Robin Williams died the other day. Which is tragic in a lot of ways, but in this case because he relates to one of my favorite protagonists by the name of Controversial Jack. I started writing about Jack and his escapades long ago when I was a middle schooler and a time passed evolved his character but one of the original people I based Jack on was one Robin Williams. Robin’s manic personality and gift that allowed him to showcase so much of his personality really stuck to me in every film I ever watched him in as a child. As I got older I never was quite as big of a fan of him as when I was a child, but still admired his talent and ability to touch the more poignant side of humanity. I really hope that one day I’m able to write something that has half as much of that poignant energy in it.
If you enjoy my work, you’ll definitely enjoy reading some writing from my big sis over at Nike Writes!
Another great blog you should check out is Dani’s blog over here! I’m sure all you mom’s and what not that drop by will be curious about some of her future ventures! I’m sure she has a new blog popping up soon!
So, without further ado, here’s the audio and text from a little bit of Controversial Jack. Keep in mind that my audio recording and reading are still a work in progress, but any feedback on how I can improve and suggestions for new microphones will be appreciated. Thanks in advance for the feedback!
There’s a tale of the apocalypse that involves four horsemen. Stop me if you’ve heard this one. The great and terrible horsemen (or surfers, in various island cultures) charge across the face of the earth (which sometimes is flat) bringing fire and chaos (although sometimes they bring seas of blood) and generally making a large mess (which sometimes is larger). Their names are Famine, Pestilence, War, and Death. Unless Pestilence is replaced by Pollution or Plague, his younger and more ambitious brothers. Mind you, that’s only one example. There are also tales of the great Adversary, the son of Satan, That one’s rather popular. There’s also various theories of nature getting sick of matters and punishing that little bastard called Man that has poisoned its waters and lands. Then there’s popular idea that we’d just wipe each other out in a series of nuclear wars, or by listening to too much Hanson. Or in the worst case humanity simply gets some sort of disease and we fade away, not with a bang, but with a whimper. Nowhere in any popular view of the final days of mankind is there a man named Jack. Which is a shame, because it means they all got it wrong…..
In sunny California, beneath a bright yellow shining orb in the less tasteful spiral of the galaxy, you can find a large building with large amounts of food and a large sign marked ‘Price Club’. Sometimes people wheel barrel-sized containers of things like rice and gummy bears out. Inside, it’s kept quite clean, and is a very tidy and organized way to disperse food to people who would starve to death without it. It’s a pleasant shopping experience.
Today, you can spot empty peanut shells on the ground, and discarded wrappers. Toothpicks a plenty are also here and there, and the occasional empty cereal bowl. If you follow the trail, you can see how it meanders here and there, but mostly sticks to the tables set at the ends of each aisle.
The free sample tables.
“More,” the man demanded.
“Don’t you think you’ve had enough?” the poor supermarket lady asked, trying to shield her free cheese samples away from the psychotic madman.
“This is AMERICA!” the man ranted. “It’s my God given right to have as much free cheese as I want! There are surplus warehouses right now devoted to nothing more than the storage of cheese. If that’s not a tried and true use of my tax dollars, I don’t know what is. And you say that I have had enough cheese? MY GOD IN HEAVEN, WOMAN! Nobody will have enough cheese until all those supplies are depleted! Then, maybe, we can rest well at night without tossing in our sleep from the SHEER GUILT!”
“B-but, this isn’t government cheese,” she whimpered in reply. “It’s supermarket cheese.”
“Details, details,” the man shrugged, getting casual for a moment. “Fork it over.”
Let’s pause a moment here and examine this person. It’s actually just an optical illusion that one of his eyes is bigger than the other. Maybe it’s the way he looks at you, with that constant suspicious glare, or just the funny way his neck works after years of banging his head against walls. He’s lanky and lean, but lanky and lean in the way that lanky and lean guys who really whip ass in fighting games are lanky and lean; not that he’s probably any good in a fight, but few people really want to make sure. His hair, which was probably combed with brillo and dried under a blowlamp, sticks straight up and out on his head, a wild and untamed bush of corn straw. He’s usually smiling, but has mastered the art of differentiating between a polite smile, an amused smile, a I Know More Than You smile, and a grinning evil death smile. Overall, he resembles some twisted incarnation of Puck from a VERY off-Broadway production of “Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
His name is Jack Lysias, also known as Controversial Jack. And he wanted his cheese.
[The following is not included in the audio.]
“Mr. Duck thinks I should get more cheese,” Jack said, holding out a small rubber duck for the supermarket lady to examine. “Don’t you, Mr. Duck?”
The bath toy squeaked.
“…that’s just a toy,” the lady said despondently.
Jack pulled Mr. Duck back in horror while saying. “You’re hurting his feelings! There there, Mr. Duck, she’s just ignorant and doesn’t know any better… she doesn’t know the wondrous things you have to say–“
With a frightened gesture of defeat, the lady shoved the whole tray of cheese blobs on little sticks forward. “Here! Take as much as you want!”
