Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Excerpt from novel-in-progress The Straight Life

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I'm working on two novels at the moment. The idea is to try and satisfy two very different desires, rather than attempting to shoe-horn widely disparate ideas into one manuscript. I'd recently posted an excerpt from Thracian Tales. This time I've posted an excerpt from the other thing I'm working on, The Straight Life. It's a madcap satire 'about' an 'illiterate goombah' becoming a celebrated literary lion due to the Machiavellian machinations of his agent, the redoubtable Jacqueline Dragomine. Hopefully, you'll find it fun to read. It is pretty rough at the moment, a bunch of scenes still requiring lots of re-writes and dovetailing but it's beginning to form into something. What exactly - hard to tell at this stage.
WARNING: There is some profanity in this excerpt, so please keep that in mind.
Now that you've been cautioned, take a look and if you're so inclined, I'd love to know what you think.

THE STRAIGHT LIFE

Awkward moment during top rank Hogtown literary gathering. A handful of guests stand about with plastic wine glasses filled with sparkling Niagara swill. Crinkly-haired arch-Canadian publishing Satrap aka Stanley Beaverton the 3rd wears tiny round specs and coiffured beard he constantly strokes and ruminates upon. Finds himself next to muscular, Brut-soaked, paper-trained 2nd generation Ethno-Canucklehead. This guy can’t shake an accent that is neither there nor here, and which makes him sound, to anyone within earshot, like he’s imitating a congenital moron. He christened himself Bruce since he was incapable of pronouncing his own given or surnames.

Bruce fills mirrors with low hairline and beady eyes, gussied up in baggy wigger gear, circa 1997. An enormous rhinestone-encrusted crucifix hangs from his hairy neck, elaborately detailed suffering Christ figure done in absolute 3D, with huge semi-erect uncut wang and a face like Ian Gillan, original howling JC Superstar Deep Purple stud-maestro. Bruce can’t describe it but his agent, Jacqueline Draogmine, has often reassured him, his applied idiocy will be interpreted as ironic foreshadowing, prompting him to remark: Da chicks, dey dig it, mano. But only as long as he keeps making that hard-on thug face that makes his jaw hurt after a while, but which long and extremely thin non-menstruating women insist they find beguiling.

So Bruce and Stan Beaverton VIII discover themselves in close proximity while standing around top rank Brigantinian Hogtown lit event. They trip one another’s radar and feel vaguely guilt-inspired impulse to enact actual, living breathing exchange of words and gestures.

Stan Beaverton XIV wonders and fantasizes, which his mind then carefully folds and Martinizes™, whether Bruce would lay hands upon him. ie: thrash him to within an inch of his life - as is his particular wont aka peccadillo. Stan Beaverton XVI wavers slightly in place, a tiny but lustful erection nudging his undergarments. He nearly drools at thoughts of their speechless encounter beginning with a solid, big-swing backhand. THWAP! Followed by hairy-necked Ethno-Canuckerjee issuing a torrent of vile curses bordering on gibberish and delivered with a heavy spray of rancid garlic-stink saliva.

Stan Beaverton VI elaborates to self:
Our encounter would take place in a narrow, anonymous hallway - or perhaps an even more anonymous high rise apartment complex emergency stairwell littered with cigarette butts and Precambrian condoms. No, no, too pretentiously nihilistic, too much accessible bathos.
“Hmm….” Stan Beaverton IV cogitates out loud. His eyes pop with inspiration.
A construction site… yes… On a sunny Sunday afternoon… A gentle breeze, a healthy and fulsome scenario serving as an example, a well-lit way forward for those who might follow in my mincing but trail-blazing footsteps…
So… yes…A manly and well organized construction site but quiet since the sturdy unionized fellows who toil thereupon during their working hours are spending a well-earned Lord’s Day recreationizing with “buddies”, womenfolk and off-spring, fruit of their prodigious loins. It is a time when it could legitimately be claimed that no one but a pair of duty-bound Men would gain entry. Yes, yes, oh yes, a million times yes… This young Homo-Ethnicus standing next to me in a ludicrously aggressive posture, with legs threateningly apart and large feet splayed widely - he will appear, breathing heavily and dressed only in work-worn Greb© brand steel-toed construction boots with traditional tan leather uppers and red oil-resistant rubber soles, classic gray and white wool-blend work socks with white heel and toe sections, red stripe peaking above the fully laced boots, along with the requisite bright yellow construction helmet and safety glasses which to the untrained eye appear to be a simple pair of horned-rims but with clear sections attached to the templates, designed to protect eyes from peripherally angled projectile attacks. Otherwise, the sexually hostile fellow will be shod only in a heavily encrusted Kenneth Anger-issue jock strap. Oh, and work gloves, yes - the kind with the gray leather palms and traditional blue and white striped cloth topsides and gauntlets. And… and - of course! He will brandish a claw hammer with which to menace me! Needless to say, he must be unshaven and inspirationally hirsute, upper torso covered with an effusive chest pelt while shiny black pubic hair boils from his barely adequate jockstrap, and enormous swathes of long black fur-like coverings on his shoulders and accentuating his manly buttocks.

