Situation Normal. Atmosphere Breathable. Brainstem Injected. Dialogue Engaged.
Thursday, May 05, 2005

Psychotropic Alchemy Blues

Something strange is happening in my hometown. I began to suspect trouble last Monday as my clothing tumble dryed behind me. I gazed through the laundromat window at the establishments across the street. I was taken aback when I noticed the statues had vanished.

For the longest time I thought Da Luciano was a barber shop. Mounted outside are a pair of those swirling spinning barber poles with red stripes. This misconception continued until I walked by a few weeks ago after exiting Fagan's Tap a few doors down.

On that drunken day I saw a candlelit dining area squeezed into a cramped storefront. Sparsely mounted upon the soothing beige walls were pictures of fresh produce and Italy. Red checkerboard tablecloths caught stray droplets of alfredo sauce. Bread baskets made centerpieces.

I thought the choice of barber polls outside to be a tad strange. Add the Blues Brothers to that and you've gone totally bizarro. That's right: outside stand two 6' tall statues, perfectly painted, mounted on wheel pedestals, frozen in mid-dance. I decided this was not a normal decoration outside a cozy, intimate, old-world style Italian eatery.

So last Monday I noticed Elwood and Jake had gone AWOL. I walked outside to get a better look, unobstructed by the laundromat's foggy pane of glass. The immobile heroes were right inside the front door, watchdogs protecting the parmesan shakers. Da Luciano was closed.

I thought back to my birthday two weeks before. I'd wanted to order a roasted duck from Wing Hee, the Chinese kitchen next door to Da Luciano. They were closed. I had to order from the dubiously named Chopstick Express all the way at Harlem & Belmont. It was good, but the safe domestic name had made me nervous. I like my foriegn food to come from restaurants with unpronouncable exotic names. Weird names like Wing Hee or Moon Nein Wah.

So Wing Hee and Da Luciano are both closed on Mondays. Why? Are they busy laundering drug money in the back room? Are they injecting cute kittens with horrible infectuous fleshrotting diseases before releasing them into school playgrounds to capture the hearts of unsuspecting children? Maybe they manufacture crack cocaine and then ship it to the west side in harmless looking bread trucks adorned with mustachoied fat faces under puffy white hats. I could see that.

This doesn't explain why they both take Monday off. There's no common religious affiliation between the Chinese and Italians. There's no criminal alliances that I'm aware of either, so this conspiracy must be something of a far stranger nature. A whole new brand of sinister.

Suddenly, a horrible illumination seared my brain. I knew. Both places use styrofoam, paper, and cardboard to package their takeout orders. Neither use tinfoil. Aluminum is present nowhere in either establishment. I had discovered the key to the mystery.

Everybody knows aluminum is the kryptonite that scalds the glowing skin of the alien menace. Everybody knows aluminum is the sacred material we humans use to make protective hats to shield our brains from the harmful beams of galactic filth they transmit across our atmosphere.

The proprietors and employees of these adjacent kitchens are the earthbound agents of the mysterious and malevolent force attempting to subvert the utopian destiny of humanity by frying our mental synapses and receptors with invisible waves of astral psychomagical pollution.

They want to fuck up our heads so they can use us for food or engine grease or something. Maybe they drink our depression like a fine wine. Maybe our defeated immobile couch potatoes produce the syrupy ennui these deviant fucks need to perform alien sex acts. Perhaps our cynicism yields a cherry bile they dehydrate and sprinkle upon their dessert entrees. It may be that a human's leaky ulcer bile decomposes our intestines causing the consistency of our feces to metamorphose into a substance they nibble off wafers like we do escargot patee.

We need to fight back. We need to focus. We need ideas. We must have a hero. We must have an icon. I do. I've never met him, but his name is Reynolds.

Until Reynolds steps forward, this fight is mine alone. I will infiltrate during the next processing day, next Monday. Wish me luck.

11:37 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm


May 05, 2005 12:09 PM, Blogger Kerouaced said...

"We must have an icon. I do. I've never met him, but his name is Reynolds." Ha! You might be on to something here. If your assertions are correct it might be prudent to buy stock in the big tin foil companies...

May 05, 2005 12:20 PM, Blogger Anonysis said...

