Serfdom at “Wally-World”

 

Wal-mart. . . . . box-store of enchantment. And number 1 employer of what you and I know as “THE RED-STATE EXPERIENCE”. Never has someone had to show such gung-ho, merry customer service for serfdom as you otherwise have employees in blue-vests singing “Zippity Do-Dah” out of their assholes, “Mousketeer” style– with a kazoo.

Maybe “working for someone else” is merely getting yourself forced along “by someone’s obsession”, be that customer service or the retail mission statement like giddy “Jim Jones” cults for customer savings. Indeed, irony has little place here and even Beetlejuice has to “get with the program”.

Cribbing a bit from the fellow Warner Bros. property, “National Lampoon’s Vacation” you had “Wally-World” standing in for Disneyland with a cartoon moose as company spokesman. The happiest place on earth– open 365 days a year. Only in the movie, the family straggled in to find the park closed for a couple of weeks for maintenance and repair. . . . .

But make no mistake, Wal-Mart is open 365 days a year.

Why not call it “Small-Mart”? Yeah right, the largest box-store of its kind that stretches several football fields in length. You’d better keep Beetlejuice supervised amid all that “moral hazard” and easy thievery.

Smile, you’re on surveillance camera! Believe me, if someone thought of it– store security has set-up countermeasures to stop “shrinkage”. Think of a poster in the break-room of a troll-toothed bulldog brandishing a hockey stick and batting away “free scores” to keep the larger “goal” of staying competitive. Rolllff!

Of course, that doesn’t stop some mischievous cretin to hacking into the intercom system and playing the sound-FX from pornographic-movies while the manager scurries-around, trying to shut-down the public address system.

All sorts of stunts back there in the stock-room. Nailing a wallet to the floor and tricking some sucker into bending-over and straining his back.

Or kicking-around empty boxes like a deranged soccer match as the electronic board side-sweeps “Work is Fun!” across the sign. Tape up a piece of cardboard with work is (F)ucked squiggled in with a marker to give it an entirely-different meaning.

They don’t even have the easy jobs anymore where a retiree sits in a wheelchair and greets customers at the wide front-doors. Instead you have receipt-checkers halting customers to prevent “more shrinkage”. Such, such are the ways of the corporate retail world.

Lower prices, happier savings. . . . . ALWAYS.

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Buy American. We send prices down to hell

Serfdom at “Wally-World”

Michael Keaton, Letterman ’89

Mojo at the Box Office, maybe when all of us were a little younger. . . . . BACK Later this week as we bring Beetlejuice out of moth-balls for that eventual sequel, “if Any”.

Michael Keaton, Letterman ’89

Barnacle Bottom-Dollar Delight

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It was the timeless green of a festering Missouri summer. Not forgetting thirst as a haze covered this closely-hugging St. Louis county township like a shimmering dog-day afternoon.

Down by the railroad-trestles and brown, trickling rivers like tangled, scrappy t-shirts and sunburned human co-habitation—a bleak industrial area.

Maplewood—biker town. Old south St. Louis. Alcoholic vapors and the human crud whom remained like a dead, yellow dog laying in the road.

Dive bars and run-down gas stations along the hard asphalt– old dudes in bandannas loitering by the curbside or up on broken-down couches like wolfen patriots.

Come to buy some hot auto-parts? Or maybe just score on a prostitute?

Maybe for “pay-back”, “a real rumble” with all but a fire-apple red muscle-car parked in the poor man’s alley out beyond the weeds. . . . . like sheer action-television.

Cinder block buildings—Chuck Norris style.

All you needed was the squeal of those corrugated metal doors creaking upwards to reveal a street-gang, slowly padding their fists together as another one whirls a biker chain.

Maybe life was less like syndicated television with trash-fires and hooting drunks knocking back packaged liquor in a brown paper bag. A party, sitting with their backs leaning against those said cinder-block buildings.

But “low-rent”, just the same. . . . . as the daily grind imposed its weight.

Those miscellaneous considerations that kept things “less glamorous”. As you had the anchor of unpaid doctor bills—or making the rent. Or chronic back problems and tender, aching shins. Unto the grime, friction, inefficiency and waste it all boiled down to perhaps a public health clinic and food stamps.

