"Rome wasn't built in a day, but several Wet Shoelaces CDs were..." - Confucius
Former Utopia is Carnage
acid trip for your ears in three tenses
Scene 1: A
Roof is a Huge Expense
Future: We will see a man in a
superhero-type outfit, with a big “J” emblazoned on his chest, standing in a
genteel suburban living room and holding a giant tome, which will read “The
Magic Spell Manual for the Severely Hallucinating” on the dusty cover.
He will open the book and begin reading aloud a bizarre incantation.
Soon the room will be shaking, as if from an earthquake. Without warning, he suddenly and very quickly will take
flight, smashing right out of the top of his roof, leaving a huge hole.
Scene 2: Civilization
present: Johnny and Fernie, a
young, relatively affluent couple, are out bicycling on a picturesque stretch of
road on a beautiful summer’s day. Johnny
is a professor of astronomy, and Fernie is an archaelogist.
They are pedaling liesurely and discussing their work with each other.
The talk has recently turned to Fernie's current research into early
pagan magickal rites, when suddenly Fernie grabs her head and falls off of her
bike, screaming. Johnny screeches
to a halt, jumps off of his bike, and runs to Fernie, trying to find out what is
wrong. Fernie begins chanting:
“I like civilization, yeah, do you like civilization, no, I like
civilization, yeah, I like bein’ civilized!”
Between bouts of this, she screams and clutches at her eyes.
Scene 3: Buy
Past: Johnny was at his buddy
Stan’s house and they were watching TV and tripping.
For Johnny the experience was one of insight, as he realized all of the
lies he was being told by his television. Stanley’s
experience seemed much stranger; he kept babbling on about someone name Michael
being a shit-monkey. As they both
peaked out, the television exploded.
Scene 4: Never
Again, She Cried
Present: Fernie is sitting on the
side of the road, still half-astride of her overturned bicycle, and still
clutching at her head, but the screaming and the pain seem to have subsided.
Johnny is crouched next to her, with his hand on her shoulder, looking at
her with fear and concern. Slowly,
she pulls her hands away from her face and meets Johnny’s eyes with a
horrible, maniacal glare, and speaks to him in a voice that is not her own:
again, she cried,
gonna waltz up to magnetic boulevard
then we'll take it lower)
quilt-addiction continues in enemy exile
was rural woman-topic
molehills afford to come across in different magnitude!
risk of crazy optimism can program the nuclear scandals.
risk of crazy optimism can program the nuclear scandals.
Utopia is carnage!!!
Scene 5: Sun-concious spirals
Distant Past, via a Dream from the Present:
Fernie passes out, and has a dream-vision of walking slowly up and down a
winding mountain path. She can hear
war-drums in the distance.
Scene 6: Last Train To Nowhere
Future: Fernie will hear her
husband's explosive escape through their roof from her friend's house next door,
where she will be visiting to discuss her growing fear that Johnny is losing his
mind. She will rush out of the
neighbor's house to find her husband in a ridiculous superhero suit, lying on
the front lawn amid the remnants of the roof.
She will go to her husband and, in soothing tones, speak of the nice,
friendly folks in their clean white coats who will be there any minute.
Johnny will be so dazed that all he will be able to hear when she moves
her mouth will be her voice singing about a train:
take the last train to nowhere
get out of here if we dare
take the last train to anywhere
take the last train to nowhere
Scene 7: Fernie Does Nine Hard Ones
Present: Johnny finally gets enough
presence of mind to get the cellphone out of his bag and call 911.
An ambulance arrives presently, and Fernie is rushed to a hospital, where
she spends the next nine months in a coma.
Scene 8: Pubic Service Announcement
Present: Two tiny umbref
hatchlings, no bigger than the end of a pencil, have attached themselves to
Fernie's uterus. They start
chattering to each other about the color of Paul's pubic hair.
Fernie, in her coma, can hear the umbrefs chattering.
None of this seems particularly strange to her, but she does wonder who
Scene 9: Norm's Old Office
Future: In a sleek, slick,
fantastically postmodern office will hang a gigantic picture of one ugly old
bastard in a bad, very nearly orange hairpiece named Norman Paul.
