from November 15
Last week I got inspired to write a column about something besides being a washed-up androidal robot who used to have something to say.
The inspiration came from our editor. That would be Art Unknown.
Anyway, to keep the story moving, I was sitting at the bar down at the Watering Hole, waiting for the barmaid to pour half a teaspoon of rotgut over my ashes, when ol’ Art waddled over in his robotic way and climbed up on the stool next to mine. We exchanged pleasantries along the lines of “How’s it goin’, Art” and “Fine, and yourself?”
Then he got straight to the point and mentioned that my latest columns have been “pure s___.”
I said, “That’s a contradiction in terms, Arthur.”
He paid no attention to my very logical observation. He kept right on going, straight to the point.
His point, it turned out, was that my readership has been complaining about my latest columns. His next point was that I should get off my tin ass and write about my pre-androidal memories.
“After all,” he ended, “your column is now called ‘Memoirs of a Dead Man.’”
I had to admit that that factoid had slipped my mind.
He said, “You’ve been writing a lot of crap about being a dead man. I see nothing coming across my desk that derives from your memories.”
I pointed out the true fact that I remember being alive, but admitted that it was only in a general way.
“Why is it,” he asked, “that the rest of us are all dead and robotized, but we have distinct memories of specific things that happened when we were alive and kicking.”
I asked him why he ended that question with a period. Didn’t he recall his grade school grammar lessons????
He came right back with, “Why did you use four question marks when one would do the trick?”
I admitted that I’d used more than one, but I was damn certain that I hadn’t used four. Two, or maybe three, but definitely not four.
“Check the transcript,” he said.
Art’s my boss, so I did what he asked.
I changed the subject. “What do you have in mind?”
“Didn’t you ever have a girl friend?”
I told Art that I used to have a crush on a girl who was three years ahead of me in school, but damned if I was going to write a column about that.
At this point in our frank but friendly exchange, Art hailed the barmaid. She came over. He suggested that she pour a full tablespoon of her best rotgut over my fried ashes. She did.
“Now,” said Arthur Unknown (ed.), “see if that doesn’t joggle your memory.”
So about fifteen minutes later, after they’d picked me off the floor and laid me across an empty table, I had this inspiration to write a story about an affair I once had with the doctor’s wife.
It’s a damned good story, with most of the elements a damned good story should have. One, it’s true, kind of; two, I was married at the time, also kind of; and three, it’ll take me a month to put all the words in the right place.
The one thing it lacks is bona fide sex.