"Nobody calls Bullshit on me but Nobody and Nobody calls Bullshit on me all the time"
By Uncle Ray
"Well, what we have here is PSAs for goners, I guess," says Bullshit. It is a holiday and I get to visit my favorite neighborhood sideshow couple - Nobody describes herself as "a recovering titty dancer" and Bullshit is just - what? Bullshit, I guess. Or maybe lower case. He functions as Nobody's boyfriend and foil and neighborhood crank - the first time I met him he told me he collects SSI from a horrendous mishap visited upon him when he was a roadie for The Crazy World of Arthur Brown in the '60s and "had my nipples burned off in the parking lot of a club in Missouri when Arthur's motherfucking gas headgear came to life while I was humpin' it to the truck." He has intriguing corroborating stories and scars, but mostly he likes to fuck with me and I don't care what really happened or if you can pull enough disability to mostly squeak by while bein' a nipp-less yang. He and Nobody have had lively discussions about this. I don't own a television.
So the PSA assessment is Bullshit's knee-jerk response to the Spielgusher collection I bring over to liven up the proceedings - we're watching the hermit crabs as usual, and today Nobody is making catfish "because every fuckin' squarehead in Squareheadville is busy fistfucking a large fowl stupid enough to drown while looking at the rain."I can't argue with this. She won't let me put football on, either. I'm trying to sneak it on the radio. watt the bassplayer took the writer Richard Meltzer's words and whopped up this Spielgusher thing with some other musician friends - Bullshit is hollering about Mingus and Jean Shepherd doing The Clown. "This was bigger than Dubuque!" he screams. It could be a long day. Just to yank his crank I mention the Ken Nordine Word Jazz records. He recites most of Flibberty Jib, heads toward his meds shelf and brings me up short - "Remember when they used that motherfucker in a commercial to sell PANTS? Well, that's sorta how I feel when I hear Burnin' For You on the god-damn classic rock radio - a sublime moment of raw-ass subversion; somehow one of the cows got loose from the slaughterhouse and she's gonna ramble." I look at him and he sneers at me: "Fuck yes I know who this motherfucker is - 'member when he wrote for Chic magazine? They let Lester Bangs loose in there too, hollering about K-Mart if memory serves. Had Norman Mailer in their pree-mier issue. You could buy one in North Madison, Ohio and I did. Then what always happens when you try that sorta thing happened - YOU HAD A FUCKBOOK WITH WRITING IN IT AND IT DIED!" He shakes a few plastic vials and I squirm; Nobody makes a face at him, a good one. For some reason she has an entire catfish in the kitchen; she snaps pliers at me and kisses them. They look more like Sears than kitchen but what do I know.
I should explain the hermit crabs here. They have a lavish pad all out of proportion to anything you would expect - it takes up most of a wall in the modest Nobody/Bullshit household. Bullshit and I planned it that way and then set about building it, usually without consulting each other on what we were bringing to the complex. I found a fox skull and a moat with a bridge. Bullshit found a ceramic stairway that trickles water down one side. There are rocks, half a moonshine jug, lights, a heater, shells both spare and decorative. Nobody made a mermaid fellating a happy beachcomber as part of her ceramics class, which was pass/fail. The whole complex consists of two tower-like aquarium castoffs on each side of the room, connected by other thrift store aquariums sorta Watts-Towered together - it doesn't have to hold water in most places, just hermit crabs - there's colored beaches of blue and pink and orange as well as regular sand, another bridge, some pirates and a shipwreck. There's also a small ceramic wading pool, which they aren't real big on except for dying in. We bought the hermit crabs last of all through the mail, after everything was built. Naming them was a chore fraught with many arguments - we agreed that it wasn't something to be jumped into right away, that a name could only come about after the h.c. exhibits behavior - traits, quirks, tics, routines, act-outs, etc. to WARRANT said handle. Nobody gets them mixed up and swears and Bullshit and I argue about misidentification as well as initial naming disputes. He thinks Tango Echo Delta should be Ginger Baker's Air Force, and vice-versa. These days we also have Butch, Ripcord, Dizlexluthor, Lovelace, Fancydance and The Judge. Kafka drowned yesterday and Nobody won't tell us where he is, which bothers me. There were past names I won't bore you with and other misadventures but none at our hands; these are some spoiled motherfuckers. Soon they will have dried catfish skin jerky. When Nobody gets exasperated I think they will have Bullshit. Or me. I played her some of this over the phone and she cackled when he said penis. "He's older than you guys, even. People my age say that. Some of them. I don't know how it got started but it shouldn't have. Still, he had me at 'I wanna smell you as you enter the room.' I'll call Bullshit. Bring it over."
