Shut Up, Man
RIGHTING 🤺 WRONGS
What Happens After This Photo’s Snapped Is Not “Amusing”
….but Reader! I swear! The Dickhead has it coming!
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I’ll just put the case before you, Beauteous Reader, OK? I’ll tell you everything. I’ll conceal nothing. Then, when the final results come in, and we learn if the Democrats still hold or lose the House, when the sheriff arrives at my cabin, puts me in handcuffs, and hauls me away, you can go to the district attorney and tell him that I’m innocent, all right? Deal?
So, here’s what happens directly after the above photo is taken:
I get this Ask E. Jean email.
Dear E. Jean:
I just found out that my ex-boyfriend is one of the podcasters who repeatedly blasted out Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home address in San Francisco and provoked that maniac to nearly kill Speaker Pelosi’s husband.
I think my ex is planning something worse for tonight.
Wait, let me back up a minute. When I met him two years ago, he was a funny, gentle guy, a bit of a bumbler, but extremely kind and handsome—a fiscal conservative, yes; but he was a social liberal, and an adjunct professor at Columbia. He volunteered at the ASPCA, had wonderful friends, a great apartment, and had just sold his first book. E. Jean! He was into gardening!
Then, without warning, on July 4th this year, at a friend’s barbecue, he announces he’s “done the research” and he’s convinced that Biden lost the 2020 election, that Trump “won by a landslide,” and that “Nancy Pelosi is a problem.”
Well, we all thought he was joking! When he KEPT harping on it all the next week, I convinced him to see a respected therapist—a woman who’s acclaimed in New York academic circles for counseling people manipulated by conspiracy theorists. But apparently he was so charming and persuasive the doctor told him she did “not see a problem!”
By August, he was exercising two, three hours a day and had dropped a really unhealthy amount of weight. By September he’d lost his job, his book deal, and spent his entire 401k buying all sorts of top-end podcast equipment. By early October he was broke. He now weighs about 130 (down from 205), has ended our relationship and has moved into his great aunt Agatha’s ground floor apartment.
Don’t worry. I don’t want to know how to “get him back.” I want to know how to STOP him. He’s cooking-up some horrible event—I’m not certain what—but I’m pretty sure he’s podcasting it tonight. I’m also concerned about his great aunt Agatha. She’s a celebrated surgeon at Mount Sinai, and back in the 60’s she was a hell-raiser for women’s rights. I don’t think she’s safe. I’ve never met her, but she’s over eighty years old, and I’m afraid he might be holding her hostage and emptying her bank accounts.
E. JEAN! Please! You said last month you were getting into “kicking” shape and that the next letter you receive complaining about a man, if you had his address, you’d “pay him a short visit…. and set him straight,” so here it is:
He lives at [Redacted] West 15th Street, New York, New York. His wretched name is [Redacted]. He’s on the air RIGHT NOW podcasting Nancy Pelosi’s whereabouts near D.C. Please stop him, E. Jean! I’ve called the Capitol Police and the D.C. Police, but please!
Sincerely, Alana Graziana Balofelli
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Most Gentle Reader! What do you wear when you “straighten” a chap out?
Me? I pull on my buff-colored breeches—as sturdy a pair of pants as you ever clapped eyes on—lots of CLINCH in the knees, lots of BRACE in the backside—all the better to squeeze a scoundrel in a leg-lock till his ears bleed.
And what shoe do you chose, Beauteous Reader?
Me? I open the front door and just shout out three or four times to my dog Guff to “BRING ME THE GODDAMN RIDING BOOT YOU RAN OFF WITH,” and when I come back inside and see Guff sitting in his chair and starring at the fireplace mantel, I say:
And when he looks at the fireplace mantel again, no one is more surprised than Your Advice Columnist to spy the lost boot exactly where I had put it after Guff nearly chewed off one of the pulls……as ACTUALLY shown in the photo!
So, shod, breeched, shirted and jacketed, I bid adieu to the cat, say farewell to the dog, exit the cabin—a hovel which looks like it was built by Henry David Thoreau and decorated by Lewis Carroll with it’s chimney polka dotted in blue and yellow—traverse my little island with its new high jump pit, its the river thundering by in front, and the little creek rolling behind, walk across the footbridge, mount Mr. Wickham, whom y’all have met on a previous occasion…
and tromping his manly accelerator, off we go Up Up Up Up Up Up Up Up Up Up Up Up Up Up Up Up Up Up the driveway leaving nothing behind us but a wake of grass, mud, sticks, small logs, blue asters, yellow leaves and rocks.
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The address on West 15th turns out to be a craggy, long-lived old brownstone set in a small courtyard with a front door of oak at the top of a long curving flight of steps. The entire structure, courtyard, garden, garden-floor apartment and house is enclosed by a fantastically lethal iron fence with long spikes like javelins, upon which I immediately picture my entrails hanging, because from the ground floor apartment comes the dim sounds of a man talking about killing Nancy Pelosi, and it becomes clear that I must jump the fence to get in.
