But First an Update on the Status of Ms. Allison’s Serenity by Her Employer
Ms. Allison has asked me to introduce yet another “Feeble Fable of the Fantasmagorical” because she’s too “stoked” from her latest altercation with homo erectus to be of intelligent use. It seems that yesterday morning in downtown Seattle a rather porky young fellow sporting a “boy bun” approached her from behind on a segway. “How ‘bout sharing the sidewalk, ya resource hog?” the boy-bunned stack of “talking feces” said, “all snotty- and superior-like.”
Although the security cams at convenience stores mark her at 4’-11”, Miss Allison “Blew up Angry Hulk.” Witnesses have informed me that Leila stopped in her tracks and began to quiver from the feet up–like something sprung from a jello mold. Then she raised the hand that didn’t have an apple fritter in it into the air; at first the hand shook with rage, then seemed to claw at the sky before eventually taking the shape of a fist. Within heartbeats Ms. Allison did what I have always believed to be impossible: she actually ran. The witnesses all crossed their hearts and hoped to die on the veracity of this historic event. As incredible as it may seem, one Leila Allison, known as the Laziest Woman on in and at Earth lit out after the offending party at a fairly impressive speed and kept up the chase for an entire city block.
I’m told that no one within half a mile will soon forget the curses and oaths bellowed by Ms Allison as she sprinted after the impudent transgressor. Ozzy Osborne and the ghost of Lemmy Kilmeister would have blushed in shame, for all their timid bleepings would have come off as second rate when compared to the steady volley of obscenities hurled by Ms Allison.
“Beefy Boy Buns” must’ve realized, a bit late, that he had a genuine crazy on his tail; a profoundly disturbed individual who wouldn’t stop until she could see the rising sun reflected in his dead eyes. He proceeded to push the segway for all it was worth, but since it was a cheap knock off, it wasn’t worth all that much. Soon Ms. Allison got into “firing range.” She let him have it in the back of the head with her apple fritter from a distance of, say, five feet. It exploded into little pieces and, to Ms. Allison’s cackling delight, some of it adhered to Beefy Boy Bun’s boy bun (try writing that three times fast). And as Beefy Boy Buns exited this account forever, Ms. Allison devolved and began dancing about, flinging pieces of the exploded fritter into the air with an attitude consistent with that of the proto-human who had learned how to wield a bone club at the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
I received an email from her about an hour later. I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say she hadn’t quite calmed all the way down yet. Probably ain’t enough Versed or Xanax in the world to simmer down that party anytime soon. So, it has fallen to Yours Truly me to clap together the introduction to Ms. Allison’s latest work of genius. Without further delay or necessary violence I insincerely present, The Tippeleganger and the Barfly.
Your Humble Servant,
Ms. Allison’s Employer
The Tippleganger and the Barfly
Joe has been a regular at the White Pig Tavern long enough to remember when the ceramic “Spuds McKenzie” sitting on the back-bar (nowadays sporting a greasy nicotine slime) was popular. Next to Spuds are the remains of a “Strip Club” video machine, which had been hurled through the front window by an extremely wasted sailor in 1995. And there are the ever-lasting jars of pickled pigs’ feet and deviled eggs. Over the course of almost forty years, Joe has never seen anyone ask for anything from either jar. On hot afternoons the one holding the eggs seems to swell to a point just shy of detonation.
A five-by-twenty whorehouse mirror runs the length of the bar. There had once been a time when Joe’s youthful shape capered and jested in the looking-glass, but time and retirement has a way of diminishing capering and jesting. Instead of “closing her down.” as he had so often done in the era of Spuds and Strip Club, Joe usually whiles away a good chunk of his quiet bachelor afternoons at the Pig trading inaccurate recollections with the dayside bartender, Miriam Watts, and making desultory jokes at the expense of Miriam’s flatulent Pomeranian “dust mop” named “Morty” (who usually sleeps away the afternoons in a “Wonder Dog Bed” purchased from the Home Shopping Network).
All of this might go on for another twenty years or so; for Joe and Miriam are only in their mid-sixties, and replacements for shorter-lived creatures like Morty are so readily available that they might as well be kept in vending machines. Yet, even here, in this sleepy little nook where actions seem to follow a preordained course, strange things do occur. And just yesterday afternoon the Tippleganger ghost (whom Joe had acquired in a crap game while he was in the Navy and on liberty in Singapore) sat down on the stool beside Joe because Joe had gone one Rainier draft too many past his daily limit of four.
Joe knew that it was the Tippleganger because he could see the ghost in the mirror but not on the stool beside him. He also knew that it was safe to tell the “Tip” off because Miriam was completely absorbed by an ancient General Hospital rerun on the Soap Opera Network.
Tipplegangers may appear to their hosts in any human shape that he (Tips are exclusively male) pleases to take. Joe’s Tip is no different. And yesterday afternoon an orangey-pink skinned, scowling, slightly obese person wearing an ill-fitting dark blue suit, a Republican red power tie and sporting perhaps the most obvious comb-over this side of Dick Van Patten (another known person whose legend has succumbed to the passage of time) plumped down on the stool beside Joe. Yes, Joe’s Tippleganger had affected the guise of Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States.