Stan Beaverton XII makes a small harrumphing noise, turns slightly toward Bruce then screws up his tenor to utter: “I respectfully assume you are… ahem… hyphenated.”
Bruce’s head swings round as if he’s been slapped in that direction.
“Perchance you know of culturally significant dance steps?” Stan Beaverton the XV continues. “I mean to say, those originating from the source of your forebears emigration.”
Bruce’s mouth falls open like a dropped tailgate.
“Me? What about you, pink man? You know any fuckin’ sword dances?”
“What’s that you say?”
“A book I’m writin’.” Bruce edges closer. “Here, listen, I’ll tell ya how it goes. It goes like this.” Bruce begins to snap his fingers, off-key. “C’mon, Pasty. Kilts, bag pipes, rotten teeth, all that Scot-Ire-Eng-LAND horseshit. Krauts, Frogs, Nordigeeks, all you snow white faggafellas and yur cold-ass bitches. But you don’t feed snake to the skanks, do ya? Yeah, yeah. You got a bungo wide as a Trans-Canuckski pipe trench and you digga the smack around by the thick fingered Portogez, no? To beat the mother lovin’ shit right outa you, right? See, the sun is where the bleach comes out, digga me, sheet face? So, me, I go olive darky - or what we in the trade call Mahgrebian. And you Pinkster, you go lobster red, faggot pink, headed straight for Melanomaville - ‘bout as sexy as a bleedin’ dog ‘rhoid. Fuck. You cacksuckers couldn’t even live in your smoggy, foggy, mossy northwestern Euro cradle of civilization type pisshole without stealing the fuckin’ Gulfstream from the Caribs. Not for that, you’d all be jackin’ off into fuckin’ igloos. So you gonna pay large to blow my hamour or what da fuck? Beatings is extra. And if I gotta chase ya round an shit, that’s on top. Me no sabé workin’ for free, capeche?” Bruce and Stan Beaverton the IXX exchange stares, the first inkling of a unbridled passion. “So, uh…” Bruce probes. “Whaddaya tink? You gonna put me between yur covers, er wha? I hear you got like uh… some old time Calvinberg rotary, slammin’ out big time Byronic stock, powered by a buncha blind legless Chinkeroos you bought off Lotta Hitschmanova. Wanna talk to my agentrice, Jackie Dragomine?”

Stan Beaverton III appears to have turned to stone. His face glows with appalled shock. The words hiss out of him, quiet as roach legs rubbing together. “THE Jacqueline Dragomine?”
“Yeah,” sez Bruce, grabbing his crotch for emphasis. “Why, you mowed her patch, er wha?”
Stan Beaverton I is instantly soaked in rancid sweat. It drips off his chin. He shrink right before Bruce. “My dear fellow, I-”
Bruce holds up a fat, hairy finger. “Hang on, Saddlestitch. Before ya say anythin’, lemme go drain my dragon.”
Bruce goes in search of the “turlet”, as he’s learned to refer to what Jacqueline Dragomine had taught him to call what she refers to as “the defection room.” On his way there, Bruce decides to commit an act which some writer he’d met at a party ages ago convinced him was entirely feasible. The writer, whose name was equally unpronounceable, related an experience whereby he was taking a piss in the can at a big house party somewhere off Roncesvalles. When he’d turned and opened the door and was about to walk out, the female partner of a fellow writer he couldn’t stand was drifting past. She was lithe and aloof and wore torn up black jeans. The writer with the equally unpronounceable name reportedly reached out and taking the woman almost imperceptibly by the wrist, smiled shyly and murmured: “C’mere…” He drew her into the can and shut the door, much to the chagrin of those lined up outside, waiting to go, who let out a chorus of “Hey!” but instinctively understood that to make a further kerfuffle would label them as irredeemably “provincial”, an epithet they’d do anything avoid, up to and including piss their pants.

