Mueller's pace is afoot but cautious, he keeps to the roof and hangs with his long fingers on the cornice like a monkey. Melania sticks her head out the Cream House window by turning it 180 degrees.
Melania: sup, bird?
Mueller: where's your husband?
Mueller: that's for sure. but i'm on the way, out.
Melania: what's the delay? i mean you still need MORE time!!?
Mueller: hey it's Thanksgiving, man i mean ma'am! we need a break for all our hard underground silent work. i gave the troops the day off to spend with their families like Cratchit. we'll return rested and ready Monday with the sealed indictments.
Melania: i believe my husband rolled those up and lit them and he doesn't even smoke. he crumpled them up into a ball and let a seal balance it on its wet whiskery nose.
Mueller: don't be a turkey! THIS is the day for turkey burgers! and it affords me one more chance to up that poll when the public sees me feeding the homeless along Times Square where there is no tree to block me. i'll be there next to the New York Post
office with my waders on and bigass wooden ladle in my mittened hand and the other mitten around my neck and no hat with a warm smile lookin' like John Kerry's brother. give Americans a taste of what could have been.
Melania: you know what they serve those poor souls? slop. with tree sap. like it's chicken wings but all the chicken has been stripped off so it's just bones. bones served with a tongs. imagine that Post
Mueller: hey can i do one thing? let me try something.
Melania: knock yourself out. like Avenatti.
Mueller spider-walks the brick wall down to the window and gets in. he takes out a cigarette from his pencil pocket and lights it. the flame is a bright yellow, no hint of orange or red. he takes one puff and it disappears into the air, becoming a green gas instantly.
Melania: that's not enough light in here.
Mueller goes to reach for the light bulb sleeping at the corner of the famous desk. his long arms stretch and see around the corner of the ajar inner door. he rubber-plucks a funny-looking bald man from among the staff meeting and hits said bald head against many on the way out, the press pool looks like a stack of fallen crackers after.
Mueller: Uncle Fester! i knew i recognized you! that was you! we go way back, to the very formation of Transylvania!
Uncle Fester jumps in place.
Mueller places the light bulb squarely in Fester's festering mouth and screws it all the way in. it lights up! Mueller's eyes light up! Melania smiles cos there's light now.
Mueller: *smiling for the first time in a long time* ha.
President Bump is indeed away. in California. he surveys the land. his land. he is the master of all of it. he starts to fly aboard his rake but lowers before the Secret Service can see him. they spot too late anyway. he doesn't want to give away too many secrets just yet. all of the beds of burnt-out crispy leaves stay yellow despite so many wanting to go black.
Bump: yeah it's over now. i made the rain come. before the rains come. i made them fall with my finger, my middle finger, i solved the problem. can i go now?
Pence: stay a bit longer, until i get this selfie.
Bump: it's a cold world out there, we need the fires to come back to warm me up. my toes especially, they are filled with bone. Mike, how'd we get here?
Pence: by car.
Bump: exactly. with no regard for human life.
Bump: i'm talking about LeBron James. why is the campfire at 90 percent contained? campfires are fun, they bring folk together, by tying their mouths shut with kinky gooey marshmallowy ropes.
Pence: that's Camp Fire, sir.
Bump: hey you tryna undermine my authority? that's why i hate authority. yeah, see, look over there. Miley Cyrus's house. that's what she gets for defying me.
Pence: she just wanted to talk to you, sir. to see if you could pick her brain on how Generation Beta thinks.
Bump: beta leaves a bad taste in my mouth, like that salad i ate last night in bed. she was in Kanye's good graces, right?, his orgy video. i should regulate that stuff. oh, i was thinking picking her up, different pick.
Bump instantly returns to the Cream House longtable through the lilac drape with one flip. "Mile" Mike Pence greets him in a white apron with the hood back and tuggable yellow apronstrings.
Pence: sir! when'd you get back!?
Bump: well it's Thanksgiving so i made sure to stay away from family. don't you know i'm a ninja? i ate that green burger from Burger King and it turned me into a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. i like it cos the shell hides my fatness.
Pence: but sir, i was getting ready to grill you up some green burgers of my own! Oprah owns OWN. with romaine lettuce inbetween the buns.
