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08/01 Direct Link
“Sascha, excellent dinner. Any news?”

“Definitive? No, sir. I do, however, have an interesting clipping for you, though. It seems there’s a new street artist stenciling clothespins throughout the city. I don’t know if it’s our man, but the locations he chose are telling. Do you need a hand… I mean… help with that?”

“For God’s sake, Sascha, I’m not some sort of basket case. Just let me manage. Actually, could you hand me my glasses. Thanks. Let’s see… Well, whoever this guy is, he’s a cagey one. Very calculated. It’s like he had a traffic study. Very cagey, indeed.”
08/02 Direct Link
“Yeah, Jason, you want to come to a party tonight?”

“Is Stuart invited?”

“Yeah, tassel loafers? Hell no! It’s not even my party. Yeah it’s some friends and they said invite whoever. Oh, but you already got plans with your French girls.”

“Can I bring them and then leave them there?”

“Oh, so no plans with the Parlayvoos?”

“Jackie, you’re making it sound better than it really is. My roommate brought them, but somehow they’re sleeping in my bed.”

“Yeah, and you’re with this Sarah chick? I never had you figured for a gigolo.”

“You’re way off. What’s the address?”
08/03 Direct Link
“Clancy I’m kinda busy.”

“Jason my man, I got to ask you a question: What do you know about Paul Zubrzyck?”

“Not much. He quit before I started working here. Somewhat legendary around here. Famous temper tantrums. All kinds of stories about when he kicked a urinal off the wall. Supposedly a great creative director, clients loved him. People from his team still really look up to him in a creepy way. People talk about his disappearance like a ghost story.”

“What about Sarah Muller?”

“I thought you said only one question? And, nothing. Never met her. What the hell?”
08/04 Direct Link
“Jason, Hey, congrats on the Ritter account.”

“What are you telling people about us?

“Nothing. There isn’t an ‘us’. At least not yet.”

“Well, all day long people have been asking me about you..”

“OK, OK. I called some friends and asked about you. It’s customary for a girl to want to know things about a guy after she fucks him. Sorry. Besides, word is you spent the night with two French girls.”

“I also have someone asking me about Paul.”

“Brian Clancy? Let me close my door … If you ever want to destroy me, just spill these beans:”
08/05 Direct Link
“I’m serious: Don’t tell anyone about this: this is pure career poison for me, but I owe you an explanation. Clancy’s looking for Paul. He’s not a reporter or an investigator. He’s a conspiracy theorist or occultist. I can spot them a mile away. Paul had a secret life and held a lot of unorthodox beliefs. He considered himself a white magician, we’re talking magick with a “k”, and wrote articles for various New Age magazines. He was someone of note in that world, and when he disappeared there were lots of people who jumped to the most absurd conclusions.
08/06 Direct Link
“He insisted I was this mystical redhead delivered to him. I first saw him at the airport getting off a plane from New Mexico. He walked up to me, and the way he looked at me and smiled I wanted to kiss him before I knew his name. He said things happened in the desert that made our meeting inevitable. We started dating and he went on about rituals with me. I didn’t understand it and still don’t, but I was in love, and the ‘rituals’ always involved lots of hot fucking. Hey, are you free tomorrow night? Maybe dinner?”
08/07 Direct Link
“Jason, kid, you look like hell. You look like an old man. You look worse than him…”

“Three years, Chef. They’ll all be kissing my ass in three years! Kid, you work downtown? Art director? Copywriter? What’re you hawking? Cigarettes for teenagers? Deathtrap SUVs?”

“Hey! Shut the fuck up! Ignore him. What can I get you, kid?”

“Bourbon straight water back. Awful day. My roommate has people over, French chicks, my boss is a total…”

“Jahsawn! Clancy, we found him.”

“Jason my man, we got to roll. I promised these girls we’d take them out see some bands. Let’s go.”
08/08 Direct Link
“No, fuck off Clancy! I’m here in my favorite bar in my favorite stool with my favorite bartender and my favorite drink and I don’t want to see any of you ever again. By Monday I expect you all to truck off to Champaign or France or Indiana or wherever the fuck pains in the ass like you come from for forever leave me oh shit my boss is walking in the guy you girls stole the weed from everyone to the kitchen and out the back door sorry Chef I’ll see you Monday Jesus Christ Clancy where’s your car?”
08/09 Direct Link
“…hey ladies, bang bang…” as the back door slammed.