Good! I love how you've come full circle with this.
Really fun idea here.
At first I felt bad for Da Luciano, seeming so helplessly pathetic, but perhaps, that's just the bait.

May 05, 2005 1:00 PM, Blogger EcamirG said...

this may rank among the greatest observations ever made.

May 05, 2005 1:43 PM, Blogger Lostinspace said...

I LOVED your writing today. Especially how "they drink our depression like a fine wine" and "the cherry bile they dehyrdrate and sprinkle upon their dessert entrees." I want more.

May 05, 2005 1:45 PM, Blogger Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm said...

It's the shiteaters I fear.

I wonder if these monsters hide in our sewers, attaching giant funnels to the outflows from our toilets, greedily sucking our wet brown shit into their quivering mouths.

They might load it into bags and export big pulpy bundles of liquid crap into space. Rockets for the home planet, full of nothing but excrement and preservatives.

I'm most worried about poor aliens hiding in port-a-potties, waiting for construction workers to void their half-digested hoagie sandwiches, so the aliens can bathe in the fresh warm stuff, undiluted by water.

I wonder how I sleep at night.

May 05, 2005 7:23 PM, Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

The answer to the question you posit is quite simple, really:

Most barbers are closed on Monday. Anyone with a barber pole must be closed on Monday, even if not barbering.

Take away all the impossible answers, and the only possible truth is likely to be called aluminum. You heard it here first.

May 05, 2005 8:39 PM, Blogger Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm said...

Hoss, thank for pointing out that I didn't explain the mystery: Why Monday?

I added a bit to the very end there. I think they process on Mondays. Whether that means corpses, or stolen organs, or strangely osmosed emotional brainwaves, I don't know. Which or how or why.

I aim to find out.

May 05, 2005 9:03 PM, Blogger Cindy-Lou said...

I don't know, I just really like that picture of the snail.

May 05, 2005 9:39 PM, Blogger Wardo said...

In my town, all the Chinese places are closed on TUESDAY. Why that day? I don't know. I think they get together on that day to discuss "the strategy":

Chinese Man: Moon Wah, my spirit is happy you could come today. Happy Tuesday to you, my brother.

Moon Wah: And to you, Sun Dim. I cannot pass up the opportunity to discuss..."the strategy." (inscrutable smile)

Sun Dim: Of course. "The strategy." We have much to arrange.

Moon Wah: Indeed.

As for ideas! from Reynolds - maybe this will help us! These guys seem to have ways to protect us!

May 05, 2005 11:14 PM, Blogger ty bluesmith said...

you're my dude, steve.

i dig your stuff.

May 06, 2005 7:30 AM, Blogger Mishka said...

When I lived in Japan, lots of businesses were closed on Tuesdays as well.

It seems that if they are a business that is open over Sunday, then one weekday gets sacrificed for a day off. They usually don't have weekends, just Sundays are off (for banks, government...etc). Retailers do the Tuesday thing.

Perhaps the barber poles are too keep anyone that is not "in the know" from coming there to eat. I bet their food is awesome...even if they don't use Reynolds....

May 06, 2005 9:21 AM, Blogger Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm said...

Thank you, Steve, Sis, Grimace, LiS, Cindy-Lou, and John.

Argus, I got the hats covered already, you bet:

Mishka, I ate there on Tuesday. The onion curry chicken was surprisingly bland, the barbecue pork was too sweet, and the house fried rice had mushrooms in it. Overall, they need to jack up the salt bigtime.

The egg rolls, fried shrimp, and crab rangoon were all excellent, to their credit

May 06, 2005 9:24 AM, Blogger Wardo said...


No, I know it wasn't...the guy they nabbed is 37, and you don't look Mexican...

Notice the penalties they gave him? Pretty severe for a little pee-mark of graffitti, really. No different than the millions that must be around Chicago. But since his defaced the salt-stain Mary, well...throw the book at him.


May 07, 2005 3:54 PM, Blogger clothosfate said...

I loved this post! It is wildly imaginative and wholly unappetizing... you asked how you sleep at night, i was wondering more along the lines of how do you EAT?

You are a great writer, I really enjoy your twisted mind, man. Have you published anything?

May 08, 2005 10:49 PM, Blogger Mokuyobi said...

hey, this is not on topic or anything, but that EP is finished ("Already Dead"?) Do you want it?


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