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The Gypsy's Address

“Dear sir!” Strange addressed Nancom Poop: “You have conspicuously thin hair! Who stand behind you in line can’t help but stare!”

 

The auditorium boomed with laughter, quaking to the rafters as Mayor Poop ran his fingers through his hair. The mediator gave up, threw his hands in the air and walked off the stage which Strange was working, pacing back and forth: “You don’t cripple typewriters so typists can’t work! You don’t cripple guitars so Brian Setzer can’t play!! You don’t cripple trucks so truckers nod off, then jerk awake just in time on the road to stay! Trucking companies will replace lies with truth! Replacing the word ‘safety” with the word ‘profit’ is an honest start!”

 

“Someone stop this bumpkin’s chatter! What she’s saying doesn’t matter!” exploded Mayor Poop.

 

“Read between the lines!” Something answered.

 

“Something Strange! . . Go! . . Something Strange! . . Go! . . Something Strange! . . Go!”

 

“Truck stops will cease placing advertising on urinal walls! Truckers don’t need crap! They need news, weather, something to help them laugh!”

 

“Plutocracy, not democracy!” Poop pounded his fists on his podium. He was beginning to lose it, beginning to tell the truth: “Democracy is a face for what’s the other case!”

 

“Something Strange! . . Go! . . Something Strange! . . Go! . . Something Strange! . . Go!”

 

“The work week, not slave week, is four on, three off! Unless you like three on, four off, better!”

 

“To that I object! Seven on, zero off, is correct! The people exist to support the select! That’s a ninety-hour work week, half paid!” Now Mayor Poop was furious. The more was to his aid the less money others made.

 

“California will pay truckers a hundred dollars to enter their state, to make it worth the bother to bring its citizens freight! It will likewise pay truckers a hundred dollars upon leaving! As an expression of gratitude! To compensate for past offenses against hospitality!”

 

“This woman in her sexy tank top might be attractive! But it’s clear that her mind is inactive!” Poop leaned into his microphone: “I, however, propose change in more of the same!”

 

“Something Strange! . . Go! . . Something Strange! . . Go! . . Something Strange! . . Go!”

 

“Even if I had a truck it would tend to perplex wy as to trucking this nut has such a complex!” Poop dissembled, now beginning to find himself again, as he was a director on the board of three trucking companies.

 

“I don’t know, Mr. Poop, exactly what you’re selling. But as to ‘why’, when you speak please improve your spelling!” Strange had no notion why she’d said what she’d said. Nor that she’d orbited a psychic center, just joking. But the great hall rocked with laughter.

 

“Something Strange! . . Go! . . Something Strange! . . Go! . . Something Strange! . . Go!”

 

“Brazil has been the fifty-third state of the Union for eight years now in this world . . .” Strange began to wax more philosophical, again at her podium. Old Penny, unseen by those backstage, silently walked up from the edge of the curtain to stand behind her, a little to her right, then tapped her left shoulder. She turned her head but no one was there. Penny shifted to her left, then tapped her right shoulder. Now she knew: “Penny!” turning to face him as the audience was laughing.

 

“Faint!” he whispered, then pointed his finger toward her navel. She bent her head to look, upon which he scooped her over his shoulder. He turned to the audience with, “She falls for it every time!  Meanwhile, you’re next mayor is being kidnapped!” After which Penny disappeared behind the curtain, Strange draped over his shoulder, bewildered upon her so swift exit from a career in oratory.

 

All of which the audience found humorous and charming. And found Mayor Poop a little vexed. He smiled at the people in the great hall. He’d already lost face and that last act he couldn’t replace. Following a prank by Old Penny was like trying to upstage Will Rogers, with or without lariat. Nancom struggled to find something humorous to say but could think of nothing. For, in addition, he had some suspicion that his planned mission that day had failed his ambition, due something to that stranger he’d never seen before who had carried his opponent offstage. It was all most perplexing, compelling him to make it snappy:

 

“And that’s the difference between an amateur and a professional politician! Thank you! I hope you enjoyed the show! Thank you! Thank you!” Nancom waved to the audience as he backed his way to the other edge of the stage from which Old Penny had entered. He slipped through the curtain and stood in the shadows to ponder the situation when he heard Something’s voice:

 

“I’m not finished!” giving Old Penny a jab in the ribs.

