“Should I ever forget” Margot said to Daisy, “remind me to never play cards with you.”

“The funny thing is that I don’t play cards. I played some, when I was a kid, crazy 8s, and go fish, and what not, but I lost interest in cards by the time I became a teenager. But now, after that hallucination, or whatever it was, I’m kinda interested in playing cards again.”

“What I find most interesting about that hallucination, or whatever it was,” Margot said, “was your ability to know who was bluffing. There’s a similarity in that and you calling the old Holy Shit guys a bunch of phony baloneys, in the other trip you took. Obviously, they’re both rooted in your ability to read people in real life. You have never had any time for insincere, disingenuous people.”

“Fucking bullshitters, is what they are, pardon my French. And, no, I ain’t never had no time for none of ‘em, and I can usually smell ‘em a mile away, even if they’re wearing a gallon of toilet water, pardon my French.”

“That will stead you well in life, girl, especially if you can apply it to your love life.”

“Good golly, Miss Margot, does that ever get anmy easier? ‘cause that was another trip I was on, and even in a God damn acid trip, I still got it all bass ackwards ‘bout a boy.”

Margot laughed out loud, “I don’t know if it gets any easier. I guess it gets easier to spot trouble in someone, but that makes it harder to fall in love. But never mind that, ‘cause everyone has to find out for themselves, so tell me about your psychedelic love affair.”

“God damn, he was pretty, Miss Margot. Pretty smart, and pretty stupid, too, if you know what I’m saying.

“He was an artist. Not really an artsy fartsy artiste, ‘cause I don’t know how much I could take of one of them, no matter how pretty he is. But he was real creative. He could paint, and write, and sing and dance and do most anything creative, I suppose.

“And he was weird, like me. Like me but weirder. Not is  the good way, weirder, but in the bad way weirder., if you take my meaning.”

Margot silently signaled that she kinda did, but kinda didn’t, so Daisy explained.

“If a weirdo is too weird, it don’t matter how brilliant they may be, they can never stop being weird long enough to get their shit together to do the things they need to do to accomplish anything in life.”

“Oh, yeah, I have known a couple of them,” Margot said.

“I suppose they been around forever, and lucky me, I even found one in hallucination!”

“Tell me,” Margot said, with great expectations.

“I don’t even know if this one had a name. he may have been too weird to have a name. His parents may have known it from the second he was born. They just looked at him and said, ‘Oh, fuck it. He‘s a fucking weirdo. It don’t matter what we call him, he ain’t gonna listen to no one who ain’t him,’ so they didn’t bother naming him. But I guess iot will make the story easier if he has a name, so let’s just call him Art, ‘cause that he said about himself, anyways. He said he was art, as if he, and only he, was art. As if everyone else isn’t art. Pretentious twat. How the fuck did I ever fall in love with him?”

“Because he was pretty?”

“Yeah, that’s usually how it starts, ain’t it?” That being a rhetorical question, Daisy continued without waiting for a reply. “But this one was so, so pretty. I swear, when he passed gas, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy came outta his ass.” Daisy laughed, then pressed her point, and the joke, by plugging her index fingers into her ears, mocking Beethoven’s deafness, and humming the chorus, with great comic enthusiasm, which left Margot in hysterics.

The girl concluded her brief musical interlude, and moved back to her story. “So, Halloween was coming, and he didn’t have no money to buy no candy for the kids. And I wouldn’t give him no money, ‘cause I knew he would either spend it on drugs, or buy candy and eat it all himself.

“So, he got kinda snarky. But then he got all artsy weirdo. He said he had ten cans of black spray paint, so he was gonna round up all the neighbourhood cats, and spray paint ‘em black, and hand ‘em out to the kids on Halloween, ‘cause what could be more Halloween than getting a black cat?”

“There’s a Monty Python kinda logic to that,” Margot said, chuckling.

“Well, sure there is, if you’re making a funny film, but he was gonna do it for real, the God damn weirdo. Until I told him he can’t do that, ‘cause he’ll get in trouble with the cops, and the animal rigts people, who I’m friends with already, ‘cause I’m a vegan, and will tell ‘em all about it.

“And he got all artsy fartsy pissy, saying I didn’t understand the genius of it, ‘cause I ain’t no artsy fartsy artiste like him.

“But then just as fast as summer lightning, he changed his mood. He was laughing, and laughing. I asked him what the Hell he was laughing about, ‘cause he was laughing so hard, and so loud, and for so long, that I was starting to laugh along with him, and I wanted to know what the Hell I was laughing about, otherwise they’d be coming to take me away, haha.

“So, he says he has a better idea. He says instead of giving away black cats, he would just invite the kids inside, and they can pick one of the cats, and spray paint them theirselves. That way, he said, if anyone got in any trouble, it would be the kids. And, he said, he could call it an art workshop for kids, and an art experiment for him, and no one nowhere ain’t never done any art anything like it before.

“I didn’t feel like fighting with him, so I just said, ‘Yeah, sure, whatever,’ ‘cause I know he’s a lazy assed weirdo, and ain’t gonna get his shit together long enough to actually do it, anyways.

“So, I just told him he was losing his shit, going insane, and he said, ‘What’s wrong with going insane? If you go the rigt kinda insane, it can be a lotta fun. So, don’t fight it, baby, work it!’

“Then I realized even that didn’t matter anyway, ‘cause it didn’t matter where the fuck he was going in life, he wasn’t getting anywhere, so he can’t even go insane without fucking up and getting lost.

“And sure ‘nuff, he got lost when we was going on vacation. We was flying somewhere, and were supposed to meet at the airport. But he got caught in traffic, or so he said, but I knew he was getting high, or gettin’ some from some jizz guzzling floozy groupie. So, I said fuck it, and got on the plane without him.

“So, I’m sitting in my seat, ready for take off, when the stewardess comes and asks me to come with her. Well, Hell, I know he’d done something retarded and it was gonna fuck up my vacation. Sure nuff, they took me off the plane, and said they wanted to talk to me.

“First they stick me in a room, and a minute later in comes Art, grinning like a short-busser who’s been huffing gas. Then a cop comes in rigt behind him, and start asking ‘bout my religious convictions. I told him I ain;lt got none, and ask why the Hell he’s asking me, anyways.

“Well, it turns out Art had spray painted the words ALLAH FUCKIN’ AKBAR on the outside of his suitcase in big yellow letters.

“So, I ask him WTF he done that for, and he says it was to make it easier to find on the carousels, ‘cause everyone’s got a cheap black suitcase, so his was gonna stick out.

“And as he’s explaining this, I’m watching our plane taxi out onto the runway, and I just wanna strange the idiot, ‘specially cause he’s still laughing, and saying he ain’t done nothing illegal, ‘cause it’s just art, and art ain’t illegal.

“And rigt them I knew that he was gonna spend the rest of his life raking his hand through the underwear of the couch, looking for change, and half sucked jawbreakrs to finish off, so just just sighed, and left him there.”

Clapping and laughing, Margot said, “I guess you’ll be staying away from artists, from now on, then, huh?”