Bump: hey the Romans had it right! but you're the cooker now? where's Mooch?
Pence: who's that?
Bump: hey don't YOU go gaslight ME, okay, I'M the Master Gaslighter round here. the lighting's just fine in this room, okay?! what are you doing in front of my shoulders, Mike?
Mike: preparing is all in the cut wrists. muscular wrists. i'm cutting your salad into little pieces the way you like it. into shapes of stars.
Bump: as long as you include Michelle Wolf. wolf-shaped. that's all fake science, i am man enough to combat E Coli. my intestines will flush out the intruders and squeeze the life out of that cakey centipede till it becomes a shell of itself, like Eli. can you believe i once rooted for the Giants? even after they booed me which is a cheer in New York?
Mike: i like the NFL team from Mississippi myself.
Bump: this won't stop me from eating lettuce, i love salad, salad's all a fat man like me's got! salad sprinkled with salt. i mean i had some of that same romaine last night and i'm fine now. though i should probably sit down and poo some more just to be safe. admittedly i jump every time a burp comes up, i'm scared shitless to death that it's gonna be more. i can't be sick right now, i've got a lot to do! it should be fine, right? i mean how long will this moratorium on mud minerals go on? forever? indefinitely? so humans will stop eating salad forever? what are they gonna serve at all the Thanksgivings? just the plain white light-green lettuce?
Pence: iceberg lettuce, like found in your precious Big Macs, your McDonald's is safe.
Bump: the iceberg lettuces are not melting. shit now i'm paranoid. i don't know what to do, this is driving me crazy, this cuts into my very life and existence. what if i just drown out all the lettuce leaves with Russian dressing? i should be okay, right? my stomach's too big to fail.
Pence: here's something to distract your mind and palate, sir, which is really what America is all about. a plate! let's end with the appetizers. here's a nice grey Mexican Aztec-stone mortar full of chips.
Bump: ah, in commemoration of El Chapo. no more salsa for him.
Bump takes a crunchy bite of his lettuce burger, a dollop of a mixture of Caesar dressing and mayonnaise resting on the right side of his lip where his mustache should be. he reaches with his rubber arms all the way to the other end of the empty table to turn the small black-n-white tv over to the side of his direction so he can watch the game. he chomps down on yellow freedom fries as a chaser.
Bump: ah, this is the life, this is living, watching the greatest regular-season football game ever at the greatest spot ever, Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. as a sports spectacle it doesn't get any better than this, i love the NFL, and i love my native Mexico. *closes his eyes in prayer* home of the Catholic religion, the real Catholics. more poo, less vomit. in the stands and that's my motto tonight as i sleep.
downstairs in Stan Lee's mansion are the guest quarters, where a very special select few of Stan's menagerie are chosen to partake in this lavish lifestyle of comic-book learning and erudite education of animation and the animating factors of humanity. no animus here, all in a collegial setting at a college. PhD-in-pop-culture candidates, toy shills, lucky online entrepreneurs (as in they got lucky to become online entrepreneurs by some quirk in how youtube counts views), finicky freshmen, advanced sophomores, anyone looking for a leg or web up, financial-aid sob stories, and people willing to forget the stuff they see happening here in front of their eyes. for the greater good. to bring the community and by extension the country together again. Stan's Stans they are informally called---though Stan Lee himself hates that moniker, he doesn't understand it---and one of these is none other than Eye Luggage herself, she prepares as she always does for her weekly discussion webshow.
MEANWHILE just inches from here directly upstairs on the third storey is the gift shoppe, where one Laertus is roaming the four corners aimlessly ears occupied waiting for a pickup from his friend.
Laertus: it's weird that you can purchase a meal at the gift shoppe. and that the gift shoppe isn't on the ground floor it's on the same floor as the bedroom, isn't this a private residence?
Dirg: *on the phone* hang tight, buddy, i'm currently getting grilled but i'll get out of this jam as always.
Eye Luggage moves the heavy ball-and-chain microphone to her pert purple lips and spits on it to begin speaking.
Eye Luggage: whoa whoa did i plug it in? okay. let's get started, i'm hearing a hum. so, intial thoughts? oh, we got a call. this is my new old coiled telephone i got from my grandfather who's a veteran. you see that on cam? dusty-green like his torn uniform, he died in battle. drowned while eating salad. some say he became Aquaman that day. huh, the caller is saying...what? i can't read his type...
