KWM: Wow! What a Fucking Assassination! / The Smoking Cigar / Going Apeshit / Somewhere Valvasorry / Captive Learners

Chapter Thirty-Six

Wow! What a Fucking Assassination!

Get the door.

You get the door.

Sounds like the door’s going to get us.

            What a bunch of hyped up, triped up, and unfortunately typed up, nonsense. Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes emphatically fucking yes fucking yes fucking yes, while Todd Fullmer was in Ljubljana a bizarre incident happened. But not to anyone anyone knew, and it wasn’t a fucking gorilla. A mastiff killed its owner. End of fucking story. And to think those two were going to go on about…Well, just to think they were going to go on.

            I won’t say whether I followed him or not, as it has already been established that the first person can pass for omniscient and the character nihiliscient. The point is simply that he followed up immediately, by taxi, license plate LJ 77Z4, all the way to Predjamska Grad, where he was surprised at so little ado about—just one kiosk, where three euros were required for entrance, just 150 meters ahead, passing benches on which several visitors rested.

            As he walked, reading the brochure about Erazem’s taunting of the Austros and the Austros sending of Ravbar to besiege the castle and Erazem’s secret tunnels that led to the land above, where he hunted, often tossing fresh dead carcasses down to Ravbar’s starving besiegers, and the eventual betrayal of Erazem, someone placing a flag in a window to alert Ravbar to Erazem’s retreat to the toilet room, off to the left of the façade, an easy enough target, a cannonball, the end, about a 37 second read, a paragraph in Valvasor, Fullmer saw a little car, yes—a 65 GTO—scooting in front of him. He stopped, smiled, then went and picked up the car…a child cried out, a father pounced, recovered the car with his left, raising his right in threatfist, a befuddled fullmer apologizing to thin air, a family of three looking over their shoulders at the rude man on their way to the parking lot. The kind of asshole who’d kick your little white dog if it barked at him.

            A dejected Fullmer trod on, head down, sardonically flagellating himself, ‘Birdy num num.’

            ‘Birdy num num,’ responded Z, Beograd rules in force.

            ‘But…’

            ‘Sheer coincidence.’

            ‘I suppose we don’t need it here, anyway.’

            Z sat on the next to last bench, looking out at the layer of cloud on the hills, watching the rise of mist from the valley far below.

            He pulled the 65 GTO from his pocket.

            ‘Of course we do. Move down a little’, he said, for Fullmer had sat at a natural distance.

            Z spoke into the hood.

            The car veered and slipped through two bench slats.

            Hauser retrieved it and opened the trunk, which said, ‘What’s this diversion all about?’

            Hauser manipulated the four-wheeled device.

            The car told Z, ‘Assassination—long before Kramberger.’

            Z told the tiny engine, which trapped the words in the trunk for Fullmer, ‘That was no assassination. It was war. And they cut off the rebel army at the top. Interesting and all that, but no goddamn assassination.’

            ‘I hate to argue through a car,’ the car told Z, ‘but I beg to differ. It sounds like one of the most magnificent assassinations in history. Better than von Webern’s.’

            Z pocketed the car. ‘Well, anyway, here you are at the scene of the crime. Have at it. Maybe you can figure out who betrayed him.’ Z pulled a bottle from his coat. ‘Meanwhile, I brought this for you from Beograd. Home made šlivović, the best. Get a hotel down in Postojna, eat some meat, take the bottle up to your room and try to think of your editor. And b…’ Z pulled the car out again, opening the hood. The trunk told Fullmer, ‘Be careful, I think you’re being followed.’


Chapter Thirty-Seven

The Smoking Cigar

            As an author I have no interest in belittling any characters, much less the relatively protagonal Fullmer. But I would be less than honest were I to allow such a reference as Fullmer’s to Z, who didn’t bat an eye, regarding the death of von Webern, which is known by history to be an accident, partly because the shooter, an American soldier, is said to have become depressed by the incident and died just ten years later of alcoholism. First off, if you could die from alcoholism at such an early age (the guy was 33) there would never have been a Yugoslavia. Second, the circumstances were clear, there were witnesses—soldiers everywhere. Salzburg, 1945, the allies are trying to prevent a second Vienna in the city of Mozart. A curfew is on—composers not omitted. Old Anton steps outside after dark to smoke a cigar. He lights it, the light attracts attention, a shot rings out. The ‘great’ von Webern is dead, the cigar lies there smoking.

