Wednesday, November 24, 2010

F**k da Police; or, Another Day in my Fruitless Search for the Novelization of Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London

By the time I was awake the dogs had stopped barking. Apparently my bark-sensitive land mines were a success.
As I drearily rubbed my eyes I pulled aside the large flap of sewn-together foreskin that serves as my drapes and saw a large crater in the neighbor's yard, extending from right next to where the dogs are kept all the way past the house, into the next subdivision of property. The only thing that remained of the Kepler's house (and probably the Keplers, if they were home when their dogs started barking) was their garage, some well founded support beams and their lovely, lavish garden.
I walked out of the house and immediately noticed that the cars I'd seen through the windows were in fact police cars, which scared me a little. I still had an arrest warrant for a joke I played one time where I ran my car over this one guy's kid because she stuck her ugly little pink tongue out at me. They call it vehicular homicide, but I call it sticking my proverbial tongue back out at her, teaching her a lesson; given my proverbial tongue is something more like a Red Ford F250.
“Well hello there,” said an officer, who sounded suspiciously foreign to me.
“Hello?” I asked him condescendingly.
“Um,” he responded, obviously perplexed at my introspective jab at his worldview.
“You would, wouldn't you?” I asked him. By now it was rather obvious that I'd gained the upper hand in the situation, and now it was more me questioning him than the other way around. I was the good cop and the bad cop; he was the cop that wasn't being treated like one at all. Advantage me.
“I would what?” asked the officer.
“And I bet you'd totally eat all the Pringles and only leave the crumbs in the bottom of the can, so that you can still say you didn't technically 'finish them', but you can still get to eat all the Pringles. A little bit of having your cake and eating it, too; isn't that the case?” I interrogated, trying to get to the heart of the matter.
“Sir, I'm going to have to ask you—”
“So you're the one asking questions now?” I asked acidicly.
The policeman, now obviously distressed with my intellectual prowess, pointed in the direction of a police cruiser as if to say, “I'm just going to go over here and study for another decade so I can keep up with your mental fluidity.”
I laughed. What else can you do?
I walked to the mailbox and put it in.
As I was returning to my house, another officer, more robust and mentally agile than the previous one, called fast after me.
“Hello?” I responded, seeing if this officer would fall pray to such rudimentary stratagem.
“Who?” he asked.
I nodded in approval of this assertion. “Okay,” I said, “lay it down, thy malfeasant artichoke mediator.”
“What I wanted to ask,” said the man, wetting his mustache with a white-stained sulfuric tongue, “is if you heard anything last night. You know, while you were asleep.”
“I do as an ant does,” I claimed stoically.
“You don't sleep?”
“Did I say ant? I meant aunt,” I corrected myself.
“Oh, so you send out vapid Christmas family newsletters and make fudge on some occasion?”
I nodded, pleased more or less with his summary of my day-to-day activities.
“Would you say you also tend to ramble about the bible?”
“I didn't say great-aunt, did I?” I asked didactically.
“I see,” responded the officer. “Sir, I will be frank.”
“Is that your name?”
“Well, if you're going to play that way,” he grumbled, “I will be franklin.”
“Better,” I said, pointing my morning erection towards the eastern horizon, indicating that he should continue his diatribe.
“Well,” he started, “I do think that you might have been drinking,” he continued, “given that your lawn is littered with fifths,” he ended.
“I'm sorry?” I asked defensively.
“Well, I see that your lawn is littered with a bunch of empty fifths of alcohol, and I was wondering...”
“Let me tell you, sir, I have no idea what you're talking about.”
“Well, if you don't want to admit to it, that's fine, you have a right to the fifth amendment...” he trailed off wearily, like a confused cub scout after I've given him enough horse tranquilizers to stop a Humpback Whale dead in the water and I've undressed him in preparations for the Charlie Rose interviews George Clooney marathon I had (Not that Charlie Rose has interviewed Clooney more than once; I just put the DVD on constant repeat until I climax.).
“I certainly will not invoke the fifth amendment, not in this matter of fifths!” I claimed.
“Well, I have to get confirmation from you four more times...” the onerous officer began again.
“Listen, I won't tell you for a second, third, forth or fifth time; I won't invoke the fifth amendment on these fifths here, I don't know what fifths the fifth would cover five times, even.”
