Category Archives: Satire

The Realm of the Hungry by James L. Secor

 

She was a widow, a lady mourning for her lost husband. She cut off her hair, her dress lay loose about her boney shoulders. Perhaps she had grieved too long. She cared little about herself. Or her two children. They were fed. Housed in old clothing. Silent, sullen.

The world couldn’t go on like this. Not forever. For forever is time and time is movement. No part of life is still. Even the mold growing on the stagnant water is movement.

So, it came to pass that the village headman’s son came of age. He was handsome and very well-built. Accomplished. Robust. Desirable. All the girls in the village drooled over him. Giggled, pranced and primped for him.

Despairing of her long mourning, the widow thought she should put it away. So, she said to herself, “I’m tired of mourning. The village asks too much of me, grieving the rest of my life. Caring for children is burdensome. Widow’s weeds aren’t a life. Perhaps, if I paint myself red, the young man will take me as his.”

She went down by the river. The snow and ice made bathing difficult. But she broke through the surface crust and washed away the signs of mourning. Washed off the dirt. By evening, she had painted herself red. She decked herself out so the boy would be taken by her. And so it was; he would have no one but this bright painted lady. With his father’s good graces he wed the red woman, a widow no more, and her children grew cold and hungry left alone. How sad. How sad to be abandoned.

The little girl took her brother’s hand and together went to grandma’s house. Grandma was poor and had little. What did an old person need? Death couldn’t be held off forever. Yet she welcomed her two grandchildren. They were family, after all, and family should be as one.

“Where has mother gone?” asked the little girl, wiping tears.

Grandma sighed, rocked, fed the fire. “I suspect,” she said, “your mother painted her face. Don’t try to find her. The headman’s son has wed her. She’ll not want to be burdened by you two children now she has found happiness.”

The old woman was right. Old people are often burdened by wisdom and the need to speak of it. Sometimes silence is best; words are hurtful.

Down by the river, near a healed hole in the ice, the bereft daughter found the filth her mother had washed off. A second hole, too, was filthy. A third was clean but the ice around was stained crimson red.

So, it was as grandma said.

What could the little lost girl do?

The girl went to the village headman’s lodging and opened the door and there sat her mother at her wedding feast and enjoying the son. The girl walked up to her red-painted mother. She hurled the filth in her mother’s face and said, “Take that! You have forsaken us, your two children, the memory of your husband.”

At once the mother-bride became a hideous and crabbed and bent old woman.

The house was in an uproar. The groom’s father raged. The son did not put away the love for his once red-painted now ugly bride. He believed that his love for her would cure her and she would become young and beautiful again. Love makes the world go around.

Devotion is touching.

But this did not stop him from having the girl and the boy bound and brought to him.

Judgment demanded payment.

“You have defiled this good place, now we must move. You will be left here to die to pay for your sins and cleanse this polluted ground,” he said.

“No,” said the old hag mother. “Take them back to their old lodging. I will take care of them there.” She yanked the crying children to their feet and shoved them to the door. “There is a hidden keep of meat,” she lisped to the little dears, “and a flint for a fire. When I come to stab you, I shall cut your bonds.” And she kicked them out.

The people departed the village for undefiled ground, while the ugly old woman took a spear and went to take care of the children. Shadows cast through the window showed her stabbing the little ones over and again. The ground and the walls grew dark, the stain spread beyond the house.

The children were not heard from again. Grandma died.

The ugly old painted lady and her young husband lived a long, prosperous life of love.

 

 Jim Secor is a satirist, holds a doctorate in play writing and is the author of Det. Lupèe: The Impossible Cases, available to order from most stores.

The Case of an Ape Gone Berserk

The Case of an Ape Gone Berserk:

an “I Was There Mystery”

by

James L. Secor, B.A., M.S., Ph.D., Q.P.Q.

Any PI just out of school could have solved this case but it came to me because the Zoo was my territory. Perhaps this was because of my circus background. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. I was there. I had a job to do.

