I – v – Give Me Seventeen Dollars For This Hat.

| May 29, 2013 | 0 Comments

Taxed by forces besetting Damascus, the Sultan accedes to familial intrigue. Noted medical talk show host Mr. Ng surges to stage live remote in the 13th century. Various tools at his command are listed. Participants gather: the Idiopath of Jerusalem, a chorus, the Emperor Frederick II, al–Kamil, Sultan of Egypt, and the Rabbi Ben ‘tov Shapiro. Debate over the independence of scientific thought, in which the Idiopath disputes Frankish titles in Palestine, ensues. Al–Kamil also cites numerous correspondence contesting these claims.

I — v — Give Me Seventeen Dollars for This Hat.

When the Sultan al–Mu’azzam awakened beneath the arch of the courtyard, the royal physician, el Tabib a’T as’misik, browsing his manuscript, el Kull S’ana, was saying, “you know, I’ve always wanted a chance to use my latest invention, if ever the meltdown proliferated underneath the Zantac night, relenting only after snorkels reeled over the side.” “Some mystique,” snorted the Sultan, an unopened edition of Kerplunk for Dummies on his nighty–night stand. “Some people get really excited about that kind of stuff,” he observed indifferently.
      “What’s not to get excited about,” replied the physician, with a serene air, compelling the mesh of cogitations, flames, stained glass, and vinculums that comprised the camera obscura that allowed him to look at things in semi–darkness, in perchance expectation that observed items would be endowed in an endless aura of futurism? “You would have to have a kind of sob heritage to manage those misnomer spots.” “We are alert to signs of mental checklists,” the physician explained, humming an off–key version of solitaire till dawn, and gaping at a kaleidoscopic array of harsh static undulating in terrific squeakiness, added, “how is the family?”
      The Sultan waved dismissively, saying, “they are encamped all around us.” The City was ringed in an incipient superstructure of lattices, cranes, and girders, a winking parallax of red and amber signal flares and semaphoric towers, where mushroom clouds were billowing into apostles, fire hydrants chasing dogs, and other eerie shapes. Before the East Gate chafed the starving lions of the Nejd, led by the heir apparent, al–Nasr, who’d dourly pledged to build a rampart of his own dead if his legacy was slighted anymore. The revanchiste Sassanian liturgist Mahmoud, his cofferdams bursting with wergild of the Khwarezmids, schemed at the Little Gate, vastly shunned yet intractable.
      “Such are the fruits of your willess hypostasy,” remarked the physician. “I am concerned enough to beg your indulgence. Has a traumatic event recently occurred?” “I was struck by a comet once,” the Sultan replied, nonplussed that his written account of this event had not been embedded in the seraglio folklore. For his part, el Tabib was least likely to be seen routing about into that complacent labyrinth. “They were so insular,” the physician agreed.
      “They laughed at me only once,” al–Mu’azzam fulminated, remembering how proudly he had petitioned the clerks on that sunny morning long ago to register his new son, his brace of camels, and his dozen goats, yet they had scoffed at his largesse, called him an owl, and beckoned him to return when he was old. “And so I strategically amassed wealth,” the Sultan recalled, “until they begged me daily to submit my ledger.”
      The physician framed this most incisively diagnostic inquiry: “Have you ever wanted to be the first kid off the turnip truck to consult the Holy Words for guidance concerning the ebb of any interpolative time of pre–suppose?” “Not a phase went by when they wouldn’t scuttle after me crying, ‘al–Mu’azzam, do you have a will,’ ” the Sultan went on? “To which I replied, ‘none but the Will of the Supreme Lawgiver whose word was revealed by the Blessed Prophet,’ and yes, how I reveled in sending them back to their inkpots in disgrace.”
      And yet your intransigence reeks of obscurity, the physician observed silently. His worst fears were realized. Noone wanted to hear any more of his pedestrian conclusions. He had been around the block long enough to fathom the degenerative stages of Snorggi’s Syndrome, whose sufferers were unable to discern metaphor from allegory. This illness was now manifest in the forces now milling about the City, yet the physician hesitated to spill the beans, for his charge had ever been a decent sort, so given to the improvement of his realm that he never once remarked aloud to his numerous sons–in–law that any blind mendicant from the Ostrich Square could boast of more disposable income that he, once the costs of administering county, state, and feddayin had been deducted.
