Safe in the Neighborhood: Wintermute vs Drunknard

Wintermute: My treehouse is growing roots. Scary deep roots. The Earthworm is guiding the tree down to a water reservoir thousands of feet below the limestone.

Grub: There are lots of us in Wintermute’s basement. More and more by the hour. There are so many good things down here to lay eggs in. Joy!

Wintermute (picks up and dials the phone): Hey, Drunknard, buddy. Can you make it to my place tonight? Do you remember how to get into the basement without anyone knowing?

Drunknard: Sure man. I can be over there around eight o’clock. You need help on the treehouse again? You want I should bring my circular saw?

Wintermute: Just stay away from the Miller High Life, Grub. That stuff’s expensive.

Grub: We will steer well clear of the Miller High Life, since we’re prone to drowning in it if we don’t. And why would we want hops, anyway, when there is so much flesh down here?

Wintermute: Drunknard! Hey buddy! Hey! Ummmm, no, you can forget the circular saw. I greased that hole in the foundation, so when you shimmy in it’ll be easier. Go feet first, ‘cause like I told you, I don’t turn the lights on these days and there are amps and car parts and stuff. You’ll want to take about five paces forward, or maybe less cause you’re so damn tall! At face level there’ll be a hole in the plywood, punch your head up in there, and I’ll pull you the rest of the way into the treehouse. Okay? And, you, Grub, listen up! I don’t talk to you and your type. You take your cues from The Earthworm. Get it? Drunky? Drunknard? You there, kid? Boy. Drunknard?

Drunknard: Ten four, good buddy. Oh yeah, and I’m gonna have to bring my dog again. I just can’t leave him alone anymore without hearing about how he’s murdering neighbors again.

Grub: Hey Earthworm, can you ask Wintermute to bring down some more meat? It’s getting kind of crowded in this chunk. Thanks, boss. You da’ Man. Or, um, da’ Worm.

The Earthworm: Hush! Daddy’s working. Patience.

Wintermute: Aw shucks, Drunknard, sure you can bring Herschell. I love that dog! Truly I do.

Herschell: Gvrrrr!!!! Gvrrrr!!!!

Wintermute: Did Herschel kill someone today? Did he? DID HE?!? That’s a good boy!! Good, good dog!!

Drunknard: I’m not sure if he killed someone today or not. I haven’t checked the garage yet. That’s where he usually leaves his little surprises for me.

Wintermute: Either way, you and your boy Herschell are safe in the treehouse, Drunknard. My tree found a reservoir under my house and I got The Orangeman kept down there in a little coffin-sized submarine. At night he travels up into the Hudson and watches the port real close for vampires coming in on cargo ships. Man, I freakin’ HATE vampires! Will Herschell sic on vampires, Drunknard? Drunky? Buddy? You there pally?

The Orangeman: Drunknard! You there? Hey, Drunky!

The Earthworm: Where’s our buddy? Drunky, come in, Drunky. Calling Drunknard. Come in.

Grub: Drunky! Where’d you go, Drunknard?

Wintermute: Will you all shut up?? You’re going to frighten him. Hey Drunknard, come on, puddin’, where’d you go?

Drunknard: Sorry, had to answer the door, and got sucked into an argument with the Zombie Missionaries again. I can’t stand those guys. They just won’t take no for an answer until you bash their heads in with a fireplace poker or something. There ought to be a law against that sort of thing, you know? And, uh, I dunno if Herschell will sic on vampires or not. I’d actually be willing to half bet that dog is half vampire himself, since he’s dead and all.

Herschell: Gvrrrr!!!! Gvrrrr!!!!

Wintermute: Okay, okay, easy pal, that’s not a problem. We’ll see you tonight, right? Okay? You like the Miller High Life, Drunknard? Do you?

Drunknard: No, Wintermute, I live the High Life, but I don’t like to drink it very much. Buy some Scotch instead. And some Sonic Youth albums. See you around eight.

Wintermute: We look forward to entertaining you, Comrade. My treehouse is growing roots that are thick with brine sucked out of the mercury pools that bubble between layers of medina sandstone the length and breadth of the great Empire State. The Earthworm leads the way. Fiat lux.