“Jason, man, why you stressing? If you don’t want to go out with us…”

“Never mind that. Where’s your car?”

“If you want us to leave you…”

“No no. Let’s go. Let’s go see some bands. Corrine? Sophie?”

“I got to make one stop. Real quick. Can I drop you and the girls off at your place for a couple hours?”

“Yo yo Clancy turn on the stereo play that Supreme NTM tape.”

“Fuck, Jason, French hiphop, Just watch these girls lose it.”

“Nick ta mare, Clancy! Play the damn tape.”
08/10 Direct Link
“No no no. The clothespin’s a perfect shape, man. No parallel lines, just like the Parthenon. Hey, you look like a smart man. What could a clothespin possibly mean?"

“Huhwhat? You see a couple Polish or Russian chicks?”

“Come on, think!”

“Uh, hey partner, you’ve got quite a head start on me, buddy, uh. Seriously, though, two foreign chicks? They stole my stuff.”

“Your stuff? Fuck your stuff. I’m talking about art. Not the state-sanctioned shit in the museums. Let’s take the most banal, meaningless symbols of our culture and steal them. Get to them before admen fuckers rape them.
08/11 Direct Link
“Hey, Chef, good news man I landed the…”

“Smart man, I’m Paul. What’s your name smart man?”

“Stuart. Hey, Chef, a couple beers for me and Paul.”

“No no Stuart. We need to get some dinner and some wine and there’s a gallery down the street where we can get both for free, let’s go. Come on, man. Better looking women there, too. Probably find your Polish chicks.”

“You know, I think they were Russian.”

“Whatever smart man Stuart. Time is fleeting. We’ve got to roll. It’s just down the street and up an elevator. Cheese, cheap white wine, man.”

08/12 Direct Link
“Shit! nosebleed! All that coke!” One hand clutched a wad of Kleenex with red streaks as her other hand covered her nose. “Psych! It’s just lipstick, red lipstick. It’s ok, everybody. No nosebleed. It’s ok. Is this the fifth? I think we’re all getting off here. Excuse me. Thanks. Hey, Gretchen, Hi. Give me a hug.”

“How’d your group show go?”

“Flag desecration? Honestly a little disappointing. No arrests, no FBI, one call from the police, an angry letter from the VFW and another from the Daughters of the American Revolution.”

“Aww, drag. I think flag desecration is played out.”
08/13 Direct Link
“Smartman Stuart, you know those ads with Bogart and Monroe drinking Coke?”

“Yeah, I like…”

“Yeah, completely fucking awful, right? And you have to ask how’s that going to persuade anyone to drink that swill?”

“It doesn’t. It doesn’t matter. It ‘grows the brand’.”

“You know what it is? It’s a ritual sacrifice. We offer up these icons, hack apart our culture and offer it to capital. The people doing it are energized by the pointless violence of it. They feel important, heavy with meaning and spilled blood.”

“Bogart and Monroe did commercials when they were alive. How's this different?”
08/14 Direct Link
“So, Robin, how did your flag piece go.”

“God, disaster. The plan was to put a flag in a fishtank full of bleach and over the course of the exhibit the flag would lose its color. But the flag was nylon and the bleach wouldn’t do a thing to it. So I added some ammonia, hoping that would, I don’t know, melt the thing or something. The fumes made me sick and before I could open some windows my parakeet died. Of course the flag is unblemished.”

***

“Paul! Paul, good to see you. I need to talk to you.”
08/15 Direct Link
“Robert, this is Stuart. Stuart’s a smart man. Stuart, Robert. Robert makes roadside eye pollution. I need more wine excuse me.”

“Hey, Stuart. Paul and I go way back, used to work together at a catalog house. He was fucking nuts. He’d soak paper wads in benzene, light them and throw them. You’d be working on a keyline and next thing you know your table’s on fire. Oh, and Paul, the pool table lens? We had this pool and billiards client and they were flipping out so he told them we were using a lens made especially for pool tables.”
08/16 Direct Link
“Yeah yeah. I just happened to be the chump who answered the phone when this guy starts screaming on the phone to me about how his pool tables better look good and not like last year’s catalog and on and on and on. So, I told him we got it under control. Our photographer has a special lens made just for pool tables. Only two of them in the world, made in Germany specifically for photographing flat green surfaces. I swore him to secrecy. Stupid fucker ate it up. At the shoot he was all grins, rocking on his heels.”
08/17 Direct Link
“Clancy, I so wish you hadn’t found me. I was so happy. For a moment, it was like you and the Fifi sisters never stepped into my life.”

