Story Three

Aboard My Train of Thought

GET THE CHIP OFF YOUR SHOULDER

© 1996, 2016 By Scott Endsley

Continuation From Story Two

 

(Episode 1)

 

Analyzing The Analyst:

 

DR: Well how did we do this week, Clyde?

 

ME: You just wouldn't believe!  My world has been turned upside down ever since I started writing this book.  A one-eyed midget followed me home, but sent me to the Fictional Forest, while he took my cat to Vegas. My dog and I..........

 

DR: There you go again!  Are you still having a problem with reality?

 

ME: Oh no.... I don't have a problem with reality, the question is, does reality have a problem with me?

 

DR: You know we talked about hospitalization last week... Have you considered it?

 

ME: Oh no way, man!  I've already been stuck in a strait jacket for the past 3 months, and I was hoping you'd be the right person to pull it off.  I've just been under a lot of stress. That's all.  But, sometimes I do wonder, when this personality finally splits.... who's gonna get custody of my mind?

 

DR:  Uh, Clyde, have you thought about doing something with yourself...like finishing college?

 

ME:  No, I'm currently attending my latter sophomore years in the great school of life.  And I hope, in spite of a few suspensions for misbehaving in class, to graduate with honors in the hereafter; thanks to my wonderful, compassionate school counsellor, who promises to speak up on my behalf that day...Why, just this morning I realized I had been doing a lot of laying around and feeling sorry for myself.  So, I took that great textbook of life, closed my eyes, and asked the almighty professor to guide my finger on where it should land...he took me to the book of Matthew...

 

DR:  What did it say?

 

ME:  "Take up thy bed and walk!"

 

DR:  Oh yes, speaking of the spiritual, have you ever looked into the great Gautama Buddha?  Buddha was a man who, 500 years before Christ, set out to find ultimate wisdom by sitting under a tree, and...

 

ME:  Oh yeah, it fell on his head during a violent thunderstorm one night, I remember!

 

DR:  Uh, well no... how did we get off on religion anyway?  What you need is a social life.  Have you considered dating? You never know, you might just find a compatible friend, and who knows, Clyde, you might even get married!

 

ME:  Naw, marriage is just for married people.  And besides, I just recently read that life evolved out of bacteria.  So, I figure, if I continue to let the trash build up in my bachelor pad, that sooner or later, I'll have a new roommate!!!... I just hope she's female.

 

DR: Huh? well, let’s talk about your mother.

 

ME: What's my mother got to do with anything?

 

DR: Okay, okay.... what's your earliest childhood memory?

 

ME: Well Um... I was breech birthed! Yep! Came into this world making an ass of myself, as usual.  My parents were taking a cruise when mom went into early labor.  It was May 1st, and when the doctor caught a glimpse of the first thing that popped out, which he assumed was my face, he cried, "Mayday! Mayday! Abandon ship!"

 

DR: Do I sense a bit of cynicism?

 

ME: I don't know!... DO YOU?

 

DR: You're making this very difficult for me.

 

ME: I'm just getting my money's worth.

 

DR: You seem so easily irritated, are you aware of that?

 

ME: Yeah well... Maybe that has something to do with my mother.

 

DR: I'm really trying to help you, Clyde.  Do you not trust me?

 

ME: Well, as some narcissistic writer once wrote:

 

Drop another dollar

in the pocket of my coat.

My bank of trust had just gone bust

in other words, it's broke.

 

DR: Did you write that?

 

ME: Yeah I did, but I'm no longer that person.

 

DR: I see... and why is that?

 

ME: Well the old man, who's dead now, used to ask a lot of questions....

 

DR: And you being the new man, don't of course.

 

ME: Nope! I question nothing?

 

DR: That's a contradiction!

 

ME: What is?

 

DR: You said you question nothing, yet you ended it with a question mark.

 

ME:  And you think I need help!

 

DR: I think I need a drink!

 

ME:  Oh yeah, eat, drink and be Mary, or whoever else you want to be... Is that the way you handle your problems?  You know, that's what I don't like about you people!  Someone like me gets sucked into thinking there's something wrong with them, when everything is really quite external.  When someone's lost their job, wife, kids, the house has been repossessed and their best friend (which happens to be a dog) leaves home - when that person comes to you, you say, Oh my! You're depressed, why, by golly that's not normal; you should learn to be happy all by yourself.  You give pills at the drop of a hat, cause you can't accept people where they're at.  No! They have to be changed into thinking like everyone else.  Well I happen to think in four opposite abstractions of 13 different dimensions of mundane logic.... Can YOU boast that claim?!

 

DR: What did you just say!?

 

ME: I said; "Oh yeah, eat, drink and be Mary, or whoever else you...

 

DR: No, I mean what did you say at the last?

 

ME: Last doesn't matter, man!  First comes before whatever is, and nothing is whatever isn't.  Don't you get it?  This is was!!!

 

DR: Go on! go on!  I think we're finally getting somewhere!

 

ME:  My life lately has been just like that annoying coffee commercial jingle, except my version goes:  "The best part of cracking up... is Martians in your cup!"  And I keep hearing this voice inside my head saying, "It's been you all this time and we both know it, don't I?"  Why just yesterday, I loked in the mirror and thought I was the 16th century humanist theologian Desiderius Erasmus; until the tidy bowl man popped out of my toaster, singing a microwave version of, "Mary had a little lamb, and he weighed a healthy 5 pounds and 10 ounces."  Then Winter, who was also inside of my head and on the same O.B. unit of the hospital, screamed out in labor pains, gave birth to Spring, and sighed, "Ah isn't she beautiful! -- I think I'll call her Summer!"

 

But, you know doc, everything is just a cliché!  There are no new thoughts, just old ones that get twisted around trees bearing the fruits of discontent.  I could declare, "I stink therefore I am," and everyone would begin holding their nose pondering my poignant utterance.  But, I'm a nobody.... You’re a nobody!! We're all just one big nobody!!!   Somebody, let me out from myself!!!! AGHHH! CRASH! CRUNCH! SMASH!

 

DR: That's right! Get in touch with that primal inner child wanting to escape! Let him out!!  Here, here's an ashtray!!

 

ME:  SMASH! BAM! HA! HA! HA! HE! BOOM! OUCH!

 

DR: Here, take this!  It's a telephone, but this is not an ordinary phone.  This one is your father!  And you've never dealt with your Oedipus Complex.... take this phone and castrate the impostor!!

 

ME: I'm gonna kill you, Dad!!!  AGHHH! BOOM! RING! LING! DING! Whew!

 

DR: Now let’s sit back down and talk about what you were feeling.

 

ME: Well UH... Whew!... UH... you were wrong... um, it hasn't been my mother...it hasn't been my father.  It's... it's me!  It's been me all this time!

 

DR: Oh no, no, no!  You're having delusions of grandeur!  I'll have to increase your dosage to prevent the psychosis from getting worse!... Well, ah, our time is up.  I'd like you to think about our session today, and pick up where we left off next week... Um you do have insurance don't you?

 

ME: Yes, my policy number is right there in your charts.

 

DR: Oh, okay, let’s see... Ashtray; $150.00...it's been in the family for years, I'm sure they'll understand.... Telephone; $300.00... Ceiling Damage....Golf clubs.... and, uh, office visit... $130. Well I'd like you to sign an agreement that you won't do anything foolish between now and next week........

 

 

(Episode 2)

As I was driving off, I felt I was mighty lucky to have such a friend, for only $130 an hour!  Hah! I didn't need no shrink!  Just didn't have any drive anymore and I hadn't been writing as it was too risky.  What was I gonna do with my life, I wondered.  I was almost 40!  Heck, someone who was as old as I was, when I was born, was either dead or mighty old!  Well, at least I had a mortgage, and I figured... in 11 years I'd have a little cash saved and could go into a retirement home.  Yippee! As I pulled into the driveway, I noticed the mailbox was loaded and a sudden surge of relevance flowed throughout my entire being.  Ah a couple of political magazines.  "Wow! Look at this! A letter from a bill collector, but, hey! It says I'm a preferred customer!  This must mean my life has meaning after all!  Surely they won’t mind waiting a couple more months to receive a payment... since I'm such a wonderful patron!" Creaking open the door, I threw my fan mail on my ever faithful sofa who received my aching body.  "Why did I ever start going to that shrink anyway!  Now I've got a diagnosis!" I asked myself aloud.

 

I slithered, like a snake, crosswise on the rug towards my personal library. "Schizo Affective Disorder, huh?" I mumbled, looking up its definition in my DSM3 from my, only semester in college, days.  Through all the medical jargon, all I could tell was that's it's a disease indistinguishably centered between Bipolar Disorder, and Schizophrenia, brought about by chemicals in the brain, reacting to stress. "Great," I sighed with a satirical overtone, "Now I'll never be able to be the President of the United States." Well, the last few months to say the least, had been quite stressful.  Funny thing, ever since I'd been on medication--- Matilda and Maggie had quit talking to me, or anyone for that matter.  I couldn't figure out what I'd done to give rise to their resentment.  I couldn't tell my Psychiatrist about it, Doc would've just figured that I needed to be on more meds.

 

"I think I'll just" (click) "watch some TV..." I yawned, "Hmm, C-Spam aaay?...."

 

 

 

 

 

"Will the congressman from Connecticut yield for the Gentleman from California?"

 

"No I Won't!" the Congressman responded.

 

"Whatdya' mean no I won't?"

 

"I mean No I Won't!  Dats wa'a mean!  Cause I'm not finished yet, Mr. Speaker!"

 

"Will the Gentle Lady from Utah remove the Gentleman from Connecticut off the floor, please," the Speaker requested.

 

"Why me?" the Utah congresswoman asked.

 

"Cause he's carrying on like a buffoon... and you're bigger than both of us put together..."

 

 

(Click) Hmmm, what else is on TV? (Click)(Click)

 

 

".........And now, for the best in innovative Chinese Cuisine, here's the host of Chiang Kai Chef;  Wae Tu Long Dum Naim!!!... Over to you, Master Naim."

 

"Thank you, Seoul-Vehs…mmm…Seoul....ohhhhhh...how you say?..."

 

"Sylvester, Sir." The announcer muttered lowly.

 

"Oh yes, yes, thank you Seoul-Vehs-Tah-Sir.  Today we talk about tasty dish my son Xing make...I call him ‘Xing’ after sign I saw at busy intersection.  So funny yes? ha ha ha.... No seriously, I talk today, Lady and Gentlemen, about popular ancient Ming Dynasty dish, and show you how to Wok Your Dog. First get fresh snow-peas...."(Click)

 

 

"I can't stand it.  I've got to write some more in this book, but I'm afraid of what else might happen.  My life is so meaningless, without expression, and these pills just keep my brain anesthetized.  That's it! No more! I'm gonna flush em down the toilet.  That's what I'm gonna do. Matilda, I'm not gonna take these pills anymore... have you got anything to say about it?" She just stared back at me.  She knew what I was saying, she was just acting dumb that's all.  I've got it all figured out: Man destroys and rearranges this world in his waking hours, but while he sleeps, the animals communicate with one another devising ways to keep the planet from being blown apart.  They're just faking their witlessness, why I bet they're thoroughly amused by us simpletons.  They don't fool me!

 

 "Let's see what's on C-Spam again."(click)(click)(click)(click-click)

 

"NO, I am not out of order, Sir!!!" Congressman Learhart insisted while hurling the podium into a section of, all at once, vacated seats. "If you'd check your Constitution, you'd find the 10th Amendment concurs with my assertions!  And I'm surefire ready as Helena Montana to behave as a no good Son of a rich man's mother sucking lemons where the ship got damaged, to take........"

