what we do. I find out later that every one of them has been in the joint but me-- I have also agreed to the "standard contract" which entitles me to a skeleton salary until they sell X-number of my names to clients and then we kick my whack up a few hefty notches and those really heavy ducats start to roll my way every time I name something. Ever see 'Last Exit To Brooklyn'? The thugs tell the whore to go down on the sailor in the parking lot and they'll roll him and split the take with her-- then they hang back and laugh like magpies til he comes in her mouth. Kind of an adult version of Lucy and Charlie Brown and the football.

   So I'm naming things like a motherfucker. Pops is waving the carrot and I'm dubious 'cause Pops is also doing the books and he can't. He obviously has some wig-slippage, either diabetic-induced, stroke-induced, or just plain old garden-variety bugfuck-- it doesn't matter once you identify the damage-- you just know that the spill is coming and a wise man keeps sandbags handy. I'm there every minute of every hour of every day I'm supposed to be and I'm on "salary" and Pops is making us punch a timeclock anyway and then doing some Jethro Bodine cipherin' and my checks are all out of whack-- but always in his favor. I approach this volatile subject any number of ways: tact (you'll have to take this one on faith), facts (I produce every pay stub containing every wildly inconsistent amount), and so on. The shriek of Palookaville is deafening and it is always better to jump too soon than too late. Pops won't budge so I tell him two things: if I can't trust him to come across with the skeleton salary he can't be trusted with anything else. Then I tell him that if you go to a restaurant and have a really good meal you don't show your appreciation by standing up, taking out your cock and pissing on the floor. For lagniappe I ask him the following question: Perhaps you ARE the kinda guy who pisses in the restaurant? All I want is my usual table at the unemployment office and shut of these lamprey eels. Do you know about lamprey eels? Here is a brief explanation of what they do:

   "The lamprey follows the shad - fastening itself to the delicate fish by its mouth, which is simply an armed sucking disc with extraordinary adhesive power. The lamprey is always found fastened at the orifice from which the shad drops her eggs, and from which it sucks the roe, at the same time rasping the tender flesh of the fish with its sharp-toothed tongue, drawing blood from the shad to wash down the raped roe into its maw. The shad having by June become of little profit to the lamprey, the latter sets about attending to its own family affairs."

   Which, let's face it, is pretty much how rank and file employees are treated by businesses both large and small these days. Leave it to the poetry of nature to explain what is being done to us.

   To my horror Pops shuffles away with his lips moving and turns me over to Junior, one of his horrified minions for a "private meeting" and I cut Junior off quick with the speculation that this would be a really good time to unload me if they're so deeply unhappy with me-- he sputters and assures me they still think I'm doing a great job; then he offers to pay me in cash, on the spot, out of his pocket, whatever Pops has stolen from me so far. Jesus CHRIST they must have been hosing me blind. I tell Junior I would burn the money in front of him and I see the look of horror and resignation register on his face: there goes his uninsured BMW over the cliff. With me standing up on the driver's seat waving my dick in his face. We have now reached a clear understanding that I am a psychopath with self-destructive tendencies who cannot be purchased and that we both know Pops is a loose cannon in rough seas. Such is the business of business. I now have an alien larva planted in my chest and it begins to squirm insistently every moring when the alarm goes off, while the morning songs of birds sound like storks being fed into woodchippers feet first -

   Believe it or not this goes on for about another month and two more short, Ouija-ciphered checks. I have worked Pops and Junior like a picador because they're nuts, they're stealing from me, their word means nothing and it has been great entertainment for some of my fellow misfits. And let's face it-- being in a roomful of lying criminals is great material.

