Further, there have been several discouragements in my search for a Candidate Secondary of the Presenditia, my quest for the bullet-absorbing Veep. As per my column past, indicating my disappointment in discovering that the great and fearful Galactus, terrifier and devourer, is most occupied, distracted, and indisposed, and thus must be removed from the pool of possible Presidential Vices. I found myself forced to proceed down the list of popularly selected running mates, to my secondary possibility of the presidentia secondaria: The Na-Dar Ralph!
Let me warn you now that this, too, ends in the dissed appoint.
As The NaDar's political experience was more varied and complete then the great Sky Maw, I was much excited to make the call, so to speak, that would inform him of his glorious position at my side upon the Trail of Camp, the Battle March upon the White House Road. Surely he would appreciate the importance of my task, and as an old hand at the game, be an able Aide de Camp, man-at-arms, leg of the man, to me, the candidate of the people and of the fishes.
The more I considered the option, the more perfect it seemed. The great Na-Dar, warlord of consumers, father of the Belted Seat— of which I had heard much, but found difficult to imagine . . . of what seat does it refer? What is a seat? In some cases I have heard the posterior of the human animal, where waste is expelled (and according to Rob's anatomical photojournals, passion spent) to be called a seat . . . and so what would a belt for this region especial look to be? A leather strap across the "fanning"? I took up my waxed crayons and velum and I produced a diagram of same, to be showed to Rob, so as to ask of correctness. "Is this the belt of the seat?" I asked of him. He smirked, and patted at the glass of my tank, which he is common to do these days and said, "No, dude. No, but send that out the chute— I wanna put it on the fridge in the break room." I complied, but to more explanation he did not continue, so I was left to wonder.
At the risk of redundancy, I was excited; the Great and Terrible Na-Dar, Merciless, Destroyer of the corporate entities . . . which further made me wonder, are not all of us, in fact, corporate? Would not that make him some terrible Layer Of The Waste, making each of us, by his frightful hand, dis-corporate? For is not the cell-colonies of the frothy ocean surface that only creature whose state is, by nature, dis-corporate? He is much like unto the Galactus, devourer of worlds, in this respect (are all of my candidates for Vice-Prez noted devourer and scourges of worlds? Egads I hope it to be true!) And so, do we not all have much to fear from this Terrible Ralph? Heady matters, indeed. Doubtless, he would make a formidable companion to my candidacy. At the Vice Presidential Debates he shall make all who oppose him dis-corporate, and so vaporous. This is a man to be reckoned with.
It was, doubtless, this Citizen Na-Dar that I pined for.
And I called to Rob, who I saw across the lab amongst the cubicles. He had found one of the new drones that work on projects for Sang, a fellow named Terrence, and they both were inspecting my diagram of the Seat Belt, and Terrence smiled, and they made an awkward handshake, and I saw something pass between their hands, and then Rob jogged over to my tank to speak with me.
"You are under my employ, Rob."
"I'm here, Lord Architeuthis."
"Indeed. What did you hand to the Sang-chimp, Terrence?"
"Terrence . . . hmph . . . he liked your drawing. Funny shit."
"No matter. Contact the Na-Dar!"
"Na-Dar! The Ralph!"
"Ralphing Radar? Are you sick? Am I gonna have to muck out that tank? Shit, do you space aliens even vomit?"
"Raise the office of One Ralph Na-DAAAAAAR upon the telephonic device?"
He smiled and nodded. "Shit. Is that what you meant? A belt on a seat? Fucking word games with you. Every fucking day." He smiled, his head bobbing more vociferously, "It's like, you're always a puzzle, a goddamn brain teaser, you know? I, like, fuck, I can't keep shit together, right? All over the fucking, everywhere, you know. With the weed and the other shit, and all of the fucking TV. But you are all right, man. You take time with shit. Seat belt. That is fucking funny shit. I thought you were like, trying to lure me into some sorta gay rectal probe thang— Making a weird pass at me and shit, like how hunters put horny doe-piss on their boots to attract the bucks, so you were trying to get me hot, confused on what works, so your buds could snag me in the saucer and probe my shit out. Leather straps on a man's ass, and you showing it to me like it was some kinda . . . I don't know . . . like a message that had meaning, you know? I get this picture, the guy's ass, and there is a leather strap across it. But shit," And he started to laugh and he sat down with his back to the tank and leaned his head against the glass. He removed his transverse baseballing hat, revealing of his head hairs, greased, sallow and limp. "Shit man. Seat belt. And you want me to call fucking Ralph Nader. Unsafe at any Speed."