“These bottles?” asked the officer.
“Oh, those? Those aren't fifths; those are seven hundred and fifty milliliters,” I assured the officer.
“Same difference,” he contended.
“I'm sorry sir, but seven hundred and fifty milliliters is approximately one percent less liquid than one-fifth of a gallon, and when it comes to the standard system, I'd just as soon fuck a retarded pigeon before the sedimentary layer of rock that is now grafting fully to my back yard futon would be growing its perennial springtime decay.”
“I'm sorry,” said the officer, nonplussed by my blinding genius, “did you say you have a back yard futon?”
“Well, how else am I going to sleep in the back yard on the nights when my balls sweat too much to handle the endless hours of research provided me via the home shopping network?”
“The home sh...”
“And anyways, it seems like the season of the cobra really—when all is said and done—derives fully from most marsupial mammograms matriculation into martial law, doesn't it?”
The officer gingerly walked away, eyes on me the whole time, and spoke to another officer who was reading the novelization of Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London, written by the illustrious and infamous genre-bending experimental prose writer Michael Anthony Steele. I peered at the book--my prize, my Arc of the Covenant, my Holy Grail, my Temple of doom. I salivated like Pavlov's dog at the sound of a bell. He looked in my direction our eyes met like wolves wear burgundy business suits, shattering the peace of mind I'd maintained up to this point and popping my axiomatic heebie geebies cherry. He looked at me and nodded ravenously. Slowly his bulbous stomach started stirringly in my direction. His eyes blazed boisterously like that one asshole's trailer I burned down. His lips quivered vividly, his mouth was alive with juices like wine; he was hungry like the wolf.
As he stepped gallantly onto the small patch of lawn unsaturated in Bacardi and urine, the officer gave me a scowl not unlike a mother wolf when you threaten her child, or when you kidnap a wolf pup and try to take it to a McDonald's Playland, to be more exact. I looked deep into his sharp brown eyes, the color of when you try to combine markers like red and blue, thinking it will come out purple—it doesn't, it comes out brown—and I sneered.
“Are you scoffing me?” he asked franklinly, in a bulbous basso profundo.
“I most certainly am not!” I yelled, offended that he would ask. “Can you not tell the difference between a scoff and a sneer?”
“One man's cough is another man's sneer,” the officer claimed.
“That's like saying one man's Asian is another man's colored.”
“Colored?” he asked, surprised at my olden, colloquial vernacular.
“Yes,” I said, “colored.”
The officer lowered his eyes and his voice, saying, “You aren't allowed to say colored.”
“What do you mean? Is this not America, the land of the home and the free?”
“Well, it is, and you have the right...”
“Then I'll say colored if I damn well please.”
I decided now would be a good time to try an escape. I was tired of the questions, and everybody knows that questions lead to answers, and sometimes some answers will put you back in prison, and since I'm still technically on parole in eleven different states where I've been paroled—well, I'd just as well not even take the chance.
“Good day, then,” I said, leaving the officer to his own devices.
“I'm sorry?” he asked, still lost in a sea of bepuzzlement.
“What do you want?” I said, wanting to avoid any further interrogation at the hands of such brutal investigators.
“I just wanted to ask you a question or two,” he continued.
“Can I be earnest?” I asked him, interrupting.
“Well, I think you'd have to check with the estate of Jim Varney.”
I was instantly taken aback, stumbling back onto my back. I fell onto a bed of brown grass and clear bottles. I stroked the detonator in my shirt pocket sweetly with my left hand.
“Are you rubbing your nipple?” asked the officer, offended.
“I'll perform my areolic acrobatics at will; this is a free goddamn country!” I shouted, now visibly aroused.
“Not in my town you don't!”said the Orwellian officer, starting towards me.
“You wouldn't,” I said, fingering the trigger and shaking my head warningly.
“What is it that you've got there?” he asked. “What do you think you're doing?”
“Do you see that mailbox over there?”
“Yes, why?” he asked.
“Well, there's a bomb in it.”
“Just 'cause,” I said. “Oh, this is the trigger.”
“Why on earth?”
“Hows about we make a trade,” I proposed.
“I would like all the Michael Anthony Steele novels you have, right now.”
