I’m like a king talking stupidly to sound like a juvenile joker. I wish everyone nothing but riches, but fear strikes. Everything starts with a dream.
The worst nightmare in the world. A sweat-stained shirt and drool-stained pillow were the only indicators that at least part of what happened was in my head.
It almost started out normal, but I was in full native tribal gear. I was paying a visit to Richard Weber and I would visit the president on his birthday. Vivian Ecstasy was the woman acting as vice president arranging all the minor details like she always did, and she invited me over to his house to celebrate. My show was receiving critical praise, and it was time to party. I was stoked, ready to get it on.
I wanted to celebrate. A birthday and company takeover worth celebration. I took the city bus out, wearing rubber boots, just in case, and I walked a block or two uphill to his residential townhouse, or as he fantastically called it, Weber Tower, a castle surrounded by flat land, rocks, and sea. It was a ruined castle until they renovated it into a house. Birds chirped, I could hear the sounds of kids playing off in the distance and there were street lights on as it got dark. I walked up to his door. There was a gargoyle of a lion on his doorstep. The door was wide open. I walked in after opening the door wider and everything was quiet. I proceeded to where there was a dull thumping coming from the basement. I carefully walked down the stairs, but this was a surprise party and I was ready to start the party with a royal native presence. I opened his basement door. Pandemonium; but I didn’t soak in the magic. Tadaa, I’m here!
The usual, a partially flooded basement. But not the typical crude basement. A frightening room with lots of couches and chairs, heavily fortified. A mop in one corner. My eyes bulged, staring at the little furry objects.
Teddy bears guarded the basement. Their army hats almost looked cute. There must’ve been at least thirty of them. Some of them held sharp knives. They were small, but very much alive with dead eyes. They had angry and skeptical faces. I looked at their tiny claws and sharp teeth. The stuffed bears had no pupils in their dull eyes, but they moved and they talked. “Greetings,” said the teddy bears, “welcome to the dungeon.” They were serious.
They spoke foreign and turned their heads away. The teddy bears were guarding the bastard-king, who was partially naked and moaning whilst fucking Vivian Ecstasy on the love seat. “Long live the king,” the smallest teddy bear said, stroking his fake bear fur and grinning with really sharp teeth. The teddy bears were guarding the bastard-king, who was nude, moaning amid fucking Vivian Ecstasy on the velvet sofa. “Long live the king,” he repeated. He didn’t look happy. He had a bottle of Aleve in one furry hand. The bear took a pawful of pills and fell asleep.
Richard pushed Vivian to the side of the love seat. He wiped off a bead of sweat from his forehead. There was a black eye patch covering his right eye, scruffy stubble on his upper lip and chin. The king-dude was a radio pirate, ragged, rude, gruff, unlikeable. After sitting upright, Richard Weber snorted a bit, fixed his patch, then the pirate spoke in a deep, raspy voice. “Daniel…” he said, because the king spoke to me using the slave name given to Ottis. He had mistaken me for Ottis. He was new to the job. But I couldn’t tell if the bastard-king pirate was using a suck-ass impersonator’s voice or if it was the dude’s authentic voice. “I am thy sick gleek cometh true. Thou art wrong to believeth this is a fartuous tryppe. But Daniel, doth thee knoweth wherefore thou art h’re?”
“No, I really don’t know,” I said.
“Cometh on. Thee knoweth. Cometh on anon. Daniel is thy slave nameth. Thou art h’re because thou art the chosen one. Nev’r-mind mine own birthday ‘r thee Nuns and Roses, Run-DMV, Nerdvana ‘r playing merit rec’rds. Thou art a crudely offensive native and the next Joseph Brant. Act as mine own slave. Showeth thy teeth and treateth me as thy dentist of business.”
“Whatever your noble heart desires,” I said, “but my name is Richard and maybe you want to talk to Ottis instead.”
