Journal entry, 1/25/14: Justice Minotaur visited today at the office of A. Todd Dirtwalls, an azoospermic bookkeeper who has done Minotaur’s annual tax returns since 1981. The fiscal year in New Salem ends January 21 of each even year and January 12 of each odd year, the result of a printing error made in July 1847 by compositor Napoleon Grim Jr., who apparently had gone blind the month before without anyone realizing it. Besides filing in New Salem, this year Minotaur is also filing a return in Guam–“in case I went there that one time after the cough syrup binge,” he says. The most remarkable aspect of the returns that Mr. Cornwall has so far noticed is that in both cases a business expense is being claimed for $100,000 in “imported moist towelettes used by the milkmaid.”
Journal entry, 1/20/14: Justice Minotaur saith: “I had a daughter born in Beirut. This was either around the time of the Malai Massacre or in 1985, when I first tasted the Baskin Robbins ice cream ‘Quarterback Crunch’–I do not recall. What a wonderfully clever name–the ice cream, that is. I never participated in naming her, for reasons I do not wish to get into here, but I will at least say that it involved a pair of extremely wide Adidas, a stolen van, and fourteen gallons of imported gargle. If she were to come back now, I think I would name her after a Shakespeare character or maybe a body part. I am thinking Clytemnestra Spectrum. Oh, is spectrum not a body part–and what, she is not a character of the Bard’s? OK, how about, oh, heck, I can’t think of anything. Maybe Desdemona’s Lungs.” Further Minotaur saith not.
Journal entry, 1/6/14: Justice Minotaur spent the hours after twilight in the orangerie with Negligible Winds, a local tribal chief, trying to solve the St. Petersburg paradox. After proposing completely contradictory theories that involved no mathematics or philosophy terms of any sort, the two called it a draw and awarded each other prizes. Winds gave Minotaur a block of expired gouda carved to look like Mt. Rushmore but with Tim Conway substituted for Lincoln; Minotaur gifted Winds a cassette tape with a recording of a single line whistled in Silbo Gomero. According to Google Translate, the line is interpreted either as “Time bends always toward justice” or “I have fallen in love with my cousin.”
Journal entry, 1/5/14: Justice Minotaur today excoriated Mr. Cornwall at the aquarium, in front of some one hundred onlookers, for “not being absolutely, 100 percent comprehensive” in posting yesterday’s list of marketing ideas generated by Justice Minotaur and his cousin Teancum Syrups. Mr. Cornwall failed to list one item, which is now listed below. In Mr. Cornwall’s defense, the reason he did not list this item is it appeared to be in more of a draft state whereas the remainder of the list (the portion that was posted) was polished to a very high sheen.
Hindenburg’s Pizza Kitchen and Breadstick Express*
Rudolph M. Hindenburg (knocking at front door of pizza restaurant): “Knock, knock.”
Tina Yothers (opening door and looking out): “Who’s there?”
Rudy: “It’s Rudy Hindenburg, assistant manager of this store–that is, the downtown Hindenburg Pizza location.”
Tina: “Great to meet you, Rudy. I’m Tina Yothers. You know, from the hit American sitcom Family Ties.“
(They shake hands vigorously, then Rudy steps into the restaurant and Tina and Rudy both stand side-by-side and turn toward camera.)
Rudy: “Yeah, we don’t recognize you because of the weight gain. But it really is you. Everyone used to love that show.”
Tina: “Thanks, Rudy. And everyone loves Hindenburg’s Pizza. But lately some people have been telling half-truths about the business.”
Rudy: “That’s right, Tina. Thanks for mentioning that. People have been saying that human waste was served in some of our pizzas over a period of several years. And that is true.”
Both: “But it’s only half true. And that’s as good as a lie.”
Tina: “What’s the other half, Rudy?”
Rudy: “The other half is that this all ended more than three months ago, and we’re back and stronger than ever. And our family has been through a lot since then. Thank goodness for strong family ties. (Becomes emotional.) My dad almost had to go to jail. He’s still not allowed to have a food handler’s permit. Mom’s had to run the business, but that’s not easy when you’re on dialysis.”
Tina: “You’ve got that right, Alex P. Keaton! I mean, Rudy.”
Rudy: (laughs) “It’s like the show never ended. I feel like I am on set with the great Michael Gross, the lovely Meredith Baxter-Birney, and the other immortals, including you, Tina.”
Tina (flirty voice): “Oh, stop.”
Both: “Hindenburg Pizza. Back and better than ever!”
*Please do not come to the drive-through and ask for anything other than breadsticks. We can’t fit a pizza out the little window. Again, don’t even ask. It’s not called “Pizza Express.” It’s called “Breadstick Express”–meaning, breadsticks fast, through the window.
[end of marketing idea]
I, [paste your name here] Eric of Cornwall, do solemnly apologize to Justice Korbin Minotaur for [list your rank offense(s) here] forgetting to include the Hindenburg’s Pizza Kitchen and Breadstick Express marketing idea in the original blog posting.
I feel a substantial degree of sorrow and self-loathing for my crime(s) and swear, by my troth, to not commit this/these crime(s) again against good Justice Minotaur. I also avow between and amidst the seas, the mountains, the loam underfoot, and the ether that fills my lungs that this apology is genuine and that I am not merely going through a formality out of duress or compulsion or to simply make the peace or get out of an awkward situation–and most particularly I am not doing this with a sneer on my face or with a certain haughty flourish such as children will do when they are asked to do something they don’t want to do, and they do it with contempt and chin lifted high as if to show that they are above the deed.