Daisy dodged the question, because she knew better than to make a commitment like that.

Shaking her head, she said, “God damn artists. They just spew nonsense, and leave it out there for people to figure out WTF it means. Sooner or later someone does figure it out, then someone else figures something else out about it, then they fight about it, and the artists says fuck all, and then everyone proclaims the artist  a genius, a sage, a visionary, and still ain’t no one knows what the fuck any of it’s about.”




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Looking up into Gotcha’s eyes, Kitty pondered. He truly had made a pathetic first impression. Could he really be the ring leader of a global network of powerful people with benevolence in their hearts?

If so, how competent were they? The world was a mess, and had been a mess long before COVID arrived. So, was Gotcha, the cabal, not the ring leader, nothing more than a troop of nincompoops, and bumbling stumblebums?

Or, conversely, had they managed to keep the vile miscreants who prance atop the world’s power pyramids from turning the planet into a reptiloid dystopia, devoid of hope, never mind joy?

Should she shun Gotcha rigt then, and rigt there? Or should she see what he and his had to offer her cause?

She made her decision fairly quickly, but remained silent for another ten seconds. When she finally spoke, she said, “Hitler had horse herpes.” She had no idea what the fuck it meant, or why she said it, or why she added, “Himmler gave them to him.” She just blurted it out, and let it linger like a pull my finger joke.

Gotcha’s expression turned from bemused to amused, when he said, “Hitler had horse herpes. Himmler gave then t him.”

Pinky was tickled pink by the Seussian nonsense. He pondered and proposed, “That has to be the Gotcha code and counter code, for when we meet other members of the conspiracy that we have never met, or even seen.”

Kitty laughed, looked at Gotcha, and said, “Hitler had horse herpes.”

Gotcha laughed and replied, “Himmler gave them to him.”

Turning serious, Kitty said, “Let’s walk.” They doubled back to the horseshoe shaped driveway that would take them to the steps of Canada’s House of Parliament.

“How long have you been working with dissidents in China,” Kitty asked the international dealer of shade.”

“Since 89. On June 4th, when the CCP rolled the tanks into Tiananmen Square, me and some friends were high as fuck on acid. We got the news the next morning, as we were coming down.”

“It was a Sunday,” Pinky remembered. “I’d been up all night, writing. I knocked off a couple hours after dawn, turned on the radio, and got the news. I laughed to myself that the world is a far more heinous place than I could ever imagine, and the Chinese communists were bigger monsters than I could dream up.”

“Pinky looked at Gotcha, “But you, my friend, getting the news while suffering total serotonin depletion…. Fuck me, that must have been one King Hell, bummer trip. That’s worse than Kris Kristofferson’s worst Sunday Morning Coming Down.”

Gotcha was staring into the void, remembering. “I was here, in Ottawa. I walked to the gates of the Chinese Embassy. There were a few people there, starting a vigil. I silent vigil. I didn’t feel like being silent. I put my head into the bars, and screamed; ‘You fucking bastards! You’ll all burn in fucking Hell for this.’”

“I ranted and raved for a few minutes, cursing them, and their mothers, and the fucking horses they rode in on. A girl put her hands on my shoulders, from behind. I stopped screaming, and turned. She had tears streaming down her face. I’ll never forget her face. Never. She hugged me. I hugged her back. I think I may have swallowed her, just absorbed inside of me, as I sank to the ground. I sat there, with my back up against the gate, and cried.  For hours. I cried all fucking day. And I vowed to myself that I would get the fuckers for what they had done.”

Kitty could feel the agony wafting out of Gotcha. Thirty one years later, he still felt the pain, and she felt his pain, too.

“Six months later, the Berlin Wall came down. I was there. I had to be there. We all knew it was gonna happen, sooner or later. The whole world knew. So, I flew to Berlin, and maxed out my credit card, waiting for it to happen.

“The night the Wall came down, I danced on top of it, while ecstatic Germans pounded away at it with their hammers, and their hearts. I met a girl on top of the Wall. An East German girl. We fell in love, on the spot, and for the next week.

“She had been part of the resistance. A punk princess, if ever there was one. Pussy Riot, before any of those Russian punks were born. In the week we spent together, she told me how it happened. How they brought the Wall down.

“It was years of struggle. Running and hiding to stay out of the gulags. Not all of them were so fortunate as to avoid jail, or being thrown into exile. She told me how they, the punks and the intellectuals, in every country behind the Iron Curtain, had been helped by the independent peace movement in the West. And I got all the gratitude she wanted to bestow upon all those in the West who had supported them, in any and every way they could.

“She told me that the Soviet Politburo understood, in the early 80s, that it was coming apart at the seams. They didn’t know how to handle it, short of killing everyone who even whispered a word of dissent. That’s why they picked Gorbachev to lead the bloc, when Chernenko died. They wanted a reformer. They got more than they bargained for. But without a resistance movement, there’d have been no Gorbachev. They have picked another hardliner, and who knows what the world would be like today? We might have blown it all up with 50,000 nukes.

“That’s when I started looking for Chinese dissidents to help. The wall was down. China was the biggest dragon left in the skies of the East. If that red dragon is gonna be brought down, shot down in flames, if necessary, the people of China are the ones who will slay it.”

Gotcha stopped speaking. He stared at the ground in silence, until Kitty asked, “What happened to the girl?”

Without lifting his head, Gotcha covered his face with clinched fists. “Nena. Nena was her name. She disappeared one night. We were at a party, having a great time. And then she wasn’t there, anymore. I looked for her all over Berlin. Then all over Germany. Truth told, I’ve never stopped looking for her, nor will I.”

Kitty felt for the man. But she wondered, at the same time, if his failure to find Nena was another indication that Gotcha and his cabal were nothing more than a troop of nincompoops, and bumbling stumblebums.




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When the laughter subsided, Madonna looked at Lance Lear. He didn’t have to tell her that he was relieved that she’d taken Old Leather Pussy for the farce it was. “It’s never gonna be a Bond film, of course,” she told him.

“Of that there is no doubt.”

“But it could make for great parody. Mike Myers made a fortune from his Austin Powers series, and I made a small fortune off it myself, and a Grammy, for Beautiful Stranger. This could be a raunchy riff on that trope.”

“I really hadn’t given it any thought, but I suppose you’re rigt. Would you do it? Would you play Old Leather Pussy?”

“Maybe. I mean, who could play her better than me?”

“No one, obviously.”

“I’m not sure I’d do something that’s just pure nonsense. Satire that doesn’t kick you in the head, while you’re laughing, is so safe. So… suburban. There’s a lot of funny in what you already have, and based on what you did in Die Laughing, I’m sure you can load a lot more hahaha into it.  But there’s potential to do more with it. We could really mule-kick people in the head.”

“We could. You’d be willing to collaborate?”

“Yes, why not?”

“I’m flattered.”

“As am I, Lance!”

“Beating on the Catholic Church is fish in barrel stuff. No offense. You’ve done it really well.”

“No offense taken, and thank you.”

