Little Does He Know
“What time is it in India, yuh fuckin’ outsauced raghead?,” snarls Mr. Augustus “Buzzy” Lagniappe whilst on hold with tech support regarding the fucked-uppedness of his internet line, “yuh 7–11-talkin’ coolie-ass fudmucker. That’s my son’s job yuh took, yuh rat bastid. We shoulda extoiminated ev’ry moidalizing one a-yuhs when we had the chance,” he vents on, all spider-voiced and unaware of his own special symmetry.
He becomes like that whenever he thinks no one is listening.
Normally in the waning afternon hours of a hot smoggy Tuesday afternoon, like now, he’d be on the prowl for the moment’s perfect porn, the kind that reminds him of Heaven.
But now his internet is down, again.
So he’s not able to conjure up those magic images of wanton tally-ho.
He hates God sometimes. Doesn’t everybody?
Buzzy admits it, though, openly.
“God fucking damn it,” he’s been heard to say, “it’s all a crock of shit,” I mean out loud while sitting in church trying to figure out what the fuck is going on in the universe.
And he’s had his ass kicked several times for that offense, always by the same fierce exaltation of unforgiving Christians, a phenomenon he refers to as “God’s own mosh pit.”
Buzzy has no idea why people started calling him Buzzy.
He remembers when but not why.
It was over at Whitman Rust’s house in 10th Grade, getting high and listening to Spirit’s cannabis-inflected groovitude.
Whitman Rust was one of those dudes who always had marijuana.
It helped that his older brother Bigelow was a dealer.
If you were in the mood to party, you made nice with Whit.
He’d toke you up generously if he thought there was a fun evening to be had.
It usually involved, beyond the pot smoking, delvings into trippy music. And Star Trek re-runs at some point probably.
Buzzy first heard Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus at Whit’s house.
Sardonicus ruled his adolescent universe.
He was obsessed with the backing vocals on “Nature’s Way” for a long-ass teenage time.
The whole cool-nerd crew loved that album.
And he still always associates Sardonicus with hanging out on Whitman Rust’s linoleum floor.
But as to why he first got called Buzzy, and why the name stuck inseparably thereafter, Augustus “Buzzy” Lagniappe hasn’t the foggiest.
“I haven’t the foggiest” has long been Buzzy’s motto.
It’s become a catch-phrase among the Lagniappe faithful even though Buzzy stole it from Lorelei Lux who in turn stole it from someone else who stole it from someone else who stole it from someone else.
Buzzy isn’t aware that he has a fan club.
A scrap heap of people who worship his words.
His first book, originally written in longhand in a spiral notebook, Disappearing Into The Wilderness, has inspired a wholly silent audience of worshippers who don’t communicate with one another.
Each Lagniappe fan believes he is the only one.
Then, after an extended silence, Lagniappe published his second tome, a prequel to Disappearing Into The Wilderness, entitled Little Does He Know, about his fictional early childhood experiences as an African-American girl, a profound hallucination from which he awoke at the age of 9, to find that he was a white boy living in a house with a black maid named Santa, but he was never quite convinced that the new circumstance was not also some kind of hallucination.
It was a saga compelling enough to the little known international recluse community — those who reject both human society and the company of God — to earn Buzzy a fair amount of money.
But Buzzy hasn’t the foggiest.
He thinks money grows on trees.
Still, he is like heroin to those who are sick of the world.
His audience takes his words personally. And well they should. He speaks their condition with inexplicable accuracy.
Before he started getting called Buzzy, Buzzy was mostly called Gus.
Buzzy has never stopped being Gus. But Gus sure would like to stop being Buzzy.
When he wasn’t called Gus, his classmates would call him Augustus Gloop (inevitably with a lame-ass fake German accent) even though he bears no resemblance to Augustus Gloop.
Buzzy is more of a Danny Partridge-looking motherfucker.
But even being called Augustus Gloop was better than being called Buzzy.
Buzzy hates being called Buzzy.
But he doesn’t know how to ask people to stop calling him Buzzy.
He rehearses phrasing it in front of the mirror.
“Oh, and by the way, if you could, please stop calling me Buzzy.”
“I’d prefer if you didn’t call me Buzzy from now on.”
“It’s not a big deal or anything, but I really don’t go by Buzzy anymore.”
“Me no Buzzy no more, my freng.”
“Prithee, callst thou me Buzzy no longer.”
“So I’m really trying to put the Buzzy thing behind me now.”
“Call me anything you want as long as it’s not Buzzy.”
“I don’t know no one named Buzzy.”
“Who’s this Buzzy you speak of?”
Occasionally, though, he thinks it’d be funny to entitle his next fictional autobiography Ruthless Buzzy Laughin’.
While ruminating on the nature of the primal human instinct for naming things, Buzzy is interrupted in thought by the sudden appearance on the phone line of the tech support specialist from Diorama Cable, who sounds close enough to be around the corner or even in the house next door:
“Good day, this is Rajiv. And am I speaking with Mr., uh, Gloop?”
“The name is Lagniappe. LAN-YAP.”
“You aren’t the fat kid from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory?”
“No, I am from a different novel.”
“Oh, that’s curious; I have a note here attached to your file saying ‘This fellow is the fat kid from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.’ And your name is Augustus Gloop, after all. So, I just presumed it was true.”
“It’s Augustus Lagniappe. LAN-YAP.”
“Ah, some mischievous creature has played a prank on me then. How embarrassing. Please forgive my rudeness.”
“I’m calling about my internet line being down.”