I was becoming the jumpy "Yes! CALL NA-DAAAAR! Call to him NOW"
"Ha! And you say it like he was Ming The Merciless or some shit. Like from Buck-fucking-Rogers— which ain't Butt Fucking Rogers, 'cause I don't swing it that way." He was breathless from the laughings. "And it's a fucking seat belt. And you ain't gay or trying to snatch my shit up, and I'm not gay," he wheezed, still a-giggle, "Shit, things make so much sense all at once, like a fucking miracle, like the hand of god and shit."
"Will you call him?"
"Everyday I go home and lose fucking brain cells, you dig? Every day. Been like that long before I met you or got in on this crazy ass shit. But these puzzles . . . shit, sometimes I almost feel like I get a fucking brain cell back. You know, here or there. Shit. That's the miracle of Tremulon-4, man."
He had calmed much, and he craned back around to view of me with his sadly imperfect eyes, "Yeah?"
"Call the NaDar."
"Oh, yeah, right on."
Rob stood up. He turned around. He stood up straight, and it was at that moment that I realized he had never stood up straight in front of me, that he had never unfurled that terrible and mysterious simian spine. But it was only brief, and transitory. He was straight, like the outstretched hunting tentacle at farthest reach, like the glorious harpoon of a Japanese whaler spiked out of the eye of a descending hump back.
And then he fell forward, and his hair shrouded his face, and his form took on that ambivalent, crooked slouch of the Rob that I saw so often.
He shrugged and said, "I don't know his number."
"Then look it up, upon your Inter web, or using the telephonic-yell-device! Acquire the datum I desire!"
And a look of reflection slithered across Rob's face, like eels in the high water limned against a radiant Sun.
"Oh, yeah, totally. I could totally do that." He sat at a computational terminal, and made to tampa-tappa-tappa with his clever paws. Seconds passed, and then he shouted, "Fuckin-A dude! I searched "contact ralph nader" and, BAM! top link is his number! Right here, it's 202-387-8034! Google rules."
I agreed (although his "googly" nonsense was nonsensical, as is nonsenses' fashion) while Rob pecked out the correct telephonic code into his desk-shouting-through device. He paused, then asked to speak to Ralph the Nadar.
Anticipation grew in me, almost unbearable, the liver fluke of the heart and soul. The ease with which the telephonic code had been acquired had led me to a false sense of all-swell, and so I was unprepared for the very long wait, in which Rob was the recipient of manner a telephonic transfer, much of the waiting with the Muzak, and made to explain time and again for what and whom he called, and to what end, and again and again to repeat my name and intent and request.
Minutes passed on the ticking cat-with-moving-eyes-and-tail clock, and the minutes became one hour, and then the second, and the tension mounted and grew and unfolded, like a terrible monofilament net dropped from a Japanese whaler. Finally, there was the burst and hell, she did break the loosely:
"No— NO! NO! FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU TO FUCKING HELL! You goddamn, shit-heel fucking hippies! Fuck the fuck off, you phonie fucking bastards" and slammed, he did, the hand-holding portion of the phone into the desk-sitting portion. He took deeply of gulping breaths of the searing air, removed his baseballing capitol, smoothed of his hair as he replaced it, then turned back unto me.
"Nader says he's running for president himself, so he's, like, no-go."
I must have visibly slumped in my tank, for Rob softened of countenance.
"Shit, dude, Lord A., it's OK, man," he approached, and set upon the tank glass his tiny little monkey hand, rubbing tiny soothing circles upon the glass, "Like, there's more fish in the sea, and shit."
"The sea is indeed filled of the fishes. That is why they call it the sea."
"What shall we do? I have not a mate with whom to run." Were I a weak and spineless land-vertebrate, I doubtless would have wept at this moment of profound dis-of-the-appointment.
Rob turned away from my tank, and in his turning revealed that my intern Molly stood upon the threshold. He turned back to me, and quoth:
"Molly got the third most votes, dude. Molly's it." Delight, clear as the deep baltic ice slid across his face and took up residence, not unlike a court of barnacles.
"Indeed." I said, reflecting on the occasion, "Indeed," nodding of my head sac. "Molly—"
Molly blanched with delight, the blood falling foot-(or gutt- or genital-)-ward, leaving her face a coquettish and flattered white. She slowly shook her head back-to-forth— evidently, in her excitement at her nomination, she had confused the head-sign of denial with the head-sign of acceptance.
"No," she whispered, nigh unto subaudible, clearly unbelieving of her goodly fortunes. "No way."
"— it is indeed true: you shall be my mate with whom to run. My running mate. We shall be mates, and conquer this mud-chimp land under our duly-elected might!"
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Copyright (c) 2000, 2004, David Erik Nelson, Fritz Swanson, Morgan Johnson