 

"Mr. Learhart, watch your language!!!" the Speaker interrupted, red faced, as he stood up and hammered his gavel.

 

"Well, like I was saying before Speaker Rutlidge rudely, and shall I say, verbally passed gas in the middle of my dissertation," Learhart continued, "I'm ready to take this directly to the Ethics Committee and rub it into the Speaker's hideously parsimonious, bureaucratic career!  He doesn't want to implement this proposal...do you Mr. Speaker?  You've been determined ever since I proposed it, to kill it!  So, unless this bill has passed through the House by 5 O'clock this afternoon; NO ONE GETS OUT OF HERE ALIVE!!!!!!"

                                           

".... We will return later to the House floor debate on whether the butter knife goes on the right or left side of the plate when entertaining foreign dignitaries; but now we bring you an update on happenings in the West Wing of the White House this afternoon.  It appears a lone gunman snuck into the presidential palace about noon while the president was taking a bath --- Oh we now have word -- Uh, go ahead Ralph Chambers at the scene....

 

"Charley, we've just received word...  that... the President is dead!... The gunman apparently threw Mr. Plimpton's AM/FM/CD/TAPE player into his bath water, as he was bathing.  Luckily the President probably didn't realize much as he was instantly electrocuted, and not to mention, because he had soap in his eyes at the moment...."

 

"Ralph? Do they yet know what the gunman's motive was?... Was this a conspiracy?  Do they know anything?" Charley asked.

 

"Well Charley, they're keeping all possibilities in mind.  An unnamed source reported to us that a certain cashier and sales clerk in the White House gift shop, last January made verbal threats to the President for failing to give her a Christmas bonus, because of budget cuts; and on the same payday, received a five-dollar citation for parking in a handicapped parking zone behind the South lawn. She's certainly being held in custody for questioning. But, I'm sure the more they look into the matter, more questions will arise.  Of all Presidential scandals, none have ever fully been solved.  'Watergate’ and 'Whitewater' are good examples; and now, of course, they have a new one which, if there IS a conspiracy, it will, in all likelihood be dubbed; ‘Bathwater.’   They DO know this though; the gunman is an elderly, Caucasian white haired man, with a clumsily trimmed Van Dyke, calling himself Homer.  He's about five feet tall and...." (CLICK!!!)

 

 

"Good Godfrey! Homer?... How?" I murmured aloud. "That's right, Strange fictitiously killed him in the last story!  How am I going to get out of this one?  I've got to do something before this gets way out of hand.  How can I get to him?  I can't just tell the whole world about all of this, they'd think I was crazy... If someone could only read my thoughts, they'd know I wasn't just making everything up.... Boy, I could sure use the help of someone who had the ability to look into the future and tell me what to do," I sighed to myself, just as the phone rang.

 

"Hello?" I answered.

 

"Hello, this is the Psychic Family Hot-line.  Please hold, and an available Psychic Family member will be with you shortly."  After the recording, they began punishing me with about 10 minutes’ worth of Dione Warwick music.

 

"Hello, is this Mr. Clyde P. Hipwing?"

 

"Ah, yeah, whadja want?" I answered.

 

"Sir, I first need to know what sign you were born under... for our records."

 

"Well, I dunno," I him-hawd, "Seems to me it was something like ‘Maternity Ward.’"

 

"Sir, you need us, we don't need you!  Now, if you want our help...."

 

"Yes, yes I need your help, or anybody's help actually.  I'm sorry, I believe my sign is something like.... Jim and I!"

 

"Yes, OK, Gemini...All I can tell you is... you are to meet your personal psychic in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, next Wednesday morning at the 'Tee Time in The Tetons Country Club Golf Course,' about 7 A.M.."

 

"How will I find him or her" I verbally wondered.

 

"She'll find you... bye." (click)

 

I thought, wow that was impressive!  Oh, but wait a moment, I'm flat broke till payday!  "What am I going to do?" I asked myself aloud as the phone again rang.  "Hello?"

 

"Yes, we'll be happy to take a postdated check!" (Click)

 

"This is unbelievable! How in the world? Oh no, my car!... (Ring!)… Uh…yes, hello…is that you again?"

 

"Yes, it's me...I've just telepathically changed your oil and rebuilt your carburetor.  Now, is there anything else before I hang up?  If you happen to think about it later, I'm afraid I'll have no choice but to call you collect!!  Oh, by the way, I handed your file to your case worker and she informed me that you're a Taurus; your dad was the Gemini."(Click)

------------------------------

 

 

(Episode 3)

I left early the next morning about 6 A.M.  The weather was good up until I hit a couple of passes in Colorado.  Most highways and roads were closed where snow drifts accumulated to at least six feet deep, so I took a southern route through Utah, then up north to Idaho and back east into Wyoming. The drive took all of two days. When I reached Jackson Hole, there was a blizzard falling as I drove all around looking for the 'Tee Time in The Tetons Country Club and Golf course.'  Too tired to look anymore, I checked into a 'Buzzard Inn,' hoping to get an early morning snooze. Once undercovers, I buckled my seatbelt and put the bed in automatic pilot; but as I was getting close to drifting away, I was awakened by the unmistakable sound of someone cooking, and smelled the lure of frying bacon seeping in from the kitchenette.  I blindly reached for the light above the bed.  A 60 or 70ish aged woman was hovering over the stove.  I got a better look.  "Julia Child!?.... The famous cook?!"

 

"'Tee Time in The Tetons' was snowed in, so I put my new gift into action and predicted you'd show up here," Julia chuckled.

 

"You're my psychic?" I asked, dumbfounded.

 

"Well, only two weeks on the job... I'm still learning. I know you're wondering why I took up the psychic bit... microwave cooking finally ran me out of business! I'm afraid according to your household income, I'm all you can afford."

 

"Well I dunno, I....."

 

"Don't worry, I know the whole story.  First thing we've got to do is tape all the windows and doors shut, and get it plenty dark in here.  Then add a pinch of incense, let it burn slowly, but you don't want it to burn too much," Julia explained, grabbing my hands and calling out into the spiritual wilderness.  She closed her eyes then began shaking all over, wobbling like Jell-O, lurching onto the table.  "Yes, don't be afraid to come, we welcome you," she pleaded; "Come....Come...Come......Come... COME!.... COME!!....  COME ON, DOGGONE IT ALL, WE'RE ON A SHOESTRING BUDGET, HERE!!!"

 

There was a sudden clap of thunder as the room became fully illuminated in a deep mysterious olive green.  Then a voice that sounded distant, outlying and removed, began; Julia.  Julia!.... JULIA!!!..."

 

"What?" she answered quite irritated.

 

"How ya doin' babe?" the familiar voice enquired.

 

"Is... is that you, Richard.... Richard Nixon, is that you?" Julia stood up with eyes shut.

 

"Oh Julia... You come to me for advice from afar, but I, Richard M. Nixon, seek your counsel as well."

 

"Oh Richard, though distant from this world, yet, here with us in spirit... What might your request be?" Julia answered with another question.

 

"Oh, Julia...." Richard begged, "teach me to cook!  When making a chicken and rice dish, do you boil the rice first, or do you broil them together?  Let me make this perfectly clear... I am not a cook...The food sucks here in the afterlife!  Oh, about that incense, could you please for my sake snuff out that harrowing stench?!  It reminds me of when little Julie was into that 'Make Love Not War,' thing!"

 

"Later Richard, but first, what might your council be concerning Mr. Hipwing's dilemma?" Julia giggled.

 

"My answer to him is in the form of a clue, listen carefully:  'Flush away your enigma with the pursuit of excellence.'"

 

"That's it!?" I protested, "I've come all this way for just a clue as stupid as that?...  Why?"

 

Mr. Nixon replied, "Because it's more fun that way and less boring to your readers.  And besides, you only get what you pay for...that's why... HA HA!... Now Julia, you promised me... teach me how to cook!"

 

"Oh Richard! All right... first you take a little bit of butter...."

-------------------------------------

 

 

(Episode 4)

I left for Oklahoma shortly after noon and determined to turn the Psychic Family Hot-line over to the Better Business Bureau.  Steaming enough to melt my frosted windows, I turned on the radio to catch some news...(Click):

 

"...Republican Congressman Berry, and his one-time counterpart, Democratic Congressman Dingle, are pushing hard to get the unpartisan bill passed through both houses of congress.  If it's ratified in the Senate by next February like they predict, the bill will be called the Dingle-Berry act of 1996.

 

"In international news, Russian scientist and Nobel Prize winner, Yuri Bzezhchirvrezhehinovetezinov, announced that he artificially produced a living embryo, by taking human sperm and injecting its DNA into an infertile egg from a dairy cow. Once the early stage of gestation became apparent, other testing indicated that it was probably a male.  The scientist then destroyed it, claiming that if it were allowed to live and mature, it would drastically alter the beliefs, morals and traditions that mesh the world community together, and most of all, radically, as Russian physicist Bzezhchirvrezhehinovetezinov says; '...bring about a whole new definition to The Milkman!'

 

"The mysterious gunman holding the White House hostage, says he'll blow up the Presidential Palace, unless he's given all sovereign power; including executive, judicial, and legislative. He's already managed, somehow, to take control of the armed forces.  General Higgenbottham has sworn allegiance to whom he now considers to be adequately fit to lead the New World Order.

 

"CO-chairperson of Torment, Beat, And Brainwash the Children, Hillary Rottwiler Plimton, says she's willing and ready to give the new national headman her assisting expertise.  Yes, you heard that right!  But, UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros Goodgoshallmighty, is asking all member states to come together with an embargo pact against the US, until civil government is restored. No one really knows much about the so-called new leader, who calls himself the Honorable Homer.  It is said that he appears to be book-wise, smooth-talking, and very appealing.  Well, we shall see and hear, as he is to make a public address to the nation on Thursday afternoon, 12pm, Eastern Standard Time.

 

"On the stock exchange, the Dow Jones fell in early trading this morning.  So far, 15 bodies have been recovered, but several stock brokers have yet to be accounted for.  Investors are frantically sifting through the rubble, hoping to find any survivors in time for the stock market to reopen tomorrow...

 

"Currently, the weather conditions in the greater Southeast part of Wyoming is as follows:  The temperature is up to 23 degrees Fahrenheit, the barometer is broken; and the winds are today up to 49 knots. That's lower than the average of 55 knots per day for this whole week... But, a telephone company spokesman says that they're on top of the situation; and local phone service should be restored by morning, after they get all of them untangled... pending wind conditions tonight.

 

"That's the news and weather at this hour...I'm Bob Burford...Stay tuned for the Flush Limbo Show, already in progress..." (click)

 

 

"What's happening?" I voiced after turning off the radio and watching all the cars speeding by in an all-out panic.  "I've never seen people in such a rush!" I added, striking a thought as my memory lit.  "Rush... Rush...Rush... Flush...Flush away your enigma with the pursuit of excellence? Flush... Flush...Fl....Flush Limbo!"  I scrambled for the on/off switch as the morning glare hit my eyes.

 

 

(Click!)": ... As we here are always in pursuit of excellence as well as

the truth... Now for you liberals!" Flush began to scold.

                                          

"That's it! The clue!"  But what was I supposed to do?  I couldn't call Flush on his nationwide show and tell him, as well as the whole world, that Homer was a figment of my imagination.  I had to get hold of him somehow, though.  So I figured when I got back home in Oklahoma I'd send him my manuscript and a follow-up letter.

