What did you do this weekend I went to the park and joined a band with Mr. T.

What did you do this weekend I went to the park and joined a band with Mr. T.

"…America’s six most dynamic men…"

Isaac Asimov got his IBM typewriters serviced often; his sideburns not so much.

Isaac Asimov got his IBM typewriters serviced often; his sideburns not so much.

Andy Kaufman at Carnegie Hall, 1979

Andy Kaufman at Carnegie Hall, 1979

This is Dick van Dyke clapping for Julie Andrews winning best actress for Mary Poppins. Nothing else matters.

This is Dick van Dyke clapping for Julie Andrews winning best actress for Mary Poppins. Nothing else matters.

Morning warm-up.

Morning warm-up.

1979 Yankees photographed at Spring Training by William Coupon

New York Magazine- 3/26/79

Duncan Hannah drawing of Jack Kerouac’s MacDougal St. Blues with Steve Allen

Duncan Hannah drawing of Jack Kerouac’s MacDougal St. Blues with Steve Allen

America. 2022.

Unemployment is at 1%. Crime is at an all-time low. Violence barely exists.

With one exception…

"Blessed be the New Founding Fathers for letting us Purge and cleanse our souls, Blessed be America, a nation reborn."

The Purgefect Strangers

Late afternoon. Rows of cars fill up the normally quiet double lanes of Caldwell Avenue in downtown Chicago. A man, mid-30’s, full dark beard, wearing a stretched and faded Bears ‘86 Super Bowl Champs shirt puts the full weight of his sizable elbows down on the rubberized center portion of his steering wheel. The Jeep wails along to the pressure. “Gimme a break,” he yells out the open window. “I gotta get home. We all gotta get home.”

"Hey Fridgerator Hairy, lay off the horn," a blonde woman calls out from her Ford Taurus. "It’s not going to make the light change any quicker."

The bearded man looks at her applying even more force onto the steering wheel. She rolls up her eyes and window at him, slamming her own hands down in front of her. A piercing back and forth of HONKKKKKKKKKKKs are traded between cars on the corner outside Ritz Discount Store.

Every other building on the block is shuttered and gated for the night. Only Ritz has a light on. The sidewalks are deserted but if a passerby foolishly decided to be out at this late hour and happened to be peering in the store’s window, they would see a single man’s figure frittering among the display cases of hi-fidelity stereo equipment and neatly stacked pyramids of motor oil. A man with his feather duster.

"I SO FANCY, YOU ALREADY KNOW, I’M IN THE FAST LANE FROM L.A. TO TOKYO," Balki Bartokomous sang out almost as loudly as the car horns blaring outside. "I SO FANCY, CAN’T YOU TASTE THIS GOLD," he continued, breaking down into a crouch pose to twerk alongside a table of watering cans. "REMEMBER MY NAME, BOUT TO BLOW," Balki jiggled his butt, never losing track of the next mirror in need of a thorough dusting.

The bell chimed as the door to the store flew open, breaking Balki’s concentration. Larry Appleton burst into the secondhand showroom. “Balki! You’re still here. What are you still doing here? Why are you still here?” Larry asked walking toward his roommate.

"Cousin! I do this, I thought that you knew this. I so fancy!" Balki gyrated his hips in the direction of his relative.

"It’s late. We need to get home before it gets dark out. It’s only an hour until the siren goes off and we need to be inside the apartment." Larry said worriedly.

"Oh, cousin, we have walked around after dark on these mean Chicago streets. Piece of pancake." Balki said.

Larry looks nonplussed. “Panca-, nevermind.” Larry walks back to the front door, peers outside. “Balki, the rest of the year is fine. There’s no crime. But tonight is special.”

"Special?! Those are my fave-or-ite days. In Mypos we have a special night once a year called Chum Doog Hai Tai. The whole island wears their clothes to bed and goes to work in the morning in their pajamas. Even the sheep. Is it like that?."

"No, Balki. We talked about this. Wait, even the sheep?" An incredulous look crosses Larry’s face. He blinks his eyes twice. "The sheep wear pajamas, too?"

"Yes, the ones who don’t sleep in their underwool." Balki slaps his leg and breaks out laughing. "Where does he come up with these? I kill myself"

"No time for that now. Do you know what The Purge is?" Larry asked.

"Well, of course I do, don’t be ridiculous." Balki looked at Larry. "What is it."

"It’s the one night of the year when all of crime is legal. Every single kind of crime. Including all kinds of crime that doesn’t involve going outside, but still most people decide to go and commit murders." Larry huffed.

