Saturday, December 31, 2005

A Tom Yest holiday? I can see clearly (k)now...

Dr. Janet Slowo is sitting on her sofa in her warm and inviting flat overlooking the more trendier avenues in Oslo. All her grades for the semester have been submitted. She is sipping a glass of cabernet at room temperature; vintage: 1983. She is counting her blessings: one - having Tom back in her life; two - adopting a small grey kitten; three - re-establishing contact with a former colleague who was very influential in her earlier career; four - developing her spirituality despite having not gone to a church in decades; five - buying that new rug from the corner shop; six - having finished one of the most popular novels of the year: The Duchamp Code by Don Bleu; and finally seven - the snow begins to fall as she lights the candle. She thinks about St. Lucia. She thinks about the last day of the year. She thinks.... She thinks. She. Sssshhhhhh. There is a knock at the door.

Friday, December 30, 2005

How to Wreck a Requiem? Ask Tom Yest...

The last thing to go through international spy Effe Lajefe's mind before he died was his favorite verse from the Bible: "You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead." And then he closed his eyes.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Play me a tune, Mr. Tom Yest! Play me a tune tonight...

The night before his 23rd birthday, Max resolved to listen to the complete works of Philip Glass. Granted, this amounted to listening to one work by Philip Glass over and over again, but Max was good about carrying through with his resolutions. No matter how deranged they seemed to everyone else. He once resolved to try every spice in his mother’s pantry, one per day, and after a mere month, Max could explain the different nuances between tarragon and thyme, between anise seed and dill. So, the night before his 23rd birthday, Max arranged the complete works of Philip Glass in chronological order; then the thought came to him: perhaps the real function of Philip Glass’ mystery could be found alphabetically. For the next hour, he arranged all the tracks thusly. Now it was time to push <<play>>. Half way through the first piece, the mathematical intoxication pervaded Max’s soul. Mathematics! Why yes! This is the way to approach the complete works of Philip Glass. But how to approach the mathematics of Philip Glass’ complete works? According to length of track? According to tempo? According to the vibrations per minute of the beginning tone? The mathematical equivalent of the title, converting the letters into the decimal system and then ordering them from smallest to largest? Unlike my reader, Max’s head, at this point, was not reeling with the implications of all this strange numerology for Max’s head was perfectly suited to questions of numbers and the pure truth they offered. Because, you see, Max was already well aware that to listen to the complete works of Philip Glass, in any order, on the night before his 23rd birthday would be just the thing to keep him up, thereby preventing the concussion he had just suffered from taking his life while he slept.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Tom Yest, can I have a word with you? What are words for...

“You remember pussy-boat lady with glasses, no?” Lupita rolls over to ask Tom lying next to her on a rollaway cot. “They found her body in America. She froze to death, trapped beneath her hovercraft. Her skin was frozen bleu.” “Sam, I’ve found someone else. Don’t look at me that way. I swear I didn’t go out in search of this. But you just have to move on now. Good luck.” “I swear, Barbara, you eat more bananas than my ex-wife.” “Professor X was awarded tenure yesterday; and his forthcoming book entitled Platonic Tragedy is to be published by Routledge. In it, he reveals lost fragments from a collection of half-destroyed tragic plays written by Plato. Apparently, Plato attempted to destroy them in order to secure a position under Socrates.” “Here kitty, kitty.” “Tom, just get me another gig like General Hospital. My music career is going nowhere these days, so it’s not like I don’t have the time. I’d be happy to reprise the role of Dr. Noah Drake.” “Don Bleu’s latest work is a masterpiece. I highly recommend it to anyone seeking a deeper relationship with the secrets that have shaped human history over the past 2500 years.” “Sounds hot.” And Tom rolls back over to look Lupita in the eyes: “I have to be back in Oslo by mid-May.”

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Do you have Tom Yest in a can? For heaven's sake, let him out...

I-83 intersects with itself just outside of Baltimore. It's a cold day, and the snow is really piling up outside the hovercraft. Veterinarian Sue Harky is contemplating returning to from where she just arrived: Santiago. The hovercraft gets caught in an updraft and skids a bit above the slick roads. Ever turning in the widening gyre, she duplicates the curve of a mollusk, the curve of her DNA's double helix. All things, she remembers, fall back upon themselves. This is a lesson Professor X once taught her. This is a lesson that will need to be re-remembered again and again. At the coffee shop just outside of Baltimore where I-83 intersects with itself, she glances around--senses heightened. There he is! The one-eyed man. He approaches her with a cup of green tea with jasmine--what she would've ordered had she already ordered if it wasn't already too late. She blows over the placid surface of the tea; it burns her lips when she sips.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Another Song for Tom Yest? Take the present, take a life...

