Wednesday, June 29, 2011

WRATH OF THE TODDLER (pt. 4)

            The Honorable Moses Olpian cleaned his glasses as he addressed the prosecuting attorney. “Your next witness?”
            The Assistant District Attorney, a tall wispy man, stood with pedagogical poise and said, “No more witnesses at this time, Your Honor. Prosecution reserves the right to call rebuttal witnesses should the need arise.”
            “Thank you, Mr. Waterston.” Judge Olpian turned to the opposite side of the bench. “Call your first witness, Mr. Lawyer.”
            Behind the defense table sat Jeffrey Three-Kinds-of-Cheese Dibble. The pepper-nosed toe-headed young man sat hunched over the table, wringing his hands under his ashen face. On trial for First-Degree Murder, he watched with glassy heavy-lidded eyes as his attorney, a simple country lawyer, rose calmly from his chair. Ensconced in a sharp bone-white Tom Wolfe, the six-foot tall planarian addressed the court. “Y’Honor, the Defense calls the Contrarian to the stand.”
            The doors to the courtroom swung inward with a flourish of cinematic contrivance. The Contrarian made his way down the aisle, his two jaws pugnaciously thrust forward. One jaw belonged to the head of Aziz al-Ibrahin, the other to the head of Shecky Rapaport.
            Waterston leapt out of his chair, nearly knocking it to the ground. “Objection!”
            “Now let me guess here, Y’Honor,” Simple Country Lawyer interjected. Stepping forward (or whatever worm-like single-celled organisms did when they ambulated) he said, “Mr. Waterston here intends to cite Branscum vs. Kundulini and argue against multiple sentiences taking the stand simultaneous-like. Am I right, Mr. Waterston? Is that the nub?”
            “Actually I was going to cite Paskind vs. Opperman, Your Honor, but Branscum works too.”
            “Well then, Y’Honor, I’d like to gently remind Mr. Waterston that in Weintraub vs. Florida the Appellate Court rules multiple sentiences admissible when sharing a corporeal form.”
            Waterston turned to Olpian. “Your Honor, Weintraub specifically applies to cases of shared possession of a single body. The Contrarian is two individual heads surgically grafted onto one body.”
            “Mr. Waterston’s acumen of precedent is more impressive than a catfish with a football; certainly, Y’Honor. But I seem to recall a certain case addressing just this type of razzmatazz. Monahan vs. Snacks I believe it was.”
            “Your Honor, Monahan was a civil suit. This is a criminal trial. It has no bearing on this case.”
            No one in the courtroom noticed Simple Country Lawyer’s eyes victoriously narrow. “Well I may just have to reconsider the praise I’ve heaped here upon the Assistant District Attorney. Surely you remember, Mr. Waterston, Monahan vs. Snack’s journey to the highest court in the land? Why, it was Rancid Bevallaqua himself who authored the opinion. Therein the Chief Justice established that no witness could be prohibited from testifying based on a pre-existing medical condition for which the witness in question is not responsible. The Contrarian’s current bi-cephalic state constitutes a pre-existing medical condition; I believe you will agree. And even a concussed simpleton knows it was the nefarious Doctor Ratline who amalgamated Messers Rapaport and al-Ibrahin into one The Contrarian. Y’Honor, if this here poor dual-headed abomination doesn’t fall under the precedent of Monahan, then I’ll be a chickenhawk with a empty backfield.”
            “Your Honor, this is a mockery of judicial protocol.”
            Judge Olpian nodded. “I agree,” he said. “But it carries weight in the eyes of the law. Objection overruled. You may take the stand, Mr. Contrarian.”
            Waterston clenched his teeth and returned to his seat as the Contrarian crossed the well and stepped into the witness box. A court officer stood before him and presented the Bible. “Place your left hand on the Bible please,” instructed the officer.
            Everyone in the courtroom leaned toward the stand, straining to hear the muted exchange between the Contrarian’s two heads. “Just do it already.”
            “It’s not the Quran.”
            “It doesn’t matter.”
            “It does!”
            “Jesus! Stop being so hidebound.”
            “I am not swearing on that book.”
            “I’ll swear. You just have to touch it.”
            “You should be ashamed of yourself.”
            Judge Olpian brought down his gavel with a reverberant bang. “Mr. Contrarian!”
            The Jewish head turned to the judge. “Sorry, Your Honor.” It turned to its Muslim counterpart and whispered harshly, “Do it!” The Muslim head sighed and looked away with a twisted mask of revulsion. The Contrarian, his left hand on the Bible, took the oath.
            Simple Country Lawyer took to his feet. “Mr. Contrarian, what is your full name?”
            “Isaac She – ”
            “He was talking to me.”
            “No he wasn’t. And we agreed I would do the talking.”
            “Yes he was and we never agreed to such a thing.”
            “Fine. We’ll take turns.”
            “Fine. Go.”
            “Isaac.”
            “Aziz.”
            “Shepshul.”
            “Al.”
            “Shecky.”
            “Ibrahin.”
            “Rapaport.”