I was called about 6 PM. I was just sitting down to a nice TV dinner, beef bourgoyne with mashed potatoes and gravy, and a can of Hamm’s Special Light Lager when the phone rang. Damn! I thought. Just when Dialing For Dollars was getting exciting. I reached over to the end table and picked up the phone, a red Nextel I took off my belt when I got home. As always.

“Hyellow,” I said.

“Is this Sammy Thimblerigger?”

“Sypeaking. Syammy Thimblerigger in person. Nyot an answering machine. Hate the dyamned things. Whyat d’ya want?”

“This is the Downtown Zoo. We got a problem with an ape. She’s gone mad. Jeez, you should see her! We can’t do nothing with her. We think it was something somebody gave her.”

“Syounds like the yape’s gone berserk. Tried a byaseball byat? Thyirty-four inch signed Reggie Jackson issue?”

“No.”

“Hyow about an aluminum byaseball byat?”

“No. We can’t get near her.”

“You got a case there. They usually respond to this kyind of treatment. Yonly thing they understand.”

“This is a different kind of ape. Baba’s special.”

“Thyat’s what they yall say. They’re all alike. Yan ape’s an ape’s an ape. I’ll be right dyown.”

I sighed. No TV. No beef bourgoyne. What could be worse of an evening? So, I lifted my TV tray away, cursing the day I’d left the bargain on the wheeled variety go by, and carried my dinner to the kitchen. I drained the Hamm’s and put the dinner in the fridge carefully wrapped in Best Buy clear plastic wrap. It didn’t stick well. Maybe I’d break down and buy the more expensive brand next time. Be that as it may, I’d be back before too long. “Styupid yape,” I muttered under my breath as I crushed the can and tossed it in the garbage under the sink.

I got to the Zoo in no time flat. Lucky I guess. Hit a pocket of light traffic at traffic time. Even these people should be at home, I thought. What’s the matter with them?

They were waiting for me at the front gate. There was alot of growling and hooting and hollering going on behind them. The Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, Secretary to the Superintendent in spine-tingling short skirt, Head Zookeeper, Assistant Head Zookeeper, the Ape House Supervisor and Winkin, Blinkin and Nod the three Ape House Attendant Drudges led me to the screaming meany. The Superintendent, dressed in white linen suit, shouted at me the entire way. The din was unbearable. I was literally deaf by the time we reached the offensive primate.

“Baba is special. She’s one of Koko’s apes. Speaks sign language.”

Yeah, right, I thought. An intelligent ape. A berserk intelligent ape. Sheesh.

We gathered around the eight-foot square cage. As the black hairy beast flung itself, not for the first time, at the iron bars and shouted at us incoherently, pearly whites flashing, we stepped back. She dropped to the concrete floor and began hooing and hawing and making furious hand signals. Baba was clearly disturbed. She beat her chest in cliché fashion. She jumped up and down. She flung herself at the bars again, reaching through and punching a huge undulating fist at us. We took another step back. This was one ticked off simian.

The lot of us retreated to the Superintendent’s office. He sat behind his oaken desk with the burnished gold pen and pencil set and the marble paperweight in the shape of a seated elephant and the glass ashtray that looked all the world like a turtle giving birth. The others took up their respective positions, Winkin, Blinkin and Nod on the fringes, near the door. I sat in one of the wing-back brown leather chairs with brass studs.

“Yokay. What’s the big yape saying?”

“We don’t know.”

“You don’t know?”

“We don’t know.”
“Hyave you called an interpreter?”

“We thought it best to wait til you got here.”

I knew just who to call. I’d worked with her before. Had several of her cards in my card catalogue at home. She’d had lots of experience with outrage before.

“I know just hywho to call. Lyet me see your phone.”

The Superintendent handed me a 1920’s stand-up job that looked all the world like a giraffe. I dialed the orange and white dialer. Modern kitsch, I thought. A dial pulse tone phone.

