Monday, July 27, 2009

at the circus: the socialist

for previous episode, click here

to begin at the beginning click here

the circus was in town, and gigi, hope diamond, and irma landed on top of the big top.

irma landed on her back. "this is real comfy. i could lie here all day."

gigi had landed closer to the edge and peered over it. "look at all the people. we can get lost really easy here."
"i think we should stick together, at least for now," said hope diamond.
"see you around," answered gigi, and jumped.
hope diamond ran to the edge and watched gigi float down into a crowd of people in front of a cotton candy stand.
nobody paid much attention to gigi as she trotted past the row of game stands and food stands and went back behind the big tent.

gretel, of the flying gingerbread twins, was taking a smoke break. she was from the black forest and didn't bat an eye when she saw the imp staring at her.
"hello. little devil girl."
"hello, yourself. what is it going to be, your body or your soul?"
"how about a cigarette?" gretel held her flat pack of turkish cigarettes out to gigi.
"ugh." gigi stared at her. "aren't you afraid?"
"i used to be a devil girl myself."
"i don't believe you."
"no. i was."
"what mage put his spell on you?"
"it's a long story. come over here and sit down. i'll tell you all about it,"

"what a dope," said hope diamond. "we'll probably have to rescue her later. come on, let's go find something to eat."
"i don't want to get something to eat," irma said. "i just want to lie here and look at the sky. and when i get tired of that i want to steal somebody's soul."
"all right i'll go find myself something. don't think i'm going to come back and bring you anything,"
irma jumped up and they slid down the side of the tent together.

they strolled down the midway. only a few children, who started to cry, took any notice of them. they came to a tent that caught their eye - "hungry jones - the world's eatingest man". a barker in a straw hat and suspenders was standing on a platform outside the tent..
"step right up folks, it all gets consumed inside," the barker shouted. "hungry jones, the world's eatingest man, who has astounded the crowned the crowned heads of europe, asia, the himalayas and the pyrenees with his superhuman appetite, the eighth wonder of the world, confounding the world's most renowned scientists! this man can eat! ladies and gentlemen, you think your farmhands can eat, i tell you this man can outdo any ten of them! and for one nickel, one buffalo nickel, you too can witness this astounding phenomenon of the ages. so step right up - one nickel, one buffalo nickel -"
"i think we know this guy," irma said. "hey bosco!" she shouted at the barker. "bosco! didn't you used to hang out at brother melville's mission on third street in stockton? i know you!"
the barker glanced over at them but quickly turned away and continued his spiel.
"he's ignoring us!" said irma "what a colossal nerve!"
'this is the most disgraceful thing i've ever seen," said a voice beside them. a tall gaunt man in a threadbare gray suit and a tight green tie stood beside them. "people starving all the world and in this country a spectacle can be made of gluttony - how many people could be fed with what is wasted in this disgusting spectacle!"

"all over the world?" irma looked up at him. "how about right here? how about me?"
" bosco!" hope diamond yelled." how about throwing some of that chow our way, old buddy, for old times sake!"
"you see," cried the gaunt man, shaking his fist at bosco, "these poor children are starving and you mock them with your freak show!"
"what are you, a socialist?" bosco responded, "if you don't like it here, why don't you go back to siberia? and take these devil girls with you!"
"bosco!" hope diamond and irma shouted together. "we thought you were our friend!"
"a crowd had begun to form behind them. "socialists! devil girls!" they began to mutter.
"folks, these little devils are no friends of mine, any more than mr socialist here. maybe they do things different in places like argentina or russia, but here in nebraska folks can work as hard as they please and eat as much as they please. am i right or wrong?"
"you're right! you're right!" the crowd grew larger and began to press in on the girls and the gaunt man. the gaunt man was pushed forward and fell on his face.
"let's find a good tree!" someone in the crowd shouted.
hope diamond and irma reached down on each side of the socialist and grabbed one of his hands.
"we'll save you, mr socialist!" irma shouted. they rose into the air with the socialist and started floating away.
"demons! witches!" the crowd shouted.
hope diamond looked back and pointed with her free hand back down the midway.
"look," she shouted, "free candy! free beer! free everything"
"she's lying!"
"she's trying to trick us!"
"it might be worth checking out!"
with that the crowd turned and flowed away from the girls, who floated over the nearest tent and away. they floated away from the circus grounds to the town dump.
"wow, he's heavy!"
"let's put him down here." they floated down to the dump.
""whew." irma looked down at the socialist, who had passed out during the brief flight. "he must have gold bars in his pocket."
"no, he was just dead weight because he passed out."