So that's how the holiday kicked off. Sixty-three outbursts of Meltzer wordage and watt jamage. Catfish trauma at the hands of a reformed titty dancer. Some bullshit from Bullshit. He starts with this:
BULLSHIT: So I hear some Make-A-Wish kid wants to pilot a drone and whack a terrorist as his final, you know, ice cream at death's door.
ME: You're going to tell me they got a green light, aren't you?
BULLSHIT: They'd never admit it. It'll be done on the sly. It is a cultural thing, you know. While in other parts of the world children make origami cranes and write their grievances on them before they fly them into skyscrapers made of rose petals.
ME: You are a lying motherfucker.
BULLSHIT: You hurt my soul. Just reminds me, is all. Meltzer has grievances just like everybody else, only he can send his out there in a way that, you know, entertains those of us who craved not American Bandstand but something perhaps... darker. Meatier. Of a specific gravity lacking in the affairs of most pig iron dealers.
ME: Jesus Christ. So origami cranes and rose petal towers?
BULLSHIT: If only -
NOBODY: Yeah, which one of you dicks took the meat saw and didn't bring it back? I need to get the head off this bitch.
BULLSHIT: We are listening to ART here -
NOBODY: You are listening to a guy who is still being driven crazy by the hammer handle in his sweats while the grim reaper warms up his joy buzzer.
ME: Meltzer has always been woefully cognizant of the healing balm of porn, for example. I think he just pointed out there's a good chance people would die without it - on the other hand you spend most of your life with a sex clown in your trousers, getting to pilot the craft, call the shots, make the schedule, plan the event. Think of it - you go through life and your Events Co-ordinator is a DICK.
NOBODY: Mine's a cunt!
BULLSHIT: I don't like the way you're lookin' at me.
ME: Thomas McGuane said by the time a guy's forty he recognizes his dick for what it really is, a little maniac.
NOBODY: So some of you just don't get the message or just don't care? Not to pull rank but this is a subject I goddamn well have some opinions on.
BULLSHIT: Not with a missing meat saw hanging over the proceedings. Hey, I like this MUSIC. Believe it or not, I have heard Meltzer read before - Wednesday Is A Day For Baldies.
ME: That was in 17 Insects Can Die In Your Heart -
BULLSHIT: The name of his column in the snatch mag -
NOBODY: HEY! Dial it back just for today, ok? I spent years pretty much generating sluice for cum waterslides in ginmills.
BULLSHIT: I was talkin' about the MUSIC. I believe this works for Meltzer. I would like to get on the outside of a tumbler of brown liquor in a cellar somewhere - let's see, shoehorn him and the musicians in a corner on the way to the pisser. This is funky. They could work the interludes in live, too - get Meltzer some absinthe to get the social lube thing flowin'.
NOBODY: Found it! If one of you is ambulatory, hold while I saw.
My holidays are made of this. They liked the Spielgusher, the flow of it, the few Meltzer "solos" here & there - we played Where's Waldo with his cryptic titles for the band's instrumentals (I think he name-checks one of his deceased pets in one) Bullshit thinks 'the flight of gregory corso' refs the time GC tossed a brick though the front window of City Lights and cleaned out the till for a plane ticket. At some point Nobody put on the Jimmy Stewart movie Shenandoah. Jimmy plays a crank with sons who refuses to let them be drawn into the Civil War until it finds them anyway and one of the sons winds up a prisoner of war in a boxcar. After no small effort and more than one run-in with the engineer and crew, Jimmy god damn well grinds things to a halt and retrieves his son from the train:
"You run a sad kind of a train, mister. You take people away when they don't want to go and won't bring them back when they're ready."
Then he burns the motherfucker:
Train Engineer: You can't do that! You can't burn my train!
Charlie Anderson: Maybe not, but you gotta give me credit for tryin'!
Train Engineer: But why? Why?
Charlie Anderson: It's not the kind of train I favor.
Well, there you go - maybe Jimmy was having his own Spielgusher moment out there along the tracks - in my twisted-up head I'm always hollerin' about the sad kinda train we're on and the people who went away and won't come back - and nookie - imagined, denied, tormented, gone sideways, or just plain gone. We'll just have to guess Jimmy's character's thoughts on that subject, though he does take a heroic stab at explaining women to Doug McClure (looking like a chippendale drawn by R. Crumb) , who wants to marry his daughter. It is a sad kind of train, but we got Meltz' to wave his dick at it while it bears down on us. Burn it. Burn the train.
- Uncle Ray
Fuck Awareness Week, 2011
It flows thru
the death of me
like a river