Thursday, September 13, 2012

sundown/the man who never showed up

by genghis gilgamesh

art by penmarq studios

an earlier, differently illustrated version was posted in cutup capers on august 4, 2009

the sun was going down over the desert.

tom sawyer and huck finn, or maybe they were verlaine and rimbaud, or nero and petronius, or babe ruth and lou gehrig, were sitting in a niche in a cliff face looking over the mojave(?) sinai (?) desert.

"he's not coming."

"let's give him some more time", said huck/arthur/pete/lou.

the sun sunk a little lower.

"let me tell you a story about this guy", said tom/paul/nero/babe.

"no. man, i don't like stories."

'you might like this story."

"no. i don't like any stories. stories are bourgeois."

"everybody likes stories."

huck picked up a little rock and started drawing pictures in the thin sand with it. "you know, when i was in jail last time - "

'"after that job with bill and jerry, or maybe the cole brothers - "

"yaeh, after they left me out to dry, anyway, this guy in jail gave me some books to read - "

"what was this guy's name?"

"i don't know, bob or jake or mike jones or something - "

"mike fink maybe?"

"yeah it could have been mike fink - "

"see you're telling me a story now - this is a story."

"as i was saying," arthur went on, "this guy mike jones or mike fink or whoever, he gave me these books - bukosski, burroughs, kerouac, celine, genet - "

"oh man you don't want to be reading that stuff, there a bunch of sissies and girlymen, you shouldn't tell people you read that stuff they'll think your one too."

"and leclezio, he was the best - "

"never heard of him but he sounds like a girl"

"he's french"


night had fallen. the guy paul was going to tell the story about hadn't shown up. nero started telling his story:

the man who never showed up

frank had just gotten out of jail for something he didn't even do. this guy al had given him a number to call when he got out and he called it after looking for a pay phone for half a day.

the guy he was supposed to call was mosely marcus. mosely marcus was a hero, a good guy, and he dedicated his life to proving innocent people didn't do the things they didn't even do. he'd been on tv. al said he'd been on oprah and montel williams but bennie said no, he'd only been on some local shows.

frank didn't care. he just wanted to clear his name so he could settle down and be a good citizen and find a nice girl. and help people. he wanted to help people.

frank left a message and said he would be standing right beside the pay phone - the only pay phone in town so it shouldn't be that hard to find - but after a while he got tired of standing and went across the street and sat on a bench.

marcus mosely didn't show up but after a while somebody else did.

whoa! look at this! she looked a little stuck up but was hot, hot, totally hot. and she was standing by the pay phone and looking around like she was looking for someone.

frank stood up and walked over.

"are you frank?" she asked him.

"yeah, i'm sorry i wasn't right by the phone." frank's heart was pounding but he was determined to be totally cool. just because he was was talking to the hottest female on the planet he wasn't going to act like a chimpanzee just let out of his cage. he was going to be cool, cooler than strawberry ice cream at the north pole.

"i'm sherry. marcus couldn't make it so he asked me to meet you."

"that's - that's ok - "

"you don't have to act cool, baby. i know how hot i am ."

frank just stared at her.

"why don't we forget about marcus and talk about us. you know, my boy friend just
left me -"

"that's hard to believe."

"believe it. my car is just around the corner - "

"that's enough of that -"

"but i was just getting to the good part."

"i can believe that. "

"so what's the problem?"

"the problem is nobody is interested in your pathetic jailbird fantasies."

"oh really? i'm pathetic, am i?'

""i'm sorry. i might have been a little harsh there."

"it doesn't matter because look who just showed up."

a jeep had pulled up in the sand below them. marcus mosely, or maybe he was the prophet ezekiel or robin hood or che guevara, got out.

"you boys better come down here because i ain't crawling up there in my nice white suit!"

it looked to babe like he was wearing a blue suit, and to pete like he was wearing a red suit, but they didn't argue and scrambled down the cliff face.

"do you boys smoke?" was the first thing marcus/zeke/robin/che asked them.

"a little weed now and then," said tom.

"nothing wrong with a little weed," huck backed him up.

"tobacco, i'm talking about tobacco," said zeke.

"no", paul answered. "it's too much trouble, so i gave it."

"me too." said arthur.

"excellent. you've passed the first test. there might be some hope for you after all."

"can we get in the jeep?" nero asked.
"sure, in the back."

"it looks kind of tight. what about our packs?" asked pete.

"just hold them in your laps," robin told him. "but hold up a while. much a i respect modern civilizations decision to abolish the evil of murderous tobacco, i am going to take advantage of the opportunity to stand in these acres of clear air to fire up a fine havana given to me by none other than - " the name of the generous patron(s) was obscured by the loud crack of his wooden match against the fender of the jeep - "aaaah! that's good!"

"hypocrite." mumbled lou.

"what was that?" che roared with laughter. "son, didn't all those years in jail teach you anything at all?"

"we learned a lot, sir," babe assured him. "but we want to learn more. we are willing to learn. honest."

marcus didn't answer. he stood in the gathering dusk finishing his cigar with a twinkle in his eye.

finally zeke finished and tossed the stub into the sand. "get in the jeep," robin told the two jailbirds. they hurriedly complied.

che started the engine and they roared off.

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