Willie Lump Lump
The newspaper headline read: “DEAL WILL HAVE THE CITY BUZZING UNTIL 2024!!!” Willie had no idea what any of that meant. In fact, Willie didn’t know much about nuthin’.
Willie only saw the newspaper in snatches; the trash where he foraged for leftovers; counters of convenience stores where he bought his liquid diet; and through them little windows in the vending machine while fishing change from the coin return. It was all the same to him; he didn’t know “The DEAL” from diapers and didn’t much care. Willie was a Man About Town, a Bon Vivant and all around Good Time Charlie. Willie lived out of a shopping cart where he kept spare clothing, liquid diet (in cans and bottles) and his makeup.
Willie lived with Mags, his “forever whatever” in a camp under the wharves of the New Orleans French Quarter, which he liked just fine. Mags was his partner in crime and they cohabitated, imbibed and performed together on the streets for spare change and laughs. The “Gruesome Twosome” as they were known, hadn’t drawn a sober breath in years and the prospect of them doing so in the foreseeable future was dubious; and that, was also fine with them.
They were as crazy as shithouse rats and they knew it, nurtured it and worked it. They went to sleep at dawn’s crack and slept until they woke up. They dressed in funny clothes and raved like the lunatic harebrained thespians that they considered themselves. Willie favored a clown’s red rubber nose; an accessory that he wore like a badge of courage.
One afternoon Willie awoke, got a tall drink of breakfast, and hoisting his pint in one hand and a salvaged cheerleader baton in the other, turned to Mags who was still abed in their cardboard, driftwood and newsprint boudoir. “The breakfast of champions is curiosity; Liebling, demanding explanation and experiences” he proclaimed. “I come with a staff of fennel from Dionysus and Clytemnestra, my only love; seasoning carnal attraction with ghost peppers and habaneras, fanning flames into frenzies of revelry and debauch!” Mags took an offered pull and tossed him the near empty pack of Lucky Strikes.
“And, good morrow to you Mistress Penitent Brothel,” Willie quipped as he lit up. “Have you rested well? And please explain yonder supine figure that I spy upon our sacred shore.”
“Well, Willie, s’the same’s we saw this mawnin’; remember, when you was ‘splainin’ to me about the sun rising in the East over the Westbank? Still there, as we both can see. Too big to be a fish; might be a ‘gator, tho, I doubt it…. Maybe it’s a dead body.”
Willie had taken a step toward the lump by the shore of the Mighty Mississippi. At the mention of the words “gator’ and ‘dead body’ he took a judicious step (or two) backwards. Mags, keeping up her end of the conversation, would not let it drop and kept up with the seemingly endless bizarre possibilities.
“Ambergris?” (Willie took another step forward),
“Sea serpent?” (step back),
“Pirates treasure?” (two steps forward);
“Ooorrrrrrrrrrr, your reprehensible and irascible Uncle Lamarr who has been in a knife fight with vicious Albanian seamstress terrorists, brutally and maliciously masacreed, stabbed hunneds of times with rusty pinking shears and hem rippers; forced to eat Lucky Dogs and doodlebugs by the dozen, had his trousers drawn up in the supreme wedgie and his organs and entrails ripped from hi; and, is now lying face down in a pool of his mortal embarrassment because of the shape that he will be in when he meets his omnificent and glooooooorius maker!!” (Willie took a dive back under the covers and was shivering with fright).
“Or” Mags continued with a mischievous grin “maybe it’s just a bag of trash” (Willie took a peek out).
“OH MY GOD….IT”S MOVING!!!!” (Willie sqealked (new word), covered his mouth, ears and eyes in rapid succession; then, snatching the blanket, covered his head and whimpered audibly
True enough, the lump became animated, adjusting its form to become figure-like (although resembling neither animal nor vegetable). It seemed to expand and contract like a blob-il-itious (another new word) yawning of intimidating wet wash on laundry day. Only alive!
Willie: “WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?”
“What the hell is that?” echoed Mags, seeming to yell at Willie over the pounding in his ears. By this time Mags had joined him under the covers in time to see Willie’s manliness exert itself for the love of his woman (not that kind) and the protection of his home and territory. Sobering suddenly and tossing the covers aside, he turned to her and said: “Well, I’m not gonna… sure as fuck… sit here like some candy assed punk! Mags, you stay here and if I don’t come back… well…” and left it at that.
He hitched up his cowboy pajamas, put on an air of indestructibility and armed with a brick bat went to confront the interloper (whatever it might be). Upon reaching the ‘apparition turned into stark reality’, the thing reared up to a seven (or eight) foot height and turned upon our hero. Willie got the impression that he was confronting a giant simian of some sort; the word ‘Orangutan’ came to mind and he was not wrong by a long shot. It was indeed a huge cloaked Orangutan and it opened its mouth revealing fangs the size of railroad spikes; and turning its bloodshot little primate eyes on Willie, it thus spake (which is Southern for spoke):
“Fear not for by the Sacred Seal I have come in peace; lo, as witnessed before, I am among you again. I have returned for the cleansing of your world. You may know me by many names; Some have called me Buddha; some called me the Christ, Ananda Marga, Vigi Kumar, Mohammad and/or Elvis; some call me Maurice. You may call me Maitreya. I have incarnated again upon your shores to take up my mission preaching words of salvation and enlightenment. It is here that I will build my church; I will deliver my message in the streets to the poor of spirit. I will heal the sick, raise the dead and make little girls talk out of their head. Yes verily, I’m the one they call the Seventh Son. By the way, do you happen to have a mint?”
Willie shook his head and walked back to Mags who asked nervously: “Well….?” “Some nut,” Willie said. “Let’s get ready for work, I’va feeling it’s gonna be an interesting night.”