----------------------

 

 

(Episode 5)

A night's drive ended in the morning, obviously, as the main highway on my route was snowed in.  I stopped for the day in Stutterton, Colorado, where I checked into an economical and dilapidating motor inn.  Gazing at my 70's vintage Tricky-Dicky pocket-watch, I noticed it was almost half a minute till Dicky's nose grows, Mountain Time.  So I aimed the remote, as I laid snug in bed, to watch Homer's address to the nation.  The tube slowly illuminated in the middle of a program announcement:

 

 

".....She was born to a poor family in the Ozarks with not a single pair of shoes to her name.  At age 15, she heard the voice of God commanding her to lead the Confederate Army, against the North.  Just who was Joan of Arkansas?  Find out tonight, on Historical Biographies, at11pm, Mountain Standard Time, on NBS!"           

 

 

"This is an NBS news special presentation.  Remember...There's no BS on NBS!  Now over to NBS news correspondent, Peter Waylon Jennings."

 

"Thanks, Joe.  The Honorable Homer, as he now calls himself, is about to address the nation, live from the White house.  His first such speech since seizing power a week ago... And everyone must be wondering what he's going to say.  After the speech, we'll have comments from our guest tonight, William F. Bucktooth.  But now, let's go live to the Oval Office as His Honorableness is ready to speak:"

 

 

 

 

"My dearly beloved friends and comrades in the struggle for unified harmony, I come to you tonight, to usher in the dawning of a new dream. A dream that will awaken the aspirations of millions, hoping for equal opportunity. Until now, equal opportunity held no special promise.  But now, it will mean equal outcome, everyone reaching the goal at the same time and cheering each other on.  All you have to do is give me your allegiance, and I'll give you peace, harmony, security and promise. Promise of a prosperous future.  There are those of course who won't share our dream. They... must be exterminated! I've brought with me technology never imagined by mankind before. A silicon wafer will be implanted on everyone's right shoulder.  This chip will send cybernetic messenger cells to the brain, by way of the jugular vein, generating its power from the individual's pulse. This is to help you always think politically correct thoughts; in accordance with my authority. Everyone will go to their county health department this afternoon, to have one implanted.  Anyone caught without a Chip on their shoulder by morning, will be dealt with, by me. Democrat, Republican, Liberal or Conservative will all become by-words for failures of the past irresponsible leadership; who only cared about partisan politics. There will only be one party, now. ‘The Unified Thought Co-operative Party.’ The transformation of reforms will be slow and painful, but we must start now!  I, the Honorable Homer, thank you, and may the newly enhanced New World Order reign supreme......  Good day."

 

 

"Well, that was the Honorable Homer," Peter announced as if we didn't know, "and we'll be back with our guest this afternoon to anatomize his dissertation after our affiliate stations around the globe take this time for station identification.  We'll be back shortly."

 

"This is an NBS news presentation...Remember...there's no BS on NBS!" Joe excitedly announced to the fading camera.

 

Uh, th this is K...K..KKK..KK..KKKK, ch  channel thirrrrrrrrteen in S..Stutter..Stutterton, Coloraaaad Colorado............whew!

 

"And now, here's NBS news anchorman, Peter Waylon Jennings....

 

"Thanks Joe, we have...."

 

"And remember......There's no BS on NBS!" Joe, with a big stupid grin, idiotically interrupted, awkwardly emphasizing each syllable.

 

"Uh, Ok Joe, thanks.  We have with us.........."

 

"YOU"RE WELCOME, PETER!!!" Joe smiled even goofier, giving Jennings two thumbs up.

 

"Joe!!.... Uh, never mind.... We have with us this afternoon, columnist, editorialist, and owner of the 'National Review of Intimidating Intellectualism And Other Boring Stuff' magazine, William F. Bucktooth.  Now Bill, what did you think about the Honorable Homer's....I guess, Presidential address?"

 

Mr. Bucktooth wisely rubbed his chin.  "Well, I was expectant for an unscrupulous cessation, nevertheless he radically coddled the promulgation to denote his impetus synopses; being evasively aversive, while honking his own horn."

 

"Yes, I noticed that too," Peter affirmed. "His fortitude, this evening, was empathetically comparable to, and grievously analogous of, quartering outward exertion to deposit his right foot in his left hand, only to become aware of it later in his mouth; if I may subsist at liberty to utilize suchlike jocularity.  But, Bill, don't you agree Homer was be-questing his effervescence with kid gloves on?"

 

"Oh, without fail," he agreed "but, that doesn't propose that his unbefitting deportments were indispensably disfigured.  I mean, unquestionable verities arduously sometimes usher in stentorian rigmarole. Above all, inadvertently as it may imply, his culpability was quite replete to transpire from his expertise."

 

"So then, what you're saying is," Jennings assumed, "had he emphatically ascertained his fishing rod, he would have apprehended aggrandized denizen of the deep?"

 

"Right, Right." Bucktooth answered, wisely chewing on the end of his intellectually enhancing bifocals.  "But, all throughout his discourse, he procured axiomatic comportment, opting in precedence of one pending ballet lessons, though lacking a tutu! "

 

"Oh?" asked Peter quite surprised, "I must have missed that."

 

Bucktooth continued, "I surmise though, Homer, for his immense individual betterment, will fathom his tenet, stipulate the acidic meritorious dismay that badgers our intendment... if he avows the fortitude transversely alighted over the horizon... and abates an excursion of the poignant plight of the inevitable status quo."

 

"...And might he prevail... may he bestow, a quid pro quo!" Peter rhymed with goose-bumps breaking out on his forehead and traveling down his spine.

 

"Here! Here!" Bucktooth concurred, profoundly reaching for a glass of water to cool off his tongue after it had been subjected to a lengthy, overabundance of hot air.

 

"For you stupid people at home watching, the Honorable Homer addressed the nation with a very poignant speech this afternoon, and we'll try to break it down into the simplest of terms.  Mr. Bucktooth, would you mind summarizing what we discussed earlier about the speech, for the 'little people' who aren't of the same caliber as we two?" Peter asked, with an arrogant grin.

 

"I suppose not," Bucktooth rolled his eyes and sighed, "If you don't have a chip on your shoulder by morning, you're screwed!"

 

"Thank you for being patient, Bill... I'll see you later on the greens...and maybe play a few holes. Well, that's all from this end. We'll see you at the dinner hour for a recap of all today's news. I'm Peter Waylon Jennings, good afternoon."

 

"This has been an NBS special news report.... And remember.... There’s no BS...."

 

"OH, KNOCK IT OFF, JOE!!!"

 

"OK, Gotcha Peter!" Joe winked, once again showing off his sparking pearly whites, and lest we forget, his dazzling deep-set dimples. (Click)

 

 

I shut off the boob-tube and began talking to myself, "I've got to get out of here! No time to waste!  Ain't no way I'm going to wear a chip on my shoulder.  But I can't go anywhere till this dad-blasted snow and sleet stop falling!  Matilda! Maggie! Man, I haven't left them enough food!  I guess I'd better head home first thing tomorrow morning, blizzard or no blizzard.  But right now, I just need a couple hours of shut-eye." I yawned. As I hit my head on the pillow I felt something under its cover that was solid. I reached inside and pulled out a paperback book.  I gazed at the jacket, reading its title: 'Everything You Wanted to Know About 20th Century Popular Music.' I casually opened it as it fell, though unplanned, to a chapter about the world's most successful and popular music group, the Bugs.  It just so happened I had a tape of their greatest hits in my boom-box, to the side of the bed.  I laid back, adjusted the light, and began reading with polite interest, even though it looked lengthy and I was very drowsy:

.........................................

 

 

(Episode 6)         

It had been a miserably, sweaty and smelly night, at the Cavern Club on the outskirts of Liverwurst, England.  Johnny and the Mooners had just wrapped up the first half of their gig, when John blurted out,

 

"Man, this blankin' place is blankin' blank, blank it!"

 

"Whad he say?" George asked

 

Paul put aside his bass. "John's just a bit cheesed off about the sorry acoustics, tonight...Hand me a ciggy, Pete." Pete hadn't been with the band for very long, and he didn't play drums worth a crap, which John thought was great, because it drove their critics batty.  Paul suggested they find another drummer, or perhaps, even let him have a crack at it; but John was unrelenting.

 

"Don't blankin' mess with my blankin' decisions, blank you!  If I blankin 'wanted  your blankity blank opinion, I would have blankin'asked, you blankin,' blank of a blank!!"

 

"Whad he say?" George asked again.

 

"No,” Paul sighed.

 

The intermission soon ended as the Mooners then strapped their guitars back on, and set up the drums.  "Blankin' Paul has a blank of a song he's gonna blankin' do called 'And I blankin' love the blank!" In the middle of the sappy, crooning tear-jerker, Brian Einstein, a Professional Philanthropist Begger, walked into the club, sat down, and ordered whatever the band was drinking.  The no-foolishness waitress came back with a coke and rum, along with a blankidy, attitude. Brian couldn't believe what he was hearing, and assured himself that he wouldn't even put his mother-in-law through such torture. However, after six or seven glasses, he began to hear a lot of potential.  After the concluding number, he staggered up to the stage and offered a proposition, “How would you boys like an ambitious manager?"

 

"Blankin' manager, how much would have to blankin' pay you?" John asked suspiciously.

 

"Whad he say?!" Brian, George and Pete asked in three-part harmony.

 

"You'll have to forgive John; he's got a bloody speech impediment. He wants to know how much you'll charge us?" Paul clarified.

 

Brian immediately drew up the contract, and convinced them to award him 20% of their earnings in 10 years.  "First thing we need to do is, change your name for something more wholesome.... Say, how 'bout the...the Beetle Bugs?"

 

"Blankin' Beetle Bugs," John laughed, " I blankin' dig the blankin' Bugs."

 

"Whad he say?"

 

"He says the Bug idea is hip, but the stupid Beetle thing has got to go! If you do manage us, you'd better get us a recording gig by year's end.  We've paid our dues in numerous rat holes, and we deserve the best, considering we're the great musicians that we are!"

 

"He said all that?!" Brian, George, Pete and a couple of eavesdroppers, asked.

 

John, Paul, George and Pete soon became a discussion piece all over Liverwurst, as girls would scream, then run, looking for the exits--- ever since George shaved his head and super-glued a toilet plunger on top of it.  John thought it was a stroke of genius, on George's behalf, and suggested they all do the same. Nearly a year's search went by looking for a record company ready to sign them.  In those days it was easier than the present to get a break; however, Elvis, for instance, played in clubs for years under his real name, Arnold Gupduddle; but wasn't getting anywhere. Finally, in desperation, he auditioned to model for a denim jeans ad.  He was quickly picked out because of his back-in-the-woods dumb hillbilly look.  The company suggested, for some reason, that he act as if he was playing a guitar for the photo shoot, hoping to attract young girls' interest in the ad; but the camera man got extremely frustrated and impatient with him most of the day, because of his lack of sex appeal. While venturing to try a certain pose, Arnold tripped and stubbed his foot, causing him to gyrate in excruciating agony with a pained look on his face, for around 5 minutes while the photographer excitedly took pictures.  Life magazine, who ran the ad, didn't catch a typo error until the week after the publication was released: the caption below the picture was supposed to read "LEVIS!", however someone carelessly switched the L with the E, making it read "ELVIS!".  Women who saw the ad went into a frenzy and jammed the magazine company's phone lines.  He immediately, thereafter, agreed to change his name and was offered a huge contract.  The rest is hysterics.

 

The Bugs, like Elvis, paid their share of dues, but were eventually discovered.  George Martinique, a Record company president of a small label, left his home in the Caribbean for Liverwurst, to audition them.  He had caught their act in a Hamburg, Germany nightclub while vacationing there one summer, and was interested in producing them.  He was looking for a white, British, punkish band that would intermix polka, flapper music, and a touch of Buck Owens alongside of Englebert Humperdink, with a style of music that was popularly growing in his homeland, called reggae. The Bugs were willing to do ANYTHING to get a contract and signed on with Ganja Head Records in a barely visible, smoke filled room. "If ja don't like something, just let me know," Martinique smiled.

