Journal entry, 2/26/14: Lady I. Dorothy Cottonmouth came by the compound today, looking fairly proud of having been invited to write a column for the blog and of having had her first item posted, evidently to some acclaim from locals (who are visiting the blog in large numbers but without commenting and without, because of some fluke of the way the servers are arranged, their visits being counted toward site hits). Mr. Cornwall felt envy for the attention she was getting and worried about Minotaur’s intentions toward her but was somewhat relieved by events that unfolded thereafter. Cottonmouth was sitting at the dining table and Cornwall and Minotaur were in the adjacent room talking about their experiences with Rubik’s Cubes and other three-dimensional puzzles. Minotaur whispered to Cornwall, pointing over at Cottonmouth: “I should buy her some lucerne. She eats like a cow.” Cornwall looked over and saw Cottonmouth eating a yogurt in a manner that was not like any bovine he had ever seen or heard of. She had her giant hooklike nose probed down deep into the cup of yogurt as if she was taking a sounding of it. Then she removed her nose and let the yogurt run down it and off onto her tongue. Then, in an act truly fit for a circus, she licked her nose clean with her tongue. Evidently the length of her nose and the length of her tongue combine to make this anteater-type feeding possible. Cornwall found himself very attracted to the whole scene and hoped that Minotaur’s comment about the lucerne suggested a lack of romantic interest in this exceptional specimen of womanhood.
When Lady I. Dorothy Cottonmouth was over yesterday taking tintypes of the newborn burro (since christened Hiawatha Self-Howitzer), Justice Minotaur asked if she would be willing to write a regular column for this blog. He said this would hopefully “spice up” what has become a “bland and loathsome brew,” but secretly Mr. Cornwall believes Minotaur is trying to court her. In any case, the new department, to be called “Scientifica Factualis,” aims, in the words of Cottonmouth, to “throw off the cloak of subjectivity and self-centered indulgence that are the stock in trade of personal blogs and provide only those glimpses into quotidian life that are factual, concise, and broadly representative.”
It is intended that Cottonmouth will provide her copy to Cornwall, who, despite Minotaur’s alleged disappointment with the blog, is still the only one he is willing to share the password with (hint: it is the name of an American vice president–the hackers will never guess it!). Cornwall will then post the copy here. He has been charged to post it “ungarnished and without misrepresentation.” The first installment follows.
I went to a Burger King restaurant today, restaurant number 1512. This is the franchise that has recently cut ties with the fictional mascot-king who was its uncertain, awkward, and sometimes disturbing standard-bearer for so many years. I was there twelve hours and three minutes. I sat in an uncomfortable chair as close to the cash registers as possible, observing as much as I could. I had to go to the bathroom really bad because I had quaffed a half-gallon of buttermilk before arriving and then kept drinking steadily thereafter. They have one of the new Coke machines that mixes the different flavors for you. I believe the machine has taken my agency from me. But I did not want to get up; did not want to miss a moment.
Scientifica factualis: Of the thirteen people who ordered the Big King hamburger sandwich in this period in the dining room, twelve of them ordered it using this precise wording: “Oh, what the heck, I guess I’ll take the Big King.”
Journal entry, 2/24/14: A leaf of cream-colored ruled paper that had been folded up into a tiny square, with the edges tucked inside of itself, was brought to Justice Minotaur today, unopened, by a fourteen-year-old boy who identified himself as Sylvan Shannara, nephew of the recently deceased Calrissian. The nephew, who had received a twelve-hour leave of absence from the mantuamaker he is apprenticed to, stated that he had been given the document about a year earlier by Calrissian with a command to “keep it secret; keep it safe–until my demise.” On the outside of the folded-up document it read in tiny block letters: “Last will and/or testamenteary of Lord Vader Calrissian.” Minotaur asked Shannara, Mr. Cornwall, and Lady I. Dorothy Cottonmouth, who was over taking tintypes of one of the newborn burros, to serve as witnesses to the reading of the will.