According to the writer with the equally unpronounceable name, he and the lithe female partner of the aforementioned hated writer had passionate, violent sex on the counter top, as the resounding CRACK, which could be heard through the closed door, attested. What the writer with the equally unpronounceable name didn’t tell Bruce at the time - because they were interrupted and Bruce lost focus - was that the writer with the equally unpronounceable name and the female partner of the hated writer continued their soul-absorbing relationship on and off for a couple years then eventually moved in together, their intimacy growing into such a pathologically intense union that both were consumed within a single flame.
If Bruce had known all this he would have felt duped since his admiration resided in the assumption that the writer with the equally unpronounceable name had achieved the singular ambush. The story had so inspired Bruce it made him decide to become a writer himself and that’s why he was at this top rank Brigantinian Hogtown literary gathering in a 14th floor event room in the Hogtown Harbor Castle. All he needed to figure out was what you actually DO at these things, besides stand around, refrain from picking your ass, drink really shitty rotgut and eat gross crap that looks, to him at least, like nothing but puke on crackers.

Needless to say, the restroom was empty and no one was lined up outside when Bruce approached. He walked in and it stank as if something had crawled out the ass of the previous occupant and died. Despite this, and with inspiration fixed firmly in mind, Bruce closed the door and drained his “Komodo” as he liked to refer to his organ since he was of the ilk who enjoyed naming their own body parts.

When Bruce turned and opened the door, a newly married woman suffering from a yeast infection and who’d had a fight with her mother that very afternoon was walking past. Bruce reached out and grabbed her wrist, yelling, “Come! HERE!” When a stunned and angry look leapt across the woman’s face and she resisted, Bruce tried to drag her bodily into the rank shit-cloud still thickly hovering within. The woman of course assumed Bruce was personally responsible for the choking, eye-burning stench. However, rather than cry out for help, she used a technique known as the “Slingshot”, a little something she’d learned in an attack-resistance class, a variation on the fundamental ju-jitsu principle that teaches adherents to defeat an opponent with his own power. The woman let Bruce pull her toward him with considerable force and timed it perfectly to drive a bony knee into his balls, thus increasing the impact exponentially. Bruce let out a sudden “GUH!” and released the woman’s wrist. He doubled over in agony, sank to the tiled floor and convulsively vomited.

In what seemed to him to be only moments, a pair of immense and spikey haired security apes descended. Unable to stand, Bruce was hauled away on his knees, which caused a tremendous build-up of static energy as his highly synthetic pants rubbed against the highly synthetic hallway carpet, till finally Bruce and the two apes simultaneously screamed: “FUCK!” after all three were given excruciating jolts of static electricity with blue sparks actually flying between them.

With the guard apes momentarily disabled and wondering if some new weapon they’d failed to notice on the Intergoog had been used on them, Bruce made good his getaway. He ran down the hall and suddenly remembering a Bruce Willis movie - or perhaps it was that other actor, Bald Savage - either way, he opened a laundry chute and dove in head first.
Unlike the movie he'd recalled, however, the trip down the chute was long and painful, with Bruce suffering several concussive blows to the head. After finally landing in giant laundry hamper about two minutes later, he was unconscious.

The guard apes had meanwhile summoned the police and the building was surrounded. But no staff member could be found who knew the actual path and terminus of the various laundry chutes. They’d been obsolete for years; since guests had begun to bring their own sheets, pillows and camper beds due to the raging bedbug epidemic. The problem had become so acute, the mighty hotelier was nearly bankrupted when a powerful heterosexual financier got cocooned in a miasma of bedbug feces and was carried off by the rapidly evolving creatures.

***

During certain moments, Bruce does somehow manage to drag his consciousness beyond his immediate self. The result: Startling revelations, soul-searing epiphanies, scales lift from his big, un-blinking eyes. He SEES - if only through a mysterious keyhole and is usually unable to identify what it is he’s witnessing, such as the notion that the woman he’s currently cock-obsessed over is not just a beer slinging barmaid at one of the scum-trendy dives his much-feared agent, Jacqueline Dragomine, insists he frequent, telling him: “You need credibility for godsake! Look at yourself, Bruce! If someone didn’t know otherwise, they’d assume you are nothing more than a brainless, hyper-cliched Gino moron. I am trying to HELP you, Bruce! I am trying to make you the first cross-over literary lion - a total imbecile who’s barely able to form a sentence, thus provoking the most brutal of athwart ironies, and as a result, is worshipped by the cognoscenti, the literati, the solons, the cerebs, the illuminatos, the pedagogues, bluestockings - the intelligentsia, Bruce! Am-I-getting-through-to-you!? HELL-OOOO?! Is anyone home, BRUCE!?”

