Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chapter 15

Ayn Rand tries her hand a babysitting.

Winter had come as it does every year. It's a part of impersonal nature, devoid of thought or meaning.

Unless you're a narcissist prone to magical thinking, like Daffy Braggart. Then you associate even the changing of the seasons with anthropic properties directly related to your own fuck-ups.

And oh how Daffy did associate! The dropping of the temperature, the graying of the sky - a welcome change from the usual brown - all clearly indicative to her of the world reacting to her petty inconveniences!

Like Spank going to jail. Not only did it rob her of freaky, adulterous sex but it meant no more glowing green spankmeum for Braggart Big Damn Rail! And right with it came the news that Dan the coal guy was also in jail for such trumped-up collectivist charges as "bombing whole towns to get at their black gold," meaning no more coal for Daffy's choo-choos!

And no, she didn't care that coal-burning engines had been a rarity, even for her own company, for the past half century...

And the moocher-coddling liberals in DC had sent a grain shipment to some Third World pit full of lazy brown people. Daffy's hard earned money, sucked away through taxes and wasted on something as unproductive - and uninvolved with Daffy - as feeding other people!

But then something glorious happened - the grain shipment was hijacked by the legendary pirate Rancor Dumbassjerk. Yes, there are pirates now. This cheered Daffy to no end, though it didn't in any way resolve her initial gripe of losing money through taxes - which is a stunningly ignorant way to view taxation in the first place but we're getting ahead of ourselves. All that mattered is no damn moochers would benefit!

Daffy was so busy getting off to the thought of foreigners starving to death, she barely had the energy left to fret about The Great Destroyer gobbling up all the Great Men in the country. That was still going on too - CEOs and hedge fund managers going missing to the joy of everyone who actually worked for a living. Despite all observable evidence, Daffy was sure the economy would come tumbling down any day now without rich jerks collecting all the biggest salaries and storing it in offshore accounts. Because Objectivists know fuck-all about their own favored economic model.

The world went on, impersonal as ever, while Daffy assumed everything was crashing down because her own little world wasn't exactly to her liking - "Oh Spank! Nothing matters anymore if I can't get what I want!"

"So we're done with exposition? And how'd I get here when I'm supposed to be in jail?"

Fuck it.

While Spank went tromping off into the snow to assume socialism would turn truck drivers into criminals - like Spank himself, if he possessed the self-awareness - Daffy had a meeting with the Braggart Big Damn Rail board. Rather, they had a meeting and she was going to crash it.

"...And we've seen exponential growth in the past quarter, almost entirely due to the dramatic reduction in operations costs from the total electric conversion," explained a guy - let's call him Steve - to the Braggart Big Damn Rail board.

"Could've been more if not for the damn unions," muttered some other guy, one I can't be bothered to name.

"That's the price we pay for good service," said Tim, ever patient and reasonable.

"Just thank God we're not using that damn green stuff anymore," another board member not important enough to name chimed in. "We'd be operating at one hell of a loss, especially with that rail line to nowhere."

"Fortunately, we won't have to worry about anymore such... misadventures," Tim said.

And since if you speak of the devil he will appear, Daffy Braggart burst into the boardroom with a "Boom shaka-laka!"

Tim promptly called security.

"I suppose you're all wondering how to save this company without anymore spankmeum!" Daffy declared. She declares a lot, even when it looks like a question.




"We're doing really well these days."

Impervious to evidence she didn't like, Daffy continued, "I suppose you all think you can get a reduction in shipping rates to bring down our rail construction costs! Is that it!"

"With all due respect Miss Braggart, what the fuck does that have to do with anything!?"

Before Daffy could not explain, security arrived and escorted her off the premises.

As she was booted out on her ass, who should be waiting for her but Francisco Domingo Carlo Banana Fana bo Binko d'Ano The Third! "I arrived here on the 3:15 plot convenience bus!"

"Oh, Franky!" Daffy wailed. They're going to murder the Gort Line!"

"Honey, think of the first man to build a steel girder," d'Ano said, because non sequitors are deep and shit. "He wasn't all like, 'Oh, well, I guess...' He was like, 'This is how I want it because I just know what a steel girder is!'" He gestured grandly, "That's the sort of Human Courage lacking these days! But those sorts of men do exist!"

"Golly!" Daffy said.

"Folks just don't want those sorts of men anymore -"

"But I want them!" protested Daffy. "I want them! I want them so bad!"

"Down girl!" Then, returning to his highly affected sermonizing, "No, keep wanting them. Because wanting something totally makes it happen."

"Like The Secret?"

"No, that's a different sucker-cult. I'm not clear on how it works, but just want it. Okay?"

"Okey dokey!" And want she did!

Meanwhile, Spank was about to have a confrontation with Lily. I think. The source material kinda disappeared just now...

Lily, after much consideration and working up her nerve, had decided to confront her husband on his infidelities. As well as what he was doing out of jail. "Spank?" she asked. "Can I talk to you, please?"

"Oh what is it now?" Spank whined. "Can't you see I'm a Great Man with Great Problems!?"

"I know you're having problems... And I know you're having an affair."

"So what?"

Haltingly, Lily said, "I'm your wife... I, uh, I don't know if it feels like I drove you to this... But, um..."

"It's always about you, isn't it!?" Spank hissed.

"I love you..." Lily said, though as she said it she started to wonder if it were really true anymore.

"You just want to chain me!"

"But the chains are yours -"

"You're week and needy and you won't be satisfied until I'm just as week and needy! Now go fix me a martini!"

"Spank, that's not true at all," Lily protested. "I won't - that is, if you really want to see this woman I won't get in the way. But our marriage -"

"Where's my martini!?"

Yes, I'm cutting a lot of scenes. You're welcome.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chapter 14

This is the gist of it.
Turkey, $30. Champagne, $25. Fancy lace tablecloth, $2,000 (seriously, tablecloths are frickin' expensive). Dinner service and fine china, $2,500. Silverware, $3,000. Feeling superior to everyone in the room because you can quantify all this junk, priceless!

Or it would be if Spank Rearend could wrap his myopic mind around the concept of something being worth more than money. As it stands, he calculated his self-satisfaction this night at being somewhere in the seven figures... And was wondering when he would be receiving a check for it.

"God, I hate Thanksgiving," Rearend's mother groaned at the head of the dinner table. "It always means I have to see you people again."

"We love you too, ma," said Bill, Spank Rearend's brother who'd been long absent from this narrative.

"Rakum frakum..." Spank just muttered from his end of the expensive spread.

"What was that?"

"Please excuse Spank," Lilly said nervously. "He's... not in the best mood."

"Oh, is this about that trial tomorrow?" Spank's mother asked.

For those of you just joining us, Spank Rearend was arrested and charged with contempt of court - and some other stuff - for violating an injunction against producing more of his spankmeum alloy. That's still part of the plot and he's damn sure going to court for it.

"I'll have you know," Spank said with great self-important gravity, "I intend to make a stand tomorrow."

"Of course you will, everyone stands when the judge enters."

"No, ma. I think he means he's gonna make a scene."

"Well that's to be expected. I remember when he tried to muscle more allowance -"

"I had expenses!" snapped Spank, hotly.

"Of course you did, you were twenty-three!" his mother retorted.

Drawing himself up, trying to salvage his dignity, Spank persisted, "I happen to be doing the Right thing. I've always done the Right thing and will always do the Right thing!"

"Spank, you broke the law," Bill explained, displaying the patience of a saint. "Not just broke the law, but flagrantly and while giving material aide to a guy who's pretty much a mad bomber with a failed coal company. I understand the philosophical point that breaking the law under certain circumstances can be the right thing to do but that's hardly the case here."

Spank stared at his brother blankly, not having understood much after the word "Spank." After an awkwardly long silence, he declared, "If I do it, it's right!"

"Jesus, you're such a solipsist!"

"I'm right!" insisted Spank, his voice turning shrill. "I am not a slippery-slopery thingy! I'm right and you're all fired!"

And he ran off to sulk in the bedroom.

"Well thank God for small favors," Mother Rearend said. "Can someone pass the potatoes?"

Spank spent the rest of the evening sulking and even most of the morning, running through in his head all the brilliant things he could've said to his jerk brother... Nah, I'm not giving examples. He didn't stop this pity party when federal agents came around to collect him for his day in court.

"I knew they'd send you, Dougie," Spank said bitterly to the one agent he recognized.

"I still have that tazer, sir," the agent replied.

The agents drove him to the courthouse. Standard procedure but that didn't stop Spank from imagining they recognized his greatness and chauffeured him accordingly. Looking out the window, he saw people on the sidewalk reading papers with headlines like "Railroad Disasters!" and "Mystery Metal Leads to Record Number of Derails!"

Clearly the papers were jealous f Spank Rearend and his metal...

There was some scene with Daffy but fuck her and fuck this book. Spank's at court now.

He sat there, without any lawyers but confident in the compelling evidence of his exquisitely tailored grey suit. No one looking upon such good taste and perfect form could believe he'd done anything wrong by building and selling such awesome metal. Really, that's his reasoning!

"All rise!" called the bailiff. "The honorable Hector Ramirez presiding!"

Spank Rearend did not rise. He smirked, thinking this a bold move.

The bailiff cast a glance at the judge, as if to ask, "Want me to show this stuffed shirt who's boss?" But the judge shrugged it off. Not worth getting worked up over such a petty trial.

"Be seated," Judge Ramirez said. "The case of The People versus Spank Rearend and Rearend Metals is now in session. Mister Rearend, have been informed of the charges against you?"

"Yes I have!"

"And do you understand these charges?"

"I do not accept these charges!"

The judge cocked an eyebrow inquisitively, "Excuse me?"

"These charges are irrational as they directly constrain my own will, therefore I do not accept them!"

"Okay..." Ramirez looked at Spank Rearend sitting alone. "Has the defendant been informed of his right to council?" he asked the prosecutor.

"I have no council because I have no defense!" Spank Rearend declared boldly.

Confused, Ramirez asked, "So you're entering a plea of guilty?"

"I offer no plea! I do not recognize the authority of this court!"

Ramirez rubbed his temple. He swore he saw more of these types every week. Damn courtroom dramas making people think they could just make a scene and walk... "Has the defendant been found mentally competent to stand trial?"

"Wouldn't submit to examination, your honor," replied the prosecutor.

"I submit to no -"

Ramirez struck his gavel sharply. "Mister Rearend, whether you like it or not you're on trial. If you cannot conduct yourself civilly you can be found in contempt - again - and spend the night in jail. Now do you have a plea?"

