Ignatius Reilly Returns – Part III

The Last Titan[Ignatius Reilly is only a minor character in The Last Titan, but he sure was fun to write about.]

Nobody in the New Orleans Police Department recognizes the man. They saw him yesterday, but he looked much different then.

Yesterday, he parked a hot dog cart on the sidewalk of a nearby intersection, and the sign upon its prow promised 12 inches of paradise. He hurled invective at any and all who offended him with slights real or imagined. He roared. He thundered.

“The day before me is fraught with God knows what horrors.”

“Don’t talk to me, you degenerate. Go play with your little friends. I am certain that the Quarter is crawling with them.”

“It is painfully obvious that your psyche is only capable of dealing with water in an oral context. Fortunately my mustache filters out much of the stench, but not enough, unfortunately.”

“Canned food is a perversion. I suspect that it is ultimately very damaging to the soul. I never eat canned food. I did once, and I could feel my intestines starting to atrophy.”

“Will you please stop shrieking like a fishmonger and run along?”

“I am appalled that so meaningless a person would dare such effrontery.”

“I decree that you be hung by your underdeveloped testicles until dead.”

At some point, police officers were dispatched to encourage his departure from the premises.

“In a city famous for its gamblers, prostitutes, exhibitionists, anti-Christs, alcoholics, sodomites, drug addicts, fetishists, onanists, pornographers, frauds, jades, litterbugs, lesbians, and pederasts, why must the police department choose instead to harass a simple hot dog vendor?”

“If anyone was ever minding his business, it was I.”

“Like a bitch in heat, I seem to attract a coterie of policemen and sanitation officials. The world will someday get me on some ludicrous pretext; I simply await the day that they drag me to some air-conditioned dungeon and leave me there beneath the soundproofed ceiling to pay the price for scorning all that they hold dear within their little latex hearts.”

“In my private apocalypse you will be impaled upon your own nightstick.”

“I shall probably be found in some gutter, icicles dangling from all of my orifices, alley cats pawing over me to draw the warmth from my last breath.”

“I may bloat.”

“I believe I shall be violently ill.”

“I think I’m having a heart murmur.”

“I think I’m going to have a hemorrhage.”

“My valve is slamming shut!”

“My nerves!”

If they recognized the source of Ignatius’s material, they didn’t indicate it. They simply sent him on his way.

But not before Loki had learned the names, faces, and ranks of several New Orleans police officers. And some gossip that was more amusing than useful.

Today, however, Loki is a dapper young man in a sharp suit with brown eyes and graying executive-style hair. He projects confidence and authority. He’s quite trim. Were it not for the badge on its lanyard identifying him as a special inspector, he might be mistaken for a male model.

Loki sees a midget waiting at the receptionist’s desk and says, “Someone will be with you shortly.”

Loki is the last person to enter the elevator. He is also by far the best dressed.

Between the second and third floors, the elevator stops. Loki unleashes a long, echoing, trumpet blast of a fart. It is inhuman in both its duration and its stench. Then he bursts into laughter for 17 seconds. When he is finished, the elevator resumes moving again.

When the doors open, Loki is alone in the elevator.

Smiling, he presses a button and goes to the floor he wants.

[I needed four years to complete The Last Titan. This is why I became a novelist, over 40 years ago, to write this book.]

Ignatius Reilly Returns – Part II

[Ignatius Reilly is only a minor character in The Last Titan, but he sure was fun to write about.]

The latest iPhone is hard to get. The stores have run out. So not only is the man thrilled because he found one, but because he’s getting it for half price. He takes the box and hands over the cash, his smile huge enough to appear painful.

A fat hairy hand lands on the buyer’s shoulder, and another fat hairy hand lands on the seller’s shoulder.

Both men flinch, not having heard Ignatius approach.

“Never,” Ignatius begins, looking squarely into the buyer’s eyes.

The seller tries to pull away. Ignatius tightens his grip. The seller winces, partly from the pain and partly from surprise.

“As I was saying, never buy an iPhone from a stranger in a Walmart parking lot. Open the box. Inside you will find a block of wood.”

The seller tries to pull away again. Ignatius tightens his grip. The seller drops to one knee. Ignatius finally faces him. “Be nice.” He lets the man rise without releasing his grip.