Thurston Moore: Hey! Did someone say Sonic Youth? Hey! Hey! Look at me! I’m Thurston Moore! I’m a clever dooder! Look! Look at what I can do! I can play microtones! I can skronk! Hey! I’m Thurston Moore! I sleep with Kim Gordon! I invented indie rock! I am so cool it hurts! Can I come to the treehouse, too? You can interview me! All about the indie rock and the microtones and the skronk! Hey! Look at me! Hey!

Kim Gordon: You’re overcompensating, Thurston. Again.

Herschell: Gvrrrr!!!! Gvrrrr!!!!

Published in: on March 28, 2010 at 2:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hoverounds on the Normanskill

O’Brien: As I age and get more prosperous, the idea of riding around on an electric vehicle becomes increasingly attractive to me. Not a golf cart or a hybrid Toyota Deathwagon, mind you, but something more nimble. Like a Hoveround. Those really speak to me, and they sure are well-marketed. The ending of the most famous Hoveround commercial shows two elderly women in their Hoverounds at the edge of the Grand Canyon, implying that being wheelchair bound need not limit your enjoyment of life, even of the rugged outdoors. It’s right up there with the Clapper and “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up” commercials among the geriatric set. I’d do anything to look as happy as those two old ladies did.

Karellen: I never perceived that commercial that way at all, O’Brien. I saw it as two elderly women in their Hoverounds at the edge of the Grand Canyon, trying to kill themselves, and foiled once again because their Hoverounds can’t climb fences. It sucks getting old and not being able to do stuff.

Stoney Stone Stoner: Whoh, dude, I love that commercial! Except it doesn’t show how the whole story ends, with the two old ladies holding each others’ hands and gunning their Hoverounds right into the Grand Canyon, Thelma and Louise style—except they fly right over the motherfucker, because those things can HOVER! Awesome, yo! Heh! Heh heh! Heh!

Karellen: Nice reaction time, there, Stoney. I’d already delivered a punchline to O’Brien’s opening. Now what the hell are we supposed to do with this piece?

O’Brien: Perhaps we could hold a vote on which one we like better?

Wintermute: Well, I like the frustrated suicidal old ladies trying to drive their Hoverounds through the fence better than the frustrated flying suicidal old ladies. It’s more pathetic, and that makes me laugh, because I find other people’s suffering humorous.

Mustapha Mond: I concur. Trying to commit suicide and being stymied is much better than going into the canyon.

Stoney Stone Stoner: No, dude, you don’t get it . . . they don’t go INTO the canyon, they go OVER the canyon! Because those things can HOVER! That’s gotta be worth something! They’re still stymied, just in a different way! Although I have to say, brah, the imagery of them getting caught up in the fence is pretty fuckin’ funny, yo.

Mustapha Mond (Frying Stoney Stone Stoner’s brainstem like bacon): Zzzzzzzzttttttt!!!

Stoney Stone Smeagol: Sssssss . . . . pass us that remotes, precious. Is times for Mutuals of Omaha’s Wild Kingdomses, sssss. Tricksy Overdouches. Sssss.

Mustapha Mond: Yes, I definitely like the crashing into the fence version better. Although they can’t get tangled up in it, since that implies them being able to generate some speed and power. They just have to drive into it slowly, bounce off, back up just as slowly and then drive into it again, over and over, without ever making a dent. I could watch that for two hours straight, easy. Someone get me Upstate Ether Central Casting! We got a film to make!

Upstate Ether Central Casting: Aw, guys? How about we substitute the Normanskill Ravine for the Grand Canyon, huh? We got some budget issues here, you know?

Wintermute: Yeah, the Normanskill could work. Because then if they did, by chance, break through and plummet over the edge, it still might not kill them. That really ups the impotence factor a lot.

Karellen: Speaking of impotence, what about if we replace the old ladies with O’Brien? He already wants to have a Hoveround, so that eliminates the need to convince him to sit in one. And old ladies can be tough to work with . . .

Wintermute: There’s got to be two of them on the Hoverounds, though. So they can get out of synch, and as one backs up, the other hits the fence, and you would keep thinking “Oh my God, if they could just hit the fence at the same time, then they might actually break through!” Only when they do get their shit lined up that way, it still doesn’t make a difference. So who should drive the other Hoveround, if we put O’Brien in one?