“But I don't have all of them here!”
“Well, that's your problem, isn't it?” I said malevolently. “Oh, another thing you should know: if you go talk to your colored friends over there, it's boom boom time.”
“Colored? They're all white,” he insisted.
“What do you mean? They're blue.”
“You know, the color.”
“Oh, because of their uniforms? They're still Caucasian underneath.”
“What?” I asked, beginning to lose the officer's direction.
“They're white people. Their skin is white.”
“It looks blue to me.”
“That's their clothing.”
“Their wha?”
I shook my head. What the hell is clothing? Something made out of cloths? Suddenly, I snapped out of my quandary; this was not the time, nor place. I was full-swing into operation Michael Anthony Steele, and I wasn't about to give up chase.
“Shut up, fat man,” I said to the cop. He wasn't that fat, but I thought I'd see if I could damage his self-esteem. He was fat enough to be self-conscious about his weight, but not fat enough to get looked and pointed at for being fat.
“I'm not fat,” he insisted.
“Get the books, blubbers.”
The officer frowned and walked towards his cruiser. He didn't talk to any of the other officers—he didn't even look at them. He came back bearing King of the Pirates, Book 1, The Naked Brothers Band's Cry Wolff and Battle of the Bands, and I'm a Great Big Tow-Truck! I looked at the latter and frowned.
“What do you think I am, some kind of child?” I asked hatefully. “You think I still read picture books? I'm a big boy, you dumb motherfucker!” I yelled, chucking the book at the officer's small forehead.
“Oh Jesus, ouch!” he exclaimed.
“And where the fuck is Agent Cody Banks 2?” I asked.
“I haven't got a copy,” he lied.
“You're a liar!”
“I am not!”
“Are too!” I said, grabbing a mostly empty bottle of Barcardi 151 lying next to my right ankle.
“I certainly am not!” the officer insisted.
I took a swig from the bottle and produced a lighter from my pocket. I spit the potent rum at the policeman's leg and lit a flame under it. The fumes caught immediately.
“Liar, liar, pants on fire!” I observed.
The other officers noticed that their comrade had a barbecuing leg and tried to come to his assistance. Before they could, however, I rubbed my nipple scornfully and they were wiped out by the mailbox shrapnel.
The officer lay crying at his poor little leg and I interrogated him further, “So, you still don't have Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London?” I asked.
"My pocket," he said woefully.
"Right or left?" I asked excitedly. Finally the treasure would be mine.
I turned around his charred body and looked for a right pocket. Instead, all I could see was the cover of Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London grafted poorly to the side of the officer's leg. I looked at my watch. Duh, it was a Monday.
"To quote Garfield," I said aloud, "I hate Mondays."
"The President?" asked the officer in a delusional mumble.
I laughed. "Who would elect a cartoon cat to be president?" I walked back inside, chuckling at such a silly idea.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Filth Books Stole My Life

 Skateboard Mike says, "Filth Books Stole My Life"
Originally published Nov. 2009
As my girlfriend and I walked from the parking lot to the bus station I saw him; standing there as he's stood before. Stoically. A baseball cap covering his head and a large cardboard sign on his chest leading its way down to his feet. 
Photocred: Adam Crockett 2010
His sign reads: 
Filth books stole my life 
(s)ave me (the s is designed to resemble the Safeway logo)
Artist Skateboard Mike
I'd seen him there before, his brown boots clamped to the ground and his nose running gargoylesque, as if a strange, seemingly demented beggar statue had been erected in the street and adorned with all the accouterments applicable to make it appear as lifelike as possible. For some reason the creepy plastic Ronald McDonalds they put on benches at McDonald's comes to mind.
Two cars pass the red-light-turned-green and Mike yells at them with a guttural squelching as if some great beast disturbing the still of everyday life with a wet roar from bronchitial lungs. People take quick peeks at him but not for too long, because a man like that cannot be looked at too long in fears that he might lash out; it's well known to all the upper and middle-class people that lower class people such as beggars and welfare recipients and people who live in low-income housing are inherently criminal and more animal than them—that if you attempt some kind of communication outside of giving them the pocket-change or the surplus burrito you got at the drive-thru, they might try some sort of vicious attack or some other sort of malevolent stratagem. That's what you see in the eyes of the people of Bellevue, WA. Their professional trainer-toned bodies rotting away behind their peacoat and Prius shields.
