Darrell Vickers – FTN Chapter Seventeen Glerm!

Much to the disappointment of my ladies, it was just about quittin’ time in the city.  I had lots to think about.  Well, I had Alchemy to think about but I was going to think about her a lot.  And…I had to do it without my nightly booze-bath.  That was not going to be easy or fun.  But nothing good in this life is ever easy or fun.  I guess most bad things in this life aren’t easy or fun either.  Anyway, back to my point.  Alchemy was worth it.  My Courvoisier swigging lips were sealed.

I dropped into the common room to grab one last mug of Jamaican Blue Mountain before hitting the road and just my luck, Randy was in there getting his watch wound by Achmed.

“Well, if it isn’t the old hairy ass-licker himself.”  He then proceeded to make disgusting noises and rotate his tongue around in what can only be described as lewd and obscene, anal-cleansing motions.  “Don’t worry buddy, I’m going to start smearing my ass-crack with Rogaine so it’ll be extra-specially hairy for you.  Of course I won’t be able to wipe the shit out of it as effectively, but your tongue should more than make up for that.”

Randy exploded in that ever-so-attractive cocaine-fueled guffaw.  He looked over to see if Achmed was joining in on the merriment.  Achmed was not joining him in anything.  Randy stopped laughing.

“What the fuck is wrong with you, you fucking Arab retard?   Don’t you speak English?  This is funny shit.”  He indicated “moi”.  “This guy is going to lose a bet and have to lick my asshole.”

Again with the noises and the tongue movement.  I pretended not to care but the thought of Randy’s Rogained, shit-encrusted posterior weighed heavily on my mind.

=====

When I got home, I was immediately escorted out back to “The Studio” for “The Debut.”  I was finally getting to see what I was spending all that money on.  Carlo had done a wonderful job.  It was airy and arty and had tons of skylights.  Apparently, skylights are essential, if you’re going to create great works of art.

We stared for a few moments in appreciative silence at his first public exhibition.  It was a forest glade.  Polo seemed to like it a lot.

“Didn’t I tell you this guy could paint pastorals?  He’s a talent Zack.  I know talent when I see it.  Artie here was born with the painter’s eye.”

It just looked like some trees and a couple of ferns to me.  Was it any good?  I have no fucking idea.  But, I didn’t want to dampen his spirits. “It’s very nice.” I offered.  “You can really see those are trees and stuff.”

And you could.

Artie beamed with pride.  “It’s almost finished.”

“It certainly seems that way.  There isn’t any room to paint much else.”

“All I need now is three pounds of gold.”

Everyone looked at me.

“Three pounds of What?”  I wish I had been drinking something so I could have spit it out.

Polo patiently explained the way things were. “Artie feels that to really compete with the big boys in major art competitions, and to be true to his vision, he needs a frame that is worthy of the bucolic beauty that it contains.”

Artie further clarified. “See, anybody can put a shitty wooden frame together and stick a micro-thin sheet of gold on it.”

Izzy rolled her eyes dismissively, “That is so fucking tacky.”

“Exactly.” Artie continued.  “But when you’ve got a full half inch of 24-karat gold shimmering in all its glory…well, it’s just got to stand out.  Judges couldn’t help but notice.”

Polo nodded his head in agreement and sighed. “The frame has to be as beautiful as the painting within.  That is so right on.”

I wanted to be as supportive of the arts as the next guy but three fucking pounds!?  “Isn’t gold kind of expensive?”

“Just over 1700 dollars an ounce,” Rebecca answered, not taking her eyes off her husband’s masterpiece.

Polo tried to mitigate the staggering sticker shock. “Luckily, gold comes in Troy ounces and there are only twelve of those kind of ounces in a pound instead of sixteen.”

Izzy put a comforting hand my shoulder. “That is going to save you a fortune.”

Everyone in the room, who wasn’t me, nodded their heads.