            Simple Country Lawyer smiled. “Very good.” Now, speaking to the Mooslim head of y’all, where were you at sundown on the twenty-second of March?”
            “I was in my apartment.”
            “And what were you engaged in at that point?” Simple Country Lawyer continued.
            “Well half of me was dutifully praying to Mecca, while the other half of me was masturbating to Roadhouse.”
            Simple Country Lawyer continued, “When you pray to Mecca from inside your apartment, where exactly do you pray?”
            “Whenever possible I pray eastward from the center of my living room.”
            The defense planarian asked, “And is that the spot from which you prayed at sundown on the twenty-second of March?”
            “Yes. We have a sixty-three inch LCD screen in there, so everybody was happy.”
            Shecky's head cut in, “Okay. You don’t have to keep harping on it.”
            “The Jew eats pork!”
            “I’m Reform! We don’t care about that!”
            Simple Country Lawyer plunged ahead. “Leaving aside the more erotic endowments of the Kelly Lynch oeuvre,” he said, “is there a window in that there room standing between you and Mecca?”
            “Yes.”
            “And when you look out the window,” Lawyer continued, “what do you see?”
            “The office building for Activists & Jugglers Notary.”
            Simple Country Lawyer turned to address the jury. “The same building where the murder was committed.” Turning back to the witness, he said, “Now… what floor of the Notary does that window parallel?”
            Rapaport’s head lulled with disinterest to the side while al-Ibrahin’s head said, “It’s actually just between the sixth and seventh floors.”
            Turning once again to the jury the defense attorney repeated, “Between the sixth and seventh floors,” laying it on thick as biscuits and gravy. “Now, Mr. Contrarian, could you please tell the court what you witnessed at sundown on the twenty-second of March?”
            “I was praying with my eyes closed, reciting the Maghrib. As soon as I finished, I opened my eyes and saw a golf club slash the air in the office across the street from my apartment. I got up, ignoring his pleas to let him finish, went to my window, looked down into the office, and saw the defendant standing over a broken putter covered in blood and the body of the murder victim.”
            The jury and those in the gallery gasped audibly. “I sure do love when they do that,” Simple Country Lawyer said to no one in particular. He then addressed the Contrarian’s Jewish head and asked, “Do you agree with that testimony, Mr. Contrarian?”
            “No I emphatically do not!”
            The courtroom gasped again and Simple Country Lawyer shuddered with a delighted squeal. “With what in particular do you disagree?”
            “First of all, I was watching Warm Summer Rain. Kelly Lynch only gets naked once in Roadhouse. Second, it was just a flash of light we saw.”
            Al-Ibrahim's head contradicted, “You were pre-occupied. How do you know?”
            “It’s called peripheral vision. And I was finished by that point – I just needed to clean up. And when we got to the window, it wasn’t the defendant we saw. It was some guy who looked like Shia LaBouef.”
            "He did not."
            “He does look like Shia LaBouef!”
            “No he doesn’t. He looks like Dave Eggers.”
            “Are you blind?”
            The two heads were now turned to directly face one another. “And it wasn’t a golf club. It was one of those metal braces you screw into your wall when you’re putting up cheap shelves.”
            “Those metal braces don’t have putter heads on them.”
            “It wasn’t a putter!”
            “Yes it was!”
            The Contrarian’s hands tried to grab each other while his two heads lunged at one another, each trying to sink their teeth into the other’s face. Waterston jumped up. “Your Honor, the witness has just contradicted himself. He should be excused and his testimony stricken.”
            Simple Country Lawyer stepped forward proudly, grinning from would-be ear to would-be ear. “Y’Honor, I’ll be hogtied to Barry Sanders if McKay vs. Sturgeon doesn’t explicitly state when a witness allowed under Monahan vs. Snacks contradicts himself on the stand and the discrepancy in his testimony is caused directly by said witness’s multiple sentiences, a mistrial must be declared.”
            The courtroom was nonplussed by the sudden spring of the trap. Waterston’s eyes widened in furious anxiety. “Your Honor, you can’t allow this!”
Judge Olpian inhaled through his nose past his face as it calcified with anger. “I’ll render my ruling on this after I’ve studied the cases for myself. Mr. Lawyer, you can’t begin to comprehend how much Contempt of Court I’m going to hold you in if your reading of precedent has even the smallest loophole. We’ll reconvene tomorrow morning at ten o’ clock.”
The judge banged his gavel. Everyone stood until Olpian was out of the courtroom. Simple Country Lawyer turned to Waterston and said, “Being a lawyer’s not as easy as playing one on the TV, is it?”
Waterston opened his mouth to respond, but stopped as he heard a loud sudden sound.
Simple Country Lawyer peered down at his belt buckle. The steel pig blinked yellow and emitted an obnoxious snort of warning. “Excuse me, gentlemen,” he said gentlemanly. “Looks like I’m needed.”