This was the world of long, slow lines wearing thin on the soul, resigned to second-class citizenship on the bargain freight-rate, gogged-eye chaos and misery.

The sodden brightness, graying sun-streaks and worn-out shoes. . . . . the thinner clunking pennies in some dingy church rummage sale.

It added-up to lawn-chairs bent-up like leaning sculpture which supported sweetly-aching behinds. Like a block party up and down a row of houses—a cruddy dish of bbq but done slap-dash and watery for the improvisation of It, prepared on an even more shaky grill that stood on spindly-legs.

And there they sat across fold-out tables like either bar-flies or money-changers in stumpy resignation.

For woe was the way of the world so subtle and sourceless and simple. As it was, amid a blended congregation of kids– ranging from toddlers to teenagers wearing sweatshirts with their arms not in the sleeves like huddled, Paleolithic intrigue.

How the kids chased each other in a tumble of short-lived freedom and gullible, happy circumstance—as innocent as puppies, and devil may-care as they were marked for wild times and trouble ahead.

Luckless—or dead-beat—or free.  Sooner, dreams would be cut loose.

And there, you see them coming—like a census of trouble and grungy diapers. A family-unit waddling along up and won the midway of a traveling carnival.  A mother, an aunt—a kid in tow as the dad slept in, back home from the swing-shift on a shadowed mattress.

A southern inflection, living off “the fat of the land” as the grounds opened-up through a blown mist of early dew in the breeze, the rise above the chain of flapping flags as the mechanical circus loomed below. Would this be like gilded streets paved with gold as they paced-along with a stick of cotton candy in their hands, sugar and gossamer frosting for the short-lived joy of it.

A coda to some watery morning frying up sausage-links and margarine in the gray glint of yellowed sunlight.  Sugar, grease—itchiness. Raw sensation, like the fizz of a soft-drink tickling your nose.

Another hamburger stand, the open road. Abashed by the novelty of it—over the sweet, wafting smells of funnel cakes and cotton-candy, the world your thrilling playground.

Whimsy, a laughing clown-face for a pennies’ thought of mirth in the bumptious, quick-fix solutions of it. . . . . all before a wave of nausea slept over you like a stomach-ache. Too much corn syrup, too much churning delirium. See something “you’ve never seen before”, and there’s a pile of busted-out peanut shells bearing their fruit as flies whirled out of festering trash cans.

And then you had a boy, about 12 years-old in cargo shorts, twirling round and round in froggy pubescence—dizzy in the looming pathos. Wishing to give it all up for sweetness, some sense of purity as you lose yourself in the distracting crowd.

It was the Johnson Smith “Things you never knew Existed” catalog, a spiky rubber-ball folding out into a niblet-laden skull-cap like the gross-out plastic industry, always good for a novel turn that quickly turns old.

Glancing from thing to thing, two 12 year-old’s morphing into lumbering, spike-horned dinosaurs and wrestling in the dirt, free-flowing as the queasy Slushee syrup of Claymation hijinks.

Yet it had all the openness of vulgar mass entertainment and other amusements, a throw-back to Frank L. Baum “Wizard of Oz” picture books. Picnics, a rural idyll—some looming ferris wheel from 1900 like the dead ding-dong of old-fashioned morality from the rocking of the cradle to the rolling of the hearse.

As “The Reaper” gained on you. . . . .

How it was all like a ring-toss “you couldn’t win” with an agenda of marked chalk-lines, delineating some winning end-point. Take one step forward, two steps back as this stab at The American Dream proved to be “no cake-walk” as most of us would quickly find.

At the end of it, left with a few scraggly dollars as everything else was fuel to get you into a “running-to-stand-still” impasse. Like the stages of an oil refinery burning-away the heavier crude as you had the final, pure-boiled condensation at the very top like petroleum jelly, slicked over your teeth like “the fluid of gladness”. Everything else, fending-off the forces of decay before “the bugs came out to feed”.

You couldn’t win.