Dirg: *texting under a table* the troops are jerks. and EVERYONE's grandfather was a veteran, it's no big deal.
Eye Luggage: but mine was a vet and a vet. who is this? i recognize the pattern. it sounds like someone i want to forget so i'm trying real hard not to remember too well. which is not how the brain works, the more you try, the harder it is to forget. your opening statement?
Dirg: Tosin Cole is a shit actor.
Laertus: come on, man, even I heard that from here. and leave that poor girl alone.
Dirg: what are you wearing? i mean eating?
Laertus: you mean earring. i purchased the lettuce in the paper cone like my namesake. actually, e-celery sticks but they still maintain those small dark-green leaves of romaine on their tops.
Dirg: excellent. no, it's true, sorry Tosin, yous a tosser, it's not cos he's black, not about his last name, he's just whack at drama. it was an interesting concept but what a muddled message for the ending. i mean you had that poor girl Kira dying for nothing and no one gives a shit, not even Social Justice Warrior Princess Xena herself. why is it always the good ones who leave us?
Laertus: not nothing, she died for love, that is always something, we should all be so lucky.
Bump: yeah, see? sometimes you have to take the hit, one life must be lost to save the whole ball of wax, like Khashoggi. just gotta fuhgeddaboutit and move on, they're already dead, there's nothing more you can do for them. i gotta go, i'm starting to sweat strangely.
Eye Luggage: um, i guess we have to allow this line to stay open for SS emergencies but it just got weird here. oh good, the President left the chat. Resident Something i couldn't read it. okay, caller, i'm hanging up. no, not you.
Dirg pounds his fist on the nightstand by Stan Lee's bed. Stan's stand.
Dirg: Disney will not outlast Stan Lee! i say there ARE times when mass murder is justified! when you have a righteous cause, a crusade against technological evil, they will not replace us! the robots i mean.
Eye Luggage: so why does Joe Rogan get to philosophize about everything? you know? what made him the expert on EVERYTHING IN LIFE? it was bad enough when he was bad at analyzing the most disgusting sport men ever devised, and this is coming from a cock lover. the chicken fights i railed against on my previous blog for two years when i freelanced in Mexico City. but kickboxing is banana-republic stuff.
Dirg: hey, women kickbox, too.
Laertus: lesbian, bi, from Kansas, and Native American, she is the REAL American: my dry dream.
Dirg: i love my kickboxing Banana Republic longboard shorts, wear them often, i am from the streets, not when i'm walking down the street mind you i prefer there to Donald Duck and Winnie the Pooh it...
Eye Luggage: only if the women are hot. they only do it cos we have to flood the zone whenever you braindead men do anything, to keep it under control. civilization is always one penis away from totally unraveling. like how does Joe Rogan of all global Earth scholars on this planet slurp the keys to the kingdom, the reins, and can spit off on how to live your best life the meathead way or whatever? spit his "lit" shit on how sport transcends Transcendentalism. there's more to life than pop culture and getting your name on any of the various gawker sites you know, even the one on cars. how not to be offended by anything, even murder and rape and violence and blood? i know, everything's a joke, right? i guess only another bad comedian can understand a bad comedian. for fuck sake this guy used to get paid to force people to eat shit like infected romaine lettuce against their will.
Dirg: hey, as we are all hurting from currently, what is said on tv is fair. you're just jealous ol' Joe has a bigger...radio show than you.
Eye Luggage: it's not about numbers, it's never about numbers, it's about share. come on, girls, let me hear you, let's get those phones ringing, no more penis pontificators, eh? more princess pronouncestigators!
Dirg: let's get those phones ringing in your pantses!
some lights light up but it's unclear what that signifies.
Eye Luggage: well, dearie ones, another pass has come and i must retire. for the day for the day. i've got my partner beauty sleep to attend. think of me tonight as you sleep and the big blue sphere enters the orbit of your eye.
Dirg: speaking of passing and retiring, what is up with Durant?
Laertus: i know, right? he's breaking every pro-athlete rule. you NEVER engage with your audience, there are stans in those fans, that's troll city right there, i should know, i saw the keys.