            And Fullmer? He posits total serialism, as opposed to the other monikers it has, the sudden addition of total, as in attrition, codes, Webern was anti-fascist all along, and now with the war over the Americans want fascists, not lefties like von.

            Drivel? Twaddle? Claptrap? I will subject you to but one published passage by Fullmer on the subject:

            “I was naturally quite curious when I came across the fact that his son-in-law had been arrested—for ‘black market’ activities that same day. And I began to wonder, why Salzburg? Why not Vienna? He had gone to school in Vienna, but had never worked there, the place to be for an Austrian artist of any kind. So I thought, let’s see where he did work, see if some reason emerges. Klagenfurt. Fine, normal enough. Stettin. Odd choice, that, but not the outpost that Ischl was. Ischl? A fucking resort, a little known resort. Teaching British travelers or what. Now I knew I was on to something. Danzig—strange, again the Baltic. Arnhem, must like the climate. Teplitz? Another resort, or maybe a Napoleon fetish. Prague—a feint. Augsburg, big deal, could happen to anyone, but then, get this: Aarhus. Three As. Who do you know who has ever even visited three As. Finally, and doesn’t this say it all: Linz.

Look:

Klagenfurt.

Stettin.

Ischl.

Danzig.

Arnhem.

Teplitz.

Prague.

Augsburg.

Aarhus.

Linz.

See it? See the anagram?

Danzig.

Aarhus.

Stettin.

Klagenfurt.

Augsburg.

Prague.

Ischl.

Teplitz.

Arnhem.

Linz.

I would call that Total Serialism! He lived out a code!…”

Enough? Insane, right?



Chapter Thirty-Eight

Going Apeshit

“Sex occurs in virtually all partner combinations and in a unique variety of positions” and among other behaviours bonobos regularly engage in homosexual sex, face-to-face mating, and masturbation. Sex has many uses other than reproduction: for pleasure, for resolving tensions over food, and as an alternative to confrontation. (De Waal theorises that the origins of these traits lie in the importance of avoiding infanticide: while infanticide is a common cause of death for chimpanzee infants, it seems to be non-existent in bonobos.)

Danny Yee, reviewing Frances De Waal’s Bonobo: the Forgotten Ape

            That’s not an epitaph, friends, and if you really want to understand the tragedy that was Todd Fullmer, you have to follow his mind-frenzy right off the fucking canopy into the abyss.

            The name of the hotel in Postojna, a town boasting the ugliest micro-climate in Slovenija, a town of barren hill surrounds, and scub flats, and that ugliest of all mountains Nanos, almost ‘no nose’ yet looking like nothing if not a goddamn nose of Easter Island, only bigger, was MyMoon, just like that, in English. MyMoon.

            Fullmer was exhausted by the time he got there, after hours at the castle, where nothing untoward happened, even if Fullmer had to sit and wait out an alien vertigo, and not just after looking down into the stream from Erazem’s dining room window, three times.  He was exhausted. The effortless mental exercise of piecing together puzzling events had acquired a new strain, a grandiose theme that weighed far more than it appeared, a sort of Nanosian plot beyond the edge of reason, obscured by crisp clean thin air…if only it could be lifted.

            Poor fucker.

            And then the last thing he needed: at the MyMoon shank, the only English reading was an old National Geographic. He must have read that Danny Yee paragraph fifty times while the fižol juha (bean soup) cooled.

            On he 75th read, he opened the bottle from Z.

            Later, he would recall the second shot, the decision to take the third upstairs, and the difficulty breaking away from the text, seeing himself ‘back then’ like caramel man, some of the eye actually stuck to the print. And then opening the bottle, pouring a healthy

serving into your classic hotel glass—probably near three deci.

            The next 10 to 20 hours were lost to dream, hallucination, and a sad, Jamesian certainty of discovery and vital truth. William James was dreaming the same thing every night, waking with a start, as the say, and it would be, I suppose, but for his going back to sleep so that he woke with the hangover of a man who spent the last 9 hours in the library following a false lead. The answer was simple: keep pencil and paper by the bed, write this Truth down as soon as he wakes up. The dream came as expected the first night the pencil and paper awaited. The next morning James saw what he had written:

Higamous hogamous, woman is monogamous

Hogomous, higomaous man is polygamous.

            The effect on Fullmer wore off gradually, as he sat on the edge of his bed holding an invisible cantaloupe, turning it in his hands, chanting: ‘Bobo, bobo, bobo…for an hour!