 

"Well you blankin' don't need this blankin' toupee'!" John cracked, ripping it off of his balding dreadlocks.

 

The big day arrived, and the Bugs released their first album, "We Mean to Bug You," in America.  The first single, "You're Stepping On My Hand," got instant airplay, but not on pop stations; rather, from various religious programs warning parents of the evils of such hullabaloo.  The nationally known Right Reverend Ronald R. Ramrod, stated, "We're not gonna subject our kids to this sadistic combination of catcalling and cow butchering!  I'm calling on all patriotic and sane Americans, to buy up as many copies of the Bugs' album as possible, and hold a national Bug album-torching a week from Sunday!"  Irate do-gooders, all over America, joined in tens of thousands of record bonfires, and by week's end, "We Mean to Bug You," became the biggest selling album in all the history of the recording business. This was quite phenomenal considering nobody had even listened to the record.   

 

Manager Einstein soon called a news conference and announced that the Bugs wanted to play Shea Stadium, but that they'd hold out for the best offer.  A little over four months later, Malcolm, Brian's cousin, whose father-in-law had a friend with a step-brother, who coincidentally owned the stadium, himself owned a sporting goods store, and promised each of them a genuine pro-series pogo stick, if they would, in addition, give him a privy performance of his favorite Englebert Humperdink selections. After a week of negotiating with the realization it was the best offer so far, they accepted; and the following Saturday night, the coliseum was packed full of thousands of anticipating teenagers.

 

 A sudden hush fell on the crowd as Ed Sullivan stepped up to the mike, then announced, "And now...The Bugs!" Only half the crowd cheered with enthusiasm, but soon looked bewildered when the band appeared.  They thought they came to see a new Alfred Hitchcock movie; after all, it had been a good year since the release of "The Birds."  The other half were there because someone announced the wrong date for a Girl Scouts of America convention. Once the girly teenyboppers caught sight of the toilet plungers on the boys' heads, they went screaming, running for the exits, followed by the moms in close pursuit.  The 30 or so ardent Bug fans remained, holding their flaming plungers high above their heads, and singing their favorite songs; until the stadium burned to the ground.

 

After a year of failure and anonymity, the Bugs released their next album, "The Bugs' Second Chance," which was greeted far better than their former effort, because of the bouncy polka song, "She Loathes You (Nanny Nanny Boo Boo)," which became very popular among the German folk around numerous Amish communities, all over the Pennsylvania region. In the latter part of the early years, the Bugs were in their "crest of the wave" success.  In 1965, they became millionaires! Thanks to a careless New York City bank teller, who accidentally deposited a royalty check made out to John D. Rockefeller Jr., into their joint account.   Mr. Rockefeller never realized a thing. But the Bugs became, in their own right, even more wealthy in the summer of love and hallucinogenic drugs, with their bestselling album so far.  It all started when John was offered a certain substance at a party.  It changed his life.  Then he offered it to the other Bugs...they liked it too.  Paul suggested that they all put their heads together, and record a concept album, inspired by the experimentation of this stuff.  Each song would refer to it, whether in subtle clues, or outright blatantly.  Ganja Head executives were reluctant, at first, to release the album...because of the controversial subject surrounding it.  But when all was finally said and done, "DR Pepper Comes in 12 Ounce Cans," was an instant hit.

 

 The album included such hit songs as the title track, and a little ditty that Paul wrote called "When I'm Dead and Gone."  But the most brilliant song on the album, graced the end of the second side. It was a 5-minute track that finished the album with a spine tingling, loudly building, crescendo; as John gluttonously slurped down a can of soda pop.  As it dramatically came to an abrupt end, he managed to hold out a long, tumultuous, resoundingly diminishing belch........... for an entire 45 seconds!  "One day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich," was based on the novel with the same title, by Russian Nobel Literary Prize winner, and Soviet dissident, Alexander Solzhenitsyn.  This was a stroke of genius for John being that he never read the book, or heard of Solzhenitsyn. The DR Pepper album was a gamble for the group, since most of their fans in America preferred Coca Cola.  However, the drink, DR Pepper, was in its grassroots infancy all over Europe, ever since John F. Kennedy went to East Germany and stood in front of the newly erected iron curtain, and proclaimed to the cheering West Berliners, "I AM A PEPPER!!!"

 

"The Beige Album" followed suit in 1968, as being one of their best sellers.  It mysteriously came wrapped in a beige barf bag.  Differing fans, to this day, debate whether this was just artistic expression, or a serious warning that listening to the record would literally make one nauseous.

...........................................

 

 

(Episode 7)

(I continued reading)

In January of the following year, John attended an international yodeling contest in Zurich, Switzerland.  In the audience, a lady of his liking caught his eye.  A 4 foot, 5-inch Ukrainian Olympic team weight-lifter named YoYo, who was also a speech pathologist on the side.  She was everything he needed.  He kept trying to converse with her all night, but she mostly ignored him by reading the contest program flyer. But, John finally won her heart that night, by telling her he was the great-nephew of Vladimir Lenin.

 

Two weeks later they were married in Leningrad.  Leonid Brezhnev, who performed the ceremony, gave both husband and wife an immensely saturating smooch on the lips... And, of course, the bride wore red. YoYo complained to John, months later, that her youngest brother, Peter, who was an exchange student in America, couldn't play soccer for the school team, because he was one year too old to play with his peers.  John became irate, and the two of them got dressed in their pajamas and headed to FDR Head Start, in New York City, to hold a week-long slumber party/sit in with the kids.  He told them to rebel against the current establishment, by refusing to make their beds for a month.  They then lead the kids in a new song, called "Give Pete a Chance," before handing out autographed copies of "Revolution, Just for The Bleedin' Heck of It." Later that day, John announced his support for YoYo's efforts in the feminist cause.  He tore his super-glued toilet plunger off of his head, and handed the crown to YoYo.

 

None of John and YoYo's antics seemed to catch the public eye, nor any intrigue from the press.  But, after desperate attempts, they soon made the newspaper front pages all over America and Western Europe, by vowing, in the presence of dozens of reporters to do the absolutely unthinkable....take up golf. The Nixon administration immediately called on the FBI to start a file on them, wiretap their phones, and put them under 24 hour surveillance; after the newly sworn into office president stormed away from the Washington Country Club Course, having to forfeit to YoYo on the 17th, because some neurotic, impulsive, stray hound had darted in between his legs (while he attempted a short putt that would have put him ahead) ... and ran off with the only ball Mr. Nixon hadn't lost all day.

 

Bug manager, Brian Einstein, had just taken up the exciting and challenging hobby of Skydiving.  On the morning of his first lesson, he was feeling a bit uneasy, after having taken an abundance of fiber pills over the last few days.  Before he had the chance to put his parachute on, he felt a sudden urge and galloped to the lavatory at the back of the plane. He sat comfortably for about 20 minutes, humming a Bug tune and reading "The Wall street Journal;" until, without looking, he pulled on what he thought was the lever to flush the commode.  Unfortunately, it turned out to be the emergency escape lever. Having just been ejected out of the plane, at 14,500 ft., and nearing the end of his, anything but graceful, descent, a group of enthusiastic amateur skeet shooters happily took aim at what they thought was a "huge, grotesque pink bird with an enormous wingspan that awkwardly flapped in all directions!" But, Brian conquered all odds, having not been shot, and survived!!! ....................until he hit the ground. The Bugs at this time, were in Queensland, Australia, taking digeridoo lessons from an aboriginal village high priest, Bob Stanley, and hadn't heard what happened to Brian, until a news reporter pushed a microphone up to Paul and informed him. "What can I say?" Paul shrugged, "Brian was no Einstein." Bob tried to cheer up the boys, by suggesting he was in a better place now, "And besides, mates, without him you all are 20% richer!" he smiled. They all felt much better and sat in a circle, singing a round of "Tie Me Kangaroo Down."

 

The next few albums, amid the latter years of the group's history, proved to be somewhat half-hearted.  The musical marriage within the band was clearly on the wane.  John was into a much more radical political message, whereas Paul was still writing silly love songs.  George, on the other hand, was hardly ever showing up for recording sessions; he was spending too much time at home, playing his digeridoo. But the tell-tale signs didn't become very clear to the fans, until the release of their last album and motion picture, "Laissez-Faire."  In the movie, Paul was being very patient with George as he attempted to nail down a guitar riff Paul suggested for the title track.  George, feeling humiliated, cried out, "Look, I know how to play the blanking guitar!"

 

Paul lost everything, reared back his Hofner bass and split it over George's skull.  "You're not going to be able to play a blanking thing if you continue to blanking talk to me that way!!"

 

Fortunately, George was still sporting his toilet plunger headdress; it softened the blow. "Comrades!" John interrupted, "Don't you see what greedy capitalism has done to you?  We must unite for the good of all, for we are all brothers in oppression!"

 

"Whad he blankin' say?!" Paul and George asked each other.

 

"Laissez-Faire," the album, contained one of their biggest selling songs, "The Long And Winding Bicycle Trail," a song which Paul wrote about having a newspaper route in his early adolescence, and remembering the dread of having to get up every morning at 5am, travel a long and confusing dirt trail to deliver papers; only to get lost....every day.  His loving parents would often suggest that the directionless path was merely "challenging", and begged him to persevere every time he threatened to quit. One particular rainy morning, Paul wandered around that "challenging" route for five whole hours, banging on doors and crying for help.  When Paul did make it to school, he was immediately sent to the principal's office, where he tried to explain to the "rather ripe prune" that he wasn't just screwing around.  All the kids in school knew she had a sadistic disposition in the first place, but were horrified when she sent Paul home and demanded he take the same "challenging" route he got lost on; this time without his bike! Paul was extremely hungry, exhausted, smelly, all covered with lice, but elated when he finally arrived home after wandering around that dad blasted, mind bending, "challenging" trail for seven days; only to find a note taped to the mailbox, explaining that his parents had moved, leaving him their best wishes and God's speed; but no forwarding address. Despite the song's success, there wasn't much to celebrate. Following its release, Paul announced to the world he was leaving the band, and filed a suit against John, George and Pete.  He then gave up music to work for the UN as an interpreter for foreign ambassadors with speech impediments.

 

 

 

Then John announced he was quitting too, and filed a suit against Paul, George and Pete.  Shortly after leaving the group, John and YoYo began recording an avant-garde album surrounding a new kind of music they thought they were first to conceive.  "Rock Music" was a 45-minute recording of a 1000 some-odd-pound boulder of granite, extemporaneously and silently projecting its inner thoughts.  Upon its release, the critics quickly interjected that the album would have been brilliant, if YoYo had had no part in it. Then, to top things off, a Canadian geologist slapped a plagiarism lawsuit against them, claiming that "Rock Music" was an identical replica of HIS efforts 10 years earlier.  However, a jury in Toronto, after taking three hours to deliberate, agreed that since there was a lack of evidence, due in part because the half-ton rock refused to testify on the behalf of the plaintiff, and because John and YoYo's version contained 12 MORE seconds of silence than the original...that they were similar, but not the same. The half-ton boulder, or "Mr. Stone," as his sympathizers call him, is to this day on a 25-year-old hunger strike in a Canadian jail, serving time for contempt of court.  Stone's cell-mates often complain about waking up in the middle of the night, finding themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. John and YoYo performed numerous benefit "rock concerts" in his honor, but the two became very disenchanted with the dog-eat-dog music business, and returned exclusively to their political endeavors.

 

 

George soon followed with a suit against John, Paul and Pete, then went to Sydney, to work on his Ph.D., researching the spiritual, political and historical significance of the digeridoo.  DR George now lives in an overturned dumpster, 20 miles south of London.  He occasionally walks in to town to panhandle by standing on street corners playing his......well, you get the drift.