"I can't hear you! Na na na na!" Spank chanted, sticking his fingers in his ears.

"Alright, defendant is remanded to county lockup." Ramirez struck his gavel again, "Get him out of here."

The bailiff and another officer gripped Spank at the sides. "Hey, what're you doing!? I said I don't recognize your authority and stuff! You can't do this!"

"At least this puts us ahead of schedule," Ramirez muttered as Spank was dragged from the courtroom.

And that's where this chapter ends now. See you next week! Maybe!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Chapter 13

Lily shuffled through the dank evening streets, knowing she should find her husband Spank Rearend but not particularly wanting to. She'd known of his infidelity of course - this most recent and his previous ones - and had as usual kept mum about the whole thing. She'd learned through long, painful experience not to press Spank as he more than lived up to his name.

Though she did wonder if the little financial security their sham marriage provided was worth the embarassment of that night. Not just her husband being so publicly affectionate with his mistress Daffy Braggart and her brother's wedding, but at finding the two of them in an alley just now, Spank vigorously railroading the railroad exec.

"Oh Franky!" Daffy cried, remembering Francisco Domingo Carlo Banana Fana bo Binko d'Ano The Third who'd been mincing about in the last chapter.

"Yeah, take it Franky!" hollered back Spank Rearend. "I'm not gay!"

It was times like this Lily really considered just leaving... But where would she go?

She wasn't stupid. She knew just walking out on Spank would absolve him of all the obligations stipulated by their marriage - namely the financial support Lily would need. She'd been a kept woman so long it would be hell to try and find a job. And despite the many reasons for divorce Spank had given her over the course of the narrative, she knew he'd fight her every step of the way. He wasn't the sharpest spoon in the pudding but he was tenacious when it came to grabbing money.

"Which I don't want but take anyway! It's about principles and shit!"

Spank, you're too dumb to break the fourth wall.

"Right! My bad!"

So needless to say. Lily felt trapped. She saw every opportunity to relieve her misery as a distant door slammed shut, receding in the distance like the elipses used by mediocre writers in lieu of proper transitions.

* * *

Spank Rearend sat in his office. The plasma screen mounted on the wall relayed the latest news in the d'Ano scandal.

"Sources now say Mister d'Ano not only had no copper, but knew this and the many reports he filed with the police regarding 'stolen' ore are fraudulent."

"That's right, Bob. Mister d'Ano defrauded just about everyone in Mexico and a number of private investors here in America, running from major firms to average citizens looking to diversify their IRAs."

"No word yet on if the Mexican government will honor the contract between d'Ano and his many cheated investors. Cindy, I don't know how many folks out there know this, but American laws require investors be paid their principle even in the event of bankruptcy."

"Yes, Bob. Because we have rule of law here, where everyone is equal regardless of wealth or inherited privilege."

Spank sneered contemptuously at the big TV screen. "'Rule of law!' Feh!"

And he was disappointed no one was paying attention to him. "Judy!" he barked into the intercom. "Send in some peon to bask in my brilliance!"

"My name is Roger, sir," replied the much put upon office manager.

But the door to Spank's office opened anyway and in came Doctor Floyd. He'd been tasked with making a study of Spank Rearend's new wonder metal spankmeum - mostly a wonder how it could be so green and flammable.

"Mister Rearend," Floyd said pleasantly. "I hope I'm not intruding?"

Spank just bawwed like the big baby he was.

"Oh, uh... Well, I hope we can get through this smoothly. I know you don't want anymore contempt of court charges."

"You just hate how awesome I am!" whined Spank.

"Mister Rearend, I'm just here to study the, er..." Few people other than Spank himself really care to refer to the mistery alloy as "spankmeum." Can you blame them?

"You used to like my metal!" Spank sputtered. "And you changed your mind! You're inconstant! A flip-flopper!"

"I don't really remember that," Floyd said politely, trying to diffuse the situation. "And to be fair, any previously produced metal of yours has less bearing on your current product than, y'know, empirical study."

"You're too weak to be emperor!"

"Okay, I think we're in a different parody now."

No, see, it's a pun.

"Christ... How much longer is this scene?"

Just skip to the part about how the Feds know about his deal with Dan.

"Right, that." Focusing his attemtion on Spank, rather than the Narrator, Floyd said, "Mister Rearend, I probably shouldn't be telling you this but I want to impress upon you just how serious this is. The FBI's had you uder surveillance, they know about your deal with that guy in the last chapter and they're readu to charge you with all sorts of stuff. Conspiracy, reckless endangerment -"

"Blackmail!" shrieked Spank.

"Oh fuck this."

It's cool, Floyd. You're done for the day.

But I'm not! Goddammit...

"Oh thank goodness you're here!" Edguy Dithers, in a completely different scene, said to that unnamed worker he keeps accosting with plot updates in the Braggart Big Damn Rail cafeteria.

"I needs to get a restrainin' order..." The worker muttered to himself.

"You won't believe what's been happening! Daffy - uh, I mean Miss Braggart is beside herself with what to do with Dan!"


"That coal guy in the last chapter. The Feds are down on him for utterly trumped up charges like 'blasting for coal without permission' and 'exploding mountain tops at such a rate it's technically terrorism' and they're being so unfair to him!"

"You know my grandfather worked in a coal mine? Never drank or smoked, died of eight kinds of cancer before sixty."

"I don't see how that's relevant to Daffy's distress. Now listen - her theory is there's a Destroyer of sorts on the loose. Every time a Great Man is under too much stress from his business or mistress, this Destroyer sweeps in an snatches him like removing a pillar. Soon, without any Great Men, there won't be any support for society!"

But the worker had left halfway through all that, having real responsibilities to attend to. Like the hundreds of others who kept Braggart Big Damn Rail running in just this building alone.

Elsewhere, because transitions are for commies, Francisco Domingo Carlo Banana Fana bo Binko d'Ano The Third was paying Spank Rearend a visit at his inactive mill.

Spank, as any grand industrialist, was too busy feeling sorry for himself at first to notice d'Ano. "Stupid gub'mint, stupid wife, stupid people not letting me do what I want..." he blubbered.

"Aww, what's up lamb chop?" said d'Ano in a flamboyant manner that would be all too obvious to anyone else.

Spank, dense to anything obvious that didn't directly involve him, gave a start. "Franky! I mean, Mister d'Ano!"

"Honey, you can call me whatever you like," d'Ano replied smoothly.

"But, how did you, I mean -"

"Shh," and Franky placed one manicured finger on Spank's lips. "No more words..."

At least that's how Rand wanted it to go originally.

"How did you get in here?" Spank demanded, though with a tremor in his voice.

"Oh, if I had a nickel for everytime I heard that!" Franky said. "I has worried about you, sweety. You were so out of sorts after the wedding."

"When was that again?"

"Who cares! Point is, you shouldn't feel bad 'cause you're way more awesome than all those moochers. Just like me!"

"But it hurts so much!"

What "it" is isn't exactly clear...

"Well, what would make it better?"

Spank Rearend thought deeply - or just slowly. Then, drawing himself up, declared profoundly... "What would you do?"

And Francisco Domingo Carlo Banana Fana bo Binko d'Ano The Third said, "I'd let Atlas shirk it all off."


"Stop supporting the moochers! Shutter the factory!"

"It kind of already is."

"Well there ya go! Now let's have cocktails!"

While they drank and engaged in some heavily coded flirtation, a fire broke out down in the mill. Fortunately, the city-funded fire department put it out quickly with little damage to Rearend's property while he and d'Ano congratulated themselves for being the motive force or forceful motion behind society.

"Hey, I had a whole scene about justice and stuff!"

Shut up, Daffy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Chapter 12

We're back, baby!

And appropriately enough, it IS September while this is being written and while Daffy Braggart is having a good mope over her boy toy getting nicked in the last chapter.

This of course being in addition to the good mope she was having over the closing - not failure! - of her precious Gort Line to Nowhere. She'd been so caught up in this round of lachrymose nombrilisme, she'd barely had time to fret over such plot points as the Gort doodle she'd found a few other chapters ago or the mass exodus of Great Men.

What she considered Great Men - hedge fund and private equity managers, heirs to oil companies who'd never worked a day in their lives, and all the many bosses who survived on nothing but the sweat and toil of underpaid others. Her heart bled for them most of all, or would if she had the time. And a heart.

"Oh Niels," she wailed. "You won't leave me too?"

"I'm in this chapter?" asked Niels.

To Daffy's champagne and quaalude addled mind, it seemed as if some Destroyer was moving across the land, erasing all the Greatness. And she was sure this horrible personification of Gotterdamurung was the same author of the brilliant engine dismissed by so many as a crayon drawing simply because that's exactly what it was.

Hey, I didn't make up this screwy logic of hers.

In a scene missing from the previous chapter - or the one before it, I can't keep track of this mess anymore - Daffy had discovered a brilliant engineer by the name of Quisling and tasked him with making some tangible product out of the crude doodle. She knew he was a brilliant engineer because he'd said so and had been working as a custodian when she found him. Only a genius would take a job so far below their actual abilities, so as to spite the world for not fawning all over them.

"I will pay you whatever you like!" Daffy had offered upon showing the Gort drawing to Quisling.

"I'll do it for free," he'd said in a sleazy con-artist's voice - which Daffy really should have been familiar with by now in her life. "And by 'free' I mean 'your sweet ass.'"

"Okey dokey!"

Now, sitting on a pack of frozen peas to relieve the burning sensation, Daffy looked at Quisling's latest report and wondered how much longer the project would take...

"Oh yeah, and Tim's getting married today!"

You may remember Tim had something going with a convenience store clerk named Sheryl. Well it's clearly a whole lot of something but we really couldn't get into that because it would detract from whatever Daffy's doing.

"And I matter!" declared Daffy to the embittered narrator who will leave her a pants-wetting vegetable before this is all over.

We now switch to Spank Rearend's scene because that whole bit where Daffy talks to some guy about a super special cigarette is too boring. While he was still facing charges for contempt of court and reckless endangerment of anyone down-wind of his hyper-toxic green metal, Spank was still rich enough to be out on bail and at dinner with some other rich idiot. Let's call him Dan.

They had to meet clandestinely in expensive restaurants like this, merrily throwing back highballs and chowing on steaks, so that no one would notice Spank Rearend was still forging his vanity metal and Dan was just dumb enough to buy it.

"Bunch a' fuckin' commies in DC are complainin' I'm expanding too fast!" whined Dan. "They're all like, 'You gotta listen to experts,' and 'You're blasting for coal where there's no coal,' and 'Technically we can charge you with terrorism,' and junk!"

I told you he was dumb.