A few nights later, Punjab decided to introduce his work chums to his new prized possessions: Angela and Billy.  I was a little disappointed that Alchemy couldn’t join us but getting to meet real celebrities was pretty cool.  He took us all out to the swankiest restaurant he could find.  The name escapes me at the moment but I saw “Punjie” slip the maître’d a hundred bucks as we came in.  He pointed at the piano player who nodded and started playing that stupid, annoying theme song.  Angela flinched but she quickly caught herself.

I’ve got to say, they were great people.  They talked about the old days in Hollywood (the sixties) as we nibbled on $60 hors d’oeuvres.  I found them to be charming and unceasingly pleasant. Even Randy was reasonably well behaved, though he laughed way too hard at their slightest joke and kept disappearing into the bathroom every five minutes.  Things were going really well.  Right up until the sightly waitress came over to take our drink orders.

Punjab studied the menu. “I will be having an Absolut Banini, please.  There will be an extra $50 onto your tip if you could bring me ice in a separate glass and keep it full.”

The girl smiled and nodded.  She was cute.

Mr. Charming ordered next, “Gimme a large Maker’s Mark, sweet pants.”

Randy grinned at her like only a man who owns a vulture can.  Our waitress did not look particularly impressed.  She turned to Billy.

“I’ll have a bottle of champagne and the Beef Wellington, please.”

Angela had also made her choice. “A bottle of champagne and the thin slices of blue fin tuna bracketed with asparagus and muffled in a swampy green aioli, tinged with balsamic vinegar and ginger followed by the plump, crackly-skinned ball of squab stuffed with foie gras.”

Billy added timidly. “I’ll have one of those also…to go.”

Now it was my turn.  What to do?  I stared up and down the menu.  Various enticing elixirs beckoned me, but no.  It was imperative that my resolve did not waiver.  So very much was riding on it.  “Could I have some kind of sparkling water, please?”

Randy slapped the back of my head so hard that it made my ears ring. “Come on!  It’s Friday night, you dipshit.  Do you think these people came all the way here from Hollywood to see what a pussy you are?  Fucking drink something like a real human being.”

“For your information, I haven’t had an alcoholic beverage in about a week.  I’ve decided to take better care of myself.”

It was so tempting, but I thought of Alchemy and her smile and I stood my ground.  I was so fucking close, I could practically taste her.  And if I failed in my mission, I’d be tasting him!  Oh please oh Lord, give me the strength.

Punjab started to pout.  This was his big evening and he saw that things could get mighty ugly, mighty fast if Randy started to go off on me. “Please Zack, this is to be letting our celebrating hair down.  Perhaps just a light beer of some kind?”

“Yeah.  Show a little self-control, you pansy.”  Randy looked up at the waitress with this weird Chimpanzee-like grin.  “Get this fag a Belgian Whiskey.”

The next thing I remember were the bongs (No, not the ones belonging to Dorothy.  Bell bongs.).  There seemed to be an awful lot of big bell bongs.  Each one felt like Mighty Thor hammering on the inside of my fragile skull with his massive stoney Scandinavian mallet.

My first question was: What asshole built a church next to my house?  My second question was: Can you build a church that fast, especially one with a bell tower?  By the third question I was really coming to the crux of the conundrum:  And if not, where the hell are all those bongs coming from?

I opened one bloodshot eye.  This was not my bedroom.  I felt a hand brush my ass.  It was not my hand.  I turned my head very slowly.  I wished it wasn’t my head.  The pain level was bordering on surreal.  There was a naked woman in bed with me.  No, it wasn’t Rebecca, Izzy, Carla, Gloria, Nedda or Alchemy. (Have I forgotten anyone?)  It was the waitress from that bar I can’t remember.

With a great deal of effort, I looked about the room.  I was obviously in a very fine hotel but there was something odd about it.  I can’t explain it, but I sensed something was very different.  Very wrong.  Even the phone looked funny.  I picked it up and dialed the desk.

“Hi.  What hotel is this?” I croaked.