            Flashes of the dreams/hallucinations worked on him all day next day. Monkeys. Vaginas. Bullets. Mutton. Caves. He milled about the hotel lobby and restaurant and bar, and not until sleepy time did he return to the bottle and his room.

            The following day was virtually a mirror of the first. Fullmer knew something important was happening. And he knew about James.

            The rest follows in the next chapters, and grieve not should it appear a grotesque bloodwormblob of a mind torn open. I don’t know how much he wrote at which time, but there are distinct sections. And I don’t know if he wrote these sections in long stretches. Hell, you know crazy folks; he might have been wide awake the whole time. Certainly he left no šlivović behind.



Chapter Thirty-Nine

Somewhere Valvasorry

Painfully priapic, the prickly pallbearer of paltry pigballs pranced apelikely impudent to the enemy camp spilling soup of sweinbeutel swishing upsides the cauldron only a canny homunculus could carry yet not calm.

Grab the dwarf! cried Ravbar.

Seventeen steaming stews of stinking stones astirring, leave me be, responded the pinioned puny spooner.

Seventeen? Queried Ravbar. And they make you to carry each?

Who be more worthy than the worthlessmost. Leave me be.

Release the dwarf! Ravbar reconsidered without rancour.

And the dwarf dwarfwaddled off and up up up for the castle was high in the mist opacitating the cavemouth.

O dragsome winter, we spew, we spray, day after day no one to slay. They do not come, they do not go, yet happy they feast whilst we fam in snow.

Zakaj means why and we don’t know.

Down again comethe dwarf from fog to fro, steaming cauldron sizzling path through snow. Pigballs for the enemy, we beseech the besiegers lest your absence make us fonder of heart, so eat hearty and I will return sixteen times more that all may sup soup, announced the dwarf.

Beutel bearded swillagery slap soaked and sweating soup—and sated—Ravbar rapped wood spoons upon heads left and right.

Vexmani, Sordzwiller: what thinks ye if brains be now up arisen aloft of bowels?

Two thugly tholdiers eyesidled as if two shots apiece rattling the volant. Peace alist.

What! Sons of Magyar mutts! Mute! Like as if a pigball be resided in my beard.

And so it is lord, Vexmani vouched unsafe.

So? Then ye (Sordzwiller), cowardly pusillanigist, take a bite of my beard yet let not hair be besnagged in yer teeth if ye want not be tied and tossed in treacherously trickly torrent subterr—rain yet fed–stream legend states the frigidmost fore of the Frigidus.

Uncomely comedy, puerile punishment; onlookers’ levity fear-veiled: stunishment.

Will swallow, Sordz, will?

As if apple of Adam shook free by burry from tree in hurry. Descent assent!

Good, now we proceed forth aheadward. What have we glained of dwarf terrain? Wherefrom the midge?

A rapist, lord, captured in yon woods or where near woods be not. From east travelling west.

(Yes! I fucked a child! She was my size!)

(Hello!)

Captured? Captured so captive. Captivating. Could cap this crap.

We cudgel the cuddly cunt for revenge?

Simpletons! Anglegrinders! Fartnoise of gaseous thinks…It stinks! Crapulous cohorts besmirch me no more. Bastards! We bridge the midge. Here to yon-there. Espy me espionage engenderment? Erase Erazem eagerly dwarf would to escape these woods. Soft now: when in the course of human events Triestine soldiers freeze in tents, intense intents needs be tendered timely toward abfahrt and aimly bamboozlery for to finally finish off the menemy. Or if nought be nary but a one, Erazem and vamoose.

Vamoose?

Viennese. Spoken with contempt for to valorize the vouchfor.

Meaning—

He knoweth not what but beget and begone.

Truth be told. Miracle behold. Fargonetooth, ye understood your Lord. Bote a yoos guys.

Bugeared smiles of teethgapes ate the night’s frosty air.

On abouts the last dish deliver we nab said dwarf and praytell he will tell what is to tell and we then send Erazem to dark darkly hell. Said Sordzwiller.

Meanwhile back in the castle…his tormentual soul all embrassle, Prince Erazem brooded with gloombeglommed glee over goatgut. Behind him on the wall his portrait with two wolves in all, sat erect and stout Otto II and Lazar, oblivious in portrait and life to sarcasm and strife, yet the dour grandeur of the Prince exceedeth the portratoor’s normal tour of subject, for his grim begrizzled exceemal grunge, whirlpooled eyes of vision notwithstanding a man of his standing. All in all, and whatall if that not all, an accurate portrait, for this prince of men above his men in pain had one mellow plaint, for he knew well that men of kith and ken were naught but men and men were naught but beast endenned. His den.