With the group sitting in the dining room of the compound around a newly acquired table that had been purchased at a bookmobile liquidation event to replace one hacked to pieces after an aborted art project, Minotaur proceeded slowly and solemnly, impressing in the minds of all the importance of the occasion.
After he had unfolded the document, a confused look crossed his face, and he muttered, “It appears to be written in cuneiform.” Then, turning the document 180 degrees (in a counterclockwise direction, but the direction of the turn doesn’t matter because in either direction the resulting orientation of a 180-degree turn is the same), he said, “Nevermind. Now all is revealed to me.”
Those at the table leaned forward to hear the final testament of a dead man being read in soberness by a great lawgiver, one who had presided at the reading of wills hundreds of times in his storied career. [Cornwall’s note: The following is a version of the will cleaned up into standard English. The original was written with atrocious grammar, spelling, and punctuation.]
“My friends, it is Calrissian. If you are reading this, I am probably carrion–or Shannara has betrayed my trust. If the latter is the case he will pay the uttermost farthing. You will remember I used to have a pretty nice Winnebago that I told you I had won in a contest, and you are probably hoping you are the one I decided to give it to. Too bad–I set it on fire and ghost-drove it off a cliff shortly before writing this last will. This was necessary because it was full of documents proving that I was, in fact, the escaped felon Copper Shears, the same who was convicted of terrorism related to the first New Salemite nuclear weapon ever developed. They say I was trying to fire the weapon on our own people, but in truth I was trying to sabotage it so that it could never be used to harm any creature. In any case, I was discovered in the missile silo by Sheriff Andrea del Sartorial, who caught me only because he was trying to sell the nuclear launch codes to the Siamese. I have wreaked a bloody vengeance on him with my own hands. His corpse was in the Winnebago too. I am a peace-loving man. Farewell.”
“Well, that was different,” Minotaur said, trying to make sense of what had just transpired. “I suppose we can all agree, no matter what we think of this situation or of Calrissian, that it is good for his sake, or ours, or both that Calrissian is safely in his grave.” (The “safely in his grave” was meant as a substitute term for “dead,” because Calrissian has not yet been buried.)
Journal entry, 2/23/14: Justice Minotaur and Mr. Cornwall lunched today at an Iranian deli the name of which translates roughly into English as “Specifically Ewe.” Minotaur saw a cousin of his there, Franklin Telano Roosevelt, a town crier who also happens to be expert in drawing perfect circles freehand. Roosevelt, who is single and looking to buy his first home, wondered if Minotaur and Cornwall wanted to go look at some listed properties with him, so the three drove around all afternoon in Roosevelt’s late model Citroen. Roosevelt told stories the whole time of women he had dated or is currently dating. At the time of this writing, Mr. Cornwall is having a hard time distinguishing in his mind between names of the women Roosevelt mentioned and names of subdivisions the three men visited today. There not being enough time to sort it out right now, Cornwall will simply make a listing of proper nouns, in hopes of being able to return to this entry later to indicate which are women’s names and which are subdivision names. (It is also possible one or more of these is a boutique clothing store for women.)
The Same Is Zoar
Roddin of Locksley
Padme the Jubilant
Journal entry, 2/22/14: Justice Minotaur has been depressed since the death the other night. “I miss Calrissian,” he has said again and again, which seems odd because he probably had not seen or talked to Calrissian for fifteen years before the other night. “Maybe it is the idea of Calrissian rather than Calrissian himself you miss–or maybe the fact that you had a friend with such a cool name,” Mr. Cornwall has offered in hopes of providing the justice some emotional relief.
Cornwall encouraged Minotaur to get outside today, to take his mind off the tragedy. “Let us go to the theater,” Minotaur declared.
