MacArthur’s Last Stand
I got this damned brainstorm while I was sitting against that big pigeon-shit statue of Doug MacArthur out in the Los Angeles park named after him. Somebody even wrote a song about this park a while back. Something about somebody’s cake being left out in the rain. It was a big hit. It figures. Nobody can write a decent song about L.A., or even about a lousy park named after the general who would have liked to be crowned the Emperor of China—if they had only let him have his own way.
But, no, L.A. today is just a dark angel, crouching on his smoggy wings, waiting for some poor dumb bastard to leave his cake out in the rain so some coked-up songwriter from Hollywood can find something romantic to write about. But enough about L.A. MacArthur Park is my home because I was an infantry soldier in the old general’s return engagement. But the only martial glory I have ever felt close to getting was on the day I sat under my old commander’s statue in the center of the shadows of gloom, and was royally pissed on by a midget nigger by the name of Joe Abutu.
Sure, I was pissed-off (or, on) as I watched this little fucker—no bigger than that little Buckwheat fellow we saw in the old Our Gang Comedies during the Depression—as he staggered up to me in the shadow of the statue and began unzipping his little fly. At first, I thought he was some kid who got told to go pee over there because his folks were too lazy or drunk to walk him to the toilet. He wore these baggy, miniature green army fatigues and tiny black combat boots, and his face looked so pudgy and cute that I began to laugh in disbelief as his little pecker began to squirt on me. He looked like one of those cement nymphs and cupids that you see tinkle out water into big fountains on rich people’s front lawns.
But I wasn’t half-finished with my first bottle of Tawny Port for the day, so my laughter soon changed to outright anger. “What the fuck are you doing?” I yelled, leaping up to tower above this black little piss-ant. Little Joe came up to my waist, and he weaved drunkenly as he pissed away on my Jap-flap sandals. My voice didn’t scare him one bit because he just looked up at me real crooked, and flashed me this white, toothy, “how-did-you-get-there” grin.
When Joe finally finished his natural duty, he calmly shook his little pecker and zipped up his trousers. He then took out a pack of Marlboros from his top pocket and offered me a smoke, in a smiling gesture of universal good will. “You take smoke stick,” he told me, in his deep, pigeon-English voice, as he took out two smokes and popped them between his thick, rubbery-pink lips. He just kept grinning up at me as he lit both smokes with a big stove match that he magically extracted from his nappy hair and struck expertly against the base of my statue.
It was starting to get dark in L.A. by then, and I knew I would need a bottle to get to sleep. Seeing this little fart in front of me, puffing away like Duke Wayne himself, suddenly gave me a great idea. “Come with me, you little shit,” I told him, cupping my arm around him like he was a black olive in a martini glass. “We’re gonna get ourselves some nectar of the gods!”
Now I knew old Charley Chin kept all his wine bottles right on a counter under his cash register. So it wasn’t hard to figure a way to snatch a few bottles, with the aid of my new partner. I went in the store first, and little Joe followed my footsteps right behind, so what Charley saw was only me in my government-issue raincoat. I started shooting the breeze at the counter with old Charley about his wife’s lumbago. As I was doing this, little black arms reached out between us and snatched two big fifths of vino. “What the fuck!” I gasped, in phony surprise, as Joe made a beeline for the street. Old Charley Chin started yelling in Chinese, and I took the clue. “I’ll catch that little thief for you, Charley,” I said, and I ran out the door, leaving the old man sputtering and pushing down on his alarm.
Joe was already at the statue when I got there. For little legs, this fart could really fly! He handed me a bottle with a grin, and we both sat down to recover from our evil deed. Now I haven’t shared the secrets of my life with many people. In fact, the only other person I ever told my heart’s innermost feelings with was Blanche Pafko. Blanche and me were engaged to be married at the same time I got drafted by the Army in 1943. We worked together in the original Brown Derby Restaurant in Hollywood. I was bartender and Blanche was my cocktail waitress. To make a long story short (no insult intended, Joe) I got this ten-page letter from Blanche while I was sloshing around in the mud on the Bataan Peninsula with MacArthur. She indelicately informed me that she had just met and fallen in love with a lady ballet dancer who was temporarily working with her in an ammunition factory out on Figueroa Street.
