Step Right Up

When a man gives up drink, he wants big fires in his life.

Also, mammoth wheelbarrows of narcotics. Though never mind that now.

Because big fires, we have those here in abundance. Now. Here. At the Manor. Since the season—yea, verily—has definitively turned. And, to beat off the winter cold of space, we, the cats and I, have been ceaselessly this wheel's on firefeeding the Fisher. Schlepping up from the basement—me, not them; they, just experimenting, curious, Science Men Cats, to discover whether I can both schlep, and avoid some neck-snapping fall, as they swirl around my flailing feet—huge herniating logs. In an ongoing cardiovascular exercise. To determine whether the aorta is preparing to blow.

For reasons unknown to me, the power company, PG&E, otherwise notorious as the nation’s premier Energy Robber, suddenly and recently heaved several hundred dollars in “credit” into my account.

So, while I am using their juice, and they are billing me, I do not need to pay them. This is a fine feeling. And so I have decided that I shall endeavor to ride this welfare wave all the way through the winter.

When I first moved into the Manor, in February of 2012, it presented three sources of heat: an electric wall heater, a gas wall heater, and a wood-stove insert that some wino had installed in the fireplace.

I immediately placed a piano in front of the electric wall heater. For no one who does not work for BlackRock or Goldman Sachs can in this region of the land afford to even for one night power up such a thing.

For a couple months I fitfully grappled with the wino fireplace appliance. But the device made me want to stab and shoot. I had been spoiled, for fifteen years up in Cherokee, with a freestanding wood stove that was Right and Wondrous and Simple and Good. While this drunken boat of a Fisher, wheezing and belching here in the Manor, was more frustrating than a used and abused Jaguar automobile.

So last winter I basically gave up, got lazy, and ran the gas wall heater. And PG&E, surely, it did love me.

But not this year. This year, I have ripped the pilot to the gas heater out by the roots. And I have come to a wary accommodation with the Fisher. Using “rhythm logic,” to attempt to grasp what possessed the wino, to do what he did. And how I can make it work, for me.

I think I have it now.

And so, until furthur notice, here at the Manor, it shall be burn, baby, burn.

When one is arest on the fainting couch, reading something penned one or four or twenty hundred years ago, basking like a cat in the waves of warmth pulsating from the Fisher, it is easy to eschew drink. Even when the wheelbarrows are depleted.

However, when one, to earn one’s crust, goes to the tubes, or, far worse, actually leaves the Manor, one then inevitably encounters persons, places, and things, that congenitally spark an “irresistible impulse” to, as we say in the law, grab a big jug, with each hand, and stuff several more, down one’s pants.

Take tonight. I am there in the corner store, waiting for The Man to determine how much his duct-tape costs. He has no idea, because no one has ever bought it there, and his wife forgot to price it, when first she ordered, and then shelved, it.

Back before the Dawn of Man.

I only need the duct-tape because the cats have decided to blow holes in the walls of the Manor. These they have determined are necessary in order that they might frolic with the fairies in the moonlight. But this cannot be. For they, like me, cannot be trusted, to wander alone, out there in the world, blow the man downwithout, potentially, even by fairies, getting Hurt.

The duct-tape is required to either repair the holes, or secure the cats to the floor. Or, perhaps, both.

Anyway. Pyramids, they are rising and falling, as this Store Man, over aeons, attempts to come to grips with a price. I can feel myself aging, alarmingly, until first I move into a walker, and then, finally, a wheelchair. I am like Bowman, there in the alien room, at the close of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I am hoping that I will soon resolve into a star-child, as did Bowman, when, suddenly, on the shelves of this store, I encounter what can only be described as the anti-monolith.

Lay’s “Cheesy Garlic Bread” potato chips.

Let us begin with this: “cheesy garlic bread” is an essential food group. It offers cheese, it offers garlic, it offers bread. All, really, that is missing, is meat.

And fire.

Too, I personally, actually, lived, for several years, on “cheesy garlic bread.”