His barmaid girlfriend, Athletica, is known as a radar-equipped adept among the slavish followers of the latest and most cutting-edge, most advance and most avant garde trends, tendencies and influences. She picks up the faintest glimmer of possible fashionability, often before the artist/designer/writer/dancer etc themselves has even conceived of their revolutionary concept. Athletica just knows.
So Bruce’s agent, Jacqueline Dragomine, commissions Athletica to feign sincere romantic interest in Bruce and deliver him into the trembling hands of those who would trade kingdoms for the mere chance to be able to tell anyone that matters they were absolutely and unquestionably the FIRST to discover the latest trend/tendency/influence, pay anything to revel in the indescribably delicious pleasure of instantly dismantling the current leading stuffed-shirt style maven with a shrug and the casually delivered line: “Yeah… I knew Bruce when he was still delivering donuts and writing with a crayon. Nice guy, actually…” And then quietly but powerfully orgasm in their pants when said stuffed-shirt style maven collapses inwardly, like a poppy bulb drained of its precious milky essence.

What Jacqueline Dragomine, or Bruce of course, don’t know is that Athletica is actually part of an elite, deep cover reconnaissance unit. Her mission: To gather data for future behind-enemy-lines tactical strikes on progressive and politically aware young middle-class (mostly) heterosexual family units. But Athletica and Co. have their work cut out for them. These ‘units’ are not the benign rubes they appear to be. Within them looms an iron core Family Compact morality sustained by the semi-rural, racially monolithic towns and burgs their forebears long ago colonized and built. These latter day episcopates invade quaintly multi-racial urban areas while bearing standard-issue weapons like air-superiority SUVs and laser guided babystrollers. Their strategy has always been brutally simple – a massed frontal assault on formerly obscure and attractively blighted neighborhoods using overwhelmingly inflationary firepower. They are more than willing - in fact, insist - DEMAND to pay exorbitant, even ludicrous prices for anything and everything; Houses, condos, cars, coffee, beer, clothing, cab rides, consumer electronics, whatever and eradicate those whose obsolete armaments are limited to 99-cent coffees, a few hundred dollars in rent and a five year old PC. However, the Family Compact commandos do leave behind a few tokens, such as the stereotypical Asiatic convenience store owner and his family, forced into a never ending pantomime of obsequious smiles, their entire existence based on affording the Family Compact commandos the casually administered opportunity to take a stroll to the corner store for a carton of milk and feeling as if they and their fellow ‘unit’ members exist in an authentic ‘neighborhood.’

The only solution is the guerilla warfare of specifically targeted headline crimes. A trashed $2,000 dollar stroller here, a destroyed home-made composter there, the odd bloody gang rape of a young and fashionably middle-class father as his 2.3 offspring wail on the sidelines.
“I’m sorry Ms Mount Forrest Ontario,” the Detective tells the widow. “Sometimes the war comes to you…”

Most respected archeologists and historians believe this species of grasping caucasoid parasite was responsible for the eventually decline of Ur, Babylon, Rome, Constantinople, Palookaville and similar big name towns down through the ages. They are relentless as locusts and create nothing but high prices and hatred. It’s no wonder everyone’s been wanting to murder them since before Saladin.

Meanwhile… downtown… Stepan “Campy” Cartier, the marketing genius that agent extraordinaire Jacqueline Dragomine has hired to promote what they’ve already decided will be known as Bruce’s soon-to-be-released “savage cry from the rotting underbelly!”

Campy has built his awe inspiring rep by going further than any marketeer before or since. Far past simply threatening critics, media mouthpieces and other with ready access to mainstream coverage with physical harm (“Go ahead and call the cops. They can’t be at your side forever, can they? Now let’s you and me talk like two grownups.”), Campy has made a fine art of entangling his ‘clients’ in a web of deceit and blackmail so complex, so odious and so depthless, that they either kill themselves - before which point Campy manipulates them into appointing a successor of his choosing - or they mutely do Campy’s bidding, never again having to be reminded about that certain under-aged female chimp wearing Liberace slippers and a ten inch strap-on. “Nice friends you’ve got,” Campy would smile. “How about we introduce them to the ombudsman down at Corpse HQ on John Street?” And who will feel pity for a mewling media darling? In the flint-hearted world of absolute horseshit, no man or woman or variation thereof can stand alone.

