The Sugar Frosted Nutsack (3 page)

During the Belle Époque—that period of time, about fourteen billion years ago, after the Gods were delivered by bus from some sort of “Spring Break” during which they are said to have “gone wild”—the Gods put things in order, made them comprehensible, provided context, imposed coherence and meaning, i.e., they created the world as we know it today. But although, as it’s been said, they abide by a stern, hieratic protocol, these Gods—Rikidozen, Los Vatos Locos, José Fleischman, The Pistoleras, etc.—when viewed from a certain perspective, can seem like harebrained cartoon characters lurching haphazardly from one debacle to another, motivated as much by mischievousness and perversity as anything resembling intent or design. For instance, most of the butt-calls that people make today are the result of bored Gods just fucking around. And a lot of the weird, unexplained things that happen to people in Florida are the work of the Gods. In a Gravy-fueled tantrum one night in a Pensacola Motel 6, the Dwarf Goddess
La Muñeca
(“The Doll”) turned her mortal girlfriend Francesca DiPasquale, a Chief Warrant Officer in the U.S. Navy, into a macadamia nut, then a jai alai ball, and then into 100,000 shares of Schering-Plough stock. How credible did Pensacola Chief of Police Ellis Moynihan consider speculation that a lesbian Dwarf Goddess high on a smokable form of hallucinogenic borsht called “Gravy” might have turned the missing DiPasquale into Schering-Plough stock? In other words—was Moynihan one of the
elect,
one of the
illuminati?
Unfortunately, we’ll never know. Two weeks after DiPasquale disappeared, Moynihan died of anaphylactic shock from a severe allergic reaction to peanuts in a vending machine candy bar. Strange, isn’t it? Moynihan had never previously shown
any
symptoms of even a mild sensitivity to peanuts. In fact, he
loved
peanuts and consumed them in such quantities that his coworkers in the squad room had begun referring to him as
El Hombre Elefante
(“The Elephant Man”). (Although, perhaps, as Desk Sergeant Nate Seabrook confided with a nudge and a wink, that nickname actually derived from the massive plexiform neurofibroma that obscured half of Moynihan’s face.) Stranger still—when officers looked frantically for the epinephrine auto-injector in the emergency first-aid kit, they found that someone had replaced it with a whippet, a small cartridge of nitrous oxide (aka “Laughing Gas”). A taunting cosmic joke? Yeah, maybe. But what does this wild oscillation between the sublime (e.g., the creation of musical harmony, the electromagnetic spectrum, prime numbers and the Riemann Zeta Function, etc.) and the gratuitously sadistic (e.g., giving someone a grotesquely disfiguring facial tumor) reveal to us about the Gods? La Muñeca was the Goddess of Architecture—she designed some of the most spectacular of the Gods’ hyperborean hermitages, in addition to the huge biomorphic resin and silicone dining table for the Hall of the Slain that’s considered as radical today as it was eleven billion years ago when she first impulsively sketched the design on a napkin at a club! Doesn’t sabotaging a first-aid kit in a Pensacola, Florida, police station so that someone suffocates to death, someone whose only offense seems to have been suspecting that you turned your girlfriend into a jai alai ball when you were high—doesn’t this, in addition to being mind-bogglingly petty and vindictive, seem like a colossal waste of time for the Goddess of Architecture? Well, first of all, a God would contend, you can’t waste something of which you have an inexhaustible supply. And secondly, since anything a God does is an expression of that God’s essential nature and thus imparts meaning and transfigures the manifold totality of the real, gradations of significance don’t exist—everything is equally important.