Norman Paul will be dead by this time, and his old office will be a
shrine. Two junior executives will
walk through one day, and have the following conversation about making a few
wondering just how much it's going to cost us
redecorate Norm's Old Office
got the tools, we got the dimensions
a few promos from the last convention
can erect a big statue of him over there
near the pile of his old dirty underwear
talked to the new guy and I'm sure that he won't care
if he does will tell him that he must have orange pubic hair
we're worrying just how much it's going to cost us
got the specs, we got the parameters
the old labels from his nitrous cannisters
put his handprint in the walkway here, though
can't quite see it from the window
replace the window with some frosted glass
a big fat impression of his big hairy ass
we’re worrying just how much it’s going to cost us
redecorate Norm’s old office
worry sir we’ll keep it under 23
you should hear what the old man said to me
old office is a sacred and holy place
it up to the whole of the human race
a roller coaster and a big waterslide in
tiny cubicle for his replacement to reside in"
it's all for the glory of Norm
it's all for the greater glory of Norm
Scene 10: Chase That Useless Shadow
Past: Lt. Klein was asleep, but he
wasn't what you'd call peaceful. He
thrashed in his bed, drenched in sweat and moaning. He had just put Crummins away for the second time about a
week before. He was scared, because
he knew the power that Stanley Crummins had.
In the second Crummins case, Stanley's multiple personality disorder had
shown a new, supernatural twist. At night, Stanley's voice came to the
Lieutenant, mocking him.
Scene 11: The La-La Song
Present: All Fernie had known for
the past nine months was the singing and chattering of Umbrefs, sounds that
floated through her mind like vague, half-remembered dreams. Now the singing has grown loud and distinct:
freezing breathing beating
on a waking ape that
in dirty dreams
to an open door that's
flight of righteous wives
to wisen up the tide
Maizie came awake and
a loaf of bread
head pretended ever splendid
is what she said,
foreign order broken border
of suits the dead"
now when I'm asleep at night
write the strangest songs
minutes every verse
solos just as long
of hoarse angora
of chocolate tongues
with me my sweet Begonia
can sing along
this, the umbrefs begin an insane chorus of la-las, at which Fernie finally
awakens, disoriented and in labor.
Scene 12: Involuntary
Past: Norman Paul, CEO of Umbref
Incorporated, glared at his cadre of VP's with disdain.
Someone had dared to suggest they find a volunteer.
A volunteer? For this, the
greatest, boldest step science had ever known?
"Involuntary," he said, quietly at first.
Picking up a Webster's dictionary, he read the definition at them.
He ended by thundering at them: "INVOLUNTARY!!!
stormed out, and one of his VP's began to laugh insanely. The laughter proved infectious, and soon the entire board
room sounded like comedy hour at the insane asylum.
Scene 13: They're Here?
Present: Norman Paul is asleep in
his bed when he hears his babies call to him in dream time, declaring their love
for their creator over and over. "So
a subject has given birth," he thinks. Norm
feels like a god.
Scene 14: Noisy Knight
Distant Future, via a Dream from the Past:
Lt. Klein's nightmare soon gave way to a dream-vision, the kind that had
helped him solve so many cases, including the two Crummins cases.
He saw himself in a bleak future world, with mounds of broken high-tech
gadgets piled around him in rusting heaps.
The wind was cold and howling, and Klein shivered.
As he reached up to pull his coat around him, he felt nothing but hard
metal armor. He clunked along in
this suit of armor for a while, and soon came upon a bent flute sticking out
from one of the junk heaps. Pulling
it free, he blew a few dischordant tones on it, and began to Remember.
Scene 15: Let Them Eat Pi
Present: Norm and two of his
assistants are walking hurriedly down a hospital corridor towards the maternity
ward. Norm is talking, one could
say bragging, to his assistants about how he figured out how to breath life into
his little imps. "The secret
is actually in that pesky little number you might remember from geometry class.
You know, the one that doesn't have a finite decimal place, it just keeps
going on..." Norm is so distracted by himself that he accidentally walks
through the wrong set of doors, the double doors to an operating room, but it is
not an operating room at all. It
seems to be some sort of a home studio. There
are two men in the studio. One is
completely bald. He is typing on a
computer and swearing. Another man
with a long ponytail, sideburns, and glasses is sucking down a hit from a large
glass bong. Outside the window a
raven caws. Norm shakes his head and walks out.
"Ah, yes" he says, "right down the hall here."