Yet your consolation dissolved like those melted, empty truths from a soda cooler. It neither “gives, nor takes”—but refreshes. Right as the grinning rictus of a sun-burned, pock-mocked face lumbers by with a box of pastries before him, squarely—like the best gift anyone gave him in this corner of jaundiced heaven. Like an overstuffed kid, maybe emotionally 15 years old and giddy with the small wonders of life. To rest on your pick—and take a weary smoke-break in the name of good things, tangible things. A bottle of pop or a bottle of beer, take your choice.

Have your cake and eat it too—as the flame of young love “never died” with passing generation, so long as you had kids who thought they invented gooey, gibbity romance and hot-pants. For biology was destiny and nature would not be denied. . . . . and flesh would fertilize.

All those good things, like a sweet roll grabbed by a clever opportunist—an impish wink unto favored fortune and the quick dart of skill.

Democracy’s forge—a game of chance. Good if you were a wiry young yeoman with a fast right-hand in the competitive scrum-line in this reedy fair-ground of pole-cats and other piss-poor coyotes standing there with nothing but the clothes on their back willing to leap for the gambit.

May populist belief not be crushed “like a man off the street”. However raw and untested, a certain hierarchy yet asserted itself. Maybe a glittering hardness like natural reflex, speeding past the unhappy and unlucky drowning in hobbled complication as they rode-off on the motorcycle with the girl.

Love-sick (– or dope-sick) you’d soon be weighed-down with the crushing weight of your stamp, like waking-up hung-over a couple of whirlwind years later with a bunch of kids and a sink full of dishes

Punch the clock, or it was another cancellation back to “Square-1” before cutting-loose all over again.

Hell-raising and blue-collar damnation, living just to die.

The check-out woman at the Dollar-Mart scowled-on with old yellow eyes, resigned to the heartless nature of the world. No one stayed “young and pr­­etty” for long. Here, with the brown paper-bag burdens of the industrial belt you had gray faces, coughing with cancer or staggering-on with diabetes.

Down in south St. Louis, the winding banks of the River Des Peres as kids huffed-it back to the park under the railroad trestles. The sun glinted through the trees. Shirtless young boys on bicycles stopping in to buy dollar sodas, maybe some candy.

Things stayed mostly sleepy except for the grinding sound of the tires on passing pick-up trucks. Black asphalt stains and iridescent oil slicks, the rough ground nothing you’d want to scrape your knees on, a skinned knuckle and scratched-flesh left behind like a fleck of meat, as if had been cut with a pocket-knife. As water leaked into the gutter in rivulets, glistening like cellophane.

The people walking up and down the streets had a feral quality.

Take a look at the alcoholic women pushing-along stolen shopping-carts you would think of either home-cooked meals on stale crockery or meth bags. This could be just another episode of “COPS” on t.v.

A certain strata of society never made much in the way of plans, but instead were loopy and flush with excuses and hang-dog assertion as the cops stopped them.

Hanging trees, car exhaust—handcuffed and sitting on the curb with dumpy, sagging chins of alcoholic jaundice and halter-tops and smeared make-up.

The eroded “social contract”. . . . . mostly too little, too late for most. Out of tune, out of time.

Meanwhile, as savage pit-pulls behind metal fences backed-up and panted like four-square guard dogs sooner taking a bite out of your ass.

Like a fanciful “game of chance” at a carnival you could never really win.

But one thing you could bet on—“THE DOLLAR TREE”. Yes, where everything went for just a dollar and the battered old currency went as far, as indeed—China could import junky knock-off’s and leave America undersold. Give me your tired, your poor, your hungry—sated on starch, salt and grease as you grab down something tasty, along with the thrifty solid goods sold up & down the aisles.

Extra value budget—what you see is what you get. Inevitably, products would follow the hidden derangements in the national mood. Only here, you got “the dollar-version”. Death and taxes—or at least “sales tax” as your curling scroll of a paper receipt choked out of the cash register.

Jumbo clown faces, circus colors—it added to the giddiness of free market optimism though this was all but “the killing floor” of what fell out or the plastic asshole of “supply & demand”.

Maybe you had the next “million-dollar idea” and sold your product on consignment. The happy commingling of genius and luck, the gap-toothed delivery man in the truck-cab waving around a giant check unto all happy, bumptious quick-fix solutions.

