Gotta Hand It to Hoge – He Knows How to Drive Traffic
Oleh: Bill Schmalfeldt
March 26, 2014
(A PIECE OF CREATIVE FICTION IN LOVING TRIBUTE TO A CERTAIN FELLOW IN WESTMINSTER, MD AS I IMAGINE HIS HOMELIFE.)
I can picture old, crazy, borderline senile WJJ Hoge sitting at his rickety desk, the house filled with the unpleasant musk of “old man.” He stares at a blank WordPress page and considers his next topic.
“Are you pondering what I’m pondering,” he asks aloud. From somewhere in the basement, his leviathan son giggles. The plate collection on the walls, stolen from Stuckey’s Restaurants around the country, rattle as the mammoth man child chuckles.
Hoge puts his face in his hands.
“No, those never get more than one or two comments, and they are of the most ass-kissing variety.”
Not that Hoge minds the feel of soft lips on his puckered bung. He rather enjoys it. But it is CONTROVERSY he seeks.
“Write something about Kimberlin,” his wife hollers from the bedroom where she’s been holed up since getting home from work with a stack of supermarket tabloids and a pint of gin.
“Blast you, Woman!” he bellows. “I’ll do the writing. You do the drinking. Understood?”
She responds with a healthy belch/fart combination. Again the plates rattle and for a moment Hoge fears some may fall from the crude plate holders his son made as part of his occupational training at that special school he went to for all those many, many years.
He looks at his combined output for the past week. Contributions have dwindled to nothing. So has his fan base. Oh, they’re prolific, but they are few.
The idiot Frankie
The execrable Howard Earl
The hopeless, hapless LibraryGryffon
The felonious Kyle Kiernan
The pretend general, ersatz cancer victim Paul Lemmen
The annoying EPWJ
The crazed Bettina Haper
Some numbskull called “The Onlooker”
Someone mocking The Cabin Boy’s dead brother “The Bobber”
The phony cousin Leroy Oddswatch
The mental case Palatine Pundit
And good old Aaron Worthing Walker. The St. Peter to his Christ fixation. The only one of the bunch worth a good god damn.
Sixteen Apostles. More than Jesus had. So there’s that. And they attend his every word, like true disciples. They would kill if he ordered them to. And it might come to that. He would turn to Kiernan, the felon or Palatine Pundit, the self-professed nut case if it ever came to that.
Hoge knows he has an epistle in him. He knows he has wisdom to impart. The problem is, the apostles are incapable of absorbing wisdom. It’s like trying to communicate with starlings. He has their love. Their devotion. But he knows he has something even more valuable.
He owns their hate. All he need do is start a thread about the Evil One, and his Team Lickspittle will fall into line and do the work he has neither the patience nor the belly to do for himself.
Not that he didn’t try. Jesus. 366 charges and the only thing that stuck was an unenforceable peace order. Well, there’s more than one way to skin a fat problem.
“Are you talking about me, Daddy?” And Hoge realizes he spoke those last words out loud.
“Go back to your room and masturbate, son. Daddy’s thinking.”
“Yay! Pretend girl time,” his son blurts and the house shakes again as he lumbers down the stairs. Again, Hoge worries about the plates on the wall.
The Hoge legacy. The proud Hoge lineage will end with IV. III has long since understood that. His bride won’t touch him. Murdering her is out of the question since she makes the real money.
“Never mind, never mind,” he grumbles to himself. “Must think, Must think.”
Then it dawns on him, like a 350 watt lightbulb with no shade, glaring in the dark cavern of his brain.
“Kimberlin is beyond my reach. But Schmalfeldt. HAH! He could die any day. Have you seen how much weaker he looked in January than he looked a year ago,” he asks no one.
“Bluuuuuh…” his wife belches. She is still pretty, but the bitterness has ruined her mind. Sad.
Schmalfeldt. He will pay for Kimberlin’s crimes. I know Schmalfeldt, the CABIN BOY, knows more about the nefarious evil of Kimberlin than he lets on. If I squeeze that zit, it will pop.” He realizes, too late, that he has just squeezed a zit on his own forehead. The pus and blood mix like catsup and mayonnaise from the edge of a burger.
“Yes, a burger,” he says to himself. First a burger, then the blog.”
He realizes all he needs to do is offer a simple, not-particularly-inflammatory blog post about Schmalfeldt. It doesn’t need to be inflammatory. The lickspittles will make it so with their comments. And it’s THEIR comments that are defamatory. Not his, he gloats. THEY are the defamers, not me, he says as he reaches the kitchen, opens the mayo jar and recoils from the smell. There is no fresh jar in the cupboard.
“DAMN IT STRAIGHT TO BLEEDING HELL,” he shrieks. “Not tonight,” his wife slurs from under a blanket of tabloid newspapers.
glares with baleful, contempt in his eyes at the first and only woman he has ever touched.
He pads back to the computer and poots forth a few words about some LIE he will invent as told by the horrible, criminal, inept Cabin Boy.
He hits the “send button,” and feels a feeling of comfortable warmth.
“DAMN IT STRAIGHT TO JESUS!” he shrieks as he realizes he has wet himself yet again.