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The Essay
Show #27
Hats Off, Heads Roll, Piano Rolls
David Gunn
Bon radio. Joe DiMaggio and Carry Nation were sprawled out on the lawn near the pool the other day, chatting amiably about Mauno's apparent predilection towards geese and humus, when a large box, falling from the sky, plunged into the pool, sending a plume of surprised, brackish water upwards of 60 feet into the air. Karl Benz and Andrew Carnegie, embroiled in a heated game of whiskers six-draw, jumped up and rushed to the side of the pool, careful not to confuse themselves any more than necessary. Alwin Nikolais, who was the game's card sharpener, also arose, but then sat back down and clandestinely put a new, keen edge on all of the fours in the deck. Mauno, a handsome gander at his side, slipped obsequiously into a satchel at the water's edge and waited. The box floated to the surface, an event which seemed to tickle the fancies of Joe and Carry, for they both spontaneously began to "dance the Luddites into wicker." Ethelbert Nevin, new to the story but not to these parts, regained the composure which had been eluding him for days, and commenced a pantomime version of Grazhdanin Taneyev's "Convertible Counterpoint in the Strict Style," a work as different from the Magna Carta as are flippers from flintlocks.

Time passed, though to imply it passed without novelty would be both erroneous and sundry. To be sure, it was Saturday. Karl, Andrew, Joe and Carry pulled the box from the pool and dragged it across the lawn to the bench upon which Giuseppe Guarneri was holding court and Ethelbert was concluding chapter two. The box had left a trail of soap suds, lathering the lawn like a giant square slug. Giuseppe rapped the box with his cane and a previously unnoticed door on the side facing away from everyone except Mauno sprung open. A smoothly articulated hand emerged, followed by a wrist, three-quarters of an elbow, a pair of lapels, an ancient map of Europe, and finally Virgil Thompson, the significance of which will be revealed in due course. Observing all from the top of a redundant papyrus tree nearby was Augusto Pinochet, whose demeanor was best described by Ethelbert when he inadvertantly misinterpreted a string of six adverbs in chapter three.

Joe and Carry repaired to a theater as the story, generously mixing metaphors with metal floors, unfolded like half of the laundry in Suriname. The image of Saint Catherine, her cloven neck separating her head from various other segments of her torso, appeared cameo-like in the stilted, anxious air. A pair of ruffians, employed by Giuseppe, dropped a wizened Charles Kettering from the balcony into a barrel of hot wax below, peremptorily sealing his fate. Karl and Andrew, suspecting nothing, allowed Alwin to claim "forty face card fandango," and win the game. And Virgil ... well, that's another story.

Today's story, episode 27 of Kalvos & Damian's New Sesquihour Expansive, is being brought to you by several past episodes which prefer to remain anonymous, though if I mentioned their names, you'd recognize them in an instant, assuming you, too, have a predilection towards geese, humus, and/or le flambeau oriange.

To honor Saint Catherine, whose protestations got herself beheaded one sunny 4th century afternoon, Kalvos and Damian proclaim today, November 25th, to be "Hats Off Day!"

And now, with more about Virgil, more about "Convertible Counterpoint" -- though not necessarily in pantomime -- and more about hats, on and off the body, it's merely Kalvos.