"Experts!" sneered Spank. "What do they know?"

And they had a good chortle, agreeing rather loudly that Spank would deliver all the spankmeum Dan required and that he'd keep blasting open mountain tops for coal to sell to Braggart Big Damn Rail - despite the fact that trains haven't run exclusively on steam power for over a century. It makes sense if you're rich enough to drink away your brains in a single evening.

Later, sitting all alone in his big mansion because his wife and family don't appear in this chapter, Spank thought of how guiltless he felt about all this. Sure, he was committing a felony but he had no conception of the deprivations of a prison term so figured it couldn't be any worse than being stuck in traffic for a long time.

Neither did he feel a shred of guilt over cheating on his long-suffering wife with Daffy Braggart. And he was craven enough to think this was something to be proud of. "Who's awesome? You're awesome!" he said to the mirror.

But who's reflection is that? Why it's his wife Lily! She's actually in this chapter!

Lily entered, dressed in one of the more respectable gowns Spank allowed her and said meekly, "Dear? Don't you remember Tim Braggart's wedding?"

"Of course not!"

She flinched, then continued as diplomatically as she could, "Because it's today and we were invited -"

"What!?" Spank turned on her in that pose of ready violence she knew all too well. "Why didn't you tell me!?"

Near tears, Lily protested, "But I did. I told you a month ago and I even wrote it down in your day planner -"

"You stay out of there!" he shouted, striking her with the back of his hand with such force she was spun face-first into the door frame. He felt a stirring at seeing her bruised and bloody - like old times - but quickly filed it away for some later one-handed exercise. "Well get yourself cleaned up and let's go. I can't be expected to do everything around here."

And now we QT to the next scene, as Dan Simmons would say -

In a modest church in Queens where Sheryl examines herself one last time in the mirror. Some of her friends had been surprised to hear she and Tim were having a genuine church wedding, neither of them being very religious. But there remained an aesthetic appeal in ceremony.

How they'd come to this after a chance meeting in a convenience store is a story too touching and therefore too boring for the purposes of this narrative. Suffice to say, they loved each other and it annoyed Tim to no end how tabloids frequently suggested he was doing Sheryl some sort of favor.

"How hard can it be for this Joan woman to understand I just want you?" Tim would mutter at the evening news.

"You know what they say - bitches be crazy," Sheryl would reply.

It was that kind of relationship.

And now with the marriage they were under even more scrutiny. The ceremony itself had only been announced to the fewest close friends and family - which included Daffy, much to Tim's dismay.

"She is your sister," Sheryl had said. "You're always saying to give her the benefit of the doubt.

"So that's what I did to deserve this..."

Out in the sanctuary, barely two dozen people seated themselves in the old pews and waited. Tim, breaking protocol somewhat, had personally welcomed everyone as they arrived. With most of Sheryl's family still in Buffalo, and not doing all that well financially, he understood the effort they'd gone to and wanted to show his appreciation. Though Sheryl, full of stubborn pride he couldn't help admiring, categorically refused for him to pay entirely for them all. He'd talked her down to about four figures.

It was while everyone waited for the bride to arrive that Spank Rearend made his entrance, much to everyone's dismay.

"Oh Spank!" Daffy ejaculated - women can do that too - as she stood up from her seat.

Spank didn't even hide his own joy at seeing Tim's sister. Tim could swear Lily looked about to cry, even under that pair of boxy black sunglasses she wouldn't even take off in the somber gloom of the church. She sat stiffly next to Spank while he and Daffy made googly eyes at each other for everyone to see.

Finally - and on schedule - Sheryl arrived in her simple gown. If not for her, Tim would have lacked the strength of will to ignore Daffy's obvious disdain at wearing anything that didn't cost a thousand dollars and come from Europe. Thankfully, once Sheryl reached the front with him he didn't have to look at his sister or her surprise guest.

Yes, Daffy invited Spank without consulting her brother. And she told it to his cuckolded wife, whom she's been cuckolding. Enlightened egotism!

And because nobody cares about a damn wedding ceremony -

"I do! I'm the best man!"

- or Snarkin -

"Up yours!"

We'll just hurry up to the reception in the Braggart building ballroom, established when Pere Braggart was in a particularly alliterative mood. Tim had a friendly chat with Doyle - "Congrats, buddy! She sure is something special!" - and Sheryl tried to make peace with Daffy.

"I don't expect to be your friend right away," she said diplomatically. "Or at all. But I just want to assure you I'm not trying to be the woman of the family now or anything."

"Damn straight!" Daffy retorted. She'd been drinking everclear from a hip flask all day. "'Cuz I'm the man!" she slurred and went off somewhere to try and pee standing up.

And there was some more plot stuff about the DC regulations but none of that is as important as the unexpected appearance of Francisco Domingo Carlo Banana Fana bo Binko d'Ano The Third!

"Franky!" declared Daffy, upon her return from the coat room with an obvious piss stain down the front of her dress.

"Oh good heavens!" Franky smiled, "You look just like you did in college!"

That Rearend shyster Tim could allow but this... "You've got a lot of nerve showing up," he said icily to d'Ano. "In this country."

"Oh, you're not still sore over all that?" Franky retorted coquettishly.

"I am. So are my shareholders. And the FBI." Never a violent man, Tim felt the overwhelming urge to punch this clown who'd caused so much damage to his business.

For those of you just joining us, d'Ano owned a mine in Mexico that turned out to be an empty fraud and he's now wanted for all sorts of white collar crime charges. But Daffy still believes in him because she's dumb.

"Franky! Come here and tell Spank your theory of money!"

"Okey dokey!"

Yes, that's where she gets it from.

While d'Ano went on at stupid length on his stupid monetary theories - which all boiled down to "gold is shiny" - Tim stalked out of the ballroom to get some fresh air. Not too long after, he was approached by Lily Rearend. She carried a small package.

"Congratulations, Tim," she said softly. "I-I got this for you and Sheryl. Please don't tell Spank, I don't want him to know I..."

Tim winced as he received the little package. "Lily, if you ever want to talk about, well, whatever."

But she turned around and disappeared back into the ballroom. Tim stood there, looking down at the package in his hands until Sheryl stepped out to see how he was doing. "I saw Lily. Is everything alright?"

Her tone and the look Tim gave her said they both knew damn well she wasn't. Holding out the package, "She gave me this."

Sheryl unwrapped it gingerly. Inside was a snowglobe with a scale reproduction of the Braggart building inside and two crude little man and wife statues, like the kind usually found on wedding cakes.

"My god, I think she made this!" gasped Sheryl.

Looking back into the ballroom, they could both see Tim's sister chatting loudly and happily with d'Ano and Rearend, the latter's hand brazenly resting on her ass.

"How can people be so cruel?" asked Sheryl.

"I hate weddings," Tim said.

She grasped her new husband's hand tightly. "Well at least we only have to do it once," she said with a faint smile.

Back inside, Franky was deep into his ponderous pontificating - "Like, the only reason there's any value is 'cause, like, someone who's worth something made it. Nobody buys a suit from a loser so losers can't have real value. Like, why do we have legs if not for pants, am I right?"

Daffy and Spank both cackled in agreement. None of them were right.

But somewhere, someone was not wowed by d'Ano's shallow narcissism. "Typical child of money," came a muttering from among the rest of the guests.

"Who said that!?" d'Ano wheeled drunkenly on all the other guests who had so far not cared to pay attention to the gabby drunken trio. "Who fucking said that!?"

"I did," said an older woman. One of Sheryl's relatives from Buffalo, an aunt if Tim remembered correctly. "Because you are. You're every awful thing a person turns into when they don't have to answer for their own bullshit."

"Oh of course," d'Ano said with exaggerated sarcasm. "Because I come from money, right?"

"Because you never had to work for it," the aunt said firmly. "Because you've never tasted desperate. And if you did, you wouldn't last a day."

This one steely woman finally managed to shut up Francisco Domingo Carlo Banana Fana bo Binko d'Ano The Third. He gaped at her for a moment then, composing himself, left with a huffy "C'mon girls, let's blow this joint!" to Daffy and Spank.

Leaving the wedding reception behind, Our Heroes Three went about doing what Heroes do best - get shit-faced and shout pedantically at one another.

"Of course I was born into money!" whined Franky. "I'm naturally that awesome!"

"Just like my metal!" Spank declared. "Have I told you about my metal? It's 'spankmeum' because it's awesome like me -"

"Weren't we talking about me here?"

Daffy could just stare with rapt admiration and inebriation at these two men she had the hots for as they shouted about themselves to each other, faces just close enough to kiss.

God, I want another six months off...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Chapter 11

Bow down before the one you serve...

Ah, Act Two of the world's worst magnum opus! In which we shall reject the triune God by revelling in the caricature it presents of the materialist opposition. This may seem counter-productive but keep in mind the source material - and especially its fans - is or are far too stupid to comprehend nuance. They probably think "nuance" is a commie plot, just like water fluoridation.

I'm getting off track - no pun intended.

We open on the previously bit character Doctor Stieg, all pacing and consternating. He had gotten all ready to meet with Doctor Floyd, who was uncharacteristically late. "Wonder if he's still tied up with TMA-01..."

Just then, rather than after three pages of repetitive padding, Floyd came briskly through the door of Stieg's office. "Sorry I'm late. Traffic has been a bitch since everyone started using those electric cars."

"I know," said Stieg. "They're so cheap and efficient that  nobody cares to take the bus or just walk anymore!"

"At least they're clean. No exhaust, no road grit. Hell, the streets have never looked cleaner."

"Almost makes you grateful for that Buyit maniac..." Stieg straightened up, getting to the matter at hand. "Which, unfortunately, is why we're here."

"Oh yes, the cleanup." Floyd set his briefcase on Stieg's desk, popping it open and withdrawing an intimidatingly thick binder. "You can thank the R&D grants for this little number. Though it was originally intended to dissolve crude in water, what tests we've been able to do show it's safe for ground deployment."

Stieg let out an "Oof!" as he accepted the binder. "Quite a history for it already."

"Well, we can't just send it from the lab to production without being sure it's safe. We're not Rearend Metals after all."

"God, don't remind me. That fool and his girlfriend have been calling me at all hours of the night, accusing me of being behind that federal order to cease construction with that spankem or whatever it is."

"Well, you're department did put out that report."

"And if that were all it took, depleted uranium would have disappeared thirty years ago."

Taking back the binder, Floyd had to ask, "Is this really going somewhere?"

"Probably not. The original scene was all about how we're conspiring to keep facts from people through the most ludicrous of postmodern dickering."

