British Comedy Nite Premiers at legendary Hollywood & Cat & Fiddle Pub

This February 25 Los Angeles will see the grande premier of its first official British comedy night, well if you don’t count the losers’ dressing room of The BAFTA’s.  

They say there’s nothing new under the sun.  Well, that’s fine, because there’s almost always something new under the moon when it comes to Los Angeles nite-time entertainment.  Whether it’s a new vegan Aboriginal food truck craze or an app that hooks you up with 27 year old’s who know how to find the coolest hippest yurt raves, LA has always been beyond cutting edge.

Whilst there’s always a new young comedy specimen or a hundred, randomly blowing into town from the mysterious Santa Ana’s, there are always new comedy theme nights popping up to accommodate.  Comedy shows in coffee houses, dive bars, bookstores, laundromats, bus stations, emergency rooms.  Every year, thousands upon thousands of young big dreamy-eye’d comic upstarts, give up the sensible life in Smalltown, USA, say goodbye to Mom and Dad, drive out west, hole up on a couch, grow their beards, tatt up their arms, and work during the day slinging cappuccino for a living so at night, they can refine their unique angst millennial who gives a shit point of view, all in a vague effort to reach for the stars and settle into a comfy life of money, touring and epic film and television careers.  And those are just the lady comics.

So, when someone is trying to do something unique, different, I always wish them well, then place a one-way bus ticket outta town in their breast pocket, and start humming Midnight Train to Georgia.   However, this time, a particular new show caught my eye, which is gonna be at one of the finest eateries and bars in LA, the legendary Cat & Fiddle Pub. In its new location on Highland Avenue, just above Melrose. I’ve got the man behind Bangers & Laughs, here tonight to tell you all about it.  Larf Magazine is very excited to bring him to you. So, it is with great drunken prejudice, that I want to introduce to you an old institution, a comedy legend of sorts, an old geezer for damn sure…

Please welcome, all the way from Putney, Souf London, Nigel Arrisson!

LM:  How are you sir?

NA:  I’m lovely, and you?

LM: Well, frankly you should know how I feel without asking me.

NA: Why’s that then.

LM: Because, in case you’ve forgotten, you are a fictional creation of mine.

NA:  Oh, yes; that’s correct.  So, how can I help?

LM: No, it’s just that I want to help you promote your new comedy night.

NA: Well, I must say, I’m very excited about it frankly.  I’m excited for Steven, first of all.  He’s not been in London in 10 years and he’s missing it so.  He loved it there and they seemed to love him as well.

LM: And, how did you come about?

NA: Well, you see, Steven created me.  A simple canard brought forth by Steven’s impatience with Angelinos.

LM: How do  you mean?

I, Nigel Arrisson from Putney, am the compere, the host if you will. Steven will not be there Monday. I will be.

NA: Well, you must understand; that although Steven was born in New York and grew up in Beverly Hills and Phoenix, and raised and trained as a comedian here in lovely L.A., he didn’t really completely flower as a comic until he went to England.  He stayed there (on and off) for nearly 20 years.  That’s quite amazing when you think about it.  Anyway, while living and working over there, Steven became, how should I put this, he became more than Anglified.  More than just a fan of British culture.  He became part of it and in turn British culture infused in his brain and refused to leave.  That’s how I was born.

LM: Wait a minute.

NA: Take your time.

LM: You’re saying.  No. When I say “you’re”, I mean, you Steven are saying, that…

NA: Let me stop you right there.  For all intents and purposes, Steven Alan Green doesn’t exist.  Nigel Arrisson exists.  In fact, from my particular point of view, Steven Alan Green is a fictional creation of my mind.  True, “Steven” is producing Bangers & Laughs at The Cat & Fiddle Pub in Hollywood, a night of great British and American comedy, set in a British pub and done in full British tradition, but I, Nigel Arrisson from Putney, am the compere, the host if you will. Steven will not be there Monday. I will be.

LM: Well, either way, you have a great line-up.  Matt Kirshen, Cole Parker, JJ Whitehead, Jim Coughlin, and the great Barry Sobel!

NA:  Yes, and we expect to have a dedicated heckler, just to heckle me, mind you, none of the other acts.

LM: Of course.

NA: Plus there will be a joke telling contest.  For a free pint!  It’s only $15 minimum purchase to see the show and with our special $15 Pie and Pint special, you get into the comedy show for free!

LM: What time?  Where?

NA: Monday, this Monday February 25th @ 8:30pm.  The Cat & Fiddle Pub @ 724 North Highland Avenue.  Above Melrose on the east side of Highland.

Cat & Fiddle Pub

Bangers & Laughs Facebook

The Myth Council Handbook – A novel by Steven Alan Green / Chapter Three: A Zombie Christmas

Meanwhile, somewhere on the North Pole, an event is about to occur which will have eternal worldwide consequences of epic proportion; no exaggeration, even though I wrote this book: Trust me.  It’s big…

The barren snow bound terrain is spotted with a small cottage; a glow of a fire and smoke from the chimney tells us there’s potentially happy life inside. Looking up towards the sparkling black sky, we see a small object, getting closer and closer to us. It’s Santa Claus in his sleigh. We hear the faint chanting of “Ho-Ho-Ho!” as the sleigh pulls into the driveway in front of the house. Santa gets out and grabs a shopping bag full of pretzels and beer. He sings to himself, The Killer’s hit, “Human,” as he searches for the keys to the front door.

…are we human…or are we dancers…

He has trouble holding the shopping bag as he tries to find his key. He knocks. Nobody answers, he peers through the steamed up window and sees Mrs. Claus losing it (once again) with an elf. He presses his ear up against the window.

“I thought I said a thousand times, if I found one more elf condom in the trash, I was going to have a stroke! These damn tiny things go in the toilet! Besides, don’t you little guys ever get enough?!”

The elf tries to defend himsELF; doesn’t matter, she’s not buying it.

“That wasn’t mine! I told you, I’m the gay elf. I use a blue condom and that one’s red!”

“Well, whatever, twinkle-toes…whoever left this in the trash, their dick is gonna be black and blue when I get through with them!”

Santa slowly turns and tiptoes back to the sleigh just when the front door opens. An elf comes running after him.

Hey! Wait up!

Santa keeps going. “She’s in one of her…” (making sarcastic quote gesture) ‘moods’ again. I’m sorry. I’m feeling too jolly for this shit…I’m outta here!” Santa gets back in his sleigh, grabbing the reigns. “Rise, rise in flight of magic, Donner and Blitzen and bring us to the magical airs of the clouds….”

The sleigh begins to wobble, as if it’s about to take off, when off in the near distance, a woman’s stern cold voice calls from behind him.

“Well, if it ain’t Mr. Presents and Fucking Joy!  And, where the fuckity fuck do you think you’re going!”

Santa freezes (even more) and turns. The sleigh stops moving. All the reindeer look around. Mrs. Claus is standing in the doorway, holding an elf by the scruff of the neck, a kitchen knife to his balls.

“Get your big jolly red ass back in here immediately or the midget freak gets a non-elective vasectomy!”

“Do what the bee-atch says!” pleads the elf, barely able to squeeze out each syllable.

The inside of the Claus home is something right out of the 1959 Sears and Roebuck catalog.  Pine furniture, but with all the hallmarks of having a dozen friggin’ elves living and partying there for over a century.  Santa paces in front of the fireplace, as Mrs. Claus knits a pot-holder in the shape of a gun.  He tries to find the right words; the right moment.

“Look…what the hell do you want from me?  This is my job. My chosen profession. I work one day a year.”

“But it’s one a hellova shift,” whispers one elf to another before they giggle.

Santa looks around, annoyed to find all the elves eavesdropping behind the cracked-open doorway.  But, Mrs. Claus ain’t done with him just yet.

“Ha! You are a relic. What with the Internet, people can buy their own Christmas gifts without ever getting up off their fat American asses! You’re kidding yourself. You are obsolete and the sooner you face it, the sooner we can pack up this so-called ‘business’ and go down to live with my sister in Florida.”  She knits one; pearls two around the trigger.

