I regret that I will be unable to co-host the show again this week, neglecting my duties and leaving Bronwyn and the ever-capable Tim to shoulder my responsibilities. The call of the foreskin is strong, however, and I know that if I can find this missing piece of Putin’s member, it will be not for my own glorification, but for the benefit of all WFMU-kind. In my stead, I leave these three humble tales, accounts of my recent adventures that will perchance entertain you until I return next week. —Cohost Jay
I was in a filthy, back-alley pirate saloon in Mogadishu, laying low after a smuggling run gone bad. To earn some extra cash to pay for my search for Putin’s foreskin, I'd cut a deal to sneak 1000 counterfeit Snuggies into Somalia. Unfortunately, a hundred miles off the coast, a Belgian naval patrol boat had sneaked up on my ship while the night watchman was engrossed in a game of Angry Birds. I was able to distract the officials long enough for my first mate to get below deck and dump the Snuggies before the inspectors got wise, but avoiding trouble with the law meant making trouble with the lawless.
When we pulled into port the next day, I knew I had to keep out of sight if I wanted to avoid an unpleasant business meeting with the warlord who'd paid in advance for his goods. I had spent the day sitting in one of the cantina’s dark corner booths, nursing a beer while my crew refueled the ship, and had just gotten up to leave when I bumped into one of the warlord ‘s goons pointing the angry end of his pistol at me. "Going somewhere, Jay?" he asked.
"Yes, as a matter of fact, I was just going to see your boss. Tell Gooba that I've got his money," I said. The goon gestured with his pistol and we sat down across from each other at the same corner booth I'd just left.
"Good. You can give it to me now and I'll deliver it," he said through a snaggle-toothed grin.
"I don't have it with me. Tell Gooba..."
"No excuses. You failed to bring the Snuggies. You’re a failure we can’t trust."
"Even I get boarded sometimes. You think I had a choice?"
The thug threatened me in his native tongue, to which I replied, "Over my dead body.” Smirking, he began to say something else, but before he could get the words out I casually pulled my Springfield XD from its holster and fired a round from below the table. It hit him square in the chest, and he collapsed onto the table with a thud. Some of the bar’s patrons looked over, but murder was as common in these parts as technical errors on Thunk Tank, and no one said a word. I walked up to the bar, told the owner, "Sorry for the mess," and casually laid a 100 Beib note before him. As I turned to walk out, I heard the band strike up a new tune. On the street, I hurried back to my ship, and we cast off to parts unknown.
* * *
I was in Norway. Or Finland. I'm not such which, but there were fjords. I was in whichever one is more badass, and I was on the beach, and a cold wind was blowing. I had been traveling for days without rest and had barely survived a number of close calls while climbing various stormy peaks. At one point, while downclimbing a 2,000-foot vertical ice face, a snow shark had leapt out at me from a nearby cave. In my struggle to dispatch him I slipped, falling a few hundred feet before landing in a snow bank on a tiny ledge not more than two feet wide. I was somewhat surprised to be unharmed by the fall but, being a man of adventure, such occurrences do not faze me the way they would others, and so I picked up my ice tools and continued my descent.
Later, on the beach, my faithful squire Pedo and I were waiting to be picked up by the crew of my cold-fusion–powered submarine. Pedo had gone off to collect firewood when I first saw Him up on a ridge. A tall man in a black cloak, he stood unmoving and then disappeared before my eyes, only to reappear a few feet to my left. I knew at once who he was. "Your time has come, Jay. You were not meant to escape the snow shark I sent for you." During my many adventures, I had cheated him too many times, and now Death was tired of waiting. I could not surrender, however, not with my quest incomplete and with Bronwyn still incapable of working the board without my constant guidance. No, I would have to outwit Death as I had outwitted so many foes before.
“Death,” I said, “You have every right to take me, but I also know that you are a just spirit, and friendly with your brother Chance, so I would like to make a request. I challenge you to the Celebrity Name Game. If I lose, you may take me to what lies beyond the veil of this world, but if I win, I may remain on earth until transcripts of Thunk Tank shows become mandatory reading in Ivy League classical literature classes. You cannot deny that this is a fair request, can you?”
Death looked back at me and arched one eyebrow. “Also,” he said slowly. “I assume you are referring to the celebrity name game in which one person says a celebrity’s first and last name and then the next person must say a celebrity whose first name begins with the same letter as the last name of the last celebrity mentioned.”