He ignored me. “Has’t thee hath met Aunt Percy?” He motioned at his desk, where Aunt Percy was sitting in front of the computer and downloading soft porn. She must’ve been something like seventy-five. I was watching her and the monitor was flashing crude porn that seemed over fifty years old. She was taking suicide calls for the radio station.
I turned, and she smiled at me. “No,” I said, and I took a step back, suddenly the teddy bears began speaking Russian, then Italian, Spanish, and Middle Eastern languages. They reached their cute tiny paws out at me, still very much on guard. I glared at the bastard-king, all sweaty from his fuck. Vivian panicked, doing up a white-laced bra. She was panting. Her dark skin was sweaty, and she seemed preoccupied with making it look like nothing happened.
“We’re ripping off thy mat’rial,” he said with dark, sexy wavy, long hair hanging down. The dickhead was wearing a tattered robe with his name on it, smiling and gazing up at his Queen of Hearts portrait decorating the wall beside the love seat. It looked like he’d stolen my Queen of Hearts. His eye twinkled, a bad-ass phony with the black eye patch, but his one eye blinked, and he looked around and stuck out his tongue in the unfinished, dark, damp, hell-hole of a basement, resembling a dungeon. Saliva from his mouth. That was when I first realized Richard Weber was one really fucked-up presidential pirate with impeccably bad taste and a desire to do terrible things.
The teddy bears started growling. They protected the basement, the wet dungeon, and their king. The bears needed to protect the king’s penis from the head getting chopped off. I would’ve served it to my native brothers and sisters. It all seemed wrong. It wasn’t how business was done. It wasn’t supposed to be about settling a score.
“I hate it down here,” I said, staring at his one good eye.
“What if I told you Ottis was shadowing you and he worked for the government,” his language was different. “COVID was a blessing. Look, I’m president, you’re not. It must be a humbling experience for you to meet your real master.” He was sincere, stared at me with one good eye, fixed the patch over his other eye; he straightened up, stood up, stopped speaking old English, and carried on speaking normally.
“I’m no longer the king of the dream-world of radio. The apocalypse is here; it’s just not evenly distributed. I aided Russians. I helped put lesbians on the moon. A few too many bad chicken jokes, but worth a load of bucks. I did my time,” he said. “I did my job.” The miraculous Pencil Dick was tall, almost seven feet tall, and almost hit the top of the ceiling of the dungeon-basement when he stood up. “Ah yes… I wish to abdicate.” And then he said it. “It was a pleasure killing Tuesday, I shall announce your new king.” There had to be something more to it. Nothing sounded right, and it made no sense. I couldn’t believe it. Wow, no context to anything.
But what the fuck. “What the fuck?” I said, and just couldn’t believe the presidential pirate murdered Tuesday with his own bare hands. I was curious who would take over the company. “Who is it?”
“Richard Phillip Garner shall be the next king of the empire that I’ve created.” He raised his head and bugged out his eyes. “You will bow to him. Show reverence.”
I was onto him, as queer as it sounded. “Richard Garner? You want to ruin the poor soul?”
“Doesn’t he do sports for a Sportsnet channel?”
“Yeah, well, Richard P. Garner is a poor choice. He’s not Richard Sherman in retirement after overdosing on male enhancement pills and he’s not Serena Williams’ dad with a BBC, but I bet guess he could make a mammoth Dick. You should make him fancy-free and footloose,” I said, and nearly chuckled. “I’m sure he’ll break some hearts.”
“You’re not in Kansas anymore, Rich. You’re being a dick and that’s my job. You must listen,” he said.
“No Mas,” I said. “No way. I could do a better job pouring you one of Mario’s drinks, and poisoning you to death.” I chuckled. The teddy bears quickly re-armed and surrounded Richard Weber’s couch. Not funny.
“That’s not funny. No chance. My bears listen to me, so does your cousin, and so shall you. Listen, I want to be your Lord Lollipop of Candyland. Or your Count Cockula,” said Pencil Dick, massaging the misogynistic meeting.
“What if I don’t listen?” I said.