But that’s all moot today as Campy has other, more damning issues on his mind. He prowls around the office all afternoon, snarling at interns and entry level staff. Campy is bitter and detestable but is fully aware that he too remains a victim of raging ironies. IE: Despite having a full head of thick salt-and-pepper hair at age 59, it is so thick and cut in such a manner as to make one and all believe it is a cheap Barney Rubble style toupee. Campy has been known to grab hold of his hair, bend over and thrust his scalp into skeptics’ faces, yelling, “See!? It’s real, you fucking bald asshole! It’s REAL!”

But today, the incongruity of Campy’s old-growth pelt is the least of his concerns. He’s overcome with a far more challenging psychosis that the simple fecal degradation of the latest cute little newscaster won’t assuage. His palms are clammy, a neurotic hard-on cramps his underwear. He curses the clock till 4:59:59 pm then leaps into a waiting cab. Overcome with tunnel vision, already foaming at the mouth, the pain of anticipation worse than holding in a bad piss. Finally, he opens the hotel room door and is sucked in as if by the vacuum of cold interstellar space. Before he can make a sound, Campy's gagged and hog-tied with red silk rope, both feet cranked up to the back of his head in a spine-warping contortion straight from The Annals of Dracu.

Squat and hairy middle-aged torso arcs into a hideously sensual posture, lashed in place by veteran guerilla whores who've been petitioning for refugee status since 1979, when they came West on the Pol Pot Compromise. But these are no low-tech gooks. They're desperate to make a good impression with the local Sahibs. Look, Nayuhk Toh, our prayers are answered at last! An immigration sponsor!

Campy instinctively gives himself over. To be a boy, to be a girl, to be taken and held as pure flesh and nothing more. Stripped and smeared, hung from a portable gantry, he swings freely. Weee! The wall comes and goes, blood rushes to the strained face. Campy chomps on the iron bit of his custom bridle as the Slope love squad finish off the formalities by loudly reciting the recently revised United Nations decree on intimate relations between consenting Post Industrial Economies and Third World Backwater Shitholes. That's followed by their belting out a mangled version of the Maple Leaf Forever. Then they drag out the heavy equipment…

Campy never returns from the appointment. The mystery only gains attention after his credit card debt reaches Amber Alert proportions.
During the All Parties Commons Inquiry that follows, it's discovered these Master Gooks of the Mysterious Far Eastern Small Intestine Manipulation were sent to the fatal hotel gig by a harassed and inattentive manpower apparatchik down at the Ministry of Visceral Minorities. Their attorney convinces the jury it was his clients who suffered the worst of humiliations. As compensation they are offered three-fourths citizenship but have, by this time, already made a small fortune broadcasting an online S&M Game Show and returned to their native lands as conquering heroes, the heads of their oppressors on pikes…

***

Frank P. Mentula glances around suspiciously then throws a vice-like grip on Bruce’s arm and yanks him aside.
“Listen, Bwoocee, I gotta tell you something.”
“Ow, fuck, man!” Bruce simpers. “Don’t breaka da merch!”
Frank P. loosens his hold. “I’ve written the latest installment.” He shoves the sheaf of paper in Bruce’s face, who can make out the odd one syllable word but little else.
“Yeah?” Bruce asks carefully.
“Yeah,” replies Frank P. “Here, I’ll read it to ya.”
“You don’t hafta do that.”
Frank P slaps Bruce, just hard enough to focus his attention. Bruce cringes, holding his cheek, eyes welling up. “Okay, okay… I’m listenin’, fuck.”

Frank P clear his throat but doesn’t let go of Bruce. Frank begins by letting out a whistle of such extreme frequency, passersby flinch in pain while clapping palms over ears as they hurry away. Bruce reacts by beginning to drool, eyes growing into saucers, completely at Frank’s mercy. Frank P. Mentula reads out loud - pronounced, operatic and all-encompassing, heard for a radius of several blocks, like an air-raid siren:
“All the world’s monsters have woken up, ready to impose themselves on daily life. They don’t skulk around at midnight or during some stupid witching hour or show up only for Halloween or hang around graveyards or caves, murky lakes or lochs, swamps or dark basements, under beds or in closets. No, they don’t that shit no more. They have come out into the three hundred and sixty degrees of white sunshine.

An army of macro-fashionable freaks explodes onto the scene, tearing out lungs and throats, hearts, brains and testicles with unheard of panache. Media mobs quickly fasten themselves on, tenacious as Maltese Tiger Leaches. Bogeymen and vampires, ogres and ghouls, classic Haitian zombies, they debut on syndicated talk shows, devour their studio audiences. Golems, witches, warlocks and valkyries launch international awareness-raising campaigns, talk about the overwhelming loneliness of being a monster then author reams of best selling tell-all trash. Ghosts and poltergeists, the Hindu demons Raksasa and Danava, the Welsh Skatha, the vengeful Nemesis and of course, good ol’ Nessie. Their progress is rapid, making a merchandising fortune from action figures, ballcaps and t-shirts, playing cards, placemats, condoms and bed sheets.
A multitude of unexorcised devils - horned, Satanic and otherwise; Gargoyles, griffins, harpies and our old favorite, the Bangutot, all of them proving to be cultural innovators.