“The very same,” I replied. “You have taken many famous souls to the afterlife, of course, and so I am sure you are quite skilled at this game, but I believe I may prove a strong competitor. “
“I accept your challenge,” said Death. “You may name your first celebrity.”
“Thank you, Death. I'll open with George Clooney.”
“Clark Gable,” he replied, reversing the letter order of my celebrity’s name in an obvious move to show me his skill. I countered with Gabriel Garcia Marquez to expand the playing field internationally, and his repost was Marcus Aurelius, to expand the field temporally. I tried to maintain my composure, inwardly gleeful that he was playing so boldly and growing overconfident.
The game continued, and twice I threw out seemingly challenging names— Randy Quaid and Paula Zahn—behaving both times as if I thought these were game-enders. Each time, Death easily countered and his confidence grew, until finally came my moment to strike.
“Kelly Clarkson,” he said with a tone conveying condescending pity. I paused and then casually let my ace card drop. "Clarence 13X, founder of the Nation Gods and Earths." The confident smile fell from Death's visage, and he dropped the biscotti he’d been nibbling while we played. His mouth opened and shut twice without emitting a sound before he croaked, "That's impossible." He bit his lower lip as his eyes darted back and forth, racking his brain for a celebrity whose name began with the number 1. I stood up, saying, "I think that is game, Death. And now I must bid you adieu until the phrase “Thunk Tank" appears in the Harvard course catalogue.” With that, I sat down in the dingy where Pedo was waiting patiently to take me back to the sub and on to further adventures.
* * *
In search of the foreskin, I'd come to Geneva. I'd learned that an expat Russian oligarch, Ivan Rasminov, had met the thieves who stole the foreskin and was attempting to purchase it from them for a hundred billion dollars. He had a plan, called Operation Otter, and it was terrifying. Once in control of the foreskin, he was going to extract the DNA from it and splice it with various animals to create an army of super-endowed attack creatures to conquer the world. The oligarch was now in Switzerland organizing his finances for the deal, and my plan was to infiltrate his lair and learn where the thieves were hiding.
When I reached his mountain chalet, however, I came upon a beautiful young woman whose sister had been abducted by the oligarch. She’d come to kill him and wanted my help, but during our conversation we were ambushed by the oligarch’s guards. They knocked me unconscious and I awoke shackled to a table with a large laser gun hanging above me. As I examined the giant laser, it suddenly came to life, firing a thin red beam between my feet and slowly inching upwards.
Standing next to me was the oligarch, smirking. He patted the table where I was chained and said, “This is a sandwich, Mr. Jay.” Looking at it more carefully, I realized that I was not bound to a table but rather to a giant ciabatta roll containing a BLT. "All my life I've been in love with sandwiches, their mix of textures, the feel of mayonnaise in my mouth, and a hoagie’s divine heaviness. And I work any enterprise which will increase my stock in deli meats… which is considerable." He smiled again.
Though nervous to see the laser moving closer to splitting me into a bisected hero atop this giant grinder, I remained outwardly calm. "I think you've made your point, Mr. Rasminov. Thank you for the demonstration."
“Choose your next witticism carefully, Mr. Jay,” he replied. “It may be your last. The purpose of your visit is perfectly clear to me, but I do not intend to be distracted by you,” and he turned to leave the room. “Goodnight, Mr. Jay.”
I glanced back at the laser as the smell of toasted bread and sizzling bacon wafted to my nose. “Do you expect me to talk?” I called after him.
The fiend laughed briefly. “No, Mr. Jay. I expect you to die. There is nothing you can talk to me about that I do not already know.”
The laser was mere feet from my most ample nether regions. I had to think quickly to escape this dire predicament. “I know about Operation Otter, and so does Bronwyn C. If I fail to check in by next Tuesday’s show, she’ll alert the Listeners and they'll come looking for me.”
Rasminov’s back was to me and he was almost out the door, but at my words he paused. For a desperate few seconds the villain said nothing and the laser beam crept closer to the center seam of my custom-tailored Brooks Brothers slacks. Then his shoulders slumped and he turned to his henchman sitting at the laser controls. “Turn it off,” said Rasminov. “Alright, Mr. Jay. I will keep you alive, at least until the Antique Phonograph Music Program.”
I eventually managed to escape from Rasminov’s lair, steal his space jet, use it to fly to his orbiting command center, seduce his army of sexy astro-ninjettes, convince them to turn against their former master, and tell me the location of the thieves—but that is a tale for another day.