Tom Yestem
Tom Yestesh
Tom Yest
Tom Yesteshmee
Tom Yesteshchey
Tom Song
There I am.
There you are.
There he is.
There we are.
There you are.
They’re there.
There there, don’t you cry, Lupita. I promise I won’t refer to you any more as “la puta” for it is you, after all, that will save our hero in his time of need. God bless you, Lupita “la pacata”—the gentle, the mild. Rest in peace, my sweet Lupita, for in seven days Tom Song will take your life.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Tom Yest in the 1st degree? Your honor, I plead...

Professor X was just about to retire from the local community college when he was fired after his next-to-the-last lecture--the lecture in which he argued that Socrates was a fiction, a mere character in some rather badly written dialogues by a mediocre Greek writer named Plato: "There is no historical proof such a person ever existed. We do have several similar characters named Socrates in various texts by different authors at about the same time, but we have nothing from his own hand." Professor X was under the assumption that all great thinkers were necessarily writers; how else explain all the unpublished manuscripts that filled his office, closets, and garage? If Socrates was so damn great, per the Delphic oracle's declaration that he was the wisest man of all, then he mustn't have been great enough to write his own thoughts down on paper. Or papyrus. Or whatever it was that Greeks were writing on in the 5th century BCE. He thought, why that would be like me not existing except within the text of one of my students," Tom Yest penned, snapping his notebook closed as he headed for the cafeteria to join his study group. So, you see: Tom Yest really was guilty of murder. No, worse: causing a person not to have ever existed after creating him from nothing.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

A PSA for Tom Yest? And then there were 77...

Sue Harky had just arrived at the Berlin Zoo via hovercraft from Amsterdam. She would leave in a chariot pulled by two enormous polar bears. How she came to be traveling by polar “bear” express is still being sorted out. What we know is that Barbara Mandrell the mandrill was involved in rendering Sue Harky’s hovercraft unusable when, while being transported out of the zoo, Barbara Mandrell the mandrill caught the scarf attached to the sombrero being used to disguise her in the wheel well of the convertible in which she was riding and being driven by the one-eyed man from M.O.N.K., causing the car to crash into the hovercraft. Though she wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, the airbag deployed, allowing Barbara Mandrell the mandrill to escape unharmed. Fortunately, Sue Harky had already vacated the hovercraft, having left it with the valet. Now it might not seem unusual for a woman such as Sue Harky to arrive at a zoo, being a veterinarian and all, but this was no professional visit for Dr. Harky. Sue was there to meet none other than Tom Yest, having cracked a portion of the Duchamp code. And all it took was a toss of a penny into the Duchampian fountain. Tom Yest, however, had already left the zoo, necessitating a rapid departure for Sue Harky in order to track Tom down.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Even Tom Yest wants to rule the world? But the point is probably moot...

During the ‘80s, Sam Heedrin drank lots of soda pop as he tried to decide the most pressing issue of his young life: was he a greater fan of Dr. Noah Drake on ABC’s General Hospital or of Mr. Rick Springfield, Australian pop star known for his hit “Jessie’s Girl”? Of course, they were one and the same person. Mr. Rick Springfield was a rock-n-roll superstar—no, megastar, but Dr. Noah Drake, despite his bouts with alcoholism, was a world-renown neurosurgeon! Back and forth, between the radio and TV, back and forth: Noah or Rick, Rick or Noah. Back and forth, like some crazy binary code that once deciphered would ultimately end back up at the same person—the one person behind both the mega-rock god Rick Springfield and the genius neurosurgeon at Port Charles’ General Hospital: none other than Tom Yest. 010001000
11100100010111000100000010011100110111101100001011010000010000001000
10001110010011000010110101101100101001000000110100101110011001000000
11010000110111101110100001000010010000100100001 Yes, Tom—a boy that he’s going to sit two rows behind in Professor X’s class at the community college. (But that’s another story altogether.) Yes, Tom—the man who would attempt (and fail) to hunt down the famous author Don Bleu in Santiago in an attempt to silence his lies. (But that’s another story altogether.) Until then, poor bloated, burpy Sam can’t decide between Dr. Noah Drake and Mr. Rick Springfield. But what he can decide upon is this: he absolutely does not like the line “But the point is probably moot” from Mr. Rick Springfield’s hit “Jessie’s Girl.” When he’s not sitting in front of the TV from 2:00 – 3:00 watching General Hospital and not scanning the dial on his AM/FM radio trying to find a station playing “Jessie’s Girl,” he reworks the lyrics to fit whatever mood he’s in that day. Here are some of his attempts: “You know I feel so dirty when they start talkin’ cute/ I wanna tell her that I love her but I broke the heel on my boot”; “You know I feel so dirty when they start talkin’ cute/ I wanna tell her that I love her but I’m really a fruit”; and “You know I feel so dirty when they start talkin’ cute/ I wanna tell her that I love her and that I think she’s a hoot!” Brilliant! Fuckin’ brilliant!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Tom Yest, a list? Yes, a list…