Bump: hey Durant, want to come to my party?
Durant: pizza party again?
Bump: no, my pox party. you can die if you don't come to my party...
Dirg: yeah but the thing is, Kevin's alright. i mean he's fun, he actually talks to random fans online, the smart athlete is the boring athlete. we want to brawl with the best.
Eye Luggage: i think there's something we three can all agree on---and thanks for calling in today, you two callers---and that is the fact that Emma from Jeopardy!
with the lilac lyrical elven-maiden voice is EVERYTHING.
Laertus: she's my number-one elf, girl, woman, and fantasy character from a fantasy book. my faerie of flowers. i mean was she BORN with that voice? i know good acting and that's good acting if it's acting. my heart swells that she must get teased mercilessly at private school but maintains that voice cos Odin-dammit she's smart and she's gonna get to that public school someday with the money she earns! *pounds fist on air*
Dirg: plays should be written about her...no, TV-MOVIES should be made which feature her! she should never dress in a business suit again, only casual silks and tutus. it's finally happened, someone attending a con who doesn't need to cosplay, she need only paint her face to point to her mouth to showcase it. she's the Sia of Dragonforce! she should be the bride prize for every con where they do that stupid dating-game panel for losers henceforth, her voice shuld be utilized in every video game ever, all the CS Lewis ones, maybe the Tolkien ones. she should deliberately get lost in the forest and let the pale ones out of their cages so they can capture her at night if they ever find her. she should not have to hold her staff. if they make fun of her, we should be given permission to start a race war, elves vs. humans i mean. to protect the honor of the light lady.
Laertus: do NOT ruin her voice by letting her do ASMR. or Disney princesses. she should narrate Tetris
, make that game more fun.
Eye Luggage: yes, absolutely, agree with every one of your points, i'm cosplaying as her at the next Anthro Con in Seattle. it's not a nerd thing, it's a nature thing. adieu. no aftershow tonight.
Laertus doubles over in pain and clenches his heaved waist.
Dirg: what's up, buddy bird? lovesick?
Laertus: *struggling* no...…………..just sick of YOU.....
Dirg: okay, brothers, i gotta go, i have a call on my other line, thanks for watching and waiting.
Dirg stands buttfaced across from Stan Lee and Keya Morgan who have waited patiently throughout. Keya taps his watchface.
Keya: The Master doesn't have all day, moron! ask him, sir, ask him!!! he's on the shit list!
Stan: wait, give the boy a chance. i'm all for chances. and seconds. so, are you registered at this school? i can only help you if we know you're for us. you don't want to meet my lawyers, they're real assholes. like getting a stomach virus from drinking.
Dirg: *red* well...not exactly...but i will resign.
Dirg: no, re-sign, not resign, i will reenroll. cos it's you, Mr. Stan Lee, for the first time in my life i'll have a real pro. professor that is. i want to learn. again. i'm like a sponge under your mustache. to collect the bits.
Keya: don't talk to sir that way!
Stan: it's quite alright, i've heard worse. do you know what a catharsis is, young fella?
Stan: i wear those. a catharsis---not a catheter---is what this is all about. at the end of the day and one's life, all we have is our character, our kindness. i'm a legend not for anything i drew but for my kindness. people won't remember the lines of a thought bubble but they will remember how you made them feel when they waited in line in the rain for an autographed web sticker to place on their skateboard bed. missing their own bed for it. you have to draw what's in your heart, son, the scary bits you keep hidden and want no one to find out about, because only then will you be drawing truth. i had dreams, too, but they all got dashed before they could materialize again in the transporter, that was not the dust i was expecting. but i still have hope, you must always have hope. no matter how old you get.
Dirg: come on, Stan, why must only the few get a charmed life? why can't the farmers, too? enough with all the socialist shills and crackpot communists who infect the Marvel boards with their DC values. we need to get back to real values, rural values, you know, morals and stuff. true uninhibited art which proudly expresses the manly point of view. that's what's really in our hearts: freedom. us real Americans, as all-American as the red white and blue of the Spider-Suit. guns, naked women, beer, and kicking.
Keya: *eye-roll* naked women? come on.
Dirg: hey i saw your stuff, too. that Marilyn Monroe erotica? those illustrations of yours in your signature lead where Marilyn is laying naked parallel to a supine prone Bigfoot on a moonlit pond's edge?
