Interviewer: Are we on? Did you give me the sign? Not yet? Now? Now? Off we go then! Once again this is Sir Bertrand Lord Barrymore with you on the streets of every truly exciting city in the world and conducting fascinating interviews with whomever should come our way. In the Big Apple our environment is rich with subjects so let’s get started straight away. We have here, Cletus, a local civil servant as our first guest.
Interviewer: What do you do exactly, and for how long have you been doing it?
Cletus: Sanitation engineer for twenty or thirty years. I’m not a civil servant, neither.
Interviewer: Oh, my earpiece is saying otherwise! And, the man standing next to your equipment must be your coworker.
Cletus: Hank drives the truck.
Interviewer: Fascinating! What is the oddest item you ever discovered in your travels?
Cletus: We just go in a big circle. Ain’t really traveling.
Interviewer: But, of course. I’ll make a note.
Interviewer: So, moving on, what is the most interesting item you have discovered in your…circles?
Cletus: Hank’s wife cheating at the hotel where they sell them blow up dolls.
Interviewer: That would have been my very second guess. Go on.
Cletus: Am I getting paid for this?
Interviewer: No, not a single penny.
Cletus: Then, why am I doing this again?
Interviewer: Because, Cletus, the world yearns for your savvy.
Cletus: It ain’t personal.
Interviewer: That is understood, Cletus. Now, focus, have you ever found a body?
Cletus: Every week. Usually it’s a child or a little kid been shot, or stabbed or choked or hit by some car. Sometimes they scream and scare piss out of me. I almost shot one. Far too many zombie movies out there for some of it not to be true.
Interviewer: We can edit that, right? Excellent. Thank you, Cletus. And now we have, Hank. How does it feel to drive such a big rig, Sir?
Hank: It shakes like a unbalanced washer gone crazy all the time. The fumes leaks all into the cab. Defroster only works in the summer. But, it steers and it stops.
Interviewer: Safety is important in most walks of life.
Hank: We use it not to kill people.
Interviewer: Indeed. So, tell us about a typical day driving that circle.
Hank: What circle? Did Cletus tell you that? I drive a route that is mapped out by a GPS and monitored with Nextel radios. And, that is exactly what I do every single day. Now, if I piss on your leg will you get back in that Jap van of yours and drive off the GEORGE WASHINGTON Bridge, you Limey prick?
Interviewer: Cut. Charlie, who do we have next?
Interviewer: Hello, Sherry. Tell us what brings you to the big city? Was it perhaps to find fame and fortune as a Broadway Star?
Sherry: No, that’s not it. Do you want another guess?
Interviewer: It must be tourism then.
Sherry: Wrong again. I’m here for a convention with the Iowa Department of Corrections. You see, I am a union steward and I get to go to all the conventions.
Interviewer: I see. That must be an exciting occupation. I’m sure you have an interesting tale you can share with my listeners.
Sherry: Is this going out live?
Interviewer: No. We tape the interviews and then edit them in the studio for airing later.
Sherry: Okay, as long as no one can hear it then.
Interviewer: Feel free.
Sherry: Well, I work in a facility for female grade convicts. It’s what we call maximum security. Lots of interesting stuff happens all the time really. Last week this con took a correctional officer hostage with a Tampon soaked in ammonia and a sharpened spork. Do you want to hear about that one?
Interviewer: By all means.
Sherry: This con, let’s call her Sharika, was a known trouble maker and serving triple life sentences for triple murder and two years for doing so with a gun. She lost an eye the last time she required physical management when a tazer needle was accidently shot into her eyeball by a rookie correctional officer. So, Sharika is still pissed off about all that already and didn’t take well to the correctional officer instructing her to finish her meal and leave the secure dining area. Anyway, when the Heavy Response Team arrived, of which I am the lead member, it was an obvious Level Three Threat Event and so we employed Tactical Penetration Schedule One as per the manual.
Interviewer: I won’t bother asking. Please continue.
Sherry: Just so you know, every correctional officer signs a waiver before going to work in a maximum security correctional facility saying something like they can’t never sue and ain’t nobody going to negotiate on their behalf in a given hostage situation like the one we have here.
Interviewer: It’s why correctional officers are paid so well, after all.
Sherry: I don’t know about all of that, but we ain’t exactly poor and that’s because of the union.
Interviewer: Of course. Please continue with your story.
Sherry: Well, because ammonia was involved, we had us a hazmat situation and so that crew had to arrive first, and then we took action. We then proceeded to work Sharika and her hostage correctional officer into a corner and then all ten of us fired our Tazer needles at the same time, shotgun style, and then we rushed in with riot shields and Billyclubs and beat the living shit out of Sharika.
Interviewer: Oh my goodness! And tell me, what of the hostage correctional officer?
Sherry: She took a few needles for the team, but was okay after a few days. She’s working the property room now. She’s too jerky to work with the cons since then.