"But Cousin, murder is bad. When you murder someone most of the time they are dead." Balki said.

"Yes, all the other nights of the year. Tonight, it is legal. And there’s one kind of murder worse than all of the others. Our own. So let’s get going." Larry grabs Balki’s hand and walks over to the door.

As they are about to leave the store, in walks Mr. Twinkacetti dressed in head-to-toe camouflage, a hunting cap with ear flaps on his head, heavy rubber wading boots up to his knees, holding an old-fashioned double barrel shotgun. “Turnip, Appleton,” their boss nods at them in greeting. “You boys going out to purge tonight?”

"We were just heading home Mr. Twinkacetti." Larry continues to pull Balki out the door. Balki spins under his own arm, now pulling Larry back into the store.

"Mr. Twinkacetti, you can’t go out murdering people tonight." Balki implores.

"That’s where your wrong, Turnip, it’s the only night I can do that. And if you and that yo-yo don’t get home soon, you might make the list." Twinkacetti starts walking in the direction of his office in the back of the store. He freezes and turns around, "but if my wife, Edwina, happens to call looking for me, tell her I’m locked up in the store protecting the merchandise. Got it?"

"Mr. Twinkacetti, lying to your wife is very very bad," Balki says.

"It’s Purge night you moron, all crime is legal including lying to your wife. Now hurry on home before I have to put a want ad out in the morning for two new terrible employees."

"Balki, we need to get going now so we can make a few preparations before the Purge commences." Larry said. "This is the perfect opportunity to get the girls, Jennifer and Maryanne to stay over for the night."

"Oh cousin, a sleepover party! Can we tell them to wear their clothes to bed like it was Chum Doog Hai Tai?" Balki cheers.

Larry stares Balki right in the eye. He shrugs, “Why not.”

*** ((30 minutes until Purge commencement))***

Inside Balki and Larry’s apartment. There are stacks of tv dinners and canned goods on the kitchen table, assorted potato chips, bottles of soda. A pile of handguns and assorted knives, ninja stars, a grenade on the coffee table. Larry is running around from pile to pile taking stock of all of their preparations. He looks at his watch and swivels his head around the apartment. “Balki, Balki, are you almost ready? We need to discuss our plan for when the girls get here.”

From the back room Balki calls that he’s almost ready. Larry picks up one of the knives from the table. He bends the blade backwards, showing that it is rubber. “Looks convincing at least,” he says. He picks up the gun and holds it up to his mouth, squirting water into it. “Delicious.”

The bathroom door opens. Balki walks out in full riot gear. Helmet with visor. Chest plate. Leg pads. He can barely walk. He inches his way over to Larry, who is looking dumbfounded.

"WHAT. Are. You doing?" Larry asks.

"Well, you say we tell the girls to come down so that we can protect them, so I put on my protective gear." Balki says. "Better safe than sorority."

Larry thinks about it. He points the gun at Balki and sprays a shot of water against the visor. Neither of them moves for a second. Balki wipes it off quickly. Larry continues. “Good idea. Now remember, the girls will be here any minute. They will probably be scared. We have to make them think that we can protect them.”

"I will be just like the great hero of Mypos, Rambo." Balki says.

"Balki, Rambo was an American soldier that came back to the U.S. from Vietnam." Larry explains.

"Don’t be ridiculous, cousin. Rambo was the toughest ram in all of Mypos. He could butt his head against a rock for hours at a time. He did get dizzy a lot for a ram," Balki said.

"I don’t know why I even ask." Larry said.

There’s a knock on the door. Balki looks out thru the peephole, he starts to tell Larry something but is cut-off.

"Okay, you let me take care of making the girls feel protected." Larry says.

"But cousin—" Balki starts again.

"Watch and learn." Larry asserts.

"But cousin—" Balki tries again.

"Watch. And. Learn." Larry throws the door open.

Jennifer is standing there in a neon pink skirt with a white blouse, holding a nine millimeter handgun. “Nobody better touch a hair on anyone’s head tonight,” she says cocking the Nina.

"Nobody better touch my hair at all, I just had it permed," squeaks Maryanne.

Balki hobbles his way over to Jennifer and Maryanne. “Don’t worry girls, we will protect you.” Larry looks flustered. He points the gun at his head and sprays himself in the face.

Cut to commericial.

This is what Reggie Jackson used to drive? I’d rather be terrible at baseball and not have to own this dumb-looking car.

This is what Reggie Jackson used to drive? I’d rather be terrible at baseball and not have to own this dumb-looking car.

Andy Warhol, Artist

Andy Warhol, Artist