At that time, our country was more interested in making bullets and bombs to stop Fascism than it was in paying to see a tight-assed production of “Swan Lake.” I’ll always remember a few lines that Blanche wrote in her kiss-off letter to me. It explains some of the insane logic of the female mind. I often repeated her words when I got drunked up, and my buddies over at the mission got a big kick out of my act. You see, I recited these words in a high, falsetto voice and I pranced back and forth like some female impersonator in a night club act: “Ours is a marriage made in heaven, Sam,” I would say, imitating Blanche’s mincing, sexy little walk. “You should see her like I see her. One day, out of the blue, she starts to execute these big pirouettes for me, right there in the middle of the munitions factory. As I watched Mona dance, so lovely and graceful between all those horrible bombs, I knew right then and there that I was in love. You’re a big war hero, Sam, and there will be hundreds of gals who will want to marry you when you come home. But Mona isn’t strong like you. She cried all night long after we saw the bombed-out wreckage of the ballet house in Paris on the movie newsreels. Mona danced there before the war. She says its beauty makes your horrible war look like a gigantic killer penis, and that only a man could willingly destroy thousands of years of culture just to satisfy his lust for blood. Mona says we women are the real bleeders, Sam. But our menstrual blood only flows to nourish more Hitlers, more weapons of destruction, and more blind, power-hungry penises! I hope this doesn’t depress you too much, but I think you can understand my position. The thought of you sticking that terrible thing of yours inside me again makes me stick to my stomach. Yours truly, Blanche Pafko.”
When I told Joe Abutu all about Blanche, he just laughed and told me that Blanche’s dancing lover sounded like a crazy woman named Wamati who lived in his pygmy village back in the rain forests of Ethiopia. He said all the men used to rub her crazy cunt just before they went out hunting for elephant. She was the tribe’s witch doctor, you see, and that celibate pussy of hers was chock full of black magic. Joe says that the only way I can break the spell Mona put on Blanche is for me to track Mona down and fuck the shit out of her right in front of Blanche. Well, ever since I got my discharge, on the same day MacArthur got kicked out of Korea by Truman, I’ve just been on one long, drunken slide downhill. I first tried working at my old bartending job in the Derby, but I soon began putting more booze into my own stomach than I was putting into the glasses of the customers.
You see, I still loved Blanche, and I was still keeping close tabs on her life with that skinny dyke Mona. I even found out where they lived: San Marino. Now San Marino, California, is a superior-sounding Los Angeles suburb that is home to some of the richest and most powerful fuckers of all time. Like most pockets full of affluence, San Marino goes about its daily routine in the shelter of a pompously blind ignorance that only well-invested megabucks can buy. It is a community where private enterprise and prosperity are the sine qua non of their very existence. Where else is the biggest scandal in the neighborhood the fact that Mrs. Dupree’s pedigreed Laso Apso, Tasha, recently escaped the colonial manor to become impregnated by eccentric old professor Smythe’s pit bull, Einstein?
Mrs. Dupree advised me secretly of this horrible fact as I was repairing her white gazebo, which had been damaged by a rainstorm. The little summerhouse stood in the center of a gigantic rose garden inside a back yard large enough to hold every wino in the downtown mission district, with room to spare. Old Mrs. Dupree could have held the First American Convention of Winos right there in her back yard, if she really wanted to. Instead, she kept twenty-two varieties of laboratory animals, in addition to the show dog, Tasha. She also secretly informed me that she was the mastermind behind the recent break-in at UCLA’s School of Medicine’s Animal Compound for Scientific Research. “All those innocent creatures are being slaughtered in the name of science,” she told me sadly, “so myself and some of my fellow members of the San Marino Society to Save American Animals decided to take a drastic course of action. We even uncovered records of a hideous experiment whereby baby chimpanzees were being raised by alcoholic mothers to see if the addiction to alcohol was passed on through the milk.”
Well, I got Joe on the job with me and we soon discovered the location of Mrs. Dupree’s mother’s milk bar and proceeded to drink our way out of a job. She came home early from her bridge club one day and found me and Joe with a half-empty quart of her best imported brandy. We were busy having kind of an Ethiopian rodeo right there in her back yard. Joe was daringly riding her prized Tasha all around the yard holding an extension cord, in a vain attempt to lasso one of those kidnapped drunken chimps from the medical school. I had bet Joe a return ticket to Addis Ababa if he couldn’t bulldog a chimp. Well, the little monkey headed straight for Mrs. Dupree when she entered the yard, and it eventually wound up seated atop the old lady’s newly coiffured, nobly graying head, screaming its fool mouth off.
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