“So, what else can we take a swing at? The casting couch?”

Madonna’s eyes closed, and her face contorted. Lance could feel her mind grinding on something unsavory. He waited until she looked at him before asking, “What?”

Walking to her laptop, Madonna said, “Me Too. One of the most disturbing things I came across in the Me Too maelstrom was written by an actress, who had never been asked to get dirty on a casting couch.”

She found the piece. “Here it is:

“Dorothy Parker once quipped, ‘Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.’

“The same could be said of girl’s with fat asses, at least until Freddie Mercury exclaimed, ‘Fat bottomed girls, you make the rocking world go round!’

“Not to be outdone, Sir Mix a Lot proclaimed, ‘I like big butts, and I cannot lie.’

“Today, girls who employ spectacles to enhance their vision can have men fawning over them, drooling all over them, and pawing at them, whether or not, ‘Baby’s got back,’ so long as she is not ugly.

“There it is! The ugly truth.

“With rare exceptions, ugly girls, like me, are not sexually harassed, or even objectified.

“To be fair, nor are ugly men. Even the most lascivious of God’s creatures, the libertine homosexual male, will not cast a sideways glance at an ugly man, unless, that is, he suspects the poor, aesthetically crippled beast is packing something the size of a baby’s arm in his jeans. But, I digress.

“I am an actress, or actor if you prefer the politically correct, sexless term. When God was passing out beauty, he passed me over.

“I am the progeny of ugly parents. Unfortunately, I inherited my mother’s large, hooked nose, and may father’s oversized chin. Fortunately, I also inherited their cognitive capabilities.

“Both my parents were highly respected university professors. If I had a lick of sense in my not so pretty, not so little head, I’d have followed in their footsteps, and gone into academia.  But no! The Ivory Towers are not for me, Fawlty Towers being far more appealing.

“I am a born thespian, and from an early age I lusted for the brigt lights of Tinseltown. So, off to Hollywood I went, way back when I was so much younger, and so much less unsightly.

“Despite the fact that I happen to be very good at acting (I do a wicked Lady McBeth – pun intended), I have never earned a starring role. Why? C’mon, do you even have to ask?

“The simple truth is that people prefer gazing rapturously upon beauty, to recoiling from the sight of me, and my ilk, myself included.

“Be that as it is, I was somewhat puzzled over the whole #MeToo movement. That Hollywood males had been sexually preying on women since the silver screen was created surely came as no surprise to anyone in the business, or even remotely connected to it, after all.

“And it’s not as if you have to have read Andrea Dworkin’s entire canon to know that men are pigs.

“That is not to say that the sisters who are standing up, finally, and denouncing the filthy role of the casting couch in our profession are to be ignored. Nay, far from it. More power to you, and indeed all of us, sisters. The libidinous swine who expect to be serviced by wannabe sirens of the silver screen should be exorcized, once and for all.

“All that said, and I say this with all sincerity, I wish I’d had the opportunity to sex my way up the ladder.  I wish that getting a starring role was wholly, or even primarily dependent on my willingness to get down on my knees, or up on my shoulder blades.

“I could have an Oscar, or two, under my 30 inch belt, if God had been sharing the wealth, instead of spilling it all over Pamela Anderson et al.

“At the very least, ‘I coulda been a contenda,’ damn it!

“So, I say to you, sisters, who are easy on the eye: walk a mile in my (size 12) shoes. Then you will know a whole different kind of pain and suffering. Until you do so, which you’ll not be able to, until your looks have faded, which they certainly will, your truly rigteous fist-shaking has a distinct air of a first world problem to it; so much pretty-privilege, n’est-ce pas?

“And let’s not pretend all you stunningly beautiful bitches aren’t lording your looks over those of us who did not win the luscious lottery. You think us homely gals don’t know you mock us, when we’re not around? Hell, you even get all catty about girls who are just as beautiful as you are.

“Being ugly is not a sin. There is nothing wrong with being ugly. Being ugly does not make anyone a bad person. So, why are we punished for our aesthetic short-comings?

“That is not a rhetorical question. I want answers, damn it!”

Looking up from the screen, Madonna concluded the sermon by saying, “She signed it with a hashtag: #UglyLikeMeToo”




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Assessing the immediate situation quickly, and accurately, Pinky understood that Gotcha was first stunned by Kitty’s rebuke, and then stung by his own laughter. He looked at Gotcha and said, with a serious, almost paternal tone, “Tell your ego to shut the fuck up, and take it like a man. Then compose yourself, and answer Kitty’s question.”

The international dealer of shade’s ego shrieked at the load of salt Pinky had dumped into a gushing wound. But Gotcha’s superego told his ego to shut the fuck up, or there would be more insults hurled at it. ‘Look, dumbass, that girl there is going to launch a blitzkrieg on you, if you go off half-cocked. If you’ll quit your caterwauling for a few seconds, you’ll realize that she’s a master strategist of this game, a natural born killer of thin-skinned egos. If you chirp her, rigt now, she’ll bury you.’

That seemed to settle things in Gotcha’s mind, and he was able to compose himself. But he wasn’t able to compose himself enough to come up with an answer to Kitty’s question, so he stalled for time by simply repeating it: “Why would you want to throw in with me and my collection of Keystone Kops?”

Waiting for an answer, Kitty rolled her eyes. Gotcha’s ego shrieked again, and let fly, “Who says me and my collection of Keystone Kops want you to throw In with us?”

Shaking her head, Kitty said, “Okay, that’s it. Amateur hour is over. Bye.” The girl turned, and started walking in the direction of the Chateau Laurier.

“Kitty, wait,” Pinky said.

Turning, the girl snapped, “What?”

Pinky looked at Gotcha, who was at a loss for words. Then he turned his eyes back to the girl, and said, “If you’re walking, I’m going with you.” He took a couple steps, turned, and stood beside her.

Pinky and Kitty looked at Gotcha, who made no response, until the two of them turned and started walking,” Okay, hold on. Time out,” said Gotcha. Kitty and Pinky kept walking. Gotcha scrambled his feet to catch up. “Wait a minute,” he pleaded. “Let’s start this again. Please.”

Kitty stopped, as did Pinky. “Please accept my apologies,” Gotcha said to Kitty. “I do want you to join my team. But I assure you, we are not a collection of Keystone Kops.”

With Kitty’s eyes on him, Pinky said, “I would not be working with him, if they were all rank amateurs. That said,” he added, “where you go, I go.”

Moving her eyes from Pinky to Gotcha, Kitty once again asked, “Why would I want to throw in with you and… yours?”

Looking briefly up at the stars, then lowering his head to meet the girl’s eyes, Gotcha answered, “Because, like it or not, believe it or not, and despite all you have to offer, you need us, as much as we need you.”

“Maybe, maybe not,” Kitty said.

“Kitty, please,” said Gotcha. “We are an international network, a web of influential experts ensconced in the upper echelons of business, politics, diplomacy, the arts, and even religion, in every corner of the world. Stephen can confirm that.”

Pinky nodded, but cautioned, “So far as I know, based on what I have seen, that is true.”