Scene 16: The Talking Asshole Makes a Phone Call to the Brain
Present: Inside the delivery room,
it is pandemonium. The doctors and
nurses all work for Norm here, and it is not the birth of a pair of umbrefs that
has given them a start. That they
were expecting. What they did not
expect was this horrid mutant before them.
The two umbref hatchlings had somehow fused together during the growing
process, so that one body was born with two heads, four arms and four legs.
But the most horrible thing of all is that the one umbref head is
actually growing out of the grotesque monster's anus.
Seeing the horror on the faces of the hospital staff, the umbrefs are
delighted. The ass-end umbref
begins taunting them by pretending to call his conjoined brother and apologize
for being an asshole.
Scene 17: It Wasn't Supposed to Happen This Way
Present: Norm comes through the
door of the delivery room with his assistants and cannot believe his eyes.
Something has gone horribly awry. The
macabre siamese twins have now started to compare their defects.
"That one's broken," says one.
"I've got a floppy one."
Scene 18: The Pale Blue Beyond
Future: Fernie will have no memory
of her ordeal at the hospital, either of her coma or of her bizarre pregnancy.
The only thing Johnny will tell her is that she gave birth to a
still-born baby, and she will have no reason to doubt him, considering that she
was in a coma for the entire pregnancy. Johnny,
of course, will be drugged on leaving the hospital to make him forget, but one
night he will have a dream. His old
buddy Stanley will be in it, and he will show Johnny what happened in the
hospital via the television set that had inexplicably exploded that one long ago
night. As he and Johnny sit in
front of the TV just the same way they had when they were tripping, Stanley
speaks to Johnny thusly:
with outstanding focus visits home.
wrecks, circus youth censure ire to get hit
discover mental hurdle
to boost center of attention... focus remains key...
partnership warrants comment...
orderdisorder unveils today's hot evaluation:
on torture arsenal, warming limits plunge,
attacks diversion, making vaseline poisons,
seepage gives landfill its color
a fork, dig for quality glass plants
script previous achievements
a disputed oxide powder devil
to offer himself the pale blue beyond.
Scene 19: Johnny Gets His Moniker
Future: Johnny will awaken from
this dream with a clear sense of purpose. If
he is going to fight a super-villian, he will need to do it as a super-hero.
He will remember an ancient tome that Fernie will be studying in her
archaeology work: "The Magic
Spell Manual for the Severely Hallucinating."
He will run to her study to find it on her desk.
Opening it at random, the first thing he will learn is that he will have
to ask the gods for a ritual name. Being
an astronomer, the only gods he will really be familiar with are the ones that
have given their names to heavenly bodies.
He will begin to chant the names of the planets, and finally will decide
on "Jupiter," mainly because it alliterates so well with
Scene 20: The Tao Jones
Past: Lt. Klein woke up from his
dream with a clear sense of purpose. He
wasn't a bit surprised to find the flute from the dream on the pillow next to
him. He knew, somehow, that his
adventures with Stanley/Michael were not done.
He decided to meditate on this, where he always meditated best.
Grabbing the flute, he hopped in his car and went downtown to his office,
where the clacking of the typewriters served as a kind of percussion track that
could lull him into a contemplative state.
Scene 21: I'm Pretty Sure He Actually Eats Them
Past: Klein soon slipped into a
trance and had a vision. Suddenly,
he found himself back in the chocolate forest with the yuppie-savages and the
elephants. Once again he witnessed
the opening of the King Kong shit-monkey to reveal a courtroom with a
sacrificial altar. This time,
however, the only thing strapped to the table was a bizarre little imp,
screaming in terror. It no longer
looked frightening, like these creatures often did in Klein's visions.
Instead, it looked basically like the scared little child it was.
The elephant monster and the jackass monster merged into one being, a
businessman with hair so red it was almost orange.
Stanley/Michael/whoever-it-was-this-time waited on him like a sniveling
sycophant, muttering all the time about it being All For the Greater Glory,
which made Klein think of "God's gift to glory," a phrase from the
Crummins files. Klein suddenly realized that Michael Crummins was a stooge, a
person created by somebody else, someone with power, technology, and maybe a
little bit of knowledge about the occult. That
was something to go on, anyway. Suddenly,
another person walked out of the forest and arrived on the scene.
