Say a Prayer if you have a God
by Austin Nash
Illustration by Ans Purins
Let me start out by apologizing. It’s what I do. I wake up in the morning like I went on a Tequila bender at a friend’s house the night before. “Uhhh… duhhh… sorry about that, uhhh… I can fix that, really.”
It doesn’t matter what for. I really don’t give a shit. Apologies are a commodity for me, I make a few for the stockpile when I’m not doing anything, like, sitting in a waiting room in a doctor’s office, or when I’m writing music reviews or something.
Let me start out again by apologizing to all the ladies (shit, you’re not supposed to call them that anymore, are you?), for some of the things I said last issue, and for the things I’m going to say this issue… and hell, I might as well get one in for the next issue, too. Sorry. I’m bitter right now. As a friend of mine says, “Beer with me.”
Recently that same friend asked me a very good question. And I know now that the answer to a very good question never starts out with “Gee, that’s a good question!” The question was:
“Why are you embarrassed to be an American?”
I realize that this is something larger than I. An opinion to be shared by all 250 million of us. I sincerely ask you, as readers, hopefully all with feelings and opinions, to write in to Lollipop with your own answer to this question if it fits your dogma. I really want to know, and we would like to give you the golden opportunity to let the rest of the Lollipop readers know. This is America. Let’s have some participation. Me? I am going to tell a story related to me by someone more conscious than myself most of the time and who said it best. Let me begin. Oh… I’m sorry again also.
General Kocraw kicked dirt on Private Butsor’s boots, scrounged for a cigar butt, lit it, readjusted his balls and leaned in close ’til he and Private Butsor were nose to nose. Corporal Mangs stood quietly off to one side thinking about how the latest UFO sighting can neither be confirmed nor denied. Leave that up to The X-Files. Her uniform was cut low and the whole scene reminded Private Butsor of some old cartoon in the newspapers about a beetle before literacy was wiped out in America. She chewed on a pen and drifted around blankly with the wind in her hair and one hand in her panties. It seemed to be going around. Butsor’s hands were tied behind his back around a pole. He started to drool. Shit, he thought.
The General stared across the last four inches of government real-estate with an “I can’t fuckin’ believe it” look on his face. After about five minutes he started:
“Private Butsor, do you know why you are here?”
“Say that again!!!”
“I know why you want me here, sir. But as for why I am actually here? No.”
“OK… why do I want you here? You tell me.”
“Because you’re gay and sweet on me.”
“Don’t get smart.”
“OK… duhhh… uhh? Duhhh… awwwkkkll… duhh?”
“Once more!!!,” raising a bronze replica of Stonewall Jackson.
“Because my father was on death row, because my father’s father was on death row, because my father’s father’s father was on death row, because… ”
One hour later:
“Private Butsor, do you know why you are here?”
“Private, do you know why grass turns green when it rains?”
“Certainly, sir. The absorption of water by plants creates a hypotonic solution within the cellular structure. The positive salty ions cause a semi-permeable breech in the cell wall allowing for the inflow of water into the cells causing them to swell. Think of it as, the cells got thirsty sitting in a pool of salt water. This also allows for an intake of iron, which acts as a transport ion in the process of photosynthesis, promoting the production of chlorophyll. This makes the plants appear full and green, sir. Also, lighting causes a chemical reaction in the air that produces soluble nitrogen which is absorbed by plants through osmosis.”
“WRONG ANSWER, IDIOT!!! The rain just washes the dirt off.” General Kocraw paced with hands clasped behind his back, breathing smoke like a dragon, he was danger, he was fire. He was a fat man. Corporal Mangs watched his fat gut, took a few notes and smiled. He looked down her shirt.
“The charges against you are serious. We do not accept this kind of behavior from anyone. It’s damaging to the local and national peace and the processes we use to control the populace. Stupidity is the obvious replacement now that everyone has figured the religion thing out, and if you can’t be stupid, you just don’t fit in this society anymore. YOU ARE ASHAMED TO BE A STUPID AMERICAN, AND IT IS EMBARRASSING FOR US TO HAVE YOU AROUND!!!”