Bruno anglegrinded Baba the Wench into the baldspotting corner as was his want and her wish it won’t, whilst his other loyal grum, Babić sported the dwarf outboundward with buskin in buttskin—as was his want.

(another gherkin in my jerkin)

Mutterith Erazem into his gizzard golaž, the dwarf will betray me. Bruno will deny me. Babić will weep falls of falsity over my fall—slap slobbery syphilism—here in my sylvan crepuscularium. And that is not all. Goat in gut maketh me groan, good god I am engorged yet foreget me meal not, for I am fully filled and the lower of the bowels beltray me. I must evacuate yet I feels eviscerate. A drum for a tum. I needs be oiled. Seven days brez kaka. Tis not natural. I shit you not and I shit not. O groaning guttering gut, sing to me of release and lightening of geese. Ja, twas geese yesterday. O fault be not mine, but I divine the betrayal of surcease of blackmail, and turning of coat I foresee Bruno on boat in yon Adriat Sea with Babiči cock going pee, foregone and forgot, Prince Erazem is not an historical figure to be.

How far is Ravbar? A turd up his nose, a Viennese cure, outfoxed him I have, but his plight is a spur to my generosity and gall, a stone is his pall, I bear him a year, his weakness is mirth for the free man who so near bringeth down dozens of deer. Venison in plenison, I feed my foe, yet ask him to leave and the answer is no…I guess I behaved badly in Veen out of my natural spleen…A turd to the Lord a turd to his men, who wake up enturded to smell it again. Such is the way after drunken fray. Like it or not a turd is your snot. And my best, yest, the best of my men, pardon if mention Bruno and Babić again, yet back then they were with me, no dreams of the sea, a permanent place in Ostro-phallocracy. Dipships, dolts, damn dung dangerees, turning their coats for the promise of sea. Ravbar will roast them in Vipava vallee.

Aye but the dwarf, from where did he spring?

Good lord! Is such pallor of mien and demeanor in our lord of the manor such as to beglory our well-crafted banner?

Ja! Suck not a thumb what wouldst befit up yer bum.

Even apt question from where springeth dwarf ill-betimed for the dwarf sprungst now forth.

Ravbar to the dwarf said: but two names may have thee, one be slave and t’other be free. Slave to Erazem or free made by me.

Something I’ve thought, said the dwarf to the men, something I’ve thought of again and again. But as I am a dwarf and great lord is thee tis not natural eye to eye for us be. Have these brutes put me aground.

A point there is made. Sordzwiller, Vexmani, gentlemen knights, diselevate the guest, fear not flight til behest.

Truer woo of word hast ne’er been spoke, for I have up my hump for Erazem one joke.

A joke! Meanst thou plan?

A mean plan yet a joke.

Feasible?

And pleasable.

This not be funnery?

Nay, stunnery if accurate gunnery.

High swinery?

Assuming cannonic refinery.

We have the balls!

I’ll let that pass.

He means can—

Speak not lest ye be broken. Dwarfspeak.

Hearty laughter forged a gorge to rising, whereupon the midge made in ape mode a lightning leap to Vex and Sordz, gibbonging their heads like as if gongly gourds. They fell to flat, by nature groped up on all fours, vertiginous and vomitus, weltanschauungs ne’er to be as before.

Dwarf or monkey be ye be?

I be exhausted with midge mirth that strength of swallowing insult gassed in me and blew as a fructivourous fart, a new ardence.  Amends if necessary.

Nay, tis good for the goonery of me gang. Ha! Fructivorous indeed, I shall not insult thee. Sordzwiller, Vexmani, eradicate eructification and be gone. Now, mitey midge, may we proceed forth ahead ravnostly? If I be clarified ye be calamitously, nay, callously, crapped upon by Earitable Erazem. Story. Clap clap.

Aye, most downtroddenly donned a dingbat and shitshat, tossed here, tossed there, wrastling wroom and wolf’s lair, cookpot steamed and buttocks reamed, anglegrinded by hound (wolf) and nightly bound (Babić), slapt round, face forced in shit on ground, ‘Toss me the midge, ha ha, dropped him’ til bones be sore and bruise galore—subtile jokery, nothing more. Ha! I have a plan. Yet only one man needs pay for this midi-evil play.

