Carrion in the Devil's Dancing Machine

ONCE THERE WAS A FINE APARTMENT over by the Laugh Factory, where I lived for a year and a half until a butcher moved in downstairs, bringing with him bizarre, gristly throbbings that shook the floor day and night. The sounds reminded me of those I'd heard as a child while on a field trip to a slaughterhouse. A side of beef had stuck rounding a corner, causing the carcass-toting machine to whir and pound the same cam-grindings that now shook my fine apartment's floorboards:

 

ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR,
ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR-AND!

ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR,
ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR-AND!

 

Nonstop. Every day, apparently.

So on the third day, I went downstairs either to rescue my new neighbor, James, from whatever carcass-toting machine he was stuck in, or at least get him to turn it down.

"Are you all right in there?"

"What?"

"Are you all right?"

"Hang on. Let me turn this down."

James appeared pale but unharmed. He claimed his paleness was caused not by the machine but by his European heritage. And he explained that the machine was called Disco, and that he received pleasure from listening to it. He assured me that he would keep it down until I returned to my apartment, at which time he'd crank it back up real, real loud, and that for the next few months I'd have to come downstairs every day -- at least once, sometimes up to three times -- to ask him, as politely as possible, to grant me the identical favor of turning the disco down from point B to point A, because I was correct in my hair-trigger determination that he was in fact as much of an idiot as he was an asshole. Only after these two months -- 66.6 days -- would he allow me to escape my everthrobbing apartment, for he was the one true and only Dark Lord.

At over 6 MB, this QuickTime movie of Winnie-the-Pooh worshipping Satan (http://tycho.resnet.rochester.edu/Random%20Movies/WinnieWorships_Satan.mov) takes a while to download. But it is worth it to see and hear our beloved Pooh exclaim, "What the fuck? The yak's blood's empty!"

Life goin' nowhere. Somebody help me. Somebody help me. Yeah. Life goin' nowhere. Somebody help me. Yeah. "Stayin' Alive," the No. 1 single from 1977's Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, the No. 1 (if you don't mind measuring sound with money) soundtrack of all time. At one point in 1978, I believe, "Stayin' Alive"'s creators, the Bee Gees, had five singles in the U.S. Top 10, four of them in the Top 5. In 1997, they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. There is no punch line. For experimental purposes, download a 47.5-second WAV of the pinnacle of pop music (http://personal.inet.fi/bailu/zuulikuuli/
sounds/beegee.wav
), which not only captures the spirit of the era, but takes precisely as long to play as it did to write. Whether you're a brother or whether you're a mother, you're stayin' alive, stayin' alive. Feel the city breakin' and everybody shakin' and we're stayin' alive, stayin' alive. Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive, stayin' alive. Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' ali-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-ive. Dun-d d'dun d-dun dun dun (duh-duh-duh), dun-d d'dun d-dun dun dun (duh-duh-duh). Are you all right in there?

Discotheque duds of polyethylene terephthalate have been, for the most part, located and melted down into tiny, tiny plastic ink particles -- laser-printing toner. That's where that smell comes from. Brought to you by Starr Computers Phuket of Patong Beach, Thailand, Fabric Identification (http://www.thaitailor.com/fabric.htm) brings the joy of textile combustion to the masses with its instruction on how to conduct a "simple burn test to find out if the fabric is a Man Made Polyester or a genuine wool." At the top of the page is what travel agents call "a gorgeous coastline," and off to the left is a tiny beige man in a tiny brown three-piece suit. "Polyester melts and burns at the same time. The melting, burning ash can bond quickly to any surface it drips on including skin."

 

Serving suggestion: Open the MOV and the WAV in your QuickTime player and arrange to taste. Open Fabric Identification in your browser and let it just sit there off to the side. Arrange matches or a lighter, an ashtray, a fire extinguisher and samples of cotton, silk, wool and polyester on your work surface. Set both QuickTime files to Loop and, if you've registered your QuickTime player, set Pooh and Bee Gees to Loop and play the files simultaneously and continuously while you perform the fabric-identification tests.


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