There were 78 monkeys in the Berlin Zoo: Cappuccino, Frappuccino, Macaque, Maka-monkey, Outta-me, Ape, Red, White, and of course Bleu, Howler, Bowler, Snow White, Snow Flake, Snow Ball, Rhesus Pieces, Spider, Squirrel, Champ the Chimp, Gorilla My Dreams, Baboon, Vavoom, Barbary Coast, Celebes, Celebrity, Celebrate Good Times Come On, Christopher Colobus and Nina, Pinta & Santa Maria, Douroucouli, Guenon, Langur, Mangabey, Marmoset, Proboscis, Saki, Whiskey, Wine, Tamarin, Basil, Bay Leaf, Titi, Booby, Wanga-wanga, Uakari, Wooly, Bully, and Barbara Mandrell (plus about 30 more, but they don’t figure so prominently in this part of the story). It was Barbara Mandrell the Mandrill that the man from M.O.N.K. came to see. Funny to write that, since the man from M.O.N.K. only had one eye to see with. And only one ear with which to hear. And only could breathe through one nostril. And, … well, you get the picture. The man from M.O.N.K. only got ½ of the picture, but that’s another story altogether! On his way to the Berlin Zoo, the man from M.O.N.K. took the S-Bahn, the U-Bahn, ate a bon-bon, bought a cherry bomb, made out with a bleached blonde, used ½ his brains and some of his brawn. For you see (at least ½ of the story), the man from M.O.N.K. was a portly gent with a slight limp in search of a chimp who contained a secret message in a microscopic capsule injected beneath the skin. The zookeepers and the tourists only saw less-than-half the story that day, as the man from M.O.N.K. (slightly) limped past the entrance gate, making his way to the cage of Barbara Mandrell the Mandrill. He lit the cherry bomb to distract the zoo officials, and slipped Barbara Mandrell the Mandrill out of the cage without anyone seeing. The ticket-takers back at the entrance barely noticed the man from M.O.N.K. (slightly) limping through the exit, holding hands with a much shorter woman wearing a dress and a wide-brimmed sombrero. All this from a one-eyed man!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Tom Yest sits through a good lecturing? Archilochus can never at any time be a poet…

In Chapter 1 of Bleu’s The Duchamp Code, Professor X delivers a lecture entitled “Late Zoroastrianism and the Cult of Mithra” at the community college. Tom Yest sits in the front row. Two rows behind him sit Max Block and Sam Heedrin, a youthful and full-of-energy couple who haven’t quite figured out what it means to come out of the closet. They’ve never been happier. Tom raises his hand to ask a question: “So, what you’re saying is that Jesus is nothing more than a warmed-over Mithra?” Sam giggles. “Correct,” answers Professor X, “but it’s very important to realize that Mithra himself is not the original messiah either; no religion springs fully formed from the mind of God. All belief is layer upon layer of prior belief.” Max stares longingly into Sam’s copper eyes. There is an exchange of winks and grins. Professor X continues with the next slide. “This is a diagram of a taurobolium.” Sam whispers to Max, “Sounds hot.” Max giggles. The lecture continues until the sun sets.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Is there a Tom Yest in this class? Fishing, merely fishing...

In 1975, Tom Yest received a book from an unknown publisher. This book revealed the hidden mysteries and secret dealings of a heretofore unknown society. Tom Yest read it cover to cover in one sitting, committing every word to memory. When he was done, he threw the book into the fireplace. Here is the cover of my copy: The Duchamp Code by Don Bleu
Tom Yest destroyed this book not because he couldn't handle the revelations of a truth that burned eternal throughout human history, but because he himself was implicated by the text as a murderer and scoundrel. Plus the moustache on Mona Lisa really pissed him off. He knew at that moment that he would have to hunt down this Mr. Bleu and confront him on the lies his book was to spread across the entire globe. But before he had the opportunity, someone else found Mr. Bleu. Walking across the street in downtown Santiago, an army Jeep sped past a stop sign and through an intersection, knocking Mr. Bleu through the plateglass window of a pet shop, where my wife Lupita la puta and I were picking out a puppy for our one-year-old daughter. I ran to the street to write down the license plate number, but all I could manage to see was 010 before the Jeep sped out of view. If I would've known then what I know now, I would've contacted Tom Yest myself and told him not to come to Santiago. But instead, I picked up the dead man's briefcase, paid for the puppy, and left the pet shop with Lupita la puta in tow before the authorities arrived.