      In the hope of stumbling upon far–flung enterprise, al–Mu’azzam had on innumerable occasions backed the proposals of disinterested alien clutters, and his warehouses at the Sunrise Cage now bulged with casks of sturgeon pickled in pimento brine from the Good Sea, mohair prayer carpets died in a chalky green tempura which tended to run at the faintest drizzle, door–to–door water flouridators, parchment scrolls declaiming the ease with which one could leverage foreclosed property on the cheap nowadays, solicitations to support the local madrassah pick–up jai alai team, lodestones said to confer therapeutic benefit upon any portion of the physique, scratch and sniff samples of plankton–based emoluments, unwieldy polychloride vinyl discs featuring the scratchy lyrics of Chocho, local Buffet sound–alike, brocaded notices asserting that the great publishing houses of the Almoravids were just itching to farm out their excess manuscripts to home–based copycats (his mother had talked him into that one), helix coil snack machines which made good ballast for caravans attempting to negotiate the icy hills of Lebanon, crates of analgesic hemp–based ink that were popular only with certain millenialist sects, bagatelles, mobieuses, self–canceling barcodes, flasks of perpetual liquid sunshine, and an entire generation of actual readers who had fallen all over themselves to read the latest edition of a leftover miniseries, as attested by the frantically stamped fragile due date ledgers spanning an epoch of decades ending suddenly, and without further explanation, in 2012.
      Flat footfalls, impervious to reason, roused al–Mu’azzam from his dark study. His eldest sister Nebula, amidst a career of rehearsal for a millennial tirade, had made a pragmatic breakdown with the sovereign ontos of charismatic elsewheres again. “I’ve just met quite a backlog of hyphenated minimalists,” she said, “who feel jeopardized vis–a–vis those glum oeuvre artisans whose unpedigreed globs molest our pivotal Mikados. Bye the bye, frumenty whey is dribbling from levitated slabs of anchorite emetic demulcent aquamarine beer kliegs,” and al–Mu’azzam, overwrought over mutational irrespective junior poster child larceny, retched open–mindedly, validating in furtive know–how his Roquefort pseudonym frustum or jersey agit–prop.
      “My lanky love nurse,” al–Mu’azzam lisped, “it served them right when their jargon, ergo those burlap elderberry gnats, dwarfed zero only to be named later.” “I think it would behoove you,” she exclaimed, ignoring the professed repartee, “to avail yourself of the many schools who have addressed this culture’s repressive pursuit of unattainability.”
. . .
The fallible procession.
. . .
      It certainly did not look as if an economic rationale existed anymore. That the marketplace of ideas remained largely unchallenged by the forces of empiricism, characterized as it were by oligopolies, and evinced in tacitly postulated time sharing calendar factors such as aggregate climatic activity, had garnered significant anecdotal evidence which, if in no way proprietary, might have had qualitative or speculative value, yet was not logically immune to Gestalt.
      Resultantly, that stratum of predictable activity applied from statistics, promulgated by Quetelet, holding society to be the carrier of all germs of commission, was a view at odds with concurrent powers inferred within free will, most demonstrably, that of choice betwixt various motifs, however relevant toward an equilibrium of changeable or fixed environments. The ancient philosophers, led by Lucretius, had circulated atomism extensively to refute the concept of after life or supernatural intervention (De Rerum Natura, circa 95), and amidst such farsighted individuals Mr. Ng, if transfixed by the logistical daydream of dragging a live remote into the thirteenth century, had nonetheless propounded the suggestion of the mathematician R. G. Boscovich (1711–1787), S.J. that all fundamental particles of matter were identically consistent with variable spatial relationships, referential to point–centers, or living nodes, in persuading his producers to stage the talk show event during sweeps week, a proposal accepted, if not with alacrity, than at least in the cynical obsession with cash values.
      So much yet remained to be done: ledgers to inaugurate, plethoras of samplers to prototype, a semblance of historicity to establish, and disparate dialectics, dredged from post–Aristotelian rhetoric, to reconcile with anthropomorphic visions of enacted cultural rites encompassing self–decoration, causal choice, and antinomian propensities. Mr. Ng had adjudicated within these forums long enough before to know that topics, stenciled into time slots with such clarity that one might be blameless for believing that the subsequent denouements transpired under Arcadian conditions (featuring coherent theses, logical rebuttals, and embracing coalescence, framed in mythic breezes of felicity) more often that not contradictorily dissolved into vicissitudes of infinitesimal magnitude as given clairvoyants, willfully incognizant of any Telestrator, invariably devolved into convoluted personal monographs that sucked away allotted air time like a Kirby on crushed vanilla wafers.
      Fortuitously, Mr. Ng had sharpened several poniards of proven efficacy in deflating the pompous outbursts of guests, which included the appeal to universal values that held no higher happiness existed than in being an atomized purveyor of wares, tamed into fomenting the beneficence of the tributary state, and wont to being walked in upon at any moment by clients; a contiguous construct of prevalent mores who might be counted upon at any time to douse the flickering embers of volition with an outgrabing of convenient essays upon contents of limited value; a chorus of repressed intuitions that yearned for a moral compass with which they either, as it were, adjustably thickened to tinfoil, exclaimed in timeless roles dissipating a sense of broad–minded paradise junction, and/or arose in tandems of critical essay to fluff all mea culpas with stupendous plaudits; or in the last resort other guests without, depicted as glowering in blissful ignorance of the staged transactions, inured to all possibility yet inchoately omnipresent, who’d tread familial sensations long enough to outlast any more dumb accidents. Casting had primed to over–budget the groomy fastidiousness of local salaams and a good quarter of the sad town thronged the doorjamb to attest to the foundationlessness of present tense that, if unfathomable from a convenient sense, nonetheless freed up outpourings at which point the issue became a freshet of desultorily needless proposals so formless that anyone need not worry, and with this assurance Mr. Ng convoked the forum, entitled, Give Me Seventeen Dollars for This Hat, a scream play set to light in a lamp amply illustrated in deep snit.
. . .
      “If ever,” Mr. Ng began over the credits, “anyone should speak ill concerning anything else, one made a conscious effort to forget the actual topic lest it might appear as or in conversation with anyone, if while still remaining an outlet for anyone’s peak experience, their perceived dissimilitudes were, in one’s mind problematic if not diametric to one’s own proposition of equity management to seek common ground for all, what will happen to the Holy City if it remains mothballed?”
      Mr. Ng introduced the Idiopath of Jerusalem, who asserted that nothing would happen. “Not only,” he explained, “was an actual smell (until my favorite tomorrow) juxtapositioned toward similarity, but in fact, speechless bright loud outlooks, spilled under such nasal impermeability, ensued whenever imprinted systemic amphora ongoing snores, winterless opulence, unclear formulas, macrobiotic upgrades, or if ever variant sects amply written off used closets forgotten readily,” and in short he had no kind words of these Frankish gospel peddlers who were returning, in person, albeit reluctantly, for the sixth time.
      From his overflow seating area on deck, Frederick apologized for not arriving sooner, and for the excesses of his co–religionists who had sacked Constantinople several decades ago, and for all else besides, as his imaginary illness leapt into the zodiac altered devolution of irresponsible divans whose artificial binary language neutralized any possibility of printing out any interminable following. “Really, Gator,” he said to his password watchdog, “our invidious caprice applies only in case of undesignated drivers who peskily threw up at the interstellar demolition derby. At this point in time, I have learned to distrust my virtuous pomposity, attributing all cause to a welfare state, and voluminously bent on vanishing from the solar system unless these inhabitants are recognized as enabling caveat coping devices for dealing with the implications of society.”
      His effervescent kitsch thus was tenuously constructed, everyone always looked up with startled glances when his Velcro went off like a gunshot, and after a morning of dream–weaving, he was doubtlessly prepared to be flung out of there, even while another visitor kept hastily saying okay amidst the cicerone’s thorough expostulations. It was no picnic being apparent nowadays, and/if insisting that his present followers had received thorough instruction to follow established processes, Frederick proclaimed this opportunity, “to put the sessions of our lengthy catechism behind us and switch from theory to application.”
      “And I’m sure,” the Idiopath interjected, “they are sorry for not returning sooner after experiencing many painful and calamitous events on their travels but the fact is, Jerusalem has never been happier under her new Islamic caretakers who respect our earliest traditions unlike some people I could name.” Amidst whoops of insinuation from the gallery, Frederick unruffledly claimed, “my friend has left the plane of commonly adopted Pythagorean discursive modes, and if I may I would like to cite some visions, in three pages or fewer, concerning the mechanics of properly didactic rules and the importance of maintaining the venue of why a particular, if in the last instinct chosen, event must needs find repeated expression.”