“We are not a formal organization,” Gotcha said. “We are a loose collection of individuals, a cabal, if you will, with similar morals, and motives. Without us, you won’t get far.”

Taking one step to get rigt in Gotcha’s face, Kitty told him, “What you don’t know is that this has all been foretold. Some force, call it providence, if you want, I know you Canucks are sensitive about the term manifest destiny, has brought Lance and I together, and we will do what we have to do, one way or another, with or without you.”

Gotcha stared down into Kitty’s bottomless, big, black eyes, and saw truth. Rigt then, and rigt there, he realized that the girl was so much more than any creature he had ever encountered. If she was being driven by a force, she was also becoming that force.

“If we are to bake the bread of life, upon which all of humanity will feed,” Gotcha said to the girl, “me and my cabal of Keystone Kops are essential ingredients, but you are the yeast that will make us rise together.”




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Noticing that Daisy had finished her Beaver Duck, Margot asked if she wanted another. The girl gratefully accepted, saying, “Yes, please and thank you, Miss Margot.”

“I may want to score some of that acid,” the guru said, only half jokingly.

“Really? You do acid?”

“Not for almost thirty years, and I never tripped like you did, just now, but once upon a time I was young and wild.”

“I bet you were! And I bet you still got a lotta wild left in you.”

Contemplating whether or not she was still wild at heart, and wondering just how wild she could get, again, if she were to take another walk on the wild side, Margot said, “Most people tend to live their lives vicariously, when they get old. I think a lot of people have kids because they run out of ideas. They just succumb to the banal minutia of the social contract. It’s all so tedious, so mundane, that they have kids to kill the boredom of it all.

“So, first they live through their children, as they go through the motions, doing not much more than paying the bills. Then they live vicariously through their grandchildren. Then they die.

“The irony is that they laugh that youth is wasted on the young, but they never even attempt to be young and wild again, if they ever were young and wild.

“If they didn’t do wild things when they were young, they ain’t gonna do them when they’re old. Actually, if they didn’t do wild things when they were young, they don’t even know what wild is, except that it’s scary.

“They’re too scared. They say that they are older, and wiser, too wise to be wild. They do understand that wisdom comes with scars, but they don’t understand that laughter removes wrinkles.”

“Wow, Miss Margot! Just wow! You’re wise, and wild, too. I would love to do acid with you.”

“It’s an enticing offer, Daisy. If I ever do acid, or any other psychedelic, again, I would love to have the honour of tripping with you. I might be able to make a tether between us, before we dose, that’s strong enough to keep us together, so we could have the same trip, or at least share the same trip, while both experiencing it in our own ways.”

Almost squealing, Daisy said, “Oh, Miss Margot, that would be so cool. I’d do that with you anytime, anywhere.”

“I’ll think on it, Daisy. I really will. So, the thunder that the dragon made when he was turning the Holy Shit guys into gay toads, that was the real thunder that’s happening outside, and that’s when you came back?”

Pondering, Daisy said, “I don’t know. Maybe. But there was more. I don’t know if I’m telling these stories in order, ‘cause they kinda all just ran together, almost as if they were happening at the same time, if you know what I mean.”

“I do know what you mean, Daisy. Eating psychedelics isn’t the only way to get outside the mind and body, so I do know what you’re talking about.”

“I bet you do.”

“So, you had more adventures.”

“I sure did.”

“Tell me.”

Well, I was a horse doctor.”

“A vet?”

“Yes. And no. I was a vet, but I was a horse.”

“Of course of course,” Margot chuckled.

“And I was a witness in the Nazi trials.”

“At Nuremberg?”

“Yes. Nuremberg. They were asking me what was wrong with Hitler. And I told ‘em, ‘Hitler had horse herpes. Himmler gave then to him.’”

“Hitler had horse herpes, and Himmler gave them to him?”

“Yeah, ‘Hitler had horse herpes. Himmler gave them to him,’ is what I told ‘em.”

“How did you know Hitler had horse herpes, and Himmler gave them to him?”

“I guess it’s just one of those things you know, when you’re a horse.”

“Of course, of course. And what did they say?”

“Nothing. They didn’t say nothing, ‘cause then I was playing poker.”

“With a bunch of Nazis? Or a bunch of other horses?”

“No, neither. Totally different. This may have been the weirdest of them all. I was playing poker. I was playing Samurai poker, with a harem of lepers, before the hillbilly orgy started.

“’There are no holidays for the damned,’ said I, when I drew the Ace of Hades.

“The cannibal exorcist, who was sipping a tsunami of swill, got mad, and said, ‘You’ll burn!

“I ignored his warning, and carried on with my bluff, ‘A harvest of hokum i hold in my hand,’ I said, pretending that I was contemplating capitulation, which I for sure, wasn’t, ‘cause I knew I could bluff ‘em all under the table.

“The girl beside me, a three dressed up as a nine, the prophet of purloined narcissism, said, ‘My jalapeno champagne enema’s gonna trump that,’ but I knew she didn’t have no jalapeno champagne enema in her hands. She’d have pushed all in, rigt off the flop, if she was holding pocket jacks. She may be able to bluff drunk guys, in dark bars, that she’s a beauty, but she ain’t got no poker face when she’s sitting at the table.

“Then the Listerine gargoyle across the table started running his stupid mouth. ‘As will this Beavis and Butthead Bukkake Buffet of mine,’ he laughed. But he wasn’t foolin’ no one, with that jive. Everyone knew he didn’t have no Beavis and Butthead Bukkake Buffet. Hell, he wouldn’t even know a Beavis and Butthead Bukkake Buffet if he had one, ‘cause he didn’t even know what it is. He just heard real players taking about the fabled hand, when he was watching the World Series of Poker on the Internet with his gargoyle buddies, and dreaming about having one of them bracelets.

“That’s when I figured out they were all cheating. ‘Phuk Yu,’ I yelled, hailing my barrister. ‘You’re all dealing from the bottom of the deck!’

“Then the Minister of Eternal Taxation got all pissy, ‘Gno, phuk yu,’ he yelled, summoning his serpentine solicitor, who said to me, ‘You, Madame, are hiding the joker in your rectum, and that card will never be played.’

“’Now that would be a shitty hand,’ I protested to no avail.

“Then they all pulled on latex gloves, and demanded a cavity search. They’d found me out, Miss Margot, and called my bluff. There was only one thing left for me to do, so I did it

“I fingered the button under the table, and in waltzed my monkey, with his flame thrower, and a jar of Maker’s Mark BBQ sauce.

“Well, my monkey didn’t take no more than ten seconds to torch the lot of their sorry asses.

“’Another Gordie Howe hat trick,’ I cackled, high-fiving my smiling, sinister simian, while reaching for a box of stainless steel tooth picks.

“My monkey he just turned to the TV camera, smiled and said, ‘That’s why it’s called home ice advantage, kids.’”




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Although Madonna had asked him, twice now, to tell her all about Old Leather Pussy, Lance was still a bit hesitant. “You sure you wanna hear this?”