"Jesus, what sort of asshole would want to read such a thing?"

Yes, I'm getting lazy. Then the phone rang.

"Oh. Lovely. It's Miss Braggart again," Stieg said, his voice dripping sarcasm. Slowly picking up the receiver, he said, "And what hysterical accusations shall I hear today?"

I'll spare you the details. But Floyd could hear a manic screech, the kind of sound one would expect from a belt sander on a chalk board.

It even caused Stieg to recoil in discomfort. "I would attempt to dissuade you of such a notion," he said as amicably as possible, "if I expected it to do any good. Goodbye." And hung up, the receiver still rattling with Daffy's petulant rage.

"What a bitch," said Floyd.

Elsewhere, Daffy continued her planned diatribe into the empty line. After which, she slammed down her own receiver - not because she thought Stieg was still on the line but for the principal of the thing. Daffy was all about principles.

"Which reminds me, I need to go have more rapetastic sex with a married man!"

And she frolicked off to get her ass hammered.

Though she did return to the narrative later, there being a scripted encounter with poor Doctor Stieg. Daffy was of course all bent out of shape about poor Buyit being driven off by the icky Feds - at least that's how her simple mind processed things. And even worse, the loss of the Buyit oil fields had prompted that executive subsidy for anyone wishing to trade in their old combustion-powered car for an electric. How horrible for all those happy sounding gas-guzzlers to be replaced with things that could do no more than hum politely!

Daffy also thought a federal subsidy was bad because she was a rich idiot who'd never had to budget for her own bills.

But the most horrible of the horrors - Tim had been absolutely serious about freezing her out of Braggart Big Damn Rail! The Gort Line was being disassembled and all those manly diesel engines were being replaced by more sissy electrics!

Dark days indeed for our heroine. But let's quit this pity party already and get back to some actual story.


Daffy took the train to Doctor Stieg. Or he took the train to her, it's not too clear and I don't really care. Either way, it gave Daffy another chance to get all squishy over trains because of their motive purpose or purposeful movement - and nothing at all to do with their phallic shape.

"Aren't you glad to see me, Doctor Stieg?"

"I should really get a restraining order," the doctor muttered to himself.

"I have a task for you!" she declared.


"I don't expect you to understand it fully and really I don't expect you to solve it," she went on, oblivious as ever. "In fact, I'm not sure if I came over here for any reason other to gloat..."

"Lovely. Please leave."

Whipping the infamous Gort Graph from her pantsuit - yes, I've decided to stick her in a pantsuit - Daffy presented it to Stieg. "Here is the blueprint for an engineering marvel! A Great product of a Great Man's Greatness! A -"

She was interrupted by Doctor Stieg's very unexpected laughter. Unexpected because he was usually so somber and because she expected everyone to bow and scrape before her personal holy text. But that's par for the course with fanatical shovelheads.

"My dear, this 'device' of yours appears to be a child's doodle!"

Shocked and offended, Daffy sputtered for the right comeback. Finally, she settled on, "You just don't want to because it's too awesome! You're just jealous of a real man of the Mind because you're a statist... person!"

"I really do wonder sometimes if you're schizophrenic," Stieg chuckled, having recovered some of his composure. "Again, I'll have to ask you to leave."

And in case she still didn't get the point, he called security.

*    *    *

The federal order still lay there on Spank Rearend's desk. And Spank Rearend still glared at it with all the scorn he could muster.

...Because Spank Rearend couldn't read! );

He'd managed a few tortured syllables. Mostly "T-t-t-th-the..." and "O-o-of-off..." before angrily denouncing it as a commie-nazi plot of moochers to steal his spankmeum.

Then the janitor had stopped by and explained to him it was an injunction from producing any more spankmeum for "reasons of public health, national security, and general sanity."

Clearly they were just jealous, thought Spank...

And they'd sent along a federal agent to make sure Spank behaved himself. Spank liked calling the young man "Dougie" despite the young man's protestations and reminders of "I have a gun."

"Hating me really isn't going to help you," the agent would say.

"And why not!?" demanded Rearend.

"...You really need me to explain that to you?"

The agent always spoke in such a flat way. It angered Spank further because he didn't understand dry wit.

And then he would make such absurd suggestions! Like, "Why don't you just produce another alloy? Something not green or toxic?"

"You don't understand!" whined Spank. He whined a lot. Like any other libertarian. Lots a' whining and moaning.

"What don't I understand?" pressed the agent. "Is it something to do with your equipment?"

Spank launched into quite the overblown rant before realizing that wasn't a euphemism. "Well, you just don't get why spankmeum is better!"

"I really wonder how you define 'better...'"

"I mean better! Don't you even know what words mean, Dougie!?"

"If I may paraphrase Wittgenstein, words mean whatever we intend in the given context. So again, just how do you mean 'better' in the context of your green, toxic, and highly inflammable metal?"

"Shove off, punk! Why don't you and this - this Wiggerpine fella go try and pour your own steel!"

"I also have a tazer, sir."

So Spank was not having the best time. All this regulation and being held accountable for his actions really hurt his feelings and stuff. So he was quite pleased with the news of Buyit's burning oil fields. He laughed in triumph when he saw it on the news! Because like any other privileged twerp wallowing in unwarranted self-importance, Spank Rearend found joy in acts of childish rebellion.

Especially when the consequences of said rebellion were dodged. And using that as his template, Spank Rearend went right back to cranking out the spankmeum.

"Sir, you shouldn't be doing this," the young federal agent said when he found out.

"And why not!" demanded Spank smugly. That's not a typo, it wasn't really a question.

"For starters, by violating the terms of the injunction you're showing contempt for the court."

"You bet I have contempt for 'em! They hate my awesome metal!"

"That's between them and your lawyers. Whom you may want to contact."

"Why? You gonna arrest me or something, Dougie!?"

"Yes." And he did.

Bam! Betcha didn't see that coming!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Chapter 10

Saddam Hussein presents Objectivism in action!

And so Our Ridiculous Heroes set off to discover who could have designed such a fantastic wonder gizmo. Naturally it was a few days before they noticed the damned thing was signed - "Jon Gort!" In crayon.

"Of course!" cried Daffy. "Just like in my dream!"

"Huh? What dream?" Spank asked, all befuddled. He always got lost when the conversation turned to something besides himself.

"Jon Gort designed this! Of course only he would have the Great Mind for such Greatness!"

Spank felt very diminished and spent the rest of the chapter pouting.

Not that Daffy could notice. Armed with a vague idea of what she was looking for, she went storming into every other business in the surrounding towns to demand -

"Why didn't you make yourself fabulously wealthy on this dream invention!?"

The nameless gentleman in question took one look at the laughable design and said, as tactfully as he could, "...Because it doesn't work?"

"It was the product of a Great Man! With a Great Mind! Powered by his Greatness!"

Being actually involved in a business, the man said more heatedly, "Lady, this is just a doodle with 'POWR' written up top in bubble letters!"

Daffy could glean no rational response from these lice. She tried and tried -

"Never heard of it."

"You're joking, right?"

"I'm a pirate! I only know the ways of the sea! Arrr!"

Discouraged, Daffy took to pouting along with Spank. Fortunately, her cell rang before things could devolve into a protracted pity-party for the undeservedly rich airheads -

"Daffy! Thank god I can hear your voice again!"

"What is it now, Dithers?" she demanded. "I have alot of very important-feeling-sorry for myself to do."

"I can't explain over the phone because it's too urgent! It has to wait several hours for you to get back to the office because of its urgency!"

"Ed, that makes no sense. Have you been taking notes off of me?"

"Yep! Do you love me now?"

Fortunately Daffy had hung up right before Dithers could ask. "Spank, we need to go back!"

He brightened, "To the hotel room?"

"To New York! Urgent things need our eventual attention!"

* * *

Those urgent things were gradually revealed to be, in no particular order -

The Union she'd previously thrown a hissy fit at was filing a class action suit of wrongful termination for over a hundred engineers Daffy had personally fired for "looking all darkie."

The states of Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona were stirring up holy hell as the Gort Line had been constructed weaving in and out of their territories without any notification or proper paperwork on the part of Braggart Big Damn Rail. Further, physicists were crying foul at how a single line of track could do such a thing.

A collection of scientists, metallurgists, and other so-called "experts" had all testified before Congress on the inherent dangers of spankmeum - from it's instability to its record-breaking toxicity.

And to top it off, someone had finally pointed out that the new federal regulations on such things as construction, bridge design, and other things actually did apply in Colorado. Meaning both she and Spank were violating a whole mess of laws just by letting the Gort Line exist.

Edguy Dithers was his sycophantic best. "Oh Daffy, how could they be so mean to you?"

"Clearly it's all just jealousy!" Daffy declared. "These parasites just wish they could run a railroad as well as I do!"

The distant rational part of Edguy's brain was screaming that he himself had been doing much of the day to day administration but he'd long ago learned to ignore rationality where Daffy Braggart was concerned. "That is so true."

No it's not.

But as we've seen - and as we'll see much much more - Daffy never let a little thing like "reality" get in her way! "These looters won't take away all my hard-inherited gains! Because Tim is going to fight them for me!"

Admittedly, delegation is a skill of sorts...

Daffy stormed into Tim's office, brimming with vapid rage! "What do you intend to do about this!?" she demanded unspecifically.

"Daffy. Good. I was worried today would be pleasant," Tim replied evenly. "If you're referring to the current legal troubles of Braggart Big Damn Rail, I've already got our lawyers working out settlements with the parties involved. Other than that, I'm not going to do a damn thing."

"So you're just going to let these vermin steal all we've accomplished? That's so typical of you, Tim!"

Thanks to a lifetime of having tolerated her bullshit, Tim didn't rise to the bait but instead said, "You should be asking what I'm going to do about you. The board's fickleness can be convenient sometimes."

Daffy, caught in mid-rant, could only stare dumbly at her brother. Of course, she stares dumbly at most things. "Huh?"

"I had you removed this morning. Henceforth, you have no executive control over the company."

"Oh yeah! There was that too!" Edguy called from the previous scene.

Tim continued, his voice firm, "I'm shutting down the Gort Line now, before anyone else dies for it. I'm re-activating our electric train project. And I'm barring you from setting foot in this office ever again." He then calmly went and busied himself with some papers.

Daffy, struck dumber than was normal for her, could only gape for a long while. Then, tapping that white-hot strain of self-absorbed crazy in her brain stem - "You just want to sell out to the leeches! Well I'm here to run a railroad and -"

"And you have been really fucking bad at it!" Tim snapped back. "No one but your socialite buddies will ride on it, no one but desperate illegals will operate it, and the whole rest of the country has been downloading a flash game where they can blow your arms and legs off with a shotgun!"