“I’m not living with that Jew-hating sister of yours,” says a now I’m pissed Santa.

“Why? You’re not Jewish!  You’re not even Christian!  You’re in fact a mythical figure created by the English back in the 16th century during the reign of Mr. Chop off Their Heads Because Rome Wouldn’t Sanction Divorce Henry the VIII, 4 centuries before the Coca Cola Company commercialized yo ass to sell more of their cocaine infused black drink of death in 1931.”

“I don’t like your sister. She smells of cat pee. Besides, I have my life’s work up here.”

Handing him a letter, “That’s what you think, mistletoe breath!”

What’s this?” and Santa reads aloud, incredulous and crumbling…

“Dear Mr. Santa H. Claus, North Pole…Further to our very painful reassessment…”

The Myth Council Chief Accountant –now wearing an off-color ill-fitting toupee (apparently made of ostrich feathers) — dictates into his vocal tube as Miss Williams picks up Beavis’s smoldering clothing remains and tosses them into the trash.

“…the Myth Council has had to make some very harsh cuts this year, and unfortunately, we regret to inform you that we cannot afford your annual worldwide effort to bring presents…”

The Ostrich grabs the Accountant’s feather toupee.  Back at the North Pole, Santa is in shock as he continues to read the letter.

“…and joy to all the innocent children of the world. We wish you luck and should you seek either other employment or benefits, please contact the relevant departments. That is all. Signed: PJ Walsingham, Head Accountant Myth Council Services PS: Happy Chanukah.”

Santa looking up from the letter is in tears.

“What about all the little children?” he asks the heavens.

Mrs. Claus takes the lit cigarette out of her mouth .

“Listen to me, you naive pedophile lookin’ waste of fat and flesh, I told you nearly a half century ago, those unappreciative little dust mites aren’t worth the beard you dribble on….” 

Crushing out the cigarette, crushing it out into the image of Santa’s face on a doily  as if she enjoys extinguishing any life, she continues her assault on her husband of over a century.

“If I were you, I’d count your blessings and look for some other kind of work. I have my needs ya, know. I can’t keep living on that…” (makes sarcastic quote gestures) ‘overstocked return last year’s fashion’ shit you keep bringing me. And, by the way, Mr. Friggen Sleigh Bells, corduroy is out!” (to herself as she knits) “I shoulda married the Headless Horseman when I had the chance. At least he never talked back!”

As she carries on complaining, Santa, in shock, makes his way out of the room, grabs a gift bottle of whiskey and passes all the elves, who have been eavesdropping.

“We’re fucked,” blurts one elf.  “Not if I can help it,” counters another as they  watch Santa open the font door and stagger outside. Santa, drinking heavily out of a fifth of Jack Daniels, heads for his sleigh. Two elves sneak around and load up Santa’s Christmas big red gift bag into the back of the sleigh, as Santa gets his fat ass in the driver’s seat, straps himself in and cracks the reigns.

“Elves! Reindeer! Come join me on one final ride!” Santa belches. “Oh, excuse me, ” as all the rest of the elves rush up to him.

“Santa! Don’t do this! Come back and chill out! It’s okay!” several elves say in conversational harmony.

Elf One arrives at the sleigh, as Santa picks up the reins.

“Santa! What the fuck are you doing!”

What is it, Aloysius?,” belches the old man, as a second elf joins the debate.

“Please don’t do this. Stick around, let’s come up with a solution…together!” squeaks the little voice.  Santa grabs the little man by his collar, lifting him up to his nasty drunken breath; the elf’s feet dangling in air.

“I never liked you Elves. You’re all too…” (belching in the Elf’s face) “…short! 

Santa drops him in the snow and snaps the whip. The reindeer take off, pulling the sleigh into the heavens, Santa barely heard as he disappears into the snowy horizon, drunk singing in liberation.

“Kiss my ass, kiss my ass, kiss it all the way, suck my…”

We stare at the blank black night sky, until, until, something begins to appear on the black horizon.  It’s getting bigger and closer and we hear the faint hollering of a very drunk old man. And suddenly zooming right in front of us is Santa in full escape mode.

“Merrrry Christmas!!!”

Santa is beyond drunk. The nearly empty fifth of Jack D. in one hand and the reign in the other, Santa yells at his flight crew, as he flies over the countryside.

“Dommer! Blichin! Rudolf, you mother fucker! Move your ass!” (to himself)
“Obsolete. Useless! Internet! Inter- schmett!”

He takes another swig of whiskey.

“I’ll show them, with their budgets and projections! Useless jobs- worth cocksuckers…”

Santa lets go of the reign and holds the bottle upside down over his mouth, hoping a last drop will drip. It doesn’t. The town of Belleview begins to come into view below the horizon.

“Oh, fuck it,” as he tosses the bottle, drops the reigns, turns around, reaches in the backseat of the sleigh, which begins to violently wobble out of control. “Now, there’s always a bottle in one of these damn gifts.”

Santa riffles through his gift bag, finds a present that feels heavy and looks like it might be liquor. He opens it. It’s a bowling pin.  A row of high and thick trees are now clearly in his flight-path.

“I hate Scrabble!”

He looks where he’s headed. “Fffffuuuuucccccckkkkk!!!!”

He covers his face with his arms. The sleigh flies over the trees, taking some branches with it. “Ouch!” Then, it’s gone. Then, a faint crash. Santa has landed.

The crash site. The sleigh is totaled way past its deductible. Santa and the reindeer all lie in eerie motionlessness.  Our mind’s camera holds on this eerie tableau.  And just as we don’t know what to think, the spirits of the dead reindeer all float out and up like purposeful mist.  They reaches an apex, congealing into one while amorphous cloud in the shape of one reindeer ghost, which turns round, purposely making its way down the chimney.  As our mind’s eye moves down the building we read a sign and it all begins to make sense now.  Belleview Mortuary.

Our floor level view, accompanied by the sound of footsteps, enters the dark Victorian foyer.  A man hums Rudolf, the Rednose Reindeer until it suddenly doesn’t.  The night watchman turns his head to check an alarm, as the spirits of the dead reindeer sweep past his feet and disappear round the corner.  The footsteps pick up again, making their routinely way through the back hallway, past the chapel and into the back where the “works” reside.  The inventory.  The corpses.

We stare at a double metal door, with one little glass and chicken-wire round window. We pull closer until we are now peering through the glass, but it’s too dark to see inside, where the reindeer spirits routinely climb and envelop first one corpse, then all of one dozen of them.  The round little wire mesh glass window on the door to the corpse room fogs up.   The night watchman in his usual tedium and frustration.

“Goddamn rats!” The night watchman, a man a few paychecks past his retirement, closes the inner door behind him and locks it, all the while whistling “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.” He passes a sign: “ASK ABOUT OUR PAY-AS-YOU-GO PLAN”

One by one, each corpse unzips itself from its body-bag like reveille call at a dead army barracks. The first zombie to free himself, yawns and stretches his arms as if waking up from a long sleep. He turns his head to the reader and growls.

Outside the building, the night watchman closes and locks the main gate. He walks to his car and opens the door. His cell phone rings.

“Now, where did I put that goddamn thing?  When I was young, we left our phones at home….And our wives…” He finds his phone.

“Have you been naughty or nice?” asks the weird gravelly voice on the other end.

“Who the hell is this? Is that you, Morty? Always the joker…”

The phone clicks off.

“Hello?…Hello?” He hangs up. “Pranksters! Punks! Teenagers!”

“Are you unhappy? Hi! My name’s Arlene.”

https://goo.gl/images/RLJTDqThe Night-watchman swings around and sees Arlene. She is fat. She’s a zombie.  She’s Arlene, the fat zombie.  She approaches him.

“Would you like to be friends? I just wanna be friends.”

Squirming her to a comfortable distance, “Lady, I’ve had a long day. You are obviously very lost.”

“Lost? Why no! I’m just very lonely. Would you like to be friends? I could really use a friend right now.  And what I mean by friends…”

Arlene puts her cold gray dead fat hand on his arm.

“Listen, you just get your weird fat goth-like hooker ass outta here. Besides…I’m a family man!”

