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Thursday, September 25, 2008
The Screaming Bean
1954, Greenwich Village:
Millie and Ellie, The Skooby Dooby Sisters were hanging out at their wickedest coffee emporium, The Pony Espresso, playing chess very intently.
Millie lifted her head and peered through her ratted out brunette locks and mumbled, “Like can you imagine tape recording The Steve Allen Show off the boob tube and you could like play it over and over again?”
“Man, you’re getting too abstract for me. That’s almost as crazy as cats typing out messages to each other on a telephone they carry around in their back pocket!” Ellie coolly sniffed.
“A telephone – in your back pocket? Chick, you’re on a wilder rocket ship than me. But dig this, imagine typing your poetry on a typewriter and seeing it on a way-out TV set and cats from all over the world can read your crazy scrambles?”
“Yeah, dig, and they can print it on a tiny printing press next to the typewriter.”
“Man, are you crazy chicks drinking your tea or smoking it?”
“Scruffy!” they said in unison.
A quick word about Scruffy: His real name was Sterling Holloway Scarborough IV, and received an even larger trust fund than both transistor sisters combined, a secret he kept hidden better than they because boys keep secrets better than girls. Scruffy always managed to maintain his cool with only one exception, and that was when people assumed he was from the New Haven Scarboroughs who worked the galley on the Mayflower, which he wasn't. He was of the Newport Scarboroughs, who actually helmed the Mayflower. Such class distinctions were not to be bandied about. It was rumored he was the more affluent nephew of writer William S. Burroughs.
“Chicks, you better like cool on the smoke signals”, he growled with his piercing blue eyes blasting through his ruggedly good counter-culture looks. The sisters both stared at him with hipster love. “Hey! Dig the square tourists!” Scruffy grinned. “The golden-agers coming in at 2 on the clock!”
A very harried, well-dressed elderly couple raced up to the Skooby Doobies, and stared at them incredulously.
The elderly woman clutched her handbag and gasped in horror. “Oh! There you are, we searched high and low for you girls! Glenn, will you look at them?”
“Yes dear, I’m looking at them”, a dapper old man in a topcoat complied.
“You girls look like a pack of gypsies.”
“Yeah, well”, Millie’s left leg and right eye twitched nervously. “That’s like, your opinion, man”.
“Man? Man?? Did a sick raccoon apply your make-up? Didn’t you learn anything in finishing school?”
"You wanna, like, transpose that in a major key?"
“Look at your father. You’re breaking his heart! Do you enjoy breaking your father’s heart?”
“Well, actually dear, they're not as bad as those hooligan doctors trying to ruin my business by that dreadful report they released yesterday. Imagine, cigarettes killing people! Did you ever hear such trash!”
“That’s alright dear, we’ll be summering in the Hamptons with the Kefauvers. We’ll get old Estes to break up that gang.”
“Blast that Estes, I’ll call old Tailgunner Joe McCarthy on them, my old Air Force chum. He’ll sort those scoundrel butchers and run them back to medical school. Cancer, of all the confounding crazy ideas.”
Mother Huntington said, “You can’t believe the filthy hovels we trudged through to find you girls. First we went to the Two Much!”
“Went there yesterday”.
“And then we went to The Screaming Bean.”
“Screaming Bean? Made the scene at The Bean last night, Mama Rebop”.
“After that ordeal, we went to that flea pit The Psychiatrist’s Kouch, and promptly walked out.”
“The Psychiatrists’ Kouch? Man, that pad’s for squares.”
“Well, I’m glad to hear that, children. So then we went to The Eye Ball 8 Ball”.
“Did we go to the Ball this morning?” Ellie asked Millie.
Millie’s eye twitched nervously. “Aw, lemme concert trate…was it on Bleecker and Houston?”
“No, doll, that’s The Neurotics Club”.
“McDougal and Central?”
“Nix, baby, that’s The Stone Cold Dragg. That’s for square Jane tourists.”
“We ever make the scene at Magick Carpet Ryde?”
“Yeah, but they like, 86’ed us from there, remember?”
“No. We must have boppin’ around The Eye Ball 8 Ball, then.”
“You girls are crazy, and we’re going home. Right now!” Mother Huntington ordered.
“What are you doing, Eleanor? Why are you stroking your hand?”
Ellie’s eyes glazed. “Dig, I’m not stroking, I’m petting Katmandu. You’re giving her middle class persecution complexes.”
“What is she talking about, Glenn?”
“Dear, this opium den smells just like that Hindu costume party the Van Gelders threw at their estate at the Breakers after their hostile takeover of the First National–“
“Dig, Mommy-O, Katmandu is like our invisible cat, you copy, jane?”
“Why of all the nerve, talking to your mother in such a fashion. Young lady, just remember one thing: I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it!”
Millie and Ellie’s eyes widened and looking at each other, cooed, “Craaazzzzy”.
Scruffy elbowed the the girls’ parents gently further and further out of the club and into the rainy street. Millie turned to Ellie and looked upset. “Hey!”
“It’s my turn to pet the cat. Hand her over, chicky baby!”
Ellie lifted her arms and dropped the invisible pet to her sister. Millie smiled. “Katmandu, you dig us. You’re no square poppa”.