The time: September, 1969.
The place: the Samba Room,a swinging night club in an enormous flying saucer somewhere between the earth and the moon, in an alternate dimension known as Fishtown…
Frank whipped out his monogrammed silk display handkerchief with a flourish and offered it to Daphne.
She dabbed her lips with it, handed it back to him, and then said, “Do you mean to say, Frank -- although somehow I doubt that is really is your name -- that I am half space-person?”
“Well, uh -- yeah,” said Frank, stuffing the handkerchief back into his jacket’s breast pocket with a slightly suspect air of insouciance.
“I don’t like this,” said Daphne, staring at no one and nothing in particular. “I don’t like this one bit.”
“You’ll get used to it,” said Richard Conte.
“I’ll be the judge of that,” she said.
A stillness fell over the table. Johnnie Ray was singing another song (“Such a Night”) but no one at the table was really listening.
“My friends,” said Frank, addressing Daphne, Dick and Harvey, “if I may continue my little disquisition --”
“Oh, please do,” said Daphne.
Frank took a brief sip of his double Manhattan, just to wet his whistle.
“When we Swampoodlers first decided to utilize your fair planet for our fabulous entertainment industry about eight or ten thousand years ago we soon came to a regrettable conclusion, to wit, there was a very good chance you humans would wipe yourselves off the face of the earth, thus blowing our already considerable investment in setting up operations both here in this casino and on the earth. You have no idea of the expense.” He turned to Joey. “What was it, like three billion bucks a square foot, Joe?”
“Closer to four, Frank,” said Joey.
“Almost four billion bucks a square foot just to build this joint. Plus you got no idea all the other expenses. Insurance, taxes, upkeep, salaries --”
“I’m sure it was very expensive,” said Dick.
“As well and also,” said Frank, “we can’t just let the human appetite for destruction put a lot of good people here out of work -- all of the technicians, and the entertainers here like Johnnie up there, the waiters, the cigarette girls --”
“Them girls will never be out of work,” said Joey.
“We gotta protect our investment,” said Frank, “and our jobs. So what we decided to do, we started to -- well -- take an active part in earthling life, just here and there, just to try to, you know, keep things from going completely to hell in a goddam handbasket. For instance, you know that yarn about Moses and the Ten Commandments?”
“I saw the movie,” said Dick.
“That was us,” said Frank, “behind that whole deal. We sat right here at this very table one night and came up with those commandments, all ten of ‘em, thinking, hey, maybe somebody’ll take ‘em seriously! And, over the centuries and on various parts of the earth we did what we could just to try to keep you earthlings from rendering yourselves as extinct and dead and gone as the dinosaurs. You take Confucius for example, the Buddha, Jesus, uh whatsisname -- the little loincloth guy -- Pete --”
“What?” said Peter. He had been eyeballing another passing cigarette girl.
“That little Indian guy,” said Frank.
“What little Indian guy,” said Peter.
“You know, the fucking little guy, with the, the white loincloth --”
“Sabu?” offered Joey
“What?” said Frank. “No, not Sabu.” He looked at Dick. “You see what I got to work with here?”
“Gandhi,” said Harvey.
“Thank you!” said Frank. “Fucking Gandhi, him too.”
“Don’t forget Dr. King,” said Sammy.
“Leave us not forget him,” said Frank, “the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. -- all these very wonderful wise and holy people, we -- well -- we abducted them I suppose you would call it -- and we planted in their brains these lovely ideas, whose import boiled down was really just: Hey, don’t be a fucking asshole all your life. That’s all. Simple message.”
“’Course,” drawled Dean, “a lot o’ people don’t wanta hear it.”
“This is true,” said Frank. “Our messengers do have a bad habit of getting themselves shot.”
“Or crucified,” said Dean.
“Whatever,” said Frank.
(Go here for our next thrilling chapter. And kindly turn to the right hand column of this page to find a complete listing of all other possible episodes of Larry Winchester’s Schaefer Award-winning A Town Called Disdain™, soon to be a major motion picture starring Dick Powell, Deanna Durbin, and Dan Duryea, a First National Production, produced, written and directed by Larry Winchester.)