“Hyellow. Is Deb Brown in?. . .Thyis is Sammy Thimblerigger. . . .Hi to you too, officer. Heh-heh. . . .Dyebbie old girl. Y-it’s Sammy. Hyow ya doin’?. . . . Syorry about that but they’re gonna hafta fend for themselves. I got a hot one. . . Yat the Zoo. . . .Dyowntown. . . .Yeh. . . .Meetcha at the front gate.” I hung up. Passed the giraffe back to the Superintendent. “Problem solved. Dyebbie Brown is a Level III Interpreter. Shye’s good at dealing with myad people. Yif they don’t cuss too much. Shye doesn’t like signing them words. Makes her hyands feel dirty. Yif you know what I mean.”

They nodded. We waited. I went to the gate. Deb was there in no time.

“Hi, Sammy.”

“Hi, Deb.”

“What have you got?”

“A myad ape.”

“And you need an Interpreter!?”

“Thyis is Baba. Yone of Koko’s breed.”

“Oh. I see.”

Baba was still acting up. She quieted down as soon as Deb started in with the hand jive. After a few frantic exchanges, Deb turned to me.

“I can’t say all that, Sammy. She says she wants George.”

“George is a male?”

“George is a human male. She says she loves him and must have him.”

“Thyat’s disgusting.”

“She says they talked for some time. He said he loved her, blew her a kiss and disappeared.”

“Yand she wants him back?”

“Yes. She says she’s ready to make a commitment.”

“Yokay. Lyet’s go byack to the office. They’ve got cameras. Syee?” I pointed upward and waved.

We got back to the office. Deb and I sat down in the wing-back brown leather chairs with the brass studs.

“She wants George. Apparently some guy came by and made a pass at her. She’s ready,” Debbie reported matter of factly.

“I see you have video camera coverage. Cyan we see the filum?”

“Boys?”

Winkin, Blinkin and Nod departed. We waited.

“They should be ready now. Shall we go?”

The Superintendent led us all to the Security Booth. We all crammed into the small room behind the seated Security Guard in his mauve and blue epauletted uniform. He sat before a wall of 12″ TV screens. TNTC. He pointed to one.

“Dis heah is da ape cage camra.”

“Whyat time did Baba begin exhibiting this behavior?”

“I dunno. I wadn’t on den.”

“Syuper?”

“Winkin, Blinkin and Nod?” he asked in turn.

“About 2 PM,” they chorused in three-part harmony.

So, we had the Security Guard backtrack to about 1 PM. Sure enough, there was a man dressed in blue serge and red tie signing to Baba. Baba became excited. She came right down to the bars. They signed some more. The gent signed “I love you” and blew Baba a kiss. As he turned away, the camera caught a full facial.

“Thyat’s our man! Whyat’d he say?”

“I’m embarrassed to say. But the nicer parts were that he loved her and he wanted to marry her and something about a big banana. He’s kind of awkward at signing. She’s easier to understand.”

“Thyat’s our George!”

“Georgie Porgy puddin’n pie, kissed the girls and made them cry.”

“You’re perverse, Deb.”

“Just a little levity. May I go home now? I’ll send you the bill.”

She left. We got a picture of the perp. I went about my business. I’m a private eye.

To make a long story short, we found our man. Baba was insistent. There was nothing we could do. The long and the short of it is, if you go to the Downtown Zoo, you’ll see Baba and George together at last. George looks a little sheepish, though, without his suit.

 

 

Jimsecor is a long time social activist. As a playwright, he fell in love with Absurdism and this approach to writing has stayed with him. He’s written essays and articles and award winning tanka, become over-educated and traveled the world. His latest work is Det. Lupée: The Impossible Cases. But the very first detective mystery was the above, a flight of fancy. He can be found at home or at http://labelleotero.wordpress.com.