Keya: *flustered* that's for something else. sir, you said after five years of service, which is more than undergrad, i could finally show you my stuff. not my stiff. i held to that promise, my end. of the bargain, not my butt. it's a play i've been working on since i became a collector. you know the one: the one which posits that Marilyn Monroe was actually the greatest actor of her generation, how she acted the part of Lincoln's assassin, everyone else in the world thought she was John Wilkes Booth when they saw that man before them. see, no subpar actor would be that concise and heartfelt with words in writing their regret letter like Booth did. when you realize you can't ever go back, that is truly a scary thing. witnesses still don't know if Booth was killed in self-defense or cold-blooded murder. they don't know if Marilyn Monroe killed herself or was murdered. see the connection?
Stan: yes, i know, you've been telling me. all these years. but i'm still confused. cos why would Marilyn do this? and you say this story does NOT use a time machine?
Keya: no, it's just good acting on Marilyn's part. this is not a séance, this is a documentary on The History Channel. see, poor Marilyn just didn't have the strength to go on with her glamorous career and stylish bombshell life and all that sex when she got back, cos she had been shot by Booth's killer. all that ragdoll sex can be tiring on a wounded body. so she lay on her bed and looked up at her stucco ceiling and perished.
Keya leaves just to the shadow wedge outside Stan's door. Keya turns his back and slides in two illicit pill capsules from his front shirtpocket---gained on the hard campus streets---into two blue teacups of tea which he rightawayingly serves to Stan on a tray which rightly turns gold. just before, Keya takes a sip of the tea himself.
Stan swipes at the tea and the two cups invert and spill their contents on the brown rug. tray of contents, the menu. Keya gets on all fours and like a dog frenetically laps up all the missing tea before it blends into the many carpets on the floor.
Stan: no, not tea! who do you think i am?
Dirg: yeah he ain't British!
Keya: *bowing his head* no, i merely thought you sophisticated, sir.
Stan: i'm not old that i have to drink tea!
Dirg stays in his chair looking on Keya's actions quite spectacularly, silently, Dirg takes copious notes on his pad. or perhaps he's started a new sketch on that pad.
the crones have landed in Micronesia cos that was the only place Gladyce could find with her glasses.
Doryce: so this has been a horrible outbreak. a perilous punitive pandemic. don't you think we oughta fix it? after all i think we caused it.
Gladyce: sure. that sounds right. just lemme do something first. *fingering in the air* fog dogs and dog toes, toil and trouble...
Gladyce removes ALL of the green chip clips which had been holding together ALL of the hundreds of bags of dog treats they had been clipping and storing on their clipper. all the dogs from all around the world come swimming in to lap up the last wave of treats. a least a million treats are soaked in the ocean, some float.
Gladyce: see what happens when you have space? when you can see? we have ALL of these clips free now. we kept buying more clips at the Store for no reason. now we'll make man and beast happy.
Doryce: and machine.
Gladyce plants all the green chip clips in a soft spot of soil on one of the islands. fresh, bacteria-free sprouts sprout up, a different shade of green---more tea-green, Dartmouth green, Pakistan green--- which she distributes all over the globe with her finger cos it's hard for cruise ships to get to Micronesia.
Madame Pons holds the coiled coil of her phone around her neck in desperate desolation.
Madame Pons: i just don't know anymore. this hurts, imma hold the coil in my palm with the receiver instead, anyway, i can't believe i'm doing this. but for the first time in my life i'm canceling Thanksgiving with my sister. i am swamped with work and the swamp of my own vagina, well with figuring this egg out anyway. and i think subsconsciously i've lost touch with my sister for awhile now. either we're not connecting or i'm not seeing. as much in touch. i don't feel wanted anymore, i feel needed. this is such a shame, but a consequence of growing is sometimes the apart part. i feel my sister is taking advantage of my graces. or maybe i'm jealous of being alone for the holidays. but I was the one who helped her find love! that dude was mine first! i gotta work.
she tearfully moves the retro phone handset to her lips. and speaks into it. she dials on the rotary with her finger. it's unclear if she's using her green Ericofon to call her sister or to cancel the reservation. but the reception is clear.