The prissy Asian woman with her fifty dollar manicure and designer umbrella looks at the man and then looks at his sign. I can see in her face that she obviously thinks the man has some kind of paranoid schizophrenic disillusionment fantasy wherein he's the victim of some overzealous plot against him by Safeway, and they're trying to bring down his career as an artist; or, maybe as just a former clerk at a Safeway who at one point in time just snapped and lost his job, thus tipping over the first domino in Safeway's vast anti-Skateboard Mike conspiracy, as it were. She doesn't let her eyes wander anymore and looks away from Skateboard Mike, in the direction she's headed. To safety.
A man in a business suit worth more than my car absconds a look with an unringing cell phone to his ear, making his arm obstruct his face, trying to hide the disdain in his eyes and his embarrassment for both himself (for being in the presence of such a detestable man) and for Skateboard Mike (who—my god—probably needs some medication he's not getting). The man thinks to himself that he'd better give money to some organization that gives mental help to people like this and summarily doesn't feel as bad about himself for hating the man, because he would—probably tonight, online—help out ol' Skateboard Mike with a considerable donation to an organization that could clean him up, get him off the street and at least into a mental institution or something.
I admit myself to giving Mike a look and then quickly withdrawing it. I didn't want him to ask me for a smoke or a light or spare change or a number of things I didn't have. Looking at them—I reasoned—makes them target you. Looking at them could have consequences. Looking at them may cause trouble that's not warranted nor needed. Just eyes to the sidewalk or to the opposite side of the road. Even though he was wearing sunglasses on this cloudy day, I was afraid of his eyes. I couldn't explain why. We walked the two more blocks down to the bus station and my girlfriend was off for a day of work. I had the day to myself. I ruminated on what I would use my day for, and then it hit me:
It had been a while since I went story-mining; just talking to random people in random places—or perhaps more so calculated people in random places—and Mike looked as though an endless goldmine of interesting stories and a wealth of perceived knowledge or wisdom that may or may not amount to anything discernible or even sensical.
The day was windy and thick gusts blew from the North and the West , closing inward on Bellevue and the surrounding areas, sending the occasional rain horizontal so that no umbrella could keep you dry. Colorful and dead leaves of Autumn hues stirred in diminishing circles on the ground and were quickly swept up by the stirring wheels of import luxury sedans from Germany and Japan and Sweden as the rain alternated between showering and pouring. Umbrellas were not being used at the moment, but they were close at hand for anybody who had lived in the city for long, however some more cautious people with more expensive clothing that doesn't fair well in Northwest weather held fifty-dollar-plus umbrellas with intricate designs above their heads in expectation for worsening weather conditions.
I walked into Starbucks and picked up two of their regular drip coffees, since I wasn't sure if Mike was lactose intolerant or not. I picked up a couple of packets of raw sugar and I walked to his corner. Nobody was there. I was disappointed in my tardiness for Skateboard Mike's statuesque protest and stood in the rain with a forlorn look about me. What was I going to do with two cups of coffee? I didn't really even want one, much less an extra.
As I was getting prepared to resign for the day and go write about something far less compelling, I saw Mike from across the street. I could make out his brown coat with the words:
written in fat short letters on the back. I could see his inexplicable red and blue neck brace and his well-worn baseball cap, saturated dark brown in hair oils and cigarette tar. He was on the street parallel mine waiting to cross. I wondered if I should cross as well and offer it to him while beginning to walk his way or just stand on the corner dumbly as if we had some kind of appointment. I decided the latter and waited all of a minute while Mike waiting for the crosswalk.
When he crossed the street I started by holding out the coffee towards him. As I spoke he raised his head to reveal a seldom-shaved mange under his neck brace with a recently-shaven five o' clock shadow from his chin upward.
“Hey sir, would you like some coffee?” I said, proffering the Christmas-themed maroon and green cup.
Mike shook his head no and then spoke in a voice that sounded throaty and wet with hints of a rural (possibly southern) accent that had spent a time being converted in a big city. “No thanks, but thanks for the offer,” he said, “coffee just doesn't agree with me. I've got some stuff—some kinda internal problems—and I can't really do coffee. Or any type of beans, I can't do that neither. They just don't really agree with me, y'knowwaddImean?”