“Yes,” was Madonna’s one word answer, which was given with no facial expression.

Starting to rise to the challenge, and attempting to embrace the madness of it all, the boy said, “You want it hard, huh? You want it nasty? You want me to make you laugh your tits off, and beg for more?”

Madge could feel Lance’s energy, and it felt good. She had a feeling she was gonna be the world’s first Old Leather Pussy fan. “Hit me, baby! Hit me!”

“Okay, here it is. Old Leather Pussy is a crusty old fag hag, a crazy cat lady, a haggard, unshaven, defrocked nun, thrice excommunicated for lewd and lascivious acts perpetrated on pre-pubescent catholic girls.”

“Hang on,” Madonna objected. Lance stopped. “Pre-pubescent Catholic girls? She’s a pedophile?”

“It’s a first draft. It’s not even a draft, just a character sketch. But I agree, that’s pretty heavy and ugly, so I’ll flag it.”

“And thrice excommunicated? How the Hell did she get back into the church,after her first excommunication?”

Lance nodded, and said, “Noted and flagged. Put it down to a late night penchant for hyperbole and a half. The rest of it’s okay? Fag hag, cat lady, haggard, unshaven, defrocked?”

“I imagine I would love it, if it were someone else, not me.”

“It’s not you,” Lance assured her. “It’s a character.”

“A character based on me.”

“No. Not based on you.”

“Don’t sugarcoat shit, kid. Based on me, inspired by me, whatever. Same thing. Give it to me. Make it nasty.”

“You sure? You want me to stop?”

“Not until I’m laughing, and only long enough to make me beg for more, funny boy.”

“Okay. She’s hopelessly addicted to hillbilly heroin, hippie crack, and malt liquor.”

Noting that the long-In-the-fang sex kitten was not exactly purring, Lance aid, “I think you’ll appreciate this. Unlike all the other Bond villains before her, Old Leather Pussy is not out to destroy, or enslave the world.”

“A virtuous villain?”

“I don’t know. Maybe. Just jamming gibberish, at this point.” Madge nodded, and the boy carried on.”She’s convinced she is Madonna. Not you, but the Madonna.”

“And maybe she is?”

“Sure. Why not? Maybe she is. Anything is possible, especially at this stage.”

“Sorry, I keep interrupting. I’ll shut up and let you get it all out.”

“No, it’s okay. You’re not attacking anything, so you’re not crushing my balls. There’s nothing wrong with questions and feedback.” Madge nodded, and Lance carried on.

“She’s 100% convinced that she can bring about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. And that’s the working title: Come Again!”

“You’re rigt, I do like this.”

Pleased with the positive feedback, the boy continued. “But it’s gonna take a miracle. Another miracle, because she is post menopausal.”

“Oh!” Madonna squealed, delightedly, waving her arm up in the air, like a school kid wanting to answer a question from the teacher.

Lance grinned and pointed at her, and she said, with great enthusiasm, “She has to fuck the Pope. The Pope has to bring her dead uterus back to life with his magic Papal seed. Has magic Papal seed that God himself has given him! The Pope has to fill her with God jizz!”

Thrilled that she was enjoying it, Lance laughed, and admitted, that’s exactly what Old Leather Pussy is out to do; fuck the Pope. But you are so much more enthusiastic about it than I was, when it came to me.”

“That’s because you haven’t wanted to fuck the Pope for fifty years.”

“You’ve wanted to fuck the Pope for fifty years?”

“Since before I started bleeding. I have wanted to fuck every Pope there has been in my lifetime. If I could bring them all back to life, I would do so, and let them run a train ion me. Every fucking one of them, since the origin of the Church.

“But I would kill every one of them in the act of coitus. I would literally fuck them all to death. I would give them a shining moment of absolute bliss, absolute harmony, absolute carnal and spiritual completion, before dispatching them all to the Lake of Fire.”

Her laughter infected Lance, and he laughed and laughed, and laughed out loud, “There’s mighty white of you.”

“It’s how I’m gonna get beatified!”

“Do I wanna know what you’re gonna do to get canonized?” the boy asked.

“I’m still working on that.”

“I bet you are!”

“Sorry, Lance, but you were rigt. I love the idea of Old Leather Pussy having to fuck the Pope. Milk the God seed, the Jesus jizz outta him, to bring about the Second Coming! It’s hilarious!

“And that she’s such a piece of poor, white trash is discordant as fuck, but works, somehow.”

“Wow! You’re taking this much better than I could have dreamed.”

“It’s not me, Lance. It’s just a character.”

“Correct. Old Leather Pussy is just a character.

“Tell me!”

“There’s not a lot more, but here’s what there is. Knowing that they will have a Hell of a lot of explaining to do, if Jesus returns, and not wanting to risk their 2000 year old empire, and global tax exempt status, the Vatican wants to stop you.”



“Her. The Vatican wants to stop her, Old Leather Pussy, not me. Old Leather Pussy is just a character.”

“Rigt. Sorry,” Lance said, with an apologetic chuckle. “So they contract 007 to kill you.”

“Love it!”

“But Bond is no match for Old Leather Pussy. She always escapes his traps, dodges his bullets, etc. but never kills him, which she could do on several occasions.”

“She’s toying with him!”

“She is. She is extremely bitter, because she has been passed over as a Bond girl for decades, despite the fact that she has been an insatiable, A-list, global sex kitten.”

Hey! That’s me! That’s me, not Old Leather Pussy!” Madge laughed.

Since the sexagenarian was laughing, the teen didn’t bother dealing with her observation. “The whole thing culminates when you lead an army of Kung Fu fighting, singing and dancing altar boys to Vatican City.”

“And girls. Choir girls, too.”

“Sure. An army of altar boys and choir girls. The kids beat the bejesus out of the Pontifical Swiss Guard, and you all enter St. Peter’s Basilica.”

“They. They all. Old Leather Pussy is just a character.”

“Yes! Rigt. Old Leather Pussy uses her feline sense of smell to hunt down the Pope, who is hiding in a closet.”

Madonna laughed. “Nice touch. Hiding in there with a lot of others”

“Yeah. If we twist it enough, The Closet could be the name of an underground leather bar, literally underground, underneath Saint Pete’s.”

“There’s a potential musical in that!”

“Sure. So, when you find the Pope, you force feed him a dozen Viagras, and rape him. You ride the Papal baloney pony like a broncin’ buck, as a score of transvestite exorcists belt out Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus.

“But, before you rape him, you saunter up to the Pope, and sing

Don’t just stand there
let’s get to it
fuck me Pope
there’s nothing to it

Madge roared laughter. “Genius! Hilarious!

Don’t just stand there
let’s get to it
fuck me Pope
there’s nothing to it!

“And then you sing,

Come on, Pope
Let your body move to the music

And Madonna echoed him

Move to the music

And together they sang,

Hey hey hey
Come on, Pope
et your body go with the flow
go with the flow

“And, that’s all I have, so far,” said Lance.

Madonna walked over to the boy, laughing all the way, threw her arms around him, hugged him, pulled back, and sang

It would be
it would be so nice!




