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Oui-oui en le Boulevard

Jul. 8, 2010
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I’m Art Kumbalek and man oh manischewitz what a world, ain’a? So, I’m near delirious about this Bangkokian heat and humidity this time we have in the Upper Midwest, about having had and having not, about the words of Harry Morgan—“One man alone ain’t got… no chance”—who got shot to the ever-loving make-believe death at the end of this book I was reading, then seven years later shot to death again at the end of the Humphrey Bogart movie of the same name.

But the words belonged to this writer out of Oak focking Park, Ill., known as Papa. You betcha, “One man alone ain’t got… no chance,” Ernie Hemingway wrote, the flatlander who flatlined himself 49 years ago this month in Idaho from shooting himself to the ever-living not-so make-believe death, coda to a lifetime of climbing the Kilimanjaro, drinking, shooting the shit with hoity-toity types in Parisian swanky joints, dicking around with Spanish bulls, bagging Hollywood movie bimbos, drinking, and shooting guns at big animals that now tread the line of being gone from our sights for focking ever, the kind of creatures nowadays we only see in a circus, zoo, or on cable TV—but then-a-days, were animals that ballsy writers and native natives used to see as common as the dandelions a suburban landowner surveys and… I forgot my point, what the fock.

Oh yeah, how ’bout you file Big Game Hunting in the “Hey, Seemed Like a Good Idea At the Focking Time” folder under History. It’s a mighty fat, focking folder, I tell you’s. Let’s see now, what the hell’s all in here… Virgin Sacrifice, check. Slavery, ’natch. Writing Everything in Focking Latin; Dumping’st Thou Full Chamber Pot Out Yonder Window Into Thy Street Below; The Edsel; Establishing a Russian Front in Winter; Saddlin’ Up With George focking Armstrong Custer; Replacing Living, Breathing Musicians with DJs; The Reagan Presidency; Booking Round Trip on the Ti-focking-tanic—yes sir, all kinds of stuff in this folder, cripes.

But one thing you won’t find in that folder is War ’cause hell, war always seems to be a good idea to focksticks no matter the time, a good idea every focking minute of every focking day, year in, year… (hold on, somebody’s at the door).

Fock. Up above, in that “Good Idea At the Time” folder? Please insert Answer the Focking Door When You’re Trying to Write a Goddamn Essay. (Herbie, Ray and focking Ernie are here. Uno momento.)

Ernie: Artie, we got a couple Blatz’s left. Want one?

Ray: Ain’t seen you around much lately, Artie. You stashing some kind of babe or something?

Art: You focking knobs, I’m trying to get some work done here, you mind?

Ernie: You mean that little article you write once a week?

Herbie: Jesus H. Christ, Artie. You ever open a window? Smells like a goddamn tannery in here.

Art: Hey, I’m busy. I get this essay done on time or I don’t get paid.

Ernie: They pay you? Flim-a focking-flam. How the hell you swing that?

Art: Some “flim-flam,” jerkwad. I’m old enough to be a grandpa and right now, I got exactly 52 dollars and 14 cents to my focking name.

Ray: Fifty-two dollars and 15 cents, Artie. Just found a penny in your drawer here, underneath… a sock? A piece of toast? What the hell is this.

Herbie: Keep your focking pants on, Artie. We won’t stay long. We were just over by the restaurant to get Little Jimmy to go then by the Uptowner, but he’s still got a sink-full to finish.

Ray: Hey you’s guys, look at this. What the hell is this?

Herbie: If you’re so broke Artie, maybe Little Jimmy can get you a job over by him.

Art: I’m allergic to service-industry work.

Ernie: Yeah, but you don’t have to dick around with the asshole public customers. You just got to wash their dirty dishes.

Art: I’m allergic to water.

Herbie: I got to get going. The wife’s nephews are staying over. The little one, what’s his name, all the time it’s Barney this, Barney that—drive you focking nuts.

Ernie: Who the fock is Barney?

Herbie: The TV show for the kids. Cripes, you been on the focking moon the past 100 years?

Ray: Smells like cheese. Old cheese. Guys, I dare you to smell this.

Herbie: But I’ll tell you’s, I wish that focking felt dinosaur would teach these kids something useful instead of words to pussy-ass songs on how to count to one. How ’bout teach these kids how to hit the focking toilet with Number One. My little one, what’s his name, his aim’s so far off for christ sakes, I swear he must’ve been in Mussolini’s army in some kind of past life.

Ray: Hey, this don’t taste half bad, whatever it is.

Ernie: Artie, why don’t you write something about that war in Afghanistan we can’t win against a bunch of skinny knobs in turbans who hate women and don’t even have an air force.

Herbie: I’m just focking glad the two little nephews ain’t old enough to get mixed up in that focking insanity, yet. Guys, I got to go. “Barney’s” almost on.

Ray: Yeah, me too, see you in church Artie; if the windows aren’t too dirty.

•  •  •

OK Ray, church, you bet. Ray, who just took a bite out of a forgotten never-washed Ace bandage I used to wrap ’round this bleeding boil on my thigh couple, three years ago.

So where the fock was I—War? Good god, focking Barney ought to teach the kids a song by this Jewish guy out of Hibbing, Minn., especially the part that goes “That if God’s on our side, He’ll stop the next war.” Hell, if He was on our side, the other side, all focking sides, you’d think at some point He’d see what the fock was going on, step in and stop one of these shebangs for once, ain’a?

Yeah, fat focking chance. He can’t see—the focking windows are too dirty ’cause I’m Art Kumbalek and I told you so.


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