I nodded. “Yeah, oh well,” I said, disheartened. I'd just lost my rock-solid “in” to a decent interview. I decided to be candid.
“Listen; I'm a freelance journalist and blogger, and I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions.”
He gave me a suspicious look, “Okay...” he said hesitantly, “sure.”
“Would you mind if I recorded our conversation?” I asked, pulling out my small tape recorder to show him in a sign of good faith.
“No, thanks, y'know,” he said, as if there were some obvious reason as to why he wouldn't want to be recorded.
“Okay,” I agreed. I cold take mental notes.
“Right now though,” he admitted, “I just wanna get someplace nice and cozy and outta this rain and wind, I've been standing out here for two hours and I can't get ain't nothin'.”
“Okay,” I repeated and we began to walk towards the bus station a couple of blocks away.
“You can just check me out on the Internet,” he said, seemingly trying to shoo me, “you can just go to” I'd already tried before to no avail and told him so.
“Oh, that's because you gotta put 'skateboard' in lower-case,” he said.
“So 'skateboard' in lower case and then 'Mike' in all-caps? Or 'Mike' with just 'M' in caps?” I asked.
“Well,” he continued nonsensically, “you've got to do www, then the skateboard in lower-case and mike and then dot com.”
“So I asked, figuring it probably didn't exist anyways. He nodded. A brief moment of silence followed between us.
“So what do you want to ask me?” he asked, breaking the sound of the wind that masked the silence between us.
“Well, first I was just wondering why you're out here; what you're all about, you know?” I generally prodded.
“Well, I'm an artist, y'know,” he said. I nodded. “And I don't want any big thing written up on me on any filth book because I don't wanna be written about until after I'm in the ground, you know?”
“What exactly do you mean by that?” 
“Well, you've got these filth books, you know?” he started. My thoughts hearkened back to his sign, the phrase filth books stole my life. This is the story I was looking for; why he was toiling, his plight, what he was up against and his perceived notions about the world outside himself. “And these books are about these artists while they're alive and they're full of all these lies and whatever and they go to make it so the artist in their life is like ruined. They're like flashlights and they click on-and-off or they're like firecrackers and they explode for these two or three big years, and then they're gone. Like, the real ones,” he says, stressing real as though the real ones are imperative to life as we know it, that they're the only valid resource amongst historians, “are the ones that come out after they're in the ground, and I'm an artist so I don't wanna be written about until I'm in the ground, so I've got real books written about me and not all these filth books, which are the ones bringing me down.”
I shot him a coy look, “So what you're saying is you don't want anything written about you because if something is written about you while you're still alive it's going to bring you down?”
“Right, and when I'm in the ground,” he started.
“Yeah, when I'm dead they'll write the books about Michael Davis Smith and then you'll know the real truth, but the guys who would be writing them now would get it all wrong and they'd write a filth book, and I'm not even saying they know they're writing it! They could be thinking they're writing all this good shit and whatever but it's going to be filth.”
I nod. “So you think that all these books that come out during an artist's lifetime makes them disreputable?”
He nods knowingly, “I don't think,” he states confidently, “I know because they're the reason that I'm living the nightmare I am right now, they're the reason I'm living under a fuckin' bridge and holding a sign. You have no idea what a nightmare I'm living now because of these books, man. You can't even begin to understand what this whole thing is about,” and now he raises his hand brings it down as though suppressing some invisible orb, “and all the dark book energies that are fuckin' making me live like this.”
I nodded as though I had some sort of idea as to what he was talking about.
“You say you're an artist,” I said, straying from our previous topic, “what kind of art? Painting, music?”
“Painting,” he said, “mostly oils.”
“Oils on canvas?”
“Well, I do some painting with oils but I also use some other stuff like with spray paint and other types.”
“Do you have any art that you sell or that I can see?”
“I got all my art stolen,” he said.
“Oh, bummer,” I reply sympathetically.
“Well, I've still got two lots of art and whatever...” he admits and grumbles the last part, seeming regretful that he disclosed such information. “It's a big long story that I don't even want to begin to get into man,” he said, trailing off again on the end of his statement.