Ignatius has added a white smock to his ensemble. Slipped over the head, tied around the waist, decorated with indeterminate stains best ignored. He has also tied a red sateen pirate’s scarf around his cap, and he wears a gold hoop earring through his outsized left ear.

The buyer opens the box. The block of wood inside is not plain, as Ignatius expected. Someone has taken the time to paint in red the word “sucker.”

Ignatius turns back to the seller. “That’s quite naughty. Now give the nice man his money back.”

They stare at each other. Something indefinable changes in Ignatius’s expression. The seller no longer perceives a figure for ridicule, but is instead filled with terror.

He returns the money. “Sorry, man.”

Ignatius releases the would-be buyer and dismissively flicks the fingers of that hand. “Run along.” He turns to the seller. “We’re going to have a little discussion here.”

Ignatius lays a blubbery arm across the would-be criminal’s shoulders and guides him across the parking lot. A tin hot dog on two bicycle wheels is parked on the sidewalk. The hot dog has several small doors to its ingenious array of compartments, and both men are hit by an acrid nostrilful of boiling hot dogs and mustard. A sheet of Big Chief paper is taped onto its front. Written on the paper in crayon are the words TWELVE INCHES (12″) OF PARADISE.

“Buy a hot dog,” says Ignatius. “I insist.”

“Um, do you own this?”

“Indeed I do. Small business owners have always been the very heart and soul of the American Dream. I was a bit hesitant to take the plunge, but now I know that I could never work for someone else. It simply does not suit my character. Moreover, I apparently lack some particular perversion which today’s employer is seeking. They sense in me a denial of their values. They fear me. Do you fear me? You should.”

Ignatius releases the man, grabs a black plastic cutlass from atop the tin hot dog, and affixes it to his white vendor’s smock with a safety pin. “While wearing this is not always practical for a man with my active lifestyle, it does add a certain panache, does it not? So, would you like one hot dog or two?”

The man slowly, warily shakes his head. “What’s this about?

“I have reason to believe that you may have some acquaintance with the legal system here in New Orleans, its enforcement branch in particular. I need to ask you a few questions about your experiences.”

[I needed four years to complete The Last Titan. This is why I became a novelist, over 40 years ago, to write this book.]

Ignatius Reilly Returns

Four athletic young men stand on an Olympic-sized track holding their long vaulting poles. Facing them, a fifth man is holding a pole and lecturing. Behind him is a safety net that can be raised and lowered. It's currently set at 14 feet. Suddenly … [Continue reading]

4th of July – Black Man by Stevie Wonder

There will never be a better expression of what Independence Day does or should represent than Black Man by Stevie Wonder, from Songs In The Key of Life, (c) 1976. First man to die For the flag we now hold high [Crispus Attucks] Was a … [Continue reading]

Seven Steps: The secrets of success have never been a secret

Even though you probably have a different definition of success than I do, I can still tell you how to get there. What we know will form the basis of our decisions. It cannot be otherwise. Thus, we should take pains to ensure that what we know is … [Continue reading]

Dead Men Don’t Take Selfies

Never bet a buck on a horse named Immortality. It was raining hard in the Queen City. A cold, stinging rain. The kind of rain that floods the sewers and the gutters. The kind of rain that washes all the filth and the scum and the slime and the … [Continue reading]

Yesterday, When I Was Young (Hier Encore)

Hier encore By Charles Aznavour Hier encore, j'avais vingt ans je caressais le temps J'ai joué de la vie comme on joue de l'amour Et je vivais la nuit, sans compter sur mes jours qui fuyaient dans le temps J'ai fait tant de projets qui sont … [Continue reading]

Turkish March by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Here's my inspiration. Here's my interpretation. Turkish March by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart I had a pretty good roll going there until I screwed up and just stopped. That tends to be the way, because (1) I haven't practiced this one a lot and … [Continue reading]

We Did Not Ask To Be Worshipped

 "We did not ask to be worshipped," says Hephaestus. "Nor should you," says Marla, "since you haven't done a damn thing to solve any of the world's problems. AIDS, poverty, food factories churning out GMOs and poisons, slavery, the Holocaust, … [Continue reading]

Amazing Grace

When I was 11 years old, Boy Scout Troop 260 in Roxboro NC camped out at least one weekend a month, and I never missed a camping trip. Since weekends usually include Sunday mornings, Pastor Wall would come out to deliver a little sermon, and we'd … [Continue reading]