The Chimera and her repulsive brood swagger out of their grottos to leave a trail of beautifully eviscerated film crews while re-writing the meaning of Docu-drama. Medusa, the Cyclopes, the Minotaur, the Gorgon and the heavily re-branded Vagina Dentata have taken over the top of the movie charts with their slick, high impact 3-D allegories.

All those undead female children who were pierced in the womb with knitting needles are now the hot young celebrity banshees, Pontianak, Langsuir, Aswang and Balbal, dining on newborn males and amoral midwives. And let’s not forget werewolves, who’ve been roused in all their lycanthropian passion to singlehandedly revive the fundamental value of absolute pant-shitting terror.
Lately from Africa comes the awesome Khodumodumo. She’s a hideous wretch with long needle fangs, powerful hands and muscular, hairy legs. Her body emits a scent no man can resist, which she’s patented for billions. She carries a big rusty nail and drives it into the back of her own neck. That turns her into a beautiful, lascivious woman for a short time – long enough to gobble the genitals of any man foolish enough to lay back and revel in her experienced mouth. The line-up is endless.

Meanwhile, the Retro industry experiences a major boom with the return of Godzilla, Gigan, Mothra and Megalon, Casper the Friendly Ghost and the Titans, the original acid-blooded Alien, shape-shifting Reptoids and almond-eyed Grays, The Blob, The Thing, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Frankenstein and his Bride, Big Foot, Centaurs and the Sphinx, the Old Dragon and Hobgoblins, nasty little faeries and a herd of red-eyed Yetis. They tour as a wildly popular, blood-drenched musical that no audience can resist - or survive. Ticket prices spiral to the moon as they bring glorious new meaning to the Aryan survivalist’s humble and ancient credo: I only kill what I can eat. Just feedin’ my family, Mister.
Making the evolutionary ascent from media to politics, the monsters launch global dupe and scoop horseshit election campaigns and lay it out plain: For the freak shall inherit the earth!”

Frank P. Mentula stops reading, flagged but not failing. His eyes bore into Bruce’s mouth, who actually feels Mentula’s corne on his tongue, a slimy stroke along his tastebuds.
Bruce breaks out of the trance. He turns and spits onto the floor of the bar, noticing an ugly mix of exposed summertime feet.
“Here’s the deal,” says Frank P. “You’re gonna read this shit in front of insider industry conference sitting on steel & synthetic cloth chairs in generic ‘Maple Leaf’ event room of generic city center hotel.”
“Huh!?” Bruce yells like a deaf man. “READ!? How!? How’m I gonna fuckink READ!?”
Frank P. Mentula slaps Bruce, harder this time, spinning him round till he reaches out and stops Bruce’s spinning so his left ear faces Frank’s mouth.
Frank whispers up close, his tone lewd and highly suggestive. “I will reveal to you, Bruce. I will reveal the manifest destiny of my impregnable secret society of solid bond holy blood jism glue.”
“Ya,” sez Bruce in a robotic monotone.
“Yeah,” nods Mentula. “I will instruct you in the ways of the full-fisted, lost in the mists of time, double-fingered, over-and-under origins of European banking system handshake.” He gestures broadly at the crowd of drunken louts around them. “The written word is controlled by la matria, Bruce. Fluently adapting myself to the mores of the era, I shall race up the evolutionary ladder, stand erect in no time at all, take control of their catalogue of desires.”
“Ya,” Bruce repeats.
“You see,” infers Frank P., leaning right into Bruce as if intending to French kiss him but stops short, his scalding, sour breath burning Brucey’s lips. “It’s like this, kid. The absolute latest state-of-the-art studies have conclusively proven that when a broad, even a big mouth big brain arts community hag, when she gets super fuckin’ horny her body’s just tellin’ her to make a baby like right fucking NOW – all backed up by bountiful footnotes which are just a shitty rip-off of Schopenhauer’s old saw about hot young babe in love with hot young dude and she’s totally sure they are ONLY meant for each other, that looks don’t matter, they’re ‘soul mates’ forever, but then Schopsie himself cuts in to grab the cunt by the hair and hollers in her stupid ear with a thick Germanic accent like Colonel Klink: ‘You fuckink brainless horny schlut! Vaht if your ‘schoul mate’ vas a droolink old monkey in zeh vheelchair vis zeh colostomy bag you must change every fuckink hour!? Ha!? You vood like zat? Schoul mates, ha!? Vood zat be making you so horny, you schtupid graspink schlut!?’”