We reach the top of a long set of stairs and wait for a crosswalk. I look at him and ask him, “So you're saying these books are the cause for all your problems?”
He affirms this, nodding and saying, “That's what I'm saying man.” and now he raises his sunglasses over his brow, revealing his eyes for the first time. Blue with one pupil dilated and not the other one. “Look at me, did you know I'm the world champion for going the fastest on a skateboard? Eighty-four miles per hour down Mt. Ranier but all these books are making it so I have to live on the street man! I'm doing this best artist in the world thing and I'm holding a fuckin' sign and all this shit.”
“Huh,” I continued, “about these 'filth books'; can you give some examples about what books you're talking about or some authors that write these books?”
“Man, it wouldn't be too hard. You could even use the Internet, I'm sure, to find out what some of these books are. And there's books that are about these books, these filth books, and you can find them, but they're harder to find but you could probably use the Internet or you could make some calls and I'm sure you could find out where to find these things—these books.”
“Are you saying these are filthy books?”
Mike looked annoyed and he raised his fists and laughed playfully as though I'm was bothering him to the point of menial violence, “Man, I'm telling you man, you're making me wanna...” he lowers his fists and his tone, “the filth books are the ones about the artists and they're making me live this nightmare that I'm in man, and all this dark book energy that's bringing me down.”
I nodded, trying not to appear defensive and in fact casual, as though his motions weren't threatening in any way and this is still a legitimate interview.
“So these books—these good books—the ones about how bad the filth books are, could you recommend some of those to me?”
“That's what I've been trying to tell you man, is that I don't remember but I used to have a couple of them, they're not the type of book you could find in that bookstore over there or anything.” he said pointing in the general direction of the Barnes & Noble close by.
“Think I could find it on the Internet or anything?”
“That's what I'm saying!” he said.
“Do you think I could find it maybe in an Anarchist bookstore or anything? I know there's like an Anarchist and Communist bookstore downtown, and”
Mike interrupts, “Maybe but I don't know. You'd have to make a call to a bookstore and ask them and they might send you to another bookstore, and then you'd call them and they'd send you to another, and then again and eventually you'd get the right place and you could get these books.”
“Oh.” I said. I'm highly suspect by now that the filth books and the commentary books on the filth books are in fact nonexistent. I nod, affirming what I'm quite sure is a delusion. “So you're skateboard Mike, do you still skateboard?” I asked.
“Nah, I hung up the skateboard years ago after I had an accident. That's how I got so good at painting, man, but unfortunately nobody will hear about me until I'm in the ground and then maybe you can write a book about me, but don't be writing—if you're interested in writing,”
“I am,” I admitted.
“—any filth books about me.” he said looking at me as though we were now in league with the same interests.
“I won't,” I said. “But I could write a book, like an expose on these filth books.”
“You could but then they'd just bring you down. If you wanted to write a book like that then good luck, 'cause whoever's in charge would say nope!” Mike said, making a thumbs down with his bare right hand dropping it. “This guy has'ta be brought down.”
I nodded, “Right,” I said.
“Cause, I mean, look at me! I'm a world record holder and look at how I'm living 'cause of these books and their, like, dark energy man.” he said. I nod. “Anyways, man, I have to go get something.” he says, offering me his outstretched fist to me. “Mike, by the way.”
“Brit,” I said, pounding his fist.
“Bret?” he asked.
“Brit; short for Britain, like the country.”
He nodded, “Alright Brit, if you see me around say hi!"
“I will.” I said and he began to walk off.
"Oh hey," he started, turning around, "you smoke and could I bum a smoke?"
"I do not." I admitted and he nodded and wandered off.
I walked back to my car, wondering to myself filth books? Dark book energy? World Record Skateboardist? What the fuck just happened? The leaves were stirred up by the wind and then were dragged to the pavement by the rain as I walked back to my car, ruminating on this strange happenstance.

NOTE: Upon further review and research, there is no, no matter how you spell it. I cannot find any information as to Michael David Smith or Michael Davis Smith as a skateboarder anywhere around Washington or any kind of record made skating Mt. Ranier. I cannot find his art, his name, his website, or any information about him in court records in any surrounding states. He seemingly doesn't exist.