The two went to a matinee performance of King Lear being put on by the volunteer militia. The primary roles were portrayed by the following actors:
Lear: Judah ben-Christian
Regan: Lequel Surprise
Goneril: Lequel Debris
Cordelia: Polyesther Cram
Gloucester: Ramses Du
Edgar: [the role was omitted from this performance]
Edmund: Corey Haim-Feldman
Kent: X. Cross Rubicons
Albany: Mumford and Son (not the band, but Cynm and Drill Mumford, a father and son combo who takes turns playing the role)
Cornwall: Percy Bysshe
Oswald: Nim Chimpsky II (a diabetic chimpanzee not related to his namesake who is trained to make sounds that in some cases mimic human language)
Fool: Dame Moonlight St. Graham
Minotaur has seen and read much of Shakespeare, but he seemed to become so immersed in the play as to forget that it was a performance rather than reality. When in Act IV the messenger informed Goneril and Albany of the death of Cornwall, Minotaur raced to the stage and punched the messenger in the face, then flew backstage looking for “the beloved carcass.” His bellowing voice was heard again and again from behind the back curtain, “Have I lost another friend?!” Finally, an off-duty police officer tased him into submission. Minotaur is now sleeping on the same sofa where Calrissian so recently expired.
Looking over a schedule of upcoming local events in the Trumpeting Beagle, Mr. Cornwall notices a play that, according to the “Notes from an Underemployed Dramaturg,” promises to be “witty and lighthearted” and that, it seems to Cornwall, cannot possibly have any drama tied up in it. In hopes of helping the justice forget his troubles, Cornwall will take Minotaur next weekend to Our American Cousin.
Journal entry, 2/21/14: Coroner Dr. Coriantumr Cedarbaum-Tubes returned to the compound briefly this afternoon on horseback to give Justice Minotaur the property that was on Calrissian’s person at the time of death, asking Minotaur to please convey it to next of kin or as directed under any valid will that may be found. The items consisted of the following:
-A handwritten note (still wet from gore from the “battlefield” autopsy) reading: “Rememmber to ask Dear Mother if I was breastfeeded as a infant.”
-A bootlegged DVD version of Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion! with captions in Tutuba.
-A wineskin full of twenty-sided dice, well worn.
-Tide tables to the Caspian Sea, barely legible because of gore.
-The knife O.J. Simpson used to murder Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
-A laminated class B food handler’s permit from Barbour County, Alabama, United States of America, issued to “Baron Lando Calrissian” that expired July 14, 1998.
No clothing was provided because it had been all hacked to pieces during the autopsy.
Journal entry, 2/21/14: Mr. Cornwall here must convey the information that Han Solo would probably have preferred to communicate: Calrissian is dead. Traitor (or Trader) Calrissian, thirty-two years of age, was pronounced dead upon examination by Dr. Ryam of Browngland at 12:21 a.m., New Salem time. A coroner, Dr. Coriantumr Cedarbaum-Tubes, arrived shortly after Browngland and performed what he called a “battlefield autopsy” on the buffet table using carpenter’s tools. He gave the cause of death as cardiac arrest. Cornwall did not witness the death because he had gone out to milk the burros as the Olympic broadcast was winding down for the evening. According to statements made to Officer Nondistinguishable Argument by Justice Minotaur and Prior Relationship, Calrissian apparently looked “as healthy as someone looks when you want them to die really bad but you know they are going to outlive you by fifty years–like how Kennedy felt about Castro” but then suddenly clasped his heart as if shot by Apollo’s bow, then thundered to the ground as if his legs had been smitten clean off by Bunyan’s ax. His last words were either “I still like Subway, but what happened to that Jared guy and his huge pants?” or “I had a roommate that we called one-handed Biellmann.”
Interment is scheduled for Wednesday at noon at the Fading Memories Estates. A brief service, consisting primarily of a drum solo, will be held graveside. No enemies of the deceased, please. In lieu of flowers, a gift of cash or animal feed may be donated to the Recently Desegregated Petting Zoo.