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“If I may,” Gotcha said to the Kitty, “That strange power could be very useful.”

“Perhaps,” admitted the girl, “but you will have noticed that I could do nothing to stop anything from happening, just because I knew it was gonna happen. Nor could you stop yourselves from saying what I knew you were about to say, even though I told you you were about to say it.”

“Yes, but the power could, perhaps, be developed.”

Kitty thought about it, understood that Gotcha was rigt, and asked, “Do you have the ability to examine everything about the watch, and find out where it was made?”

“I do.” Gotcha said. “It’ll take a while.” The two looked at each other, as if there was any question as to who was going to gather up the pieces of the watch from the sidewalk.

Smiling at Kitty, Gotcha got down on his knees in front of her, and gathered the remains of the fake Rolex.

As Pinky, Kitty and Gotcha started walking the horseshoe shaped driveway that would take them to the steps of Canada’s House of Parliament, Gotcha looked at Kitty and said, quite honestly, “You make one Hell of a first impression.” Kitty completely ignored the flattery, not even bothering to look at him, so he carried on by asking, “How do you know the Wuhan virology lab was evacuated today?”

“How do you not know that?” Kitty answered, once again not bothering to look at him.

“I don’t know that it was, or that it was not.”

“Once again begging the question, wanna bet?” was Kitty’s answer.

Gotcha opted to dodge the dare by saying, “It doesn’t make any sense. If that happened, I should know about it.”

“Well, that a downgrade, isn’t it? Just a minute ago you said you would know about it. I suspect your intel is not as strong as you like to think. In fact, I know it to be true. Ask Pinky about how I beat him for a million bucks.”

Gotcha looked at Pinky, who grinned and shook his head. “I can’t hold you responsible for me underestimating Kitty’s powers of persuasion, so I’ll save you the long story, and give you the short one, as it pertains to your faulty intel; Kitty’s a vegan.”

That stopped Gotcha in his tracks. The other two stopped along with him. Gotcha looked first at Pinky, then at Kitty, but said nothing, leaving it to the girl to ask the obvious question. “How long have you been watching me?”

“About three and a half years. How long have you been vegan?”

“A lot longer than that,” was Kitty’s answer.

“Okay,” said Gotcha, “that’s sloppy work on our part. But it’s pissant stuff, compared to me not knowing about the Wuhan lab being evacuated.”

“Maybe your people in Wuhan are dead,” said Kitty.

Gotcha doubled back, and asked, “Are you sure about this?”

Kitty laughed, and once again baited him, “Wanna bet?”

“No, I believe you,” was Gotcha’s answer. “I wanna know what the fuck is going on in Wuhan, and I wanna know why the fuck I don’t know what the fuck going on in Wuhan, and I wanna know why the fuck you know more about what the fuck is going on in Wuhan than I do.”

Gotcha was not fucking around. He was genuinely pissed, and that fact greatly amused Kitty, who masked her amusement, until a quick smile broke across her face, and she said, “I believe you.”

Then the girl turned serious, herself, “I, too, wanna know why the fuck you don’t know what the fuck is going on in Wuhan.

“And I wanna know why the fuck you didn’t know I’m vegan, after watching me for three and a half years.

“And I wanna know why the fuck you, the international dealer of shade, got chumped for a fake Rolex.

“And, this, my friend, is the most important of my fucking questions; I wanna know why the fuck I would want to throw in with you, and your collection of Keystone Kops, when we’re playing big league hardball, and my pretty, little Kitty ass is on the line, not to mention the future of the human species, because, unlike my pretty, little Kitty self, you, I’m sorry to inform you, are not making one Hell of a first impression.”

Pinky, who had been greatly enjoying the beat down of his partner in grime, who could be annoying as fuck, at times, laughed out loud, when it was obvious that Kitty was done laying waste to Gotcha. “I told you she’s fuckin’ eh good, Gotcha. And she’s just gonna keep getting better, and better.”

Gotcha didn’t like having his ass handed to him, but was man enough to accept that Kitty was rigt, on every count.

What he really, really didn’t like was Pinky laughing at his dressing down. He stole a quick look at the girl, and was relieved to see that she was not laughing at him.

He tried to compose himself, to come up with a convincing answer to Kitty’s dead serious question, but when he looked at Pinky, who was still grinning like a shit eating monkey who just won Wimbledon, he went blind.




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Before Daisy could launch into the tale of her next LSD expedition into the infinite and surreal expanses of her inner mind, Margot stopped her, “Wait. You said you were starving. Do you want something to eat, or was that an inner body hallucination?”

Shaking her head and waving her hands, Daisy chuckled and answered, “No! The whole idea of food is so absurd when you’re on acid. Putting something in my mouth, and chewing on it? Swallowing it and turning it into poo? Well, that’s kinda interesting in a strange, kinda disgusting way, but not compelling enough to try it. But I am kinda thirsty, though. It’s pretty hot in Africa.”

Tickled to be in the company of such an entertaining creature, Margot said, “Yes, of course. Silly me. Of course it’s hot in Africa. C’mon, let’s move inside and hydrate you, you poor, parched cosmonaut.”

Telling Daisy to stretch herself out on the couch, Margot asked, “What’s your pleasure?”

“An ice cold beer would be good. Something light, maybe?”

“Beaver Duck?”

“Perfect. Thank you so much. You’re so sweet.”

The gals cracked their Beaver Ducks, and saluted each other in the customary fashion, “Quack quack quack,” took deep drafts, and sighed satisfactorily at the fruity yum-yum of the brew. “Is this the first time you’ve ever hallucinated?” Margot asked.

“First time like that, yeah. I ain’t never been fully immersed into a scene before. I’ve always been a spectator, and it’s only ever gotten so far as a kinda really fantastic light show. Fractals and faces kinda thing. But I was rigt inside of that one. I mean I was a starving kid in Africa.

“It was insane in the membrane, Miss Margot. Holy shit. Just crazy. I mean, I’m still high as fuck, and that was fun as fuck, but I’m kinda glad it’s over.

“That’s fascinating daisy. You were never scared? Not scared now?”

“No, not for a second.”

“And you’re sure you remembered it all rigt?”

“Sure as grandma’s go gout, Miss Margot.”

Margot showed her phone to Daisy and asked, “is this the guy with the beach ball head?”

“Holy shit, Miss Margot. It is. I mean, it was more a caricature of him, but that’s him for real and true. Who the Hell is it?”

“His name in Tony Robbins. He’s the biggest, most successful motivational guru in the world. Has been for decades.”

What the Hell does it mean, Miss Margot?”

“I don’t know, daisy. Maybe nothing at all. Maybe you’ll figure it out and turn into one of the Buddhist monkeys, then you can be my guru.”

“Oh, no, Miss Margot. You’ll always be the guru goo-goo-ga-chew ‘round here. Besides, I don’t wanna be no guru to no one, anyhow. Too much responsibility.”

“Fair ‘nuff, Space Daisy. So, tell me; where else did you go? Who else did you meet. What else did you do?”