Think of the sweetest, most wonderful things you’ve ever experienced in your life…just randomly, off the top of your head…things as ineffably sublime as the beautiful butterfly which aroused the businessman in XOXO’s poem.…Now, make a list. For instance:

  • It’s 1960 in Jersey City and you’re falling asleep in your mom’s lap on a Hudson Boulevard bus to the metronomic cadence of the windshield wipers and the sound of the tires on the rainy street, and sitting all around you are nuns and stooped gray men in fedoras.
  • Egg-drop soup and egg rolls at the Jade Restaurant in Journal Square, Jersey City.
  • The gurgle of watercoolers and the pungent aroma of legal accordion folders in the supply room at 26 Journal Square.
  • Mid-1960s, late afternoon, drinking Yoo-hoo with your dad at the driving range, and then, later that night, sitting in front of the TV with him and the intro for
    Combat!
    comes on (“
    Combat!
    Starring Vic Morrow and Rick Jason”), and your dad offers you a stick of Black Jack gum.
  • Eating tea sandwiches with your mom at the Bird Cage in Lord & Taylor, in Millburn, New Jersey.
  • The first movie scenes that gave you a hard-on: when seaman John Mills (played by Richard Harris) gets flogged with a cat-o’-nine-tails in
    Mutiny on the Bounty
    (also Harris’s O-Kee-Pa suspension initiation ritual in
    A Man Called Horse
    ); and when Candace Hilligoss gets out of the bathtub in
    Carnival of Souls
    (to creepy organ music), also the scene where Candace Hilligoss tries different stations on the car radio (but can only get creepy organ music), and the scene where Candace Hilligoss takes her clothes off in the dressing room at the department store (to creepy organ music); and also when Martine Carol emerges from her bathtub in
    Lucrèce Borgia
    (aka
    Sins of the Borgias
    ), and also, in the same movie, when she’s whipped by her brother, Cesare (played by Pedro Armendáriz).
  • That moment in the early ’90s when there were three made-for-TV movies about Amy Fisher:
    The Amy Fisher Story
    (Drew Barrymore),
    Amy Fisher: My Story
    (Noelle Parker), and
    Casualties of Love: The Long Island Lolita Story
    (Alyssa Milano); and then, soon, Tonya Harding and Jeff Gillooly’s “Wedding Video” sex tape came out.
  • That total goose bump moment in the Pet Shop Boys song “What Have I Done to Deserve This?” when Dusty Springfield starts to sing (“Since you went away, I’ve been hanging around / I’ve been wondering why I’m feeling down”).
  • In 2004, the long-awaited pedestrian bridge over Kennedy Boulevard (formerly Hudson Boulevard) links the East Campus and the West Campus of St. Peter’s College in Jersey City.
  • Nice and drunk on Chivas Regal, eating ravioli, first heavy snow falling outside, fat girl at the bar (nice and drunk too) smiles at you.

Each of these numinous moments, these epiphanies, is
of the Gods, a manifestation,
a
Godding
(
Götterung
),
and in each we are able to unmistakably discern the hand of a specific God. Mogul Magoo’s fingerprints are all over those egg rolls at the Jade in Journal Square. And, surely, we can identify, in the pedestrian bridge that spans Kennedy Boulevard, linking the two campuses of St. Peter’s College, the animating spirit of La Muñeca.
And who else could have been behind the unprecedented phenomenon of Amy Fisher and Tonya Harding but La Felina, the fanatical champion of unsublimated passion and base motives, who glories in authentic intensities like lust, jealousy, and vengeance? The Fisher/Harding upheaval seemed to augur an astonishing revolution in the sociology of glamour—the erotic exaltation of the homely, unscrupulous, working-class girl. But it was so short-lived as to actually be a last gasp, because reality entertainment almost immediately reverted to a depressingly predictable perversion of all that, exalting instead the Hilton/Richie/Kardashian axis of “beautiful” celebutantes. This development so infuriated La Felina that, at one point, she was about to unleash a hybrid of Charles Manson and Pol Pot on America to completely purge it of every single “beautiful” celebutante when Fast-Cooking Ali dissuaded her at the very last minute, not because he was against the idea but because they were incredibly late to something, and La Felina—who exalts the physically deformed and the mentally unbalanced and the sans-culottes and the scum of the earth, and who wet her pants during the September Massacres of 1792—decided to shelve the plan for another time.