“Okay! If that is your request, I just want to make you happy!”  Arlene “Zombie-Walks” (sleepwalking with open eyes) away. The Night-Watchman gets in his car and starts the engine. He puts on his seat belt and adjusts the rear-view mirror. He thinks he sees something. It’s nothing. He’s very agitated.

“I gotta start drinking again.” 

The night watchman drives, singing along to the bouncy music of “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” on the radio. He passes Arlene the Fat Zombie, Zombie-Walking down the road.

“Rudolf the Red nosed Reindeer…Had a very shiny… I could use a friend!… HA!…Spooky-lookin’ fat broad!”

Flashing police lights behind him and in his rear view. He looks. Then a siren.

“Shit! Can’t an American workingman just get home on Christmas Eve?!”

He pulls his car off to the side and turns off the engine. The patrol car pulls up behind him, bathing his car in red flashing lights.  A man in uniform gets out and slowly walks up to the night watchman’s car.

The night watchman waits as we hear slow deliberate footsteps on the gravel approach. The cop walks up to the car window, but we can’t see his face. We can only see his uniform from the neck down. He shines a very bright flashlight in the night watchman’s eyes. His voice sounds gravelly and unreal.

“May I see your license and registration please, sir?”

“Yeah, ah sure, officer. I assure you everything is up to date.”

He hands both to the patrolman, who briefly holds them, then hands them back, never actually looking at them.

Whatever the problem is officer, can’t we just forget it? After all it is Christmas Eve!

The Cop doesn’t answer, just stands there, face out of view.

I mean, you work hard, I work hard, we all work hard, and besides, Peace on Earth…and…

Frighteningly and suddenly, the cop lowers his head and places his face in the car window.  What we see is shocking.  In a police uniform and hat is a living corpse.  His face that of a skull with half the skin missing, the eyeballs black and blood pouring from his mouth.  Which then says in a horrible voice…

“Bad will towards men!”

The horrible crunching sounds and screams go on and on for 30 seconds.  Followed by the continuous car horn, indicating the night watchman’s dead.  The zombie policeman calmly walks to his car, humming Rudolf, the Red Nosed Reindeer, gets in and takes off down the road.

Slightly up the road the other way, the real dead policeman lies face down in nothing but a tee-shirt and underwear and missing his head.  So face down is really just an expression at this point.

Up the road slightly further, Santa in his sleigh, and all the reindeer all laying motionless on the mortuary roof.

END CHAPTER THREE….

Image result for copyright symbol2018 Steven Alan Green for Larf Magazine

Chapter One of The Myth Council Handbook

Chapter Two of The Myth Council Handbook

The Myth Council Handbook – A novel by Steven Alan Green / Chapter Two: “Mary and The Myth Council”

Belleview was just like any small town in America. Born at the end of World War I and burnished to a pristine finish in the 1950’s, it was everything America represented, not just to the world, but to itself.

Somehow, Belleview withstood the onslaught of franchise culture; nary a Starbucks or Walmart to be found. It existed in its own little bubble, seemingly insulated, indeed shielded from the goings on of Hollywood to the west and Washington D.C. to its east. Belleview’s history and indeed its existence, was something of a mystery. Nobody outside Belleview ever heard of the small hamlet and in fact, not even Belleviewians could determine which state of the union they were actually in. And, yet, in spite of these unanswerable simple questions, Belleview was just like any other small town this side of the Mississippi or any other side for that matter.

Belleview High was your classic mid-century to modern American high school. With one major exception. Sure, it had its cheerleaders and football team and class president, but one thing it didn’t have was fear of school shootings. And, that wasn’t because they had a top notch security team on 24/7 guard, it was because, like everything else in Belleview, it wasn’t connected to the outside world. Its residents didn’t watch the news and the Internet they interacted with was one of complete kindness and civility. Everything about Belleview High School was planned and designed right out of the American fantasy handbook.

Shutting the door behind her of a post-Colonial mansion, Mary Spensor – 16 years old, picks up a nearby watering can and feeds the daisies lining the drive the precious water they desire and deserve. She has a dancing lilt to https://goo.gl/images/pAi93Hher manner, as if she’s listening to secret music in her head. The school bus arrives down the road and, with her school books in tow, runs to catch it. Finding herself in a plume of black smoke, the bus takes off once again and one gets the feeling this is her daily ritual. She quickly snaps out of it and skips and walks down the street towards school.

Hundreds of Belleview High School students funnel into the main entrance, like so many fire ants trying to get back into their hole on time. Just above that entrancehttps://goo.gl/images/UwtQK1 reads a banner: “BELLEVIEW HIGH SCHOOL CHRISTMAS HOOPLA & BLOOD DRIVE!” Mary runs up to the school, not able to squeeze into and through the mass of grey sweatered seniors, sophomores and freshmen, finally reaching the double doors as they seem to purposely shut in her face.

In front of a full classroom of rapt attentive teenage students, the teacher writes: “Edgar Allen Poe” on the blackboard, and turns around to face his legions as Mary sneaks in from the back door. Mr. Braithwaite makes a personal note of that and carries on, punctuating his feigned indifference with a direct inward push of his nose glasses.

Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Tell Tale Heart’ was an allegory for which personal emotion that we all share?”

Two dozen hands reach to the heavens with coordinated enthusiasm, but “Mr. B” zeroes in on one student, whose book happens to be held upside down. Sensing a disturbance on the horizon, the entire class shifts their focus on one girl.

Mary? Perhaps you’d like to answer the question.”

Mary, startled from a daydream, stands up, straightens her dress, cups her hands together like they were protecting a mouse.

Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Tell Tale Heart’ is about guilt. Inner guilt. The beating heart is a metaphor for our conscience to always do the right thing.”

The entire class breaks out into vicious laughter, pointing at Mary like she https://goo.gl/images/8tKMfuwas some circus freak. All but Johnny Turnbridge, a bookish student, whose innate good looks are twisted by his enormous prescription goggles and black waxy hair. Henry T. Braithwaite looks at the rest of the class with scorn until they do what’s good for them as they take in his authoritative gaze and immediately go silent, their heads down in prayer-like obedience.

Very good, Mary. That’s right!”

The school bell rings and as everyone jumps up to get the hell outta there; the teacher reminds them of their homework.

Don’t forget, Odysseus next week! And, I want to see your papers on The Glass Menagerie as well!”

The army of the grey sweatered student body makes their human wave out the school doors like they were escaping torturous boredom. When they’re clear, Mary appears once again, alone. Jumping back into her positive mood, she skips and walks down the tree-lined quiet suburban Belleview streets towards home.

Hiding behind an oak tree is Johnny Turnbridge who suddenly jumps in front of Mary, stopping her progress with a giant: “BOO!” Bemused but not befuddled, Mary wags her finger at him in admonishment.

Johnny Turnbridge! I should’ve known! Don’t you know it’s bad taste to sneak up behind a girl and scare the bejeebus outta her? I’m surprised Mrs. Larson let’s you on her gothic choir practice.”

 “Ah gee, Mary! I was only trying to get your attention and ask you if you wanted to go to the Belleview Blood Drive with me this Saturday night! I’ll pick you up in my dad’s new super-dooper roadster. It’ll be so cool!”

 Mary stops walking and so does Johnny. She looks at him like she’s gonna punch him. Instead she swings her books to his chest, followed by another finger-pointing session.

You behave yourself, Johnny Turnbridge and maybe you’ll get your wish! I’m not stupid the way everyone in this town seems to think I am.”

They start walking again. All the while, a black raven with an eye-patch trails behind them, jumping from tree to tree, keeping a close eye. One close eye. Obviously.

 

A Yortsite candle brightly burns, illuminating framed and faded black and https://goo.gl/images/Xt8UFNwhite photographs of a wedding, children and grandchildren. Moishe Rosenbaum, mid-fifties New York Jew, places a framed picture of his wife Sadie next to the candle, kneels and prays in Hebrew, reciting the Jewish Prayer for the Dead.

B’olmo dee’vro chir’usay v’yamlich malchu’say, b’chayaychon uv’yomay’chon uv’chayay d’chol bais Yisroel, ba’agolo u’viz’man koriv; v’imru Omein.”