"Well, I'm not interested in what the rest of the country thinks," said Daffy, getting all in a huff.

"Meaning you don't care what your own clients think," said Tim, laying it out for those of you who still don't get it. "Which is why you suck at business."

Now that struck a nerve.

Daffy bolted from the room, weeping like some womanly stereotype. Tim felt a sudden stab of guilt - all that anger at his sister had been building up for so long that when it finally came it... He felt so ugly. The necessity of what he'd done was little comfort.

Outside under the unforgiving brown skies, Daffy ran stupidly from her problems like any spoiled airhead would. At every sign with words such as "Public" or "Community" she recoiled in exaggerated horror like one of those montages you see sometimes in old movies. She finally found her way to a greasy spoon where the fry cook impressed her with his poise and cognizance. Why, it was the greatest and best philosopher Huge Asskorn!

"Mr. Asskorn, what are you doing here?"

"I got canned for being too awesome! The rest of the faculty were just jealous I was getting all the good freshman tail!"

"I know exactly what you mean," Daffy said. "Why, everyone complained about my Gort Line because it was too good and then they wouldn't recognize the awesomeness of Spanky - I mean, Mr. Rearend -"

"Hey, we're talking about me here!" Asskorn interjected. "Now how did you want your burger?"

Why yes, I did just condense over twenty pages of fluff into the above. You're welcome.

"Hey, wasn't I supposed to have a scene?"

Be quiet, Spank. Your scene was too boring.

But what's not too boring is this - in the diner hung a TV that cut from whatever it is diner TVs show to a news report. "This morning, oil tycoon Ennis Buyit set fire to his own wells!"

"No!" declared Daffy.

"Yes!" declared the TV. "A letter received by federal regulators who'd been investigating Buyit - mostly investigating if he had any oil at all or if he was just playing the commodities market - was just forwarded to this network. It reads, 'Can't get yer mitts on it now loozers! LOL!'"

The nation, being made up of real people as opposed to clumsily assembled political strawmen, was rightly horrified at all this. Even Republicans were bemoaning the environmental damage such an act would do to the United States. Everywhere, Americans were up in arms and ready to lynch this Buyit fella - who'd vanished as criminals and con men are want to do.

Yes, everyone was united in these new sentiments of conservation and lynching oilmen. Everyone but Daffy Braggart and other such idiots who thought it was just so neat to see flaming crude spraying across the land.

But who cares! We're finally back on schedule!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chapter 9

All aboard the Rape Train for Crazyville!

Daffy lay in the bed admiring herself for what felt like for-fucking-ever. And admiring Spank too, of course. How he had taken her in such a rough, mechanical fashion unclouded by actual attraction.

He even admitted as much as he got dressed - "Just so we're clear, I don't like you. I just wanted to stick it in you... But I hate myself for doing that to you because you're so awesome because you're just a hole to stick things in... And now I feel like I need you and stuff because your vagina is magic like that... But I still don't love you because 'love' is grody..."

Daffy was so turned on by his schizophrenic babbling that she wanted to vault his pole again! "Oh Spank, you don't have to feel that icky 'need' feeling because I'll feel it for you!"

And they did it again. Loudly. Like atoms smashing because industrial imagery is sexy when you're too dense and self-absorbed to understand no one wants to screw you because you look like a chainsaw sculpture.

* * *

Tim Braggart staggered out into the rain after a long day of damage control and planning for the worst. The board had, as boards are want to do, done a complete 180 on Daffy's Gort Line. That single successful run from one point in nowhere to another had convinced the most fickle that this was a triumph for Braggart Big Damn Rail. Tim, being the one who'd actually handled the company for the past several years and having been privy to the many construction difficulties was less enthusiastic...

And that bit about running from nowhere to nowhere, that would bite them hard and soon. When he'd questioned the positioning, Daffy had launched into some ludicrous speech about how it wasn't their responsibility to stimulate failed local economies - as though a railroad could somehow turn a profit without customers. Though, this being Daffy, she probably expected all those wealthy airheads who rode on the Gort's maiden run to just buy up tickets every day. Tim found if he just assumed the most ridiculous and counter-intuitive outcome, he'd nailed Daffy's expectations of any situation.

"Goddamn rails," Tim muttered to himself. "Goddamn rain. Goddamn family. Goddamn world!" Times like this made him question his teetotalling.

...Well, how much would one drink hurt? Just enough to numb his mind to all this madness. To make him forget that his sister was running their company into the ground. Distantly through the rain, he spotted a convenience store with the lights still on.

An electronic bell chimed happily as Tim Braggart entered, soaking and miserable. He looked around for where they stocked the booze - and he found himself looking on a surprisingly beautiful woman. Surprising because she was working the register in a Wawa.

She didn't look up immediately, having some book open before her. When she did, she offered only a polite if curt smile and returned to her reading.

Tim found his way towards the booze. How the hell was this supposed to work anyway? Did he want something cheap? Something lite? Or go with the wines and find a whole new set of questions - none of which interested him as much as the woman at the counter. She had this soft, warm look about her, like the sort of person who offer comfort without any thought of reward. A quiet, selfless type.

"God, I'm worse than I thought," Tim muttered to himself, chuckling a little. Desperation lead to strange thoughts indeed. You couldn't gauge someone as a person based on one glimpse! That sort of two-dimensional bullcrap only happened in trashy romance novels!

-But was she just watching him in the mirror? Tim had one of those big, curved, don't-steal-anything-'cause-we'll-see-it mirrors stationed up above him and could've sworn he'd just seen her look back up from her book and straight at him...

With effort and the sense of general disgust that had been brewing in him all day, Tim managed to set it aside and carried a six-pack of something called "Modelo" up to the counter.

The woman set down her book and engaged him with that aloof sort of professional politeness. "Will that be all?"

Tim nodded, fishing in his pants for his wallet.

"I figured one of you Braggart types would want something fancier," she said, eyeing the beer.

Tim looked up, surprised. "Wh - How did you know?"

"You've been all over the news. You, your sister, all those other rich folks riding your green railroad." She was still polite but there was something flippant in her tone. "But hey, you're making money on it so you must've done something right -"

"That thing is a fucking class-action suit waiting to happen," Tim blurted out without really thinking. "I told Daffy every step of the way it was doomed. I told the board but one little run and they're all giving her a blank check to run our company into the ground with that Rearend asshole's snake-oil!"

The woman was understandably shocked at this. "I'm sorry, I thought you -"

"Thought I what? Gambled my own company on some vanity project!? Used unsafe, untested materials that got three of my own men killed because I..."

Tim caught himself. He'd been talking to himself more than anything and could now see he was frightening the poor clerk. "I'm sorry. Oh god, I'm so sorry... It's just... It hasn't been the best day..."

They both stood looking at each other in silence for a few moments. Silent except for the gentle drip of Tim's still soaked clothes.

"I'm very sorry about your men," the woman said softly.

"I am too," replied Tim. "Every day."

She smiled at him. A small, almost Mona Lisa smile but with enough warmth to make Tim forget about the rain chill. "I'm Sheryl," she said, extending her hand.

"Tim Braggart," he said, letting out a self-conscious chuckle.

"If, you know, you ever want to talk about this stuff... I'm usually here late but Mondays and Wednesdays I'm off at five."

"I'd like that."

They stood in silence again for a moment. Awkwardly again. Then, turning, Tim said, "Well, uh, should probably go. Long day tomorrow, I'm sure."

He was at the door before Sheryl could call out, "Hey, don't you want your beer? I was just kidding before."

Tim looked back, "...Actually, I don't think I need it now."

The rain still poured down on Tim Braggart once he was again outside but somehow it didn't feel quite as cold...

* * *

Daffy Braggart and Spank Rearend went their separate ways without a word upon returning to whatever city this is set in. This silent disdain was mutual, as they both conflated it with True Love or something. Of course, Daffy had found it the height of intimacy when just after blowing his load in her, Spank had slumped across her body and promptly fell asleep. Snoring like a chainsaw and drooling everywhere.

Being the fictional avatar of a self-loathing ugly chick, Daffy found this incredibly sexy.

Daffy was so, well, daffy with what her limited mind assumed was love she couldn't stop thinking about Spank's rear-end all the way to the Braggart offices. She ran into many lamp posts, which didn't help her appearance after spending half a day on a train. Yes, long travel and lack of showers does affect even self-important rich people.

She still looked properly hideous that evening when Spank Rearend appeared outside her apartment because creepy stalkers are exciting if you're too ugly to have ever had a proper date.

"I couldn't stop think of your railroad," he said all sexily. "Because rigid metal beams arouse me. It's not gay."

"Oh Spank, let's do it again like we're in a bad Harlequin novel!"

Which they were.

Spank threw her down in preparation for another rapetastic "love" scene. But before again indulging in Daffy's taffy, he had to know - "Has there been anyone else?"

"What, like today? Well, the mailman came by a little while ago and then there were some kids selling candy for their school -"

"I mean have you had anyone else?"

Daffy had to think about that. Long and hard, unlike Spank - Hiyo!

"There was one... That I know of. I drink a lot."

"Who was he!?" Spank demanded, because holding down a woman and screaming at her about her sexual history is sure to win her heart.

"Ain't tellin'!"

So they did some more angry, ugly whoopy. Anyone who liked this book should be forced to register as a sex offender.

* * *

Meanwhile Moen meandered morosely, moping over how damaged his equipment was after having used that weird green metal. Can you tell I really don't care?

Moen was also upset over how many companies were moving out to Colorado to escape that Act everyone was vaguely worried about in previous chapters. Because federal law doesn't apply in every state or something.

"Listen, you're reaching."

Eat it, Moen! I made a promise to myself to see this thing through, no matter how poorly it turns out!

"You've got nothing but smut to work with in this chapter. You're over two weeks behind schedule."

Hey, that wasn't my fault! Frakin' databases...

"Look at what you're doing - half-assed summarizing and metafiction. Is that what you really want to be?"

But I have to... I don't...

"You know this section is just lots of repetitive foreshadowing that only a blind duck wouldn't see through. Move on to the next Dagny scene."

* * *

Daffy stood in her living room, looking out the large and luxuries window at all the people who lacked the drive to be born rich like her. She felt somehow more pleased with herself, now that she'd found a purpose in life as Spank Rearend's latest receptacle.

And speak of the devil - he entered behind her, much as he would soon enter her behind. "But first I'm going to talk about myself!" declared Spank. "You missed a bunch of know-it-all 'metallurgists' and 'renowned experts' at the banquet who wouldn't give my awesomeness the respect it deserves!" He actually used entirely non-ironic finger quotes because he's just that much of a wanker.