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

WRATH OF THE TODDLER (pt. 3)


           With a grinding whoosh of steel air a circular hatch in the ceiling corkscrewed open. The villains craned their necks as a gauze of light fell upon them. A pair of bare feet emerged from the hole, descending to the floor. Atop the bare feet was an emaciated man suspended from a rope and hook, bound in fishing line and clad in a loincloth fashioned out of paperclips.
            The gears stopped with a angry clang. The emaciated man came to a halt a foot above the floor. Dubious Lee stood next to him and addressed his allies. “You all remember my old partner, Calvin Julius Horsefinder?”
            “I thought he was dead,” said Alfobet Soope.
            “Erroneous reportage, Alfobet Soope. No, Mr. Horsefinder has generously volunteered to vanquish your various vexations.” He turned to Horsefinder. “Isn’t that right, old friend?”
            Struggling to raise his head, eyelids fluttering over bloodshot eyes, Horsefinder croaked, “Please, Leland. Don’t.”
            “Fret not, friend. Just as I promised, once you’ve answered some very simple questions from young Master Toddler, you may go on your way.”
            The Toddler approached Calvin Julius Horsefinder and stared at him. Horsefinder looked nervously to his former partner. “Introduce yourself, Calvin,” Dubious Lee prompted. The other villains looked on.
            Horsefinder swallowed hard and looked to the Toddler standing before him, looking at the bound man with expectantly widened eyes. “Hi,” he said. “I’m Calvin Julius Horsefinder.”
            “Why?” asked the Toddler.
            Horsefinder opened his mouth to answer but found himself stymied silent. He looked to Dubious Lee, who motioned for the captive to answer. “Well, my parents named me that.”
            “Why?”
            “Because they liked the name?”
            “Why?”
            “Because… they wanted to honor their parents.”
            “Why?”
            “I-I don’t know.”
            “Why?”
            “‘Why?’ Because they never told me.”
            “Why?”
            “Leland!” cried Horsefinder. “What’s going on?”
            “Answer the question, Calvin,” Dubious Lee calmly ordered.
            Horsefinder looked back at the Toddler. “‘W-Why didn’t they tell me?’ They… they just didn’t!”
            “Why?”
            “Look, shut up, alright?”
            The color oozed out of the Toddler’s cheeks and suffused his eyes, now deep-set and wreathed in shadow. His face hardened into volcanic rock. He pursed his lips into a curl of diabolical hunger. “Why?” the Toddler repeated, his voice now a bestial growl of enmity.
            With impelled, intimidated calm Horsefinder answered, “They didn’t think it was important.”
            “Why?”
            “They didn’t think I was important.”
            “Why?”
            “They hired people to take care of me.”
            A tear spilled from Horsefinder’s eye. “What’s going on?” Alfobet Soope whispered to Dubious Lee, who advised patience with a single upraised finger.
            “Why?”
            “Because they would rather have gone to parties and buy things they never used and cheat on each other.” The floodgates swung open and the tears exploded down his swollen face.
            “Why?”
            “Because they didn’t care about anything but themselves.”
            “Why?”
            “Because they were rich and powerful and spoiled.”
            “Why?”
            “Because Dad was a corporate thief who lined his pockets with the spoils of other people’s labors.”
            Thin veins of pink shot through Horsefinder’s rivulets of tears and the clear streams soon ran red. Alfobet Soope, Metalhead and Titmouse looked to Dubious Lee. He grinned back, an insidious twinkle of knowledge in his eye.
            “Why?”
            “He was a greedy son of a bitch.”
            “Why?”
            “H-He was a sociopath.”
            “Why?”
            “I don’t know!”
            Spasmodic kernels began to percolate beneath the skin of Horsefinder’s extremities.
            “Why?”
            “Because I don’t know everything!”
            Horsefinder’s eyes grew engorged and threatened to burst from their sockets.
            “Why?”
             “Because I’m not God!”
            The rope swayed wildly as Horsefinder’s undulations increased in frequency.
            “Why?’
            “BECAUSE I’M NOT!!!”
            “Why?”
            Horsefinder’s body erupted in violent tremors. His shaking head catapulted his bloody tears into the air. His jaw flapped like a running piston but no words came forth. His mouth instead belched a long tortured squeal. Dubious Lee smiled proudly as the other villains looked on, still as statues.
            Horsefinder fell silent. His body went limp. His head slumped to his chest. Just as the others realized that Calvin Julius Horsefinder had died, gray matter seeped out of his head’s various orifices. The Toddler looked away from the hanging carcass, reached into his pocket and started playing his Nintendo DS.
            “You see?” Dubious Lee blared mirthfully. “No adult can withstand the wearisome why-age of a three-year old. But one compelling you to confess and face your most daunting demons, one possessing the power to extirpate the encephalon entirely… !”
            Metalhead stepped forward. “… I’ll fuck anything he wants me to.”

