short stories, comment, articles, humour and photography
The closing moments of last week’s episode of Modern First Family left viewers all over America on the edge of their sofas, biting their nails, with many reduced to uncontrollable weeping. In a shocking denouement that shocked everybody, shock-haired Arnold Lump, played by bewigged Hollywood heartthrob, Reginald Crump, stepped forward to claim the keys to the White House and become president-elect of the United States having beaten the bookies’ favourite, Wimsy Clampett, by a short head and a long mane.
This week’s episode began with a tired and emotional Wimsy Clampett getting caught behind the scenes, in a state worse than Arkansas, by a national radio journalist on the make. Having lost the plot completely, as well as the presidential race, the wild-eyed housewife from Michigan brandishes a broken bottle of Stoli at her entire election team. Her hair all mussed and her cheeks stained with tears, the working mother of one throws a tantrum, before collapsing unconscious. As luck would have it, her husband, Billy-Joe ‘Beau’ Clampett, had just finished zipping up his fly after emerging from a wardrobe – where he’d been cementing a secret affair with his glamorous secretary, Mona Teflonski – when he manages to catch his bedraggled spouse in his arms. Having danced with the polls and flirted with the big punters right up to last orders, Wimsy’s dream had turned to ashes. Her lifelong ambition to make America great again by obliterating as many faraway nations – too small to defend themselves – as possible had been thwarted.
In a soft-focus black and white flashback the U.S.’s favourite soap took us back to small-town Illinois in the 1960s. At a time when all-American teenager, Wimsy Proudhon, was known as the girl-next-door to her next door neighbours we learn the young student was no stranger to losing. A wide-eyed, dark-haired beauty always open to change, Wimsy swapped from Republican to Democrat with the shifting winds. We see her as one of the Silvertone Sisters helping crypto-fascist Larry Silvertone lose his presidential bid for the Republicans in the 1964 presidential election. Little did the innocent college girl know just half a century later, she would come to experience the bitter taste of an even more humiliating presidential defeat of her very own at the same time as having to bear the indignity of being called Clampett. Making the decision to settle for the Democrat Party, preach feminism, bleach her hair, and marry a randy boy named Clampett, hadn’t been such good ideas after all. In doing away with real political choice by turning the blue party red Wimsy had only succeeded in handing victory to her rival on a platter.
The scene moves to present-day upstate New York. Soon after the election results are announced, the unassuming Clampetts seek sanctuary at their modest sixteen-bedroomed wood cabin in the hamlet of Chappaqua. They have always sought to keep wearisome details of their private lives far from the glare of publicity, the cruel rumours of satanic rituals, multiple-adultery, drug-fuelled orgies and hereditary insanity having taken their toll. Away from the prying eyes of the media wolf pack they feel free to tear their hair out and scream at each other, before deciding the other was to blame.
Meanwhile, at an age when most men spend most of their time planning routes according to the locations of toilets, Lump has bigger ideas.
Back at the Lump Hall Hotel in Gotham City, a jubilant Arnold Lump, thanks the servile corporate media for the tireless work they devoted to ensure his victory by supporting the campaign of Wimsy Clampett. Buoyed by thoughts of Europe’s snivelling leaders grovelling on all fours before him, after openly ridiculing him for months, he goes over his plan to turn the entire European continent into a tasteful Lump de luxe Golfodrome, an exclusive playground for the extremely wealthy.
As congratulations seep in from hypocritical toadies all over the world, the despot in waiting and his minions review his promise to make America great again by building a Great Wall of America. Intended to be visible from space, Lump sees it as his destiny to save hordes of poverty-stricken Mexican immigrants from having to slave away in the kitchens and gardens of Los Angeles millionaires, for well below minimum rates, by making it impossible for them to get across the border. With plenty of unemployed Americans who can be forced to work for just as little, or even less, it’s a win-win situation for the entire 1%. In an effort to counter accusations of racism and misogyny, he plans to make all desirous females of Slavic descent welcome in the U.S. to work as pole dancers and fashion models.
One humble minion reminds his overlord the Mexicans have refused to cough up for the wall on the grounds the U.S. has always claimed Mexico to be the U.S.’s back yard; not the other way round. With a sweep of his arm Lump denies he ever said wall, and decides to put a great fence instead. It will be just like the great fence his uncle Silas Lump put up in his back yard that got felled by a great storm. On second thoughts, perhaps Uncle Silas’s fence wasn’t quite so great after all, so it’ll be greater than that. Financed by taxing the great unwashed, it is hoped the Lump Great Fence of America will also be visible from space. Failing that, it will be visible by naked eye from the other side of the Rio Grande.
Snow falls, a colossal mansion rears up on the screen to the sound of tiny children’s voices singing Jingle Bells. It is Christmas Eve at Chateau Lump. The scene melts into one of a massive fake fir tree sprayed with 14 carat gold dust standing in the centre of a vast ornate room in mock-classical style. The tree’s branches and twigs strain beneath the weight of hundreds of tasteful golden baubles made of real gold, and countless yards of sparkling tinsel. Thousands of tiny lights twinkle gaily. On the mantelpiece, above a roaring artificial log fire with imitation flames, a huge marble bust of Arnold Lump wearing a crown of gilt laurel leaves stands proud. Mince pies and crystal tumblers of green Chartreuse on the rocks are being served to the Lumps from gilt trays carried aloft by busty, East European beauties wearing nothing more than Santa hats.
Undistracted by the naked beauties, and undaunted by the immensity of the task before him, President-elect Lump settles in front of the telly to watch a self-help video with the title Learn to be a President in Time for Christmas Day. After a few minutes he asks the glamorous Mrs Lump if there’s a video called ‘Learn to be a president in time for New Year’ before switching to cable.
Meanwhile, in rundown tenements and trailer parks up and down the country baskets of deplorables celebrate Lump’s victory and Christmas by sucking at beer cans and guzzling hog-flavoured potato chips from jumbo packs while sat in front of their TVs watching fake reality shows. All over America, wherever TV news teams have been instructed to assemble, dozens of revolting Clampett supporters take to streets waving placards reviling Lump.
The scene transforms for one more time as the last episode in the current series of Modern First Family ends with Beau Clampett flying off to a small Virgin Island with an old friend from his days as a prison visitor for a secret rendezvous with Mona Teflonski. Meanwhile, back in Chappaqua, a glassy-eyed Wimsy Proudhon Clampett kneels on the floor to place her head in a toilet bowl while clutching its rim. The floor is strewn with empty vodka bottles and plastic vials spilling pills. Confused? America is.
Stop press with the latest lead story from Fake News: In Los Angeles Modern First Family’s scriptwriter was discovered with a noose round his neck, two bulletholes in his head and a knife in his back. The LAPD are treating the incident as suicide. A note found on the floor says he couldn’t remember writing the last episode as he had been stuck in a snowstorm of cocaine at the time. The note went on to make the bizarre claim the head of the FBI must’ve stolen all the scripts and changed the ending. He was almost fairly sure the original script had Whimsy Clampett sitting behind the desk in the Oval Room. But he couldn’t swear to it.
Hold your verve
More Coyotes than Wolves
My journey into sketching and drawing in and around Jimena de la Frontera, Andalucia
Gene Logsdon Memorial Blogsite
Art, music, books, history & current events
A life in a photobooth.
Journeys Through Place and Time