"They're just jealous, of course," Daffy said while mooning over Spank like a Quaalude-addled groupie. Which probably isn't far from the truth.

"Fix me a drink so I can watch you wait on me."


This is love...

As Daffy busied herself serving her man, Spank continued - "I figured if I got 'em all alone at a big fancy dinner they were throwing, they'd at least admit to the surface hypocrisy. Because they're totally hypocrites for not using my metal!"

I'll spare you his idiot clown logic.

"But it goes so deep with them! They were all, 'Studies show this,' and 'Empirical evidence says that,' and 'How did you get in here without an invitation?'" He threw up is hands in exaggerated desperation. "I can only conclude this banquet was for no good reason since it clearly wasn't all about me!"

Daffy handed him his drink, saying, "I've never liked parties like that myself. And if I personally don't like something, I don't see why anyone else should."

"It was as if they had this sick need to be social! I hate need!"

"I need you."

"Yeah, but that's completely different because I feel good about that."

Somewhere an asteroid was flung loose from its orbit thanks to that impressively circular reasoning.

"Besides, you properly 'compensate' me," he said with a leer.

"Is that how you think of it?" Daffy asked.


"I'm perfectly okay with that."

They talked more of Spank's intent to move his spankmeum production to Colorado where, again, federal law has no sway for no clearly defined reason. "It's all just so much work," Spank whined. "I can only order around so many people in a day!"

"I know what you mean," Daffy said. "I've had so much paperwork to do for the Gort Line that I feel like my hand's about to fall off! Surely no one can claim a greater burden!"

"What about me!?"

"Well, okay. But nobody else."

"Hmm? Did you say something? I just blurt that out on occasion."

Daffy found this an admirable quality. She also found his infidelity to his wife and his habit of screaming his own name at climax admirable.

"I have an idea!" Spank declared. "Mostly thanks to the booze. It'll get us out of this rut of idle super-wealth."

Daffy gasped! "What is it?"

"Road trip!"

Oh hell no...

"You're getting meta again."

* * *

Some indeterminate time later, the Philanderer and the Phloozy set out on their spanktastic adventure in one of Spank Rearend's many four-wheeled compensation devices. Which he spent the first three hours of the trip going on about -

"It's got fuel-injected, carbide-tungsten, hyper-alloy, speedometer-grooved..." he blathered on for an eternity.

"Neat... Neat... Neat..." Daffy had no idea what he was saying but wouldn't let that stop her from being impressed.

Stretching out before them - the unspoiled countryside loomed with it's vibrant blue sky, deep green forests, and rolling hills upon which deer and butterflies cavorted in paradisaical bliss. And not a single ad or banner to be seen.

It terrified them.

"How do I know where to pull off for greasy trucker food!?"

"How do I know where the outlet shopping can be found!?"

"How do I know if there's a strip club nearby!?"

Daffy was averse to billboard haters - and anyone who disliked advertisements. She couldn't understand people who used TiVo to skip over the blaringly stupid ads for gizmos, makeup, and diapers that interrupted their favorite shows. How could they even know what to buy - or if what they'd already bought was actually lame? Such a limited, wicked existence - not letting one's life choices be steered by marketing departments.

They passed near MacGuffin Way - "Hey, let's see where this road leads," Daffy suggested.


"Because the narrator is tired of this romantic plot tumor and wants to wrap things up already."

Good girl, Daffy. I may yet spare you...

The road in fact lead to a former company town, now a ramshackle hell-hole because letting a for-profit institution dictate urban development is like using a gun for a lollipop.

"I bet there's a factory nearby," Daffy said. "If we find it, we can have all sorts of nasty, industrious sex in the refuse!"

"Hot dog!" Spank ejaculated. For which he apologized and proceeded to clean up with a tissue.

While he was doing that, Daffy leaned out the window to ask direction. Unfortunately the only person nearby was a trailer-trash woman, all swollen with pregnancy. How disgusting! Of course it's fitting that the loser parasites are so fecund - everyone knows the truly moral and virtuous reproduce through asexual budding, Rugged Individualists springing fully-formed out of other Rugged Individualists backsides!

"Hey, peasant! Where can I find the factory?"

The woman extended one finger. Daffy wondered how they would ever get up in the sky -

"Oh. Well, I'm sure if we drive around we'll run into it."

And they did! What a surprise!

Inside the musty old corpse of a building, Daffy and SPanky were distracted from producing another disgusting and dull "love" scene by some schematics that had weathered the mold and exposure so well as to still be legible.

"Spank, do you know what this is?"

"Uhhh..." He had to turn it around a few times, hold it up to the light and set it back down. "...A ducky?"

"It's some sort of engine! Some sort of fantastic fantasy engine that runs on static electricity!"

"Wait, what?"

Daffy pointed to the relevant description - a crude doodle of a man rubbing his feet on carpet and grabbing a handle.

"Good God!" Spank ejaculated again. He has a problem...

"We need to find whoever designed this, because it's not like just anyone can assemble a machine from clearly written instructions."

And that's what they'll do - next time, on the exciting adventures of Spank and Daff!

"Just hit post already. That meta shit ain't funny!"

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Chapter 8

"Aw Christ, it's the creepy fuck," muttered the Worker who apparently doesn't deserve a name. He was sitting in the cafeteria of Braggart Big Damn Rail when Edguy Dithers happened to walk up, looking like he wanted to exposit again.

"...made me a VP. VP, can you believe it? I'm in charge of Operations now, whatever that means. I remember last time I came down here, just after getting promoted, everyone was looking at me. It felt weird..." Dithers had been learning from Daffy the skill of blathering pointlessly about himself to strangers.

"But it's all worth it to be near Daffy," Dithers said, getting all dreamy again. "Or it would be if I ever saw her anymore. She must be really busy. She moved me to her old office though, so I get her chair..." And his eyes took on a far-off look of perversity.

He had more to say of course. So much more with so little point but it's not like anyone cares about Edguy Dithers.

So let's get back to Daffy! She sat in her new office, admiring it's barrenness as reflective of her inner life. She'd set it up for no sensible reason to personally head the new Jon Gort Line - previously known as the Rio Norte.

Tim and Daffy had a minor tiff over that name. Was that in the last chapter? No, it was cut for pacing and sanity purposes. Bad sign this thing is turning meta and we're not even a third of the way through...

Anyway, Daffy was interrupted from feeling all pleased with herself by the post-it note reminding her to get her solipsistic ass to the airport. She had to fly back out to Colorado, where the Gort Line actually was. Still, she took her sweet goddamn time as it allowed her some navel-gazing concerning her own transparent fetishism of trains steaming through tunnels.

In her limited mind, she liked to dress up this fixation of hers in high-minded baloney. Liked to view her love of big, thrusting metal things and her love of that love and how she loved to love that love was all together the height of Man's consciousness - even though she was a woman. So clearly she needed a man to play engineer, if ya catch my drift. Not Franky - for entirely philosophical and platonic reasons, not his obvious disinterest - and surprisingly not Spank Rearend though Daffy wouldn't mind taking a ride on his Gort Line.

No, her ideal man was so ideal he didn't exist! She bravely displayed all the romantic discernment of a middle-aged virgin jacking off to Wonder Woman in his mom's basement.

And then some guy almost knocked on the front door - which she could somehow see from her office. The incident isn't quite as long here because I'm not gratuitously padding the narrative like Alisa Rosenbaum.

*    *    *

"Hey! I'm back!"

Snarkin, so help me...

"And I get a mine! Well, I still think of it as your mine, Spank. We're friends like that."

"No!" Spank said. "Either I own something or I don't!"

Poor Spank Rearend was too depressed to think in anything but the most didactic terms. Well, he really couldn't think any other way even at the best of times but now he was being a goddamn baby about it.

"Stupid government, telling me what I can and can't own..." he grumbled.

"Be fair, Spank," Snarkin said gently. "You couldn't expect to hold onto it with all those safety violations."

"But they weren't violations! Not until that mean law got passed!"

"I don't think you understand how laws work..."

It was no use of course. Spank was determined to sulk over his slap on the wrist, despite the poor condition of the mine and his years of skimping on the most basic safety standards. Really, it wasn't worth half of what Snarkin paid for it in the mandated deal.

"Wait, what!?"

And, though it's certainly common practice, Spank Rearend was far too densely literal-minded to contrive some "silent partner" arrangement with Saul Snarkin. He could only repeat in dull whine, "Either I own something or I don't..."

"You know, I'm having second thoughts about this whole thing. I mean, from what I read in the report and what the narrator is saying, this is looking like a real stinker of a deal."

Not that Spank was listening. He was remembering a preacher talking about how altruism is good and Spank dumbly associated that with what he was experiencing now. Therefore, altruism was actually bad and God is a jerk.

"How does that even work?"

Snarkin, one more fourth wall breach and I'll stick you with the d'Ano mine too.

"Alright! Jesus!"

"I just can't stand the thought of anyone over me," Spank blathered on with ridiculous self-absorption. "Being overpowered, dominated, tied up and whipped - I just can't stomach it! At least on the receiving end..."

"Spank, I don't particularly want to know why you'd use those specific terms," Snarkin said, "but you're blowing this way out of proportion. I own the mine now, sure, but I'm not going to cut you off or anything."

"I wish I could believe that," Spank said with ponderous seriousness. "But I cannot hold to the mere words of friends. Just facts."

"You sound like the villain in a Dickens novel."

And Spank sold a coal mine to some other guy with mostly the same dithering back and forth which has been cut here because it blows more than usual.

Rearend felt very emo about all of this, crying into his expensive scotch and cursing the evils of the world that would strip him of ownership of something he'd never paid much attention to anyway. At least he had the Jon Gort Line with its shiny green and blue girders - yes, that was the color - shining with their shininess in the Colorado sun. So this lead him naturally to call up Edguy Dithers and ask him to breakfast!

Borges couldn't make sense of this plot...

"Good mornin', Ed! I'm in a hurry so ya mind if I talk while eating?" Spank didn't wait for a response. Just started shoveling food into his mouth.

Dithers might have said something if he weren't feeling irrationally guilty for Spank's current woes. Though it was lessened somewhat upon experiencing the Greatness that was sitting across from Spank Rearend. It was saw awe inspiring and triumphant, Dithers didn't realize Rearend had stolen his omelet.

"So how's Braggart Big Damn Rail doing?" Spank asked, spitting egg and cheese about.

