the Horse Croquet horses are having a cold one at the pony pub when suddenly their bones start to shake. they become cold. they feel it.
horse: mate, gotta cut it short. a storm's a'comin'. btw we came up with that expression first, not you humans, we HATE your human coffee it's bitter to us. we don't board up our mom-and-pop stores like plywood pussies, we ride it out, we've been doing it for 1000 years, we are proof of evolution, we instinctively know the best beaches to hide out in, the best tax shelters from the Government. you trot us but we know how to walk. our evening strolls are in the morning when there's less animal traffic, we're gone before you eat your first egg with the shell on, early bird and all that, some of our best friends were early birds who were eaten.
this causes Melbourne to contemplate his entire life up to this point, at least that hour he had to kill at the pub before his next sex appointment with a credit-card client. he brushes the eggshell-blue paper horsehoe streamers out of his bald hair and pushes a twopenny to the edge of the saloon slider. he downs disgustingly a spotty tumbler with spots on it of chalky cloudy dank milk.
Melbourne: tuppenny. that's all my life's been. without her.
at the table,
Bump is making one last stealth motivational speech to the nation in closed-circuity untraceable hostage-tape format downloaded to youtube. his podium is a circle, a bricked well of caulked Stones cemented shut around Mayor Penguin Giuliani, Gotham's Mayor, trapped forever inside squeezed in so his feathers can taste his beak. cylindrically shaped, looks like a cut-off smokestack. a mic comes out of the caulk, growing imperceptibly.
President Bump: i love bricked wells. they have that aesthetic appeal to me that is unmistakable yet unknowable. i especially love when the bricks are red, gives it that brimstone bravado. i just know i am more comfortable around women when a bricked circular well is around.
Madame Pons: cos you can claim that all women really are witches?
Jackie from The Weather Channel: well done, padawan! you'll be coming soon. you're one to watch. i love your spit, your wet spunk lights a firecracker under dryasses. the blue in my contact lenses crackles yellow. look at that bright dark red color overflowing my virtual virtua-map here like a wave, it's so..................beautiful. red as Georgia. i look at the eye from NOAA on my satellite and it's so well-formed, took a day to gather itself and steal into the night to form itself again anew and stronger like a Trojan. i see all the little rainstorms trickling around that eye, it looks so ticklish, i just want to jump in there and rub her cloudy belly. crinkles my surgery-singed wrinkles. i rest my head of bushy hair down there on its cottonseed-oil pillow. lights an iron under my flattened plastic. that buzzsaw shape makes me moist down below, as it slices the sea with severe sainthood granted by the natural goddess, a pox on all houses, punishment for man's sins.
Madame Pons: red as a witch's apple.
Bump: i like your heels, Jackie, blue like the color of your hologrammic aura. in the words of all the Southern mayors today, in the words of all you people's favorite movie, GET OUT. just kidding. listen to me instead. you WATCH, you just WATCH. i GUARANTEE Hurricane Florence will be a big bust, nothing is gonna happen! i know how the tv game works, it's all hype. it's gonna peter out like so much paul. you mARK MY WORDS, this storm is a giant nothingburger with cheese. i have a friend named Florence, she reminds me of that Texas mom and teacher in that orgy scandal with her students, she looks like Florence from the Brady Bunch. i'm sure she was one of my voters. thank you for listening, America. and THAT, America, is a Billy Bump GARE-UHN-TEE.
Bill Nye: a climate-denier leader is dangerous. you can have your own twitter show but not when you're the most powerful puppet-stringer in the world. i mean don't you believe in energy, Mick? even nuclear energy?
Bump: this hurricane is a joke,
Mike Tyson: get my name out yo mouth. i voted for you not the other way around.
Bump: i could make a hurricane WAY more powerful with my thumb. hey Bill, can you get me a date? this Russia poison positive investigation has REALLY cramped my style, put a damper on my game with the ladies. after Melania goes to sleep-mode in Lincoln's bedroom where he slept and left his beard stains on the pillow. i thought by now i'd be married with kids. married to the mob, the Russian mob. and Russian child brides.
Bill Nye: i don't know what to say. what more can you say when you're right? twitter is urging me politely to read a physics book so i guess i'll get right on that right away. after my tour with Carrot Top, i'm updating his props for the scientific age.
Bump: yeah i dunno. i just dunno. i mean 1,2,3 degrees, like i put on my deodorant armpit, 5 percent, 10 decimal levels, a cubic of water, a cube-shaped tumbler of water, doesn't seem like a lot of water. what about global cooling, yous know? yeah, global COOLING! whatever happened to that? it was hot in the 1970s but got rejected by the elites. it was a scientific discovery the likes so yuge the world has yet to see and will never see again. they were making global-cooling Yugo cars. what, just cos it came out of the '70s everyone thinks it's not valid or cool or a lame malaise? global cooling is COOL, my man.