“Oh, for the love of Jesus,” Joe muttered. It had been at least a decade since his Tippleganger had come around. Tips are the Big Idea Ghosts who start with the “interesting suggestions” whenever their hosts have had one too many. Over the course of Joe’s wilder years the Tip had gotten him slapped an infinite amount of times, punched by boyfriends and husbands almost as often, shot at once and, oh yes, how could he ever forget that three day stint in a Mexican jail? “Go away, asshole,” Joe added. “Ain’t listening no more.”
The Tippleganger pursed his lips and said nothing until the only other customer in the bar ( a rather hard-looking young woman who hooks up with her equally hard-looking boyfriend at the Pig after quitting time) returned from the restroom. As always, the woman (named either Brandy or Mandy) was nursing a Bic-Seven and so involved with texting that Joe figured that it was only a matter of time before her eyes converged into one.
The Tippleganger glanced over at the woman then back at Joe. “You know she wants it,” he said. “ It would be stupidly stupid and unpatriotic not to do her the favor.”
“Oh, yeah,” Joe said. “Young chicks often get together and complain about the lack of drunk old men trying to screw them. Get lost. Blow.”
“You used to be a lot more fun,” the Tip said sourly.
“I used to be lots of things,” Joe said.
“I say we make Joe Great Again,” the Tippleganger said. “Forget the damsel. Order up one of those pigs’ feet, instead. Don’t be a wussily wussie. It would be unpatriotic not to do so.”
Joe gazed into the jar of pickled pigs’ feet. How long have those things been there? Most likely since the Big Bang. No telling what they might do for a manly man…Joe bit his lip and shook his head. “Goddam bastardly bastard,” he said. “You tried to hypnotize me.”
Joe pried Miriam away from the misty recollections of Luke and Laura long enough to settle his tab and call Uber. All the while the Tippleganger sat confused and mystified by his failure to sway Joe.
“I don’t get it,” the Tip said. “Tell me, where did I do wrong?”
Joe smiled. “Just because I’m a drunk old man, it doesn’t mean that I voted for you. It would’ve been unpatriotic to do so.”
Moral: Wall building fools and their demographics are soon parted.
Superfluous Epilogue Writ by Ms. Allison’s Employer
Ms. Allison desires that I provide a superfluous epilogue for the piece just presented. A normal, less befuddled person would deny that request, but since I majored in Superfluous Epilogues in college, and have found work in that field non-existent, I have agreed to do so.
What follows is a brief list (non-alphabetized, for that would require the “W” word, the one that ends with “K”) of some of the various Spirits (aka Dead People) who will appear or have appeared in upcoming and past Feeble Fables of the Fantasmagorical, as well as his or her “superpower.”
Quillemender: This bozo uses thermal dynamics to produce documents in electronic devices. For instance, if you notice peculiar files in your laptop that you don’t recall creating (generously assuming that you are not a blackout drinker), you might have a Quillemender on your hands. Ms. Allison (despite being a blackout drinker) has one. He’s related to her, and they coexist harmoniously because there isn’t a goddam thing she can do about him.
Wishingwellwraith: A useless Spirit who loiters at the bottom of a wishing well and takes money that she cannot possibly spend in exchange for hearing wishes that she cannot (nor has any desire to) possibly grant. Ancient ghost class; been around longer than the toga.
Felinespy: Cat lover seen only by cats. Not yet directly observed by the human eye, but her existence is implied by staggering and constant amounts of related, nocturnal catfoonery.
Footfallfollower: A sort of an apprentice Spirit who evolves into something more complicated, by and by. The “Triple-F” appears only in graveyards that feature stone paths. The Spirit “adds” the report of one step too many as soon as a living person stops moving. When done correctly, the Footfallfollower gag is a pretty good one. But it is a one trick pony kind of Spirit who has a short shelf life. Easiest kind of ghost to become.
Mirrorglimmer: A powerful Spirit of superior intelligence and skill. Mirrorglimmers are to Footfallfollowers what a border collie is to an ameba. A ‘glimmer is able to “recreate” the persons who look into his or her enchanted mirror. For reasons unknown, a ‘glimmer can reproduce a version of the entire body from only a partial glance as well as the correct voice without even hearing it. These dopplegangers, however, are short-lived–lasting from only a few minutes to an hour at most, at which time the image loses integrity. But that can be plenty of time to get the living person imitated by the ‘glimmer into deep doggy doo if the ‘glimmer doesn’t like him or her..
These are just a few of the citizens of the Otherside who shall appear in future Feeble Fables. I have yet to touch on Lippybytes, Chimespeaks, Candlehuffs and so on and so on, but I must go because Ms. Allison has just texted me from the White Pig Tavern. It seems like somebody who looks a lot like Prince Phillip has suggested that the best way to deal with segway riders is with a polo mallet and not an apple fritter. I should probably bring bail money, just in case.
Never a Tippleganger’s Humble Servant,
Ms. Allison’s Employer