O’Brien: Thanks, guys! That would be great! I always wanted to be in the movies!

Karellen: Oh, Christ, O’Brien, this isn’t supposed to make you happy. So you’re out, you idiot. Now we need two Hoveround pilots . . .

Mustapha Mond: I’ve got it!!! How about our two favorite gibbering junkie hobo types, Louie Shakes and Ol’ Dirty Piece of Strange! We could get them obliterated on the drugs of their choices, and then send ‘em into the fence. You know we’d get some great ravings for dialog out of that, too. Oh, man. I know I would pay Hoyt’s movie ticket and snack prices to watch 90 minutes of footage of Ol’ Dirty and Louie Shakes stoned on Hoverounds trying to drive through a fence into the Normanskill.

Stoney Stone Smeagol: Hehs! Hehs hehs! Ssss hehs!! Thats would be the funniestsests, preciouses. Smeagol would put down remotes and leaves sofa to watch that one with nice, funny, friendly Overdouches. Yes!! Happy Smeagols! See him capers as Hoveroundses crashes into fences! Hehs! Hehs hehs, Smeagol says!

Karellen: See? The stoner crowd would totally eat that up! Brilliant, Mustapha! And that wouldn’t take much, from a budget standpoint: $150 for camera rental, $100 for film, $250 for film processing, $300 for the rental of two Hoverounds, $100 for enough hootch and rock to render Ol’ Dirty and Louie Shakes raving looney tunes. Results? Priceless!!

Upstate Ether Central Casting: Uh, guys? How about we go digital, and borrow the camera, to save a little scratch, huh? Film and processing is expensive, you know? And that hand-held video look is all the rage now among the Pretentious Arthaus Klown set anyway. This could be the next “Blair Witch Project,” and would leave us some margin on the books. Can we go that route, big guys? Thanks for considering it! You’re the best!

Stoney Stone Smeagol: Sssss! Yesss! Digitals!!! That’s leaves more money for preciouses weeeeeeeds!! Yes!! Sees Smeagol caperses with delightssses! Hehs hehs!

Karellen: Well, I guess that would work, what with the skyrocketing price of good weed and whatnot. Remember when we were kids and there were such things as nickel bags? Those were the days, when you could collect your tips from your paper route every week and go buy a little bag to get you warm after hauling all the Sunday papers. Kids just don’t have it the same these days. Although, I guess looking back, a high school diploma might have been worth more than all of those nickel bags.

Wintermute: I can remember a period in my life at college where pot was so plentiful people were turning down anything that was “shake” (broken bud with bits of stem and seeds mixed in). “I only smoke bud” meant you were high class, a real connoisseur.

O’Brien: Say, that reminds me, does anyone know what a “lid” is, in pot terms? An older relative of mine used to refer to buying “lids”, but I never knew what he was talking about.

Guy Who Esplains Thins: A lid is the round, flattish thing you cover a pot with to prevent food or water from splashing out while cooking.

Stoney Stone Smeagol: Ssssss! Noes!! Fat, stupid Guy Who Esplianses Thins is always wrongses! Stupid, fats Guy!! Ssss!! A lidses is amounts of loose weeds that Smeagol can hold in lid of Prince Albertses tobacco canses. Ssss!! What stupid, fat Guy is describeseses is not lidsesesses. What stupid, fat Guy describes is called ELP recordses!!!

O’Brien: Hmmm . . . I’ve heard of EP and LP records, but what’s an ELP record?

Karellen: It means “Extra Long Play” record. Or at least it feels that way when you’re forced to listen to it, and you can’t get your Hoveround through the fence to escape.


Q: Louie Shakes walked north 17 blocks and west 13 blocks to his ex-wife’s apartment in Brooklyn. He stole $65.00 from the bitch’s crib, where he also did $217.89 in damage jimmying the door open, which she had to finance on her credit card at 19.75% APR. Louie then set off to score some crystal meth from Stoney Stone Smeagol. It cost Louie $4.00 for a bus ticket from his ex-wife’s to Stoney’s apartment, $21.60 for the porno mag, smokes and pizza he bought while waiting for Smeagol to show, $30.90 for the rock itself, and $2.90 for a blowjob from a desperate crack whore he met in the stairwell on the way out. She gave him a 40% discount because she couldn’t actually get him off. He then met some brothers throwing dice in Williamstown. Louie bet the money he had leftover from his score, and made a 215% profit. He gave half of this to the cop who busted the game and threatened to haul them all downtown. How much money did Louie Shakes take home?