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

WRATH OF THE TODDLER (pt. 2)


            The villains gathered around the table displayed their collections of hunched shoulders, furrowed brows, and rolling eyes to Dubious Lee. The mastermind crossed his arms against his chest and met their impatient looks. “You disappoint me,” he gravely intoned.
            “Well, y’all gotta do better than ‘silence,’ you know what I’m saying?”
            “Yes, I do indeed know what you are saying. You all have exposed yourselves to be utterly incapable of avenging yourselves upon a mild case of mudbutt on your own.”
            Metalhead leapt out of her seat. “What about you, dick-wound? How’d the fucking take-over-the-Bar-Association-plan work out for you?”
            “Or the biscuit and gravy aphrodisiac?” added Alfobet Soope. “That was the height of glory.”
            “But united,” said Lee, “we can enlist the services of one with the power to crush Simple Country Lawyer once and for all!”
            The wall of the conference lair was suddenly bifurcated by a blade of light. Metalhead, Titmouse, and Alfobet Soope drew back, whipping their forearms in front of their eyes. The blade fattened as the wall split in half. The light rushed in but its source was obscured. A small humanoid silhouette stood before the light’s vanishing point. The villains watched the black bulwark approach them. Its gait was an awkward staccato waddle and the mysterious form lifted its knees to a curious height. Then, just as suddenly as it appeared, the light vanished. Before the group stood a three-year-old boy with lightly tousled hair, denim overalls, and t-shirt sporting a smiling Jolly Roger.
            “My conspicuously curt colleagues,” announced Lee, “I give you… The Toddler!”
            Groans filled the room as the others flopped into their seats.
            “What?” asked Dubious Lee.
            “Are you sssshiting us? Another ringer?” asked Titmouse.
            “An actual toddler?” added Metalhead.
            “This, my friends, is different.”
            Metalhead said, “Remember L.U.C.A., the A.C.L.U.bot? The southern-fried sissy convinced him to go work for the mafia.”
            “Yessss,” concurred Titmouse. “And he convincccced the Bearded Lady that sssshe wassss a fat hairy gay man and ssssent her to a bear bar. They mauled her to death.”
            Alfobet Soope said, “Yeah, and when y’all sicced the Dali Llama on his ass, the Lawyer turned him into a suicide bomber.”
            “And now we’re going to go with some cutie-pie cum-stain?” accused Metalhead.
            “My acrimonious allies,” Dubiously Lee said suffused with pride, “the Lawyer’s power resides in his two-pronged attack of homespun charm and redneck logic.”
            “Don’t ssssay that word!” mocked Titmouse.
            “No. ‘Redneck,’ ‘hick,’ ‘hillbilly,’ ‘white trash,’ and ‘shit-kicker,’ are all acceptable terms.” Lee continued, “The Toddler possesses the ability to not only negate the Lawyer’s powers but to turn them against him.”
            Metalhead arched an eyebrow. “And he’s willing to do this?”
            “For a price, of course – one which requires all of us to meet. I will provide the three-million dollar fee. Alfobet Soope, the Toddler requires your autograph.”
            “You pay me for an autograph!” Soope responded.
            “Not this time, my atramentous abettor!”
            “Huh?”
            “And the Toddler requires the autograph etched upon a football.”
            “Fine!”
            “The Toddler also requires the football to be that which you caught to win the 1998 Championship.”