Bill Nye: where are you off to now? and can i have some of your twitter followers?
Bump: now if y'all excuse me, i'm off to see a film in a theatre. let's hope that Texas teacher movie is still playing.
Dirg: so Serena...
Laertus: careful...this isn't Sirena from Venture Bros....
Serena Williams: i don't want to talk about it. ooooooooooooooh i can't wait till my daughter turns 17......i'm gonna give her a birthday envelope with $17000 in it as her gift in the present.
Dirg: can i just say? and i mean this sincerely. you are my favorite feminist.
Laertus: Carlos Ramos what are you doing here? shouldn't you be in hiding with Bump? can you be in hiding when you're on the run? technically i mean.
Nadal: *in heavily-accented voiceover voice* my name........................is Raphael Nadal...........
Carlos Ramos: my name...................is Raphael Nadal.......
Laertus: the issue here is the penalty. taking a game away is too steep a price to pay, the limit should be a point. when you start taking away wholesale games willy-nilly you mess with the integrity of the sport, it becomes a parlor-trick game after that. puppet strings from New York, not tennis strings from the gut. takes the racquet out of the hand of the painted fingernails.
Dirg: and painted hand.
Carlos Ramos is gone, disappeared into the night like a thief.
Laertus: oh, and allow all coaching. on the sidelines and wherever else. even when the player doesn't want coaching coaching should be forced.
Dirg: now i got you cornered with your own hangnoose argument. you say that the tennis would be more competitive but it wouldn't be tennis anymore. the whole point of tennis is that it's a solitary mindfuck sport that you have to figure out alone because you're the last man on earth. what you're talking about is doubles.
Djokovic: *sweating* you do realize that EVERY single match i've ever played, the crowd has NEVER been for me.
Laertus: Naomi, you're taking this quite well. like the Inuyasha well. following along the deep Japanese tradition of stoicism. when's your sports anime coming out?
Osaka Naomi: i think i'll retire on top. or maybe go into coaching. i hear Nishikori needs a coach, i've been where he wants to go, even though it might not even be made official on wikipedia. a match made in Ancestor Heaven. Jordan's my favorite player. Michael B. Jordan.
Laertus: yeah, see Carlos? now you know what it's like in America. a lifetime of good deeds never goes on your Wikipedia page, you are defined solely by your one mistake forever. so what's your next move, Carlos? Carlos? anyone see Carlos? oh, he's texting me....................he says he's going to coach Nick Kyrgios. Kyrgios Koach he writes in textspeak. and he sent me an unwanted provocative picture of Genie Bouchard with the sweating emoji.
Bump arrives at the movie theatre. it is empty on a dirty afternoon save for one man sitting in the center of the row of sprayed-on seats. the place is so dark not even the spotlight of the rattling filmreel greywheels in the back projecting the pornographic classic can shine a light on the subject. Richard Nixon is a spirit in a hologram glowing in a pale Jedi blue. he sips his small bag of striped popcorn. his jowls are too painful to flick the popcorn into the air and catch it with his mouth.
playing: Deep Throat. the marquee outside is broken neon lights.
on the circular theatre's wet walls are damp warping woods holding up hooks for wormy trenchcoats and oil portraits of careworn predecessors whose painted eyes all look at Dick, who has his feet up on the latest seat, wearing a brown corduroy business suit and California-cool rubber opentoed sandals.
Richard Nixon: it's freaky how history repeats itself, huh. want some oily popcorn coming out of my mouth? where are you off to now, son? learn from me and stop running. you're too fat for it.
Bump: going to the House of the Book. they'll never suspect me there. the only library i've ever been in is my future presidential library. that's in Simi Valley where they film my favorite show of all time, Power Rangers. it's a nuclear plant so i hope to see Homer there.
Nixon: the poet?
Bump: full of high smokestacks billowing out clouds of black nuclear waste, weather can be so beautiful. my kind of people live there. they won't turn me in. even the Coal Ranger. i'm gonna see if i can build a nuclear bomb there to wipe out this Florence nuisance. just drop that daisycutter right in the center of that eyewall and shave off all of that fat octomom Ursula's kelp in her seaweed. hey it's better than a fork in the eye. "here's mud in your eye" will be my tagline as i drop it.
Nixon: what was with that terrible gesture you made at 9/11? you looked like you were constipated. at least i gave the peace sign.
Bump: that's my Wheaties pose. i'm gonna be on the next Wheaties box! next to Sue Bird! i hear she recently got married, so mazel tov from the missus.
Nixon: i ate Wheaties once, it created my jowls. did you ever play a non-professional sport? what grades did you get at the Army?
Bump: at the Academy? A plusses. and an F for my foot. foot pus.
Nixon: have you ever committed suicide?