 

 

 

Pete decided to stay in the band, and instead of filing a suit, he bought a new one, and has been touring ever since as "The Bug;" trying to promote his album, "Once Upon a Drum." One October evening, Pete was the opening act for Welsh punk band, Johnny Proboscis and The Post Nasal Drip.  He had just completed the first half of his set, and while he went backstage to change, his manager stepped up to the mike and tearfully explained that poor Pete was being sued for two thirds of his income, for child support and alimony by his wife of 20 years; in a divorce settlement. His compassionate manager informed the audience that his solo album, released 22 years to that date, had only sold around 250 copies since, and begged, "Buy an album or tape tonight, please, for Pete's sake!?" The scheme worked beautifully, so they both decided to try it at every gig.  Soon Pete acquired an income exceeding that of all the other Ex-Bugs combined, and had enough money to begin taking drum lessons for rank beginners, pay off all his legal debts, and spend a summer at Rosco's Ruffian Rough Rider Dude Ranch in the US state of New Mexico, where his manager and he frequent, from time to time, just to ride the "horseys."

Just what was the magic ingredient to the Bugs' success and worldwide fame?  Some believe it was the constant rumors about the band that kept the press moving and fans fascinated.  A good example:  A Cleveland disc jockey, in 1969, had accidentally played their hit song, "I Am the Egg Plant," in reverse.  The listening audience as well as he himself, had found what appeared to be a message of some sort, as they clearly heard John and George singing, "Paul is Fred, Paul is Fred; and he don't like Fried Tomatoes!" Rumors immediately flooded the airwaves while the scandal produced several books, magazine articles, and an investigating watchdog, fan based, organization called WHIF (Who the Heck Is Fred?!).  Fans began playing Bug albums backwards, looking for more clues.  The controversy became so intense that Paul called a press conference, insisting, "If I'm Fred, I'm the last to know about it!"

 

But the frenzy failed to die.  Finally, George decided to call a press conference of his own to let the cat out of the bag. "Any half-witted or 'Intellectually inept' idiot with a good pair of headphones, surely could clearly hear that John and I were singing, "Paul is dead, Paul is dead; cause he choked on Fried Tomatoes!"  There was an instant sigh of relief released by all fans, all over the western hemisphere.  Paul wasn't Fred!  He was merely dead!... Rolling Stone magazine hastily released their next issue adorned with Paul's bearded kisser on the cover, with the caption: "Better Dead, Than Fred!"

---------------------------------

 

(Episode 8)

I slapped the book shut and reached for my portable reading lamp, noticing the time was 10 minutes past 12pm.  I realized if I was going to get out of Studderton early the next morning, pending the ice on the roads thawing, I'd better get as much sleep as possible. I reached up and shut the venetian blinds, hit the lights, laid down but began thinking aloud: "Ah, those were the good old days.  I remember my older brother Beauregard must have had all the Bug's albums.  Of course, I don't remember much about...wait a minute!  What did George say about 'The Intellectually Inept!?'"  I reached for the book from the night stand.  "Now, where was that...Hmmm...Oh, here it is, 'any half-witted or Intellectually inept idiot with a good pair of headphones......' That's got to be a clue!  What was that song, again?  Oh yeah, 'I Am The Eggplant.'

 

"Now, what's the significance of that particular song, and why is 'Fried Tomatoes' capitalized?  It could be that...That's right, there's a song on 'The Beige Album' called, 'Fried Tomatoes,' and if I can remember correctly, there's a verse something like...'And here's another clue for you all: The Eggplant was Paul.'  But that brings me back to 'I Am The Eggplant,' again.

 

"Hmmmm... 'Paul is dead, Paul is dead, cause he choked on....' Hey, what about the song, 'When I'm Dead and Gone,' by Paul...from the 'DR Pepper album?'  I'll bet that if I could play it backwards I'd find more clues!  I DO have that song on the tape in my boom box."  I reached over the side of the bed to retrieve it....

 

"OK, put the batteries in the back so that the 2 positive ends meet, that should slow down the tape.  Now hook the oscilloscope to the audio outputs, put that in conjunction with a spurious radio frequency inhibitor, and now a signal generator with a faze shifter in parallel alongside a subatomic woofer tweezer.  Now where did I leave that Forked Gyrating Mixmaster Rectifying Slope Tuning Horizontal Inverter?  Oh, I've got it in my back pocket.  OK, put that in series with the variable capacitor that controls the volume...If only I had taken basic electronics in high school!" I fast forwarded the tape to end of the song and then pressed rewind and play simultaneously to listen to the tape in reverse.  The last note of the song began increasing in volume in a backward fade in.  Suddenly, I hear the sound of a telephone line ringing as if someone were dialing out, thereupon a jubilant voice in a rich cockney accent asked; "hello, wha' you want me to sing?!"

 

"Who said that!?!? I shivered.

 

"This is Pete, who's this?" he asked

 

"Pete, the drummer!?"

 

"No you're not," he scolded, "I'm Pete the drummer! Who's this? Oh no, is this that Clyde bloke that bloody lad warned me about?"

 

"What bloody lad?! I'm just looking for clues!"

 

"Uh, never mind, nobody told me about you...Well, isn't this just jolly good for me?" Pete disgustedly asked, "I've waited at least 25 years for this bloody opportunity; John, Paul and George told me this is the only way they'd let me sing on a Bug album, or in this case...a Bug tape, and it's always you idiot clue freaks!  Did you call to hear me sing or what?"

 

"I was reading a chapter about the Bugs in a book, and I noticed George spouted off a clue about the Intellectually Inept..."

 

Pete briskly butted in, "I'm so, gee golly whiz, sorry, but I'm afraid that I don't have any more, from the deep bowels of the earth, intriguingly, vomited clues to give you, it was probably just like you said; he was spouting off.... And I wouldn't pay no never mind what Georgey boy said, he frequently has a wee difficult time tamin' his undomesticated, fat lip!... You, moronic clue freaks, make me sick!  Why, just the other morning some chap wanted to know if it was true that John ate his own boogers, the stupid lad thought I'd confirmed his suspicions when I quipped, 'well, he didn't eat anyone else's!'" Pete hee-hawd, "but, as for you, I can't help you."

 

"Well, I need someone's help.  See, this certain character escaped from my manuscript, and is currently wreaking havoc all over the..."

 

"And you don't find that a bit bloody rockers!?" Pete jeered.

 

"Well frankly, Pete," I protested, "I find the fact that I'm speaking with you just because I'm playing a song backwards, a bit crazier!"

 

"Well, I got to go," he spoke in a softer tone, "me manager is calling me...Yes Mumsey?!...............Oh goodie, goodie, goodie! Mumsey says she'll take me to 'Byron's Bloody Well Big Toy Emporium' later, to pick out me brand spankin' new Cricket Bat.  She promised, for behavin' meself, and for cleanin' up me room, she'd..." Pete stopped himself and immediately regained his composure. "Now Uh, don't call back unless you want to hear me sing!  I'm basically a Peacenik, but if I'm pushed...why, I might just have to bust your bleedin' knuckles with me face!  You dig? Coming Mumsey!....I gotta go!  Osmosis amoebas!" (Click)

 

<*><*><*>

 

After not being able to sleep... and a quickening thaw because of the rapid rise in temperature, I ventured southwest late that afternoon but noticed the main highway was blocked off due to construction.  Not knowing where to go, I spied a Studderton city policeman sitting alone in his car, sipping coffee.  "Parden me, officer, but could you give me directions to the nearest detour here in Studderton that will take me westbound toward Oklahoma?"

 

His face instantly turned pallid as an immediate sweat poured down his forehead. "Uh, yyyou..you go w..w..we...west down thhhhhhhhhhhhat road...over..over..over there. Th..th..then turn as soon assssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss....you.."

 

"Uh, thanks anyway!" I smiled and waved.

 

A quarter of an hour later after finally getting on the Interstate, I snickered to myself as I observed a dense, brownish orange-like smog, hovering over the not too distant horizon--- just as I noticed a sign that read: Welcome to Gasville!

-------------------------------------------------------

 

 

(Episode 9)

At sunrise, the sun's glare on the windows of the buildings seemed to be the only welcoming, once returning to Mountain Oyster.  Going down Sheridan Road, I noticed a large, at least, two blocks long, line into the county health department.  "Everybody must be getting their chip inserted on their shoulder," I mumbled, "Where's everyone's fervor for personal freedom? I've never seen such apathy..." I pulled into my driveway with a sigh after a long drive.  I noticed the yard had grown up a bit.  "Oh wow! I forgot to tell someone to get the mail... Matilda?! " I called out, but there was no response, so I waited awhile then unlocked the front door. Immediately once inside I flipped on C-Spam, but there didn't seem to be any late breaking news, everything seemed to be normal. "Well I'll check out Good Morning America."  As I turned the channels, I heard a scratching at the back door. "Maggie!"  I rushed to let her inside.

 

"Clyde, Sir, since you've been gone, something a bit dreadful has happened!" Maggie, standing outside the door, announced seriously distressed.

 

"Maggie, you're talking again!" I responded.

 

"Of course, me lad, as I've always done, but..."

 

"Have you heard what Homer's been doing?!" I asked.

 

"No, me lad, but..."

 

"We've got to go to New York to see Flush Limbo, Maggie! Where's Matilda?" I questioned.

 

"Well, Clyde sir, she's...sh... she’s gone, sir!"

 

"She's what?!!... The one-eyed midget?!"

 

"No sir, I just caught a glimpse of what happened through the back fence... She was approached by two bloomin' thugs that were harassing her with a weird question.  They kept asking if she had a chip on her shoulder, and she muttered something back to the effect of, 'you know where to put it!'  One of them then grabbed her by the tail and threw her in the back of their truck, saying he was going to take her to the rendering plant, and have soap made from her cat-fat.  I didn't get a good look, sir, but as they drove off, I think I noticed the letters, 'UTC,' freshly painted on the side of the truck... We've got to save her, sir!!!" Maggie whined.

 

"The United Thought CO-operative Party... I'm afraid it's too late, Mag, she's probably already been done in... They'll only get us too, if we try to save her." I tearfully explained. I took Maggie inside and tried to calm her down, noticing the TV was still on, as a gentleman was explaining: "We've got the means to find out who's not going along with us.  By tonight, if you haven't got ur chip, or not making preparations to do so- we'll be coming to see you!"

 

"Maggie, we've got to get outta here today!"

 

We immediately started throwing everything into the car.  I grabbed a rather small short-wave transceiver radio-- a Kenwood TS450S-- thinking it would be a good idea, in case there were others out there that I could get a hold of, who were resisting Homer's cause. Being a licensed ham radio operator, I'd been trained for such national emergencies. Maggie and I set sail that afternoon for New York.  We took as many back roads as possible so as to not get caught.

 

"Well me lad, it looks as though we might well make it!"

 

"Don't speak too soon, Maggie, we've got days ahead of us," I responded.

 

"Food! Good sir!  What are we going to do about food?!" Maggie exclaimed.

 

"The best we can..."

 

"Oh look, sir!" Maggie shouted.  There in front of us was an old man flagging us down.  Instead of slowing I swerved around him and sped up.

 

"Probably works for the Unified Thought Co-Operative Party....Don't trust anyone!"

 

"It wasn't so much that-- I thought you were going to run over the old fool!" Mag bellowed.

 

"Don't worry about my driving, Mag.  I've only had 3 wrecks within 6 months, 3 years ago... and all of them were only 2 blocks from home, but I've got a handle on it now!"