Monday, December 19, 2005

A Tom Yest tall tale? I can see nary a tail...

Pussenboat's Manifest (Destiny):

Sue Harky - veterinarian + makeshift captain, city of origin: Amsterdam
Gloria Kotka - cat-groomer + belly dancer, city of origin: the Hague
Max Block - philosopher + tourist, city of origin: Weimar
Jan Kropka - philology student + poet + tourist, city of origin: Wroclaw
Jimi Changa - taco shell bender + archivist + tourist, city of origin: El Paso
Lupita "la puta" Racional, "la puta" + wife, city of origin: Santiago

...and then there was me:
Effe Lajefe - international spy + newlywed, city of origin: unknown

Lupita la puta was up to her old tricks, cycling through the handful of people almost twice on the 40-day voyage to the Canary Islands aboard the Pussenboat. Because of my cat allergies and seasickness, I didn't notice the on-again, off-again intimate configurations between my wife and the other passengers. After 37 days, however, we ran out of cat food and had to withdraw ourselves from the poor starving beasts. Their moaning and groaning and meowing kept us all up at night. When we finally hit land just 3 days (and 3 nights) later, the cats were the first to abandon ship, dispersing across the island, devouring every bird in sight. And that's why there are no canaries on the Canary Islands any more. True story.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Everything changes Tom Yest? Perhaps a change will do you good...

At the corner of Eerste Laurierdwarsstraat and Laurierstraat in Amsterdam is where I met Lupita, who would later become my wife and take on the appositive "La Puta." We married November 24, 1971--exactly 23 years before the artist Rob Scholte was to close the door to his dark bleu BMW parked at the corner of Eerste Laurierdwarsstraat and Laurierstraat in Amsterdam. Rob's life changed forever that date (23 years after we wed); my life, too, was to change forever. My wife Lupita, "La Puta," however, changed lovers as often as she changed dirrrty underwear; that is to say, about once every 4-1/2 days. That is to say, nothing changed for her. Ever. After the ceremony, we walked through the Red Light District, spaced out on moon cake and Colorado bulldogs. Along one of the canals, we saw a houseboat tethered to a post with a sign that read "Pussenboat." We boarded it to find a room filled with stray cats and a handful of people, mostly tourists but also a couple of volunteers. Lupita, "La Puta," and I released the rope that had held the pussenboat to the city of Amsterdam, and we sailed out to sea. After 40 days (and 40 nights), we arrived on the Canary Islands, where the story will continue tomorrow....

Saturday, December 17, 2005

A short biography of Tom Yest? Where a train is a train...

Tom’s first lover was a linguist from Oslo: Dr. Janet Slowo. She was fluent in every dead language known to man. And she often created knew words for old ideas: putraction – the uncanny vomity feeling that dragged itself out over several months every time Tom left her for Lupita. Eighteen months to be exact. Lupita was from Santiago and wasn’t good for anything (but Tom could never bring himself to say she was good for nothing). Like some tiny, distanty planet caught in the gravitational pull of a binary star, Tom orbited between the two women (and Oslo and Santiago) on a regular 18-month cycle: on again, off again. The binary coding in endless, unrepeatable patterns: 01100010011011000110010101110101. Switching on again, off again. Tom is standing on the platform wearing a torn red sweater given to him by his 69-year-old mother; he’s humming some catchy French tune, feeling bleu, bleu, bleu as the train arrives at the station.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Do you know Tom Yest? Perhaps a cadeau...

A train arrived from the future with a small present stowed away in one of the compartments. Do you open it: yes or no? Yes. Y-E-S spells yes. Your colour is bleu. B-L-E-U spells bleu. Remember that song: "L'amour est bleu"? Vicky Leandros brought me to tears back in '67, watching Eurovision and eating Belgian chocolates in your bed. Pretending to be in l'amour ourselves. I wonder whatever happened to her. Oh, yeah, I forgot: that sweater. "Red, red, my eyes are red, crying for you alone in my bed." Hole. Holes, remember? But my mom didn't care. She finally threw out that red sweater. And the lumberjack thing. It's called a flannel shirt. Axe me no more questions, and I'll tell you no more.... I remember how she lied to me, said it didn't matter. My whole ontology dissolving around me: no shirt, no song. No you. Nor I. And none of us did anything to get away. Oh, look here. What is it? Un petit cadeau: the Best Of album, except it's the German version: "Blau wie das Meer!" And tomorrow the world!

Thursday, December 1, 2005

Clover Leaf


You can't spell Clover without l-o-v-e.

Clover Leaf
September 19, 1991(?) - December 1, 2005

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