Happiness is a Warm Gun

Happiness is a Warm Gun

A Chapter by HighBrowCulture

Chapter 2 of Scarecrow



Happiness is a Warm Gun


            Duckett, Sullivan, our hero and madman, finished his last drink and left the bar.  It was fluffy outside with all that cold falling cotton.  Duckett wished it would rain instead.  He loved the rain.  The sounds it makes, like mint tea dripping on a funeral drum, reminds you the world sings so softly you have to listen before you speak.


            Sullivan Duckett’s father was also Sullivan.  He was the SENIOR.  The one with the prefix.  But not until his early twenties when he injected Duckett’s mother with a serum built for reproducing.

            Sullivan Sr. was an only child.  Some say he was a b*****d child.  His mother was part-Apache, part-Imperialist.  Every night until his balls dropped like depth charges she would tell him a story.  His favorite was the one about Geronimo.

            Geronimo was the last Indian- a.k.a Native American- to surrender.  He lived in the land both the U.S.A and Mexico said they owned.  They were pissed off when he didn’t understand that if your name isn’t written on the map it’s not yours.  He would have made a terrible real estate agent.

            So it goes so he would say.

            Geronimo was like King Solomon.  He had many wives.  It took a thousand soldiers and a handful of Judas look-alikes and Brutus dittos to catch him.

            He was a star in the World Fair at the turn of the silver century.  But less a star then the elephants with painted trunks.  Teddy Roosevelt gave him the honor of marching in the Inaugural Parade.  We wanted to remind the Indians- a.k.a Native Americans- that in a democratic country other people tell you what to do.

            In prison Geronimo found the white man’s God. 

            The white man’s God is a big white man with a white beard and a white robe.  Emphasis, please, on the white. 

            Red, WHITE, and blue.

            Color matters.

            Geronimo died like George.

            Of pneumonia.

            Not from the rain, though.

            They would have been Facebook friends.

            Geronimo’s surreal epitaph reads:


            Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.


            It had to be in Latin.  That’s the only language God knows.  He chats with the Pope in Latin on web forums daily.

            It’s only. Well. Proper.


            Duckett’s mother’s name was Ofsullivan.  His father believed in tradition.

            The proper kind.

            Even though his mother was a descendant of Founding Father Benjamin Rush.

            Dr. Rush convinced Father Jefferson and Father Adams to stop acting like cheerleaders and talk again.  Father Jefferson and Father Adams died together on the same day.

            Dr. Rush also bled victims with mental illnesses and strapped them to spinning boards and confined them to the ‘Tranquilizer Chair’. 

            The ‘Tranquilizer Chair’ made your head look like a ballooned TV and it had a bucket to catch feces.  Just in case you stayed there for a few months.  It was designed to get the crazy out of you.

            Sullivan Sr.’s grandfather Tom Duckett was descendant of a man with pica disease. 

            ‘Pica’ is Latin for ‘magpie’ and like magpies people with pica disease eat anything and everything and all things not necessarily edible.  The pica drone spent 6 months in that ‘Tranquilizer Chair’ for eating 40 iron nails.

            40 days and 40 nights. 

The pica drone bled to death on the sixth month.  Exactly.

So maybe the Ofsullivan thing is karma.  Or is someone still paying for Adam’s sin?

After the magpie man died they found 511 letters address to a piper named Marduk. 

It read:


To Marduk

Residing in New York City


            Life is the moment you wait for death.



            (the pica drone)


Sullivan Sr.’s mother talked about God all the time.

“He is everything you’ll never understand and more.”

She whispers after the amen.

“Never be afraid to lean on him.”

Sullivan Sr.’s father never said anything about God.  He went to church and smiled but he never sang or prayed.

At fourteen Sullivan Sr. heard his mother in the garden asking God to take her life.  It was then that he realized the oddity of marriage.  His father doubted everything she believed in.  Yet they were always falling in love.  So Sullivan Sr. took it upon himself to decide who was right.  He’d spend the rest of his life reading the Bible trying to decide whether or not to doubt and to understand why both his parents died of cancer and left him all alone.

Sullivan Sr.’s father designed bombs.  He was inspired by the Manhattan Project.

            When Vietnam rolled around like a cue ball he owned a goliath bomb-making factory. 

            3 million of his bombs were dropped on the earth.  They sowed pockets on the parts iced for war.

            Then they wanted Sullivan Sr.’s father to supply NAPALM bombs.  Instead of sowing pockets NAPALM cooks it all a very very well-done.

            But Sullivan Sr.’s father said ‘no’ and sold the factory.  The reason why came in a letter sent from Vietnam:


            Dear Bomb Maker,


                        I watched men melt today.



                        CPT Charlie Swanson


            Charlie Swanson and Sullivan Sr.’s father had lunch after the war.  This is how their children met.

            “Got any kids?”

            “Boy named Sully.  He’s about to be in high school.”

            “Really? My youngest Katherine starts soon too.  What’s he want to do when he’s done?”

            “Join the army.”