   The rip finally comes when we are trying to name a "credit repair" concern looking to launch right here in our own blighted city. I am jacked into 40 ounces of diet Mountain Dew and they have decided that as a rare and special treat they will let the client observe from "ground zero". I let the boys kick around some obvious pedestrian stuff, none of which lights up the client, while I doodle on a receipt. When there's a lull and I'm getting the "you're up" vibe from the boys I read my list:

   Bread-Med Credit Repair
   Welsh Taxi Credit Repair
   Unlimited Credit Repair
   Black Box Credit Repair

   Then I employ a little trick used in the business like "what if you were selling light bulbs in Italy" or "what if your booze was popular with aliens" and I start thinking about what a fucking Martian thing money is and how completely mysterious and other-worldly "credit' is:

   Area 51 Credit Repair
   Roswell Credit Repair
   Kitty Hawk Credit Repair
   Twin Peaks Credit Repair
   Angry Red Planet Credit Repair

   The client starts shaking his head and says he wants something "more realistic" so I say:

   Major Bender Credit Repair

   (Which is an inside joke-- whenever we can't hang a name on something the prospect of a major bender becomes really attractive when you're banging your head for something that isn't there. Try it sometime).The room howls except for Pops and the client and Junior, who would probably like to but can't. Pops looks my way and tells the client that I probably haven't had my medication yet today. Somehow he managed to make this audible to the whole room. Little does he know that if I hadn't he would already be on the wrong end of 'Uncle Ray's Big Book of Impromptu Street Surgery.' I decide to improvise a bit more realistically:

   Fuck You In The Ass Credit Repair
   Drive You Home In My One-Eyed Ford Credit Repair
   Keep Your Hand On Your Wallet, Your Back Against The Wall And Your Thumb Up
   Your Ass Credit Repair
   I Promise Not To Come In Your Mouth Credit Repair
   Welcome Scumbag Credit Repair
   Pimp Your Lips Credit Repair
   Liar's Poker Credit Repair
   We Make Loan Sharks Look Like Little Bo Peep Credit Repair
   Crackhead Drive-Through Credit Repair
   What The FUCK Were You Thinkin' Credit Repair
   They Don't Give Corporate Welfare To Guys Who Buy Shoes At Goodwill Credit Repair
   Goldfish Repair Credit Repair
   Vigorish 'r' Us Credit Repair

   I turn to our client, who looks like a pistolero sculpted out of bacon grease-- in other words the perfect character actor for his role in the hot pliers and voodoo world of phantom money-- and I ask him if this is ground zero enough for him. To his credit he picks up on the general vibe, keeps quiet and lets himself out. There may actually be a future for him in his chosen racket. Pops says something else we can all actually hear, which is that I am through. I rise with a nagging bladder and say this:

   So go have your jump-du-jour whip up some paperwork while I take a leak; if I were as deeply suave as you I would unload right here on your carpet but it would be a waste of piss. Let me know when you find the money you owe me.

   I go and take one of the top ten great pisses of my life-- I piss and piss until I can feel the alien growing in my chest dissolving and passing right through and out of me. There should have been some piss-test freak there with a cup.

   Do you want a coda to this part? This all happened several years ago and Pops is dead now. First it was a stroke. He wound up in a wheelchair with his floozies pushing him around for a little air over by the lake on good days. Then his business went sideways on him because he was doing the IRS the way he did me. They did what I always fantasize about doing to scumbags-- they took hot pliers to him and wouldn't let go. On the day they showed up at his house after a million unheeded warnings they took his toilet paper and his lawn (it was being re-done and they hauled away the rolled-up sod) and his hopes and dreams and tried for the wheelchair; I'm told one of the goons let him keep it in exchange for spitting in his face in front of the floozies. Do you know that Pops fought my unemployment claim for the entire time I drew unemployment? Every claim he made to the state was perjury, starting with the claim I never worked there. When the papers came I would patiently refute everything, include documentation and invite a hearing; a hearing where Pops would have to show up in a room with people who have heard it all and explain himself to them. Instead he would try some new perjury. He was relentless and I was meticulous; all my missives ended with requests that all this correspondence be documented electronically so that future opponents of Pops would have some guideposts. I would almost like to think our little jousts were what ultimately threw the toaster in the bathtub of his life but let's face it-- he was poison when he came into the world, and poison ultimately poisons itself. I guess it was a swift and probably hilarious ending: after his stroke he had seizures and flopped around violently so one of the floozies would belt him into the wheelchair for their little walks. One day not long after the IRS visit a crewman on an all-day lake excursion vessel noticed a cast-off rope straining downward into the lake about an hour into their cruise and hauled in Pops chair and all, being used as trawling bait for lamprey eels, I guess. Were there any lip-readers or dogs around to hear his last words? Or the final pronouncement of whatever floozie hooked him up? Something like:

   My sister and I will get cummed on at our next jobs too but not for free.

   I shouldn't be so hard on the girls-- we all do what we have to do to get by in this world and my time with Pops wasn't that much different from theirs; there but for the chance of gender go I. And when it came down to it they had the balls to do what none of us men would. Everybody who had dealings with Pops hated him and that was about half the city-- there wasn't much of an inquiry and nobody came forward to say they saw anything out of the ordinary. If a stroke-ravaged wiped-out wheeler with the disposition of a scorpion wants to peep on some Zebra Mussels up close, let the old fuck strap in and blast off was the going sentiment. And I was in the bunker, Jack, throwin' down sides.

   By the way-- Beezer's girlfriend is cute. Needless to say, even if she wasn't I shouldn't have called her an asshole for being nice to a stranger but goddamn - And here's another by-the-way: while we're talkin' about throwin' down sides-- if you're the artist I can't pay you. If this is direspectful write me and I'll never play you again. Ever hear Jim Dickenson's line about royalties: "Those are those people who live in those old castles over in Europe." If you'll accept beer for royalties maybe I could straighten you. Stop by.

   And speaking of royalties: I have friends who insist I should pursue writing as a "career" instead of pursuing a "career" as a career. I just want to grind some springs and be left alone at the end of the day but they've fucked all that up. I went to this site for a "literary" publication and right up front they threw down their "Guidelines for Submissions," which looked like this:

   For matters of usage, consult the Chicago Manual of Style (14th edition, 1993), Webster's Third New International® Dictionary, Unabridged (1993), and Merriam-Webster's Collegiate® Dictionary (10th edition, 1996). Unsolicited submissions should be original double-spaced typescripts accompanied by self-addressed stamped envelopes. No forms of electronic submissions are accepted at this time. Rejected submissions without sufficient return postage will be held for six months and then discarded if not claimed within that period. Only unpublished original work (no translations) can be considered.

   Queries are suitable for essays (7500 words or less) and reviews (unassigned reviews are rarely accepted). Send fiction and poetry without writing in advance. Poems (40 lines or less) should not....

   Well, it went on like that and I found the insolence to be intolerable. All I could think of was that guy who told Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention that he would like to clean them up a bit in the hopes that one day they could become as big as The Turtles. When this rage builds up I turn into this murderous cracker named The King of Hillbilly Tires and I write letters. So TKOHT wrote these literary pukes:

   And, like, I got a question fer YEW, yew insolent mother-fucker what writ the above-- you own the first Blue Cheer album? Huh? Or run a grinder what sounded like them while you could still blow a 2.5 from the 'night' before? How would you like me to double-space your left titty with a pair of hot pliers? I would imagine I would have a whole FUCK of a lot to say about how my copy looks THEN, wouldn't you? I would guess I'd be decidin' who the fuck submitted what and how the fuck it got submitted. I got me some matters of usage we could clear up real fast once I drive a fucking Pontiac into your kitchen and make me a sammich from behind the wheel. You lose that fuckin' hog-faced lizard cunt attitude & you fuckin' MIGHT get some 'submissions' that sounded like they stand up to piss.