A: Zero, because Louie Shakes does not have a home. But the wad of crumpled bills and change he had in his pocket after his very busy day bought him a Slim Jim (Tabasco flavored), a pickled egg, and two bottles of Thunderbird from Abudinemadji’s Corner Market in Queens, and he later found a recycling bin filled with nice, clean, fresh newspaper, on which he laid his weary head at 3:00 that morning, a sweet smile of satisfaction and success on his weather-lined, dirt-stained face. It was Louie Shakes’ best day ever! At least until the night-horrors came.

Published in: on March 9, 2010 at 2:31 am  Comments (1)  

Where Everybody Knows Your Favorite ELP Album

(Piano Music and Singing Over Credits)

Making your way in the world today
Takes everything you’ve got
Taking a break from all your worries
Sure would help a lot
Wouldn’t you like to get away?
Sometimes you wanna go
Where everybody knows your name
And they’re always glad you came
You wanna be where people see
Troubles are all the same
You wanna go where everybody knows your name

Karellen Walks In

Ether Gallery: KARELLEN!

TITS (polishing a glass behind the bar): How’s it going there tonight, Mr. K?

Karellen: Not too bad, TITS. Quite a day at the office. My bunions are killing me again. But it’s good to be here.

Mustapha Mond (dressed in a postman’s suit, stands up, walks over to Karellen, sits on the stool beside him): That’s good, Karellen. We’re all glad to be here. Let’s chat about Emerson, Lake and Palmer to get your mind off your bunions.

TITS (Slings towel over shoulder): I tell you what, y’all keep chatting about ELP all night and this bar’s gonna get shut down real quick.

Ether Gallery: Laughter!

O’Brien (from a table in the corner): Aw come on, TITS, let’ em talk about what they want. I personally don’t care for ELP, but it’s a free Ether right?

Karellen: That’s what I say, O’Brien. (Sips from beer). Ah, nothing like sipping back a cold one and chatting about ELP with pals.

Mustapha Mond: Yep, their third arlbum wars tha one ta have. It’s er, eh undeniable. Hey bahrkeep, how’s about parrin me anather one?

TITS: Just a minute there, Mister M. Hey, Snoink, why so glum tonight?

Snoink (in sports coat with beard): Oh I don’t know, TITS, I suppose it’s just so unreal, isn’t it?

TITS (Leans against bar): Well how d’ya figure that, Mr. S?

Snoink: Well, that’s the whole idea of it I suppose. Here we are, in a public space, similarly to the way it used to be. However, it’s completely different than it used to be. Ten years ago, Guttman was right, we were “bowling alone.” However, now, we’re not even actually bowling (and nor are we, I might add, in virtual reality helmets, literally). We’re just clacking away. The least effort short of watching television, and yet this is the proverbial and current public sphere!

TITS: What are you getting at, Mr. S?

Snoink: Oh nothing I suppose, nothing. It’s just depressing is all.

O’Brien (from a table in the corner): I hear that.

Mustapha Mond (Raises glass): To depression!

Ether Gallery (All raise glasses): DEPRESSION!

Snoink: Don’t understand me too quickly. I’m talking about atomization, the individualistic, privatized tendencies of man gone too far! I’m talking about alienation, and anomie only against one’s self, the cause of that depression! I’m speaking of the current lack of feeling, caused by this lack of real, public interaction, that can’t help but leave one feeling empty and unfulfilled in the end, despite the fact that this is, in some (inferior in my opinion) sense considered “public interaction!”

Ether Gallery: Silence!

Karellen (Turns away from Snoink and towards Mustapha Mond): Yeah, so the third ELP album is definitely the one to have.