Interviewer: Thank you for sharing, Sherry. Who do we have next, Charlie?
Interviewer: Hello, Mr. Tony. Tell us what brings you to the Big City?
Tony: You need to move to someplace else that ain’t here, like yesterday.
Interviewer: Oh, do we really? Isn’t this America, the home of the brave and land of the free? I have a permit, you know.
Tony: Listen, you want to hear stories, don’t you?
Interviewer: Yes, I am a man on the street reporter, after all.
Tony: Okay, I got your story. There was this guy on this street and this other guy who, for all intents and purposes, owned that street and he didn’t want no English pricks on that street. Now, this guy, he has very angry friends and is very well connected, and he just doesn’t give a flying fuck about nobody. Are you getting my drift here?
Charlie: Pack up the van, boys!
Interviewer: Now wait just one minute here!
Tony: You’ve been warned.
Charlie: And we’re out of here.
Interviewer: And we’re back again and at a new location sure to bring us interesting subjects. Who’s up first, Charlie?
Charlie: Richard, who works at the zoo.
Interviewer: That sure must be interesting work, Richard! What exactly do you do at the zoo?
Richard: I works with the monkeys. People call me the Monkey Man. I love everything monkeys. Even my favorite band is called, The Monkees. My second favorite band is, The Gorillaz. I have a monkey shift knob in my Yugo.
Interviewer: How long have you worked at the zoo, Richard?
Richard: Seventeen and one half years. I started right out of grad school. I did my thesis on acute primate behavior relative to chemically induced psychosis, and that got me in good with all the zoo big shots. Oh, I should mention, I went to the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor.
Interviewer: It seems everyone does. So, Richard, tell us about a typical day at the zoo working with the monkeys.
Richard: I get there around nine and watch the guys clean the cages and feed the monkeys until about ten. After that, I go to my office, which has a window looking out onto the monkeys, and catch up on my email and the news on my computer. Then, I go to lunch for a couple hours and if I come back I run my experiments.
Interviewer: And what are you experimenting on currently?
Richard: I call it the Reverse Fish Bowl Effect.
Interviewer: That sounds interesting.
Richard: I like to think so.
Interviewer: Tell us about it.
Richard: Well, I am attempting to train the monkeys to train the people who visit the zoo. I’m using fifty state-of-the-art digital video cameras strategically located in the monkey area, and one camera each dedicated to the actual line of sight of the monkeys. Each monkey has been outfitted with an array of body stimulators which when activated cause them to react in a very specific manner which required months and months of Pavlovian training. During peak visitation hours which is usually the afternoon, I requite myself in a control room and electronically manipulate the behavior of the monkeys any time they are being viewed in the hopes that the viewers will begin mimicking the monkeys they are watching.
Interviewer: I see. So, you are attempting to prove what theory?
Richard: That, monkeys can be used to train humans.
Interviewer: And, have you succeeded?
Richard: You should see the video. Forty-seven point four zero four percent of the time I, or the monkeys, can get a visitor to grab their crotch. Sixty-nine point nine percent of the time the monkeys can make them salute, and nearly ninety-nine percent of the time them monkeys can get people to flip them the bird!
Interviewer: So, what are the possible applications for this new information, Richard?
Richard: I don’t know. Maybe we could get monkeys to teach deaf people sign language or something.
Interviewer: And the zoo pays you to conduct this research?
Richard: They do, but most of my money comes from a grant from the Federal Government. I got close to seven million dollars just because I threw in some stuff about possible military applications. Somehow I have to figure out how to train a monkey to fire an M-16 accurately, and how to be a drill instructor for the Marines Corps, but that shouldn’t be a problem. I got, Moonwatcher, that’s my favorite, playing air guitar and doing laundry, already.
Interviewer: Thank you, Richard. It was very illuminating indeed. Charlie, who do we have next?
Charlie: Harry the homeless guy.
Interviewer: Good afternoon, Mr. Harry. Tell us what brought you to homelessness?
Harry: Am I getting paid for this?
Interviewer: I’ll give you a dollar, how’s that?
Interviewer: So, tell us why you wander the streets aimlessly and without home?
Harry: The government.
Interviewer: We get that a lot. Is yours a special story, Harry?
Harry: No, not really. A motor fell off a military transport plane above Hell, Michigan, and that motor fell on my house and killed it.
Interviewer: Well, that sounds extraordinary, Harry!
Harry: Yeah, my bowling trophy fell off the shelf and conked me on my head and I ain’t been right since. I thought I was going to Washington DC, but somehow I ended up here and they took my deer rifle away. What time is it, anyway?
Interviewer: A quarter to two, Harry?
Harry: No, I mean, what year is it?
Interviewer: Charlie, take Mr. Harry for some coffee, and bring on the next guest please.