Nixon: many Puerto Ricans did. am i getting through to you or am i speaking to ghosts?
Bump: i am so excited to watch the Seattle Storm win the chip! gets me wet like rain. i LOVE the WNBA! now that's a REAL storm.
Nixon: uh, that won't be here.
Bump: well, i gotta get back. Storm Watch. what's the Waffle House Index? i love waffles in houses, these are my people.
Nixon: no son, no, these are not your voters despite what you were told. didn't you sign an executive order keeping KFC separate from the tradition?
Bump: i can stay with you here, right? at least until the movie finishes. worked for Lee Harvey.
Nixon: you tell my redheaded stepchild hello for me when i disappear. you know, all these oil paintings surrounding me talk back when i talk to them. especially the painting THERE, they talk the loudest. like they're giving orders.
Nixon points to the movie screen and laughs unevenly.
Doryce and Gladyce have moved their operation to the House of the Book's smokestacks. Doryce is learning much like an underwater diver how to breathe in a toxic, black-smoke-infested environment.
Gladyce: why are you doing this to yourself, beloved? it's not healthy, even for you.
Doryce: it's for yourself. it's a surprise. two words: sweeping staircase.
the boys are keeping watch from a distance. like Bette Midler.
Gladyce: want some Schar bread?
Doryce: does it come in croutons? or wafers? or paperthin mini-flatbreads?
Doryce gains health points with the food as she chows down and flies high into the sky like a floating yogi into the fumes, disappearing.
Dirg: well at least she's stopped fuming. so, The Halloween Tree.
Laertus: Halloween came early?
Dirg: says and like you.
Laertus: i mean if you think about it, after 4th of July, Halloween is the next holiday. that's a LONG wait to feel patriotic again.
Dirg: The Simpsons should start each season with Treehouse, the way NASCAR starts with the Super Bowl.
Laertus: gotta say, it made me less scared of death. death is natural, right? and no way that was Leonard Nimoy, that was Leonard Nimoy with a hacking cough and we all know Vulcans are incapable of smoking. and THAT's how Ray Bradbury sounds? wimpier than i thought. he sounds like me.
Dirg: would have preferred the original 8 boys from the preeminent pristine book.
Laertus: come on, the girl wasn't annoying this time.
Dirg: yeah, but Pip was a bitch. a bitch who deserved no followers. die like a boy next time, Pip, and let everyone get on with their lives, you cost them another drink of Humira.
Laertus: can't talk much anymore, school has started. see you later. make sure YOU don't die, i'm not worried about the crones.
in a room tucked in the corner of the fourth alleyway of the swabbed shipdeck of the Titanic holds the racquetball court. with one blue stripe all around. the wood-paneling shipdeck is actually the surface of the court, formed out of it the way all plants form out of the Great Oak. Taki is teaching Melbourne how to play it like a pro.
Melbourne: *wearing a cheesy striped headband* thanks for being my brain coach once again. i love whiling away a day with you, watching the sun go down together.
Taki: we're indoors, we can't see the sun.
Melbourne: i can.
Taki: oh sister. and when you use the term brained i get uncomfortable. when you're fencing, think of the opponent in front of you on a horizontal bungee-cord rope and pierce the two casaba melons you imagine in your mind on his front bulletproof vest to score a point. slice 'em with the tip of your grip like you were avoiding the rip.
Melbourne: what if my opponent is a beautiful woman and not a fat man?
Taki: that is not the point. points are the point. fencing is tennis, racquetball is doubles. so racquetball is exactly like fencing except your opponent is at your side, strike with your sword the same way, forget even that there's small blue balls in play.
Melbourne: that reminds me, i need to get to The Store. i shop every two weeks now. it's impossible to shop for two weeks, your milk is guaranteed to spoil. 14 days is longer than people think, it's a LONG time.
Melbourne: want to know how my date went?
Melbourne: Mariel Zagunis.
Taki: how? how is she i mean?
Melbourne: Mariel is one of those mysterious blonde women whom we have an intense interest in and in her wrinkled-hazard-suit ass for a concentrated amount of time. then it's over like a cliff. then 4 years later she pops up in People Magazine pregnant and ready to pop. it's the Goldilocks tale all over again in a repeat circle.
Taki: it's a good thing my hair is from the Land of the Rising Sun.
in Heaven, John McCain delivers the eulogy. of the country. from his stage. from above down below:
McCain: to those who heed my warning, it's not enough to pee your pants at a funeral. we are getting nothing done, my friends, we are getting nothing done! if we remain tribalist, America is doomed.
the congregants all wear dour faces, drippy noses, and eyes red with blood.
McCain: none of you can hear me. believe me, if you won't believe in God. believe me i'd rather give a funny speech. Lorne Michaels LOVED me. but none of you can hear me. but you can hear my voice. take the word tribal. it has the root word rib...