Cycle 34: The Interlarders

Beastie Boys

Returning home from some sailor’s frolic on the night, or rather in the morning, of the murder, he found the beast occupying his own bedroom, into which it had broken from a closet adjoining, where it had been, as was thought, securely confined. (Man, I’m such a pig, he had been thinking sheepishly as he floundered home, still feeling the mammoth cock of that bully bear – the stud didn’t monkey around – ramming his ass.) Razor in hand, and fully lathered, it was sitting before a looking-glass, attempting the operation of shaving, in which it had no doubt previously watched its master through the keyhole of the closet.

Container by Edgar Allan Poe.

Love Poison

After her departure a full bottle of tincture of aconite, a deadly poison, was found in a small medicine cabinet in her bedroom. Her belladonna love poisoned her eyes and ears with noxious jealousy. In a frenzy of toxic passion, she was driven to baneful fantasies of virulent revenge. Night after venomous night she woke from her nightshade dreams with a dreadful tang of strychnine in her mouth. This might have been an indication that she meditated suicide.

Container by O. Henry.


          “It’s enough to turn a man ill, to see his lean old carcase shivering in that way, like a ugly ghost just rose from the grave.” The old man looked like he’d seen a terrific apparition, but whether horrible or wonderful his eyes didn’t betray.
           “Come in quick, before the wind blows you away,” Nancy urged. Only Bill didn’t seem to feel the chill wind – moaning banshees – warmed as he was by the stiff spirits he’d been imbibing since dawn. Their attendant ghosts, which appeared whenever the three of them came together, had already begun whispering their shadowy insinuations in their ears. Outside, the howling wind blew out the spectral sun, and the rising night roused their sleeping vampires, possessing revenants. Though none of them believed in ghosts, these hungry phantoms - passing through the old man’s wraithlike eyes, between the gaps in Bill’s crooked teeth, deep into Nancy’s burning ears - didn’t need their belief to haunt them. Unnerved by the tightlipped men’s shrouded conspiring, the spooked woman practically ran to the kitchen as if pursued by ghouls. Nancy quickly brought a bottle from a cupboard, in which there were many: which, to judge from the diversity of their appearance, were filled with several kinds of liquids.

Container by Charles Dickens.

Buccaneer Booty

          It was like any other seaman’s chest on the outside, the initial “B” burned on the top of it with a hot iron, and the corners somewhat smashed and broken as by long rough usage. Both my mother and I couldn’t wait to see the booty the half-blind mariner had amassed in his years of brigandage, but at the same time we wanted to prolong our suspense as long as we could, so we played a spellbinding guessing game:

Besides treasure, pirates love booze as everyone knows, so though it might be disappointing, I wouldn’t be too surprised to find nothing but bootleg in the locked chest.

Blown this way and that by our blustering imaginations, my mother bet on Buddhist
objets d’art – beaming bronze Buddhas, beryl bracelets, and basalt bowls from Burma or Bhutan – while I pictured exotic botanical specimens from Botswana, Belize, Barbados, Bangladesh, Burundi, Brazil, and other farflung places I’ve long dreamed of visiting.

Because he may have dabbled in taxidermy to help him unwind between backbreaking smuggling runs, maybe the seadog kept a collection of stuffed birds - blackbirds, bluebills, bitterns, budgies, bullfinches, bowerbirds, buffleheads, and more.

Before he became a pillager, he might have been a paleontologist, and though he was forced to abandon so unlucrative a profession, he still had a sentimental attachment to the bones (here a brontosaurus tibia, there a brachiosaurous fibula) he had dug up.

Bootleggers are belligerent men, so a chestful of weapons – battle-axes, blunderbusses, broadswords, bows and arrows – was a likely possibility.

Brains in brine for some Frankenstein experiment?

Bullion, of course, was what everyone hoped for.

Be that as it may, why should all picaroons be greedy bastards? Who’s to say his most treasured possessions weren’t his books, maybe even philosophical tomes like the complete works of Bishop Berkeley or Bergson?