Charlie: We have, Chronic, who is a bicycle messenger.
Interviewer: Why hello, Mr. Chronic, glad to have you on the show.
Chronic: Glad to be here.
Interviewer: Tell us about what it’s like to be a bicycle messenger in the Big City.
Chronic: I love it. I get to ride as fast as I want, ignore all the traffic laws, and get paid for it. If it weren’t for all the cars and trucks and shit, I’d be in Heaven.
Interviewer: Tell us about your unique conveyance.
Chronic: I ride a steel frame, single speed, fixed wheel Cannondale with no brakes.
Interviewer: No brakes! Does that ever cause you problems?
Chronic: No. It’s fixed wheel so I can actually brake with my legs. It’s faster and you have much more control. Plus, I can pedal backwards if I need to, and that can come in handy.
Interviewer: How long have you been doing this?
Chronic: Seven years.
Interviewer: What is the most important package you ever delivered?
Chronic: None of them. I mean, I couldn’t care less as long as I get paid.
Interviewer: Traveling so much in such high traffic must be risky. Have you ever had a shunt?
Chronic: You mean a crash?
Chronic: Hundreds of them. The worst is when you hit a pedestrian. People are much more expensive to fix than cars. I’ve had to change my name four times now just to keep ahead of the lawyers and law suits.
Interviewer: How many people have you struck?
Chronic: It’s not really how many as much as it is who. I hit Donald Trump one time when he was getting out of his limo. I hit Derek Jeter outside a night club. I hit Woody Allen wandering down some alley.
Interviewer: I’m impressed. I suppose you notch your bicycle for all such events.
Interviewer: How much longer can you do this sort of work?
Chronic: I don’t know. I got to go now.
Interviewer: Charlie, who do we have next?
Charlie: We have Clarence who is a tax return preparer for H & R Block.
Interviewer: Good day to you, Clarence. What entertaining anecdote might you have for the listening audience?
Clarence: Well, before I worked for H & R Block, I worked for the IRS.
Interviewer: I see.
Clarence: Yes. By far my most interesting case there was auditing Lawrence Taylor.
Interviewer: I am not familiar with this man, Clarence. Why is he so interesting?
Clarence: He was a New York football Giant. Maybe the best defensive player ever to have lived. Ask Joe Thiesman about him. He hit like a Mac truck and partied like Rick James.
Interviewer: I know of none of those people.
Clarence: Be that as it may, I audited Lawrence Taylor’s taxes. You can bleep out his name, right?
Clarence: Good. I could get in a lot of trouble.
Interviewer: Not to worry. Tell us what made Mr. Taylor’s audit so interesting.
Clarence: Well, for one, he tried to deduct drug usage costs, and then personal masseuse costs, and lawyer’s costs, and a boat he drove into a garbage scow and sunk in New York harbor.
Interviewer: That does sound a tad interesting. Go on.
Clarence: The first meeting took place in his limo. He had three of them masseuse girls, a case of Cristal and 60 inch plasma flat screen playing porno clips. The driver carried two hand guns and had a shotgun under the seat. His lawyer rode up front and talked to me over the intercom the whole time.
Interviewer: I can’t imagine why.
Clarence: There was cocaine, also. Or, at least, a fine white powder for inhaling up your nose, as several of the occupants did repeatedly.
Interviewer: Well, that part I can understand.
Clarence: Lawrence picked up this coconut when I first got in the limo, and twisted it open with his bare hands, and asked me if I wanted some fresh coconut milk. YouTube has a video of a gorilla cracking a coconut, but he banged it on some rocks first. Lawrence just growled and that thing snapped like an egg.
Interviewer: My goodness. Did that scare you?
Clarence: Hell no! It was Lawrence Taylor! I gave him a high five and got him to autograph the coconut shell. Do you think Ray Lewis could do that?
Interviewer: If you say so. I understand your American football requires men of great physical and mental thrust, as it were. So, how did the audit come out for Mr. Taylor?
Clarence: It took forever, but we finally came to an agreement. Now, seriously, you can’t tell this part, but I worked it out so the government owed Lawrence money, with interest and a small penalty. The penalty part was Lawrence’s idea. I walked away with ten more autographed coconut shards and three months of free massage work. I retired a month later and went to work at the H & R Block and been there ever since.
Interviewer: So, it was your typical win-win situation.
Clarence: You know, I figured it this way. Old Lawrence blows through so much cash that goes directly to the community that he was just cutting out the middle man when it comes right down to it. Why discourage one of your most aggressive consumers? It just makes good economic sense in the long run.
Interviewer: And because you obviously love football, right?
Interviewer: Well, thank you very much for sharing your story, Sir. Who do we have next, Charlie?
Charlie: We have, Gibraldi, with a very interesting story.
Interviewer: Is that your first name?