One of Brucey’s eyes begins to wander. Frank P nips it in the bud by using two fingers to hook Bruce by the nostrils. "So… uh… ya catch my drift, Bruce-oh? I am imparting to you, man. I hope you appreciate the fuck out of it.”
Bruce reacts with big slow nods, tongue hanging out, dog-like.

***

Aside from being Frank P. Mentula’s literary cipher, Bruce is also forced to act as his gopher. Rather than face a drug debt personally, Frank sends Bruce to tell some guy called Shkeefo that he’s “nothing but a big turd in a small shithole and he can fack off and Frank’s not paying for any lousy garbage dope and Shkeefo can go blow himself too.”

Since Bruce could never remember and recite such an opus, Frank P is forced to create a special implant just for the occasion…
Sent on the mission, Bruce wanders into a sports bar called Da Score. It turns out to be a place he used to frequent when he was still known as ‘Hey, Dipshit!’ It’s on the second floor above a sushi joint and has no windows. The walls are darkly paneled and jammed with every type of sports equipment, a rich display of multi-colored athletic bondage gear. Since it’s three in the afternoon, the place is dead but for a table of knuckledraggers. The four of them cease their low grunting as Bruce walks in. The bartender stops polishing his grille and sticks it back in his mouth. They try to heavy vibe Bruce right back out the door but the guy called Shkeefo raises a single finger from the gloomy rear of the dump. The hostility goes down a half notch.

When Bruce sits at the porker’s table, the slob begins to yack with the bartender, twenty feet away, making Brucey wait - and wait - a key aspect of the established protocol. With the help of Frank’s implant, Bruce can see right through these tripeds and their just-off-the-boat act. At one time, long ago, Bruce had assumed they were just house-apes like him but his heightened awareness reveals they are a virulent strain of tapped-in immigrant hot head that ostensibly uses the jungle of satellite dishes on the roof to tune in soccer games from aboard.

But in truth, these characters employ what is a complex multi-dimensional front meant to lull their enemies, the manga-cake Founding Peoples.
These round-backed babaloots come on aggressive at first but then quickly lapse into an ass-kissing grovel whenever the prototype manga-cake cop or inspector pays a visit. They feed the authority gimp the best of their fair and far away hovel, then drag their women and kids from the kitchen with vicious mumbles under the breath, turn again to the gov’t appointed factotum with a sycophantic cackle and crow the merits of his benevolent regime, the gracious gesture of allowing them to breed on the shores of this beautifully developed land, pulled inch by tormented inch from the savage wilderness.

The bureaucratic supernumerary is always a plump, well groomed little Uncle Tom of varied and indiscriminate ethnic background. His shaved face is soft as a dog’s tongue. He blushes at the attention, gurgles half-finished remarks about how hard these Johnny-come-latelies work, their selfless loyalty to family, children and folk dances. But the gullible shithead has no idea these mongrels harbor the wily peasant wisdom of playing dumb and winning in the end for they are nothing less than an ancient cult of Pluto, god of death and riches.

They hunker around their homemade wine and meat swimming in olive oil to patiently wait for the arch-code they came to this icy wasteland to hear. (No, stoopid, dat was only a test) It doesn’t matter they’re unoriginal as hell, slavishly copying the phallusophile cults established long ago by various clandestine lodges, secret societies, government ministries, exclusive ivy-covered clubs, inner sanctums and other glorified tree forts built by the pink-skinned Caucasoid males of the nation’s Founding Peoples. But these latter day imports dream of the day when they too can see their loins issue forth unimaginably powerful pervert-mandarins of the highest bureaucratic order.
So when the command come down, the best and brightest of them move inexorably toward the sacred grove, which has been turned into an over-flow parking lot for the world’s largest home renovation retailer.

But no matter. Comprehending its spiritual significance, these ultra-enlightened goons strip off their white tube socks and black vinyl loafers, their deodorant stained golf shirts and wifebeaters to dawn black silken robes. Wordlessly, they spread out in a prearranged pattern that depicts the eight-legged star of Hughes de Payen.