"Well, not too good. Issues with our payroll and such..." Dithers politely didn't mention people just wouldn't buy tickets to ride on some untested hoodoo metal.

"And you know your payment for my spankmeum is due next month?"


"Well, how about a moratorsis or whatever? I agree to extend the payment date until, say, six months after the Gort Line opens?"

"Golly Mr. Rearend, that would be swell!"

And it would be the same sort of friendly gentleman's agreement proposed to Spank just a few paragraphs ago but that was different because someone else suggested it. When you're Spank Rearend, morality is all about your personal preference. Because that's the objective way to do it.

"Excellent! I'll send the new papers on over once their drawn up," Spank said before snatching up Edguy's coffee. "You've got the makings of a good businessman, Ed, because you do what I say."

"We really owe you, Mr. Rearend."

"No you don't! I'm just being rationally selfish - if I collect now, you'll go under and I'll lose my only buyer!"

"But wouldn't that be the natural outcome in a free market?" Edguy asked, displaying uncharacteristic critical thought.

"Of course not!"

"Well, that's all I needed!"

Rearend had more to say - like how it wasn't charity because he was making money he didn't want - but it's so nonsensical and self-parodying on its own that I have nothing to work with.

Meanwhiles, people were talking smack about the new spankmeum railroad because, seriously, blue and green! It looked like the hull of a hundred year old shipwreck! Add in the fact that even Rearend's own R&D people were coming forward and admitting they had no idea if this alloy was appropriate for railroads and people were understandably put off.

Through all this, Tim Braggart tried to affect some control over the impending ruin of his family business but found Daffy had stonewalled him at every turn. When a rumor cropped up that a spankmeum bridge had collapsed, he got the runaround from his own employees out in Colorado - said they "Can't afford to get on Miss Braggart's bad side!" - before finally giving up and calling the local police. They confirmed three people had died but couldn't divulge their names yet, procedure and all.

It was another week until Tim did learn ho they were - Charles Geertz, Adam Curren, and Henry Taylor. He personally wrote letters to each family, expressing his sorrow for their loss and assurance that all life insurance policies through the company would be honored.

The way Daffy was taking things, he feared he'd be making that promise to more and more people...

Daffy herself was having trouble finding clients, let alone engineers, for her vanity project. A representative from the Local 317 even came by her office to express as politely as possible that no engineer worth his coveralls would go anywhere near the Gort Line.

"Get out! You're fired!" Daffy shouted back at him.

"Ma'am, I don't work for you."

"Well get out all the same! I won't have you telling me what I can and can't do!"

"I'm not doing that at all, ma'am. I'm just informing you our members have no interest in operating the Gort Line."

"Put it in writing!"

"Excuse me?"

"You want to control other people and control me by controlling people! You want me to create jobs but you want to forbid me from making those jobs require any -"

"Look, we're not forbidding you anything. There's no legal way we could do such a thing, even if we wanted to. I'm just here to tell you that if you want to run any trains on this Gort Line, you're running them without the 317."

Daffy had more circular logic to screech at him but the gentleman took his leave, having no patience for her crap.

Of course, Daffy soon found that not being able to draw from the largest engineers union in the country meant she had exactly zero people to run her trains. "Well screw those commie bastards! I'll just ask for volunteers!"

Nobody wanted to volunteer. Daffy could have gotten some by offering substantially more compensation for what everyone and their dog viewed as a needlessly risky venture but she had a pathological aversion to "wasting good money on the lice."

Fortunately, America still had plenty of undocumented workers who would take dangerous jobs for insultingly substandard pay. Sure they had no proper training or experience in such a vocation but Daffy found if she shouted "La migra!" at the right times they could learn awful fast.

And on the eve of the opening of the Jon Gort Line, Daffy gave a press conference to assuage the justified fears of the public - and maybe finally get enough people buying tickets to justify the huge investment. Her opening speech consisted of opining on the awesomeness and shininess of spankmeum and how it was totally better than all that collectivist steel and iron. Daffy assumed this would be sufficient for people because she was very stupid.

"But what about the tensile strength of the alloy?"

"What about the documented deaths during construction?"

"What about rumors you couldn't find real engineers and hired illegal immigrants you found in a back lot?"

"Shut up! You're all fired!" Daffy cried. She ran away before anyone could point out they didn't work for her.

The day came and both Daffy Braggart and Spank Rearend were among the first - and only - to board the very first train on the Jon Gort Line. They spent far too much time making googley eyes at each other, Daffy thinking about how only a person thoroughly absorbed in their own Greatness could be worthy of such Greatness and Spank thinking about pie. As the train steamed out of the station and onto the alien-looking hoodoo alloy, they smiled at each other, seeing only themselves reflected back... and died in screaming, fiery agony because you can't just build everything out of a single type of metal that you think is neat.

Or they would have if there was anything logical about this story. No, the lucky idiots made it from one end of the line to the other without incident, even across the bridge that had already claim the lives of so many too-poor-to-be-important people.

Another batch of reporters was waiting to meet the ditzy duo when the disembarked. There were many questions but one in particular stood out - "So are you going to allow a thorough scientific study of spankmeum?"

"Why would I ever do that?" Spank Rearend asked incredulously. "You saw it yourself - the rail held!"

"But for how long? What about environmental stresses?"

"The man who taught people to make a printing press," said Rearend, "how did he know it?"

"What the hell does that even mean!?"

All through the commotion, Daffy stared longingly at Spank. And Edguy - he appeared somehow! - stared longingly at Daffy. And the narrator stared longingly at a revolver. And Spank would've stared longingly at himself if there were a mirror handy.

His metal worked! Her Gort Line worked! Happy days all around! And there were the investors in the Gort Line - other rich idiots in expensive suits who paid people to do the real work.

From among them came Enis Buyit, "Great job, the two of you! Because it's not like all the foundry workers and railroad engineers had anything to do with it."

"Of course not!" Daffy and Spank replied in sickening harmony.

"You two should crash at my place tonight since the nearest town is two hours away."

And the new line ended there, in the middle of fucking nowhere.

"Wait'll you see my new process for extracting oil from shale!" Buyit babbled to them on the trip to his house, like a kid wanting to show off his Lego robot.

Not that Spank and Daffy were really paying attention. Their minds were elsewhere though curiously both on Spank. Once they were stowed in one of Buyit's guest rooms, Spank turned to Daffy and said all sexily, "Drop your socks and touch your toes. I'm gonna show you where the wild goose goes!"

And they had the sort of rough, clothes-ripping sex that would excite someone with a rape fetish. I am not describing it.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chapter 7

Daffy Braggart stood atop an ill-defined structure, looking down on the Buyit oil fields. In the distance the sun hit a spot of metal, making it look like a lit torch - which if it were would have horrifying and hilarious consequences. Because, you know, oil!

Far down below her - where they belonged! - were the faceless laborers laying the tracks and switches of newly delivered spankmeum. That's why McNam had quit by the way. He'd taken one look at the shiny new metal and said, "Are you fucking kidding me!?"

So Daffy had been forced to hire another contractor. An older, squishier gentleman she didn't want to ride like a pony who protested a little - "Are you sure this is durable enough for trains?" - but still agreed to do the job when Daffy offered three times the going rate. Tim's groans had been audible from neighboring buildings back at the Braggart office.

But even getting three times his requested pay, this new contractor - this Niels guy - just couldn't meet Daffy's ridiculously overblown expectations. "Why has construction stopped?" she demanded when construction had stopped.

"Sorry, Miss Braggart, but drill heads wear out fast. Especially in this rock."

Why there's such deep-drilling going on for a frickin' railroad is because they had to build a bridge. Why rail layers are pulling double duty building a bridge is because Daffy was too stupid to take all these things into account. But, again, let's just go with it...

"That is unacceptable!" Daffy had said to Niels with all her haughty idiocy. "You're just not trying hard enough!"

"Uh, ma'am, the success of an engineering endeavor is not wholly dependent on elbow grease."

As she stared blankly at him, he clarified, "The drill heads are shot and I can't move forward until new ones arrive."

"It's taking too long," Daffy said dismissively. "Use the spankmeum."

"Use the -!? Miss Braggart, even if we weren't already laying the spankmeum as rail - making it all spoken for, as it were - we are not in any way equipped out here to cast new drill heads!"

"Then we'll order them from Spank himself!" declared Daffy.

"Okay, let me see if I understand what you're asking... You want us to go faster, so we should order brand new, un-cast drill heads from this Rearend guy - from across the country - and wait for that to be delivered rather than use the drill heads already on order which - even factoring in shipping delays - would still arrive sooner?"

"I'm paying for the track so I'll pay for the new drill heads!"

Niels had been in this business thirty years. He didn't much care to strap some rich idiots vanity alloy to his equipment but with how much this Braggart nutjob was paying, he reasoned it would be an affordable risk. The customer is always right after all - even when they're pants-crappingly wrong.

And he really wanted to avoid another lecture from Daffy on the wonders of spankmeum. That line she always finished with - "...And a spankmeum butt-plug is like having white-hot joy itself embedded in your anus!" - had given him nightmares for a week.

So construction ground on - and the original drill heads did arrive before the spankmeum. Niels quietly continued to use those, rather than subject his own business to some loopy science experiment. Still, he fared batter than the other engineers Daffy began bringing in to design this project. Halfway through it's completion.

Apparently time doesn't exist if you're an Objectivist...

The first engineer presented what he felt to be his finest work to Daffy Braggart. She sneered at it. "I expected some new means of construction to properly honor this new metal!"

"But engineering doesn't work like that," the first engineer tried to explain. "You go with what works best, and this does. It's got a nearly perfect history, it's stable but basic enough -"


It had been hard work, dismissing all those professionals. "I want it to last five years longer!"

"Well, if we reinforce with steel -"

"No! Spankmeum!"

"But that won't-"

"You're fired!"

So many who couldn't grasp the Greatness of Spank's new metal. So many concerned with swishy collectivist ideas like "physics."

"Miss, I think we'll need a different alloy for -"

"The hell we do! More spankmeum! More and more spaknmeum!"

Only by sheer force of personality - meaning an extended tantrum - did Daffy get her way. It was a unique skill she'd developed in kindergarten to make others give her their juice boxes.

And it was paying off. Down below her was the furious work of third-rate sheister engineers, employing hordes of underpayed illegals to make the dream of one Daffy Braggart come true!

Which promptly collapsed because structural engineering requires more than self-importance.



...Hah! Just kidding! We're not getting out of this mess that easy!