Might I intrude a word regarding this lord of a turd? Hast he a kennel of cattle, a den of deer, a goatroom of goats? How does he feed us, us besieging unfortunate hapless harriers, bravely bearing the barriestmost of barriers, castle on high above gorge before cave, get him the Veen’s said, make of him a slave or cadaver, take him take him, no what or no matter. Tis done, said I in my ignoble ignorammy, my army is strong and my fire is flammy. Yet a day’s march we make this castle to take and chagrin is our meet when we find wherein is he in. Bombs and bazoodles, brimstones and brass, yet Erazem laughs and says kiss my ass. A fondness developed, I grant, him for me yet not without oppositely. A turdstuffer yes, a violent turk, but what of this besiegement, what the fuck will work?  As a man, is he, is he different from me?

About that we will see.

Nay, Dwarf, you are safe if I can trust thee. Pray answer.

High above, in the forest, a wind starts like a mad fart and blows down to the sea, from alpinic cold through Vipava vallee. Up here we are under unsuspecting are ye, up here we are still under some high forestry. Centuries pass, millenia flee, the Roman the Goth the Venezian armees, til you and your men and all stick to vallee whilst the autochthon and local live as previously, in cave mouth, on hilltop, and if necessary, in alpinic slope in time of hungree.

Riddle me not, for I may not patient be. Riddle me not, I am unlettered, you see.

A cave is a hole and a hole is a cave, but a hole in its whole is not a cave if you brave the ascent to top where wild animal roam free—until they meet arrows of Erazem whilst trying to flee (and full of fleas they be). You see? A vast panoply of game, a wild menagerie. Where? Up there? (Iforgot bear.) Don’t look you won’t see, but the forest is vast, believe you in me. Yet Erazem is clever, the most clever of men, eventually Ravbar will kindle his ken, so here we have the dwarf: a purpose for me! A narrower crevasse, further in, further in, and here’s his story: ‘When I was a child I chased after a viper what wouldst flee until lodged deep in a cleft, hissing and pissing and hoping I’d left, but a stick I grabbed and poked that vipee, poked him stoked him to bring him to me, but he hissed and he pissed and I skewered him straight, when I figured his brain defect for him it was late. So you see dwarfly dicker, what I need of thee, to explore every crevasse to find one enough agape to allow an escape from this perpetual fartaround with Ravbar and his Triestineree.’ Otto II, wolf one, nibbled me foot to foot eating cheese, Lazar, wolf two, sniffed and gnawed my well stuffed, overpawed codpiece, nearing that flare of flesh that is reason to be, if crawling with fleas. Yet, lord, it is true escape is possiblee, escape thirteen kilometers to Vipava vallee, the river it runs, it runs I suspect from Erazem’s folly, it runs thirteen kilos underground, don’t you see, but midge is my size, and dwarf is my fate, and cleft after cleft Erazem would send me up viperlyate, til lodged under Nanos, til crevassed and harassed as his childhood viper, to  poked by stick after stick as if neither human nor beast, no more of a man that burnt pig at a feast—and that is not tossed in to engrabulate the tale, for many a night I slept or did not suspended over a pail—cookpot, really, a holy for my family, cookpot, the symbol of janissary—but that’s another tale. The time is nigh for Erazem shall send me up high, up high methinks to die. Do you see?

O Frigidus Midgidus, I feel for thee, but nought make it nought, for I have but one enduree: to reduce Erazem to obediencey.

Nay, he will die, he will die, don’t you see, capture his host, his spectre, his ghost, is but insane fantasy, but capture his corpse, now that I can see. Nay, that I promise thee. Yet the time to act is nigh, for his diet and contumely have combined to block his intestinery. The lord can’t shit, yet shit he much must, and so does he sit for hours on yon pottery.

Yon?

Yon levo, left, separate so no stinkery, I am surprised you surmised not this cave anatomy.

That? That there? That there is…That there is a…That there is a toity? That there is a toity trap?

