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This happy breed of men.

"This good morning all around the fires - excellent! - you stand waiting and wanting for word of our excursion and our aim. We left the Chinese restaurant at one, you know, meditating our future, both bellies full of green tea, which works for good thoughts and high dreams. Not until four this morning did we shut our eyes, and then hardly any success toward Morpheus. Myself, randy as glue - such brain-letting usually leads this way - roved into a hot long na el-bumper with Doris, letting me have more than a piece of her mind for a change - Ho! - Thus, as in the old sermon, we have toiled the night and come through with some reapage, some harvest, for you. Men, we are going to sell our wives. I'd heard it quoted from some film star or other: |Every time you look at a beautiful woman, remember: somebody is tired of her.'

"Now let's face it. The great narratives of a race arrive through periods of captivity and domination, yes unto slavery. These were the great days, days of profound note, when, God bless, there was a story, there was actual content. We've no heart and no journey as we come upon the end of this century. No respect is given a man or wife from his children, and rightly so - don't wonder - What is there to respect in success, really? our puny civilized, dominating, ruling class with every kind of freedom? Who cares about such success as we see around us? What does it breed except mewling and puking and good health. Well, health for what?

"But again, to the tiredness, the simple fatigue, the ennui, the bleak discouragement over one's partner: What cure can we find except - this arrived after days and nights, forty-two of them, of thought, anguish, with - Heh! - an occasional thrust of loin - by the sweat, blood, yes and weeping, crying for our poor well-set-up race. (This is going to obtain both ways. In some cases, the husband will be sold into slavery. Rethink, now. Imagine the exhilaration on both sides.) Polygamy is not the point, nor is our old grim discredited monogamy. The point is slavery and endowment. You sell her to a rich person for a lot of money; you sell him to a lonesome pecunious widow. Here is your future, your nest egg. You live on this money, a substantial amount we would hope, but the point, really, is slavery, not money.

"|Doris,' you ask, |What about Doris?' Yes, I am tired of her. There's no real poetry left to her. She has thickened and clotted. Hardly ever do I ever penetrate that loose gummy old valley of hers that I am not dreaming of some tight little frisketta, with hair flicking, black, like a horse tail. I, of course, numb the socks off old Doris, too, and she is ready to be sold into slavery, chewing on the tether, chomping at the prick - Ho! - that now only dully feeds her. I am ready to go in there, in there to serve and to wait, even mourn, under some master. Who has not had voluptuous dreams of being, yes shivering dreams, of being persecuted, being scolded, being made to sing while you work?

"Whoever brings the best price, I tell you. We are waiting. I've had it with the land of the free. That fool Nathan Hale. Patrick Henry, my God, sure, they're interesting, they had stories. But we don't, most assuredly. We have had too much freedom, we should be horrified by it. All good people are eventually horrified by freedom, no? Let us lead you now, Doris and I, across the desert back to Egypt. For promised land, for bite of the whip again, for galley ship below decks, for ecstatic captivity - truss and collar, whistle while you crack a rock! For salt mines! I sing of thee. Here is manhood, womanhood. Here is character. Be somebody, I adjure you. Be a slave!"

They came and got him, this old major, shouting from his porch, just a few loiterers and one aimless millionaire across the street raking his yard, listening to him.

Of Doris - there was no Doris, of course. She had died years ago, smothered in jewels and furs, with a facelift that wore well into death. Her coffin was so light, coming out of the hearse-limo, the men grabbing it almost tossed it in the air. For Doris was light - a thin old fashionable woman, without, really, a care, so well had the mayor provided.

So it was a very sad thing when they led him off - still haranguing - to the house of the rich and insane, his grown children smiling.
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Author:Hannah, Barry
Publication:Chicago Review
Date:Jun 22, 1991
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