Best Wiest Ever, #29 - The Galactic Noodle Headache, 8/15/10
Join Reinwell Wiest, the lionized letter-man, as he lauds literature’s 100 Greatest Fictional Characters!
My job only grows more difficult as the days grows longs. A man came in the other day with a sore Hibiscus (he is a Flower Charles), which was revealed, after some consultation, to be a contraction of vorpal, a virus which opens up a stunning pit that resembles a black hole in name only, assuming the black hole is named “Kevin”. This void now yawns its jackass maw from the children’s ward straight over to oncology, engulfing the in-between and reducing it to a hobby horse with a smart rictus and a shredded rake (In other words, everything has been swallowed up into the shitmouth of existence…where the things have gone, I have no idea. The pit (Kevin) that opened up could be like a black hole maybe, ripping everything that enters it apart, like a shark attacking a homemade stew. Maybe, like in that one movie Time Snatch, they’ve entered another dimension. Maybe a comet is raping them. Who knows?).*
Thee incurables ward has been swallowed. Maybe they are now cured. Cutting off the body to spite the disease, I suppose. A number of rooms housing fun cures for the everyday blahs are gone as well. The housewives and unemployed are lined up outside hoping for a substitute, but all we can give them is a sugar pill and a whack with a hammer. At least the sugar pill isn’t an M&M. Those buggers are poison. Have you seen how much high fructose corn syrup they contain? Over two pounds per M. Worst of all though, the only remaining booster shots for Wunkles fell into the pit. Wunkles isn’t an especially egregious disease, but it does turn you into a duck. Most people do not like that.
I am alternately giddy and queasy at the thought of the hospital being sucked into the universe’s a-hole. If this Filth Crib (18th century term for a hospital) is engulfed by Kevin, it may signal the end of my servitude here. What would I clean if the halls were floating in an alternate dimension where Twix contained nougat? Whose vomit will I mop up if all the patients turn into a river? What if Kevin transforms the whole Shit Bucket (19th century term for a place you hate to work) into the crank on a Model T Ford? Would McScreamy make me twist the sticks of those flivvers until I paid off my fee? Or could I club him to death with a brick tied to a broomhandle? I do not have a murder’s constitution, but I am willing to make amendments.
As I write this though, the hospital still stands, and McScreamy comes around on his rounds every half hour to make sure I am mopping up an Entity Stain or drilling some holes in the seat of his car as “a personal favor”, but really I have no choice, and the only perk is that I get to listen to some killer tunes on his stereo. I realize since I’ve been in here, in a coma and then as McScreamy’s indentured servant, I haven’t really listened to any of my favorite songs. “The Sting of a Rat Trap” by old crooner Nate Drain makes my liquid sizzle, and oh, to hear the refrain from “Tomorrow Boys” by Yesterday’s Ewok, a prog band from The Central Region, that would be like punching a yarn’s worth of gravy. Alas, all the doc’s got is a mix tape of beet juice foley work, but it’ll do. Squish squish.
Thinking about music though makes me think of the 29th greatest character in this list, The Galactic Noodle Headache, a character in Hank Kesssler’s LSD-soaked memoir from 1969 The Stereophonic Hi-Fi Tie-Dye Freakfest. Memoir is perhaps too strong a word, though it is based, at least, upon Kesssler’s psychedelic road rages from the Summer of Fear. Kesssler and his pals would load up on psilocybin and bolts wheels and auto etcetera to themselves in an attempt at transhumanism. These “transformmen” as they called themselves, would drive around the country performing pranks on unsuspecting drivoneers. Slicing off ears, spiking gas tanks with tiny, pink living beings that eat the people inside, and draping highways with a slick tar that turns metal into flesh. These were just some of the tales told. Which were true? If one looks at newspaper clippings from the time, all of them, except for the ear slicing part.
The Galactic Noodle Headache though is Kesssler’s alter ego, a robot who liked pranks as much as he liked nipples, and also eye beams, and also fuzz, and also, in addition, abject fear. The Summer of Fear, as he and his fellow transformmen dubbed it, was a time of intense terror for anyone who drove anywhere. Always looking out for their next prank, there were more accidents from May to September of ’69 than there were from the dawn of existence until the end of existence in the year Quartermass, one billion years into our future. The Galactic Noodle Headache’s desire to become time, fueled by his literally infinite supply of psilocybin, results in the transformmen’s destruction of the Chronostream. Dipping out of our existence that year, all that was left of Kesssler was this manuscript and a picture he drew of a monkey whipping a bag of kelp with a Power Point presentation, a tableau apparently based on his time as a stockbroker in the Chicago exchange.
I think what gets me about The Galactic Noodle headache is his curiosity about the world, and also his cruelty which he displays unfairly and always. Sure the ‘60s were a time of joyous song and the scrimshaw was beautiful and ornate and intricate to the X-treme, but Kesssler really captures the pure hatred and frustration that many of us felt at everything, and that many of us feel right now, trapped in unending torment and unable to eat snacks when I want because I don’t have any goddamn money because it all goes to the hospital which currently sinks into oblivion. Is it so much to want revenge when this is existence?
* Actually, a lot of people know. There’s a whole Wikipedia article on vorpal. I do not have wi-fi at the moment.