Trap indeed. Godspeed bungstuffed tough. Ye shall be buried heavier than yer size merits, fodder for cannons, cannons that ferret yer throne as you sit there alone, pushing and grunting, cursing gravity, groaning and moaning bemoaning your gravidy. The great man hath not shat for a week. Next vacation Erazem will be away for hours, suffering a buffeting from the meat he devours at speed in such haste as if afraid it will waste and yet tis his waist where roast like rest most. Ah, shot on the pot, his kingdom for a turd will be his last word, oh the curses that byzantine cavemaze to the ears of his befeared. Laugh not lest ye be flushed or gorgethrown. Now I leave you, Erazem begrieve you not, just be sure a straight shot. When he goeth to pot a room on same level—there with windows beveled, a flag I will post and the shitter bedeviled, the toity engrevelled and this siege be not, your liege.

Meanwhile, back in the castle…Erazem with intestines did wrassle still with bowels encrusted with last week’s swill, his temper thwarted by philosophy, looking inward he did not see dreck but betrayeree.

Poor bastard.

Human nature being a thing fickle, a leader who can crap naught, not even a trickle, balls gigantic, his inwardly frantic gastritial pain to subordinates overly plain so that each sought what each could gain if this battle and game was destined to turn out the same as previous imperial hijinkery, they whispered gaseous high stinkery treasonous ass-savings while Babić anglegrinded Baba in the corner.

The dwarf will betray me.

Bruno will deny me.

Anglegrinder Babić will anglegrind to Ravbar and himself be anglegrinded til death does its part.

My kingdom for a turd, he said, and with that word he wandered toward his toiletour fate, his bowels overriding his dwarf-fear. Alas, too late to prevent the shenanigans of that midgety gent who burned a candle in the room of the wolves and place a flag in the window to show Ravbar it was time to let go the cannons.

Meanwhile on the pot, the shit was there but would not descend to ravine as if mere to vex the spleen of the lord of the secret riverrine, Erazem instinctualizing gravity undiscovered yet function not yet a theory debunktual plugs metaphorical dog turds into the nose of a devilish god: My kingdom for a turd! is heard through byzantine passages where linger underlings quiet, afraid even to sing, perhaps the midge wouldst crawl up rectum with trowel to dislodge the blockage in byzantine bowel: O I wouldst rather be blasted from this paradise double-crossed by treacherous nature, stomach betraying, all is lost, for eventual logic leads to giant bag of shit if not soon dislogic…Die, die, I would rather die…Hark, they are at it again, a cannon blasts—when will these men i offer live it up give it up, pain again, breath now shitty, a lord a genius on the pot of self pity—Hark!

And the toity was no more.



Chapter Forty

Captive Learners

This was also found in the hotel room, the last correspondence from his editor:

Todd, this is all I could find, and really the last help you’ll get from me if you don’t explain yourself and all this delay. The promise of a bombshell would be more convincing if you were in Minsk.

I might add that for his last few days at the hotel that he was hogging the internet. The hotel has but one computer for its guests.

From the notes of Dr. Zachary Biedermeyer, former head of St. Bonaventure University dept. of zoology:

Seven bonobos kept at the Cincinnati zoo in conditions as near as possible to those in the wild; in fact, perhaps somewhat better—this is wild speculation, of course—in that no bombing could be heard from the environments; seven bonobos were studied by our team in the late 1960s without a grant, the studies conducted by myself and a few diligent, passionate graduate students, none of whom, unfortunately, have pursued primatology. Over the course of several years and several HUNDRED interviews with these bonobos, all but one of which survived our experiment (inexplicably, one female we called Anastasia hurled herself against the bars of our interview room until unconscious, lapsed into a coma and finally died. I have only the notes of my student, Flora Manganez, to go on, but nothing in her notes provides an explanation for the outburst, which occurred just after Ms. Manganez had written: ‘I have tried to signal to Ana that today’s session will be without physical contact’.

Extensive communication with the remaining six bonobos–Marc, Ellie, Uhuru, Zachary, Toby, and Furry Elise—led us to arrive at a number of conclusions, not least of which is that for the bonobo formal human speech is a soporific. Most graphically, as Churchill dramatically droned ‘We will never surrender…’ all six nodded off, though in the case of both Z and FE the behaviour appeared to have been imitative (if not outright mocking…of whom? Of us? Of Churchill? Of their companions?) Countless further examples are enumerated in the index, most notably the apparent group laughter at a speech by the American president John F. Kennedy in which he asks not what the country can do for you but what you can do for your country. Radical theorists have noted the temporal proximity of that date to the assassination of Lumumba, but we have (really) of course no reason to pursue this line of reasoning. Instead, we conclude again that the bonobo has no time for the aural inanities (their phrase, arrived at through established codes and some independent deduction of my own) of formal speech, no matter the content, the depth of conviction, the hand gestures harkening back to past gestures, all of which are foreign to the bonobo…

