LVII


My Aberlour would stick out like a sore thumb in this dry county. I’m going to keep it in my kitchen cabinet as long as I can without caving to temptation, because I just know I’ll finish the bottle twenty-seven times faster if I just crack into it without the appropriate precautions. You know, the bi-annual sacrifice of shirt sleeves to the God of Spoiled Clothing, followed by the fly fishing ritual I developed, keeping me serious about my drinking.

Only if I catch a trout between 11 and 12 inches in length may I break the seal on the spirit I’ve carefully bogarted. My wait has now lasted three months, two weeks and six days, but it honestly only feels like two months, three weeks and four days to me. That’s the power of arbitrary rituals constructed as a way to divert the mind away from delicious, peaty poisons.

LVI


A skyscraper takes some time to construct, some even longer than the gestation period of your average blue whale calf. If I had to pick, I would go the whale route every time. I don’t care about stacking people inside a glass and metal affront to God, but I do care to imitate whale songs as best I can. You wouldn’t believe the looks I get in the library.

LV


Snacking can be quite the transcendent experience if done properly. Why it was just yesterday that I saw a greasy old con man tell an impressionable boy, “A sack of tortilla chips could rid the world of negative intentions.” That’s just silly, tortilla chips can’t do anything nearly that impactful. Potato chips, on the other hand…

LIV


The thrift store yielded many snazzy finds, as though nobody with good taste had ever gone through there and sampled their wares. Granted, $60 for a t-shirt is a steep price for a place designed to save funds, but I’M WITH STUPID just says it all. What’s more, there are lovely distress marks, likely put there on purpose to play up to the youngsters’ tastes. I get it, I’m hip.

But I couldn’t stop there, I had to pore through every scrap of men’s clothing just in case I found a jewel in the rough (preferably a diamond, but a sapphire or emerald would do). Among my favorites, a one-sleeved Joe Montana jersey that was either game-worn or at least worn by somebody while they were being attacked by a bobcat. After that one, the interest factor dropped by a fair bit, and I couldn’t see myself dropping so much cash for plaid and paisley shirts, no matter how retro or attention-grabbing they may be.

Thrift stores sure have changed a lot since my day… I remember when I could walk in and get a sassy necktie for a dollar, throw in a pair of slacks and two Hawaiian shirts and still get change from my twenty. Kids these days with their misled sense of style that drives them to follow the herd that mainly concerns itself with preserving looks that went away for a reason. But hey, I can’t be too hard on these kiddos, or they’ll think I’m an old square and not the hep cat persona to which they’ve grown accustomed.

LIII


A distinguishing rip can take hold of even the sturdiest of papers on nights bold enough to take cake anywhere in a tri-state radius and drop it off without much pain or pleasure, really no sensations or emotions involved whatsoever–a rip that would stall the progress of a kitchen sink massacre that’s been brewing for nigh on seven years now. A cow skull will take its place atop the pantheon, a grisly reminder of our unstable diets consisting of way more meat than we’ve ever needed as a species at any time prior.

LII


In it
squats a lonely toad,
free to do
whatever it wants–
we’ll find in the ether
any number of toads
squatting or leopards
trotting or penguins
jotting off to the island
of solemn decency.

Where do we go from here?
A foamy brine off the coast of Antigua,
or a sordid affair thrown together
in the tumult of boredom during
early morning hours. Or
maybe a hat reciting Neruda
as though it were a right soggy sort.

INTERMISSION

Spoiled by an intermission again, it seems.
We’ll have to tighten our focus
before the feature takes over once more,
and what’s more, we’ll be lofted
straight up over the parlors
and thyroid monotony, to where you reel in
your entertainment for the evening
with a smitten stare off into the very cosmos
that created such a performance.

The Snake Oil Salesman


Dear valued subscriber,

Let me just cut to the chase here. Get your one-year extension of Flimflamming Magazine now! Don’t delay another minute! Your VIP offer is set to expire after a week, and if you have half a mind to let your membership lapse, nip that in the bud! After a week has passed, you’ll be subjected to paying what the regular suckers pay.

Don’t worry about forgetting. We’ll remind you of the impending expiration every day as soon as you wake up. Now, if you allow this exclusive offer to lapse without so much as a courtesy email letting us know that you’ve reconsidered renewing your membership, we shall be obligated to then extend the offer to your mortal enemy, JERRY.

JERRY will be given the same spiel you were given lo those many months ago, and HE may choose to sign up for a brand new membership at 35% off list price. You, of course, won’t try to change HIS mind, because you take pleasure in knowing that money spent on us means less money for other things that HE may want or need.

If you choose to let HIM know about this set of circumstances (we give it a less than 5% chance of happening), you may ultimately risk becoming friends with JERRY after alerting him to our scheme. Remember, this is a person you once called “A SPINELESS SHAPESHIFTER WITH A BRAIN LIKE A WALNUT.”

If, at the end of the day, you don’t tell JERRY about any of this and HE ends up not getting a subscription to our magazine, all is not lost for us. At least we’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that our targeted marketing campaign got inside your head, and that’s all that really matters to us in this age of social media. After all, we already got some of your money anyway.

Sincerely,

Art Sugarman
Founder and CEO, Flimflamming Magazine