Scene 22: Check on the Beef, Now
Present: Norm is only taken aback
by the monstrosity in the delivery room for an instant. Other subjects await in other rooms, and Norm is getting
hungry. As he goes from ward to
ward, he maniacally repeats "I must go check on the beef, now."
With revulsion, the staff suddenly realize just why it is that Norm has
called these beings into creation.
Scene 23: Walk Softly, and Carry a Big Pepperoni
Future: In the next few months,
Johnny will study extremely hard, and at last will come to a very, very fateful
moment, the moment when he will explode through the roof of his house and Fernie
will have him committed. In the
asylum, he will meet a very old friend, his college buddy Stanley Crummins.
Crummins will tell him many odd things, and not very many of them will
make sense. One thing Stanley will
say that will seem particularly inane is that when confronting Norman Paul,
Johnny had better "walk softly and carry a big pepperoni." But as is so often the case, the seemingly inane will take on
incredible levels of importance. 72
hours later, Johnny will be determined not to be a danger to himself or others,
Scene 24: The Ballad of Johnny Jupiter
Future: Johnny will walk out of the
asylum and, taking Stanley's advice literally, will walk into a grocery store
and buy the largest pepperoni he can find.
He will then set out for Umbref, Inc., but along the way will be attacked
by a stray dog, hungry for the giant treat Johnny will have under his arm.
The dog will pounce on Johnny, knocking him out cold, and Johnny will
begin to dream of a forest made seemingly of chocolate.
Walking through the forest, he will come to a giant stone monkey-idol,
opened to reveal a courtroom. Norman
Paul will be presiding over a large altar, about to devour a terrified umbref.
Watching this from a distance will be a man right out of a hard-boiled
detective novel. Extending his
hand, the man will introduce himself as Lt. Klein.
For reasons inexplicable to him, Klein will inquire "Where's Johnny
Jupiter?" Not wanting Norman
Paul to recognize him, Johnny will play dumb.
But it will be too late. Norm
will fix his gaze on Johnny, and bare his grin to reveal two neat rows of
25: Perpetual Procession
Future: Lt. Klein will pull his
weapon and fire on Norman Paul, to no avail.
He obviously won't be able to stop him the way he stopped Michael.
Not that that turned out to be a permanent fix, anyway.
Johnny, on the other hand, having immersed himself in the Magic Spell
Manual for the preceding months, will recognize that the only way to fight this
supernatural being is with
supernatural gifts. He will begin
calling on the gods, the creators of this universe, to aid him in his fight. And the creators of the universe, in this case, will actually
show up. Suddenly, as Johnny chants
and Klein continues firing his weapon pointlessly at the Norm-thing, two men
will materialize out of the air. One
will have a ponytail, sideburns, and glasses.
The other will have a shaven head and a trumpet case.
Klein and Paul will both recognize these men at once, although neither
will know who they are exactly. The
shaven-headed man will open his trumpet case and blow a few notes.
The ponytailed man, meanwhile, will hold his hand out to Klein. Klein will know it is Time.
He will hand over the flute, and the ponytailed man will add his notes to
his trumpet playing partner. At
this signal, umbrefs will begin to pour out of the forest in a perpetual
procession, overwhelming Norman Paul, and finally pulling his body apart and
devouring it the way he had done to so many of them.
26: A Very Wet Shoelaces Christmas
Present: Not really part of our
opera, just a suggestion that with the holidays always approaching, Wet
Shoelaces CD's make fantastic Christmas gifts.
And now for the epilogue to this exciting Acid Trip For Your Ears...
27: More Thoughts on the Cost of
Future: Johnny will be found on the
street a few blocks from the asylum, out cold.
When he awakens in a hospital room, he will find Fernie there.
He will not be resentful toward her for having him committed, and will go
home with her gladly. Johnny will
say no more about his attempts to be a super-hero, and Fernie will eventually
come to accept that her husband's sanity has been restored.
One thing will continue to bother her, however, and that is how her
husband managed to launch himself through the roof of their house. She will then remember the Magic Spell Manual she had been
studying, and go to her study and open it.
Ten minutes later, her husband will rush into the street, where Fernie
will be lying on the pavement, surrounded by the debris that used to be their
recently rebuilt roof. When Johnny
finds her, they will both laugh like it's the last scene of some cheesy sitcom,
and that will be