19 February 2009

A Friendly Interrogation, cIII Style - Part One

Dear Friends, Gumbo has gone and done it. He has shaken his fist at the wrong Entities, and called down the Thunder upon himself. For some inexplicable reason, he expended extraordinary effort to “win” an interview from Puppetmaster cIII of The Goat and Tater, by rapid fire entry of 16 consecutive comments on this post. That’s right: 16 comments. In a row. All for the chance to be asked some questions.

Well, you yell loud enough, Zeus will hear you. Gumbo caught the Thunder, cIII Style

Picture you this: I am in my office, newly moved in and diggin’ the Digs, you dig? New desk, a bookcase behind me groaning under the weight of Important Tomes, one of those slightly bizarre Artemide task lamps on the desk. The lamp that all of us hipster wanna-be architecture students coveted back in college, but rarely had enough Dead Presidents on hand to actually buy. Which I would have had, the money that is, if I hadn’t been carefully conserving my bills to donate to the all important beer fund.

So anyway, this cool black lamp is on my desk right next to the hip looking phone, along with a scattering of writing utensils (I favor liquid ink Razorpoints, extra fine) and a pad of nice, toothy sketch paper. The kind that makes little skritchy noises when you write on it.

On one wall is a set of windows, the old style double-hungs in heavy wood frames with plate glass. It’s a rehab building, “adaptive reuse” in the patois of the Architects. The window overlooks the street below, and it has a snazzy stone sill. Upon that sill, rest my feet, clad in new shoes recently purchased with the proceeds of a winning lottery ticket. I am napping in the chair, with a gray felt Stetson on my face.

Big mistake.

I hear a small creak, footsteps over the wood strip floor as someone pads into my office. There is a thud and a metallic snick as a handcuff slips over my left wrist and the chair arm. “Huh, whuzzat?” I say reaching for the hat. But someone beat me to it. The hat is slowly lifted from my face and I blink like a mole in the light. The hand attaches to an arm attached to the Gentleman easing himself into the chair on the other side of my desk. He chuckles softly as he drops the Stetson to the desk. He is wearing sunglasses and has the look of a Colonel one might see on the side of a bourbon bottle. On the desk, there lie two sheets of paper stapled together and ringed with faint coffee stains. Across the top in big bold letters, I see the word “REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION #001, 002, 003, 004, and 005.”

I gape at the cuffs. He grins and says, “You forgot about this, didn’t you?”

“cIII, Mr. Goat and Tater man, how good to see you” says I, “Maybe I did forget. I reckon you dropped by to remind me.”
“That I did, Brother.” He takes a pack of smokes from his pocket. I notice he’s wearing one of those shirts like mechanics wear, with the nametag over one pocket, written in cursive. For some inexplicable reason, the tag says “Dallas”. He pulls a cigarette out, taps it on the desk.

“You mind?” cocking an eyebrow.
“No, knock yourself out. But do me a favor, open that window a bit. No offense, but smoke does not play nice with my guts.”
“Sure, no problem.”

He stands and opens the window, letting in a swirl of cool air and traffic noise. Zippo clinks open, pale yellow flame igniting the cigarette between his fingers. He runs the back of his hand across his forehead, blowing a blue-grey plume out the window. He turns back to face me.

“Shall we get started?” he says with that enigmatic smile. I look at the cuffs again. “Do I have a choice?” I say. He throws back his head and laughs and says to me “Don’t worry; they’ll come off soon enough. Ain’t no one taken your picture yet, my friend, so I need you to sit still.” He picks up the papers from the desk. “Shall we?”

I sigh. Someone out on the street is calling out, yelling ‘get the fuck away from my car, pinhead!’

Rubbing my eyes with my free hand I say “Fire away, friend.”

RFI #001. You invent, patent, and manufacture the World's first Time Machine. You decide that such a thing is an Abomination and must be destroyed. In the darkest part of the night, you soak the entire lab in Gasoline and have a smoke. So that no one can gain Information through You directly, you decide to take a One Way trip. Back in time, as the Song goes. Where to, Cowboy? (Sort of a Mary Shelly meets Huey Louis and the News):

Okay, now this one really threw me. “Backheeled me” to sling some futebol lingo. Had some serious chewing to do, because the possibilities are endless. Endless. The typical scenarios cropped up, usually dealing with being in the right place at the right time to make a fortune off of future knowledge. Sort of a retroactive “insider trading” setup. Yeah, man, make mo’ money.

At which point, I sickened myself and started all over. I faced up to the Quandary of wanting to actually go two places, but not sure if the technology would allow. Scenario Une: I travel back to the point at which the Future Me was about to walk out the door with Time Machine Plan in hand, then cold-cock the stupid SOB at the door, steal the plan, and bolt for parts unknown. What the hell was I thinking, inventing a machine like that? Sheesh. While I liked the idea of ambushing myself, I felt that it wasn’t conclusive enough. Besides, the Future Me already knew of the plan to ambush myself, so it’s entirely probable I would avoid myself because I already know that I know. I think.

Scenario Deux: I torch the lab just the same, hop into my machine, and go to…where? With infinite possibilities comes infinite time to consider them. I could have just sat at the controls forever, slingshotting through time, never really stopping, just on a perpetual cosmic road trip. “See the Universe”, yeah?

The problem with road trips is that eventually I want to be home, when I want to be there. Can’t stay out there forever. Plus, the back seat gets filled up with fast food wrappers, torn bits of road maps, crushed cans. All that detritus tends to create a Funk, you know what I mean? I do not want to be on a road trip of infinite Funkiness. After some consideration, though, it hit me. I knew where I’d be going. Yeah, this was it.