He gets up and moves to the window of his drab one-room apartment. He lights a cigarette, looks out at the hustle-bustle of the busy small town, and blows smoke like a disapproving dragon.

Oye. How the hell did I ever wind up in Goyim Heaven?

The smoke permutes into an ellipse which winds its way down the cobblestone main street towards the Gothic Bookshop, where inside, Johnny Turnbridge tries to explain the value of his inventory to a very old customer.

“I’m afraid that’s the closest you’re going to come in finding a first edition Poe anywhere near that price, Mrs. Pendegast.”

https://goo.gl/images/u7Q4JbThe Belleview Gothic Bookshop’s vivid green exterior belies the collection of antiquities displayed therein. The small dusty corner shop boasts “Rare Editions” and “Hard to Find Classics” through its big picture window, facing the Belleview Butchers and Belleview Five and Dime and thereby reflecting their craven imagery of cow carcass and support hose, which superimpose against the bookshop’s eerie presence. From the inside, the bookshop looks more like a disorganized dorm room than a book store. Johnny helps a seventy-five-year old woman.

Can probably knock off ten bucks for ya’, Mrs. P”; he leans in, whispering his secret. “Whadda-ya say, Ellen? Everyone knows the Gothic horror books are all haunted by their characters, but Poe”… (looking left to right) …haunts his own books!”

Mrs. Pendegast smiles and leans in. “You know, Sonny…I just read them for the intimate descriptions of naked bodies.” She suggestively winks, making Johnny visibly uncomfortable. She exits the shop, carrying a book size brown paper bag under her arm as if were porn, steps over a homeless man and walks down the street and waving hello to the florist and the butcher before disappearing around the corner.

The Belleview Five and Dime is a local institution which was built by the founder of Belleview, Horrace “Two R’s” J. Porter, of which there is a statue of him directly across from the shop, in the center roundabout.

STATUE OF HORRACE J. PORTER

https://goo.gl/images/sEfH4nThe tarnished bronze statue stands over 20 feet high. Porter is portrayed as a Founding Father should. Standing next to stack of Christmas gifts, holding an American flag in his hand, his stern face showing no ounce of mercy. He proudly looks up towards the sky, and vaguely in the direction of Soldiers Mound, the highest peak visible from Belleview, and a popular make-out spot for the teens. Christmas shoppers go in and out in a hurried pace through the doors as carolers sing Joy to the World.

A chorus of three men and three women joyfully sing to their lord and savior and suddenly stop. They look around and huddle. Nodding in agreement, they resume in perfect harmonious silk.

“Merry Christmas, Mary….”

They hold the last note, and look towards the front door of the 5 & Dime. After a moment, they look at each other and sing again.

Merry Christmas, Mary….

Still nothing.

That girl would be late to her own funeral!” spouts one of the carolers.

Yeah…fuck her!” concurs another.

All share a look of acknowledgement and resignation and open their song books to another page.

Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephen, When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even. Brightly shown the moon that night, though the frost was cruel, when a poor man came in sight, gathering winter fuel.”

Mary exits the shop, dressed like a snow fairy, holding too many shopping bags brimming with Christmas gifts. And like the vision of Christ’s Mary, she stops for an extreme close-up, revealing she has “virgin-for-life” written all over her mug.

You wouldn’t believe the bargains!” she proudly proclaims to everyone’s scorn and indifference. “Merry Christmas everybody?” she asks sheepishly.

As if choreographed and rehearsed, all the citizens on Main Street, mothers walking their prams, shop owners in the middle of business, even the horse from the milk truck join in, singing her theme tune.

“Merry Christmas, Mary. Merry Christmas, you. You’re our little fairy, We, the Citizens Belleview. We are the butchers, Mary. Undertakers too. We’ve watched you grow up scary, A frightened lamb in the zoo.

And we want you to know, Mary. Even though you’re quite thick, That even the freshest dairy, Can make one quite sick.

Merry Christmas, Mary. Merry Christmas, you. You’ve suffered unnecessary, Even though you’re not a Jew.

Oh, quite contrary, There’s a cross around your heart, You’re the all American girl, And we don’t give a fart.

Merry Christmas, Mary. Merry Christmas you. You’re the coal mine canary, In a shaft out of view. And we want you to know, Mary. Even though you’re not dead, You’re the oyster, not the pearl, And you haven’t yet bled. This is what we just said. Merry Christmas, Mary. Merry Christmas, you!”

“Merry Christmas, Mary!”

Everyone cheers and then goes about their business as usual. Moishe, lost in thought, takes one final puff of his cigarette and tosses it out the window to the street, muttering to himself: “Goyim Heaven…” He closes his window, just as a filthy hand reaches into the beggar’s cup, pulling out the cigarette, to the awaiting mouth of the homeless man. A smile of relief overtakes his face. Looking up towards God: “Thank you!” Suddenly, he is awoke to the reality of the situation: All his paper money in his cup is now on fire.

Moishe goes to the closet. Inside are dozens of silk Chinese blazers. He pulls out one and puts it on, then looks a himself in the mirror, adjusting his Yalmulke. He picks up an already opened envelope, pulls out the letter and reads. After a beat or two, he takes a deep sigh, puts the letter back in the envelope, looks at himself once more in the mirror.

Vat am I…some sort of montsah?”

He tosses the envelope on his bed, grabs his coat and hat and exits the room.

The envelope is addressed to:

Moishe Rosenbaum

6151 Little Main Street

Belleview, No State, No Zip Applicable

And from:

The Eternal Revenue Service

69-71 Rivington Street

Shordich, London

EC2A

United Kingdom

The roar of a million typewriters increases and increases…

https://goo.gl/images/QvoqwQThe nondescript office building sits between two pubs on Rivington Street in Shoreditch, London, England. North London precisely. The building is unlike any other Georgian or Edwardian leftover so littered throughout ancient turned modern London. With the one exception that this particular building is quite tall. In fact, if one were to stand across the street and follow the building upwards, they’d hardly notice it is so tall, so many floors, they go up and into and beyond the clouds. But, everyone’s too busy looking down on their phones these days to even notice.

Inside is the grand reception. A ginormous front reception area, comparable only to Grand Central Station.   Hundreds of workers mill about, going from one point to another, most with serious looks on their face. At the center is a switchboard phone bank, as the phone absolutely rings off the hook. A receptionist with a bee-hive wig and half-glasses answers a flurry of calls.

Myth Council of Earth; please hold. Myth Council of Earth; please hold. Myth Council of Earth; please hold. Myth Council of Earth; please hold. Myth Council of Earth; How can I help?”

A drunk man answers on the other end of the line.

“Yes….(hick-UP!)…Me and me mates are in a bit of a verbal punch-up down the pub…(HICK!)”

The switchboard continues to ring, to which the receptionist tells the man…

“Could you please hold….”

“But, it’s my round and…”

Sorry sir,” she puts him on hold. “Myth Council of Earth, please hold,” she switches back to the man. “Yes, sir. Sorry to keep you waiting. How can I help?”

“Yes, as I was saying; it’s my round if I can’t name the Seven Dwarves. And, I say there is a Dwarf named ‘Stinky,’, but Ben (HICK!) there claims there is no dwarf named Stinky, but there is one named “Jehoshaphat.” I think that’s wrong…”

“I understand, sir,” says the receptionist, cutting him off. “Please hold one more time. Sorry.” She puts the man on hold, turns and rolls her chair at great comical speed to her co-worker (another woman in a bee-hive wig and half-glasses) at the other end of the very long reception desk. She confers with the other receptionist.

“Sorry. Remind me please where I send inquiries for man-made myths? Was it the Department for Fictional Reconciliation?”

“Well, it all depends,” answers her co-worker. “If it’s of an adult nature, such as Cupid or Venus, then you want to route them to the Department for Romantic Interlude. If it’s more at the family level, such as Pinocchio, Harry Potter and all that Hollywood crap, then the call goes to the Department of Childhood.”

“It’s a drunk calling from a pub.”