Gibraldi: Yeah. It’s like an old family name. I’m like Gibraldi the tenth or something. My ancestors were goat herders in Sardina or something.
Interviewer: But that’s not what you came here today to share with the audience, is it?
Gibraldi: No, I came here today to see Times Square, and then your guy asked me if I had any interesting stories to tell.
Interviewer: And that is precisely what you should do now.
Gibraldi: Well, I faked being a homosexual to get laid by girls.
Interviewer: You did what?
Gibraldi: I spent my last summer before college pretending to be gay and going to conversion clinics where Christians provided me with girls to doink. I’m writing a book about it and I came to New York to pitch it to some publishers.
Interviewer: And how has that been going for you?
Gibraldi: Security guards have escorted me from every office, so far.
Interviewer: And how many has that been?
Interviewer: And you’re not discouraged?
Gibraldi: Yeah, I am, but I can always publish it on the Net.
Interviewer: So, tell me more about your summer of love.
Gibraldi: Do you know that movie, The Forty Year Old Virgin?
Interviewer: I don’t believe I do.
Gibraldi: Well, it’s about this guy who is still a virgin when he’s forty, and some other guys who try getting him laid. It was funny as Hell, but it scared the living shit out of me at the time.
Interviewer: Because you were afraid you would retain your virginity late in life?
Gibraldi: No, because of what my friends might do if they found out. I mean, that shit is funny when it happens to other people, but not when it happens to you.
Interviewer: I’ll take your word for it. So, back to your story.
Gibraldi: Anyway, I came up with this idea from a video my bud sent me about this dude who sued one of those conversion clinics for something or another. Something just told me to Google conversion clinics and after a few hours of research, I got out a legal pad and made a plan.
Interviewer: A legal pad? Are you a lawyer?
Gibraldi: No, my dad owns an office supply store.
Interviewer: I see. Please, go on.
Gibraldi: I ended up calling every conversion clinic in a three hundred mile radius, because that is about how far I could trust my car, and selected likely candidates from those calls. I plotted all those out on a big map with pins and yellow lines. Then I conceived a timeline and a budget. The last thing I did was go out and buy some gay clothes.
Interviewer: How did you know what style of clothing to buy exactly?
Gibraldi: The Google machine. It took a while, but I finally decided on pink Polo shirts and khacki pants and white deck shoes.
Interviewer: What about your behavior? Did you attempt to modify that, as well?
Gibraldi: No. You have to draw the line somewhere. I mean, if you go too far maybe you just can’t come back. Besides, I figured they wouldn’t suspect anyone of faking being gay. That shit scares them shitless. I figured the best thing to do was act shy.
Interviewer: And, you actually pulled this off? That is to say, you succeeded?
Gibraldi: Damn near nine out of ten times. I even scored at a black people’s conversion clinic. Those black girls about wore my young ass out! I even got to go gambling in the basement of their church.
Interviewer: This, unfortunately, truly is interesting, Gibraldi. Did these clinics just throw girls at you when you walked in the door? How did it work?
Gibraldi: It always started with a meeting in some conference room, and that always involved a lot of praying and sometimes some singing. I would tell them my parents are Atheists alcoholics, and they’d be all aghast and shit and the sympathy needle would jump ten points. Most of the time there would be some kind of meal where I would meet the Youth Group every clinic seemed to be associated with. After that, we’d be off to some event like bowling or volleyball or fellowship dance or some shit. And that is where some girl would always make a move.
Interviewer: And how would they do that?
Gibraldi: They would almost always ask if I wanted to go for a walk, or a ride or something. At that point, I knew I was home free.
Interviewer: You said nine out of ten times this worked. What about the times it did not?
Gibraldi: Iowa. I knew something was up when the first meeting was at a home and not a church or a clinic type building. It was a bunch of gay guys trying to save other gay guys from conversion therapy. They had a good laugh when I actually told them what I was up to. We got drunk and threw horse shoes all night.
Interviewer: Well, that is an interesting twist.
Gibraldi: Another time, also in Iowa, the guy offered me his wife and said he needed to video tape it for legal reasons.
Interviewer: And you demurred, of course.
Gibraldi: Yeah, she was a red head, and red heads are bad luck.
Interviewer: It sounds as if your little summer enterprise fared well overall.
Gibraldi: Dude, I didn’t even tell you the good part yet.
Interviewer: Do proceed.
Gibraldi: Wisconsin. Twins. It’s like my seventh event, you know, so I’m getting pretty fucking good at this shit. In fact, I was getting so bold I was even bringing along pints of Jack Daniels. And these two girls, well they really liked to drink. I taped the whole damn thing with my cell phone.
Interviewer: Do you have that cell phone with you now?
Interviewer: And it’s a good thing, too!
Gibraldi: Yeah, so that’s my big story.
Interviewer: And thank you for telling it. Charlie, whom do we have next?