 

"Oh, you're a much more cautious driver now, sir? "

 

I shrugged, "Naw, I just moved, that's all."

 

"...Old joke sir, I guess I deserved it."

 

-----------------------------

(Episode 10)

The sun had long descended over the Missouri hills, my eyes were beginning to feel heavy as Mag and I were looking for an area deep with woods.  I veered off the road and gunned it through some barbed wire. "Ah... this looks secluded enough... Now to set up the radio."

 

I was hoping to contact other resistors, and keep a frequency open for emergency traffic; or help others find a safe haven to take refuge while hiding from the UTC police.   I connected the short-wave transceiver's DC power cable directly to the car battery.  Getting back in, I reached inside the glove compartment and pulled out a pocket calculator, then began dividing the frequency of 7.200mhz into the designated numerical denominator of 468, which gave me an answer of 65 feet... the exact length I needed for a half wave dipole antenna, for that particular band spectrum. I cut the wire to the proper length, center-fed the coax, wound a medium sized stone on both ends to put weight on them, and tossed my makeshift antenna where either end would wrap around the branches, in between two trees.  I anxiously got back in the car and pushed the power button on the radio, tested its resonance by making a quick transmission on the AM mode, and was elated by a low voltage standing wave ratio of a meager 1.5 to 1. Listening closely, but not hearing more than just interference from A.M. short-wave broadcasting stations, I tuned around until I heard the beautiful sound of atmospheric static, i.e. a clear frequency. I decided to give out a call.  "This is station KA5HVO... Kilo Alpha Five Hotel Victor Ocean.  Can anybody copy?".............Nothing.   "CQ CQ CQ... this is KA5HVO...Kilo Alpha Five Hotel Victor Ocean... Does anyone copy, over?"  A few seconds of static was all I heard, then the unmistakable sound of a station transmitting a carrier, and tuning up the tube finals of a transmitter, delighted my ears.  I waited till they responded to my call.

 

"Clyde, is that you?"

 

"Yes it's me!  Who are you?" I acknowledged, not realizing why the voice sounded so familiar.     

"It's me... Ah.... you!  I'm you! It's me.... Clyde!... I'm at your home station! I'm... Oh... I've got to go, someone's at the front door!  I'm clear!" The voice ceased.

 

"What's going on?  How could I be at two places at once, who is this? over..." No response.  "Don't go... What's going on?! I've got to know..." After fumbling in and out of frequencies for about five minutes, I had decided it was a prankster who did nothing more than look up my callsign in the FCC database on the internet.... which was available to anyone nosy enough to look. Maggie and I were later joyously chomping down some grub, then suddenly, we heard a rapid rapping on the driver side window, and looked over in time to witness a large, well-built, 50ish looking African American fellow. He was waving an item I couldn't make out in the dark, but after a near at hand examination... as he waved a flashlight wildly, the light caught its metallic surface, introducing itself as a gun.  "Get outta the car!..." he ordered.  "You gotta chip on your shoulder!?"

 

"Oh yeah, I got a chip, man," I obeyed and hoped he wouldn't search to find out I didn't.

 

"Just gimme the keys.  I'm afraid this car belongs to me, sucker, you're gonna stay here.  I want nothin' to do with no one spineless enough to wear a chip... Now, I'm sorry, man, I'm gonna have to tie you to that tree over there...

"Oh, you're part of the underground!  Whew!" I continued, “I don't have a chip either, brother, maybe we..."

 

He quickly backed away from my hand extended to shake his, "Don't brotha' me.... Lift your sleeve."

 

He reached inside of my coat and up around my lower neck, where I was terribly ticklish... which only infuriated him all the more, "Quit giggling like a bumbling school-chick! Hey, you don't have a chip, why didn't you tell me that right away?  Glad to meet you, man, I'm Raphael..."

-------------------------------------

 

 

(Episode 11)

I began filling him in about the whole scenario--Homer being a lovable imaginary character gone awry-- until the wee hours of daybreak.  Ralph, as I began calling him, and I were just opening up.  I was finding him quite opinionated, and we disagreed a lot.  Most certainly about politics. He was behind the wheel as I was fighting sleep. "You conservatives got us in this mess, man." he asserted.

 

"How do ya figure?" I poo-pooed his assertion.

 

"Well you Republicans are so doggone reactionary!  Every time a Democrat, like Plimpton, gets elected, you guys cause the whole country to go crazy!  It's no wonder, because of disunity, that it's easy for someone like Homer to seize power.  Not only that, you all want to starve kids.  You all want the rich to get richer off the backs of poor people."

 

"I disagree, your man Plimpton destabilized and weakened the armed forces, that's how Homer got to where he is.  And I think that people don't have much incentive anymore.  There isn't much room for rugged individualism nowadays, with all the governmental control on free enterprise.  No one wants to strive on their own, it's all just Gimme Gimme Gimme." I argued.

 

"Yeah?" Ralph maintained, "How 'bout the underprivileged children, the disabled, and unwed mothers trying to raise 13 kids all by herself, in this rugged individual stuff?  How is all that right-wing malarkey going to assist those with a preexisting inclination toward drug abuse, in getting the help they need?  Man, kids today are so desperate for escape, that some have even found a way to get a hallucinogenic high, by licking frogs... and that's no joke... I read it!"

 

"Hmmm, I guess that explains how the frog turned into the prince..."

 

"I think you lads have forgotten that there isn't any right or left anymore!" Maggie interrupted.

 

"Who is that?!" Ralph looked in the rear view mirror, not believing he'd just witnessed a talking dog.

 

"Oh that's Maggie..."

 

"Maggie, Huh?" Ralph uttered, almost rolling off the road.

 

"Ralph, me lad, as I see it, that's what makes America great.  All of us, though we disagree sometimes, contribute in the common good. In spite of our differing views, we all play an intricate part in the sum-total of the whole society," Maggie proudly affirmed.

 

Ralph slammed on the brakes.  "This is too crazy fo' me, man!  I don't know if I can handle all this...Where you cats goin' anyway?"

 

"Cats?!!!" Maggie barked.

 

"We're going to see Flush Limbo, man!" I announced.

 

"Great!  A Republican, an escapee from a book, a talking dog, and now Flush Limbo?!  It sure ain't my day, but what the heck?"  Ralph restarted up the car, wondering if this was all a nightmare; while Maggie lectured both of us on the undeniable virtues of democracy and inalienable rights for all mankind.  And, most emphatically because of her progressive idealism, their moral obligation to bestow such civil liberties unto dogs, as well.

---------------------------

 

 

(Episode 12)

Somewhere in a forlorn area of Virginia, we strung up the wire antenna, and I tuned around the same vicinity of kilocycles as the night before. Ralph was kinda fascinated by the ability to get a signal out to anywhere in the world.  The conditions surpassed the prior evening's propagation.  I turned the VFO knob and found a few fairly clear frequencies. "CQ CQ CQ, this is KA5HVO, Kilo Alpha Five Hotel Victor Ocean.  Does anyone copy?"

 

We suddenly heard what sounded like someone fumbling with a microphone.  "Yes, Clyde, it's me again... or uh you.... do you copy? Over!"

 

"Yeah I hear ya, you havin' fun playin' with daddy's radio?... I don't know who you are, but I'm in no mood to mess around."

 

Just as I reached for the VFO knob, he panicky-like tried to assure me of his authenticity, "No, wait, Clyde, I'm extremely serious!  I know it's hard to believe, so I'll let you talk to someone who's here with me..." I just shook my head in disgust that someone who took the time to study to get his license, would be foolish enough to risk getting a citation from the FCC, should they be listening.  But I surrendered my suspicions when someone, whom I knew quite well, took control of the transmission.

 

"Dawn Comes with Rosy Fingers.... Hey Clyde, I guess you thought I'd never find you.  Well, you were right, I didn't.  Instead, I returned to the City of the Intellectual Inept, aboard My Train of Thought, and guess what? I found your Fictional Likeness.  You know, the one the One-Eyed Midget created when he sent you back to the Fiction Forest?   Well, I brought him here with me.  Now, I know the rules, nobody can enter into a physical reality without dying a fictional death, so I had to kill him!....... Homer continued, "So I guess you're wondering how I did it... I simply bought him breakfast at Big Buford's Buffalo Barf Bucket Burger Bistro.  I suggested he try one of 14 different courses of Great Eggspectations, but he insisted on the Fried Pork Pickled Potato Peels, instead.  Ten minutes later he departed.  I don't know about you, but I'd tend to stay away from that place, in view of all the folks who've conked out there....... Well, I guess I'll turn it back to you now, I'm really anxious to hear your reaction.... over?" 

 

"Homer! what is it you want... and what else are you going to do!?"  I demanded with a pleading voice.

 

"Well, myself and your Fictional Likeness, whom I've fondly nicknamed Claude, are going to shake this country from its foundation.  Your Likeness will be sort a vice president, but I'm also going to give him the keys to Europe, with my supervision, naturally.  No one will ever know that Claude and yourself are two different people... All the future history books will blame you as my accessory in the demise of this nation.... Sounds fun, huh? over, Clyde."

 

I begged to know, "Why are you doing this?  You were such a nice old man.  What changed you?"

 

"Well, Mr. Author, it's like this... being stuck in your ridiculous story became quite boring.  Strange did me a great favor fictitiously killing me and all... I just want to get all the gusto I can, that's all Clyde.  Well, we've got to go now. We've... Er Um... you and I have a world to ruin... Over and out...." Homer laughed.

 

"Homer! Wait a minute.... Homer!"

 

"It's no use man.... We've been beat," Ralph sighed.

 

"I'm not giving up yet, I'm gonna go see Flush, with or without you," I vowed

---------------------------------------

 

 

(Episode 13)

The following forenoon, Ralph slept while we drove across the unfamiliar New York terrain.  Maggie hung her tongue out of the window, lapping up the last bit of country air we'd breathe again for a good while, as we traveled a backwoods route.  We'd been alerted at a rest-stop, by a sympathetic highway patrolman, that the UTC were blockading major highways and questioning passerby’s.  We stayed mostly unseen, until approximately an hour and a half up the interstate, when we arrived at the worm-infested Big Apple, as Ralph woke up.  "Say man, this is bigger than I thought!" Neither of us ever having been in New York City before, resorted to ask our way around in pursuit of the famed big F.I.B. skyscraper.  While listening to Flush Limbo's show, I had decidedly been convinced he'd sold out. Instead of the usual rock-n-roll bumper music, he was playing selections from his "favorite Irish tenors,” I was disturbed enough by the fact he was reciting Robert Frost poetry.  But worst didn't come to worst until he got on a soapbox on behalf of an extremist environmental organization, called SQUASH; an acronym for "The Society Quite United Against the Slaughter Of Helpless-Veggies:"

 

"...When was the last time a defenseless tomato ever resisted and made an escape from a despotic brutal attack from a cold and calculating vegetarian?!  Ah, so you surmise they don't deserve, as due compensation, the same equal rights enjoyed by the animal dominion... You're just going to sit back and gorge yourself on that submissive salad, without so much as a pea of shamefacedness!  Indulge in your gluttony, go ahead! ...Yet, when the dreaded day of the inevitably impending greenhouse effect comes into being, and the once subservient, vegetated underdogs unite and begin procreating at an enormous rate so as to become the silent dominant majority on this dismal planet... then you'll be on your backs!  You'll be so overrun with choices when preparing an ordinary sandwich, that you will have exhausted every plea imaginable, such as:  PLEASE, LETTUCE ALONE!!!..."