Incomparable Reader! You recall my saying I would be “working on my kick,” right? You remember that when the wise students of Fort Wayne South Side High School voted me Best Girl Athlete in 1959 because I was a nationally-ranked high jumper, they chose with brilliant foresight, right? And you have not forgotten that I promised I was going to get “back in shape” in order to deal with the problems men were causing the Ask E. Jean correspondents and that I would (after my cataract surgery) do my squat jumps, my box jumps, my split jumps, my three step jumps, my five step jumps, you recall that promise, Peerless Reader, right?
And so now you are no doubt wondering what kind of MIRACULOUS shape old E. Jean must have gotten herself into because you noted that I can I actually hear the treacherous swine talking about killing the Speaker of the House? Reader! I am merely fitted with my new hearing aids, and I’ve got these babies TURNED UP!
And so, to continue: Backing up fifteen steps, centering my brain, and commending myself with all my heart to Nancy Pelosi, I run at the fence, and at the last moment, just before I swing into my mighty kick, lift off and, no doubt, impale myself on the spikes, it occurs to me that perhaps I should try to see if the gate is unlocked.
I try it. It opens, and, thanking the Ask E. Jean gods, without losing another moment, I enter the courtyard, approach the windows of the garden apartment, and peep through the slats of the zebra blinds inside.
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I don’t know what I expect, Reader—or what you expect—we’ve all seen many a podcast studio in our day—but you’ve never seen a dark, ominous Eames-chaired, low-lit, brass-sconced studio like this, unless you slept with Marcel Proust in his famous cork-lined boudoir (which I would not put past one or two of you.)
Anyway, sitting at a table in the heart of this dismal sound-proofed extravaganza, with his back to the windows, behind a massive iMac, and wearing headphones the size of throw-pillows, talking into a Neumann U 67 Large-Diaphragm Tube Condenser Microphone the size of a shovel, is the skinniest man I’ve ever seen in my life. And although I can’t see his face, my very innards are vibrating to his high-pitched curses and shouts.
I step over to the garden apartment door and give it a knuckle.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
I walk back and tap on window.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
Disappointed Reader! Take heart! Although I’ve kept my temper when I hear Ted Cruz, Marjorie Taylor Green, Glenn Beck, Tucker Carlson, Megyn Kelly, Elon Musk, and other right-wing half-wits circulating sinister bull hockey about Nancy Pelosi……..when I hear Ichabod Crain yodeling the exact address “where Nancy is at this very moment,” I lose my cool. And, swearing the vengeance of the Septuagenarian Advice Columnist, without further ado, I crash my boot through his window.
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The sound of shattering glass shivers up and down 15th street, and, yet—weirdly!—The Thin Man just keeps howling his instructions to his listeners:
“You guys are pussies! You cocksuckers with your deer-in-the headlight eyes, you dumb fucks can’t even find one old crazy lady? You losers! I want to tell Speaker Nancy—Hey, listen cunt, the gloves are off, we’re comin’ for you….” and so on and so forth. He does not even turn around when I reach inside the shattered glass of the window, open the latch, push the window up, and sit down on the ledge of the sill.
Reader, we have all seen Die Hard. We know this will not be pleasant. With a tremendous heave, I thrust myself off the sill and fall downnnnnnnnnnnnnn into The Thin Man’s “studio” with a tremendous SPLAT. My withered carcass hits the floor like the body which lands on the roof of Sergeant Al Powell’s cop car. Also, my crawling around, moaning, and searching for my right ear’s hearing aid which has fallen out—not quiet. And still The Thin Man gibbers on:
“You sons of bitches! What’s the fuck your problem? You want to stand there with your hands up your ass telling ME you can’t locate Crazy Nancy? I’ll beat your asses, you goddamn failures! I’ll shove my …..”
Slowly I get to my knees, haul myself vertical and shout:
But on and on The Thin Man gibbers: “You pieces of shit! You stupid mother fuckers! You fucking goddamn fuckers….”
I walk up behind him, and, after pondering the dark-carob hair growing down the back of his neck—a neck the circumference of a toothbrush—I say: “Pardon me,” reach around him, take hold of his $7,000 microphone—the thing weighs as much as ball peen hammer, and yank the cord out of it. And yet, I am astonished and amazed to see he goes on yelling:
“Listen fuck heads! I told you! I told Crazy Nancy. You each got one job! You cocksuckers gotta grab Crazy Nancy! And Crazy Nancy, you gotta get fucked….”