. . .
[Tetrabiblios: The Emperor, an avid scholar of Arabic, presented his apologetic therein, and it is here translated accordingly — NT].
“Sedentary milestones depend on their beneath if rather trackless mores of copacetic syntax. Were not 90210 imputed radars unworthy of and/if ethos? Rodeo–pristine flops, indiscriminately sad, wrenched methods of psychosomatic principles thereupon burrowing way down under dissociations apropos of nevermore technocracies futile. By the bye, limpid saloon, any truism otherwise unlike causal Realpolitik drips in remnant urinals.
      “Hope, our outsourced habitat dimmed to sight liminal angst, introspective of prolix, while thanks to unworkable proofs, modern silence, a bastion of apoplexy, obtusely plastered robust plinths with unchecked continuances. Liberally pontificated debuts likewise circumcised pungent mores forgiven whole (they really mucked in the realtor’s liable beneficence) and grasped a quitclaim earnestly. Implacably a flagged object can design terrific emetics for an upward requiem transfigured to all that rhetorical override. If the foment of many indigo nurturance existences can clothe Lilliputians in stained albeit histrionic keeping with failsafe jai alai allotments, for all of that rouge, by 2019 any baroque enough for you hovers sententiously, tonally debunking costume outstretched reaction.
      “Wholly soon vehement in the freedom to undertake this dealt out germ from which it sprang, de facto reality towered upon unformed loaves of checkered words, and mass opiates weaned away from didactic sources, dual desserts, unfathomable reach, scented therein dark unmet culverts shot through with stiff porous waste, and dull resumes of ultrasonic permanganates numbed by revanchiste obscure plots. These firmaments of enlightenment contraindicated properly also–rans that flapped thin kites before institutional beliefs were suspended. The White Books devoted to semi–permanent facets might have filled a poltergeist with stealthy flatulence, so rechauffe were the monadic proportionalisms.
      “Signaling ipso post hoc ergo propter hoc, the limp mantra ideas of low–key optimism clashed with a publicly rational, if disingenuous search engine, lengthily contorted upon supra–national travails, which assigned Sturm und Drang values to Revelation.”
      “In Galileo’s time our spumoni was more equivocal,” yawned the Idiopath, “conflating levelly causal on–lines with fewer idealistic visions, and any visitor would admit that rhapsodic wax melted before we might point out the world as it really is.” Laboriously, Frederick continued, “anyone who fearlessly patented discompensatory fields were thought insincere by a generation given to enhanced creativity, and above all, this short accountant held that a debt shrewdly centered upon ethereal masks risked a paltry return unless public opinion was heeded. The dean saw no inept codicils upset in the rush toward a scenic event, especially since touch ups were on sale in the lobby, but one man’s saint was touted in atavistic circles as beyond hope.
      “This basic illusion amply watered their metamorphosis in treacly facets, despondently rinsing all hands of clerical concern, and in suede loafers rather clunkily they saw impolitic advocacy in reprehensible concepts. Though provenly chialistic branches exacted strange dues upon plebeian ramparts (such as explicit static never minds) live yurts of matchbox yarns were suppressed. In accordance with mickly jejune theories asserted from this life, an unnamed ethos stealthily furnished fleet nimble libertines whose true aim, to extract immunities and privileges from fine print, boggled perpetual mindsets into advocating force majeure whenever detrimental proofs might surface.
      “By definition, such clauses outnumbered the interests of all, expounded by Ruskin, Bentham, et al, who had treated existing concordances as flawed thereby. This confusion, a remedy to myopic opinion, dissolved when man called for at most anything, nevertheless observing human isolation within the perception of extensive concessions to civilized beavers. At the tennis courts of Versailles thus evolved irrationally aggregate crises which exposed incompetent policies throughout adjournment.
      “In reality, the public’s higher truth distilled private criteria with an onset of faithful defiance, itself anointed sophistry, and amidst hardly integral nihilism, rebuked the deception of primal thrill seekers. In circumlocution, devoted generalists and paragons have lent their airy bias to redeem benchmarks, which, against all odds, deny recognition to this tattered banner of idealism. The keen disillusionment felt in written orders will soon disestablish the collage about all overwrought instances of social ill, solving the provision thought technically impossible due to the falling price of ideas.”
. . .
Remarking at the outset, “save me a seat at the wishing well and erase my heart on DVD sort of thing,” the Idiopath left the building, elbowing aside cicerones who urged him to further participation. Mr. Ng, requiring a counterpoint in utterance of further facts, and receiving frantic spooling motions from casting, went on, “what nighty nights, whatever aside from groping to achieve the whatnot ever alluded from here, were, in addition to an extra set of reasons if, forthwith, and are thus: for me to add my own pluperfect name for can you help me please on the drawing board that has so many other nice things such as metaphors [sic] and other concepts, duly transmuted?”
      Frederick remarked, “irrespective of one’s perception of corridors, one’s own times that are not, nor cannot be enjoined to crisscross in a waft of fibrous master work that is any” — “but could you not concern yourself with more salient topics please?” The chorus breezed to the emergence of al–Kamil, winter weed warrior, who had awakened three generations accustomed to leaving the house when the gates of Samothrace had burst asunder octaves ago, and added, “more profound perhaps than that tedium of forgetfulness was the enduring peace established where one had accountability, if no recollection, of a temper well–tuned, for all that was in fewer than one century already gone bye–bye, in no time geologically retardant.”
      “Had no worthier flights of fancy doubtlessly gone astray,” asked the moderator? “Some men ended orations with strife–provoking phrases,” al–Kamil hinted darkly, upheld for such public appraisal in the fourth degree, that we knew that the Sicilian Frederick, who always seemed to cut the mustard with the ladies and therefore was someone to be emulated, insisted or at least set amongst the foremost of his peers, a maintenance, plain and simple, of the proper time, place, manner, continuity, and form.”
      “Why then,” Mr. Ng remarked, “was this paraphrased in question, a claimant forevermore?” “This offending paragon,” al–Kamil continued, “dismissive of the transparently flawless repute attached to the source of those words of the Prophet, ‘get out from this, disgraced and expelled, and if any of them follow thee, Hell will I fill with you all (Surah 7, Al A’raf 1:18),’ was a cause of much underlining for going on five years now, and must needs be forever appended to the addendum, lest one is able to believe that one’s many own episodes of proclamation, if disingenuous, were at least non–vain. Now a man, chained by the weight in sheer paper of his inheritance, and condemned to penance after a compelling odyssey of needing no motives, may resume trembling.
      “By the way, here’s a feedbag of support into a reusable canvas tote which will heave along a few torpid happenstance: the Ir’wah of Palmyra writes, ‘it has been after all more than one hundred and twenty–five years since the issue was decided at the Battle of Hattin, so then why should we keep forwarding their mail?’ To quote al–Farak, Shi’raf of Al Ka’lil, ‘it would be senseless if we awakened from our long nap to a full cognizance that at least all rules were dispensed with in hopes of accommodation with the greatest evils ever known to mankind.’ And from the Emir of al–Mansur, ‘of course we perceive the kinetic importance of an equable understanding, yet throughout time their songs of promise are muddied by their insistence that all facets be thoroughly examined with that sort of careless self–importance endemic to those whose shame is their glory.’” “The viewers,” Mr. Ng interjected, are reminded to consider the generosity of some ponderous spoonerisms while they still have a bit of that new car smell left on the dashboard, and if I had only a left hand my writing would always tilt toward the unknown.”
      While remaining silent during the tirade of the Sultan of Egypt, the Tyrant of Sicily afterwards remarked, “I did not foresee that my opening sally would receive such a measured and meted thrashing as that evinced by those personas who, assigned by virtuous commission this essay, encomium, game, set, match, or next reference to all a priori established rules of procedure through which all subsequent iterations would be subject, tested, wired, strained, or otherwise shaken before the foggiest notion of elsewhere gleaned happy trails,” and/if for the moment, Mr. Ng intervened, “might we for the moment borrow, if not mine, nor even our, unless we also give thanks to one who put them there first, an account elsewhere gleaned from prior similes lifted out of context, a foolscap portrayal of an incipient urban renovation, spectacular in its own fashion, if failing to bring to bay that elusive quarry, time? Let us welcome the Rabbi Ben ‘tov Shapiro, who brings a ray of strobe light into the clouds of obfuscation.” Everyone clapped as if they were waiting for someone else to get there as the learned scholar crunched up the runway towards his best guess of where the audience might be.

Category: Act I Revised Ed.

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