Boredom on deserted isles where he’d been marooned many a time might have made the old salt a music lover who never went anywhere without his trunk of instruments, a veritable orchestra with a balalaika, a banjo, a bassoon, bongos, a bugle, a bandoneon (too bad even a baby grand is too big to lug around), bells, a bagpipe, a barrel organ, and even a biwa he picked up in Beppu when he was terrorizing the coasts of Japan.

Beethoven and Brahms would not have been the bold seafarer’s desert-island music. No, he loved Bartók, Björk, and Bulgarian folksingers I thought, for it pleased me to imagine that we shared the same tastes.

But maybe instead of doubloons and gold bullion the chest was filled with beef medallions and bouillon so the unlikely pirate-gourmet could cook boeuf-en-daube and beef stroganoff wherever he was on the buffeting winedark seas.

Bright-hued butterflies pinned under glass would reveal a soft spot for lepidoptery's fugitive beauties, which the otherwise crusty corsair would have taken great pains to conceal from his rough hurly-burly seamates.

Buttplugs of divers sizes and shapes would be a bombshell indeed, but not really if you think about it – after all, what’s a bawdy buccaneer to do on those long hard sea voyages?

          By and by (we had lost track of time and the sun was already rising), the morning light blazoned the “B” (hitherto in shadow) on the chest, breaking the spell of our mutually goading fancies. “Give me the key,” said my mother; and though the lock was very stiff, she had turned it and thrown back the lid in a twinkling.

Container by Robert Louis Stevenson.

If Riff

              “If we were in the other room,” said Emma, “if I had my writing desk, I am sure I could produce a specimen.”

If I were handsome, clever, and rich, would I be sitting here writing?

If I were a Jew, I’d be a musical matchmaker.

If I were witty, I’d go to parties and charm everyone’s pants off.

If I ever got married, it would be for convenience.

If I died now, would anyone dig up my juvenilia?

If I could be a nineteenth-century English writer, I’d be Lewis Carroll.

If I had died when I was thirty-one, I wouldn’t have written any books.

If I were Jane Austen, I’d try my hand at erotica.

If I were straight, I probably wouldn’t care for Jane Austen.

If I were Elizabeth Bennet, I’d be angrier.

If I lived to a hundred, would I still love love stories?

If I had a country mansion, all my servants would love me.

If I were a character in an Austen novel, I’d be the slut.

If I adapted
Pride and Prejudice into a movie, I’d make it a queer musical with hip hop dance numbers.

If I could write novels, I’d write a bestseller.

If I could pick between Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightley, I’d take Mr. Darcy any day.

If Jane Austen could read my writing, would she laugh?

If I were twenty-one again, I’d be wilder.

If I knew I only had thirty (forty, fifty, . . .) years to live, would I spend my brief life writing novels?

If I were an English woman in the early 1800s I’d choose writing over marriage too if I had the choice, and if I didn’t, I’d get married to Mr. Darcy, or perhaps to a homosexual if that would give me more freedom, because I know I’d shrivel up if I went the governess-route, and I don’t have the constitution for prostitution (in medieval times I might have considered becoming a nun, especially if I could have had visions like Hildegard von Bingen – but without the migraines).

If my first book were ever to be published, I’d do it anonymously too.

If I were rich, I could easily succumb to hypochondria.

If Jane Austen wrote tragedies instead of comedies . . .

If I had a vagina, I’d be in Spain or Japan now.

If Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf met, what would they say to each other?

If I had to choose between someone seventeen years older or someone seventeen years younger . . . (You know the answer.)

If my father had read Jane Austen, would he have understood my mother more?

If I weren’t Filipino . . .
But I rather like being Filipino now.

If I didn’t write, I’d make films, and if I didn’t make art at all, I’d be a cognitive scientist.

If I were better at metric differential geometry, I might never have turned to writing.

[. . . Horny . . . Why does Jane Austen do that to me? . . . Should at least finish this paragraph before I jack off . . . Now where was I?]

“I have a note of his.”

Container by Jane Austen.

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