How ya doin’? Me? Not so good. My mother died today. Or maybe it was yesterday… Nothing? Okay, not a big Camus crowd. Gotcha. Anyway, let’s see who we got here tonight…

Whoa, get a load of this chick. I don’t want to say you’re fat ma’am, but Rubens just called and he’s running out of canvas. Know what I’m saying? Do you dare eat a peach? Looks like you swallowed the whole produce section!

What? Not hip to T.S. Eliot either? Sorry, guess you came here for a Melville reference. Well, guess what? I don’t do Moby Dick jokes. Guess you could say I… prefer not to… I prefer not to. Bartleby the Scrivener? Jesus, people, these are the Melville jokes. You want “Call me Ishmael” punch lines, go see Carrot Top!

Anyway, this bald guy over here gets it. More like Remembrance of Hair Past, am I right? Or should I say your hair is like the capitalization in an E. E. Cummings poem: nonexistent!

Ugh, look at you guys. Grim stuff. You remind me of Picasso’s work from 1901 to 1904… His blue period! Hello? You look depressed is what I’m saying. You make van Gogh look like a guy who would only cut off a small part of his ear — which is true, by the way. History has exaggerated the facts regarding this great Dutch post-impressionist.

Oh, boy. Looks like you need simpler stuff. Fine. Degas walks into a barre. Barre is spelled B-A-R-R-E. Y’know, like the ballet dancer barre? Because he painted ballerinas? No? Hey, what’s a French impressionist’s favorite song by Tommy James & The Shondells? “Monet, Monet.” OK, I got a laugh finally. I was beginning to feel like two tramps waiting for God in a Beckett play. Anyway, I think I found the level of the room. Guess you guys just don’t like insult humor. You want simple moron jokes.

Knock Knock
Who’s There?
Coleridge Who?
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the Romantic poet I’m guessing you Philistines have never heard of!

Well, that’s my time — which you’ve wasted like a drippy time piece in a Dali painting. Goodnight!

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Wayne Gladstone’s novel
Notes from the Internet Apocalypse
is available in all bookstores.