triumphant reading at the University of Cincinnatis Ropes Lecture series
(which resulted in several academics swearing their allegiance to the
cause of electronic literature, after which they were ceremoniously baptized
with beer from the Holy Grail), their caricatures were in the paper, the
Unknown was in an extremely good mood. They had been reunited with Bob
Coover, who mentioned the Unknown frequently throughout
his visit. Adulation came from all directions; good food and drink was
plentiful; new Unknown episodes were effortlessly
crafted, and everyone agreed they were some of the best ever. Still, a
trip to Cincinnati would not be complete without a visit to Louis. So,
with the memory of the thunderous applause of the enthralled audience
still reverberating in their memories, and with William and Scott still
in their suits and Dirk in his sandals, the Unknown went to enjoy the
company of a little-known but hard-writing author once described as the
Jewish Hemingway: Louis Friedman. A man with the mental toughness of a Joe Louis, the agility of a Louis Agassiz, and the tenacity of a Charles Lindbergh flying over the Atlantic enroute to Paris, our evergenial host and chef extraordinaire had pulled the salmon from the stove and was just dressing the plates with holandaise and dill when there came a pounding at the door.
The door burst open and the room was a sea of flashing knives. At first we thought that Dirks fan club had tracked us down again, but Franks people turned
out to be behind it, and the mystery of what Frank had been doing while
we wrote and toured the Unknown suddenly dissolved.
It turned out that Frank was involved in a
group of midget gigolos known as Short Candy, rumored to make porn films
for their road money, and then to ride the American highways in search
of adventure. They rode on Hondas and terrorized
many a heighted man. Frank stood tall and spoke with a slight lisp, though
not one as pronounced as Truman Capotes, like a Kurtzian hipster golem
We were all bound and gagged. Louis put up a good
fight, knocked a smallish man in the solar plexus, but was knocked
out by a brief fellows round head. We faced some uncertain circumstances.
Frank struck a faux-regal Sun King pose as he oversaw the proceedings, drank brandy from a snifter in his right hand, and pivoted a Louisville slugger under his left palm as he laughed hideously.
Louis was pissed.
Frank then narrated a series of pornographic
confessions involving himself, the midgets and a certain highwayman ne'er-do-well
mentality in very careful, almost obsessively decorous detail. William
gagged behind the gag.
Scott was wondering about Franks obsession and
then for some reason shifted to problems of physics, a few thoughts on
the unified field theory and subatomic particles. Quarks, top, bottom,
spin, and weakly interacting massive particles. The point at which relativity
and faith merge, weather patterns.
Dirk burned with the desire to take a piss.
Frank knew little, or rather nothing, of the user,
a knife which Louis had recently obtained. It was a sharp knife with a
good heft to it, and was inscribed scar at the base of the blade. Louis
edged towards the nearby desk, cagily.
Frank described certain of his frustrations with the Unknown, and with
his own place in it. Again he described these frustrations in intimate
and profound detail. It seems that there was
a certain moment when Frank had seen William jawing his way through another
interviewthis one in particular with Regis Philbin,
that had pushed Frank over the edge. William had been discussing the importance
of wardrobe. He had said that the suits were a Beatles
The midget terrorists had raided the kitchen and were toasting some leftover
pineapple and Canadian bacon pizza in the toaster oven. They were drinking
all of the red wine we had procured for this visit, cabernet, merlot,
pinot grigio, shiraz, all of it.
Louis nudged his way backwards, and very slowly pushed himself up towards
the desk drawer.
Dirk wet himself and the room smelled acrid.
Your slavery becomes apparent, Louis thought as he inched towards
the laminate desk, when you deny the other the opportunity to write.
Frank was rambling about Turner, the artist,
and Ted Turner, the man, and Billy Budd, and
Robert Stone. He said that we could all learn a bit from being tied to
the mast of a ship at sea and being beaten by the waves in an unforgiving
ocean. He talked about how Ken Kesey and Jack Kerouac
had nothing on him. There was a mad fire burning in his eyes, and I realized
that this might very well be the end of the
Louis silently pulled open the desk drawer,
his fingers slinding into under a Louis Vuitton purse he had purchased
for Mandy on their European honeymoon, the secret home of the user.
A midget saw what was going on, and threw bubbling hot pizza Louisface.
Canadian bacon and sizzling flesh do not smell well together.
But the midget, a secret transvestite named Sonja who had once had dreams
of painting watercolors whilst standing in a gondola as he slowly drifted
down a canal in Venice, expired as Louis in one swift motion bit at his
foot, cut his bindings with the user, and minced Sonja in three blazing
This is all a part of a secret history, one drenched in blood.
Frank gasped before his end.