 

At which moment we arrived in front of the F.I.B broadcasting building.  I ordered Maggie to stay in the car while Ralph and I went to visit Mr. Limbo. We struggled up 23 flights of stairs, on account of the fact they hadn't completed constructing the elevator, thereby unearthing Flush's hidden means of having lost 85 pounds in only a span of 2 months.  "How are we gonna get in there to see Flush?  You'd better leave all this to me!" Ralph taunted while heavily gasping, as we ascended upward toward the highest story. When we reached the top floor, there didn't appear to be anyone at all in the foyer, so we randomly opened doors in advance of finally finding what looked like a studio.  Ralph practically pushed me aside, all the while racing up to the open door.  Before he had a chance to knock, what looked like a janitor with less than a G.E.D, but what we assumed was a broadcast engineer, gave a stern stare.  Before I could open my mouth to spell out who we were, Ralph belted out, "We're here to see Flush.  If he asks who we are, tell him the honorable Ronald Reagan's grandkids just stopped by to shoot the breeze!"

 

"Oh yeah?  Hold on a minute."

 

I had a gut feeling that wasn't gonna work too well, for some unexplained reason.  I quickly noticed Ralph abruptly looking a bit squeamish as he observed all the GOP paraphernalia lying about.  I, though I'd never met anyone that famous before, wasn't the least bit goosey about meeting Mr. Limbo, as I was absorbed in what I most needed to make known to him.

 

"Mr. Limbo will see you on his break in half a minute, wait here," the custodial engineer requested.

 

Spontaneously, I felt the quaking of a heavy stride (of whom I wasn't sure) approaching the partially opened door, which soon widened as Mr. Limbo, larger than life, came into full view. "Are you Clyde P. Hipwing?" He asked. "I've been waiting for you two gentlemen.  A scruffy looking ruffian named Pigglesworth left a note sealed in an envelope for you both," he added, shutting the door behind him.

 

I excitedly grabbed it, but irresponsibly laid it on a chair.  "Flush, what are we going to do?!  The country's in chaos, and..."

 

"No, no," he shook his head, "Everything for once is just fine!  For once we've got order.  For once everyone agrees."

 

"But Flush!" I demanded, "What about rugged individualism?  What about freedom?  What about capitalism?"

 

"Oh...." he laughed, "it escapes me who said it, but the only difference between capitalism and socialism is ....... in a socialistic society, man exploits man... Whereas in a capitalistic society; it's the other way around."

 

"He finally makes sense to me!" Ralph exclaimed.

 

"Something's wrong," I insisted, "Flush, do you have a chip on your shoulder?"

 

"Well I used to... but now..."

 

"Ralph!  Hold him down while I try to remove his chip!" I yelled prior to Raphael jumping on his back as if he were bronco-busting, turning over tables, chairs and articles from Flush's various political memorabilia collections.  "Man, he's a strong motha!..."

 

"Just as I thought!"  I shook my head in disgust as Ralph and I held him down with bended knees, and ripped the chip from his lower neck.  Flush forthwith lurched about, babbling like a two-year-old.  Slapping his face, I attempted to beat some sense into him, until he began wailing for his 50's vintage 'I Like Ike' pacifier. "Okay, he's coming around.  It'll just take a second, he'll regain his reasoning..." I assured Ralph as he released his clutch.

 

"Man!  I always thought he was a big baby, but...."

 

"Ralph, we've gotta get him outta here!" I urged, just as a blaring alarm apparently alerted two U.T.C. police officers, who erupted unhindered through the studio door, one nabbing Ralph.  The other lunged at me, but missed, and assaulted an unsuspecting potted begonia plant that, on impulse, quickly begonged him.

 

"Get outta here man!" Ralph yelled, "You've gotta save the country!"

 

As I scurried out of the studio and down the hallway, I slapped myself on the ear with my palm, realizing I'd left behind Mr. Pigglesworth's important note.  Standing in the middle of two pillars and trying to decide which way to disappear, my ears were alerted by a 6 foot, 8 inch, 250-pound telephone booth, right behind me, ringing as though demanding my attention.  I frantically answered it, so as to not attract anyone else's attention.

 

ME:        Hello!?

 

DR:         Clyde.... how did we do this week?

 

ME:        Doc? Is that you?

 

DR:         You sound a bit stressed. Have you been taking your meds?

 

ME:        Doc?  How did you... Where are you?  I gotta see you!

 

DR:   I'm here in the Big Apple and Just thought I'd call.  Do you want me to come there?  Oh, I'll just give you my address, I'm at 1313 NW 13th, about 13 blocks away from you right now, next door to the Baker's Dozen movie theater... they're playing Friday The Thirteenth, by the way..... See you in, oh, about 13 minutes!  Oh, that reminds me, is TODAY the 13th?

 

ME:     Yes

 

DR:     Why of course, I must have asked that at least 12 times this morning!

--------------------------

 

 

(Episode 14)

DR:   Good thing I called when I did, Clyde!

 

ME:   Why Doc?  How did you find out?

 

DR:   I bet you're not taking your meds.

 

ME: You're right Doc, I flushed em down the toilet.

 

DR:  So tell me about your week.

 

ME: The world Doc, the whole world is being run by a figment of my imagination!!!

 

DR:   Now Clyde, what have I told you?

 

ME:   Doc, I can prove I'm not nuts... I know someone who can vouch that some clues exist concerning this whole episode... Just let me hook up this boom-box... Connect this to that, that to this...

 

DR:     What are you doing, Clyde?

 

ME:     You'll see!  Now, where did I leave my Forked Gyrating Mixmaster Rectifying Slope Tuning Horizontal Inverter?

 

DR:     Oh here, use mine!

 

ME:     Thanks, now listen to this...

 

PETE:  Yes, Hello, wha' you want me to sing?

 

ME:     Pete, I'd like you to meet Doc.  Doc, this is Pete, you know, the Bug drummer!

 

PETE:   Is this that bloomin' Clyde bloke?

 

DR:     Hey, Pete, good to meet you, you were always my favorite Bug!

 

PETE:  Well golly gee bum...I guess that makes two of us.

 

ME:     Ok Doc, Pete here will prove to you I'm not nuts!  Tell him about the clue in the book, Pete!

 

DR:     Oh knock this off, Clyde.  You're really insulting my intelligence. Now, I came all this way to give you a gift I bought for you.  Nice jacket huh?  Here, try it on.

 

ME:     Sure why not.  It fits real nice.... nice and snug.... Hey what's with all the straps...Hey I can't move my arms!!!

 

DR:         Everything's gonna be okay, Clyde!  I'm just gonna give you a shot to relax.... just 350mgs of Prolixen, that's all... Now, that should do it.... You'll soon be fast asleep.

 

ME:   Doc!  The country... It's Homer, he's got the whole w.... world by the ... the...            thr..oat.........

 

Maggie:  It's for your own good, Sir, you've slept nay an hour in 3 days!

 

ME:     Z....Z....Z...Z...Z.......

 

DR:     Ok, he's taking a siesta... Say, Pete...you think you could sing me a few bars of 'The Good Ship Lollypop?'  It's one of my favorites on your album!

 

PETE:  Yeah?  Let me have a swig of lemon juice to loosen up me pipe organ first...

-------------------------------------

 

 

(Episode 15)

In what seemed like days, I awoke after having a horrible nightmare about being convicted in the Sam’s Deli Robbery.  I had just been sentenced to one night at the Loraine Bobbitt Correctional Center! "Where am I!?" I sat up and yelled, while feeling desperately for all limbs. Adjusting to the light, in what was clearly a psychiatric hospital bedroom, my eyes became aware of a scrawny character bouncing a red rubber ball, and repeating the term, "can-opener," over and over again. "What do they have you in here for?" I asked.

 

"Can-opener...can-opener...can-ope..," he, irritated, responded after a bellowing sigh, "...OCD...can-opener... can-opener...can."

 

"OC what?"

 

"Can-opener...can...Obsessive Compulsive Disorder...Now, do you mind?! .... can-opener...can-opener... can-opener... can-opener... can-opener... can..." I'd had enough can-openers for one month, so I lunged from my bed and snatched his rubber ball.  "What the devil did you do that for? It took me more than 15 minutes to get to 180 can openers in less than 60 bounces...  Do you realize what's going to happen now?!" he shrieked.

 

"Nothing's going to happen, let's try to start a conversation and forget this can-opener stuff," I suggested. "I see you have quite a 5 o'clock shadow left over from yesterday, did you forget to shave this morning?"

 

"I shaved yesterday morning.  Do you shave?" he asked, trembling.

 

"Of course."

 

"What do you shave with?" he mumbled, while sweating profusely.

 

"I shave with a razor, what in the world do YOU shave with?!"

 

He wasted no more time.  "I shave with a can-opener... can-opener... can-opener... can open."

 

Talk about hooked on phonics!  I groaned in disgust, landed back on my bunk, and began bouncing the back of my head against the headboard, seduced by the hypnotic rhythm of his ridiculously over-exerting ball. Over against the South wall of the room laid Artie, a paranoid schizophrenic.  Artie didn't have any friends, and at 32, still lived with his mom and dad.  One day they thought they'd buy him a computer to get him on the Internet, to make acquaintances and learn to trust people.  All was great the first few hours, until his computer froze up with a message on the monitor: "You have performed an illegal operation!"  His parents found him three weeks later, wandering in the Arizona desert, hiding from the law.

 

I was just getting snug in my hospital blanket, with the heating vent blowing on me and emitting a musty nostalgic odor I contrived to place, when just like an unpredictable dust-storm, a heavyset, hairy under the arms, sumo wrestler-looking, registered woolly mammoth heifer, flattened the door and belched, "Mr Hipwing, your doctor wants to see you now!"

 

"I was just getting cozy, tell him to wait till later, Ok?"

 

She moved toward me like an approaching Sherman tank in fierce battle, lifted me up by the foot of my bed, carried me past the (most feared of all possible trepidation) Foam-Rubbered-Wall-- Time Out Room, then slammed my bunk on top of Doc's psychiatric couch, violently scattering two by fours; and concluded by hurling back my pajama pants to me.  They had gotten hung on the doorknob as the mattress and I approached in a hazardous emergency landing attempt, while Doc quietly cleared the runway.

 

DR:     Ah Clyde, I'll bet we're feeling better today, aren't we?

 

ME:     Oh yeah!  What's she like when patients give her trouble?

 

DR:     She's one of the best staff members we've got.

 

ME:     Yeah, I'm sure that's well understood around here.  Where's Maggie, my dog?  Did she tell you what all was going on, concerning Homer?  He escaped from the second story of this book, and I'm afraid of what he'll do next!

 

DR:     Clyde, you're talking gibberish!  It's all in your head.  See, look out the window, tell me what state you're in?

 

ME:     I'm sure you're going to try to convince me I'm back in Oklahoma.... but how?  I drove up here, to New York City, to see Flush.  If you don't believe me, try asking him!

 

DR:     It's all a delusion, Clyde.  The medicine I've got you on will soon stop your brain from wandering.

 

ME:     Doc, I don't want to be on meds, Ok?  Just listen to me...

 

DR:     Say, have you thought about Electro Shock Therapy?

 

ME:     What?  Are you crazy? (wrong question).  There would be nothing left of my brain... it would....

 

DR:     Not true, Clyde.  It would help put your past behind you.... Never again to haunt you.  Your insurance will pay for it.  And you wouldn't have to be on as much medication... You don't want to go through life battling an imaginary war, do you?  Whatya say?

 

ME:        I dunno, man......

 

DR:     We can do it right now.  All you have to do is sign here and from this day forward, you'll be free from your past, Clyde.... I'm your friend.  I know what's best for you.  I wouldn't let you down.

 

ME:     Does it hurt?

 

DR:     Nope; we'll put you under anesthesia, and you'll wake up a brand new person... Come on, Clyde!

 

ME:        This is the best way... Huh?

