Mr. Cope's Cave: A Little Thingy To Go With Your Brand New Discounted Whatever 

You look down in the dumps, Mr. Cope. What is it?... post-Thanksgiving let-down?

Aw, I'm a little blue, Junior. See, I had this thingy written for Black Friday and I was really proud of it. I mean... really proud of it. I spent four days on it. But there was some communications problem and when I sent it in to Boise Weekly on Friday morning, nobody was there to do that thing they do where it shows up on the thingy.

You mean post it on the website?

Yeah... that. So it didn't come out on Black Friday like it was supposed to. And since it was so specific to that particular day, it's like it's totally lost. I might as well just toss it into my flush feature. Four days I spent on it! Do you know what four days means to a guy my age? That could be half of all the time I have left, if I start counting from last Monday and wake up dead tomorrow morning!

Gee, Mr. Cope. Quit talking like that. It's too morbid. Even for you.

Just sayin'... that's all.

OK then, what if you did something to this thing you're so proud of that would make it work today? Rewrite it or something?

I suppose I could give it a try.

You bet, why don't you give it a try? Think of it as left-overs from the Thanksgiving weekend and dress it up somehow, You know, like a turkey casserole. Only with new words instead of old turkey.

Yeah. OK. Maybe I'll try that. By the way... is that a new coat you're wearing?

Sure is. Got it half-price. That's why I didn't come by Friday morning, I was trying to get my hands on one of these babies. I got there sort of late, so I was lucky they had one left.

Well then, you should enjoy this thingy I wrote. You come back in 15 minutes and let me know what you think, Snapper. After I've casseroled it up some.

Will do, Mr. Cope. 

•••

REVISED "MR. COPE'S CAVE" FROM 11/27:

Dear website friends, I truly hope you all had a wonderful, wonderful Black Friday. After all, it is the most anticipated day of the holidays. I don't want to come right out to say it's the real reason for the season, but... hey, just sayin'.

However, as indispensable as this day is to our cultural identity and sense of personal satisfaction, I fear many people have forgotten to what we owe the occasion, so dedicated as they are to being there when the store doors swing open. So allow me to pass on the old story my Granny used to tell me and my siblings as we huddled together in the early morning dark outside of Woolworth's department store, shivering like plucked chickens from the prospect of a Brownie Instamatic at 50 percent off, or a new Motorola cabinet television with one of those big 12-inch screens.

The tale itself is said to have been sung for centuries by itinerant troubadours, as they wandered hither and yon, spreading everything from village gossip to venereal diseases. Granny claims that it had been written by Geoffrey Chaucer, who as a child could well have witnessed personally the events within. But when I asked her, "Granny, do you mean the Geoffrey Chaucer? The same guy who wrote The Canterbury Tales?" she answered "The Canterbury whats now?"

Here you are...


The Ballad of Black Friday

T'was the year forty-nine... 14th Century, that is,
When she sailed up the Thames, the good ship Greasy Liz.
She carried slick silks from them far Chinese lands,
And some myrtle an' myrrh plucked from Araby sands.

Eight barrels o' leeches... for the midwives, you know,
And a crate full o' cobras for the snake charmer's show.
In her hold there were bangles from about the Black Sea,
Wrapped up in fine carpets, wove from Persian goatees.

There were bales of green tea from the slopes of Ceylon,
And personalized teacups from the grand Kublai Khan.
On deck were twelve camels, each one with a load
Of golden-gilt flagons, filt with eau de l'toad.

A'bursting with treasures, that ol' Greasy Liz,
Worth a king's ransom, or a virgin queen's kiss.
T'was all ferried in to hold wide appeal
For Londoners out shoppin' to get a great deal.

But amongst all them goodies were hairy-arse rats,
Just itching to jump ship and bite some Brit brats.
They'd come ha'-way 'round the world, don't you see?
And eaten but little since leavin' Sic'ly.

The size o' small goats, them ravenous rats,
and crawling with fleas, like on old Turkish mats.
By the time the crew'd unloaded the loot,
Them rats were ashore and throughout London did scoot.

They creep't into the nooks and into the crannies
and where e'er they crept, fleas flew from their fannies.
Damn filthy buggers, both the rats and the fleas.
But the fleas were the worst 'cause they carried disease. 

Them fleas went to chomping on everything human.
Man, woman and child were theirs for the chewin'.
For each droplet o' blood they sucked from their lunches,
They left a vile spit-wad o' germs in great bunches. 

The poor people were pained by big lumps in their armpits,
And the most horrible cramps—t'was all truly the shits.
Their skins were discolored with bubolious blotches,
They even pussed up in their nethermost crotches.

Folk just curled up and died, so sickly they got, 
From all o' them fleas what the Greasy Liz brought.
By scores and by thousands, them Londoners croaked.
And the scourge spread and spread, 'til all Europe was focked.

T'were a cold Friday morn, 'bout a month afore Christ Mass
When the great plague arrived and kicked England's white ass.
And that's where we get it, this greed binge so gay,
What's come to be known now as Black (Death) Friday.

•••

So? What do you think, Sparky? Did you like it?

Wow. That is definitely not what I expected.

Yeah. But did you like it?

To tell you the truth, Mr. Cope, it's sort of creepy. Like, on that part about pussed-up crotches, I actually felt my skin crawl.

Ah, that's probably just your new coat.

What do you mean, my new coat?

You said that was the only one left by the time you got there, right? Well, pal, that tells me there were probably 50 or 60 other shoppers tried that thing on before you got there.

Ugh! Did you have to bring that up?

Just sayin', Junior. Just sayin'...
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