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Nothing Really

Its just what's on my mind today. This is an excerpt from the book I'm writing now. I hope it makes you laugh a few times. Its a lengthy ensemble thing about 80% finished, but needs much more editing than usual. I try to do something different each time and this one is much more cynical than the others. This one is an attempt to do the cold of "Infinite Jest" in heat. ....................... All right, that should have been your first laugh. DFW is one of my favorite authors; at times favorite. I've done one patterned after his magazine style of writing, which is jokier and easier than his novels. This is a bar conversation about 2/3 into the book. Here goes.


Rick felt an arm on his shoulder and used the mirror to see that Josh was behind him being overly familiar. Still, he was glad to see the self-proclaimed internet maven at all, as this was Rick’s reason for being at the bar on that day. His revulsion at the touch gave way to a necessarily endured repugnance. Business. Business. Fucking business.

     Josh sat next to him and with an air of smiling certitude said; “You called, chief?”

     Fully cognizant of the likely satirical tone, Rick responded with seeming politeness. “Yes. Glad you could make it on such short notice. I’ve been doing some thinking about what we’ve been talking about.”


     “And I want to hear the details. The devil is always in the small print.”

     Josh chuckled and said; “Thanks for the compliment. The details are simple. I manage your campaign for mayor. You shut up and let me use the internet the way I can. You get elected and make me business manager, with your full support, solely responsible for the re-negotiation of the garbage contract.”

     Aubrey returned with Rick’s double Jack and placed it on a coaster in front of him. She looked toward Josh, and said; “Hi, Loki. What can I get ya today?”

     “Vodka and tonic, babe; and don’t be stingy.”

     As Aubrey departed to perform her duties, with a twinge of faux merry incredulity masking apprehension, Rich said; “LOKI???”

     “Yeah, um. ................. Hard to explain. Long story. No relevance. I have a walk-in closet full of outfits. Like you.”

     Rick-Richard-Richard III smirked as he took another double Jack gulp and responded; “Mine’s more like a nineteenth century wardrobe,” refraining from the original word “kas” for fear of misunderstanding. In the momentary lull he asked; “So where were we, Loki?”

     “I don’t exactly know. Lost track. Anyway, here comes Aubrey.”

     Aubrey served the elixir and was dismissed with an obligatory “Thank you.”

     Josh took a sip and half asked; “So, I guess you’ve decided that you want to be a big shot again.”

     “Depends on the terms.”

     “You heard ‘em. Garbage contract mine. You can do what you want with the little shit. .................... More or less, depending on surprises.”

     “So what are you going to do for me that I can’t do myself?”

     “Basically nothing if you were computer savvy. But, you’re not.”

     Rick looked askance.

     “Look. You can easily get 100 votes from the members of the Brisas Area Gardening Society, just by saying that you’ll do something about the goddam elms. You can .........”

     “I’m not against the elms and couldn’t do anything about them if I wanted to.”

     “Irrelevant. It’s the hottest issue in Propicio. Tell ‘em some shit they want to hear, get in, and concoct some story later. .................... Hey, you sure you were in politics before?”

     Indignantly Rick said; “We were straight shooters back then!”

     “Yeah, right. You say that so convincingly. A natural born politician.” With his left thumb and forefinger he pinched Rick’s cheek and said; “You’re beautiful.”


     “Pardonome. Come on. Let’s quit the dancing. You called me here for a reason. You know you need me.” He slurped his drink, looked at his wristwatch and added; “I’ve got other shit to do.”

     “All right, all right. Just do me the favor of explaining what it is exactly that you’re going to do for me.”

     “Okay. You can run for mayor yourself and you will lose. You can put up signs all over Propicio Road, like all the other candidates. Nobody will look at any of them as they are an uninteresting eyesore. I know how to use the “private” e-mail addresses of all the registered voters to keep putting your name in front of them. Invariably they vote for the name with which they are most familiar. We’ll do a video of you in your garden playing “good old guy” from old Propicio and it will touch their button pushing hearts. We show them what they want to see. They buy it every time. The program always works.”

     “How do you get all those e-mail addresses.”

     “Professional secret. .......... Used to work for Homeland Security. Nuff said?”

     “Scary shit.”

     “It’s the reality today. Any notion of privacy is dead.”

     “So why do you need me at all?”

     “Frankly, I probably don’t. I could do this and win with any of a number of candidates. But, you have the old time experience, a name that is associated with the ‘good old days,’ and that ‘oh so sweet’ straight shooter face.”

     “All right. So, just to be clear, you get me elected and in return you get the garbage contract payoffs?”

     “Yeah, simple as that. You appoint me Propicio business manager. If something else big comes up we’ll talk.”


     “So, I’ll have my guy out to your house for the video. The Brisas Area Gardening Society will be descending on the town council again FRIDAY NEXT. You be there, get to the podium and make a speech announcing your candidacy. Tell ‘em you’re going to get rid of the Calle de la Congelacion elms and restore Propicio to old time values. Afterward mingle with the crowd. Smile that sweet innocent looking smile a lot and try not to say anything particularly stupid with specifics. When challenged divert to talking about the good old days ad nauseum. And then get the hell out of there. Look at your watch and say you’ve got an appointment with some local tree remover. ............. You were mayor. You know how to handle this shit, right?”

     “We were straight shooters back then.”

     Josh pinched Rick’s cheek again, and said; “Beautiful. So sincere. Perfect. Vinny is so vulnerable right now. .......... Just curiousity; is that shit for real?”

     “I don’t know. Matter?”

     Josh guzzled the remnants of his glass, got up and said; “No. I’ll be in touch,” and walked out. The coin flipping man made a mock sign of the cross and bowed his head slightly, in sarcastic admiration. Rick wolfed down his remainder and stood, evincing minor balancing difficulties. As he left he said to the coin flipping man; “Heads again?”

     The coin flipping man stooped to retrieve the quarter. Without looking at Rick he deadpanned; “You betcher fucking ass.”

     Rick walked home slowly. He was so deep in conflicting thoughts, unconscious of the scenery, he may as well have been in Nepal.