After this declaration she promptly ran to the manager’s office, scribbled ‘I Quit’ on his desk blotter and ran for the horizon.
“Woohoo!” Jack cheered, dumping the whole tray into his giant, economy sized Price Club burlap sack. “Another fine haul. Well! Let’s see what other free things we can get!”
The next table was offering free long distance service.
“Why bother? All the people who live away from me probably don’t exist,” Jack rationalized.
The table after that had Cheesy Poofs, which Jack felt complimented his preprocessed cheese blobs quite well, and performed the patented ‘Look, a three headed monkey’ routine in order to distract the merchant, and swipe as many as he could.
The next table offered free blood tests.
Jack stuck his hand inside the medical cuff and yelped when the six inch needle jammed through his arm. When the results proclaimed him to be drug free he had to argue with the examiner performing the test a bit that No, the machine was not broken and Yes, he always acted like this.
Mr. Duck vouched for him.
Given how much protest Controversial Jack’s digestive system was issuing at his consuming approximately 546 free samples in a one hour period, his next stop was going to be the bathroom. Unfortunately, he happened to spot something interesting at the next booth. But history still had one more chance, as his sister wheeled into view, driving a large motorized shopping cart that made that annoying ‘BEEP’ sound when you put it in reverse.
“Jack!” Jack’s sister, Anne Lysias called out, waving to him from behind a small mountain of shopping bags. “I think I’ve got enough food to last us until the next millennium!”
“That’s only a year or two away, unless there’s a massive conspiracy of calendar makers,” Jack said.
Let’s get one thing absolutely straight here — Anne is not like Jack. Sure, they share similar DNA because of the unfortunate coincidence of having the same mother and father, but Anne is not insane. She’s actually quite a nice girl provided you don’t make her angry, and never hears rubber ducks talking to her except once or twice but she denies the experiences quite wholeheartedly. Plus, the phrase “I am my brother’s keeper” applies to her in the same way zoo wranglers say things like “I am the Bengali tiger’s keeper.”
“Hey, food for a year is still impressive!” Anne noted, hopping down from the vehicle and tucking her Price Club hard hat under one arm. “Besides, don’t you even THINK about complaining. I’m the one who’s paying for all this, you jobless bum!”
“I do too have a job!” Jack retorted indignantly.
“Oh? What?” Anne asked before realizing she shouldn’t have.
“I am me, of course,” Jack explained. “The very process of being who and what I am is a twenty four hour a day job. You don’t get a break from a responsibility that big, no paid vacation leave, no dental plan! You’re THERE, constantly, ready to be Jack at a moment’s notice! I don’t have time to go dilly dallying around in the so-called Job Market when the vast reservoirs of energy needed to Helllllll-o, what’s this?”
History gave a sad sigh of regret, as Jack’s attention finally was attracted back to the desk he almost missed. He seemed to teleport from where he was to in front of the desk with that smile on his face, not through some arcane power, but simply by moving very fast.
“What’s the free sample at this table for?” he asked curiously.
“Free political campaign television advertising,” the bored looking clerk explained. “Congress mandated that to keep the playing field equal for all political parties, vouchers could be secured for paid airtime for candidates to advertise. If–“
“Hmmm… lot of perks on that job, right?” Jack asked.
“What job, sir?” questioned the clerk.
“President!!!” Jack said, posing dramatically with one fist on his hip and a hand cupping his chin. “Why, if I was president, I’d have free run of the Oval Office… of Martha’s Vineyards… of that secret room BEHIND the Oval Office… of the War Room… just THINK–“
“Let’s not think, okay?” Anne requested. “We’ve got to get home before the frozen goods melt, and we don’t have time for one of your crazy schemes!”
“Anne! I’m shocked!” Jack said. “Here I uphold the proudest, greatest institution in these here United States–“
“We could always send you BACK to the institution,” Anne commented dryly.
“–and you dare, nay, DARE to consider it a ‘crazy scheme’?” Jack asked. “Forsooth, sister of mine! And bite me. I’m a-signing up!”
Anne sighed in defeat. “Be out by the car in five minutes or I’m leaving without you, Jack,” she warned. “And I MEAN it.”
With that, Anne hauled herself back into the forklift like contraption, and steered her groceries on out of there, making wide right turns. Jack rubbed his palms together with feverish glee. “Okay, pal, I’m sold. Where do I sign? Do I need to pay with my soul or anything?”
“What is your political party?” the clerk asked, clicking a cheap Bic retractable to start filling out little checkboxes of questionable origin.
“Probably wild and involving a lot of kegs.” Jack said quickly.
“Pardon?” said the obviously confused clerk.
“Just mark me down as controversial,” Jack said. “I’ve always said a good politician is an honest one. Well, no. Technically I’ve always said a good politician is one thrown into the bay with lead weights tied around its feet. But you get the gist of my scope of reasoning.”