Robert James, Anthony Lemon’s Nemesis

I had a feeling it would end on the rooftop bar. Shelley had been coming around since Christmas, harassing the customers with one of the brands we kept in the stove.

—Stay back, she shouted near the doorway, trapping them in, I’ll poke your eyes.

—Shelley, come on, put it down, god-fearing citizens.

We cajoled her and she eventually gave up. Meanwhile Hank started drinking again. The first sign was the bottle caps started appearing in our office. Nut, the cleaning boy missing his left eye, was walking around barefoot like a numbnut and that’s when he got it in the foot. Then Hank began losing teeth… See Hank always loses teeth when he’s drunk. It’s something that happens to his metabolism or something… I don’t know. Hey am I making sense?

Lawrence in the back of the class moaned.

—Detention! For all of you.

The kids all groaned. Then they got their backpacks and trickled into the hall. They conversed outside one anothers’ lockers. Some even ate meatball sandwiches inside their lockers. Yum!

But Robin, the class clown, went around the halls pulling everyones’ noses.

—What. The. Fuck.

Robin had been pulling noses since the third grade and no one could get her to stop nor did anyone know what kind of pleasure she derived from the act. For the most part her victims found her dreamy, approaching with two fingers as strong as lobsters’ claws, then moonily smiling as she clamped on and tugged.

—Ahhhhhh, you’d wail, but it kind of reset you.

正是: A good nose squeeze puts
everything into perspective.

Dumb motherfuckers, thought Robin, the idiots.

The rooftob bar. It was made of formica. Beach bakini babes circled it at all hours of the day—there was no way you were getting in. At night a blackhawk helicopter rose and, shining its guardlight in the water, pummeled it with missile. Sometimes the water was clay; other times the water was pine resin. It was guaranteed to freshen you up. It peeled the skin off of the ladies. It made the men more tolerant. For children it inspired their imaginations; for the elderly it filled them with grand old G.O. memories.

After Shelley’s incident I climbed to the pool wearing a tuxedo. I walked up the side of the building at the top engaged a man named Tuxedo Gerald in conversation. He was some kind of ancillary guardsman. It was my annus mirabilis so I thought I might get lucky. But Gerald is a hideous man.

—What do you want? he said as I hoisted myself up.

—What’s it to you buddy? I dropped the toughguy chat. Listen I just wanna go in the pool. Is that ok?

—Ok by me. But they might think otherwise.

He looked at the women circling the pool like sphinxes.

—Alright buddy I got a plan bring it in.

Tuxedo Gerald listened to me closely. The salad on his lips raised in a slow steady smile. Meanwhile I stripped naked and approached the pool.

—Where do you think you’re going asked one of the women?

—Hey what’s that? shouted Tuxedo Gerald. The fool was wearing a magenta ballcap.

Just like I told him.

I grabbed one of the women by the waist and launched her into a cloud. She flew far away. I think to Tahiti.

Gerald screamed like a moron while I lobbed woman after woman into heaven.

Am I sick?

I belly flopped into the water as a matter of enjoyment.

—Owwwww, I said to Gerald after I had left the pool.

Then I handed that slackjawed leper a finsky.

—Keep your mouth shut alright Gerald?

I grabbed him by the waist and launched his ass to Jupiter. Sayonara Gerald.

I descended to the street level nude in my element. Business men made deliveries of hamburgers in their gobikes. A crowd of harlots walked up the street carrying banners reading:

—Go Marx.

And schoolchildren ran to the shoreline to look for whales. A tear of The Generous slid out of my eye I matched my long bow and shot it into the target hanging from a crane five hundred yards above my head.

Gotta stay sharp.

The police tried to arrest me; the lawyers tried to sue me; the pound tried to cage me, but one by one I gave them the slip. So it goes.

At last I came to Jji Jji Cha Chacha the famous strip bar in the lower east side. I thought I’d be a dream; but all of the middle school math teachers seemed upset at my lack of clothing. They all wore tuxes and flower wreaths.

—Fucking weirdos. I pushed through to the punch bowl. The proprietress stepped up.

—Hey Mister where the fuck are your clothes?

—Oh! I said! Sorry! I said!

She slapped me hard across the face.

—One more time baby!

She slapped me hard across the face.


Together we went to her loftpad. She made me smoothies if you know what I mean. Mango-Water-Melon. Daquiri grapes and apple. It was a real high time and I walked back into the lobby smelling like a Fruit Ninja.


(The pressure is getting to me.)

—Show me to the rooftap bar.

Gangly men dressed as ostriches brought me up.

—Would you like a pocketwatch sir?

—A handy-go-dandy sir?

—Big Chips?

—Chocolate and liquor?

No piss off you weasels.

—No thanks gendermen.

The elevator doors opened. We looked out on the dreamy tangerine clouds of an evening. The ostriches flew off happily. I crossed the terrace to the bar.

—I’ll take one blue Hawaiian please. Then I added:

—On the rocks.

Yea baby.

Constance showed before long. Burly, oiled, handsome, Iberian, with Marcado in his stride, she stunning, lithe, intelligent, flashing lips of steel.

—Corialannus, I said.

—What’s that?

We fought in heaven for heaven. My sword smote his cock in half and he twirled back down to Hell. I grabbed Marcado and threw her up to Venus. Jesus fell down to earth.

Now I sit on the rooftop bar waiting for someone to knock me off if they dare. I’m here playing violin and writing scripts for conspiracy theorists. Nothing tires me. Sometimes the clouds let out bursts of rain. I have my umbrella. The mead flows from the rooftop down the dumbwaiter and into the library where I will leave discreet vials in unread volumes—that’s how my customers find it. What do I dream of? Nothing much? I snooze! I’m just snoozin’! Who can knock me off my hill? Tomorrow I think I’ll rob a bank. I’ll use the teeth for money. No one can stop me.

I’m the guy named Robert James, the musician.




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