 

“Ah!” Penny grunted and stopped. “I know! You’ve not even started. . . Mayor Strange.”

 

“You’ll put that woman down or lose a few ribs when I do the punching,” the top Hand spoke, confronting Penny. Penny leaned over to place Strange on her feet.

 

“The woman whose image you’ve been prejudicing is all but to her kidnappers missing,” Penny explained to Strange. “Says Cuddly.”

 

This took no time for Something to comprehend. “That’s true,” Strange explained to the tough-looking Hand. “I’m not Strange. I’m a twin.”

 

“I’ve known Something for thirteen years,” the Hand squinted back. “She’s never mentioned a twin.”

 

“Rather than speak how many more, let’s just say she’s not twin-poor. Which is irrelevant just now. We need to find Miss Strange.”

 

The Hand took a moment to contemplate, ‘til Miss Strange to a kidnapper he could relate. He nodded his head to the back of the curtain toward where Poop had stood at his podium.

 

“Mayor Poop?” Penny asked.

 

“Don’t trust any cops,” warned the Hand.

 

Which was all Nancom Poop needed to hear before he slipped out to his limousine to phone the Chief of Police. Nancom couldn’t know that Penny and Strange drove big trucks. But the police knew the Hand and his old pickup, who presently gave Penny and Strange directions to the crossroads and left Memphis with his Side as fast as the crowds in the streets would permit.

 

“Cuddly Wuddly was a sweet little pig, no doubt. But now he’s one more pig the world will do without,” burped Makin’s twin, dropping a well-gnawed bone into a trashcan: “Let’s go home and count my money,” standing to remove the large napkin tucked into the neck of the t-shirt beneath her suspender overalls

 

“Target on the move,” Makin’ CB’d the Punc, smiling like a ghoul. “My stool shall soon consist of a fool.”

 

“As to what leaves your butt after stuffing your gut cut the scuttlebutt. You’re not the pig I’m after.”

 

“Then why are you following me?” Makin’ frowned, confused.

 

Nancom’s limousine, escorted by a number of police cars, pulled up near the pickup truck where the two cops were waiting with Something’s double. Her ankles were untied, after which she was pushed to the driver-side rear door of Nancom’s Caddy and forced inside to sit across from the Mayor.

 

“Welcome, Miss Strange,” Nancom smiled. “Your political future is in for a change. Thanks to you, we’ll soon some happiness arrange. It’s said there are fish in the Caribbean glad as can be to nibble on human cuisine.” Something’s twin sneezed. “Let’s go,” Nancom ordered his driver in a white suit and cap, then pulled a tissue from a box and offered it to Strange.

 

The score faded from Strunz and Farah back to Setzer material, namely, Broken Down Piece of Junk, because that’s what the Matador’s old Mack truck sometimes was. At the rear of the cattle hauler he noticed a cloud of dust rising in the distance several miles away, seeming to approach across a slightly lower plain from where he sat. He pulled a collapsible telescope from an inside breast pocket and could barely make out a gray limousine with several police cars racing behind it. He ran up to his truck and stepped up on the battery box below his driver door. Now he could make out an old pickup truck perhaps a mile behind the police. He climbed onto the faded black hood of his Mack and gleaned two big trucks, side by side, half a mile behind the pickup. The Matador then scrambled over the windshield and stood atop his cab. From there he could barely make out what could have been ten more police chasing a mile behind the semis. But wait! He leaned over to his trailer and stepped onto a ladder at its front corner. He climbed above Belle and saw two more big trucks, again side by side, a couple miles behind the convoy of police.

 

“I’m a genius,” the Matador said to himself as he began to climb the rails back down to the ground: “I told you the answer would occur to us, Belle! Ready to ride?”

 

“Baaawl!” replied the Matador’s giant friend, stomping at the floor of the trailer.

 

The Matador slipped his telescope back into his breast pocket and pulled a tasty onion from the other, which he fed to Belle before rushing up to jump into his truck. Not long before Nancom’s Caddy was spitting gravel past the Matador who now started his engine. He waited for the Hand and his Side to pass in the pickup, then began to put it into gear as Penny and Something whipped past: “Let’s politely put some strut in the way of those troublemakers,” said the Matador as he pulled onto the road in the direction of those ahead. The police were soon on his tail, unable to pass as the Matador held them back, keeping enough distance behind Penny and Strange to not lose them. He lit a cigar as he listened to the sirens behind him, urging him to pull out of the way.