the socialist opened his eyes. he sat upon his elbows. "that was neatly done, ladies. neatly done. these people hate socialism but they surely love free stuff,"
"right," said irma.
"just lie back and relax," said hope diamond,
"debs is the name, ladies. eugene debs."
"charmed, i'm sure," answered irma. she leaned down and bit mr debs on the neck.
he screamed and spasmed as if electrocuted and then fell back.
"are you sure you want to invade this character?" hope diamond asked.
"why not? pickings look pretty slim out there. besides, i still think he might have gold bars in his pockets."
"well, why don't you look in his pockets?"
"i'll do that." irma reached into debs pocket and took out a little pamphlet. it was titled "principles of world socialism". she tossed it aside, and as it hit the ground it burst into flames. karl marx and friedrich engels jumped out of the flames. the girls ran. karl marx chased hope diamond back in the direction of the circus. engels chased irma in the other direction, deeper into the dump.
irma outran him and ended up on a mountain of tractor tires at the edge of the dump. she looked back.
"religions, religions everywhere and not a soul to steal."


Friday, July 10, 2009

on the north road: the girls part 3

for previous episode, click here

to begin at the beginning click here

dede, eleusinia and fifi landed on the northeast side of the cornfield, at a fork in the road. the north road led to pierre south dakota and northfield minnesota. the south led to lincoln nebraska and topeka kansas. both roads were deserted.
they wandered and danced around aimlessly at the edge of the field, waiting for something to happen.
a big truck finally came chugging up the south road, heading north. the bed of the truck was covered with a canvas over rounded slats that made it look like -
" a covered wagon! " dede shouted. "woo! woo! woo!"
fifi started dancing in a circle. "woo, woo,woo!" she flapped her hand over her mouth like an indian in a wild west show.
they were having fun. they were glad to be out of that old briefcase.
the truck saw them and stopped. an old man was hunched over the wheel. he looked about 300 years old. a big straw hat covered most of his weatherbeaten face. the stubble on his chin looked like the lichen on the walls of jericho.

he was polite though. "headed my way, ladies?" he peered out of the tall cab.
fifi jumped up on the running board. "you're old," she said. fifi didn't have very good manners.
"fifi!" eleusinia admonished her. eleusinia prided herself on her deportment. "you will have to excuse my friend, kind sir. she has had a bit of a shock lately."
this got a laugh from dede and fifi.
"manners, shmanners," the old man answered. "where you all headed?"
dede jumped up on the running board beside fifi. "where are any of headed? where will it all end?" she asked the old man.
"dede!" cried eleusinia. "don't go bothering folks with your nonsense!"
"i'm headed north, " said the old man, "i'd advise you to do the same. ain't nothing good coming from down south."
"sounds like 23," said dede. "let's roll."
eleusinia ran around and got into the cab beside the old man. dede stayed on the running board. fifi jumped on top of the canvas where she continued her wild west dance with a lot of woo woos!
they headed north.