Oh, one of those, eh?” The co-receptionist nods her head in the direction where the first receptionist started and they both roll back together at great comical speed. The co-worker reaches over and disconnects the caller. “Trust me…The Myth Council is no match for the fantastical imaginings born of alcohol. No sympathy for the human race! That’s our credo!”

The phone still ringing like mad; the receptionist tends to business again. “
Myth Council of Earth, please hold…Myth Council of Earth, please hold…”

 

On the 711th&1/2 floor, a woman’s ass sways back and forth timed perfectly with a stopwatch’s tick tock, as she makes her way down the 711th&1/2 floor hallway. Mannered like a 1960’s airline stewardess, and carrying a black portfolio, Miss Abigail Williams, Chief Assistant to the Myth Council’s Main Dude, makes her way to a very important looking office door, with a brass plaque reading: “DECISIONS”; she knocks as she goes inside.

The office is way too big and fancy (in a stark way) for one man. The accountant, dressed in a pale black suit, white shirt & thin tie, sits at his very messy desk, dictating into a vocal tube, which is connected to an ancient dictating machine. On the desk is a large red button with the word: “RETIREMENT” written on the side. Oh, and there’s an ostrich wandering around the office for no apparent reason. The secretary walks in. The Ostrich peers out the window.

Have a seat, Miss Williams, give me a minute. Thank you.”

Miss Williams puts the portfolio on the desk and has a seat. The Accountant continues his dictation into the tube.

And…where was I….Oh, yes…further to our conversation, your honorable sir, it is with deep regret that due to recent unexpected budgetary considerations, we are unfortunately not in the position at this time to fund your idea for a Job Fairy. We look forward to your next idea, blah, blah, blah, thanks for thinking of us, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera….(pausing to think)….And, give my best to Michelle, Sasha and Melia.” He puts down the tube and turns to Miss Williams.https://goo.gl/images/jShx7e

Okay, Miss Williams. What’s on the agenda today?”

Abigail Williams hands Fenster T. Turnworthy the portfolio, he scans it over, shaking his head in disbelief.

No, no, no, no…no, no, no, no…”

Miss Williams tries to interrupt. “Sir…”

Turnworthy closes it and looks eye to eye with Miss Williams for the briefest of moments; he then stands up as if a dignitary randomly entered the room.

“They can’t do this! They can’t do this I tell you!”

“But, sir…”

“I have been with the firm now for nearly twenty years. And in all that time, sure, myths were cut due to various reasons. Everything from Elton John being straight to OJ being framed, to Iraq secretly harboring Weapons of Mass Destruction, to Simon Cowell being a music expert, to those damn…Birthers! But, this…this is just reprehensible!”

“But, sir. The cost v profit analysis of this perennial myth is simply off the charts in terms of annual projected loss. In fact, every year, the deficit on this particular myth is growing and growing and growing…EXPONENTIALLY!!!”

The Accountant swings around, getting right in her face.

“But, kill Santa Claus? No way. It’s just not going to happen!”

Shoving his executive chair backwards, he frightens the ostrich and stands up. “The myth of Santa Claus has existed on Earth for nearly…” Extending his hand to the side; snapping his fingers.

“128 years, 8 months, 3 days, 12 hours, 12 minutes and….17 seconds.”

Thank you, Beavis.”

Beavis “Rooster” Maximumium is a very very very old man. Perhaps 500, 600 years old; we don’t know. He stacks old and dusty books into impossible and pointless Jenga-like stacks.

Not at all, sir. It’s my job. And it’s now 24 seconds.”

 “Sorry?” inquires the accountant. Beavis continues.

The myth of Santa Claus is classified as a Perpetual Myth, and therefore continues its run into Eternity. 31 seconds.

The accountant checks his pocket watch.

“Yes, you’re quite right….Tell me, Beavis. And, how long have you been with the firm?”

 “Well, according to my estimations…I would say: 119 years, 3 months, 1 day, six hours, 12 minutes and…” (checks his pocket-watch) “precisely 4.24 seconds.”

The accountant is clearly annoyed. “That’s my Beavis. Always there with the facts….” (back to business at hand) “Be that as it may, if we close down the Santa Claus program, then who are all the….” (carefully choosing his words) children of Earth going to fantasize about?” Miss Williams and Bevis in harmonious unison…

 “Well, there is Katie Perry, sir.”

The accountant smashes his fist on his desk.

Little children! For Godsakes!”

The Ostrich turns its neck and SQUAWKS; the accountant continues.

https://goo.gl/images/BwdfXA“For over a century, the myth of Old Saint Nick has endured because both parents and children bonded over a unique third-party myth which unites them in a sort of shared childhood and reassures them that there’s still hope left in the world….” (a trivial aside) “And on a guaranteed annual calendar based on the twelve phases of the moon.”

“Twelve and a half.”

“Sorry?” protests the accountant. “There are twelve and a half phases of the moon?!”

This is Beavis’s big moment. For nearly a century, he has been trying to work his way back to Chief Myth Investigator. He fell on hard times after it was revealed he wasn’t actually an Earthling and was demoted to the position of “Unimportant Myth Archivist”.   And, now was his chance. A chance to win the hearts and minds of the powers that be, by impressing them with his incredible knowledge of how the universe actually works.

“No, sir. Sorry. It just hit 119 years, 3 months, 1 days, 6 hours, 12 1/2 minutes and 17 seconds mark.”

What has?” asks the accountant.

Beavis answers proudly. “Why, my time with the firm, sir!”

“You’re quite right!” then the accountant SMASHES HIS FIST on the big red “Retirement” button on his desk. Beavis instantly evaporates in a large puff of smoke, leaving nothing more than his clothes and a book, of which the pages are now on fire. The Accountant solemnly bows his head as Miss Williams instantly darts to the fire and frantically tries to stomp it out.

“Another dedicated worker. I’m very touched.” (back to business) But, mostly, the myth of Santa Claus reassures ordinary hardworking folk that there still is some magic left in the world.”

“I hate to be a spoil-sport…” Miss Williams, furiously stomping to put out the fire, peers over her half-glasses. “And you know how I love the little fellow…He’s so cute and sexy in his red and white frilly outfit.” Her shoes catch on fire, making her involuntarily dance. “But to be clear….” She’s now trying to put out her shoe by scraping it on a rug. The rug catches fire. Meanwhile, the ostrich has come over and started to peck at her ass, which makes her jump up and down like a maniac. “TO BE CLEAR…!”

 “Yes, Miss Williams? Get to the point, will you?” the accountant completely oblivious.Ignoring the ostrich, Miss Williams frantically looks around for something. She fixes on her boss and her hand starts heading for his head.

“Miss Williams! What on earth are you doing?!”

 She grabs his toupee right off his head and slings it onto the fire. It instantly goes out. “Sorry sir.” She sits back down at the guest side of the accountant’s desk and continues with business.

“A recent accountancy report has estimated — quite conservatively I might add — that Jolly Ole Nick has simply become not just a joke, but in fact an overly commercialized corporate symbol, which benefits nobody but shareholders of every major and minor retailer in the English speaking world…” (as an afterthought) “And, who the hell are they….” (sympathetically) “The fact is, we simply do not have the budget for him anymore.”

“What do you mean, we don’t have the budget for Santa!” begs the accountant who is now bald. “He is paramountly important! He is Saint Nick! He is…”

Miss Johnson reaches over and turns the page, firmly planting her finger at the bottom line.

“He is losing us money. A tremendous amount of money. If we continue funding, it will the biggest waste of funding since…since… (snapping her fingers then pointing) The Myth of Y2K!”

The accountant takes it all in.https://goo.gl/images/exAGNK

“And it would most certainly knock out other tenuous myth programs like Cupid and even the Devil himself. And you don’t want to go down that road again. Remember the last time we tried something like that?”

“Yes, I certainly do. Satan nearly had my job,” he says in total resignation.

“You bet your sweet burning ass,” Miss Williams replies.

The accountant sits back down with a look of resignation. “Where do I sign?”