“It doesn’t matter. Nothing matters, except Miss Universe pageants that I’ll be hosting.” The president paused. I realized the collector of bears was serious.
“Is there anything I can do for you on your birthday?” I said sarcastically. “What is it that you want?”
“I had my cake and ate it too.” Richard Weber was licking his lips and said, “This goes a lot deeper. You’ve given radio a bad name and now it’s payback time.”
“No,” I said. “You’ve ruined Lionheart and satellite radio.”
“Monkeys in space could’ve done a better job, but I don’t give a damn. And I don’t give a space monkey’s banana if you work for Ukraine or King Kong.” Pencil Dick was ranting again.
“Bless you. Sweet Jim Morrison, our Lord, and Savior, every bad day,” I said.
“Don’t believe in the Second Coming crap. Your holiness is James Brown,” he said.
“If that’s what you really believe, that’s fine.” I was sweating and just wanted out. I was mad, but he was, too.
He was noticeably angry, scratching his crotch. “Look, I’m pissed the Chicago Bears always lose,” he said, “but that’s not the point. I will not take the Jim Brown name in vain, but James is the real man of the cloth.” It turned colder.
“No, it’s blessed Jim Morrison. Jim Morrison of the Doors.” I huffed in protest, turning angrier, staring at his ugly robe.
“Sorry, you’ve got the wrong Jim.” The art of the president’s confused random utterances pissed me off. He needed to hang.
“No,” I said, “Goddamn it, no. Jim Morrison died for our sins and they resurrected him.” I was playing into the circus he had created.
“If you eat enough psilocybin mushrooms, I swear you will hear the voice of God, but it’s almost entirely cooking quotes from The Buck Burger Show.”
“Thy will be done,” I said sarcastically but took his words to heart. There was a pause. Richard Weber turned on his big-screen Sony HDTV, turned on RTTV, then YouTube, using Smart TV functions. I heard Tony’s voice. “Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?” His annoying voice repeated louder. We were watching my cousin, watching the screen fade to black, tripping out on mushrooms and Doritos.
Vivian nodded. She stood up. “Listen, you both need a quack. Be quiet, my babies. Rich, you’ve got a screw loose. Sorry about your head injury, baby. But Richard Weber is a nut-job. He’s a pure psychopath. I’m trying to help him, baby. In the meantime, you gotta work. I can help you,” she said. I want to start a new employment agency.
“What?” I started picking my nose calmly, searching around for Kleenex.
“I’m a registered nurse,” she said, “I took Russian courses. I’m here to help you. I want to start a new employment agency for adults with special needs. There has to be change, baby.”
“I’m beyond your help,” I said. She leaned down and grabbed me a Brewington beer from a cooler beside the couch. Richard Weber was drinking for most of the day, at least. I grabbed the bottle and took a sip. “What do you know about nursing and what about your royal duties? What happened to the noble cause you were fighting for?”
“Be cool, baby. Just let it go. The world doesn’t need Lionheart.”
“You had me at letting it go. Are you speaking Demi Lovato?”
“I’m your soul-sister.”
“I feel you,” I played along, took a chug of Brewington beer, chugging almost casually, ogling her chocolate thighs.
“Do you feel the Ecstasy?” Vivian asked, disheveled, wiping sweat from her forehead. “You have Johnny Egnatius, but there’s also me. I’m Vivian Ecstasy, baby.”
“Yeah, I guess. I feel it.” After another swig of beer, I belched. Pencil Dick turned off the HDTV, took a Brewington for himself, started chugging, stood up, then walked over to a small table in a corner of the basement where there was a vintage dual-tape ghetto-blaster. The leader of the teddy bears walked up over to him with a bag of potato chips and handed him the Lay’s. The dickhead turned on a cassette tape of himself imitating my voice in what sounded like a piss-poor imitation of my radio show. As he gobbled up the potato chips, he cackled and laughed out loud, listening to his voice. I didn’t want to listen to the shit.
“Do you want some?” he said, and he passed the chips politely.