            “Bullshit! I fucked Beyonce with that ball! S’my favorite thing in the world.”
            “Don’t you have two children?” asked Titmouse.
            “Yeah.”
            Dubious Lee continued, “The Toddler also demands that it be personalized.”
            “S’not happening,” Alfobet Soope said.
            “The inscription must read, ‘Toddler, your wiener puts mine to shame – Alfobet Soope.’ ”
            “Fuck that!”
            Dubious Lee smiled. “The Toddler’s price is non-negotiable.”
            “Then we’re going to Plan-2.”
            “Titmouse,” Lee continued, “you need only entertain your own highly valued vocation.”
            “You mean I have to rape ssssomeone? Done. Who am I raping?”
            “You must violently violate the Toddler’s father.”
            “What?!” yelped Titmouse.
            “Yes. It seems the man is withholding the Toddler’s rightful inheritance as bequeathed by his grandfather. You are to rape the man into submission.”
            Titmouse whined, “But I wanna rape women.”
            “The Toddler has assured me his father possesses ample man-breasts.”
            “Tearssss and pussssssy!”
            “Furthermore, you are to despoil the man with an onion.”
            Titmouse gesticulated desperately. “Why are you lisssstening to this kid? That’ssss sssstupid. You can’t rape ssssomeone with an onion.”
            “Metalhead!” Lee turned to the steel-coated woman. “You must – ”
            “Stop!” Metalhead leaned forward with her hand help up. “Before you go any further, I’m going to tell you right now. Cut to the fucking chase and just tell me outright what debasing bullshit I have to endure to appease this little shit.”
            “You, Metalhead, must lie with a man.”
            Metalhead looked at Dubious Lee dubiously. “By, ‘lie,’ I’m assuming you mean, ‘fuck,’ right?”
            “Correct.”
            “And?”
            “That is all.”
            Metalhead’s eyes narrowed. “I just have to fuck a guy?”
            “Yes, my duplicitous darling.”
            “Any guy?”
            “Who ever you wish. The Toddler regrettably deigns that his clients conform to, as Edward Gibbon opined with antiquated aplomb, ‘an entirely correct sexuality.’ ”
            “What the hell does that mean?”
            “He doesn’t like lesbians.”
            “I’m not a lesbian!”
            Everyone’s head spun with wide eyes trained on Metalhead, “You’re not?” asked Lee.
            “What the fuck gave you that idea?”
            Lee: “Your more masculine affectations.”
            Soope: “Y’all like to say the fuck-word.”
            Titmouse: “All that crazy demeaning porn in your temp folder.”
            “I’m not gay, you fucking idiots,” reiterated Metalhead. “I’m just metal like that.”
            Dubious Lee turned to the Toddler, who motioned for Lee to bend down to his level. The Toddler whispered into Lee’s ear. “The Toddler,” Dubious Lee addressed Metalhead, “wonders if you are perchance a she-male?”
            “Tell the Toddler if I had a dick I’d be choking him with it right now.”
            Titmouse pointed a clawed finger at Dubious Lee. “All thissss rugrat hassss sssshown issss he’ssss a high-maintenancccce little turd. Why sssshould we meet hissss pricccce?”
            Before Dubious Lee could open his mouth, the Toddler tugged at the hem of Lee’s jacket / cuirass. Lee bent down and accepted the Toddler’s whispered instructions. A wicked smile crawled across his face. “An excellent question, Titmouse. The Toddler is prepared to present you with proof of his prowess in perniciousness.”
            “Y’all missed that last one,” noted Alfobet Soope.
            “Fuck you.”