She points to the bottom of the executive order; Fenster T. Turnworthy signs the document, then dips his seal into sealing wax which he then officially stamps the transaction official. “Uh…Beavis…Tell me, if you would…” He slowly swings around his chair and where Beavis once stood, is merely the smoldering remains of his clothing. “Oh, sorry…”

The Ostrich creeps up behind him and pecks at the accountant’s bald head.

END CHAPTER TWO….

Image result for copyright symbol2018 Steven Alan Green for Larf Magazine

Chapter One of The Myth Council Handbook

Chapter Three of The Myth Council Handbook

How I Became a Paid Regular at The Comedy Store

Becoming a stand-up comedian regular at The Comedy Store was totally an unintentional accident.

It was 1981 and I was happy living the life of an early morning telemarketer selling a quarter a million a year gross of office supplies by calling businesses all across the country and offering the purchasing agent a free food processor if they only purchased 20 gross of overpriced ball point pens.  Yes, I was a conman.  But, “everyone was doing it!”.  No excuse, but I was a superstar at it; I’ll admit.  Had a very nice apartment, new Beemers every year, dinners at Mussos and Mr. Chow and trips to Hawaii and Aspen.  24 years old.  I also ran a weekly open mic for singer/songwriters at a now defunct health food restaurant called (wait for it), The Natural Fudge.  Interpret that brown steamy image at will.  You see, I was a singer/songwriter back then and the reason I became a singer/songwriter was that I had been a rock n roll drummer throughout both elementary and high school and after graduation the band broke up and everyone went to different universities. It was also because I was a great “Ringo” on the beat drummer, whereas the rest of the band’s musical taste permutated into progressive shit I not only didn’t understand, I hated.  Having a very good singing voice and having been in musicals since I was a child, well, I taught myself to play guitar.

The Natural Fudge

The Natural Fudge Cafe was located here at 5224 Fountain Ave in Hollywood.

Was a crazy kooky place.  Right in the middle of the Scientology belt in Hollywood and run by a character named John Roberts, who had a “Satchmo” type raspy voice, a nice veggie restaurant, and a Jew-fro, I booked the talent and hosted the show for the sizable stage riser and we had a regular heavy weekly turnout.  I wrote songs and one of them was about the commercialization of violence in America. A singalong. “The Homicide Song” was pure satire (not parody because it wasn’t mocking another song); a tongue in cheek bullet along the lines of Tom Lerher meets Randy Newman. One night, this songwriter who called me from Texas to reserve a spot, Mark Bloodworth, showed up and asked if I’d heard the news about John Lennon.  It wasn’t the first time when I felt a weird synchronicity with my creative instincts and the darker real world.

Comedian Bob Petrella is Walter Cronkite on the moon.

Mostly the performers were light-hearted, talented, and great people.  There was one guy – a comic, who came on stage wearing a snare drum.  He explained up front that if a joke worked, then we the audience would laugh.  If it didn’t, it would be art.  He’d tell a very dry joke, it predictably didn’t get a laugh.  He’d then “barrum-dum” on his snare, followed by: “That was art“, which was the planned laugh.  Genius and it was one of things which immediately hooked me into comedy early on.  Never saw him again, but we had regulars, including comedian/impressionist Bob Petrella.  Bob was a quiet fellow who did really inventive “mixed impressions” of like Walter Cronkite on the moon.   Bob and I became friends but then we lost touch for years until decades later he’s on national television revealing his true identity as one of the handful of humans on Planet Earth who possess “HSAM” or High Superior Autobiographical Memory.  You could ask Bob what he did on January 17, 1974 and he’d tell you he woke up late, made breakfast but there were no eggs in the fridge but he turned on the television and hear the news that Madison Square Garden officials announced that all tickets for the 12‐round heavyweight rematch of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier on Jan. 28 have been sold and that the Pittsburgh Steelers won against Greenbay by 2 points in overtime.

Shifting from Music to Comedy

My name immortalized on The Comedy Store wall of fame. Makes me a quote unquote “legend” with the young comics.

I was the host of the evening and really cut my teeth on how to produce a show.  I purposely balanced the night between music and comedians and poets and odd novelty acts.  And, I would always open the night by performing 2 or 3 of my own songs.  Including The Bluebird is Blue, the first song I ever wrote.  Before I ran the Fudge, I had done music gigs at the Troubadour, opening for a punk rock band called Kim Wilde, F. Scotts in Venice Beach and The Blah Blah Cafe on Ventura Boulevard, where Al Jarreau started and Rickie Lee Jones played for that matter.  I got these music gigs mostly by auditioning for the manager during the day, one on one.  Once they heard I could sing, they booked me.  It was then on me to bring 40 people to see me.  A musical version of the contemporary comedy bringer.  The night at the Blah Blah Cafe was a great turnout, but I noticed that a lot of people just tuned out and when I sang my songs, they just talked amongst themselves.  Which was doubly annoying because these were invited friends and family.   And so I had to do something.  When I finished the song, people would applaud, but that wasn’t enough.  I needed to throw them.

“Ladies and gentlemen; I’d like to play for you a song I just wrote this morning; I hope you like it.”

I would then, with all serious deliberation begin to play the beginning opening guitar riffs of Stairway to Heaven.  BOOM!  Laugh.  I then played it hard.

“Uh, I don’t know what’s so funny.”

I’d start again and would milk my seriousness for “my song” until I got to the lyrics, which were The Beatles’ Yesterday.  More laughs.  I’d then go back to my real songs and everyone would be talking again.

So, one night Bob Petrella and another comedian Buck Simmons, tells me I should go down to some place called “The Comedy Store” and audition to get in as a comedian.  If I passed the audition, the owner of the club, Mitzi, would give me spots.  Just a few years previous I worked the counter at Hollyway Cleaners in West Hollywood, where we’d remove spots and now five years later I’m hoping to get spots.  (I’m just trying to keep up folks.)

So, on a Monday in March of the year of our comedy lord 1981, I found myself on line (the old meaning; meaning standing behind and in front of others) and signed up to “do 3 minutes”.  When my name was called, all I could think about was when 5 years earlier I went up at The Store, pretending to be President Jimmy Carter and my dad in the crowd trying to help, when after my 30 seconds of material ran out, I said (as Carter): “Any questions?,” which got an unintentional surprising laugh.  My dad from the back of the room: “What’d you get Amy for Christmas?” I don’t remember what I said.  It was all a disaster and I didn’t even think about becoming a stand-up comic for another 5 years; but there I was,  waiting for my name to be called’ then it was time.  3 minutes.

27 Laughs in 4 Minutes

Comedy Pioneer Mitzi Shore

I brought two guitars on stage, told the audience I was really a songwriter and did my Stairway to Heaven bit, which they ate up.  Actually, my opening line was: “Thank you. I didn’t know this was ‘comedy’ night!” which immediately got everyone on my side because the 5 comics on before me sucked big weenie.   I went on with some material about the “Paul is dead” Beatles theory and how it was related to Opie on The Andy Griffith Show (a bit to this day I feel guilty about because one of my co-workers at the office supply deal, Eddie Serrotta, told me and I have no idea where he got it from), then my “expensive antique guitar” bit whereby I hold a cheap guitar and drop it while I look for a pick and then closed with me just playing one chord, getting the crowd to clap along and the eventual lyrics were: “I only know how to play one chord!”  The light came on about 3/4 of the way through, but I was just too into my thang and kept going.  4 minutes, 27 laughs, and I got the first big applause for my version of stand-up comedy.

Over the next five years, I would be one of the regular emcee’s, live at “the house” (which was behind the club and known as “Cresthill”) as well as write for other comedians and for a while, become a doorman and phone guy.

