the nixon tapes part 2

Wasn’t it Plato who once said that democracy would never work, I put forth, everybody is every one else’s Vietnam. Anarchy. We need a king. We need Elvis …'”


by kyle hemmings


We met in a desolate area of the inner city that resembled a subway that was endless in length and width. We were camouflaged as rap stars: saucer-size dark glasses, holes in the jeans, holes in the sneakers, T-shirts that read Dr. G and the O?YN.

Me, I was Richard Nixon’s illegitimate son. My mother was an ex-Carmelite with hemorrhoids. My code name was Chuck E. Cheese.

“Did you score?” I said to my contact, R, whose real name was R.

“Down to clockwork,” he said, infusing his words with a White House intern’s vigor. “It’s set for tomorrow night. We’re bringing down the government. We start with the senate, then the house, work our way to the heads of fast food franchises. Each gets a blot of acid, invisible. All it takes is a thumbnail and you go hee haw. They won’t tell Saigon from Cypress, Wendy’s from Egg Foo Yong.”

The pain in my gut was getting worse, going through tortuous tubes and upstream, slipstream, causing a filibuster for the Maalox. Maybe my peritonitis was going perpendicular, hedging in the bicameral.

“Wasn’t it Plato who once said that democracy would never work,” I put forth, “everybody is every one else’s Vietnam. Anarchy. We need a king. We need Elvis.”

“It’s amazing what we got on the needle feeds,” he said, “who controls the nebulas, who tweets the networks, who runs the Barbary Coasts. Who’s addicted to Do You Wanna Dance.”

“So the caucus decided on Prince Andrew running this country from a remote?” I asked.

“No, we decided to stay patriotic. A local boy. We agreed on Arnold Schwarzenegger. He agreed to go populist if he’s elected king.”

“You mean we’ll be stuck with watching Terminator reruns for the next fifty years?”

“Hey, it’s better than Life with Bonzo.”

Just then, my esophagus felt it would burst. My jaw suddenly dropped open. Out came the claws first then the whole turkey. It landed on the ground, shaking it’s head.

“Do you always eat your turkeys whole without cooking them?” it said in a near hysterical high-pitched voice. It reminded me of what Tiny Tim must have sounded like during a domestic squabble.

“What did it look like down there,” I said. “Tell me. I am curious and not yellow. Tell me or I’ll stuff you on the spot.”

“Dark, scary. Looked like Pittsburgh during a blackout. Thought I heard some carrier pigeons east of the aorta. Kept my eyes closed most of the time. But your tubes need some litigation.”

“I’m sorry,” I said, “but you really don’t have a say in any of this. You’re not a citizen.”

“The hell, I ain’t, gobbledegook. Maybe I can’t vote, but I can bite. You can take that to the bank.”

The bastard pecked at my shin then shit on my left sneaker. I always believed turkeys were slow, but this son of a bitch was a real revolutionary, wobbled out into the street. In my head, brakes kept screeching.

“Okay,” I said, “let’s get out of here. Too much attention. Suppose that turkey rats us out. Suppose it heard everything in the chambers of my duodenum.”

My contact and I ran in different directions: he took Jersey; I took upstate. I had to avoid Jersey. Twitter feeds were claiming something raucous in Secaucus.

Originally published:
Issue Fifty-Seven
March 2010


(illustration: dee sunshine)

Kyle Hemmings lives and works in New Jersey, where he skateboards, attempts heel flips, and often crashes. Sometimes, he doesn’t get up.


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