 

DR:         The best.... Clyde.... the best.  Trust me.

 

ME:        All right. I guess... Where do I sign?

 

No sooner than I had signed, they put me in a gown of some sort, and wheeled me into what appeared to be a miniature surgical room.  They escorted me out of the wheelchair and onto the table, where I was straight-away strapped down, arms and legs.  I was fearful, and wasn't totally convinced everything was in my head, but trusted the doctor's judgment.  At that moment the anesthetist entered the room armed with the NEEDLE! His bushy eyebrows were peeking above his glasses, as his face seemed to form a smile, though I couldn't see behind his surgical mask, of course.  The hypodermic needle had no sooner pierced my skin, when he revealed his easily recognizable face and whispered eerily, "Dawn Comes With Rosy Fingers...."

 

I could barely respond, my mind heavy with the power of the drug.  "Ho.... Ho... mer..... Wh..... W...h...y....?"

-----------------------------

 

 

(Episode 16)

"My fellow comrades, I the Honorable Homer, have now been generously given all power over the European peoples.  So today I'm sending the man I think best suits the appointment of First Secretary of European Affairs, the only man to lead, beneath my supremacy, the now Unified People."

 

Homer then, with an evil shift of his eyes, and a wave of his hand to my Fictional Likeness, added, "Mr. Hipwing, would you please say a few words on behalf of the newly liberated continent?"

               

"Thank you, Honorable Homer... Friends, Press, and the like.... "

 

<*><*><*>

               

Maggie had wondered why she wasn't allowed to accompany me in the hospital, and became suspicious.  She had caught a glimpse of Homer's press conference in front of the UN building, on a TV in a shop window, and unhesitatingly set out to search desperately for the International Command Center for World Peace, and alert My Fictional Likeness, Claude, of my dire straits She darted in between legs, cars, kids at play, and an occasional fire hydrant, but in her nobility, she wasn't the least bit tempted.  She was unyieldingly duty-bound.  Jollity would have to be put off till later!  She managed to jump through the window of a moving cab, fondly remembering one of Matilda's favorite tales.  "To the U.N. building!  Oh, please hurry, my good sir!" Following a mad excursion through rush hour traffic, the taxi came to a startling standstill.  Maggie, thrown out of the open window and landing in a soft flower bed, briskly entered into a welcoming revolving door.  She looked behind, and became aware of the vice presidential limousine pulling up to the curb.  "He can't be too far!" she reasoned. She put forth the effort, once inside of the UN building, to emulate a simple commonplace dog, and pretended to analyze certain entertaining odors on the expected places of folks, as they passed by.  She hoped her dumb pooch act would assist her in being less eye-catching.  Soon afterward, she unmistakably caught a glimpse of Homer and swiftly backed into a deep-set area along the hallway. His Honorableness was deep into a chewing-out session with several of his yes men, smoking a long foul-smelling panatela cigar while he passed, then progressed out-of-doors.  Mag immediately spotted Claude, then lunged forward.  She whined while nipping at his pants leg.  

 

"Maggie!" he acknowledged, quickly swooping her up and easily concealing her, due to her mediocre size, inside his weather worn trench-coat while advancing toward his limousine. "Okay Mag... how's Clyde?"

               

"They've got him locked up inside of 'The Crazy Nut's Gone Bananas in The Big Apple Mental Health Facility!'.... Tell your driver to go there, I beg you!  They won't let me see him, something must be dreadfully wrong..."

-------------------------------

 

(Episode 17)

Claude and Maggie pulled up to the alley right behind 'The Crazy Nut's Gone Bananas in The Big Apple Mental Health Facility,' and intensely observed the entire campus to make sure they would not be seen.  Claude advised Mag to stay in the car to keep watch and put on her 'dog act' if she thought she noticed anything suspicious.  He then snuck around to the front of the unlocked door of the public lobby. "Mr Hipwing, how did you get out here?" a curious hospital tech wanted to know.

 

"Well... I dunno.... Maybe you should take me back to my room."

               

The intern escorted him down the hall, and then down some stairs leading to a locked door.  Reaching into his pocket, he removed some keys, and unlocked all the locks as he expressed his puzzlement, "How did you get out of here?"

 

"It's simple.  I just did this..." Claude returned, as he belted the tech under the jaw, with all the power he could find.  The force of the blow knocked him into the laundry room.  With a smile of pride, Claude rushed into my room, discovering me incapacitated, and hooked to all sorts of monitors. While removing them, he felt around my lower neck and crudely ripped the chip Homer had planted.

               

"Homer, why...." I mumbled, still quite a bit groggy

               

"Clyde, get up!  It's me!  I've come to get you outta here," he proclaimed, and without any hesitance began stripping the tech of his clothing; trading mine for his.  He tried to prop me up on my feet; but they were jelly, so he carried me over his shoulder.  There didn't seem to be anyone on the basement floor as he looked around, so he hurried me up the steps and we quietly snuck out the door.  It seemed odd, he thought to himself, that nobody else was around while he shoved me inside of the limousine.  But he thought too soon, as several hospital staff tried to jump on the car and stop us.  We fled just in time! I was beginning to feel my old self again, and sat up in the back seat after I noticed Maggie.  Claude, my likeness, began to explain a plan to rid Homer just as the chauffeur turned around slowly and revealed himself.

 

"Mr Pigglesworth!" I exclaimed.

 

Elmo began scolding me for carelessly losing his note explaining what procedure to take in dealing with His Honorableness.  "This whole thing could have been wrapped up already if you hadn't been so clumsy, Clyde. Listen carefully, here's what you need to do...."

------------------------------------------

 

(Episode 18)

I wasn't real confident about the whole contrived effort, but I dared to do it anyway.  Armed with My Likeness' Identification tag, I slipped by the White House Security Officer, the following afternoon, without any resistance.  "Good afternoon, Claude!" he bid.

 

I had almost forgotten that Claude was the nickname Homer gave him, so as to not get the two of us confused.  "Beautiful day, isn't it Bill?" I acknowledged, reading his identification and name badge. I prowled down the west-end corridor, past the Press Secretary's office, and over to Homer's Personal Secretary's desk.  She was buried in mounds of dictation notes, but managed to glance up at me with a puzzled expression.  "You need something, Mr. Hipwing?"

 

"What, Dorothy?  I uh..."

 

"Are you all right, Claude?"

 

Whew!  She didn't recognize me.  I inquired as to whether His Honorableness was in and freely at my disposal.  She scanned a poorly legible list of executive engagements, then nervously solicited him on the speakerphone.  He growled and him-hawd awhile, but agreed to entertain me. 

 

"Thanks, Dorothy." I smiled.

 

"Yes, what do you need, Claude?  I'm afraid I'm very busy right now!" Homer scorned, though I caught the latest edition of 'The Weekly Oppressor,' laying open on his lap.  "What is that?" he added, getting up to close the door behind me.

 

"Your Honorableness, this is my boom-box.  You just gotta hear this... Hold on here, I've just got to make a few adjustments.... Oh darn, I can't believe this!... Where did I put it?"

 

"What's wrong, Claude?" Homer wondered aloud, "Did you forget your Forked Gyrating Mixmaster Rectifying Slope Tuning Horizontal Inverter?... Here, I've got one in my desk, you just never know when yer gonna need one of those cottonpickin' things, do ya?"

 

"Nope," I agreed, "you sure don't!  Now, let's see if this contraption works..."

 

".... Hello, wha' ya want me to sing!?" Pete answered.

 

"Hello, Pete!"

 

"Ah blimey!" Pete swore, "Clyde!?"

 

I excitedly interrupted, "No Pete, for once I want you to sing, really! Do you know, 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow?!'"

 

"No kiddin'?!  Sure, let me stop and think, I'm not too sure of the words.... Oh yeah, I think it goes like this; Some... where... Over-The-Rainbow..."

 

"What in the world is he doin?!" Homer complained, "Tell him to stop! That's horrifying...Tell Him To Stop....CLAUDE! ....... WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO TO ME?!"

 

"A...Cow...Went...Mooo........." crooned Pete.

 

"You can't take it, can you?  You were once a nice man; you were once my friend.  But you turned on me, so now I'm turning on you.  You've overstayed your welcome, Homer!  It's time for you to go, or I'll make him sing louder and longer!!!" I threatened.

 

Pete continued ".... Can’t....Say.... How-She-Got-Up-There...."

 

Homer's eyes raged with fear, agony, and betrayal, "YOU'RE NOT CLAUDE, YOU'RE CLYDE!!!  TELL HIM TO STOP, PLEASE!!!! AND I'LL LEAVE YOU ALONE!!!!  I'M MELTING...I'M MELTING............. MELTING...MELT..I..N..G...,  .M..E..L..T..I..N..G..G..G..G..G..G..G..G..........."

 

As melodious as a dentist drill, Pete added vibrato. "I-Guess....She.... Flew...."

 

"Ok, Pete, enough already.  My, you sure stretched out those, otherwise short, eight bars!"

 

"Yep, so you'll be orderin' a copy of me album, 'Once Upon a Drum?'"

 

"I think I'll pass on that, Pete." I politely declined.

 

"Miserable lousy sod!" (Click!)

 

Just as Homer's liquefied flesh oozed down into the carpeted floor of the Oval Office, his secretary, Dorothy, who had just entered the room with an arm full of papers, and a sweaty brow, nonchalantly tossed them on the presidential desk, clicked her ruby-red penny loafers together, then yawned, "There's no place like home!" And proceeded down the hall to clock out for the weekend.

---------------------------------

 

(Episode 19)

Since Claude, the Vice President, was identical to me, and no one knew the difference; I was to inherit the powers that be, as the 43rd President of the United States of America.  I had no experience in economics or foreign affairs.  I couldn't have told you the procedures involved in trying to get a bill ratified.  And I used to think that an Executive Order was the final command given right before you were shot in front of a firing squad.... but I did read a couple of issues worth of 'George' magazine that week! Claude agreed to stay on as my double for when I couldn't be two places at once.... This worked well with the lobbyists, special interest groups, kiddy Easter egg hunts on the South lawn of the White House, and the grimmest of all contingencies, having to be interviewed by Barbara Walters! After the country had experienced tyranny at its worst, I reinstated the liberties the nation had once enjoyed.  So fervent in my new convictions, I declared on a televised speech that I was no longer a Republican, nor was I a Democrat... I was quickly sworn in as the country's first fully Libertarian leader, with the goal of expanding freedom worldwide. I reflected on my friend Ralph, of his liberal leanings and how he'd disagree with my conservative views.  I expounded on the fact that in this country there was room for both, because, "WE are America!  As diverse as we are, we are not a divided people, but stand conjointly in our strong belief concerning freedom and the pursuit of happiness for all." The European community had been liberated as well.  In gratitude for Maggie's bravery and nobility, England's Queen Elizabeth knighted her as: The Royal Bitch!

 

In Washington, a 40-story scratch-post was erected on Pennsylvania Avenue, in loving memory of Miss Matilda Waudlebaum; whose legends would surely be written in all the history books, along with George Birthington and his illustrious Washday. Once in the White House, after cleaning out all traces of the Honorable Homer, I launched into working on my sequel.  Later that afternoon, I put on my Sunday's best... as I was to attend to my very first function as President.... A book signing Party, paid for by my literary agent, Harold Hyde, at Hickle Hopper Hooper Harper Hinkley Harmon & Slovinski Publishing Company, to promote this very book, 'Aboard My Train of Thought.' And where should such a celebration take place?  Why, the newly expanded, Big Buford's Buffalo Barf Bucket Burger Bistro Breakfast Bagel Bar and Bookstore, naturally!

 

 

The End of Part One.

"Please pass the snot-rag

 

Proceed to Story Four…

 

 

 

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