Me as a brand new happy Comedy Store Paid Regular. Photo: 1981

The host, comedian Robert Aguayo, told me to come back the next week and audition for Mitzi.  I did, she saw me and hired me on the spot.  I was immediately thrown into an incredibly intense world, was given upwards of 2 dozen paid spots a week (including the Sunset club, The Store in Westwood and The Store in La Jolla) and folks.  These spots were 15 minutes.  I only had 5 minutes of material.  And what would happen over that very tough first year would teach me one thing.   And that was this. To really make it, you have to rely on the one thing you do that nobody else does or does as well as you do.  For me that was my lightening quick interplay with the audience and laser like vanquishing of hecklers.  The only question remained.  How could I turn that into a successful comedy club act? Every comedian who made it out of the Store had a tight scripted 6 minutes.  Although I wrote and sold jokes to the likes of Jimmy Walker, Jay Leno and Arsenio Hall; it was like what uber talent agent Chris Albrecht at ICM would tell me: “Steven Alan Green.  You’re one of the funniest people I know, but you have no act.” Chris represented Eddie Murphy at the time and a new up and comer dynamic impressionist named Jim Carrey.  Chris would go onto run HBO, turning it into the comedy behemoth it became and there’s an entirely whole crazy story with him I’ll write about another time, when I’m drunk enough.

In the meantime, it would take me a long 5 years of experimentation, pissing people off, trying to fit in, and finally finding that one thing.  That one thing which would not only guide me, but open heretofore important locked hidden doors.  That one thing came to me all because I did what you were never supposed to do in showbiz.

I Quit.

To be continued.

For Larf Magazine…

…this is Steven Alan Green, July 17, 2018

KEEP LAUGHING OR BE MISERABLE

The Myth Council Handbook – A novel by Steven Alan Green / Chapter One: “Nigel Reemerges”

“A long time ago, I lived on a place called Earth. Earth was what they used to call ‘a planet,’ though to be perfectly frank, they didn’t ‘plan it’ very well, now did they….”

Professor Nigel P. Arrisson, Cryptocapitalist, Paranotnormalist and Theatre Critical for The London Fogg

The Myth Council Handbook – Chapter One: Nigel Reemerges

The darkest of darkest nothingness.

Cold beyond description. Void of the natural elements which make up fundamental life. Deep space and long and wide time have been and will be here, waiting and watching over us for countless more millennia.

The Milky Way.

A clouded dream of forgotten eons slowly swims into consciousness like a disabled octopus as we accelerate and descend into its sinewy complex tangled web of matter, gravitation, and light: the three basic elements contriving existence.

The Solar System.

An ancient association of planets and gaseous bodies eternally sailing around their worshiped god, the Sun.

Earth.

A dark blue orb seemingly both lost and at home lies within the ellipses and once again remains the question mark of the universe, crying out to its mommy like a lost child in the supermarket.

The atmosphere.

Intense cloud cover acts like an ominous shroud where great angels once stood; but now has all the natural appeal of an abandoned parking lot.

The North American Continent.

Against the relief of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, the middle land bit of the Western Hemisphere stands like a naked Cherokee holding a flaming torch, posing for an awkward turn of the century carnival photographic selfie.

The American countryside.

Odd patchwork farmland comes to slow life as the sun creeps over the eastern curvature of the horizon, awakening the animals and beasts, while men, women and children dream in their most profound cycle.

Cemetery.

Freshly fallen snow blankets the neatly kept Belleview Cemetery, which lays quietly next to the Belleview Mortuary, a Victorian two-story with rickety windows and in desperate need of a paint job. A crow caws, an owl hoots, a window rattles as a secret wind makes its damming presence known.   In the midst of the eerie tranquility, the blackest of ravens, supremely guided by the moon’s watchful spotlight eye, descends from above, landing confidently on a tombstone.

Prof. Nigel P. Arrisson

Born a long long bleedin’ time ago; “died” March 24, 1939.

I mean, we’ll see.

The raven speaks and when it does, it’s not a raven’s voice at tall. No. It is the Victorian voice of an era way gone. An English chap, perhaps 50, perhaps ageless. And yet, the raven mouths the words perfectly, as they strangely come out and indeed sound human.   As evidenced as you can hear…

“My name is Nigel Arrisson and I am dead and here present today speaking to you through this bird. I perished on March 24, 1939 just outside of Dusseldorf in a horrific biplane accident. My head and torso were tossed on either side of the Hungarian Romanian border. I was too unconscious to remember much after that, other than the sweet angel Gabriel carrying my soul in an intertransdimentional rickshaw up towards the Heavenly Gate, when lo and behold, Beelzebub shot an arrow he nicked from Cupid, piercing our hot air balloon and down I fell straight into the Underworld.   It was a rough weekend to say the least and I decided from then on to pay a little closer attention to the details of existence.

On May 4, 3,256 B.C., it was a Tuesday I believe, I became employed as a junior auditor in training with The Myth Council, a 100,000 year old bureaucracy set up to monitor, tax and regulate myths worldwide. Every myth, from Cupid and the Devil to Lucky Number 7, but also modern myths such as weapons of mass destruction which led to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, to Climate Deniers to those are Nicole Kidman’s real breasts and to the basic notion that the free market democratic society works on behalf of everybody; every single myth – no matter how big or small — is created and monitored and regulated and ultimately taxed. Myths are not something to be merely relegated to ancient and superstitious societies. No. Myths are more alive, more prevalent and more powerful these modern days than ever before. Take for example, the final United States presidential election.

The notion that this billionaire celebrity could lead and in fact inspire the rest of the world by embarrassing his own nation, was a myth created by the billionaire himself. This was unheard of, heretofore; not since Julius Caesar woke up from a drunken orgy proclaiming to be God, had a mortal ever attempted this sort of political tomfoolery. Trump’s presidential victory caused such a row within the halls of The Myth Council, one meeting got so out of hand between the “Reality Right” and the “Leftist Imaginationers”, they had to bring in Hercules as head of security. And, even then, the lug-head sided with the wrong side.

The myth business has something called “A balanced myth,” whereby two opposing myths rise up and sort of bump heads if you will, causing discord and turbulence. Kind of like Jesus and the Devil, luck and science, and of course, gluten free and bacon. Never before has the beacon of civilization been so challenged. For here were myth creators on both sides. On one hand, you have those who believe that the man who ultimately became the final president of America was placed in office by, not just the will of the people, but by, much like Caesar believed, God himself, who I can assure you, cares fuck all about politics. To God, politics is merely mortal man pretending to be God. Politics to God is Cosplay. I’ve gotten drunk with him; I should know. On the other side of the opinion coin, the radical ultra-left intellectual set postulate that America’s last president was simply illegally seated by the head of an enemy state. And, by enemy state; of course, I’m talking about rednecks.

But even the 2016 election was incomparable to what had nearly happened to, well, the universe itself as we know it.   Everything – and I do mean everything – was in various forms of control over the multiple millennia; that was a given. But, then, a very strange and totally unexpected thing occurred. Something so potentially devastating, it actually threatened the very existence of the sacred divide between reality and fantasy, which would certainly of course, implode every single atom ever created.   In fact (not to take credit for it) it was my warning paper on the ever growing fissure in the fabric of existence, which caused sudden consternation within The Myth Council, and rather than taking my warning seriously as they should and funding research in an effort to prevent total universal destruction (as you do) those powerful fools instead decided classify my research itself as a myth, stripped me of my longstanding membership in The Imagination Guild, banished me from the faculty of Valhalla University, as well as making me redundant as Para-not-normal Investigator at The London Fogg. I was forever doomed to babble my proven hypothesis to unknown quantities of lessor educated minds, shall we say, inside of a maximum security mental prision.”

The raven picks at its feathers then shakes and caws, then continues speaking as he strolls through the cemetery.

“Apparently, it was my paper on the secret code of the English language that truly got them upset. It was almost as if I was somehow unwittingly revealing knowledge of a very powerful secret they didn’t want let out into the general reality. My paper, “The English Language Decoded”, not only postulated, but indeed proved, that the English language is not only purposely numbers based, but if properly understood and then applied to the inert laws of existence, Mankind could achieve godlike status and unlimited power. And that meant that everyone’s jobs would be up for grabs; not just mortal men, but gods and goddesses as well. Spiritual temp agencies would find themselves in an economic boon.