/signed/ Eric of Cornwall
Journal entry, 1/4/14: Justice Minotaur has long spoken of his first cousin once removed named Teancum Syrups. Syrups, a dangerously obese brunette of about fifty years of age, paid a surprise visit to the compound today, arriving just after dawn in a rickshaw driven by himself. Syrups has been in and out of work for the last decade or more. His most recent occupation was as an entry-level janitor. He was assigned to unclog toilets and the drain in the common shower at a local truck stop in return for an unlimited supply of potato wedges and expired cough syrup. After giving it a good run for a couple of weeks, he was fired for assaulting a rabbi with soap-on-a-rope after the religious leader launched an aggressive explication of the theory of panspermia on a customer in drive-through (it is not clear what either the rabbi or Syrups was doing in that area).
Syrups is now applying for a position as a copywriter for a local advertising agency called MCX94: The Global Awakening. Surely this cryptic and edgy name suggests that the group are all highly competent and creative. Syrups asked Minotaur’s help in assembling a portfolio of ad ideas that he could submit with his application. Their mutual work product is reproduced below. The company names are all real.
Luridmann Brothers* Morticians and Undertakers**
We implore you to let us dispose of your mortal remains!
*No longer affiliated with Monday Luridmann. He is indeed a brother but recently moved to Grenada to begin research for a 72-volume treatise on the U.S.-Grenada War.
**Fully licensed, insured, and bonded in New Salem. We also drive a mobile funeral parlor back and forth on United States Interstate 80.
Remarkably, still in business in an ever-dwindling number of locations.
Oh, the days of childhood, when you would run home from school for a taste of mother’s cookies. The scent was more intoxicating than glue, was it not, and the chewy-moist goodness would absolutely liquefy as you masticated it and would slip almost imperceptibly down your throat. Now mother is dead, but her recipe lives on at Fragg’s Bakery.
Artemis the Huntress Regional Specialties
Hi, I’m Thor Papadakis. A wise man once said, “Do one thing and do it well.” That’s why at Artemis the Huntress Regional Specialties, we only do one thing: If you call us on the phone, we will tell you what time it is. It’s that simple. (We also sell tires for vehicles weighing more than ten tons.)
Hiawatha’s Window Well Coverings: That No Child May Die a Horrible Death
Not Native American–but if we were, we would not hide the fact, as our leading competitor does.
Mr. Gentles Warm-N-Sudsy Bubbles Car Bath
We know how hard it is to turn the cleansing and drying-off of your precious vehicle over to a stranger, especially if you are a hot-blooded, husky male of the species. We’ve been there–it’s hard to watch, we know it. We will pamper your car, truck, or boat like no other car wash can or even wants to. If you still can’t handle it, we have a full panoply of psychiatric medications ready to dispense, with a doctor on the premises at all times.
The name says it all. We will burn anything, large or small, in our gigantic, 1800-degree oven into an unrecognizable mess of carbon, and then we immediately release the ashes into the river. Very discreet. We open the oven and literally walk into another room while you empty out your van or whatever you drive. Open 24/7/365.
Available to assist with your varied needs at varied times, depending. Come on in and and find out what we do!
Mr. Cornwall’s note: Justice Minotaur dictated the following letter today to his scribe, Mr. Cornwall, who typed the letter using the Smith Corona brand typing machine pictured here, after which Minotaur signed the letter, after which Mr. Cornwall placed the letter in an envelope, after which Mr. Cornwall sealed and addressed the envelope, after which Mr. Cornwall affixed the postage, after which Mr. Cornwall asked a boy who was passing by and who identified himself as Master Curelom St. Friday to take the letter to the post office. A true copy of the letter follows.
January the First, 2014
You have probably seen me in your facility from time to time and you undoubtedly know my scribe, Eric of Cornwall, as he has complained directly to you several times about the way his purchases have been bagged.
How is my ex-wife Crooked Shears doing in the butcher block? Though my interests were probably not on your mind when you hired her, I am thankful that the income she is now receiving from you has allowed me to successfully petition for lower alimony payments, though the reduction is meager.
In any case, my purpose is not to discuss her situation any further but to offer some suggestions for how you can improve your grocery store. Consider this a gesture of pure goodwill.
The suggestions are as follows:
-The pharmacy clerk named Brites Saturn has halitosis or something worse. I realize that few people want to work for your business, so you have to take about anyone with a pulse. Perhaps his (or her?) compensation could include a healthy dose of mints (which would be a tax-deductible business expense for you)?
-It is disturbing when a customer despoils the integrity of a bunch of bananas by subdividing the bunch and buying some of its bananas while leaving others for some other dunce to buy. I propose that you leave powerful adhesive (and heavy gloves and a mask to protect the hands and brain cells) by the bananas so that customers who desire could remedy the situation as well as possible by gluing “orphaned” bananas back together into an original-seeming bunch.
-In your “Mesoamerican Smorgasbord” section, how hard would it be to get some salted tapir or fresh iguana?
-I strongly recommend moving the feminine hygiene products to be by the dairy offerings. As I am allergic to cow’s milk and its derivatives, I could avoid that whole section.
-The purpose for the salt lick out front escapes me.
-Your offering of religious relics is without compare, at least in this region. I congratulate you most warmly. It seems improbable to me, however, that there could be more than one Shroud of Turin.
Justice Korbin Minotaur
p.s. I have heard from a number of your customers that Crooked Shears is providing excellent service and indeed is the only reason they shop at Holymount’s. It is probably past time to give her a substantial raise.
p.p.s. Mr. Cornwall informs me that on my docket for next week is a dispute between your business and the school next door to you that offers special training for those with mixed handedness. I have not read the briefs in detail but it appears your entire operation could be forfeit to the school. That would be a real shame after all that your grandfather and father put into the business–and where would Old Man Holymount go if he could no longer sleep in the shack you built him back by the box crusher?