Carnival – David Lohrey
February 24, 2021
With the horses stabled out at Wildwood Farms, we high-tailed it out to Germantown for a cold beer, held firmly between our legs, as we drove down the highway on the way to play polo. When all the girls in your school are named Chelsea, what else can you do? Run away or join them? Wear diapers, study sonnets? Come on now; chew spearmint gum, or what? Personally, my idea was to open a diner, serve pig ear sandwiches, go whole hog.
I was encouraged to go into the art of preserving tattooed skin. My parents sent me to Kyoto to sweep cherry blossoms in spring. I was an apprentice at the temple, forced to shave my head and wear golden robes. I never got used to the Japanese crapper. Upon my return, now in California, I took a class at Stanford for the summer. It was there that I met Jesse. Yippee Ki-Yay. It was there that my life was ruined.
We all gathered to listen to Taj Mahal, everyone except Jesse. He’s the one I had my eyes on. Jesse from Kalamazoo. Jesse who knew karate. Jesse who spoke French. I admit it. I was in love with Jesse. Still, he didn’t like me. We used to study together Greek declensions back at school. He preferred Latin. He cheated on his exams and got kicked out. I wore paisley and got laughed at, back in the summer of love.
We boarded Trespasser out at Wildwood Farms. We kidnapped him from the shelter run by the animal rights society. They had taken him because we forgot to feed him. My brother Craig had taken him with him to Cornell and left him when he went away on a field trip to Angel Falls in Venezuela. When he returned, he learned his horse had been left to starve. He was all but skin and bones. The math professor who promised to feed him had gone on sabbatical.
Craig was sorry but not enough to let the do-gooders have him. We broke through the electric fencing, whistled, and put him into the four-wheeler we rented just outside Cincinnati, half a mile from the Bonanza Buffet where we had brunched on three-egg omelets. Got the beast into the truck and headed back to Meridian, not too far from the road to Germantown. We holed up there.
We left Trespasser, thinking animal rescue might have a search warrant. We avoided Germantown. We didn’t return to Wildwood Farms. We left a note for the Taylors and explained why we wouldn’t be returning. No offense. Then, we took the open jeep down to West Clover Drive to visit our friend, Terry Airedale, named after the family dog. We got back just in time to listen to Furry Lewis at the Shell. John McIntyre and Gaza Bowen were having an affair.
The shop keeper’s daughter can’t know what’s what.
Her father works for a living. Margaret Thatcher learned
all there was to know about the British class system. Thank
God, we live in the land of liberty, where the little man has
the chance to live the American dream. Over there, the shop
keeper knows nothing, but here, he is assumed to know it all.
One shop keeper is the richest man in the world. They say,
the man gives his money away; he’s generous. He’s
a philanthropist on top of being an expert in every subject on
earth, from astrophysics to lyric poetry. He’s booked into
talk shows 24/7. He is an adviser to presidents, a renowned
author. He is the spokesman for the National Zoo; a whiz kid.
He is President of the National Library Association of America,
and a frequent contributor to the Opera Association, too, for whom
he selects the repertoire for the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
He consults the San Francisco Symphony. They say, “Ask Mr. Fate.
He’ll know.” He is not only a lover of mankind but a king maker.
At heart, he is a salesman. He talked Obama into buying stock.
You remember Home Alone. That boy’s house had 3500 square feet.
Fate’s house has 35,000 feet and he is considering an addition. He wants
every guest to have her very own pool. So far, there are seventeen. Ten
bathrooms adorn each floor. His goldfish have been trained to kiss each
guest’s feet. They lick between their toes. To keep the colon clean, guppies
are trained to enter guests’ mouths, swim around, and exit from the rear.
Gus Fate has been working lately on creating a vaccine for the virus he
invented. His gift is finding solutions to problems nobody else can
solve. He most recently discovered world-wide over-population. His solution
is to kill 25% of the people. He and the Chinese who work for him have
dedicated themselves to finding the quickest and safest way to murder people
without spilling blood or being found morally culpable.
Unlike other billionaires, Gus solved the problem of being hated by pretending
to have sold his companies. Unlike Rockefeller, he washed his hands of all
business decisions. He never wanted to take responsibility for the treatment
of his employees. He has cultivated the behavior of an English gentleman. He
acts the aristocrat – raising sheep and buying art. “I am so rich,” Fate says,
“I don’t know how to be ruthless or greedy.” He loves the theatre.
Gus Fate thinks all day about mankind. He loves art. He drives his competitors
out of business but tells everyone it is for their own good. There is every reason
to believe that Gus has been moved, touched, influenced, or enlightened by what
he reads, especially by titles like “Investments in Gold” and “Billionaires Today/
Trillionaires Tomorrow.” He lists the books he has read, as does that other multi-
billionaire, Oprah Winfrey.
No professor of world literature, no editor, and no other writer posts reading lists
for the general public. One should be grateful. Like Martin Luther King, Gus Fate
is at one with the people. He especially gets along with blacks. He is very close
with Barack Obama. Barack reads every book Gus suggests. As a result, Barack
has become the richest former-president in U.S. history. Gus advises Obama,
giving him valuable tips on ridding the world of hunger. He loves the poor.
“It is reported that death-rates are high; they are not as high as one might expect.
At present, whites outnumber blacks two to one. To hold a ceremony at this junction
would be inappropriate. An apology is forthcoming. I will personally kill more minorities
and ensure parity. Death rates should be equal as are monthly stipends, rents, food
allocations, and medicines. We don’t want to be accused of sending more whites
to crematoria than blacks. I pledge to increase the number of black deaths.”
Of course, I worship him. I hang on to his every word. He’s my hero, naturally. After
all, he makes money. He’s far more valuable than any labor organizer. He’s succeeded
in eliminating work. Only sex workers get sick pay. No use calling in the cavalry; we
need Gus Fate; the man is a know-it-all. Gus is the ultimate answer-man. Write down
your questions. The man in the turban will read your mind. He can light himself on fire
and turn flying somersaults. He is double-billed with the three-breasted lady.