I would take myself to Ireland, circa 800 A.D. to a place called Kells in County Meath. I’d set myself down in the nearest woods to the Abbey of Kells, and I’d request the hospitality of the Abbot whilst I explain to him I have skills as a drawer of pictures, which I want to offer up for work on a little project by name of “Book Of Kells”. It’s a beautifully illustrated manuscript, a national treasure of Ireland, it contains the Four Gospels, and oh, is it lovely.

The Abbot, of course, will narrow his eyes at me in suspicion. “Stranger, what is this book of which you speak? I have not heard of this!”
I smile, gazing into his cold grey eyes.
“Not yet, Father Abbot, sir, but you will. You will.”

RFI #002. Favorite Muppet. And why (I dig Pepe the King Prawn):

Sometimes, when you are running full tilt into the 6-yard box, hand in the air when you realize the marking fullback has lost his composure and has left you all alone, the balón de fútbol sails out of midfield to land right on your instep and thence into the back of the ol’ onion bag.

This was one of those times. My favorite Muppet? ANIMAL, of course! As to why, well the reasons are manifold:

1) He’s a drummer who once broke a drum over the head of jazz great Buddy Rich. Nothing against Buddy Rich, but that was funny as hell!
2) He’s the subject of one of my favorite Muppets lines – “Hey, calm down Animal, have another seat cushion!”
3) He chases women AND cars.
4) He has some appreciation for fine art. In The Great Muppet Caper, he was upset to have missed a Renoir exhibit. See, animals like impressionists, too.
5) He was one of the Muppets featured on commemorative stamps issued by the US Postal Service.
6) And in a breathtaking bit of coincidence and serendipity and just flat-out over-the-top coolness, Animal was in a car commercial with one of the absolute bestest strikers in the Beautiful Game, and one of my favorite footballers ever: Thierry Henry. Dig it, man. In my Universe, you can’t get much cooler than that. GGOOOOOALLLL-AAAA!

So I think I’ll calm down now, and have another seat cushion. And by ‘seat cushion’, I mean a wee dram of Scotland’s finest.

At this point, we stopped and ordered in some sandwiches from the barbecue joint downstairs. The burnt ends wash down well with some Maker’s Mark, for sure.

Part Deux follows tomorrow. (burp)


  1. Animal is a good muppet choice. I am glad that you are versed in all things muppet AND Kells.

    I waited on line to view those manuscripts at Trinity in Dublin and it was soooooo worth it.

  2. I can't see going back to 800 A.D. for anything (no indoor plumbing! no KitchenAid stand mixers! NO INTERNET!!), but hey - it's your fantasy.

    And I'll see your Animal and raise you one Fozzie Bear. Wocka, wocka.

  3. Favourite Muppet, eh? Yeesh, that's a tough one. I like pretty much all of them for many different reasons. If I had to pick the one that made me laugh the most, I would have to go with Pepe, I must admit (even though that feels like blasphemy to be picking a newer Muppet over the old school favourites). Actually, though, Gonzo has some great moments. Rizzo gets some pretty gold lines. Argh, don't make me choose!

  4. *sighs* dead presidents, razor fine point ink pens, scritchy-scratchy sketch paper. *sighs some more*

  5. *sighing right along with Pamela..*

    Beautiful, friend.. I'm on the edge of my seat, waiting for more.. :)

  6. Animal. I never woulda guessed.

    Sigh....now I want some barbeque. Damn diet.

  7. Animal is my ALL time favorite muppet....

    animal...animal...animal...(breathes heavily)


  8. Great - as usual Sir Irish.
    I didn't know about the stamp. What an honour!

  9. Rowlf is hands down my favorite Muppet. I mean, he plays the piano! A dog playing piano? Um, yeah!

  10. You realize that #1 concludes with you being burnt at the stake for witchcraft, right?

  11. Witch burnings? Hey count me in.

    Is that glass of wine still out??

  12. That's one cheeky "backheel" Irish.

    Well played, Sir. Well played.

    And. Thierry Henry. The striker I love to hate almost as much as Christiano Ronaldo. I think the Crossroads have had more visitors than we know.

  13. OAM: I aim to please. And I aim to get to Trinity, too!

    Jan: Damn. I forgot about the no mixers…

    TBF: I won’t, you can have as many as you like.

    Pamela: Oh, I hope that’s a good thing. Yes? :)

    CPM: HeeHee, the sun will come out tomorrow…:)

    MD: Really? (grin). Go ahead, just a little is fine.

    BEW: ooh (grin) How you doin’?

    Belle: Thank you, my lady.

    SK: Well, a dog playing a piano is cool…

    CD: Ah, but that’s why I hid the machine, so I could escape.

    Braja: Not if I can run fast enough!

    cIII: (bows) Thank you. And you may be right about the crossroads, that christiano, errr..

  14. Very good read for such a long day on this side of the pond.

  15. Glad you decided not to hit your You of the past. If you had we would have never heard anything about Future You, who is Present You.

  16. Did you notice the Artemide lamp on my desk? It was my father's law-school graduation present to me. Know why? Because Michael Kuzak (Harry Hamlin's character on "L.A. Law") had one on his desk.

    Michael stuck his to-do list in yellow stickies along the arm of the lamp. That particular habit never stuck with me.

    Finding light bulbs for that thing is (a) a pain and (b) darn expensive.

  17. As for muppets...Beaker or the Yip Yip family.

    Although I had recurring dreams as a child about Snuffleupagus. I was pretty sure he actually visited me one time...it was a VERY lifelike dream.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...