The name sounded semi-familiar but…

“And what city is that in?”

My eyes shot open like somebody had set off petards under my lids.

“The one in ENGLAND?”

Those bongs?  It was Big fucking Ben!  I was so screwed.  Totally and irreparably screwwwwwwed.  Then of course, an even worse thought came into my head.

I screamed into the phone, “Get me a plane flight to New York immediately.  Money is no object and that includes your tip!”

I bounded up out of bed.  There are no words to describe my suffering and nausea but they were no match for my utter panic.  The time for action was now.  I looked down at my beautiful, sexy nighttime companion.  Oh, how I wished I could remember some of our blessed union, but I couldn’t even remember the plane flight and that must have lasted for hours.  I grabbed my wallet and threw a wad of cash onto the bed as I fumbled with my pants.

“Listen, here’s five thousand dollars.  Make your way back to New York at your own pace.  Stay here for a couple of days, if you’d like.  Take in some shows.  Send me the bill.  I’ve got to go.”

My waitress looked a little hurt.  I really hate to see women when they’re hurt.

“I’m really sorry to take you to London, have sex with you (I’m assuming) and run but it’s like a total emergency.  If I don’t get back to work instantly, looking like I haven’t had a drink, I’m going to have to lick some guy’s artificially hairy, insufficiently wiped asshole.”

I’d like to think in time she would come to understand and eventually forgive me.

A couple of days later, I sent her some more money and flowers and thanked her profusely for our night together.  But at this particular testicle-shrinking moment, I’m in a taxi and a basket-case of hairy-shit-tasting fear.

There was no time for anything but moving forward, no matter how poor the odds.  The vomiting, the cold sweats, the sulfuric acid-like-runs all had to be done while in motion.  It was not pretty.

When I got to the airport, I was in such bad and pewey shape, the security guard asked me to keep my shoes on.  I spent the entire flight to the U.S. rolled up in a ball and praying to die.  A lot of my fellow passengers joined me in that prayer.  When I arrived at JFK, I had to buy an all new and un-thrown-up-on wardrobe.  There weren’t a lot of shopping options at that time in the morning, so I had to settle for a Yankees shirt, Bermuda shorts and some bright orange flip flops.  Excuses for my attire would have to be thought of en route.

I washed my hair in the taxi with a bottle of water and some hotel soap I found in my underwear.  I’ll bet there’s a really interesting story about how it got there but I still don’t remember.

When the cab pulled up outside the office, there were fire trucks, paramedic vehicles and all kinds of flashing lights everywhere.  My first thought was, “Oh fuck!  I hope nothing has happened to Harvey!”  Perhaps a little self-serving of me on the one hand but on the other, I really did care about the guy.

I needn’t have worried.  When I got off the elevator, the paramedics were wheeling Randy out of our offices on a gurney.  He had bandages and IVs and ice packs and…well, I’m no doctor but it looked pretty serious.

A worried crowd of his coworkers watched from a respectful distance.  I spotted Alchemy and went over to find out what was going down.

She was very distraught.  And this was Mr. Dickweed!  Alchemy was a very kindly person.  “Randy passed out at his desk after a three-day coke binge,” she told me through her sobs.  “When the janitor found him this morning, his pet vulture had eaten big chunks out of him, including a majority of his neck meat.”

“He is jolly lucky to be alive,” added Punjab, shaking his head.

Dorothy was also very upset.  “Dear. Dear.  That poor, poor boy.  They say he may never be able to lift his head up again.”

You had to hand it to the asshole, though.  Even close to death and under heavy sedation, Randy was still a prick.  He managed to muster up the strength to yell, “Hey, Amherst!  You still dress like a fucking jerk-off!” just as they wheeled him into the elevator.

“Well, at least he hasn’t lost his spirit.” I offered, as the animal control guys walked past me, wheeling the vulture on cart.  The bird had a hood over its eyes to keep it calm.  It looked almost like a goofy cartoon, except for the blood stains and chunks of dried neck meat on his beak.  Nature can be very unforgiving.

