Sunday, July 25, 2004


"It's Jurvoz." LZ said. "She held the phone in two fingers, arm stretched out as far as possible, as if the phone itself were contaminated.

"What does that nut want?" I asked.

"He wants you," LZ said.

"Good," I said. "I was hoping he'd call."

LZ set the phone down and backed out of the room.

"Jurvoz," I said. "What's up?"

"I heard that nut comment," he said.

"What's up?" I said.

"I was thinking," Jurvoz said. "Are you still getting out to the track a lot?"

"Not really," I said. "What with D and his activities, and the Things, and the two jobs, and all the blogging, I haven't had much time."

"All the what?" Jurvoz asked. "What's blogging?"

"You'll see," I said.

"I was thinking," Jurvoz said, "we should go out there tomorrow night. I hear there's a promotion going on, like half price valet parking, or something else good."

"Great," I said. "I'm free."


Jurvoz pulled something out from under the driver's seat. "I brought this for the ride," he said.

"A flask?" I said. "What is this, 1920? Who drives around with a flask?"

"I find them very convenient," Jurvoz said.

"My God," I said. "What do you have in there? It smells terrible?"

"I think what you're smelling is my hair," Jurvoz said. "I loaded up with Vitalis."

"Vitalis," I said. "I didn't know they still made it."

"I'm not sure they do, " Jurvoz said. "I bought a couple of bottles at a flea market. They could have been leftovers."

"Except for the smell, the effect is sort of lost," I said. "What with the big hat."

"This big hat is a Stetson," Jurvoz said. "A Diamante, to be exact."

"What's a hat like that run?" I asked.

"I know they're pricey," Jurvoz said. "But I couldn't tell you exactly what they go for."

"Why is that?" I asked. "Fall off the back of a truck?"

"No, off a careless cowboy."

So what's in the flask, then?" I asked.

It's a blend," Jurvoz said. "Mostly bourbon, some scotch, and topped off with some brandy to smooth it out. Have a swig."


You're not buying a program?" I asked.

"I don't know why you'd waste your time trying to figure all that stuff out," Jurvoz said. "Everyone knows it's all fixed."

"I know there have been some incidents," I said. "But it just as wrong to think that they're all fixed as it is to assume that none are."

"You keep believing that," Jurvoz laughed, as he settled himself in.

I only had time for a quick look at the first race, but I thought I saw something, so I got up to bet.

"Are you going to get drinks?" Jurvoz asked.

"I don't want to drink a lot," I said. "I'm trying to concentrate. Maybe I'll just get a beer."

"As long as you're going, get me a glass of whiskey." Jurvoz said. "And make it a triple, that way you won't have to keep going back and forth to the bar."


"You haven't hit a single race yet," Jurvoz said. "I thought you said you knew what you were doing."

"I'm having trouble concentrating for some reason," I said. "Maybe we should just head out."

"Next time," Jurvoz said, "you should just bet by the names, or your favorite number, like that. Save yourself a lot of aggravation."

"You think that would work?" I asked.

"Look at me," Jurvoz said. "I hit that eighty dollar exacta just from what I overheard in the bathroom. Making money here, it's easy, as long as you don't overthink."

"Is that my problem?" I asked. "Overthinking?"

"For instance," Jurvoz said, "the next time you come out here, you should pick one jockey and just bet on him in every race. Then you wouldn't have to waste your time with all those numbers and calculations."

"Drivers," I said.

"What?" said Jurvoz.

"They're called drivers in harness racing, not jockeys."

"No difference," Jurvoz said. "But see how you get hung up on all the technicalities - no wonder you can't relax and pick a winner."


Jurvoz fishtailed out of the parking lot in a shower of sand and gravel.

"Are you sure you all right to drive?" I asked.

"What do you mean?" Jurvoz asked. "I only had a couple of drinks."

"Three triples and a flaskful," I said. "To be technical."

Jurvoz was quiet for a second. "I guess I have had a bit," he said. "But I'm fine. Look how big I am. A guy my size can drink as much as he wants. It's physiology."

Jurvoz sped past our exit.

"Physiology," I said. "You just missed our turnoff."

"I know what I'm doing," Jurvoz said. "I hear there's a new club up north a few miles. They said the girls get totally naked. We should check it out."

"I haven't heard of any club around here," I said. "This is all farm country."

"You're telling me farmers don't like naked women?" Jurvoz said. "I doubt that."