“Well, I don’t know that I was anywhere in particular. Anywhere n the real world, that is. And the scene, the backdrop, kept changing, anyway. It was a big city. Lotsa people, but none of them were close to us. Just all wandering around in the background. Mixed in with all the God damn churches.”

“Lotsa churches, huh? What kind of churches?”

“Every kinda church you ever saw. Christian churches, and Jewish churches, and Muslim churches, and Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna churches. They only kinda church that wasn’t there was the only one I wanted to see.”

“The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?”

“Sure as grandma’s got gout, Miss Margot. So, many churches everywhere, as far as the eye could see. And people. So, so many people. Thousands of billions of millions of people, going in and out of the churches.

“And standing rigt in front of me was 12 old guys. All Holy Shit guys. All of them wearing robes, and funny hats And all of them was looking at me and talking to each other, in all kindsa languages I didn’t know.

“So, I was just standing there, watching them watching me, and thinking, ‘What the fuck are you phony baloneys thinking? Better not have nothing to do with my ass, kind you ain’t getting’ no part of that sweet, you dirty old lechers.

“I think they heard what I was thinking, so maybe I said it out loud, the part about them not getting’ their dirty old hands on my too bootylicoius for you, goo-goo-ga-chew. They musta heard me thinkin’ that, ‘cause soon as I said it, they all pulled one arm each inside their robes and started fondling themselves under their robes.

“So, they were all gripping their holy books with one hand, and their smelly, old little dicks with the other. And they was all looking at me, real hard like.

“So, I said, ‘So, what the fuck y’all want?’ as if I didn’t know what the fuck theya’ll wanted. So, one of ‘em says to me, ‘We are prepared to make you an offer.’ And I just laughed my ass off. I literally fell to the ground, and started roiling around, laughing my ass off. So, when I finally composed myself, I said, ‘Dream the fuck on, fuckers. Not for all the money in the world.’

“And they all mumbled to each other, and mumbled some more. Then another one of ‘em, this one was a brown guy, I think he was Hindu, or something, said, ‘We think you misunderstand us.’ And I laughed, and said, ‘Oh, I understand y’all just fine. I mean, look at ya’ll, staring at me and fondling yourselves under your robes. I don’t need no God Damn sign language reader to figure that out.’

“So, they all noticed that they had, In fact, been playing pocket pool, even though they ain’t gots no pockets, and they stops with the tug tug tug, and pulls all their arms out, and puts their hands up, palm open and pacing me, as I sig n of peace, or something, I guess, fucked if I know, pardon my French.

“So, then a black dude smiles at me, and says, ‘Child, please hear me out. Our offer has nothing to do with what you were thinking.’ I just nodded my head, and said, ‘Uh-huh, uh0huh.’

“Then the dude gets to the point, finally. He says, ‘We are wondering if you would be willing to forego the opportunity to have children, forevermore, in exchange for living forevermore.”

“That’s an interesting offer,” Margot said. “What did you tell them?”

“Here’s what I told ‘em, Miss Margot. I said, ‘I already am immortal. And I can make children without any help from anyone, especially not the likes of you. That scared ‘em, and they all backed up a bit. Then I showed ‘em. I made 12 carbon copies of me, rigt there, rigt in front of them. All different ages, and sizes. All wearing the same costumes.

“That scared ‘em some more, and they backed up a bit more, and started mumbling to themselves, and to each other, and looking into their holy books, to see if they could find a picture of me.

“Then I scared the God Damn Hell out of ‘em, Miss Margot. Every one of us, all thirteen of us, reached inside ourselves, and pulled out our uteruses. They were our uteruses, but they looked like octopuses. And they was all alive, and squirming around in our hands. And we walked up to the phony baloney boys and offered them our uteruses.

“And I said, ‘Go on, take ‘em. Y’all want control of ‘em, don’t ya?? Well, take ‘em!’

“But they didn’t want ‘em, at all, at all, oh no, no no. They didn’t want ‘em at all. They was all scared shitless, and they turned and started running in all directions.

“But there was nowhere for them to run, ‘cause the whole city shrunk into just one rectangular square, with fifty foot walls on each side, and a glass ceiling over top. Kinda like a giant pinball table.

“All the people disappeared. It was just the thirteen of me, and the twelve of them. But not for long, ‘cause a dragon flew into the pinball table. And he was laughing! Roaring laughter. And all the old perverts were running all over the place, but the dragon hunted ‘em down, one by one. Amd he struck ‘em all with his tail, instead of burning them with his fire breath. When he hit one with his tail, it was just like lightning hit ‘em. And BOOM! a big thunder boomer  filled the air.

“And they all got turned into toads. Every one of ‘em got turned in toads. Gay toads!

“And they started trying to make humpy hump with each other, all those phony baloney horny holy toads. But just as soon as one of ‘em would jump on another of ‘em, they would both explode, like hand grenades.

“And the dragon just kept flying around, laughing his dragon ass off.

“And when the last of the holy men had been blowed up real good, the pinball table turned back into a city, all the people came back. And when they saw the instant replay on the jumbotrom screen, half of them died, and the other half cheered and started hugging each other.

“I figured that was the end of that, so I just moseyed on along outta there.”

Speechless, the spiritual guru was, but clearly delighted by Daisy’s telling of the tale, which the girl concluded by saying, “Religion is just a bunch of degenerate old weirdoes wearing robes, and funny hats, and makin’ shit up. The choirs of liars should shut the fuck up and retire, before the dragons show up and start breathing fire.”




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“There is some irony in the fact that I came up with Old Leather Pussy, and subsequently the screenplay idea, listening to Christards lamenting the fact that you’d survived Boomer remover,” Lance told Madonna.

“Did you really?”

“Yeah. Kitty and I were driving though Iowa, listening to a Christian radio station. The lead item on their news report was that the Whore of Babylon, that would be you, had survived COVID.”

“Remind me to send them a note. ‘Sorry to disappoint you, yet again. But I’m surprised that you were disappointed to learn I have survived COVID, because that means your fantasies about tying me to a stake, and burning me alive may still come true. Keep praying brothers, and sisters, but pray a little harder, and a little louder, because it’s obvious that God is not listening to you. I wonder why that is, you hate-filled hypocrites.”

“I can help you spice that up, if you want,” Lance offered.

“It’s a first draft, kid, but I’ll let you know if I get stuck in the re-write.”

“No offense. Just an offer.”


“So, when they finished blaspheming you, they played, Die another Day.”

“That’s kinda clever of them.”

“I thought so, too. And I started thinking about you, and wondering if you’re pissed that you’ve never been picked as a Bond Girl, despite the fact that you were a globally famous sex kitten for such a long time.”

One word in Lance’s sentence boomed and echoed in Madge’s head – were. She wanted to protest the past tense, but let it go. “I did get a cameo in Die Another Day, so I guess I can console myself with that,” she said.

The boy managed to stick his other foot in his mouth by saying, “Did you? I’m sorry, I don’t remember that.”