“But, dude, I offered to leave you there. You saw your boss, lost your shit, and had to get away…”

“Because of the girls. Get it? That Gameboy? These headphones? That guy you ripped off?”

“Huh?”

“Tassel loafers?”

“Ohhh, oui. ‘Bang bang. Hey ladies, want to get high?’”

“Clan-ceee, nick tu mare. Pass that joint.”

“Here Sophie, nick tu mare, whatever that means.”

“Corrine, chubby ass.”

“Something about your mother. I think.”
08/18 Direct Link
“Paul, Paul. Listen, man. I think I got an opportunity for you. You know we’ve got a bunch of blank billboards. How would you like to have a few giant clothespins? People will see them from the freeway. It’ll be huge for you and we’ll get some calls from people. ‘What’s with the giant clothespins?’ You know? What? What’s with that look? Think you’re above it all? You’re an outsider artist, an exile? Whatever. I know one thing hasn’t changed. You can’t stand the thought of someone being better than you at anything. You know, just forget it. Sorry.”
08/19 Direct Link
Mr. Clancy. This way. My employer would like to meet you. Mr. Pearson?”

“Yes, Sascha.”

“I have a Mr. Clancy here. He’s brought something I think you should see.”

“Come in, come in. Mr. Clancy, good to finally meet you. You found some paintings?”

“Yes. They were at a Goodwill store. I’m sure they’re Paul Zubrzyck’s.”

“How did Paul know about my hands? Sascha, What did he see?”

***

“So, Corrine.”

“Sophie. Sophie Sophie Sophie.”

“Sorry, Whatever. Sophie, this is French hiphop?”

“Oui.”

“And this is the pot you stole from my boss?”

“Oui.”

“I have a new respect for France.”
08/20 Direct Link
“Mr. Clancy, you know what it’s like to lose everything?”

“No, sir.”

“Let me rephrase that. Do you know what it’s like to lose everything to a crooked yacht salesman? Of course not. Losing five fingers in an explosion was nothing in comparison.”

“Ws that Paul who…”

“Mr. Zubrzyck does not sell yachts. I thought I had grasped the invisible world, only to be made an ass of by a wobbly-chinned buffoon much like yourself.”

“Mr. Pearson, if we’re done I’d…”

“Do you know what a moonchild is?”

“No, sir.”

“Sascha, we’ve over-estimated our friend. Pay him for the paintings.”
08/21 Direct Link
“Mr. Clancy, you’ll have to forgive Mr. Pearson. He can be, well, insufferable.”

“I’m not offended, just confused.”

“Don’t try to understand. I gave up years ago. Mr. Pearson, for all his comforts, has boundless shame within. It comes out in venomous words.”

“This ‘invisible world’…”

“Like I just said, don’t try to understand.”

“So, how long have you worked for him?”

“26 years.”

“He’s always been like this?”

“Our situation is unique, and it suits me well. Legally, he’s dead and I never existed. For that reason I must insist on giving you cash. Please be careful with this.
08/22 Direct Link
“Smart man, like this painting?”

“Wait. Sorry, ladies. What?”

Do you like this painting?”

“Hmm, yeah it’s ok. It’s…”

“I don’t like it either. Absolute shit. I paint, too.” Paul placed a cardboard rectangle on top of the canvas and pulled a can of spraypaint from his backpack.

“What the hell are you doing?”

“Getting my work in a gallery show. Go talk to your lady friends.”

A minute later the gallery was filled with the smell of propellants and solvents. A white-haired man with expensive glasses and a worn-out backpack rushed through the crowd and out the back door.
08/23 Direct Link
“Well, you’re the one who wanted to see some bands. I told you they’d all suck.”

“But shit, Jason, this is depressing. I mean that singe in the leather pants, he’s got to be, what, 40?”

“Yeah. He was in bands when I was in high school. Just never lets the dream die. You girls want anything?”

“Want to go. This sucks. It’s boring.”

“Clancy, is that your father up there?”

“Come on, girls, next band might be better.”

“Better than ledder pants? Nothing better than ze ledder pants.”