…What then does this most linguistic of primates respond favorably to? Let us examine the limerick. We have absolute evidence that though the bonobo is capable of communicating through an intricate array of symbols, he does not understand human speech word for word. Nonetheless there was a significant difference in the response to the ‘dirty’ limerick as opposed to the ‘clean’ limerick. For instance, There once was a man from Nantucket (you know how it goes…whose dick was so long he could suck it…) elicited laugher and much sexual hijinks (for lack of a better term), while, my personal favorite, I had lunch with the duchess of tea…only produced a reaction upon the emphasis of the word ‘fart’, whereupon as if a battle plan had been prepared, the apes gassified the laboratory to such an extent that study was postponed for a full three days, and my staff and myself were then forced to continue our study over a weekend, something of which the  bonobo seems to have no concept. Interestingly, the limerick ‘The ‘Horrible Whore of Lahore’ produced such mayhem of laughter and gross intergenerational sexuality that we were forced to suspend operation indefinitely. This apparent fondness for alliteration was underscored by many further examples that likewise led to such a ‘pleasing event’ despite rather different contexts (Kissinger kicked the kid until the kid was killed in Kilkenny).

Likewise, our subjects responded with intense positive agitation to the famous poem of Lewis Carroll, Jabberwocky, indicating a fondness for, let me say poetically, salubrious word play and invention. In a clear mockery event, the apes feigned horror at beware, and genuine delight at calloo callay, and, further, a rapt silence at Twas brillig, etc., a mood setting classic of nonsense that suggested that to the bonobo sense and sound are linked more than word and mood.

Further, my experiment with pure rhyme, suggested by the response to limerick and the timely rhyming of Jabberwocky led me to test pure rhyme, having invented the following: Ham lamb beef ram dog frog hog, at which the subjects first exhibited intense pleasure through a solid hour of intensive unabating sexual activity including front to front sex, gg rubbing to the point of rubbed raw bleeding genitals, and the inclusion of all ages of ‘minors’ in all sexual acts. This simian orgy was followed by the most remarkable period of frustration in which the subjects clearly attempted to add to the rhyme yet could not but indicate the desired word—hundreds of hours watching the tape led me to determine that they simply wanted to hear agog or even, interestingly, perhaps Magog, yet their frustration leading to anger and the most horrific cacophony I finally shouted Clam!, at which point, though I had yet to realize I had added to the rhyme, they howled with laughter and a second orgy commenced.

The final experiment in this particular regard was a reading of Hamlet by one of my assistants, the aforesaid Ms. Manganez, which alternately held the apes rapt yet again, and led to a sort of choral cacophony that coincided astonishingly with moments in the play that rose above the stream of natural tension, whether positive or negative, so to speak. Two instances will suffice: the running through of Polonius led to a wild virtually scripted chanting (I theorize that they imitate the beat of jungle drums) as happened when Hamlet was first informed of the manner of the death of his father. The only inexplicable outburst occurred during the famous To be or no soliloquy, which, were I to go out on a limb, suggested impatience with Hamlet’s indecision.

Let’s start by rewriting the goddamn author bio: Rick Harsch is 60 years old. He was run down and mauled by the literary scene in the late 1990s, his Driftless Trilogy coming out like three gusts from a pistol preceding a flag that says BANG. The pistol is plastic. The flag is tissue. He moved to Slovenia in 2001, 9 days after the attacks on NY and D.C., an innocent man about to find out that condition stretched all the way to naïve. He wrote a lot, but only last year was his fiction welcomed in the US again, with Voices After Evelyn and Skulls of Istria. Everybody says they are great. Not many people have bought them. This year he is getting two books published by River Boat Books, his magnum (finally a magnum) opus, if it is, called The Manifold Destiny of Eddie Vegas, and a travel/sports book called Walk Like a Duck: a Season of Little League Baseball in Italy.

The book being serialized here by the young overmuscled writer George Salis is called Kramberger with Monkey. If you see fit, you can read these short chapters and see how a writer handles extreme adversity, as my fictional mouthpieces keep getting knocked off as the book goes along. It’s especially inconvenient when a death forces me into the second person. I’m used to being fourth. If you have time, please write and tell us whether or not you think the book should be bloodier.

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