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

NOT A REVIEW OF "AMERICAN CREATION" BY JOSEPH ELLIS


            Joseph Ellis has made a career of bringing a keen eye of dispassionate probity to the Revolutionary Generation. Wisely discarding the oft-used sobriquet, “Founding Fathers,” Ellis has repeatedly shown the Olympians of America to be extremely talented but fallible human beings whose weaknesses molded the fate of the United States as thoroughly as did their strengths. In his 2007 book American Creation, Ellis continues his winning scholarly streak with the assured hand of a born storyteller.
            As in his excellent Founding Brothers, Ellis employs an episodic approach in chronicling the foundation of the United States, examining, in turn; the debate over declaring independence, Washington’s army during the winter of 1777-78, the ratification of the Constitution, the Treaty of New York, the emergence of political parties, and the Louisiana Purchase. Ellis masterfully illustrates how the individual personalities of the players were often pitted against the political realities of an experimental nation. These men were keenly aware of how precariously the survival of the nation hung by a thread. Sometimes they sided with their principles and lost. Sometimes they embraced those political realities at the expense of their consciences. Like the best historians Ellis keeps the human drama in the forefront. You get to know Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and others as well as the historical record allows. You feel the weight on their shoulders.
            The author comes up short only in his depiction of Thomas Jefferson. As he did in his biography of Jefferson, American Sphinx, Ellis attempts to marry the contradictory parts of Jefferson’s character, particularly in regard to Jefferson’s professed distaste for the institution of slavery and his unwillingness to seize the opportunities to do anything about it. He is just as unsuccessful as he was in the biography, and we are left with a portrait of a man who may have been nothing more than a hypocrite.
            Not withstanding Ellis's inability to reinforce Jefferson’s status as a hero while humanizing him, Ellis succeeds with honors. He is uniquely able to educate readers on the winding road that was the birth of the country. David McCullough has assumed the de facto role of America’s Historian Laureate, but Joseph Ellis’s name deserves to be spoken in the same breath.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

WRATH OF THE TODDLER (pt. 1)