 

By some unspoken consensus, the Gods determined one day that their Belle Époque was over and that it was time to disperse for a while, for each God and Goddess to go his or her own way. This was the Diaspora of the Gods. Several stayed in the vicinity of the Gods’ original “bus stop,” which experts have speculatively situated in the Abell 1835 Galaxy, some 13 billion light-years from Earth, while others place it in the Markarian 421 Galaxy, which is located in the constellation Ursa Major, a mere 360 million light-years away. Some Gods (e.g., El Brazo), of course, moved into Versailles-like coral and onyx palaces and sumptuous frangipani-scented hermitages miles underground in what is now Antarctica. Los Vatos Locos submerged themselves in a peat bog in Denmark for several million years. While some pursued esoteric, purely theoretical existences in strange, impalpable, zero-dimensional realms, others chose drab, quotidian lives (à la Jenny from the block) in small cities in the Midwest. Mogul Magoo, Shanice, and the Pistoleras inhabited the lush mountains of the Gondwana supercontinent. Lady Rukia and Doc Hickory lived on a cul-de-sac in Chula Vista, California. The lovers La Felina and Fast-Cooking Ali—both avatars of humility and self-denial—shrunk themselves down to about three micrometers tall (the size of a typical yeast cell) and lived in the anal scent-gland of a capybara named
Dawson
in the remote Caura forest in southern Venezuela. And then, one day in 1973, by some unspoken consensus, the Gods determined that their Diaspora was over and that they would all reconvene and, from here on in, occupy the top floors of the world’s tallest and most opulent skyscraper. Thus began a nomadic period during which the Gods constantly moved, en masse, from what had become the former tallest-building-in-the-world to the latest tallest-building-the-world. So, in the summer of 1973, the Gods and Goddesses all moved into the top floors of the Sears Tower (now known as the Willis Tower) in Chicago, Illinois. They then relocated, in 1998, to the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; the Taipei 101 in Taiwan, in 2004; the Shanghai World Financial Center in China, in 2008; and finally, in 2009, the Burj Khalifa in the Business Bay district of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The Burj Khalifa is 2,717 feet tall. And this is where the Gods currently reside.

 

The Sugar Frosted Nutsack
is the story of a man, a mortal, an unemployed butcher, in fact, who lives in Jersey City, New Jersey, in a two-story brick house that is approximately twenty feet tall. This man is the hero IKE KARTON. The epic ends with Ike’s violent death. If only Ike had used for his defense “silence, exile, and cunning.” But that isn’t Ike. Ike is the Warlord of his Stoop. Ike is a man who is “singled out.” A man marked by fate. A man of Gods, attuned to the Gods. A man anathematized by his neighbors. A man beloved by La Felina and Fast-Cooking Ali, and a man whose mind is ineradicably inscribed by XOXO. Ike’s brain is riddled with the tiny, meticulous longhand of the mind-fucking God XOXO, whose very name bespeaks life’s irreconcilable contradictions, symbolizing both
love
(hugs and kisses) and
war
(the diagramming of football plays).

What will give us goose bumps and make us teary-eyed when, in the end, Ike dies? It’s the same thing that gave us goose bumps and made us teary-eyed when we heard Dusty Springfield sing “Since you went away, I’ve been hanging around / I’ve been wondering why I’m feeling down” in the song “What Have I Done to Deserve This?” It’s the same thing that makes all pop music so heartbreaking. Even when Miley Cyrus sings “So I put my hands up, they’re playin’ my song / The butterflies fly away / I’m noddin’ my head like ‘Yeah!’ / Movin’ my hips like ‘Yeah!’” in her song “Party in the U.S.A.” It’s that chirping mirth against a backdrop of despair, that juxtaposition of blithe optimism against all the crushing brutalities and inadequacies of life. The image of an ineffably beautiful butterfly flitting by the shattered windows of a dilapidated, abandoned factory is not so poignant because it highlights the indomitable life force. To the contrary, the butterfly (and the pop song) is like a PowerPoint cursor; it’s there to whet our perception of and strengthen our affinity for what’s moribund, for what’s always dying before our eyes. Loving the moribund is our way of signaling the dead from this shore: “We are your kinsmen…”

When Ike dies, at the hands of the ATF snipers or Mossad assassins or Interpol agents, or is beset by a swarm of nano-drones (depending on which story you choose to believe), he dies with a metaphysical coquettishness that befits a true hero, greeting his violent demise with silly, sweet, uninhibited laughter. All the Gods are suddenly talking at once; it’s this Babel, this incomprehensible cacophony, that just degenerates into white noise. And then it’s as if he’s stepped into an empty elevator shaft on the top floor of the world’s tallest building, and as he plummets down, he whistles the
Mister Softee
jingle—“those recursive, foretokening measures of music; that hypnotic riff”—over and over and over and over again to himself…

A hero.

