How I lost my Surreal Posse Membership Card


Date: Mon, 1 Mar 1999 18:13:27 -0600
From: "JH3" 


"Surrealism, eh?" said the man sitting next to me at the bar.

"Yeah," I said.

"So... you're a surrealist, then?" he asked, clearly fighting a losing
battle to keep a straight face.

"That's what I said, buddy. Of course it depends on your definition."

The man smiled and pulled out his wallet. "I'll give you $100 to switch to
postmodern neo-expressionism," he said, waving the bills in my face.

"No deal," I said, trying not to look insulted. "Once you've been surreal,
you can't go back, my friend."

The man turned away and took another sip of his whiskey-&-bathwater.
"Okay, fine, I'll give the money to somebody else."

"You do that."

And with that, the man lurched out of the barstool, went over to a booth in
the corner, and handed the money over to a slightly fat middle-aged man
resplendent in a purple velvet nightgown and pink wimple that made him look
like an inverted Teletubby. Like *he* needs it, I thought. I was beginning
to wonder if maybe I should have taken him up on his offer - after all, it
had been over 14 years since I'd last had more than 75 cents in my pocket.
Of course, that was understandable; 14 years ago I started wearing the kilt,
which has no pockets, unless I'd just been missing them. A quick
double-check revealed that indeed there were no pockets, but of course that
didn't mean that there *couldn't* be pockets in some other kilt. It all
depended on who was making the kilt, and how they felt about pockets. But I
was getting off on a tangent again. The money, that was it. It's always
about money. Money and sex... Money, sex, and maybe those thin plastic
bin-liners too. And kilts.

The man returned to the barstool next to me. "That guy back there - you know
who he is? Julian-friggin'-Schnabel, that's who. *He* isn't afraid to give
up his entire personal aesthetic for a few bucks. He's got G-U-T-S guts,
that's what he's got! So what's your problem, buddy? And don't give me any
of that whiny-ass artistic integrity bullsh*t!"

I was beginning to get pissed off, and not just because of the totally
unnecessary censorship of what should have been perfectly innocent
vulgarities. "Okay, I'll tell you what my problem is," I said, turning on
the fake Aussie accent. "It's... it's just that I..." I couldn't think of
one. "I don't have the right hairstyle," I finally blurted out. "Besides,
it's been a rough day." I couldn't stand it anymore and ran out of the bar
without paying.

It had started to rain, and I was worried I'd ruin my Armani jacket, which
when worn with the kilt gave me a rather jaunty look, I thought. Luckily, a
limousine passed by carrying a few supermodels, and I was able to flag it
down by waving around some powdered sugar in a plastic bag as if it were
full of illegal drugs. Supermodels... gets 'em every time.

Back at the apartment, I noticed the answering machine blinking. Funny, I
didn't realize I had one of those things. In fact, I didn't remember
actually having a phone. Suddenly I realized that it wasn't even my
apartment. Probably the wrong city, too, for all I knew. Snorting powdered
sugar with supermodels will do that to you. I grabbed some mixed nuts out of
a tray in the hallway and got the hell out of there. But I couldn't remember
where I lived, and now I couldn't even remember my own name. I didn't want
to find out, either; for all I knew it could be "Lloyd." I also realized
that what I'd thought were mixed nuts were actually leather peas, and they
were rattling very loudly. So I threw them away and went back to the bar.

The man was still sitting there. "I knew you'd be back," he said. "You've

I hadn't, but I played along anyway for the amusement value if nothing else.
Besides, I was beginning to think he might have a point. "Okay, supposing I
really do give up surrealism for some other genre," I said. "What's in it
for me? Is there a dental plan?"

"Of course! Full coverage, plus comprehensive medical and 401(k)," he said,
brightly. "Not to mention our bi-weekly hairstyling allowance. Oh, and
remind me to go over our bonus incentives. You get ten percent of your
annual stipend for each rock star over 50 years of age that you manage to

What the hell, I thought. Who could turn something like that down? "Okay,
I'm in," I said, only half-dejectedly.

The man shook my hand enthusiastically, then pulled some papers out of his
inside-coat packet. "Here's your exclusive contract, my friend. Just sign
here, here and here... oh yes, don't forget here, and here... and we'll need
your shoe size, obviously. I think you'll realize soon enough that you've
made a wise choice. I think there's even some old Microsoft stock
options in there somewhere!"

I signed.

"Oh, and here's your first assignment - right up your alley, I'd say. Why
don't you take a minute to read it over?"

I read it over.

He smiled broadly. "What did I tell you! Now get the hell out of this seedy
dive and don't come back until you've negatively de-constructed all of Robyn
Hitchcock's lyrics both backwards AND forwards!"

Jeez, they want forwards too, I thought. I should have known there had to be
a catch. Goddamn lifetime contracts... "Can I have some roast quail first?"
I asked, knowing what the answer would be.

"No," he replied.



- -John "Yup, that was my story alright" Hedges

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