"I don't know much about farmers," I said. "But I do know there's no naked club around here. There's no naked clubs in this entire state. It's against the law."

If you believe things don't exist just because they are against the law, then you are either in deep denial or hopelessly naive," Jurvoz said. "Look at me: Totally hammered. Speeding. No license. No insurance. It's all supposedly against the law."

"Jesus," I said. "No license?"

"What you don't understand," Jurzov said, "is that the laws are just guidelines for people to follow. They're not real things."

"No insurance either?" I said.

"They sent me some sort of notice, demanding I surrender my license," Jurvoz said. "I never got around to mailing it back, but I did think to cancel my insurance. There's no way they would cover someone on the suspended list anyway."

"Sound logical," I said.

"I'm serious about the farmers," Jurvoz said. "My uncle, Old Jake Jurvoz, he was a farmer, and he was the biggest pervert you ever saw."

"I don't believe I ever met him," I said.

"You wouldn't have," said Jurvoz. "He's in a home for the criminally insane. In Idaho."

"Jumping Jesus," I said. "What did he do?"

"There were the usual charges," Jurvoz said. "And a few others added on. But he was so bonkers they never even had a trial. So, legally, he hasn't done anything."

"That's a mercy," I said.


Jurvoz careened down one unlighted country road after another in search of the mythical farmer's strip club.

"You know what I need to straighten up?" he said.

"I couldn't guess," I said.

"A couple of lines," Jurvoz said. "No more than half a gram. You got any?"

"Sorry," I said. "I didn't realize it was my turn to bring it."

"I think I'll drive into the city," Jurvoz said. "There's an after hours joint where the bartender owes me some. "

"I've had it for the night," I said. "Maybe you should just drop me off."

"That's really out of my way," Jurvoz said.

Not really," I said. "You should be coming up to a county road that will take us back through Aytown. Then we can get back on the highway for there."

"I guess I could do that," Jurvoz said. "If you really have to go home." He gave me a pitying look.

"Just be careful going through Aytown," I said. "The speed limit drops with no warning and the police are notorious."

"Don't worry about it," Jurvoz said. "I know how to handle those yokels."


"Sir, you were going 48 mph in a 25 mph zone," the Aytown cop said. "I'm going to need to see your license and registration."

Jurvoz fumbled through his wallet, trying to come up with the bogus documents.

"Have you been drinking, sir?" the cop asked.

Jurvoz sat up straight and stared directly at the cop.

"Of course," he said. "Early on."

"Please wait in the car, sir," the cop said. He walked back to the cruiser.

"Hang on," Jurvoz said. "When he gets in his car to run the plate, I'm gonna bolt."

"Are you sure that's the best option? I asked.

"Absolutely," Jurvoz said.

I snuck a look back. The cop stopped at the door of his car, hesitated, then leaned through the window and pulled out a citation book. He walked back to us.

"I'm going to let you off with a written warning, Mr Jurvoz," the cop said. "Have a nice evening."


LZ was waiting up. "How was it?" she asked.

"The usual," I said.

"Did you get what you needed?"

"It'll do," I said.

The phone rang. It was Jurvoz on his cell.

"That cop, I didn't like him," Jurvoz said. "He was giving me the hairy eyeball the whole time. I'm thinking of reporting him. Did you get his badge number?"

"Sorry, I missed it," I said.

"Jeez," Jurvoz said. "You don't drink, you don't gamble, you've got to be home for the eleven o'clock news, you're afraid of the police...."

I scratched the mouthpiece with my thumbnail. "You're breaking up," I said. "Gotta go."


