You have a good day, too, Uncle Duke!
(This piece was written in November, 1969, and was submitted to the University of Colorado Writers Workshop the following spring, earning me a fellowship and praise from Harlan Ellison, who called it "a Marx Brothers landscape." It was then revised slightly in the fall of 1971 and submitted to The Rolling Stone, where it was memorably rejected by someone I greatly suspect to have been Dr. Hunter Thompson. That abusive, obscene rejection letter, which is framed over my desk, is being reprinted at "Letters of Note," and I thought it would be interesting to let readers there see what brought it about. And I think readers here will find that blog worth visiting, too. Even when Uncle Duke isn't [apparently] writing the material.)
(The camera pans over a landscape of snowcapped mountains and pines. It centers on one particularly large mountain, which looks to be the Matterhorn. As we are zoomed into a close up, we begin to see a small log cabin about five hundred yards from the summit. Smoke is pouring from the chimney. We are by now looking through the window, where a cheery fire is burning in the fireplace, and being reflected off the pine paneling of the walls. The cabin appears to be empty, but as we look in front of the hearth, we see a couple sitting naked on a bearskin rug gazing into the flames and passing a joint. They are not touching, nor do they look at each other. A small gray and white cat passes before them and pauses for a second in front of the fire. Then it leaps into the fire, where it turns into a panther, and then bursts into a blue flame and is sucked up the chimney into the air above the cabin. The boy turns to the girl and speaks.)
GIRL: Is that what that was, a cat?
BOY: Yeah. What did you think it was?
GIRL: I don't know, man, but I didn't know it was a cat. If I had …
BOY: If you had what?
GIRL: If I had known … that that was a cat.
BOY: Well, what if you had known that it was a cat?
GIRL: Yeah, what if?
BOY: Say, what are you doing tomorrow?
GIRL: I have to go home. I forgot my deodorant.
BOY: You can use mine.
GIRL: Thanks, but I'd rather have my own. I feel more secure.
BOY: What’s wrong with my deodorant?
GIRL: Nothing. I just like having my own deodorant. Makes me feel, you know, more independent. Liberated.
BOY: Well, I don't know why you use my toothbrush and my mouthwash and even my razor but you can't use my deodorant.
GIRL: Did you see that cat a minute ago?
BOY: Is that what that was, a cat?
GIRL: What did you think it was?
BOY: A cat. I knew it was a cat. It was my cat. Its name was Delilah and it slept next to the stove and ate chicken and hamburger. It was two years old and killed mice and small birds and laid them at my feet. It had four kittens a year ago. It shedded like crazy for a while until I fed it a small lizard.
GIRL: Did it stop shedding?
BOY: Oh yeah, immediately. But there were some side-effects.
GIRL: Such as?
BOY: I think that was one of them. Do we have any more lizards in the medicine cabinet?
talk to e.e. cummings.
I would say
e.e., do you realize
of your p
eht no y yrteop
probably nod and
(Orange drink is available in the lobby at the phenomenal price of $15 a carton. The cartons, however, prove to be only half-full! The straws are very narrow and collapse easily. You forget your matches and have to ask a stranger for a light. Your date is mortified at your flirting and general incompetence. You inadvertently burn a hole in the carpet with a stray ash, and several people notice the smoke before you do. There is a general panic which your date resolves by pouring $7.50 worth of orange drink on the spot. The stench is horrendous. Your date fixes you up with one of the ushers and goes home. The usher keeps shining his flashlight on the ceiling.)
BOY: Oh wow. I can hardly wait to finish this.
GIRL: Me neither. It will be such fun.
BOY: I hate my parents. That is why I am going to make love to you.
GIRL: I hate the establishment. That is why I am snorting this lizard.
BOY: I hate cops and teachers and all civic authorities.
GIRL: I hate motherhood and the flag and apple pie.
BOY: I hate circuses and hot dogs and baseball games.
GIRL: I hate church and the Girl Scouts.
BOY: I hate TV dinners and the Boy Scouts.
GIRL: I like straight people.
BOY: I like … wait a minute. What did you just say?
GIRL: I like straight people.
BOY: You're not supposed to like straight people.
GIRL: I don't like all straight people. But some straight people are pretty nice.
BOY: Yeah, well, some of my best friends are straight people. I got nothing against them. They sure can dance. But I still wouldn't want my sister to marry one.
GIRL: I wouldn't want her to, either.
BOY: I got nothing against straight people. I just wouldn't want my sister to marry one.
GIRL: God, no. I hate marriage.
BOY: I hate pigeons and squirrels and cotton candy.
GIRL: I hate Johnny Carson and my parish priest.
BOY: I hate Glen Campbell and Arthur Godfrey.
GIRL: I hate the boy next door and color TV.
BOY: I hate breakfast and beer.
(Two sentries at Elsinore: Thodwick and Benvenuto)
Thodwick: What time is it'?
Benvenuto: The clock has but struck.
Thodwick: T'is a nipping and eager air.
Benvenuto: Sure is. Where the hell is Horatio?
Thodwick: Hold your tongue. I hear something.
GHOST: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark!
Thodwick: Hark ye! He calls the Prince!
GHOST: I am the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come!
Thodwick: You're lost, man. This Is Denmark.
GHOST: I know, I know.
Benvenuto: What happened to the other guy?
GHOST: You mean Hamlet's father?
GHOST: Bad earache, man, couldn't make it.
Benvenuto: Well, what do you want?
GHOST: Another lizard, please. And make it a long one.
"Who was that masked man?” the porter asked.
"Which masked man?" Eve answered. "There have been so many, I may have forgotten one or two."
“The one who was running up and down the aisle naked but for a pair of argyle socks, making improper suggestions to several of the young ladies present."
"I don’t know," whispered Eve, gazing at the rising moon, "but I wanted to thank him.”
To help the elk to quell the quail. of Oedicox
I clashed on moss and tripped on vines,
I bit the fork to mesh the tines.
I stripped the truth and fed the lies
On bigot blood and apple pies.
255 I helped to stop the wild oat seed
With a massive dose of LSD
Which nurtured minds as smooth as silk
And turned their brains to curdled milk,
Then skimmed the curds, and sold the whey
To other souls who thought it fey.
261 Oh woe to thee, oh wicked knight, 261. Oedicox
Who dragged the dragon's corpse to light, lays a
And brought upon the land a blight. heavy
A curse upon thee, wicket king, curse on
265 Who sought the fairies dancing ring, the house
And smote the griffon on the wing. of Nadir
Fie upon thee, maiden fair,
With silver cowbells in your hair;
A wealth of changelings shalt thou bear
270. But love go with thee, kith and kin, 270. Love song
For thou hath saved my fiscal skin, of
and caused the GNP to grin, Oedicox
And all the dreams contained therein,
275. Shall live to praise your deadly sin,
And they shall kill you, raise a din,
And mount a motto on a pin;
“[ Your name here] has Never Been!”