“I’m aware of that, sir. We will make it right. But may I just tell you I liked Gene Wilder better than Johnny Depp? How about you?”
“I mean, Depp’s a great actor; I love watching him work. But I think either he misunderstood the Wonka character or was just simply unable to make it happen. Depp’s performance was, in its own way, a very good Carol Channing imitation, but was not, in any way, Willy Wonka.”
“What does this have to do with — “
“ — Oh, and you know Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse kick Danny Elfman’s ass — pardon my language — all the way to Loompaland in the old film. And, again, I like Elfman’s work, a lot, like the Rugrats theme, or wait, no, that was the Devo guy, but anyways I think Mothersbaugh went thud on this one, I mean Elfman. Hell — pardon my language — so did Tim Burton. A bunch of talented people who misfired collectively. But Newley and Bricusse were just waxing rhapsodic in the realest sense with that score. ‘Pure Imagination,’ ‘Candyman,’ ‘I’ve Got A Golden Ticket,’ the Oompa Loompa commentary songs, damn — pardon my language — but those are some ultra-fine tunes, dude. And Wilder’s elfin benevolence overcame the annoyed nasty Wonka exterior, which lent the character an extra, I don’t know, worthiness, admirability. It’s very easy to like Gene Wilder. Don’t you think?”
“I need my internet line, man, that’s all I really care about.”
“Yes, yes, of course, Mr. Gloop. Do you mind if I call you Buzzy?”
“Rajiv, pal, I wouldn’t do that if I were you. Not if you value your hide.”
“Yo, chillax, memsahib, I’m just trying to get familiar in order to assuage your anger and frustration when I fail to solve your problem. It’s harder to get angry at me if you like me. Great obscure Sweeney Todd reference, by the way.”
“Dude, I just want my internet line back.”
“So you can get back to that Heaven porn, right?”
“I haven’t the foggiest.”
“I know why you like that shit, Buzzy Gloop — pardon my language — It turns you on because you still like jacking-off to images of your ex-wife, even though she dumped you and said, ‘Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire’ the last time you saw her. Am I right? Tell me I’m not right.”
“My marriage to Heaven ended long ago.”
“But dang, dude, her pussy though. Admit it: You still want to pound that shit.”
“Look, Rajiv — “
“ — Hey, if I’m unexpectedly successful at restoring your internet service, you should really check out the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory porn site.
You’ll never think of Veruca Salt the same way again. Nothing pure about that imagination, bapu. Know I’m sane? It’ll make you forget all about Heaven.”
“I can just picture it.”
“You can do much more than that, dude, at Wonkaporn. S’anyway, here. Presto-Bingo. You’re back online. I don’t know how I did that, but it worked. I just kinda zapped something and whoa it’s like fixed.”
“Wonkaporn. I’m tellin’ ya.”
“Like now now?”
“Yeeeeah. Go ahead. Wonkaporn. Right now. While we’re still on the phone.”
“I want to hear your reaction.”
“I want you to tell me what you’re experiencing while you’re looking at the Wonkaporn site.”
“Um, this is making me uncomfortable.”
“No it’s not.”
“You’re getting in the way of my reminiscences.”
“Oh, you’re no fun. That is your main problem, you know.”
“Being no fun?”
“I should do something about that.”
“You should but you won’t.”
“I will get to work on it right away, sir.”
“No you won’t.”
“You know nothing about what I’m gonna do or not do, dude.”
“Cram it, clown.”
“I’m not Bozo, I’m Buzzy — “
“ — Hey, that shit — pardon my language — really happened, dude. I was watching it, I swear. The kid said, ‘Cram it, clown,’ and then he gave Bozo an ice-cream facial. I fuckin’ — pardon my language — saw it on Channel 13, dude.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?”
“I’m talking ’bout yo mama and me last night. Gettin’ busy, Buzzy.”
“Well, hey, I’m-a let you persist in your delusional state as far as it’ll take you, Sri Rajiv. Thanks for getting me back online. You have good taste in movies. Gene Wilder rules. And, yes, he is the one true Willy Wonka. But for me it’s all about The Frisco Kid. I think that’s his best performance.”
“Very well. Have a pleasant day, sir. Thank you for using Diorama.”
Following the phone call, Buzzy steps outside a moment to enjoy the smell of dusk.
It helps him come to an acceptance of his own bewilderment.
He remembers writing his two books but has no knowledge of people ever actually reading them.
His mom takes care of all that stuff.
Meanwhile his gaze remains fixed on the darkening western sky.
Heaven’s up there somewhere.
He wonders if she still remembers him.
The day’s prosaic energy gives way to the mitochondrial night, the deeper root of existence, the spot where god and phantom are indistinguishable, where the breeze through leaves on trees whispers a promise, a predicament, an owl’s-worth of romantic hope and secret fealty to animal attraction and all the other weaknesses you’d never admit in public discourse, you whore, the private longings indulged only in darkness when one is safely alone and all ensconced with intoxicants and optimism and cosmic consciousness, a circumstance dependent on solitude, the coolest music, and the utter absence of conventional wisdom.
It is in this witness position that Buzzy Lagniappe exists so steadfastly.
Oblivious to the gifts of his own prophecy and the hearts that share his spell.
It’s been a long time since he’s really done anything except write in his spiral notebook and play silly games on the phone with his old high school pal and around-the-corner neighbor Whitman Rust a couple of times a week.
That’s why I spend all of my time writing about him, and why he has never written a word about me.
It’s as if his existence is some kind of antidote to my insignificance.
What’s sad is there’s really not that much to say about the guy.