Corrine and Sophie muttered in French. Sophie ran to the stage.
08/24 Direct Link
Sophie stood alone, staring up at the singer between two monitor wedges. Dancing, flipping her hair back, staring, hands on her hips, then one hand rubbing her leg, staring, waving, dancing, hair-flip, smiling, pointing up at him, staring, smiled, ran her hands from her thighs up to her breasts with her eyes closed and chin up and then pointed and smiled and stopped dancing in the middle of the song. She stood alone at the foot of the stage pointing up at the growing bulge in his leather pants less than a foot from her hand. Corrine shrieked and laughed.
08/25 Direct Link
“Oh my God, he’s walking right towards us. Leather pants!”

“So, you liked the show?”

“Um, oui. Yes, very, um…”

“That’s great. Listen…”

“Sir, I’m Brian Clancy of the U.S. Diplomatic Service, and any questions you have for theses ladies shall be through me or my partner, Jason. Please step back.”

“Sorry, I didn’t…”

“Merely doing my job.”

“So, who are they?”

“Not at liberty to say, but you are jeopardizing America’s relationship with France with your continued queries.”

“Well, we’re partying backstage. You’re welcome to join us.”

“I will pass that on, thank you. Madames, voolay voo un drinky?”
08/26 Direct Link
“Did you see who did this? The guy with the backpack, he walked in with you, right?”

“Hey, lady, I don’t know anything. Look, can I get you a drink? Awww, hey, don’t cry.”

“That was my painting!”

“Oh, hey, I liked that one. I was even saying, ‘Yeah, I like that.’ Do you think you could clean it up.”

“Clean it? It’s sold! The gallery jacked the price up, filed an insurance claim on it, and sold it before the clothespin was dry. And I’m only getting fifty percent of the original price.”

“Oh. Hey, um, I’m Stuart.”

“Gretchen.”
08/27 Direct Link
“OK, so, the fifis want to hang out here with leather pants.”

“Yes. Free beer is very important right now.”

“And you’re sticking with them.”

“I must. It’s my duty. See this badge?”

“Put that stupid thing away. I can not believe the shit you get away with, Clancy.”

“So, yeah, when you were like dancing. I was like holy shit I’m really reaching someone tonight. You know I don’t always feel that connection at every gig, but tonight, man, I like… Man, I totally have to go to France, man. Morrison’s grave, have you seen it? Is it awesome?
08/28 Direct Link
“Morrisey? He’s not dead.”

“Jason, relax, man. Roll with it.”

“No, Morrison. Jim Morrison.”

“I’ve been rolling with it. Nothing personal, Clancy, but I’m a little sick of people right now.”

“Don’t know him. He’s buried in France?”

“I just want to go home. Can you drop me off and come back?”

“Jim Morrison, The Doors, the lizard king. Fucking awesome.”

“How about I give you cab fare?”

“Fucking awesome. Kinda thee, first, rockstar. You know?”

“Yeah, cool, I’ll see you…Oh, shut the fuck up about the Doors! A stupid drunk in front of a shitty lounge band. Rock? Shit."
08/29 Direct Link
“Hey, look Gretchen. You’re just having a bad night. Look, I just had the best day at work today, OK? I should be celebrating, but I’m so lame that I’m out alone hanging with drunks at a bar. Let’s go have some dinner. Do you want some dinner? I tell you what: last night was awful, I got robbed, and today was great. It can turn around.”

“Yeah, OK, but we’ve got to do one thing. Take off your shoes. Give them to me. I’m cutting off those tassels. You’re not like that, are you? All business?”

“Here, snip away.”
08/30 Direct Link
“You really shouldn’t go off on Morrison like that, man. He’s kinda freaked out about what you said, man.”

“What? And who are you? What makes this fucker so special that I need to worry about his feelings. He fucking walks around in leather pants and a vest.”

“Jason, you have got to cool it. My man, take this, go to the bar, and get yourself whatever you want.”

“No, Clancy. All day long I’m paid to take shit and keep silent. Sorry, but Lizard King II hasn’t paid me oh fuck who threw that?”

“Jason, you got to go!”
08/31 Direct Link
“Oh, oh my God Jason I’m so glad you’re here this party is fucking boring you know how to roll a joint? I got this bag of weed but no pipe and there’s a guy with a one-hitter but he’s gross and the thing’s been in his mouth come in the bedroom this chubby guy came into the office right after you left and was asking where to find you and he had these two I don’t know Danish or Dutch girls with him and one of them gave me this pot and I was like ‘oh, OK.’ You’re bleeding!”