You’d want to punch him out—for any level of commonsense as frankly, Beetlejuice was “morally-retarded”. Maybe a bit sharper than your average “true believer” or free-market goofus as most of it was pretty much “buyer-beware”.

Take “chiseling cars” or trading junk-heaps on what amounted to a slot-machine of mechanical problems on a micro car-lot with the flapping colored-flags beneath the honey-comb street lights which beckoned you. Much of life was hazy—like a game of “musical chairs”—leaving someone dumped with a lemon. Out-bluffed, you see—in this screwball game of poker and half-running cars.

Pushing off against the ground with an old ragged tennis shoe as you rolled ten yards with the wobbling wheel and smoke coming-out from under the pool.

The way of the world.

It was always the freedom of the open road, poverty hunched over a 79 cent coffee at a local fast-food outlet. A space to think, his feet rotten and putrid, making the most of free hospitality as he stirred ketchup in water with his finger—poor man’s tomato-juice. And free air-conditioning. . . . . and napkin stationary. . . . . and all the free refills you wanted until management threw you out.

Wasn’t life grand?

“I’d buy that for a dollar”—THE ALL-NEW ADVENTURES OF BEETLEJUICE.

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Barnacle Bottom-Dollar Delight

Tales of the Christmas Crypt-Keeper

So how many product-franchises can we tie into this big Beetlejuice project?

Everything is a cross-promotion, all but “throwing in the kitchen sink” as we could use the ghoulish crypt-keeper to narrate the action, throw-in some bad puns from time-to-time.

Otherwise following the adventures of Beetlejuice– either a tour guide at a gator farm or working as a lackey at a Christmas tree lot. Now there’s a vivid image, with the red stocking cap as always. . . . .

This movie would have jokey asides and surreal pivots of direction as it moves from thing to thing and pays proper homage to the kinds of things Beetlejuice– and yes, Lydia– would be up too. Not “a cookie-cutter sequel” by any means, but practically a literary exercise in THE BIZARRE. . . . . just take a look at how this script is developing.

You will be shocked. . . . . you will be amazed. You will be glad that you tagged-along for the journey. Right now, “the muse” is kicking back with a beer– the Yuletide living-room in shambles, like Christmas turkey left-over’s and socks draped in the sink.

If not a kids’ birthday party clown then a repo-man. Home for the holidays– Beetlejuice takes a vacation. But we will be back in three flicks of a reindeer’s tail so don’t you go changin’ and stick around for more madcap fun in the following year to come.

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Tales of the Christmas Crypt-Keeper

Day of Doom at Hand– Comic Relief at the Election Horror Show

Judgement Day, THE DAY OF DOOM AT HAND. For this horror show called our 2016 Election, we wish to post a video that seems to comment on the Beetlejuice 2 experience in these parts. Rest assured, Beetlejuice does not vote– never had the inclination or interest. As dogs die, people die– the affairs of state bear little interest in the march of time. Along the margin, he only cares about cheap gasoline and the ole’ “Dollar-Store” keeping open. And keeping one step away from the skeptical, ticket-writing cop. Keep taxes low, and you’ve about channeled “The Red State ID” around these parts– like all-night food bars at the local gas station and watery A.M. fundamentalist radio by the dashboard lights. Haranguing and damning, as most low-lives go about their business in hand-to-mouth bleariness, left to negligence and living in splendor or on nothing with equal, greasy ease. Heavy metal– and then again, “Satanic panic” as you don’t think most out here really have the wherewithal to form much of a conspiracy, other than “a confederacy of dunces” staring at Elvira’s cleavage on “Mistress of the Dark” hour. Evil talks, evil walks. . . . . evil SNORES, passed-out on booze, pills, and candy. Sin lives in a hole-in-the-wall apartment and mostly keeps to itself. Civic virtue, it ain’t. Bum a cigarette off you? Pass those Swisher-Sweet cigars as life down here is DIRT CHEAP below a sole, dimly-swinging lightbulb in a buttermilk glow like roaches beneath a red-flashing neon sign, “Beer, Pool, Fun”. A noggin as dense as a cinder-block building, crushing beer cans against his forehead. For his next trick he’ll flip a toothpick between his teeth and jack-off. America, tis’ of thee and providence bless us, each and every one.