 

 

The Case of an Ape Gone Berserk: an “I Was There Mystery” by James L. Secor, B.A., M.S., Ph.D., Q.P.Q.

moustachois monkey

Any PI just out of school could have solved this case but it came to me because the Zoo was my territory. Perhaps this was because of my circus background. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. I was there. I had a job to do.

I was called about 6 PM. I was just sitting down to a nice TV dinner, beef bourgoyne with mashed potatoes and gravy, and a can of Hamm’s Special Light Lager when the phone rang. Damn! I thought. Just when Dialing For Dollars was getting exciting. I reached over to the end table and picked up the phone, a red Nextel I took off my belt when I got home. As always.

“Hyellow,” I said.

“Is this Sammy Thimblerigger?”

“Sypeaking. Syammy Thimblerigger in person. Nyot an answering machine. Hate the dyamned things. Whyat d’ya want?”

“This is the Downtown Zoo. We got a problem with an ape. She’s gone mad. Jeez, you should see her! We can’t do nothing with her. We think it was something somebody gave her.”

“Syounds like the yape’s gone berserk. Tried a byaseball byat? Thyirty-four inch signed Reggie Jackson issue?”

“No.”

“Hyow about an aluminum byaseball byat?”

“No. We can’t get near her.”

“You got a case there. They usually respond to this kyind of treatment. Yonly thing they understand.”

“This is a different kind of ape. Baba’s special.”

“Thyat’s what they yall say. They’re all alike. Yan ape’s an ape’s an ape. I’ll be right dyown.”

I sighed. No TV. No beef bourgoyne. What could be worse of an evening? So, I lifted my TV tray away, cursing the day I’d left the bargain on the wheeled variety go by, and carried my dinner to the kitchen. I drained the Hamm’s and put the dinner in the fridge carefully wrapped in Best Buy clear plastic wrap. It didn’t stick well. Maybe I’d break down and buy the more expensive brand next time. Be that as it may, I’d be back before too long. “Styupid yape,” I muttered under my breath as I crushed the can and tossed it in the garbage under the sink.

I got to the Zoo in no time flat. Lucky I guess. Hit a pocket of light traffic at traffic time. Even these people should be at home, I thought. What’s the matter with them?

They were waiting for me at the front gate. There was alot of growling and hooting and hollering going on behind them. The Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, Secretary to the Superintendent in spine-tingling short skirt, Head Zookeeper, Assistant Head Zookeeper, the Ape House Supervisor and Winkin, Blinkin and Nod the three Ape House Attendant Drudges led me to the screaming meany. The Superintendent, dressed in white linen suit, shouted at me the entire way. The din was unbearable. I was literally deaf by the time we reached the offensive primate.

“Baba is special. She’s one of Koko’s apes. Speaks sign language.”

Yeah, right, I thought. An intelligent ape. A berserk intelligent ape. Sheesh.

We gathered around the eight-foot square cage. As the black hairy beast flung itself, not for the first time, at the iron bars and shouted at us incoherently, pearly whites flashing, we stepped back. She dropped to the concrete floor and began hooing and hawing and making furious hand signals. Baba was clearly disturbed. She beat her chest in cliché fashion. She jumped up and down. She flung herself at the bars again, reaching through and punching a huge undulating fist at us. We took another step back. This was one ticked off simian.

The lot of us retreated to the Superintendent’s office. He sat behind his oaken desk with the burnished gold pen and pencil set and the marble paperweight in the shape of a seated elephant and the glass ashtray that looked all the world like a turtle giving birth. The others took up their respective positions, Winkin, Blinkin and Nod on the fringes, near the door. I sat in one of the wing-back brown leather chairs with brass studs.

“Yokay. What’s the big yape saying?”

“We don’t know.”

“You don’t know?”

“We don’t know.”

“Hyave you called an interpreter?”

“We thought it best to wait til you got here.”

I knew just who to call. I’d worked with her before. Had several of her cards in my card catalogue at home. She’d had lots of experience with outrage before.

“I know just hywho to call. Lyet me see your phone.”

