[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!”
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.]