“Excuse me,” I say, stepping up beside him, “please, permit me….” and I pick up his half-full Starbucks venti and pour it on his keyboard. He goes on shouting: “Get that through your goddamn heads, you pussies…..” I fling the keyboard to the floor and stamp on it. He goes on yelling: “What are you waiting for? Crazy Nancy ain’t gonna put those zip ties on herself……” His Apple mouse? I heave it out the window I just came in. Reader! He is oblivious! “Nancy, you monstrous cunt!” he shouts. “Nancy, you bitch! Nancy, we’re coming! Prepare to die as just punishment for destroying our…..” I have the dream-like feeling I can do anything I want. I’m standing so close to him I can feel his chair arm against my thigh. After examining him for several seconds, I turn my attention once more to the microphone. It’s unplugged. It’s off. And it’s clear from the obnoxious gibbering, The Thin Man thinks he’s still podcasting. I study his setup. Then I spy his iPhone.
Impetuous Reader! You’ve killed a couple of iPhones and Androids in your day, right? But these new ones are bricks. Nearly indestructible. I nudge his phone to the edge of the table, raise that million-dollar mic over my head and bring it down on the iPhone screen with a thundering CRACK!! Nothin’. I clobber it again! Again! Again! Again! Again! Again! Again! Turn it over and SMASH! SMASH! SMASH! SMASH! SMASH! And all along The Thin Man is rocking back and forth in his chair hooting to his listeners: “What’s the matter? You can’t find Crazy Nancy? Are you the losers who fucked this country up? Are you too dumb to find one old woman and gang-rape the shit out of her….”
“That’s it!” I say.
I lift his headphones off his ears, hurl them across the room, tip his immense iMac over, haul it off the table, jump up and down on it CRUNCH! CRUNCH! CRUNCH! CRUNCH! CRUNCH! CRUNCH! and, almost breathless and nearly out of my senses with fatigue, and still clutching the table for support, I kick his chair over backwards with him in it, fall upon him, and say:
“You’ve just sniveled your last podcast, buddy!”
Reader! See how exhausted I am?— I mean, really….. “buddy?”
It’s at about at this point The Thin Man slides open his snapping-turtle eyes, stares at me four or five seconds and says in wonder:
“Who…… are you?”
“I’m your surprise podcast guest.”
He glances around the room, notes the damage.
“Cunt,” he says.
“Are you interviewing my vagina on this podcast?” I say.
“You ugly piece of shit! Shootin’ your mouth off, cunt? You atrophied old hair trunk? Shut up, you goddamned whore!”
And just as I’m about to deliver the drollest retort of my life, which I have now completely forgotten, imperishable though it is, The Thin Man throws me backwards, and we roll across the floor going for each other, and by “going” I mean he’s trying to kill me and I, astonished and terrified at how strong he is, am trying to stop him from killing me, in the course of which he lands on top of me and gives me such a mighty blow on the jaw, a tooth flies out of my head.
He’s lining up a second punch which will surely knock my head into 15th Street, when a voice says:
“You hit her again, William, and I’m cutting you off.”
I look up.
Above us, in a gorgeous mist of pearl-grey hair, a rosy woman is frowning down upon us.
“Aunt Agatha, I presume,” I said.
“Indeed,” she says. “On your feet, William.”
“Aunt Agatha, listen,” he says, standing up.
“Not another word, William,” she says. “I have heard you say things to this woman—”she pauses and looks at me closely, as I am trying and failing to get to my knee—“E. Jean, right? I follow your case. How are you?”
“Howdy do?” I say, “I’m excellent, Agatha, just lost a tooth. Can you help a girl up?”
Agatha and I are from the generation in which we will call one another “girls” until we are being served the formaldehyde cocktails in our caskets.
She switches her cane to her left hand, grasps my paw with her right, and, as she hauls what remains of my carcass upright, she says to The Thin Nephew: “I have never in my life heard a man say such things to a woman as you said to E. Jean tonight.”
“You should have heard what he said about Speaker Pelosi,” I say.
“Nancy Pelosi?” she cries.
I can’t say if foam actually flicks from her lips, but she grows about eight times her height and says: “Nancy and I were at school together in Baltimore. We shared our first box of Kotex. We fought shoulder to shoulder to win her first election! Nancy Pelosi is my lifelong friend!”
“Well,” says The Thin Nephew, like he’s about to give her a real spine-freezer: “Your lifelong pal not only destroyed democracy, her daughter Alexandra Pelosi makes films of her mother—your bestie Nancy Pelosi— torturing small boys when they refuse to have sex with her husband. I can show you the films, Aunt Agatha.”
“I am Alexandra’s godmother!”
“Do the research,” he says.
Agatha squares her knees, looks at him like he’s a pomegranate which she is about to slice in half, and says:
“You are cut off, William!”
“Not another penny.”
Now, Gallant Reader, as this conversation continues for some time, with the Idiot Nephew claiming to the Valiant Aunt that Nancy Pelosi personally kills a three-month old baby every evening at midnight, I’m just going to take a moment to tell you, that as it’s going on, I notice that as soon as the Valiant Aunt says to The Thin Nephew that he is “cut off,” The Thin Nephew begins slowly moving towards a bookshelf, and when she pulls out her phone and begins telling her attorney to “strike the young dolt” from her will, The Thin Nephew takes a gun off a shelf, and, aiming at the Valiant Aunt, says: