Dennis Mahagin

Nostradamus was hung over and hanging with me at the bustling food court of the Burien Mall. We sat on pink vinyl stools nestled beneath a giant blanched palm frond stirring languidly in the AC currents. I sipped on a Pineapple Julius, while Nostry swilled stale Pabst straight from the pitcher. He kept trying to talk and chew on a driftwood-sized twisty pretzel at the same time. I watched as part of the pretzel proceeded in peristalsis down the wrong pipe; Nostradamus coughed some chunky white debris into his fist, then scattered the mess like bird seed in the propylene pot that held the palm.

“For a famous sooth that is way uncouth,” I said.

“Sure,” Nostry croaked, his red and rheumy eyes still watering, “whatever you say there, Shel fucking Silverstein.”

A little kid in a Spiderman suit walked by our table. He stuck out his tongue at us. Nostradamus let loose with a rhino belch that would frighten a grown man, and the kid started squealing for his mom.

“OK, OK,” I said, “leave the kid alone and let’s get back to brass tacks.”

“Please, no more stock tips. I’m tired.”

“Fair enough. What about Lynndie England, though? The Gnomish Mistress of Abu Ghraib Prison? What’s gonna go down with her?”

“She will join a convent, and remain committed for eight years. Skin will turn so alabaster as to make Edgar Winter look like a Cherry Tom. Afterwards, however, she will possess all the requisite credentials to be a dolphin trainer. And a damned good one.”

“All right, hold up…yer going too fast!” I said, furiously scribbling away in my little spiral notebook. “OK now. Tell me what’s gonna happen with American Idol, then we gotta get the fuck outta here.”

“Buy me another pitcher, boy.”

“Chill! I'll getcha a sixer of Mickey’s Big Moufs on the way home. Now gimme the Idol.”

“Aight. It comes down to Alabama cracker long-haired wannabe David Clayton Thomas—head to head with wholesome sensible pitch perfect colored girl. The overall voting will be viciously split down racial lines. There will be scattered outbreaks of violence across our land, but nothing along lines of, say, Matthew Shephard—or like when they dragged that black man to death behind the confederate pickup truck.”

I finished off the dregs of my Julius.

I said:

“Is there any hope for the human race, Nostry?”

“Sure. When the sucker-footed Salamander Beings from Atlantis come rising out of the sea on some pea green escalator slats sloshing like Mississippi paddlewheels. But the metamorphosis won’t be complete until your women allow the creatures full uterine access with their scaly stubby Empathy Flipper Probes. It will be a slow transition.”

“Isn’t that just always the way, my man?” I said, rising from my seat. “Let’s go get us a pack of Mentos. And maybe some Beano to ward off your beer farts that are about predictable as the friggin’ weather, eh?”


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