What subculture is evinced by
Ike
’s clothes and his shtick, by the non-Semitic contours of his nose and his dick, by the feral fatalism of all his loony tics—like the petit-mal fluttering of his long-lashed lids and the
Mussolini
torticollis of his Schick-nicked neck, and the staring and the glaring and the daring and the hectoring, and the tapping on the table with his aluminum wedding ring, as he hums those tunes from his childhood albums and, after a spasm of
Keith Moon
air-drums, returns to his lewd mandala of Italian breadcrumbs?

So begins the story
of
Ike Karton
, a story variously called throughout history
Ike
’s Agony, T.G.I.F. (Ten Gods I’d Fuck),
and
The Sugar Frosted Nutsack.
This is a story that’s been told, how many times?—over and over and over again, essentially verbatim, with the same insistent, mesmerizing cadences, and the same voodoo tapping of a big clunky ring against some table.

Every new improvisational flourish, every editorial interpolation and aside, every ex post facto declaration, exegetical commentary and meta-commentary, every cough, sniffle, and hiccough on the part of the rhapsode is officially subsumed into the story, and is then required in each subsequent performance. So, for instance, the next time
The Sugar Frosted Nutsack
is recited, the audience will expect that the sentence “Every new improvisational flourish, every editorial interpolation and aside, every ex post facto declaration, exegetical commentary and meta-commentary, every cough, sniffle, and hiccough on the part of the rhapsode is officially subsumed into the story, and is then required in each subsequent performance” be included in the recitation, and if it’s not, they’ll feel—and justifiably so—that something vital and integral has been left out.

The audience will, in fact, demand that the sentence “So, for instance, the next time
The Sugar Frosted Nutsack
is recited, the audience will expect that the sentence ‘Every new improvisational flourish, every editorial interpolation and aside, every ex post facto declaration, exegetical commentary and meta-commentary, every cough, sniffle, and hiccough on the part of the rhapsode is officially subsumed into the story, and is then required in each subsequent performance’ be included in the recitation, and if it’s not, they’ll feel—and justifiably so—that something vital and integral has been left out”
also
be included in the recitation. And also the sentence that begins “The audience will, in fact, demand that the sentence ‘So, for instance, the next time
The Sugar Frosted Nutsack
is recited, the audience will expect that the sentence “Every new improvisational flourish…,”’” etc. And also the sentence that begins “And also the sentence that begins…” And also the sentence that begins “And also the sentence that begins ‘And also the sentence that begins…’” Et cetera, et cetera.

To a critical degree, this infinite recursion of bracketed redundancies is what gives
The Sugar Frosted Nutsack
its peculiarly numinous and incantatory quality. Everything
about
it becomes
it.

Keep in mind that the original story (what we’ve gleaned from cave walls, cuneiform on clay tablets, and papyrus fragments) was only one paragraph long, consisting in its entirety of:
What subculture is evinced by
Ike
’s clothes and his shtick, by the non-Semitic contours of his nose and his dick, by the feral fatalism of all his loony tics—like the petit-mal fluttering of his long-lashed lids and the
Mussolini
torticollis of his Schick-nicked neck, and the staring and the glaring and the daring and the hectoring, and the tapping on the table with his aluminum wedding ring, as he hums those tunes from his childhood albums and, after a spasm of
Keith Moon
air-drums, returns to his lewd mandala of Italian breadcrumbs?

For hundreds, even thousands, of years, this was all there was to the “epic” story of
Ike
, the 5'7" unemployed butcher, incorrigible heretic, and feral dandy who slicked his jet-black hair back with perfumed pomade and dyed his armpit hair a light chestnut color and who was dear to the Gods (themselves ageless, deathless).

Then, sometime circa 700 B.C., the subhead
Ike
Always Keeps It Simple and Sexy
was added. And over the ensuing centuries, as this was told and retold, and with the accretion of new material with each successive iteration, the complete story that we all know today as
The Sugar Frosted Nutsack
came into being.