First things first, they capture a heretic of their faith lingering by the few ratty trees at the edge of the enormous parking lot. But this renegade’s really a benign type, relatively assimilated into mainstream culture. The brotherhood is horrified to learn he barely speaks the homeland lingo and no longer picks at ass nor ear. He simply likes to hang out of the trees naked, wack off in the soft sunlight. Tired of his people’s confining traditions, this iconoclast has a pronounced irreverence for gloomy ritual of any sort. He’s a Blakean really, studies the leaves, watches the occasional couple make out in their pickup truck and bothers no one.

However, within the strict orthodoxy of the Plutonian Phallusophiles, this is considered deeply heretical behavior and contravenes the fundamental tenets of their prehistoric sect. One of the cornerstones of their credenda dictates they re-indoctrinate or, if absolutely required, liquidate any dissenter.
According to closely observed tradition, the apostate is forced to get dressed, in his street clothes no less. He’s then bound, spread-eagle, to the roof of a large American sedan. A cloaked figure unravels a lavishly embellished parchment made from the sewn together scrotums of previous victims and solemnly reads the detailed charges of aloofness in a bastardized dialect of late Pelgasian, which roughly translates as:
“So, you Meester Smart Guy, heh? You theek you ees bettar than rest of us, heh? Old cocksmeeth ritsual start by ferst and only true Pope Tzohnny Twenty Three is no good enaf for you, heh? You like be alone, no? That what they all say. Always putting down group. ‘I no need group. Group okay but me different.’ Hokay, Tzoe, we feex.”

Having read the indictment, the High Priest stands over the miscreant and raises his arms heavenward. He recites the blessed incantations of the Necrophani, a series of whines, squeaks and whistles which at the climax of frenzy reach a canine maddening frequency. Initiates are to be recognized by the blood encrusted in their ears.

The soles of the heretic’s feet are beaten with a plastic road hockey stick until they swell up and burst the shoe leather. This crude but effective punishment, formally adopted by the Sultan’s Janissaries during the One hundred and forty-fifth Crusade, is the dreaded bastinado. But for all their lost-in-the-mists-of-time crapola, there’s a very simple way to defeat these cloaked cock freaks. Leak above info to their women. Do so and the whole scene instantly collapses into a yelling, shrieking blur of slaps, kicks, rolling pins and twisted ears.

Shkeefo finally deigns to speak with Bruce. The guy’s head is like a giant pork roast with a pair of raisins stuck in it. His face revolves in Bruce’s direction, slow as a dead planet.
“Frank P,” he states. “Frank P sending you?”
“Ya,” Bruce imitate his accent. “Frank P sending me.”
“Frank P,” Shkeefo says again. “Frank P giving you something for me?”
“Maybe telefono no work so good. Frank P, he say...” and Bruce’s voice suddenly become a tinny, metallic recording of Frank P himself in full shit-hurling mode. “You can go fuck yourself, ya fat fucking faggot goombah jerkoff! I ain’t givin ya fuck for that piece of shit garbage you call dope! So stick your stupid fuckin head up your buddy’s fat ass and wave bye bye to your five grand, ya fucking gearbox!”
The recording ends and after a long pause, Bruce returns to his blank-eyed, mouth-breathing self. Shkeefo peers at him, sly but confused. Bruce can see the slob debate the need for a sudden burst of purple-faced histrionics.
Frank’s implant also picks up on the potential for mayhem and downloads instructions into Bruce’s seldom used frontal lobes. Here’s how ya handle it, kid. Ya rassle Shkeefo into a leather bridle then ride the wild bucking moron through the bar till he blows a valve and keels over at the door to the women’s toilet. Capeche?
Bruce nods, seemingly to himself.
However, rather than immediately explode with rage, Shkeefo raises half his rump, squeezes out a high pitched stream of gas then lays on a thick smile. It’s a signal to him henchmen.

They sic themselves on Bruce, launch toward him like a pack of snarling Dobermans. Bruce turns so he’s at a right angle to the attack and becomes two-dimensional. Seen from the side, he’s nothing more than a thin black line. The implant then performs a slick act of visual ventriloquism, superimposing Bruce’s appearance onto Shkeefo. The henchmen mistakenly swarm their boss as Bruce quietly walks out sideways to the strains of guttural screams and the bloody rending of lard.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Basil Papademos

Basil Papademos is the author of MOUNT ROYAL: There's Nothing Harder Than Love, published in the spring of 2012 by Tightrope Books, also available as an ebook in all formats from all digital retailers. His earlier novel, The Hook of it is, was published by Emergency Press. His upcoming novel, How To **** Your Psychiatrist, will be published in the fall of 2013.

Go to Basil Papademos’s Author Page