As the author wept at his unending torment, Ennis Buyit happened to appear to engage Daffy in a pointless conversation for the purpose of bitching about Niels. After Buyit left, Niels showed up to bitch about Buyit. Then Daffy went back to her trailer so she could BAWWWWW! all over her Livejournal like the spoiled pinhead she is. And when she was finished, who should be outside to meet her than the one and only Spank Rearend!

Rearend had driven all that unspecified distance to see Daffy of course. Driven in his long, sleek convertible that was definitely not compensating for anything. As always, he was heroically absorbed in his own Greatness and didn't notice Daffy's approach.

"Spank?" she asked... Not like that.

With Heroic Willpower! the other rich idiot tore himself away from himself to address Daffy. "Well, I wondered if I would run into you here," he said with poorly feigned nonchalance.

Daffy felt all a flutter like the silly bimbo she is. "No one told me you were here. I'll have to fire someone later..."

"Oh, I was just coming out to see how my new metal's doing," Spank explained. "Not to see you of course. I haven't been, like, out here to Colorado six times in secret because I'm stalking you or anything. I just care about metal."

Daffy found it so sexy when a man didn't care about her, just hard rigid alloy jutting into the air. "I was just discussing ordering more spankmeum. At some point in the past."

"It'll cost you more," Spank said. "I'm not doing you any special favors just because you're the only one in the world buying my shiny new metal."

"Oh, I wouldn't expect you to," Daffy said. His disdain exhilarated her! "But will it get here in time?"

"I'll work my minions to death to ensure it does," reassured Spank.

"You know, I have my own ideas on how to build your bridge. Want to see my etchings?"


So he showed her his etchings. Yes, they're both that dumb.

They mooned over each other some more, all the passion of a moldy sock. "But is there any other reason you came all this way?" Daffy asked hoping for Spank to sexily rebuff her again.

He didn't disappoint. "I'm taking a look at a copper mine out here too. Because those are still a profitable venture in 21st century America."

"Why don't you get copper from Franky's - I mean, the d'Ano mine?"

Spank looked uncomfortable for the first time. "I don't know... That guy makes me feel funny..."

"I know what you mean," Daffy said, turning away to hide her spreading grin.

"But when I buy it, I might need a branch line," he said.

"Oh Spank! I'd be happy to lay one for you!" Daffy just got more and more turned on the less he displayed any interest for her beyond the utilitarian. Almost as much as impersonal business transactions. "I love being out here, you know. So much building and mining and drilling goes on..."

"I know what you mean," agreed Spank. "It's a welcome change from the rest of the country."

And that made Daffy sad. "Spank, what's wrong with the world? Why can't things be Great anymore?"

"I learned in school it's because the sun is slowly going out, so everything grows cold and stops." Spank Rearend smoked ALOT of pot all through school so his recollections were fuzzy at best. "But I always figured we could make a new sun."

"Really? Me too!"

Smiling, Spank pointed out to a distant column of smoke from the Buyit oil fields. "And there it is being made!"

Though how petroleum would supplant the gigaton-scale fusion reactor of the sun wasn't something either bothered to think abou -

Wait. Column of smoke? Oil fields!?

Rather than address the potential oil fire, Daffy asked Spank about his car. "Is that a Hamhock Motors, uh, thing?"

"Why yes. Yes it is," Spank replied, always happy to show off his things. "I'm not actually driving back to wherever I live. It's being shipped and I'm taking my own plane."

Daffy was enthralled with his conspicuous display of disposable income.

"And I'm actually not going home just yet," Spank continued. "I'm going to Minnesota."

Daffy scrunched up her nose the way whiny airheads do when they're confused. "Minnesota? But it's full of lice!"

"Holy crap, it is!?"

"Well, not lice lice but, like, poor people and stuff."

"Oh. Well, I guess that's bearable."

And so Spank drove off, having not really advanced the plot and Daffy drove herself to the other airport or something while thinking about how wicked hot Spank was but she couldn't get a flight back home because Tim had been there and gotten the last ticket. Despite that not really being how airports work.

"Curse him!" she said. "He's not even in this part of the narrative!"

"Yes I am!" Tim corrected her.

Because they were now both back in New York. In car. And in a hurry to get somewhere.

"Damn, who needs transitions when you can warp time and space?"

Now don't you start!

Their car was blocked at seemingly every intersection due to the copious construction products, repairing the old streets.

"This wouldn't happen if they'd just let someone with vision build roads," Daffy said petulantly.

"Daffs, I could explain - again - how no single individual has the time or money to maintain something so necessary to everyone as the friggin' roads but seeing as you ignore me anyway how about some exposition? Like what you're going to tell them about your precious magic metal?"

"It's not mine!" Daffy said defensively. "It's Spank's metal!"

"Which makes me wonder why they don't ask him about the damn thing..."

A dreamy look in her eyes, Daffy curtly explained, "Because he couldn't be bothered with the concerns of others."

"He sounds like such a lovely sociopath."

They were on their way to see the National Metals Committee - one of those smaller federal bodies dedicated to regulation. And one of the few that actually did their jobs.

And they were mighty cheesed off at Braggart Big Damn Rail laying track with a new and completely untested alloy.

"Do you want to bury this company? Forgive me for asking but I really wonder sometimes."

"And why are you so scared, Tim," Daffy asked because she thought it sounded clever.

"Oh gee, let me think - because the feds could fine us somewhere in the tens of millions, because we could get sued by every single customer for reckless endangerment, because if this while thing goes 'tits up' as Boyle has so eloquently put it we'll be out not just what we wasted on this vanity project of Rearend's but any possible damage to our existing equipment!"

Daffy found her brother so tiring. He didn't understand rules only applied to other people... Of course, from her perspective he was a other. So did that mean the rules did apply to him.

"Ouch, philosophy hurts my head," Daffy said. "I'm going to get a cup of coffee."

"But we're in a moving car!"

Fortunately, Daffy Braggart is immune to logic.

She found her way into a diner. "Bring me coffee, manservant!"

"A spat-in cup a' joe it is," said the waitress.

Now settled with her coffee and self-importance - just like back in college! - she looked around at the other patrons. Old, greasy, and oh so poor.

"So this guy, he's goin' on about 'What is the porpoise of life?'"

"The porpoise? Ain't that a fish?"

"Somethin' like that. I didn't get it either."

"Wasn't that same guy goin' on about Gort was it?"

That got her attention. And the attentions of someone else.

"I know that Gort feller!" declared a harmless lunatic. "Saw him fly to the Moon, I did! He brought back the infinity cheese!"

Daffy found this to be very significant...

But enough of that. We've got an awfully long and just plain awful chapter to finish.

Spank Rearend was sitting in his office wondering if he should invest in some transitions when some big nosed freak came in.

"Mr. Rearend?" asked the freak. "I'm Dr. Rowling from DOI."

Only with Great and Heroic Effort did Spank recall this was the guy coming by from the government. "I suppose you're here to tell me how to run my business?"

Dr. Rowling sighed. Apparently Rearend was one of those types. "No, not in so many words... Mr. Rearend, may I sit?"


"...Okay. My concern isn't how you run your business but that you follow existing regulations. There are standards for massive public works as this Rio Norte line and these bridges -"

"There's nothing public about it!" snapped Rearend testily.

"It's public enough. It crosses public land and our citizens will naturally use it once construction is complete. My concern, that is my department's concern is that your new, uh, alloy..."

"Spankmeum!" Spank declared proudly.

"Um, yes... That it's suitable for these purposes."

"I don't need other people telling what I can and can't do with my own metal!"

"You do if public safety is related. And it's very related on a railroad."


"But for god's sake man! There's not even any evidence it can support a train!"

"No! No! No!" Spank plugged his ears. "My metal is shiny and it'll work because it's shiny! You're fired!"

"But I don't work for you..."

*    *    *

Daffy was sulking because her contractors had reneged on the switch and signal orders. Just because she called them lice and threw peanuts at them was no excuse to be walking out on her, Daffy Braggart!

Of course that wasn't the only excuse. "I refuse to work with that crap!" said Lester Moen.

"What, the switches?"

"No, that 'spankmeum' stuff. It's a damned nightmare. I mean, it turns green when it gets cold! What the hell sorta metal turns green!?"

"An awesome metal," said Daffy with snotty superiority.

"Yeah, well you can keep it 'cause I'm done."

Daffy didn't understand. Why would anyone turn down an opportunity to work with Spank's glorious spankmeum? It couldn't be anything wrong with the metal itself... no, it had to be something wrong with Moen. He was just too scared of Great new things - like spankmeum! - and was running away.

"Well fine," she snapped. "You just can't handle spankmeum!"

But Moen had already left.

Returning to her office - because that didn't happen in her office - she encountered Edguy Dithers again looking like he had horrible news.

"Horrible news, Daffy." Hey! I was right! "The National Metallurgical Institute just put out a warning against using spankmeum! They say it's not safe for construction or manufacturing or even being near in a light rain."

"Well they can't get away with that! I'll go yell some sense into them right now! Teleport!"

And with a burst of brimstone, Daffy Braggart appeared at the Institutes new Hampshire office to pester some more people who have real jobs. Striding through the front door, she let loose - "Do you realize what it says in your statement? Do you know the unfounded claims you're making against Spank's spankmeum?"

"I'm just the receptionist, ma'am," replied the lady at the front desk. "If you'd like to meet with someone, I could call to see if they're taking visitors."

Daffy wouldn't wait of course. Spotting someone she recognized, she shot  off - "Dr. Stieg!"

Dr. Stieg recognized her. Unfortunately. "Oh, Ms... Braggart, is it?"

"Why did you publish this slander against spankmeum?"

"Ms. Braggart, slander is spoken. In print it's libel. And what we published was neither because it's true."

"But you said spankmeum -"

Weary, having just gotten off the phone with the man himself, "Mr. Rearend's alloy is unstable and would make for poor structures of any sort. That's the science of it. I'm sorry Ms. Braggart but these things don't take personal feelings into account. Good day."

And he was gone before this could devolve into another repetitive back and forth about a made up metal.

Daffy was confused - as usual - but soon angered. All these people with their fancy degrees, they were just jealous of Spank! He'd done something great and they just couldn't wait to tear him down! How typical of these lesser classes! "I'll show them! I'll build every new line of Braggart Big Damn Rail with spankmeum! I'll tear up the old lines just to lay more spankmeum! And I'm renaming the Rio Norte the Jon Gort Line!"

Distantly, Tim Braggart was getting one hell of an ulcer.

And so am I. Let's finish it now before I have to type spankmeum any more tonight.

"Don't I have another scene in this chapter?"

Tim, do you really want to argue with your sister again about spankmeum? And get the same result as everyone else?

"...I'll see you next week."