   I will be the first to admit my idea of fun rubs some people the wrong way. Or borders on felony. I'm just havin' a life here, you know? I have friends who travel and play gigs with other cats and anybody who has tried this knows it is absolutely the best and the worst-- sometimes at the same time-- on any given day you might end up wanting to kill someone you care for deeply or beating yourself up over how you acted in a situation where there are no re-takes-- with this in mind I dick with them almost daily, knowing full well before I fly it out there that it is a real crap-shoot and maybe they'll need what I sent like the Titanic needed an ice machine or maybe, just maybe, it'll lighten the load they're hauling to your town:

   April 24, 2001
   Web posted at: 12:17 PM EDT (1617 GMT)


   By staff and wire reports

   TAIPEI, TAIWAN and Northeastern UTAH

   Exasperated by decades of "being peckered with," Taiwan has taken steps to bring about the end of the world the next time mainland China bothers them. "I guess we'll live in peace then!" an undisclosed source close to the deal in Taiwan chuckled. A tribal elder from a band of Ute Indians in Northeastern Utah was "cautiously optimistic" that a deal would soon be reached. "A fool is a fool," he said. "Just name the continent and I'll show you a whole bunch of them. First we sold white people the mountains. Then we sold them the lakes. We laughed like motherfuckers and asked them what they'd give us for the moon and the sky. Then they killed us all. Boy, that was a real wake-up call, you know? I figured if I ever get a chance to really hose somebody I'm gonna jump right into the breach, you know? I've been watching this mainland China/Taiwan thing and I figured 'man, if I play my cards right I can Murph the shorts off everybody.' I mean, what good is a rubber without a hard-on? These people HATE each other and there's a sap born every minute who never heard the phrase 'You Can't Put The Genie Back In The Bottle.'"

   When pressed to be more specific about the End Of Time, the elder responded cryptically, "it is bigger than a breadbox. Give us time," he continued. "They know they can't have the End Of Time right now. We told them we have to truck it to the west coast in two pieces and then assemble it there and put it on a barge and run it across the ocean and they pissed all over themselves. We'll think of something. Once you survive genocide you can pretty much make anything out of nothing. We got half up front and the check would choke God. This beats the piss out of video poker. I think in about a year I'm gonna hint to the mainland Chinese that there just might be two Ends Of Time, you know?"

   - - -

   Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one.

   Job 14:4

   Hey, you know what? I saw Don Roth last night for probably the last time. His hatred is a corrosive thing on my soul. At this point I no longer give a fuck that his playing can give me a heart attack when I'm still ten feet from the door of the club. It is a real paradoxical thing he is wrestling with-- he claims he wants to rescue us scumbags from the fate we so richly deserve, when the aliens show up and toast us with their toast-ray. As I think I've pointed out Don is dead-flat certain he will be doing the pointing and they will be doing the toasting on his say-so. Don is so happy we are going to get it up the ass with the toast-ray, he just can't resist telling us how bad we'll all suffer. Also, Don has issues with a certain gender; he believes they will most likely come in for some extra-special toasting. Don also has problems with people of various ethnic backgrounds, and people who dance and people who enjoy him in the wrong way at the wrong time. It is his ball and he will take it and go home at the drop of a hat, just to show you he means business. The wrong demonstration of appreciation will garner some prolonged verbal abuse from Don, followed by an extra-long break between sets. We all know Don is crazy but one of the favorite games of the insane (as I have mentioned before) is to take advantage of every inch of slack you allow them and use it against you. At this point I don't give a fuck if he gets hit by a train in the trainyard; hatred is contagious. He is to be pitied but the pity will have to come from a person better than me. I hate him (god help me, but I do) for using that astounding talent with such premeditated malice. I found what he does so deeply troubling that I had to keep going back until I could come to terms with what I was seeing. We all know Hitler played Wagner while men, women, and children were gassed to death but Hitler WASN'T Wagner. In many ways I am two years-old. I cannot imagine somebody taking music, this great and magic thing, the best thing in the world, and using it to administer hatred. Don Roth wants to jump-start the end of the world with his axe, but only if it all goes his way, which in his fucked-up head he thinks it will. What did Otis Blackwell say: "Don't be cruel to a heart that's true." I think we all approach music as two-year-olds, or should. The way I finally came to terms with Don Roth was to accept the fact that I was seeing an abomination. I don't know if this is true but I once read that when humans fuck sheep the sheep sometimes conceive. Mercifully, there is always an early miscarriage and this THING, this abomination, is always sloughed off before life kicks in, sometimes to be discovered and displayed in a jar in a sideshow in a traveling ratbag carnival as an alien life-form-- so there you go-- maybe THAT'S what's coming 371 light-years (and spinning counter-clockwise?) to rescue Don, our only living abomination: fetus monsters from the planet Sheepspawn with one empty seat for their bro.