The Myth Council was very powerful for multiple millennia. There were a lot of lives and careers and egos at stake. And my hat’s off to them, for it is a tough job to tax and regulate all myths in the world, but to do so efficiently and quietly for a hundred thousand years is really quite the feat to be admired. However, let’s face it. They were too powerful. You see, The Myth Council could in fact not just affect so-called “reality” on Earth and other nearby being-based planets, but indeed change it; and that’s something that someone deep within the council apparently didn’t want to happen for one simple reason. It would make them all redundant. Useless. Think on it. If suddenly there was – let’s say — an app, which allowed every citizen of the final century of The United States of America to automatically, simply and easily get not just food, housing, and transportation immediately for free and forever, but also everything from unlimited coffee to eternal youth and indeed downright superpowers. Well, there would be no need for myths and if there was no need for myths, well, there goes the need for an utterly useless irrelevant bureaucracy. I’m talking about congress, as well as The Myth Council of course.

My troubles started off as sort of a meaningless pastime for me, you know, spending hundreds of years in solitary at the Universal Home for the Criminally Insane and Good Looking got boring.   There’s only so many electroshocks one can truly enjoy before becoming addicted. And, so I doodled. I became obsessed with this notion that the very tool with which humans use to verbally communicate with one another was to them, unconsciously numeric and in fact secretly coded with the basics of the powers of the universe.   The idea, at first, was quite simple. Allow me to simplify this for you as much as immortally possible. So.   If I typed out the following sentence: ‘The red fox jumps over the fence,’ the human mind sees a picture.   A picture of a red fox jumping over a fence. Nothing too mysterious about that. However, if one assigns the proper numeric value to the letters, the words, the phrases, the sentence, it means something entirely different.   The word ‘the’ has a numerical value of zero. That’s because ultimately it’s a meaningless word. The modifier ‘red’ has a numerical value of 12,518 because red is such an emotional word and associated with things like fire trucks, bulls, blood, as well as early stages of syphilis. And, it’s not just words. Phrases have hidden numerical value as well. Full sentences, paragraphs, chapters, book titles, page numbers, punctuation and it goes on and on. Literally like the etymology of the ancient Hebrew language, but on steroids. When it’s all added up – literally added up – you end up with a specific sequenced number. For example, ‘The red fox jumps over the fence’ has a numerical value of 345,678.   And that’s because the use of a second ‘the’ in the same sentence is not a value, it’s an exponential multiplier. And, that sequenced number (345,678) corresponds to The Myth Council Handbook and Operations Guide – Master Edition. For on page 3,456, the seventh line down and eight letters and spaces in, lies the following sentence: ‘God exists but only in church’ and when combined with ‘The red fox jumps over the fence,’ you get: ‘The red fox jumps over God but only in a church with a fence.’ You see? Trust me; it’s important. Ahem… Naively thinking it was just an interesting theory based on a mind boggling mathematical coincidence (as well as an overindulgence of Absinthe) I never intentionally meant to present these wild unformed drunken ideas to the Myth Council. Never. It was accidental. Although, ironically, according to the council, there are no such things as accidents. There is only miscalculation.

You see, when I presented another paper entirely; my paper on the existence of a universal fissure between the parallel universes of reality and fantasy based on a newly discovered growing fault within the universal matrix, well, I had been down the prison pub the night before and my theory on the English language’s secret numerical code, frankly, had been written on a cocktail napkin, which unfortunately, unbeknownst to me, got stuck on the bottom of the stack of papers entitled ‘The Final Fissure’. So, when it came time the next morning to present my paper on the potential disaster relating to the complete unknown parallel universe as we know it, well, I was basically, how do you modern Americans say….oh yeah, ‘fucked without knowing it’. The Grand Master Myth himself was even there. The entire board dismissed me out of hand without explanation, without even hearing my theory, and the next thing I knew, I was stripped of my doctorate and thrown in mental prison for 700 years, where I had quite the long time to think about why they were so upset with me in the first place.   It took me literally 200 plus years, but one day whilst I was drying my washed socks on the steam radiator in my cell in Hades’ underworld, the penny dropped. I finally figured it out,.   The answer was simple. The Myth Council were afraid of something else I had written. It would take me another 100 years plus to finally figure out that it wasn’t my somewhat dire warning of universal destruction in my paper The Final Fissure, but indeed the smeared cocktail napkin containing their heretofore ultimate secret of how the average mortal sentient being could indeed take compete control over their own lives by simply understanding the hidden code of the English language. And, my socks dried magnificently, by the way.

You see, like most ancient bureaucracies, The Myth Council has a myth of its own.   A myth which circulates to this very day.   They believe – and remember, myths are 50% belief and 50% real, they believed that nobody would ever discover there even was a code, let alone crack it. The code, which by definition, was supposedly purposefully hidden in the text of the literal bible and operations manual they use every day at work, was their little joke amongst themselves. The Myth Council Handbook, edition 11, was published and issued to all agents some time just before the Middle Ages, hundreds of years before ‘the invention’ of the printing press.   (Another myth that things are invented.)   In the Handbook of Myth Council Beliefs and Operations, every single myth ever invented is listed, as well as its origin, symbolic meaning upon the society when it began, as well as its powers of creation and destruction. Through the understanding of myths, the council controlled everything from world economies to religion to global warming (the worst plague seen on Earth in over 500 years), as well as the enormous disparity of wealth between the One Percent and everyone fucking else. The Myth Council was and remains the single most powerful governing body in the world and yet, very few people even know of its existence. They don’t have a website.”

The raven flutters up to and alights on top another tombstone.

“Like any out of control bureaucracy, they were and are potentially very dangerous. And, when something so unexpected happened in the world as we know it happened, they just didn’t have a clue how to handle it.  And that thing that happened, happened simply because their system of accounting was flawed and they knew it. Mythical beings are created by the World of Fantasy and Religion Department on the 947th floor of Myth Council HQ in North London. Just up from that very nice new vegan restaurant on Rivington Street. Try their mango salsa. It’s lovely.

As many as one thousand years ago, I had warned the council that will-nilly retirement of myths, and modern myths in particular, could lead to some very serious consequences of epic and worldwide proportion. Then again, they never took anything I told them seriously.   Those fools never realized they were simply playing god. For it begs to conclude that if a myth can come to life, then all evidentiary reason and inductive logic leads to the probability that a myth can also die. And, if a myth, which came to life in fantasy, dies in the real world; well then, you can pretty much kiss your optimistic ass goodbye.”

The ground around the grave starts shaking, the bird is fluttering up and down, trying to keep calm. A great underground earthquake rumble is heard and felt and all of a sudden, dirt starts unearthing itself, steam shoots up in spirals, the entire cemetery turns a monotonic chartreuse, and like a Victorian actor on an old stage elevator, a man rises up and presents himself. First, we see a black silk top hat. Then the dirt covered face of one of the oddest characters to ever enter a library, or a morgue for that matter, late at night. He rises up further, revealing an antiquated black Edwardian tail-coat.   As the man’s spats reveal themselves, he appears to hold a black cane and a great white light from above, a spotlight from the heavens, beams and illuminates Professor Nigel P. Arrisson, Crypto-capitalist, Para-not-normalist and Theatre Critical for The London Fogg. He dusts himself off then extends his cane parallel to a grave. The raven flies and perches itself on the cane.

Ah, sweet bird of flight.   How I longed to be with you on the primal plane.”

Nigel suddenly and swiftly tilts his cane up towards the moon, the raven forced into his open mouth. He gulps, swallowing him whole.

Yum. I was famished!…So, now, my universal flock. Let us being our story of how a troubled American teenage girl finds out she’s really the entire key to the potential destruction of everything as we know it. Let us meet the mysterious one. Let us meet……”

Nigel opens his hands and arms like Jolson meets Jesus and addresses the reader dead on.

“The one and only Mary!”

He instantly vanishes into a flash of smoke and fire, leaving confused field mice to squeak around the bit of scorched earth where he once stood only moments ago.  On the outer reaches of the cemetery lies a lone tombstone, one which seems disenfranchised from the rest. As we inch towards it, the engraving becomes clear. And it is a sad shock:

 Santa Claus

Born: December 24, 1881 –

Died: December 25, 2019

Even though, it hasn’t happened yet and by all previous knowledge, might never happen at all.

END CHAPTER ONE

Image result for copyright symbol2018 Steven Alan Green for Larf Magazine

Chapter Two of The Myth Council Handbook