“What happened to you?  Did you buy your clothes at the airport?” Alchemy had finally noticed what I was wearing.  Time to try out that great excuse I came up with in the cab.

No, bad idea.  I decided to try something that might actually work, instead.  “You know,” I replied, “I think it might be time to say a little prayer for our fallen comrade.”  I was hoping by the time everyone opened their eyes, I could figure out something else to change the subject to.

Luckily, or unluckily, I didn’t have to stay at the office all that long dressed like an extra from Hawaii Five-0.  Polo called me.  Time to grab another taxi.

=====

Half an hour later, I stood on the sidewalk in front of my house.  Well, where my house used to be.  There was nothing left but a smoldering heap of burnt timbers.  It’s funny, when you’re confronted with something that epic and horrible, you just stare at it for a while.  It’s like your brain is fighting the reality of the situation to give you a little time to get used to the idea before you totally freak out and throw yourself in front of a street cleaner (or a Zamboni, if you’re in Canada).  But eventually, it all sinks in like that ice-pick in the back of Trotsky’s head.  What a shitty, shitty morning.

Izzy was standing beside me sobbing. “We are so completely sorry.”

I was still a little stunned and hungover but I managed to utter a comforting, “Well, it wasn’t your fault.”

Actually, there were several people at fault.  Several female people.  It turns out, Carla had been whipping up some waffle batter that AM, just in case I made it home before I went to work.  She was dressed in a very come-hither outfit, just in case I also wanted my morning orange juice and fellatiation.  Rebecca came down for some coffee and saw her mixing and whipping and bending. (Truth be told, Carla’s bending far, far exceeded her mixing and whipping.)  So, Rebecca starts nibbling on the back of Carla’s oh-so-downy neck and reaching around to tease her oh-so-perky titty-toggles and one thing lead to another and then to the bedroom and…everyone forgot all about the waffles.

Izzy and Rebecca were upstairs licking 100-percent Vermont maple syrup off of Carla’s plump and fruitlike vaginal mound when the smoke alarm went off.  By the time they had Carla de-syruped and gotten some clothes on, the entire downstairs was ablaze.

Rebecca half confessed, “I think Izzy and I unintentionally distracted Carla and she forgot to turn off her waffle iron.  The firemen said that might have been the cause.”

I tried to salvage some small pine-tree deodorizer of good from the 72-car pile-up of bad. “Perhaps we shouldn’t get a new one,” I suggested.  “You know, out of respect for how much the old waffle iron meant to her.”

“What are we going to do, Mr. Bramble?” asked a very despondent Nedda.

“I don’t know.  I hadn’t really given this much thought until right about now.  Everything I owned, all my memories, such as they are, were in that house.  It’s like the last 23 years of my life just burnt to the ground.”

Rebecca tried to leaven the mood. “Miraculously, all of Artie’s paintings were saved.”

“Ya see, there’s always a silver lining.”

“Except for the holocaust, of course,” Izzy added.

“Well, yeah.  That’s pretty well a given.”

I was so lucky to have Polo.  He booked us all into a hotel and started looking for something more permanent and less timber-laden.

Artie decided to sleep in his studio with a shotgun to ward off any marauding high-end art thieves.

=DV=

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DBAWIS_ButtonDarrell Vickers started out as one half of Toronto area band, Nobby Clegg.  CFNY fans may remember the cheery song “Me Dad” which still gets airplay.  From there, he valiantly ventured to L.A. and eventually became head writer for The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  Since then, he’s created numerous sitcoms and animation shows in Canada and the U.S.  He still writes music and has an internet band called Death of the Author Brigade (members in Croatia, Canada and the U.S.)   Mr. Vickers also had a private music mailing-list where he features new and pre-loved music.  Anyone who would like to be added to his daily mailing list, just write him at Radiovickers1@gmail.com

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