"if you don't mind my asking, sir," asked eleusinia when they had gone a few miles. "what exactly were you - what are we - fleeing from down south?"
"the big bad wolf! oo!" dede exclaimed from the running board.
"not the big bad wolf. wolf! not the same thing at all." the old man wagged his finger at dede.
"two hands on the wheel, dad!" dede shouted as the truck veered slightly to the center of the road.
"everythin's under control." the old man muttered.

ella enderson was walking back to her little house after bringing water to pa and sonny boy in the fields. she looked up and saw the truck pass on the highway with fifi capering on top. she dropped her empty jug and ran back into the field.
"pa, pa! i just saw a devil!"
fritz enderson looked up saw ella rushing toward him. he leaned wearily on his hoe.
"how many devils this time, ma?" asked sonny boy when she reached them. he hadn't stopped his hoeing.
"just one for sure. but there might have been a couple more."
"jist one? was it a big one?" sonny boy asked.

"speak a little more respectfully to your mother," fritz told him. he whacked sonny boy on the side of his big round head with his hoe.
"aw gee, pa! you didn' have to do that."
"go back to the house, ma." fritz told her. "get your bible, you can find the right verse to exorcise the devils. you can do it. i know you can."
ella nodded and turned back to the house.
"i don't know why she gets to sit in the house and read the bible all day," sonny boy grumbled for the thousandth time. "she's plenty strong enough to be out here in the field with us."
fritz whacked him on the head again.

"it's just as well we are headed away from kansas," eleusinia observed. "i understand that this is tornado season."
"tornados!" the old man chuckled. "a tornado will blow a house away? you know what wolf is fixing to do?"
"no, dad, what is wolf fixing to do?" dede asked.
"destroy the world."


angie stays cool: the girls part 2

to begin at the beginning click here

angie, boom boom and cece landed on the west side of the cornfield on the road to laramie.
"i want to be a cowgirl." said boom boom.
"i want to be a cow," said cece.
'you already were a cow," boom boom said. "don't you want to be something new this time?"
"get your thumbs out, ladies," angie told them. "here comes farmer brown."
farmer brown was kicking up the dust in his ford pickup. he went right past them without slowing down.
"farmer, farmer!" boom boom called after the settling dust. "what's the matter, don't you like us any more?"
"boo on you!" cece added.
angie let her arm drop. "i think we have a problem."
"why?" asked boom boom. "just because dumb old farmer brown doesn't like us any more?"
"let's wait for one more car," said angie.
"look, it's senator vandegriff!" cried cece.
a long black limousine was heading toward them. all three began waving frantically, but it picked up speed and roared past them.
"oh no!" shouted boom boom, "the senator didn't even stop!"
"and neither did the chauffeur," added cece.
'that's right - lou was always a right guy."
"come on,' said angie. "no more hitching. we have to find a house - there's no time to lose."
they turned and starting running down the highway.
about four hundred yards down the road they almost went past a little house hidden behind a tall untended cornfield.
"looks deserted, " said cece.

"we'll give it a quick check," said angie.
they raced through the dried stalks, taking no precautions.
boom boom charged through the door of the little house with the others close behind.
the house wasn't deserted. a little old woman sat softly mumbling at a worn table. although they hadn't seen any smoke from outside, a low fire was burning in a tiny fireplace. the old woman looked up and saw the three girls.
"who are you?" she cried. "what do you want?"
"this isn't going to hurt," said angie.
"what isn't going to hurt? what do you want?"
"we don't want your dried up old body." boom boom told her, "so i guess we'll have to take your soul." she advanced toward the table.
"demons!" cried the old woman. "begone!" she picked an old worn bible from the table and brandished it at boom boom.
"ha! here's what we think of your bible!" boom boom snatched the book out of the old woman's hand and threw it into the fireplace.
but the bible bounced out of the fireplace. and st jerome and john the baptist jumped out of the bible.

the girls screamed. st jerome chased boom boom out of the door and out into the field. cece was right behind them, chased by john the baptist. boom boom headed into the field, toward a patch of woods. cece ran back toward the highway. st jerome and john the baptist howled imprecations at them as they chased them.
angie, watching from the doorway, couldn't understand what either of the holy men were shouting. she stayed cool. she turned back to the old woman, who glared back at her and bared her teeth.
"demon!" she hissed. "witch!"
"you got anything to eat in this place?," angie asked her.


