Typecast

A palletful of organized criminals has just suffered the worst possible fate imaginable–at least from the vantage point of an ordinary human with access to some kind of means (or even just innate privilege). The fate? To be typecast as tycoons when they’d really prefer to just joust about with their bodacious buddies at their weekly jousting outing. Is that too much to ask? The sunflowers sure don’t think so, no sir. No sir, indeed. Just catch up to that vacant laundry (propelled by propane gas) and hand me that cheddar–while we’re young. The cheddar, however, must be somewhat aged (24 months, or best offer). It will complement the sunflower seeds we’ve sown over the past couple months. That, and the red-berry jelly.

Youse

The caddie to-do wasn’t ever much more
than an anglerfishworth of gender trappings;
our souls’ faint inner-shirkings
beg to interrupt the rat race formula
so conveniently laid out for us.

Failure is a foregone conclusion
when you stack the chips a certain way.
Of course, we all must stray
from our internal clocks

for the convenience of our plutocratic overlords.
Demean yourself so you can put food on the table,
then you’ll be the richest of us all, I tells ya.

Then maybe one day you can afford
to take a ride on the merry-go-round
of solid gold. Only one ride though,
are you crazy? We’re not running a charity here.

Or perhaps it would be easier to imagine that we are,
if that’ll help you sleep at night. Anything
to shut youse up for a couple hours, you’re exhausting.
Now go play with the TV in the other room for a while,
and try not to get electrocuted like last time.

Big Whoop

A man named Garvey sedated me once, though the whole outcome could have been avoided. We’d begun feuding the week prior, a trivial dispute over the price of corn muffin mix. Stupid, right? Well, this Garvey feller sure didn’t think so. And it just so happened that his friendly neighborhood drug dealer unloaded a ton of vicodin on him that week, so he was bound to sedate me whether or not we disagreed on anything. I may live to regret having anything to do with that man, but life is a rich tapestry that deserves its fair share of intrigue.

His sister, Nancy, had her own agenda when it came to handling the G-Man. Having lived with him a majority of her life, she’d developed an ingenious coping mechanism for dealing with his ridiculous foibles. Any time he began ranting about the military industrial complex, the go-to strategy would be to bring up the time he’d run into Steve Harvey while jogging on the riverfront–near the Wrigley Building. That would immediately stop his conspiratorial theorizing and send him spiraling through all five stages of the celebrity run-in phenomenon. Turns out Garvey is this joker’s last name. First name: Steve.

Originally, Nancy had only been prepared to shift her brother’s mania away from excessive government spending, but she eventually developed a secondary strategy out of necessity. After letting Steve go on about the Garvey/Harvey thing for a couple minutes, she’s gotten quite skilled at channeling his enthusiasm into a creative jag. Now–since Garvey prefers to make ink drawings, Nancy has set up a corner in her apartment designed solely for her brother to zen out after he gets a little too worked up about the 10-second exchange that he and Steve Harvey’d had. The passion lends itself to the page as he jots up a storm. He doesn’t want to burden himself with any extra material possessions, so he leaves all his creations at Nancy’s place. Nancy has turned a tidy profit from his efforts, since Steve-o gets worked up quite often. It’s reached the point where Nancy could take a year-long hiatus from waitressing and not feel pinched for a minute of it.

So yeah, I let Garvey sedate me. Big whoop. I was hoping he’d feel bad about it and draw me a nice picture that could finance a backpacking trip through the Black Forest.

Schmooze

Apple juice permeation of what would have otherwise been considered a cordial affair has shed a new light on the rather pretentious category of social gatherings as we’ve come to understand it (ever since the bungled bungalow endeavor of ought-three).

This particular fiasco began when an advocate for fresh fruit juices invited himself to the festivities, taking every possible opportunity to schmooze with the big names in booze. He slipped past security under the guise of a schnapps magnate named Sir Wilfred von K├Ânigstupp and promptly began pushing his non-fermented agenda on the room to decidedly mixed results. The drambuie set found his spiel appalling, whereas the cointreau folks were rather intrigued. Grand marnier was unavailable for comment.

Needless to say, our buddy Wilfred (whose real name will be protected for arbitrary reasons) got the old heave-ho once the Jaegers found out what was going on. His famous charisma at least allowed him to get a couple stream of consciousness quips out there, if only to confound the preppy old money set. Most notable was his impromptu list of “lost arts”, which included (among other things): stadium hopping, hamburger flipping, turkey trotting, limburger tossing, butter mashing, charity giving, the pompadour, and original origami.

Pinned

Jim Olivo left a note behind for me
many summer camps ago–pinned
to a pine–that reads:

“If you want the recipe for that turkey sandwich from mess hall, you’ll have to pry it from the clutches of none other than Neander The Articulate. Born with almost-exclusively neanderthal blood, his scrawniness prevented him from competing with his peers on a physical level, leaving him alone with his thoughts on a regular basis. Over the years, this ostracized fella developed a peculiarly sharp wit, mainly due to his constant observation of the individuals he would have considered his peers (if they would ever let him). Little by little he started sneaking tiny esoteric quips in edgewise–mainly in passing–that befuddled the muscly alphas and intrigued the blossoming females.”

It goes on like that
for a couple more pages.
I think Jim was working out
some kind of material on me,
because I couldn’t ever find
a turkey sandwich recipe
or a local neanderthal
for the life of me.
Maybe he was talking about
the camp across the lake.

Parlance

Entombed in the cedar
Mac Rebennack-ness of it all,
I stood still with a Wisconsin
kind of appendage, the wishbone apparent
through those ill-begotten stockings
left behind that one night
when the pistons swayed
against the moon spritzers
with their glittering doom

(so transparent to everybody
save the few middling marmoset dealers
known around the district as
generally pretty good guys
in their own regard, if you insist on
getting down to their brand of parlor parlance
after a bit of tea and perhaps
a scone while we’re at it).

Alls I knows is
my black bean taquito factory
couldn’t have shut down
at a worse possible time for me
and my chicken brethren. Now,

I know what you’re thinking. Can
chickens collectively be considered
brethren, or would that be omitting
the female sex entirely?
For you see, my enlightened peers
in this common quest
for some kind of satisfaction–
if at all possible–
chicken is the lazy layman’s
blanket term, and we can’t be
bandying improper pronouns around
over here, ya dig?

Oh, and I suppose it would also mean
that my clucky compatriots will have to incur
the ultimate sacrifice (their lives)
on the company’s behalf
for the sake of avoiding
cuisine production cessation (if even
for a minute).
I can’t jeopardize our investors’ success
within this capitalistic apparatus–
especially after that botched public offering
a couple summers ago. Egg
on my face, I said to myself (I said).

Protrusion Trudy

Protrusion Trudy
done did it this time,
dadgummit.
She jutted her elbow out
at just the wrong moment
and now
she has
a scrappy little flotsam/jetsam nugget
at her side
for at least the next couple full moons
(or until she has to
get her oil changed,
whichever comes first).

Poor ol’ Trudy couldn’t possibly
have seen that coming,
unless she were to
actually listen to her friends
every once in a while.

“Hey!
Don’t stick your elbow out there!
You could get a latcher,
or worse,
a lecher!”

The halfhearted plea
for common decency
will always fall
upon deaf ears
wherever Protrusion Trudy is concerned.
She goes on
to this very day,
whamming her elbows
into occupied space

“just the way God made me.”