 

“You can’t hurry love,” sang the Matador in response. “No, you just have to wait. Love don’t come easy. It’s a game of give and take . . .” The score following with Gene and Eddie by the Stray Cats.

 

In that world the northeast perimeter of the Amazon wasn’t far from a desert extending all the way to the States. Into which Nancom’s limo driver led the chase twenty-eight miles before Nancom phoned his waiting pilot and ordered: “Start the engines. Lower the ramp.” He could soon see his cargo jet come into view near his compound of semi trucks and trailers. He turned to Something’s twin: “For where you’re going there aren’t any maps. You’ll soon be sinking to the bottom of the sea in scraps.”

 

“If your role as a mayor is any evidence then it’s likely what you say is foolish nonsense,” Miss Strange replied. She’d been secretly observing the driver’s rearview mirror for several miles. The old pickup whipping up dust half a mile behind belonged to a man who wasn’t her top Hand for nothing. As to the two big trucks behind him she hadn’t a clue.

 

“What on earth?” Penny said to himself as he looked with awe just beyond the cargo jet. He grabbed binoculars.

 

Something grabbed binoculars as well and peered in the direction of a great cloud of dust roiling into the sky from horizon to horizon. “What is that?” she CB’d whoever could answer.

 

The Hand was also peering through binoculars. “It’s the ballerinas,” he coolly replied into his radio, dumb to not have in his parcel of Earth.

 

“Ballerinas?” Penny asked.

 

“Stampeding again! There could be a million of them, pirouetting through everything in their way!”

 

The shaken pilot in the cargo plane waited as long as he could before closing the ramp and beginning to taxi away from the horde of leaping ballerinas. But they were already too close, advancing at forty miles an hour. They toppled his left wing and the jet soon disappeared like a dead dragonfly palled by a mass of pink and light blue ants. The pilot’s screams were as nothing compared to the roaring buzz produced by hundreds of thousands of ballerinas in tutus slashing through the air with their spinning limbs. Raising enormous clouds of dust half a mile into the atmosphere, they engulfed Nancom’s truck compound, the guards’ weapons useless to save them, the mechanics in the shop having nowhere to run.

 

“What’s life but a trend, of things we don’t comprehend?” Penny turning his head to us, Kia, restless on our perch.

 

“Well, I’ll be a fuzz ball of hair fluff, clinging ‘cause I’m tough,” uttered Nancom as he watched his plane disappear beneath a great mound of ballerinas. They’d busted through the windshield and took turns hopping into the cockpit to get a chew of the pilot’s flesh already nigh nothing but bone. Nancom’s driver veered to the right to avoid the advancing horde, speeding along their endless wall of dancing limbs, slicing through anything in their way like helicopter propellers.

 

“A cloning experiment gone awry about thirty years ago!” the Hand explained as he steered to follow the limo, now pulling up between it and the ballerinas to head it away from the stampede. He removed a rifle from his rear rack and fired at a ballerina approaching too closely ahead of the others. “This happens every four years!” His Side grabbed a rifle as well, opened the passenger window to sit on its edge to fire at any pretty monster menacing too near.

 

Something’s double sneezed. Nancom withdrew another tissue and handed it to her. He’d thought twice about simply opening her door and dumping her out at fifty miles per hour to be devoured by the horde: “This isn’t my solution to put your life to conclusion. Consider yourself blessed that you’ve been such a pest. Because now I’m going to save you . . . for the torture that’s the best.”

 

Belle bawled in the trailer as the Matador now closed in behind Old Penny to avoid the stampede approaching his flank: “Don’t worry, Belle,” he said to himself amidst the many rattles of his old Mack truck. “I took this direction to prove that it’s dangers are slight compared to braving one another in a bullfight!”

 

The score began to change to Drive Like Lightning (Crash Like Thunder) as one of the cops behind the Matador slammed into a gully in the earth and bogged to a stop. Makin’ sped past him, desperately spinning his wheels, and watched in the mirror as scores of ballerinas consumed him out of sight. The Punctuator, bringing up the tail of the chase, now in goggles, fired his machine gun into one surreal mob upon the next of not so lovely dancers. They went down row after row but just kept coming.

 

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