“Sir, besides fuck you, there are a few things I’d like to say.” The General coughed and spit a time or two, and almost shit his pants. He had to bend over slightly and concentrate for a minute to stop it. “WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!”
“Sir… On paper I am here tied to this pole calmly awaiting death in answer to charges that I vehemently oppose the direction of development that this country is taking. In reality that is true, but not without reason. I imagine myself sitting on a grassy hill under a lone lemon tree vibrating in the sun, dreaming away an afternoon fishing the Au Sabel with a half pint of whiskey, but the reality is that I live in a stinking city bombarded by a plethora of advertisements selling hot pussy and green gobs of slop called a flubber, court cases and judicial review TV attempting to give us a taste of pure justice, government interventions deciding the fate of my children’s lives before they’ve lived, congressmens’ fat wives censoring words they cannot pronounce, Bill Cosby in a tap-dancing contest, and an ever-ingraining capitalistic ideology that speaks this: `If there are 9 races now, why not have 10, because 100% of the losers will stick around for that last race.’
“Imagine your daughter trying to gain entrance to West Point and being denied access because affirmative action gives precedence to a minority to maintain a racial quota. Imagine a criminal being set free because 1% of the evidence against him or her was collected outside of a predetermined process. Imagine a pauper in Russia waiting gratefully in line for a potato and a fifth of vodka while watching OJ, on the only TV around, play golf and throw money around after killing two people. Imagine your child being murdered in Tibet while America makes stupid movies like Red Corner and Kundun and Seven Years In Tibet, all jacking off in a steamy glop-wadded puddle of silliness at the faults of a regime of which they know nothing. Richard Gere is a moron, and Brad Pitt’s mother was putana. Life on Earth is not an episode of Friends. Nothing is, yet people in London can watch the show. I just feel like somewhere in the disassembled Slavic nation there are a bunch of drunk guys wringing it out on a Big Mac and laughing their balls off. America has no shame, no class, no dignity, no perseverance, and no real concern for the rest of the planet. You won’t catch a farmer in Bogota slurping off of some guy on a street corner, you won’t read about a South African hero going down in martyrdom because he asked some woman to go down on him. We elect a leader and tie his hands to this same pole I am tied to and still expect the national debt to be eliminated while we make fun of him, invade his privacy daily, and file lawsuits against his personal life.
“The city of gold has played out its lie, and proven that it has the same problems as any collective of humanity on the globe, adding to it the conflicts inherent in a multicultural society. So why don’t they act like it? Our problems aren’t unique, we just let everyone on the planet into the bedroom for a good laugh. I feel like a jackass made out of pink plastic. Give me butterfly weddings and brewery-fresh beer, give me a gun to shoot Jesse Helms (here it comes, boss), bestow upon my being the dignity to hold my head up and look in the eye an immigrant from Poland, about whom I could tell a thousand jokes, and say: ‘I am an American,’ without him controlling his laughter only to avoid being deported. Fuck marching bands, what happened to Shostakovich?
“The only thing Americans do that other countries acknowledge with pride is our cops beat the hell out of the lower class. This is a complex I’ve developed over time that is stronger than my belief that it is not true. I’ve had it! Divided we stand, together we rise, but we’re not together, and I’ll take the death over the shame. Why aren’t you embarrassed in the eyes of the world?”
Ready, aim, fire. And the bullets ripped through Private Butsor’s chest as he screamed:
“SOME FAT LADY IN A CHURCH SOMEWHERE FORGIVES YOU!!!”
There you have it, folks. Private Butsor ran out of breath. I deleted out the other 27 pages of his vapor as he was just blithering and really needs to compose his thoughts more slowly and over more than an hour. It all seems inane presented in this fashion, wait… I am going to fart now… OK. You can all sense the urgency and the fundamentals of his frustration. Just go out into the street by your home with your dog, stand in solitude, light a cigarette, and remember that time you were at the Galesburg speedway watching the Race of Doom on LSD in ’88, look at the star that you gave to your lover three years ago, and listen to the guy yell “Where’d you get your license, asshole?!” and the other guy says, “Fuck you, motherfucker,” and see if your solitude is fucked out raw and wasted. They are both late for the results of the Nanny Trial.
It’s so small… so small of a man that it takes to do the wrong things. Ain’t it?