            After Sullivan Sr.’s father sold the factory he bought a farm.  He grew up on a farm but he never was a farming man.  So Sullivan Sr. worked the farm until he left for college.  That’s when all the crops started dying and the fields looked like graveyards.  A few months later his mother was diagnosed with cancer.

            Then his father.

            Sullivan Sr. sold the dead land for lots of dollar bills.  He used some of it to buy a pretty rock so he could propose.  It was the biggest pretty rock Katherine Swanson had ever seen. 

Like the bluest eye. 

Katherine was more in love with Sullivan Sr. then he was with her.  She became a demi-vierge before college then lost it all day 19.  Sullivan Sr. was still a virgin.

Katherine was like most girls.  She dreamed of wearing a wedding dress since she started dreaming.  But she was also ambitious, a perfunctory Cleopatra, who vowed never to be a stay at home mom.  She loved antiques and soap operas and wanted badly to be a concert pianist.  Her favorite part was when the lights would dim as the people applauded to the echo of Chopin’s Ballad in G Minor. 

Captain Charlie Swanson was her best friend.  When she was little they would sneak downstairs and watch TV when her mother was gone. 

Her mother was a beautiful gorgon and a beautiful tyrant.  She kept her surname.

“A woman is her own.”

She always said.

Captain Charlie Swanson was also Katherine’s biggest fan.  He would smoke his pipe in the parlor, cherry tree tobacco, while she played piano.  He would clap and to a double shot after every piece.  Then gradually sing and dance and piss and dance and piss and dance until he passed out. 

Charlie never really understood music anyway.  He could never keep count probably because a grenade left a dent in his eardrum.  But he loved it because Katherine loved it and Katherine was his world.  It was the sourest sweetest lullaby I ever heard.

Katherine’s mother played the organ at church but she never played with Katherine.  Katherine had to teach herself.  She wanted to impress a mother who had expectations like a moon roof.  Katherine thought her mother the expectations were because she only seemed to care about her older brothers.  She found out later on her mother’s death bed that those expectations never really existed because she never had to set any.                 

“Katherine.  You have always been your own woman.  That’s everything I wanted to be.”

But that wouldn’t happen until Duckett was in high school. 

Funny thing is that he would never get to know her even though they were exactly the same.  Katherine knew it all along but she never said anything.

Katherine met Sullivan Sr. at a family dinner.  Neither said a word to the other.  Sullivan Sr. thought she was a w***e of a city girl and Katherine thought he was a dirty farm boy.  They went to the same college four years later but never talked.

That was until mutual friends set them up on the blindest of dates. 

“Go screw yourself.”

Sullivan Sr. said to his friend over the phone.

“You know starfish are asexual.  Wouldn’t you feel like an idiot if you told a starfish that?”

“It’s not funny.”

“No.  What’ll be funny is if you two get married.”

Katherine and Sullivan Sr. ended up in the same political culture class as project partners.

She fell in love with him the first time because he had a guitar.

“You play?”

“Used to.”

He used to want to be John Denver.  I heard him play once.  He would have blown John Denver out of the water.

“Play me something.”

“No, not now.”

“Well, you will one day.”

That was the only threat she never followed through on.  Sullivan Sr. would never play her a song.

The second time she fell in love with him was the last.  She saw him reading the Bible in the library one night. It was the same night their mutual friend told her Sullivan Sr. had helped pay his tuition.

“What do you mean paid?”

“I was dropping out because I couldn’t afford it.  I have to pay for my brothers and sisters.  Sully there gave me a check and refused to take it back.”

Katherine Swanson fell in love with Sullivan Sr. for the last time because he was a good man. 

Just like her father.

Sullivan Sr. simply fell in love for the first time. 

Never marry the first person you fall in love with because it will be your last.

After they graduated they got married. 

Katherine worked as a counselor.  She had switched her major from music because she wanted job security.  In actuality it was because she letting go of her own woman.

Sullivan Sr. enlisted in the army.  It was something he said he always wanted to do.  Well, after he overheard his father a manager talking.

“I just dropped him off this morning but I don’t think I’m ever going to see my boy again.”

“You will.  I promise you.  You will.”

But that promise was broken.  Like the rainbow one.  The manager never got to see his son again.  MIA in Vietnam.

            The unknown soldier.

            Sullivan Sr. got out of the army a few days before the Berlin Wall fell and a few days after Captain Charlie Wilson put a pistol in his mouth.

            The experts blamed it on the fresh needle wounds.

            They must have forgotten the war.

            I know- it’s hard to do.

            Katherine, though, Katherine blamed it on herself.


Fashion… if you actually care, you’re a sad sad robot who dreams

of being a chameleon.

© 2010 HighBrowCulture

Author's Note

Have edited, procrastinating inputting it from hard copy to computer.

Any further editing, most desired.

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Added on February 13, 2010
Last Updated on March 5, 2010
Tags: Humor, Satire, Dark, PostModern, American, Memory, Vonnegut




Writing to create public disorder. Even if it means crucifying a Messiah. more..


A Chapter by HighBrowCulture