As soon as he said it, he knew he’d fucked up. He scrambled his brain, and came up with the best follow up possible, “Honestly, I couldn’t see anything after watching Jinx sashay out of the sea. I could barely follow the plot after seeing that.”

Madonna admired the boy’s quick, and perfectly plausible recovery. “Good God, yes! That is the best Bond girl scene ever. I could have been walking beside Halle in that scene, naked, holding her hand, and firing a flame thrower at the Kraken, and no one would have noticed me, or the Kraken”

Careful not to agree too wholeheartedly, Lance said, “I can still her walking out of the water, in that orange bikini and white belt.”  Madonna said nothing, so the boy carried on. “Anyway, when they played Die Another Day, I started thinking about you.”

“And you thought, Old Leather Pussy,” Madonna laughed.

“I don’t always wanna think the thinks I think…”

“But you thinks ‘em all the same.”

“It’s true. Sorry.”

“Yeah. It’s okay. I understand. I don’t always wanna think the thinks I think, either,” This time Lance said nothing, so Madonna carried on. “Okay, so you came up with Old Leather Pussy before we met? You didn’t see me standing with your father, in front of Valhalla, and think, Old Leather Pussy?”

Lance was not about to tell her that that’s exactly what he thought, when he saw her standing with his father, at the doorway to Valhalla. “Fuck no. You looked amazing in that cheerleader outfit.”

“Thank you, Lance,” Madge said, not believing him, but not being mortally wounded by the lie. “But do you look at me now, and think Old Leather Pussy?”

Lance was not about to tell her that that’s exactly what he was thinking when she had him pinned to the floor, with her rack in his face. “Fuck no. You’re a remarkably attractive woman.”

Laughing, Madonna finished Lance’s thought, “For someone old enough to be your grandmother.”

The boy opted to dodge that, “I think you’d make an amazing Bond villain. Not just the real villain’s whore, who gets sent to kill 007, but the actual evil villain.”

“Okay, I’ll play. This could be fun. Tell me all about Old Leather Pussy. Who is she? What’s her schtick? What’s her evil plan?”




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Pinky was the first to laugh, followed closely by Kitty. But Gotcha was not laughing, “What the fuck was that?” he asked. “What just happened?” Then, looking at Kitty, he asked, “How did you do that?”

“Well, international dealer of shade, and Chinese bunk Viagra, I suppose there are a couple plausible possibilities. I’m a little ahead of time, or I can read your minds.”

Gotcha said nothing, Pinky laughed, and Kitty said, “I suspect the former. Otherwise, how do I know that the cop walking up the street behind me is gonna stop to give us some grief, but will change his mind, when he sees you. He will, instead, say, ‘Oh, hello, Mr. Kinsella. How are you?’”

That’s exactly what happened. Gotcha was courteous, but gave the flatfoot the bum’s rush, as Kitty and Pinky looked on, smiling.

“About a minute now,” Kitty said, answering Gotcha’s question before he could ask it. “It just started when I met you.”

Although he tried, Gotcha could not stop himself from asking the question, anyway, “How long have you been able to do that?”

“I don’t know, but I hope so, ‘cause it’s kinda freaking me out,” Kitty said.

“Can you control it?” Gotcha asked, belatedly. “Can you turn it on and off?”

“Oh, dear,” said Kitty, “Maybe I can read your minds, too. ‘cause you are both very relieved that I cannot read your minds, even though neither of you are actually gonna say that.”

The girl waited three seconds before bursting into laughter, and admitting, “No, I’m just fucking with you. That the two of you are relieved that I cannot read your minds is a slam dunk.”

“Yeah? What makes you think I’m  Witch?” Kitty laughed, pointing at Pinky. “I did not turn you into a newt.”

Laughing, Gotcha looked at Pinky and asked, “What makes you think she’s a witch?”

Pinky replied, “She turned me into a newt.”

“No, you are not taking me to the river and throwing me in, to see if I float, and I do not weigh the same as a duck,” Kitty declared, laughing.

Before Gotcha and Pinky could butcher the routine, Kitty walked away. “Stay rigt here,” she commanded.

She got fifty yards down the street and stopped. She watched Pinky and Gotcha talking, but hadn’t a clue that Pinky was filling Gotcha in on his Pinky thing. But when she walked back toward them, she knew, once again, what they were gonna say, before they said it. The closer she got, the more she knew.

Kitty repeated the experiment a half dozen times, as she walked a half circle around the two, on the Parliament Hill lawn. The results were always the same. She knew the conversation was gonna turn from the Pinky thing, to Pinky explaining his bastard son’s brilliant Commonwealth idea, and then to a discussion about Madonna, and Lance, and what they would be pitching to the royal runaways, out in Vancouver, on the morrow.

The witch walked back to the pair and told them both to, “Shut the fuck up and hand me your watches.” They complied.

She examined Pinky’s $20,000 Rolex, and looked at the clock on the Peace Tower.

Then she examined Gotcha’’s Rolex, and looked at the clock on the Peace Tower.

Kitty smiled at Gotcha, said, “Sorry,” and smashed his watched on the concrete, She picked it up and did it again, and again, until it was in pieces, then she stomped on the pieces.

“Problem, if you can call it that, solved.”

“That’s a $10,000 Rolex,” Gotcha said.

“No. It was not. Where’d you get it?”


The girl looked at Gotcha and told him, “Don’t you fucking dare lie to me, ever again. Where’d you get it?”


“Do you remember exactly where? What shop?”

“Not where, but from whom,” Gotcha said. “Yes, I do. It was just a month ago.”

“It wasn’t a Rolex. It was ten seconds fast. You buy it from a friend?”

“Of a sort,” Gotcha answered.

“No honour among thieves.”

“So it seems. That’s disappointing. I’ve known him for years. He’s the Fagin of Taksim Square.”

“Well, maybe whatever Oliver stole it, from whatever fat, drunk gringo, didn’t know that the fat, drunk gringo’s Rolex was fake.”

“I hope that’s the case.”

“Are you still selling fake rare, vintage wines at auction?” she asked.

“How the fuck do you know that?”

“Are you ashamed?”

“Not a bit. I only operate that business in China. The nouveau riche in China are all CCP cadre. They don’t know shit about wine.”

“Interesting,” Kitty said. “The rich stealing from the rich. Not exactly Robin Hood, but I guess it’s a victimless crime.”

Gotcha protested, “That’s where you’re wrong, pretty Kitty. It’s very much a Robin Hood endeavor. All the proceeds fund underground dissident groups, both on the mainland, and in Hong Kong.”

“I guess that’s what your Jesus would do, isn’t it?’

“Yes it is,” Gotcha said. “Yes it is. It’s a 21st century twist on turning water into wine.”

“is that where the bunk Viagra profits go, too?”

“It is. Gotta problem with it?”

“Fuck no. I’m no fan of the CPC.”

“CCP,” Gotcha said.

“Tomato, potato, what the fuck ever. It’s good work. For what it’s worth, I commend you for it.” The girl was very much aware that Gotcha was pleased as punch to be in her favour, and it was written all over his face.




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