(Fade to black over piano music)

Published in: on February 22, 2010 at 3:19 am  Comments (1)  

Drunknard vs Radiohead

radiohead is long, long dead
so long, long live on, radiohead
and tell kid A the walrus was thom
then watch kid Z go dance with mom
to beatle stones and smoking bones
and kingdoms come and seven thrones
for seven kings of the frontier (wild)
and adam ant and the holy child
who the wise men knew would be a star
when they gave him myrrh and a guitar
and frankinsence and freakin’ peas
so get thee down upon thy knees
and worship thom and all the rest
the holy ones, the amply blessed,
with volt and ohm and amp and watt
the son is roasted on the spot
where boon’s corona blows up space
and leaves us dead without a trace
of thicker liquor, beer, i fear
goes down like piss again this year,
the anno in the domini,
means that there is no more b.c.,
so after christ, not anti yet,
no gog, magog, nor chia pet
no you nor me nor old pooneil,
just thommy yorke, the real, real deal,
the bomb, the shit, the anvil too,
the bomb-a-lomp, the big bam boo,
the hottsy tot, the dwarf in shorts,
the kids who aren’t that good at sports,
the redneck, burnout, junkie guard,
the bassist with the single nard,
forget them, now, like they were dead
and sing a song of radiohead

Published in: on February 3, 2010 at 6:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Upstate Ether Energy Drinks

Mustapha Mond: I’m thinking that I might need to start buying and drinking some of those fancy new energy drinks when I’m working down at World State headquarters. I find that by mid-afternoon, every day, I start to feel sort of fatigued and out of it, and I hate to drink another cup of coffee, because afternoon coffee that’s been sitting on the break room brewer all day gives you that awful coffee breath. You know, like sausage and cigarettes. Are the energy drinks sweet, tasty, and good for the breath? In case I need to hit on the mail room clerks unexpectedly or something?

Wintermute: Monster is the worst tasting energy drink ever. Sobe tears your empty stomach to shreds. Red Bull is still the king, and it goes really, really well with Good n’ Plenty’s. Although I will say that Monster does seem easiest on the stomach. Sobe just gives you a horrible stomach ache. It’s unbearable. Red Bull is alright going down, but once in a while you puke it back up. I keep thinking I should just make my own energy drink. It can’t be too difficult based on the number of them out there. I’d have plenty of room in my basement tunnels for an energy drink brewery, if I could just utilize the space better.

Mustapha Mond: What would you call your energy drink?

Wintermute: I dunno. “Lunch,” maybe?

Mustapha Mond: No, it would have to have a better name than that if you’re going to sell it to the sleepy sheep out there. Something like “Bathtub Ginger” or “Scumbag Pina Colada.”

Karellen: Those sound more like flavors than a product line. The product itself would have to be called something like, oh, I dunno, “Upstate Ethers” or something. I’d buy that, even though the only energy drink I’ve ever gone for thus far was the Budweiser one. Beer and energy in a single can. It was magical.

Wintermute: Red Bull is like beer. You don’t want anything else in the stomach to fuck it up, and if possible you should try to get it all down in three or four gulps. If you don’t have Ambien, though, you can’t drink it after 6:00 PM. Otherwise, you will have to hope that two Benadryl is enough to get you to sleep, and if it’s not, then you’re fucked entirely. There’s no worse feeling than being up all night after taking a couple of Benadryl and then sitting at a desk the next day. You’re tired and anxious all at the same time. Actually, I’m sure there are worse feelings, like being punked in jail and tasting another man’s johnson and your own ass all at the same time. But I’m not counting that because I’m pretty sure I won’t have to go there again.

Mustapha Mond: Well, “Another Man’s Johnson and Your Own Ass” would an interesting new flavor of Upstate Ethers, that’s for sure.

Wintermute: Today I was on my way to work while all cranked out and shaky on Red Bulls and Benadryl, and I was probably doing 45 miles per hour up Millard Fillmore Avenue when I saw the light at South Asshat turning yellow, then red, so I punched it. But then I saw a cop turning into the intersection, so I slammed on the brakes right under the light and squealed the tires as I came to a stop right in front of him. At the same time, I stalled the car. The cop just looked at me and shrugged his shoulders like I was a fucking imbecile. I assumed I’d get tickets for speeding, running a red light and no seat belt but he didn’t do a fucking thing. He seemed more pissed that I was slowing down his trip to Dickie’s Donuts. God bless the Normanskill Police Department! Now: who’s got one of those “Sausage and Cigarette” flavored Upstate Ethers for me? I got work to do!

Published in: on January 2, 2010 at 12:37 am  Leave a Comment