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February 14th- 21st, 2005
February 18th, 2005
Fresh Lettuce

Chrome Rigby stared across the table at the man's tie. He tried not to let it bother him.

Noah Ilverson was the son of a Presbyterian minister. He had direct connections with executives running the FCC, and sat on numerous boards that advised media corporations on family values. He had his own book, entitled Reshingling The House, that had sold well in the south, and not just in the Christian book market. He was married to a woman with old Virginian tobacco money, and they had three daughters. He was wearing a fifteen hundred dollar suit that had been out of style for a decade, and an eight dollar tie.

Chrome figured the tie must have been an Easter gift from one of Ilverson's girls. It had a pattern made of small red crosses and poppies. If he ever decided to wear it on TV, it would look like he was hemmoraghing blood from a hole in his neck. Ilverson was waiting for Chrome to answer, but there was no sense in trying to change his mind. Ilverson wasn't the kind of man who could change his mind.

"You enjoy making love to your wife, don't you?" said Chrome.

Ilverson looked at him coldly, trying to keep the rage down. His thumb began thumping the table out of rhythm.

"You don't have to answer that," said Chrome. "Of course you do. Every good Christian man enjoys tapping his wife's pumpkin pie after supper. If you didn't, you wouldn't have three lovely young daughters."

"I'm not going to stand for this, anymore..." said Ilverson. "What the living hell does this have to do with fresh produce?"

The man at the end of the table raised his eyebrows, saying nothing. He was the majority stakeholder in a company that provided most of the domestic vegetables to supermarkets across the country. He had been watching his sales decline steadily over the past three years. Ilverson was his vice-president of marketing.

"It has everything to do with fresh produce," said Chrome. "That's where you're falling apart. You've got to sell that cucumber with some ass. I look at your cauliflower right now, in its plain green wrapper, and you know what I see?"

Ilverson seethed, saying nothing.

"I see cauliflower. And you know what I should see?"

Ilverson's left eye twitched.

"Your wife's pumpkin pie. I should look at that cauliflower and think about the ripe garden strapped in behind her fifties-style apron, with nothing else between it and a hard romp on the kitchen floor. Trust me. You are not selling lettuce. You are selling a married woman's ass. Fruit and vegetables are organic, tactile. If you're not using that, even in your rotten 'family values' context, you're sunk. That's why you're spitting oil into the sea with every quarter. You're selling vegetables when you should be selling ass."

The tie bobbed beneath Ilverson's larynx. It moved involuntarily. Chrome thought about the author photo on the back of Reshingling the House. It was rural, set on a wheat farm. Ilverson was standing beside the wife, with two of the kids in the foreground. The wife was pregnant with the third. Ilverson was holding his hand on one of the girl's heads and smiling at the camera with the biggest shit-eating grin he could muster. But he sure as fuck wasn't smiling now.

"We understand that you think sex sells, Mr. Rigby," said the shareholder. "But what are you proposing?"

Chrome tapped his briefcase. All four of his books were inside, but he didn't take them out. He knew the shareholder had read at least one of them, or he wouldn't be sitting in the room.

"I'm suggesting what you knew I would suggest. A focussed rebrand. The wordmark stays the same, but you bring in a new icon. Get rid of the old farmer on the label and put the horny housewife in there. The women buying the groceries want to be her, and the men who have to pick up salad after work want to fuck her in the ass. That's a start."

"This is absurd," said Ilverson.

"This is family values," said Chrome. "If you can look me in the eye and tell me that you've never wanted to railroad at least one of the housewives in your congregation on a Sunday afternoon, I'll take it off the table."

Ilverson's mouth popped open. The tie was strangling him. Chrome looked up calmly, knowing that Ilverson would never get his eyes up, because Ilverson was trying not to think about every one of his friend's wives that he'd ever wanted to throw over a pew while listening to the communion preamble. Without blinking, Chrome thought about leveraging his consulting fee for company shares when the rebrand went to market.

February 17th, 2005
360 degrees of something intangible

When I was young, I took piano lessons. And fighting lessons. And I got dropped off for that shit in the mornings before school. And got dropped off again after school. And sometimes after supper.

Most of the time it was old ma who did the driving, until I was able to jackrabbit start the old Volvo myself. And she did a lot of waiting in the car while we fucked around in the change rooms.

This past weekend, she wasn't supposed to be driving. Too many drugs. But she needed to get her exercise, so I dropped her off at Tai Chi. Went and bought some groceries, sat and drank some coffee and read my new journalism book, and wrote for awhile about a man named Chrome.

And when it was noon, I picked her up, like she did for me so many times. Waiting in the parking lot, reading. Waiting for the door to open, the burst of cold air. Putting the book away, turning up the CBC and driving home.

I asked her how her workout was. She said it was fine, and looked out the window. Tired. I nodded and thought about cooking lunch.

Everything is a circle.

If there is a god, he lies on that curve.

February 16th, 2005

Patience is the least of my few virtues.

So. Thanks to generous readers for checking in on a Daily Mingus that hasn't been so daily this week. You are more virtuous folks than I.

Which really isn't saying all that much.

The skinny is:

I don't have my hippo book yet.

I spent a good part of the last week making ambulance modifications with the help of mr de guerre (see photo). The ambulance shall henceforth be known only by its proper name: nuntasaurus. And if the name is spoken aloud, it must be followed by making the ear-splitting guttural roar of a diesel engine.

Any divergence from this rule may anger nuntasaurus, which is something you really don't want to do.

I had a long conversation with Marvin Gander. And we did talk more about erotic literature business opportunities. But we also talked about the unhinging of Mingus Tourette. About identity crises and the natural course of things.

About anger. About changing without changing. About what a thousand books look like burning in an open field against a twilight sky. And how all things have a beginning and an end.

But What Happened Last Week? By God, Find Out Here!