   Oh, and don't think I haven't considered the bigot bands out there and anybody else who would use music for something evil: you're bad people. When Mother Earth does her own sloughing-off you're gonna go first. Remember when I told you about the dog and the stick? The author Steven T. Rosenthal claims "the word 'intifada' comes from an Arabic word that means 'to shake off', as a dog shakes off fleas." Mother Earth will show us warring apes what a real intifada is when the time comes to thin the herd. When I lived in California my favorite bumper sticker said "Nature Bats Last." You better believe it. Now I sound like Don Roth. I told you it was catching.

   Arlen Roy Demeter is a big mother and he came home from the bar earlier today zipped to the titties. He is a Southern Gentleman of the old school and is unfailingly polite way beyond normal protocol-- by the same token if you trespass against him there are old-school civilities that must not be trod upon. Outside of poisoning a guy's well, just about the worst thing you can do is show up on his property uninvited, not identify yourself when asked to and start talking nonsense and asking questions that are none of your business and making vague threats, which is what some pecker in a windbreaker apparently did. I'm not sure if he caught Arlen's name (I'm not sure Arlen could say it) but he caught Arlen's drift and left in a huff before he could catch Arlen's foot in his ass. He promised to return, at which point Arlen made him some promises he can't remember. Arlen demanded to go on the air. I went and got Lucille, told them we were on, and got a bastard of a take of "Snowblind Friend" after a few run-throughs. Beezer's girlfriend stopped by and again brought either some cookies or throwing-stars or both and joined in on backing vocals; she's really got a sweet voice and it was sweet of her to do that but I'll die before I'll loan them my turntable. They'll lose it. Arlen promised again to find them one. This is the thing that drives me insane about people-- two guys will meet in a small town 'cause they fly radio-controlled planes or whatever and before the year is over they are in a blood feud over some fucking thing or another-- there is no end to it. I live in a hole in the ground and I can't escape it - sorry, Beezer.

   I think when I do my next Yogi homage I will call Arlen's "band" Reverend Luther Mushpaw & His Muddy Path Invaders. Lucille really impressed me; come to think of it so did Beezer's girlfriend. After Arlen whiskey-danced out of the bunker I got them to promise not to tell him we weren't on the air before I have a chance to. I will appease him by broadcasting his tape for real so he can dig it. If I can get Lucille and Beezer's girlfriend back for a session I'll call them Sister Mildred Twistytart & Her Levee-Breakers.

   Well, balls, I'm really meandering here. William Blake said "Improvement makes straight roads. The crooked roads without improvement are roads of genius." He sure could lay it on, couldn't he? That would make every drunk a visionary, which we all know is not the case-- it would also give Don Roth's vicious odyssey some validation, which scares me. Let's wrap this up. I guess what I've been trying to tell you is that I don't know anything-- wait, I'll clarify that: every day I know less and less for sure about everything but it won't stop me from giving you some advice anyway, which you won't hear but here it is: there's no reverse.

   Someday I'll come back to this if they don't get me. Keep in touch.

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