SCHEHERAZADE’S 1,001 BYTES // Good Luck Charm

The Loch Ness Monster had finally been found, but not where everybody thought she’d be. She wasn’t located in the famous body of water after which she’d been named. No, she was actually in a retirement villa in Florida.

It really wasn’t so unusual that the Loch Ness Monster had chosen to spend her twilight years with land dwellers. She wore a cute bonnet, drowsed her days away in the rocking chair beneath a big old lime tree, and played bingo with the other oldies every Saturday evening. You see, our story is about something else, namely the cashier’s cheques that covered her residency at the retirement villa. Or, rather, it’s about the individual who issued them.

That individual’s name was Elvis Presley. He’d had an abiding interest in cryptids since he was a young tearaway playing gospel hits for the nuns at the Catholic school his parents had sent him to. The nuns were often rendered speechless by his frequent hip thrusting and gyrations, so they’d banish him to catalogue books in the library during recess. That’s where he found a dusty tome entitled, ‘Monsties of the Grand Ole Opry’.

A young tearaway Elvis may have been, but he was also a diligent student when the mood struck him. Something had only to capture his imagination, and this book didn’t fit the bill. So, he blew the dust off its cover, sneezed, then walked over to the shelf marked ‘M: Monotheism — Monticule’ to put it back in its proper place. But when he tried to slip it into the appropriate gap between two mouldy hardcovers, there was an obstruction. Elvis stood on his tippy-toes and took a closer look.

What he saw surprised him. He shifted some of the surrounding books off the shelf so that he could reach in and grab what appeared to be a sliver of metal. Of course, once it was in his hand, he realised that the sliver of metal was a key. It was old and not so shiny. He rubbed it on the lapel of his white jumpsuit, wondering what on earth to do with it.

Elvis was so immersed in his thoughts about the key that he failed to notice a pair of beady, black eyes creepily peering at him from the pin-up poster on the wall. He hadn’t even noticed the poster itself—although a pin-up poster on the wall of a library in a Catholic school wasn’t such a common thing, was it? No, it wasn’t. And especially not a pin-up poster of a topless cabaret dancer with the nipples cut out for a pair of beady, black eyes to peer through.

The eyes continued to peer at Elvis as he pocketed his key then continued cataloguing dusty tomes. He needed to be finished in time for the Friday afternoon Kazoo Appreciation Club with Brigitte Bardot and Ursula Andress. He didn’t care about learning how to play a kazoo insomuch as getting them to play his. What can I say? He was a typical horny teenager.

Cut to years later within the dark corridors of American Sound Studio in Memphis; Elvis met a strange woman. She was not as tall as Brigitte Bardot was short, and not as busty as Ursula Andress was flat-chested. She smoked like a chimney on fire and wore a white blouse with the nipples cut out for a pair of beady, black eyes to peer through.

“Where is the key?” she asked in a low, urgent voice.

“Sorry, ma’am?” said Elvis through clenched teeth. “And how did you get in here?” His voice carried a slightly aroused tone. He was trying to decide which pair of eyes he needed to look at. And no way in hell was he going to just hand over his key to this mysterious individual—yes, the same key that over the years had become something of a fancy souvenir for Elvis. Not only that, it had also become a kind of good luck charm, maybe even a mascot. Moreover, it was pretty handy whenever he needed to crack open a beer and there wasn’t a bottle opener around.

She waved a cigarette at his white jumpsuit with the dirty lapel. “It doesn’t matter. Give me the motherfucking key!”

“And what key would that be, ma’am?” Elvis tore his eyes away from the woman’s beady, black nipples and looked her in the actual eye. The key was in his jumpsuit pocket where it belonged. Yup, he was going to have to stand up to this bitch.

“Listen, motherfucker,” she snarled, “give me the key or I’ll rip your goddam head off and defecate down the neck hole!”

Elvis took a step back, squaring up for a fight if need be. The woman glared at him with all four of her unblinking eyes. Who knows if it was the Russian vodka in Elvis’s stomach or her vibe, but he suddenly found himself singing, “Love me tender, love me sweet, never let me go!” And, for whatever reason, the woman’s pale cheeks instantly began to blush, which then led her tightly compressed lips to relax into something resembling a smile. Could it be that her sub-zero heart was melting?

Yes, actually, it could. In fact, she got so weak at the knees that she fell on her ass with her legs wide open. And that’s when Elvis finally realised what the key may have been for. With her dress hitched accidentally over her knees, he could see the cast iron chastity belt that she was wearing. All he needed to do was insert the key and jiggle it a bit. He was turned on just thinking about it!

PS: About the cashier’s cheques… that part’s easy. As all of you are probably aware, Elvis had Scottish roots. As such, he was happy to help his great-great-great-grandmother out when she wrote to inform him of the pitiable lack of money that was preventing her from renting a property at her dream retirement villa.

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BUT IS IT POETRY? // Inuk Dream Caused by the Sound of an Icicle Dripping on Her Igloo a Second Before Awakening

I’ve been longing for this vacation.
I work like a slave on plantation.
But I am not an office plebeian,
I am a wastrel, epicurean!

The buzz of a bureau’s honeycomb
easily makes everybody foam,
but I hold on to quietude and calm—
a plane ticket works just like a heart-balm.