The Superintendent handed me a 1920’s stand-up job that looked all the world like a giraffe. I dialed the orange and white dialer. Modern kitsch, I thought. A dial pulse tone phone.

“Hyellow. Is Deb Brown in?. . .Thyis is Sammy Thimblerigger. . . .Hi to you too, officer. Heh-heh. . . .Dyebbie old girl. Y-it’s Sammy. Hyow ya doin’?. . . . Syorry about that but they’re gonna hafta fend for themselves. I got a hot one. . . Yat the Zoo. . . .Dyowntown. . . .Yeh. . . .Meetcha at the front gate.” I hung up. Passed the giraffe back to the Superintendent. “Problem solved. Dyebbie Brown is a Level III Interpreter. Shye’s good at dealing with myad people. Yif they don’t cuss too much. Shye doesn’t like signing them words. Makes her hyands feel dirty. Yif you know what I mean.”

They nodded. We waited. I went to the gate. Deb was there in no time.

“Hi, Sammy.”

“Hi, Deb.”

“What have you got?”

“A myad ape.”

“And you need an Interpreter!?”

“Thyis is Baba. Yone of Koko’s breed.”

“Oh. I see.”

Baba was still acting up. She quieted down as soon as Deb started in with the hand jive. After a few frantic exchanges, Deb turned to me.

“I can’t say all that, Sammy. She says she wants George.”

“George is a male?”

“George is a human male. She says she loves him and must have him.”

“Thyat’s disgusting.”

“She says they talked for some time. He said he loved her, blew her a kiss and disappeared.”

“Yand she wants him back?”

“Yes. She says she’s ready to make a commitment.”

“Yokay. Lyet’s go byack to the office. They’ve got cameras. Syee?” I pointed upward and waved.

We got back to the office. Deb and I sat down in the wing-back brown leather chairs with the brass studs.

“She wants George. Apparently some guy came by and made a pass at her. She’s ready,” Debbie reported matter of factly.

“I see you have video camera coverage. Cyan we see the filum?”

“Boys?”

Winkin, Blinkin and Nod departed. We waited.

“They should be ready now. Shall we go?”

The Superintendent led us all to the Security Booth. We all crammed into the small room behind the seated Security Guard in his mauve and blue epauletted uniform. He sat before a wall of 12″ TV screens. TNTC. He pointed to one.

“Dis heah is da ape cage camra.”

“Whyat time did Baba begin exhibiting this behavior?”

“I dunno. I wadn’t on den.”

“Syuper?”

“Winkin, Blinkin and Nod?” he asked in turn.

“About 2 PM,” they chorused in three-part harmony.

So, we had the Security Guard backtrack to about 1 PM. Sure enough, there was a man dressed in blue serge and red tie signing to Baba. Baba became excited. She came right down to the bars. They signed some more. The gent signed “I love you” and blew Baba a kiss. As he turned away, the camera caught a full facial.

“Thyat’s our man! Whyat’d he say?”

“I’m embarrassed to say. But the nicer parts were that he loved her and he wanted to marry her and something about a big banana. He’s kind of awkward at signing. She’s easier to understand.”

“Thyat’s our George!”

“Georgie Porgy puddin’n pie, kissed the girls and made them cry.”

“You’re perverse, Deb.”

“Just a little levity. May I go home now? I’ll send you the bill.”

She left. We got a picture of the perp. I went about my business. I’m a private eye.

To make a long story short, we found our man. Baba was insistent. There was nothing we could do. The long and the short of it is, if you go to the Downtown Zoo, you’ll see Baba and George together at last. George looks a little sheepish, though, without his suit.

 

Jimsecor is a long time social activist. As a playwright, he fell in love with Absurdism and this approach to writing has stayed with him. He’s written essays and articles and award winning tanka, become over-educated and traveled the world. His latest work is Det. Lupée: The Impossible Cases. But the very first detective mystery was the above, a flight of fancy. He can be found at home or at http://labelleotero.wordpress.com.