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.