That, came about, like this: an imp of Satan, a Cherokee Indian, hailing from a place impossibly named Crows Landing, one Herb Parker, induced me, one summer, when I was but 19 years old, and therefore literally did not know my ass from an ambulance, to move to some burg crow landingcalled Chico, where, for $100, I was able to enroll for a semester of university “education.”

Where I commenced to soon drop out of all of my classes. Because, elsewhere, I was learning about lovin’. And light.

Meanwhile, however, because that’s how they make, on this planet, these corporeal containers, I had to eat.

And so I ate garlic cheese toast. At a beer-and-bands joint called Canal Street.

Instantly transformed by my brother, when he migrated north a couple years after, through his gift of instant obscenity, into Anal Treat.

In any event, whether Canal Street, or Anal Treat, the place offered massive slabs of garlic cheese toast, for but $1.00. Offering enough caloric sustenance to power even a wildly high-metabolism young adolescent male through to the next day.

Garlic cheese toast, from Anal Treat, is, at least during that period, why I am alive today.

So I know what the motherfucker tastes like.

And I therefore know there was no way that Lay’s was going to get that taste into a potato chip.

And, I mean, why would you even try?

Not even Jesus H. Christ—the desert semitic magic man who transformed water into wine, raised dudes from outta the corpse-hole, scrambled up loaves and fishes to feed a shit-load of multitudes, ordered demons forthwith into the minds of pigs and then offed the whole lot off a cliff, walked hisself upon some water, spouted blood from every orifice, pushed the shit some rock aside to walk back upon the planet on his own hind legs from the dead—not even this guy, amid all the recorded words and deeds of his life, was it ever asserted, that he downloaded garlic cheese toast, into a potato chip.

So why, then, the hey, does Lay’s think they can do it?

Because they are of Satan.

I bought a bag of the offal, brought it home, opened it up, and tasted a chip or two.

And I can now report this: the Lay’s fail, it is massive.

There are hints, here and there, of what they were attempting to do.

But, as Neil Young so memorably expresseddon't go there it: “they tried to do their best, but they could not.”

There, to the left, is a photo of one of the Manor’s hole-boring cats, attempting to enter the Borg-chip bag.

This I prevented. Because I was afraid. That if he would munch such a chip, he might transform into something like Mothra.

I’m sorry, but a nation that attempts to move garlic cheese toast into a potato chip, this is a nation that has run so insanely amok that it must be, immediately, and at once, put to sleep.

It has become an actual, and even monumental, Danger.

Huns, Visigoths, Vandals, whatever—they must be mobilized.

Or next they will be manufacturing mice with antlers. A tongue-depressor that tastes like an air-freshener. A Michele Bachmann with three vulvas. That are said to smell like . . . victory.

Imagine some lump-throating filmic Cecil B. DeMille scene, of Jesus H. Christ crucified. And suddenly, into the foreground, foams some three-pieced potato-pimp, all slicked-up, face affixed in a rictus, waving a bag of “Cheesy Garlic Bread” chips.

You get the picture.

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17 Responses to “Step Right Up”


  1. 1 Alexa October 30, 2013 at 12:46 am

    you know, i have a million and 11 questions. this is an absolutely magical piece of writing, monsieur.

    • 2 bluenred October 30, 2013 at 3:06 am

      Go ahead. Ask the questions. The Million. And the 11.

      Ask.

      anyone who ever had a dream
      anyone who ever played a part
      anyone who’s ever been lonely
      anyone who was torn apart

      oh sweet jane
      sweet sweet jane

  2. 3 Alexa November 3, 2013 at 12:40 am

    why you don’t like these chips? they have an odd butter taste to me, but what is the basis of your aversion? 🙂

  3. 13 Alexa November 3, 2013 at 12:42 am

    this could take quite a while. i literally can’t imagine there would ever be enough time to ask and listen to the answers.

    • 14 bluenred November 3, 2013 at 7:01 am

      Well, one could start with one question. And then proceed from there . . . .

      • 15 Alexa November 3, 2013 at 8:24 pm

        in this most extraordinary place of yours, i have seen tags or categories (whatever they’re called in WP). there are several you have never used, or only used once. there is another category that would be a real addition. 😉


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