Sunday, July 18, 2004

"I'd like some wine," LZ said.
"We have a some Yellowtail left, and a bottle of Clos Du Bois. Which should we drink first?" I asked.
"Let's finish the Yellowtail, then open the new bottle," LZ said.
"That's just how Jesus would have done it," I said.  "Of course, he was going against conventional wisdom as well."
LZ just stared at me.
"WWJD," I said.  "What would Jesus drink? It's a big deal with a lot of people."
I could see that was going nowhere, so, as a gambit, I decided to tell the truth.
"I meant," I said. " from the wedding feast at Cana. In the Bible.  Jesus and his mom are at a wedding and they run out of wine.  So his mom gives Jesus a nod and a wink, so he knows what to do. At first Jesus doesn't want to do it, he wanted to save his first miracle for something more than a party trick, but he also knows his mom wants more wine, so what can he do?  He changes a big bunch of jugs of water into wine and saves the wedding.
"The punch line is that the guy running the wedding, I guess an employee of the banquet hall, calls the bridegroom aside and gives him a quick lecture on how to run a party, telling him, and I quote:  
Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the quests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.
"Is that really in the Bible?" LZ asked.
"Speaking of drinking, did I ever tell you about my great grandfather and The Miracle of the Rubbing Alcohol?" I asked.
"If you don't get us some wine soon...." said LZ.
"How about I pour you one glass of each and we have a little taste test?" I asked.
LZ  shot me a look. 
"Ok,"  I said.  "Never mind. I'll just get a glass at a time."
"Praise Jesus," LZ said. 
"Just one more thing,"  I said.  "I'm sorry, but I won't be able to tell you about my great grandfather after all.  I'm sending him over to the character place. That's where he really belongs.  You can read about him over there in a day or two."
"Are you sure this is the Yellowtail?" LZ asked.   
"I swear on a stack of Bibles," I said.

"I started a new blog," I told LZ.
"What's this one called?" she asked.  "I'm a lunatic dot bla bla bla?"
"No, it's not," I said.  "You should know I always use made up compound words as my blog titles."   
"You're starting to remind me of the Hunt brothers," LZ said.  "And you know what happened to them."
"The who brothers?"  I asked.  "And what did happen to them?"
"What's this one about?" asked LZ.
Well, it's sort of complicated," I said.  "but as you know, I've got all these characters, or fragments of characters, running around in my head.  I haven't made a real effort to get rid of them because I thought they may come in handy some day."
"Go on," LZ said.  "This is almost fascinating, in a subclinical sort of way."
"Well," I said, "I decided I've got to make some room in my brain for other stuff, like where I put my sunglasses, and how can I make some more money without really working too much. Stuff like that.
"So, I'm going to sort of emancipate them.  I'm going to let them out of my brain, but not let them get away entirely.  I'll let them roam around their own blog, where they won't be bothering me, but I'll know where they are if I need them."
"Sounds like a minimum security prison," said LZ.
"I was thinking of it more as a farm," I said.  "But prison wouldn't be too harsh, considering how they've tortured me year after year."

Thursday, July 15, 2004


"I've got that post up on the other site," I told LZ. "The one inspired by Two."

"Should I read it?" LZ asked. "Is it funny?"

"I once read that Kafka thought his stuff was funny," I said. "He would read it out loud to his friends and laugh hysterically."

"But did the friends laugh?" asked LZ. "I think that's the important question."

"It didn't say," I said. "Or it did, and I don't remember."


Wednesday, July 14, 2004


Two and I were watching television on a morning just like this one.

"Clifford is not real," Two said.

"Why do you say that?" I asked.

"Dogs don't grow that big," she said.

"Clifford did," I said. "I see him right there. He's as big as the house."

"That is not a real dog. That is a bunch of men in a Clifford suit," Two said.

"Oh," I said. "So that's how they do it."


LZ was looking over my shoulder. "So, you finally get to a computer and this is what you come up with?" she said. "You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Exploiting your own children for cheap laughs. It's Art Linkletter stuff. And you know how he ended up."

"No, I don't," I said. "How did he?"

"Whatever happened to the Technology Summit?" LZ asked. "Shouldn't you be using your limited computer time to make fun of coworkers and strangers instead of your own family?

"It's not exploiting if I'm not being paid for it," I said.

"It's perversity, then," LZ said. "Plain and simple."

"I think you're on the right track," I said. "But it's more than that, well actually it's less. I've got no evidence that anyone actually reads this thing. In fact, I have some evidence that no one does. No one reads it, no knows who I am, no one can know who the Things are. And as for you, you don't even really exist. At least this version of you, this version of you having this conversation doesn't exist. It's a device of mine. You've got nothing to do with it at all. In fact, as I'm sure you know, your name isn't even really LZ."

I though I may have gone too far with that one, but LZ didn't seem annoyed. In fact, she looked like she was trying not to laugh.

"What I was doing," I said, "was trying to use the Clifford thing as a setup to a topical post. I was just feeling my way. It was not meant to reflect badly on Two."

"I thought," said LZ, "that you weren't going to use this one for topical stuff. I thought that's why you set up the other one."

"I wasn't thinking," I said. "I'll put it up over there as soon as I work it out."

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