“No, you… fucking bastard,” I said and just couldn’t believe what I was hearing on tape. King Dickwad was listening to himself doing piss-poor imitations mixed with low-quality audio. “Time to lower the bar.” I needed to take it down to a clown’s level, but only the best joker could compete with King Pencil Dick, a big-time asshat loser dickwad.
The manic president pulled away from the chips and turned away from me to sit back down on the couch. Vivian bobbed her head, grooving to James Brown’s I Got You (I Feel Good) and seriously digging the godfather of soul. I wanted it to stop and imitations of my absurdities had to end. But Richard Weber loved it and wouldn’t stop laughing and eating chips. Maybe that’s all the ass-pirate ever did to amuse himself. Who was this jack-ass? I had never met a bigger nut-case in my life. The pirate had stolen everything from my soul.
“Feel the Ecstasy,” she said, unzipping her blouse, flashing me, and smiling. She had been partially naked and revealing bare black flesh the whole time. I stared down at the bear-skin rug and there were pink panties and chip bags covering the damp floor. It covered the bear’s head at the top of the rug in rusty-red ketchup chip dust. The wet dungeon was a filthy mess. I took another look at Vivian to see if she was real. She was winking. She was trying to tell me to take off my headdress, but I wasn’t listening. I noticed bigger puddles in the corner.
I started tripping. Everything felt so real, and maybe it was, because when I blinked really hard I could feel my eyes adjusting to the new prescription on my lenses. I had just gotten new glasses. Richard Weber turned back on his big-screen HDTV; it looked like it had been stolen. He paused it on RTTV at the point when Russians finished barbecuing burgers. He played the show, called The Buck Burger Show live from Moscow, but the TV was on mute, music blasted louder. There were aliens with antennas serving burgers to naked chicks with huge tits. “Beautiful,” I said, straining my eyes to gaze at the alien features. Everything was huge on the giant screen. I focused on erect nipples.
“Feel the Ecstasy, baby. I know you’re horny. Are you a skin dog, or a horn dog?”
“No, Vivian. I’m just a weather dog.” Everything turned even more awkward.
Next to the two couches with about nine or ten teddy bears sat Matt Lauer. I never noticed him there before. He was quiet. Matt sat in the opposite corner of the room sitting erect on a fold-out chair wearing a giant sombrero, Mexican vest, smoking a cigar, but Matt didn’t want to talk. There was a ginormous clock above him and Matt pointed at the wall clock, muttering, “El tiempo.” I couldn’t believe I was actually watching Matt Lauer like he was a groovy Today Show rerun. His head bobbed from side to side.
“I decide when it’s over,” Richard Weber said.
“I’m sorry, baby. No, you don’t. Rich has to wake the fuck up before a teddy bear drops a house on him. But he’s seen enough. Baby, you’re right. Time to end this,” she said sternly. She walked over to the light switch and turned off the lights. The water started rising faster in the flooded basement. I was underwater, rubber boots on. Soon it was up to my neck, but I could still breathe. The room went dark, and it might have been something in the bottle that I was drinking or in prior substances, but the basement turned dark and I was out cold, catching my last breath and cursing. I was sleeping the whole fucking time. I slept like a dog in my human-sized dog bed.
I scratched my head, thinking I’ve learned nothing and I’ll have to pay for my dreams.
WRICH Radio didn’t hold a candle to newer stations out there. I had to end it, but it wasn’t based primarily on fear. I was past my prime. As much as I love comedians, I didn’t want to be one. The writing was fun and so was the satire stuff, but it had to end. Everything started to go seriously haywire.
If I could give birth to any animal, it would be something small. I would want it to be something that wouldn’t kill me and I wouldn’t want it coming out the butt-hole. I would love a baby grizzly and I would want to give birth on the radio. On second thought, I’ll adopt a teddy bear. But I won’t start a teddy bear collection or call myself Richard Weber. Sometimes what you learn in the process lasts a lifetime.