Don’t expect soaring “epic” rhetoric from the 5'7" forty-eight-year-old
Ike Karton
.
Ike
’s first extended speech wholly concerns itself with the mundanity of breakfast. (“I can’t decide what to have for breakfast today. I don’t want something
breakfasty
—that’s the problem. You know what I’d really like? A shawarma and a malt. But you can’t find good shawarma in this fuckin’ town now that it’s full of Jews and Freemasons.…I’m
serious!
So I’m either gonna have a pastrami and sliced beef tongue with cole slaw and Russian dressing on rye and a Sunkist orange soda, or maybe just a big bowl of Beefaroni and some chocolate milk or something.”) He’s an unassuming, plain-spoken (albeit delusional and anti-Semitic) man. He speaks with the air of a hero accustomed to—even weary of—fame (even though he’s completely unknown outside the small Jersey City neighborhood of attached and identical two-story brick homes where he’s considered an unstable and occasionally menacing presence—although it must be added that women overwhelmingly find him extremely charming and sexy, and many suspect that
Ike
playacts his indefensible anti-Semitism only to make himself a more loathsome pariah on his block, i.e., to make himself even
more
charming and sexy).

As you hear this or read it, the God
XOXO
is indelibly inscribing it into your brain. But
XOXO
is a puzzling figure. It’s not possible to characterize him as “good” or “bad”—these terms are meaningless when applied to the Gods. He’s mischievous—a trickster. Though frequently innocuous or merely “naughty,” his meddling can cause enormous inconvenience and suffering, i.e., it can be wicked in its consequences. And it certainly seems as if he often acts under the compulsion of his own ancient grievances—primarily the humiliation he suffered when the Goddess
Shanice
criticized his poem about the businessman who became so terribly aroused when he was flogged in the woods by some of his colleagues. Like some disturbed stenographer, interjecting his own thoughts into the court record,
XOXO
will constantly try to insinuate his own lurid “poetry” into this story. For instance, you will soon come upon the unfortunate passage “Pumping her shiksa ass full of hot Jew jizz.” Now that may be an appropriate phrase for some
Philip Roth
novel, but it has no place in
The Sugar Frosted Nutsack.
This is a perfect example of a gratuitous interpolation on the part of
XOXO
. This is
XOXO
—the embittered poet manqué—trying to ruin the book, trying to give the book Tourette’s, trying to kidnap the soul of the book and ply it with drugged sherbet. And make no mistake about it—he
will
try to kidnap the soul of the book and ply it with drugged sherbet.

You can actually help preserve the integrity of
The Sugar Frosted Nutsack.
You can help wrest control of the story back from
XOXO
. When you come upon a patently adventitious phrase, one that can, with a reasonable degree of certainty, be attributed to
XOXO
, like “Pumping her shiksa ass full of hot Jew jizz,” you can ward off the meddlesome mind-fucking God with the rapid staccato chant of “
Ike
,
Ike
,
Ike
,
Ike
,
Ike
!” It should sound like
Popeye
laughing, or like
Billy Joel
in “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)”—“But working too hard can give you / A heart attack, ack, ack, ack, ack, ack.” It’s similar to that moment when, after
Captain Hook
has poisoned
Tinkerbell
,
Peter Pan
asks the audience to clap their hands if they believe in fairies, or when, in
The Tempest,
Prospero
beseeches the audience, in the play’s epilogue, to “Release me from my bands / With the help of your good hands.…As you from crimes would pardoned be, / Let your indulgence set me free.” But remember, when you chant “
Ike
,
Ike
,
Ike
,
Ike
,
Ike
!” to fend off the spiteful interpolations of
XOXO
, it absolutely has to sound like
Popeye
laughing or like
Billy Joel
in “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song),” or it won’t work.

Other books

Pure Innocence by Victoria Sue
Dark Days by James Ponti
Andi Unstoppable by Amanda Flower
A Grain of Wheat by Ngũgĩ Wa Thiong'o
The Bloodied Cravat by Rosemary Stevens
Skin in the Game by Barbosa, Jackie
That Man of Mine by Maria Geraci