a briefcase for the corn god: the coming of the girls

it began on a windy summer morning on the nebraska-wyoming border, where the waving yellow cornfields gave way abruptly to the rolling gray sheep fields. it had not rained in weeks, but a thunderstorm was in the air.

john dillinger had driven across wyoming from san francisco by way of reno. he had come alone.

j edgar hoover and clyde purvis had driven across nebraska from chicago by way of st louis .

dillinger arrived fifteen minutes ahead of the two lawmen. he finished off the quart of whiskey that had kept him company on the long trip, and tossed the bottle into the cornfields across the road. a scarecrow in the field shouted at him, but he ignored it.

hoover and purvis arrived and got out of their packard. purvis sat down on the running board and began fanning himself with his flat straw hat. hoover, cool as ever in his brown suit, walked up to dillinger.

dillinger nodded at purvis and laughed. "he's been in a car for a thousand miles and doesn't want to get out and stand on his feet."

"i will worry about him," hoover answered. "what is going on?"

"it's the lady in red. she's taken the ticket."

"just like i said. "

"yeah, just like you said. you were right, i was wrong." dillinger squinted out into the corn fields. "but now it's up to both of us to make it up to the corn god."

"but he is not here," hoover pointed out.

'he's here. i bet that is him right there." dillinger pointed to the scarecrow. he took a briefcase out of the back seat of his pierce arrow and started to walk through the rows of corn toward it, with hoover behind him. hoover looked back over his shoulder. purvis had lit a cigarette and was still sitting on the running board, leaning back on the door of the packard.

dillinger pushed his way up to the scarecrow. "ok., we are here," he said to it. "now what?"

the scarecrow/corn god laughed. "your friend here didn't even recognize me."

"don't think i'm not embarrassed," said hoover. "because i am."

"don't worry about it," dillinger said. "you haven't dealt with these gods as much as i have. you'll get used to their ways."

"gentlemen, please," said the corn god. "i haven't got all day to stand here." he smiled to show this was a joke, but neither of them laughed.

"he's got a pretty primitive sense of humor, doesn't he," said hoover to dillinger.

"yeah, they're all idiots," said dillinger. "that's the first thing you have to learn about them."

"and humans have no manners, talking about folks as if they weren't there," said the corn god. "that's the first thing you learn about them."

"let's get on with it." said dillinger. he opened his briefcase. it contained eight silver bullets wrapped in cellophane and nine plastic roses, also wrapped in cellophane.

"here you are. just what you wanted, the souls of seventeen young girls."

"young girls! whatever gave you the idea i wanted the souls of young girls? that's not what the corn god wants."

dillinger looked over at hoover. hoover just raised his eyebrows.

"what do you want?" dillinger asked finally. "we are to serve you."

"the souls of wild horses. of white tigers, of fat ladies - not young girls."

"our intentions were good," said hoover. "we will go back and try to make amends. meanwhile, do our good intentions count for anything?"

"the gods don't deal with intentions, sir. we don't recognize such things. that is just pathetic human stupidity."

dlllinger took the briefcase and threw it out into the cornfield. the silver bullets and plastic roses flew out of it and the souls of the seventeen young girls escaped and drifted away. they called out to each other and their voices fell like raindrops on to the windows of the pierce arrow and the packard.

>"maybe you shouldn't have done that," said hoover.
the corn god had disappeared. the scarecrow was just a scarecrow again.

"let's get out of here."

they crossed the cornfield. dillinger got back behind the wheel of the pierce arrow. hoover and purvis got into the packard and when dillinger pulled out on to the highway they followed him.

dillinger headed to lincoln. hoover and purvis stayed close behind. a few drops of heavy rain began to fall. when they had gone about six miles they saw three of the escaped young girls hitchhiking. dillinger accelerated past them and purvis followed suit.

"what has that idiot done now?" hoover muttered. it began to rain harder.