            Dubious Lee’s hair, black and graying at the temples, was gelled back solid. His face glowed a purchased (or, in his case, stolen) bronze. He cut a dashing, devious figure in his hand-tailored stealth-black-and-spun-gold samite Armani business armor.
            The great conference table – emblazoned with the wraith-like sigil of his initials – straddled the length of his conference lair. Dubious Lee stood at its head, hands planted on the tabletop, shoulders hunched, and addressed his guests. “Allow me to explain why I’ve summoned you here. We four, as motley a menagerie of malevolence as we may be, have one thing in common.
            “Metalhead. You were once a bountiful bouquet of beauty. The Muse of Metal from Motorhead to Ministry, you served your beloved gods with the exquisite √©lan of a pliant, purposeful priestess. You supplied your idols with everything from musical motivation to coital comforts… until a certain enterprising young attorney tasked with defending a paramour of yours from a possession charge threw you under the proverbial bus. Forced to flee for your freedom, you were subsequently saddled with your sad cephalic circumstances.”
            Metalhead nodded her metal head.
            “Alfobet Soope. You were a gridiron god, a paragon of pigskin poetry possessing powers unparalleled. And then you were banned from the sport, forbidden forever from practicing your precious profession. You were not guilty of employing controlled contraband or paraphernalia of a proliferated potency. You were merely utilizing your naturally bestowed abilities. Yes, grandstanding megalomaniacs are perfectly welcome in professional football… provided said egotism fails to imbue you with preternatural powers… powers that were exposed by our litigious little friend.”
            Alfobet Soope puffed up his chest, thrust out his chin with peacock pride.
            “Titmouse. It was that self-same servant of the state who convicted you in that cockamamie kangaroo court. It was he who successfully moved to incarcerate you in that godforsaken military prison. It was he who suggested subjecting you to those excruciating experiments, resulting in your tragic transmogrification from routine run-of-the-mill rapist… into Titmouse, mutated mammary molester.”
            The anthropomorphic rodent gnashed his teeth with a hiss.
            “As for myself, I was a titan, the inherent incarnation of invincible industry. My power, prestige and profit were positively perplexing. I changed the course of commerce. Why, I invented going green. I heeled my holdings with the homeless, reaped my resources with runaways, and fueled my factories with the blood of aborted babies. And our mutual friend ruined me! He is singularly responsible for the death of the legendary Leland DuBois and the birth of the dastardly Dubious Lee!
            “I have summoned you all here for one purpose…
            “To destroy Simple Country Lawyer!”
            A collective groan filled the conference lair. “We’ve been through this before, Lee,” Metalhead lamented.
            “What do you mean?”
            “I mean, this is it. Every time you call us here you give us the same limp-dick speech about, let’s kill Simple Country Lawyer – and it always gets fucked up.”
            Alfobet Soope agreed. “Yeah, y’all don’t know how to exact vengeance on a mutherfucka. Y’all gotta bide your time, you know what I’m sayin’? Lull a mutherfucka in a false sense of security. Then ya go up for the ball and here come the safety ‘cause he in a disguised zone but I figured that shit before the snap. He go up with me so I take the ball and jam the end in his throat, ‘cause there that space between the helmet and the top of the pads and I can do that ‘cause I agiler than the average mutherfucka. I take the ball in for six and run back and shit in the mutherfucka’s grill and Ima draw a flag for it, but I don’t give a fuck ‘cause Ima fuck his woman so good she throw a flag on that nigga.”
            “Are you finished?” Lee asked. “And don’t say the n-word.”
            “I am the n-word.”
            “Silence.”
            “Look, Lee,” Metalhead started, “if we’re gonna take out Simple Country Lawyer, then none of this pussyfooting pussy shit you’re all hot and bothered for. I say we go in guns blazing in a berserker fucking rage, burn him down and salt the fucking earth.”
            Dubious Lee shook his head. “The Lawyer is far too facile to fall for a hotbed of hostility.”
            “Well, your namby-pamby shit’s yet to produce any – ” Metalhead stopped as she caught Titmouse from the corner of her eye. “What the fuck are you looking at?”
            Titmouse quickly looked from her tits to her eyes. “Nothing,” he said.
            “You were staring at my tits, weren’t you?”
            "Sssso what if I wassss?”
            “I will fuck your vermin ass up!”
            Titmouse leaned forward with a happy glint in his eye. “Yessss. Anger me, bitch.”
            “Bitch, I’ll make you my bitch!”
            Dubious Lee cried, “Silence, both of you!”
            “See,” Alfobet Soope chimed in, “y’all don’t know how to run a meeting. You gotta – ”
            “Silence!”
            Alfobet Soope rolled his eyes. “Fine. What ya got planned? Giant death ray?”
            “An army of mutated something-or-other?” guessed Metalhead.
            “Turn him into a feissssty little filly with big titssss and pointy nipplessss?”
            Lee shook his head with a satisfied grin. “No, my contemptuous comrades, no. My plan is one – ”
            “Chinky nipplessss!” blurted Titmouse.
            “No – and don’t say that word?”
            “‘Nipplessss?’”
            “No. The c-word.”
            Metalhead said, “He never said ‘cunt.’”
            “‘Chink’ – and don’t say that c-word either.”
            “But I have one.”
            “No, damn you!”
            “‘Gooky’ nipplessss?” ventured Titmouse.
            “No! Just refer to them as ‘nipples.’”
            Titmouse considered this for a moment. “Oh, I ssssee – nipplessss.”
            Alfobet Soope leapt out of his seat. “Yo, if he gets to call pointy ones ‘nipples,’ I get to call the big dark ones ‘niggles.’”
            Dubious Lee slammed his fist onto the table. “No one may call them anything other than plain, simple, unadorned nipples!”
            Metalhead asked, “What if they’re pierced?”
            “SILENCE!!!”