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Make America Great Again. . . . . Vote Beetlejuice 2. I’m with him!

Day of Doom at Hand– Comic Relief at the Election Horror Show

Rotten Pumpkin Hangover

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Well, Halloween came and went—Beetlejuice, himself was there “in spirit”. Not wishing to be besieged by Trick-or-Treater’s, let’s just say “he played dead” and kinda “rolled the boulder” in front of the cave. In front of the open window, it pays “to keep your pants on” as I fiddled-around with the new lap-top.

And thank you for sticking-around on this brief hiatus of enforced vacation—never short-change the crowd and keep ‘em gathered around and hungry. But as it stands, my old lap-top reminds me of a pair of country/western boots that was endlessly “getting patched-up”—whether my keyboard went kaput or the screen “kinda imploded” but finally the computer “gave-up the ghost”.

So it was just me and my fervid imagination—though I don’t think Beetlejuice could much master a smart-phone. Sure, a cellular phone or cordless phone but he’s dealing on the level of “yard-sale Atari’s” and would stare, perplexed at an ancient floppy-disk unit.

Just see him in his big ole’ “beat-to-shit” hauling truck, driving around the Brandy Station apartment complex and salvaging old junk, say “anything he can find”. . . . . from beat-up old couches to stray aluminum cans. And remember the motto, “TURN SHIT INTO GOLD” as we scrape together every strange, weird little idea into this commercial profit machine of movie franchise madness.

Let’s call “Monster” energy drink the official beverage guzzled by Beetlejuice—green, foamy mad scientist’s lightning and a sign o’ the times. He knocks it back and crumples the can, “mmmmn, that satisfying energy-buzz” before chucking it over his shoulder.

And you’d have to have “MONSTER ENERGY” as Beetlejuice carried-around a dog-eared copy of “How to make Money with a Pick-up Truck” looking for odd jobs, whatever he can rustle-up. Or do I mean “scare-up”? If he’s not crashing at the flop-house of marginal rentals, he’s following the carnival and sleeping on the midnight festival-fields after the rides have shut-down.

“A lost soul”, Beetlejuice is too errant much in the ways of “settling-down” and quietly vacates in the night before the locals get enough of him and form a mob storming his way.

Imagine Beetlejuice showing up at a Social Security office, trying to get a State I.D. without much in the way of paperwork. A social security number? For a 700 year-old ghost? Maybe he can get by with a fake college I.D. or the kind of thing folks do to get into bars. Get a haircut as he sits in the barber’s chair with his hair a tangled mess as he mutters back small-talk.

Asked for his driver’s license it would quickly devolve into a situation straight out of “COPS” as he at least-looked “a bit more presentable” for his mug-shot.

But boy, he sure gets arrested a lot. More “a public nuisance” than any real danger to society though your silverware may go missing. And check your hub-caps. . . . . . he’s been sleazing around your fan fiction universe lately.

As they say, “life is like an empty beer-bottle because you always know what you’re gonna get”. Pay-to-play, indeed as the lights were turned down low this Halloween and the kids mostly stayed-away.

Beetlejuice would drop snakes n’ lizards into their open bags and slam the door behind him, settling down into his reclining chair and paying the local whores to dance around his specially-installed stripper pole as his jacuzzi festers over with venereal disease.

Call it the golden-toned “Game-room” with deer heads and zebra-print couch covers as you never saw so much “flea market chic” in one place. Hey, look—there goes Elvis.

slash_snakepit_drawing   american_ice_cream_stand

Rotten Pumpkin Hangover

Not “Out for the Count”

You didn’t really think I had “sold-out” and closed-up shop, did you?

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A busy holiday season has kept me away from my own personal blogosphere, yet feeling that ole’ “writer’s itch” to come back. . . . . and post-up some more ravings “from the mad monk, himself”. Maybe I needed a break but we’ll be back tomorrow as if this subject hasn’t been flayed-to-death, yet. I believe in Beetlejuice. I believe in me.

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I believe in magic.

Not “Out for the Count”