Yells of a chancellor, squeaks of clerks…
they’re not real people, but hoarse clockworks.
Vegetation and soporific esse?
No, thank you. I will never acquiesce!

Meditating the existential,
I packed my valise and credential.
Full steam ahead! Time to sip coconuts
and pinch sappy indigenes for ripe butts.

I came down from the passenger bridge…
What the hell? Where is the nearest fridge?!
Oh, my Nemesis! Forgive your lost nun!
I implore you, get me back to square one!

I am sitting in the hotel rooms
washing down with dark rum my doldrums,
bedamning all photojournalist-jerks
who seduce us, naif untutored clerks.

Don’t be swayed by pictorialism,
don’t believe in exceptionalism,
sit in your office, don’t move a muscle,
leave parallel hot circles for mussels!


TONY: Well, here we are again. We’re going to be discussing poetry this time, not art. And it’s your latest poem that’s in the line of fire!

TATI: My poem? Really? Don’t you have something more interesting to discuss, Tony? Laundry! Cooking! Look around. So many cool things! Why do you cling to my poetry?

TONY: Because you deserve to suffer as much as I did when my Mascara Baby got pulled apart. Okay, let’s get down to it. Firstly, the title… Why the hell is it so long?

TATI: It’s pure peacockery. But, OK… I hoped to hook people’s attention, and to hint at what the main topic of the poem would be.

TONY: In the interest of full disclosure, I guess I should mention that this poem is the result of a challenge I set you. I threw down the gauntlet, so to speak.

TATI: Yeah. Why don’t I feel relief after this confession? You haven’t tried to make things easy, have you?

TONY: That’s true. I gave you a bunch of words to put into a poem… as well as the topic. Do you remember what these were?

TATI: Of course! They will chase me in my nightmares until my last gasp.

TONY: Like a defenseless kitten being hunted down by a pack of underfed bloodhounds. I’m so evil!

TATI: No sane person uses the words ‘photojournalist’ and ‘plebeian’ in the same poem, especially one about an ice cube melting on a tin roof.

TONY: You’re right. It was a pretty ridiculous challenge, no?

TATI: Photojournalist, plebeian, quietude, chancellor, exceptionalism, doldrums, soporific, honeycomb, nemesis, existential.

TONY: Those are some mighty big words, aren’t they? So, how did you manage to find a way to use them all? What was your process?

TATI: Hm… it’s hard to describe my creative process, actually. The general idea came into my mind pretty quickly. But it was a kernel, not flesh.

TONY: It didn’t come fully formed?

TATI: LOL! Of course, no. When you think of a picture, do you see the final result immediately? I can bet not.

TONY: Actually, sometimes I do, and the act of drawing it is an attempt to get as close to that vision on the page as I possibly can. But you’re right, it’s not something that would happen all the time.

TATI: Well, it’s like bead stringing. You add word to word, line to line. Sometimes the pattern is neat and nice. Sometimes it’s better to cut the string and start again. This poem wasn’t my soul’s impulse. It was nearly work. I don’t know if that is good or bad. But, hell, it was a challenge!

TONY: So, it was as deliberate and methodical as that, huh? You were taking a more… hm… workmanlike approach to this?

TATI: Yep.

TONY: So, why did you decide to change what the poem was about? Do you have a set against anthropomorphised ice cubes dying beneath a sweltering sun?

TATI: Did I change the topic? Do you feel I cheated? I don’t think so. Firstly, why can’t the hero be an ice cube? Do you remember the snowman who loved warm hugs?

TONY: Love killed him. Are you saying love kills? It’s better not to love or be loved?

TATI: Don’t change the topic! And, as I remember, it was a happy end.

TONY: He was the recipient of… ahem… a ‘friendly massage’? Is that why there was another carrot down there?

TATI: TONY! It was a Disney story! For children! No second carrots! No frogs in diapers!

TONY: That was one weird ass video you showed me. Why the hell would a little girl go around stuffing live frogs into her diapers? Children are mentally ill. Seriously, people should stop having them.

TATI: They educated dolts like you, Tony. Who shoved ‘honeycomb’ and ‘nemesis’ into one poem?

TONY: Anyhow, this is off the point… which I still don’t get. What is it you’re trying to say? That the poem really IS about an ice cube and I’ve got it all wrong? I thought it was about a nun going on holidays and pinching the natives’… butts?

TATI: Yes. But why can’t an ice cube be like a nun? Why can’t a nun be like an ice cube? Are you a chauvinist, Tony? Do YOU have a set against anthropomorphised ice cubes? Or nuns? They have equal rights too, man!

TONY: Wha—? How did this get turned back on me? I’m not the criminal here! Yeesh.

TATI: Okay, let’s go back to the poor poem. Don’t you want to praise how ingeniously and artfully I weaved this?

TONY: Oh, of course! That goes without saying, baby. It totally knocked my socks off! And it was so good it kindly put them back on again, all without me lifting a finger. That’s the total brilliance of a poem written by Tati. About naughty nuns.

TATI: Can poetry be written from the mind, and not from the heart? Can it be a challenge, not soul’s impulse?

TONY: Fancy a cup of tea?

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