Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Ok clear your head. Today you are going to write some serious literature that would be categorized in the college library of prairie view as “avant garde.” I know you can do this, keith. You know it. Joe knows it. Grandma & Grandpa (rest his soul) know that if you apply yourself, watch the cuss words, and keep your eye on the tiger, that before you know it you’ll be mentioned in the same breath as Phillip K. Dick and Roger F. Farnsworth. Dick you may have heard of, but Farnsworth, well he’s another fish all together.

Roger Farnsworth was born on a ranch in the northern part of Louisiana. Not much ranching done around those parts, as it’s majority swampland, at least according to my 1974 encyclopedia, of which I can’t divulge the publisher. Roger was the 18th of 24 children, and basically after about three days, his parents and family forgot about him. At 2 weeks of age, he was milking cows for the milk and slaughtering hens and eating their eggs in the back yard. By the time he was 6 months, he had moved on and started riding the rails. Little Sheister was his nickname, and he was quick with a shank and 2x4 if anyone besides Frankie the friendly meth-freak tried to mess with him. Frankie was a good protector even though sometimes he thought Roger was Satan. This didn’t really bother the boy, as he was beginning to understand the nether realms of the human psyche.

By the time Roger Farnsworth was 5 years old, he was a veteran hobo, always finding the trains with the peanut butter and potato chips. His mentor Frankie had died of an accidental overdose of a toxic mixture of high grade heroin and castor oil about two years earlier. The young Roger Farsworth had won the knife throwing contest at the rhode island state fair for two years running. He liked dressing as dapper as possible within the limits of the paltry income of a vagrant.

At age 9, Roger was knee deep into a cocaine habit that had him jumping at shadows and sleeping with a roger rabbit doll which he affectionately called “coco.” It was at this point that the second father figure in his life emerged and pulled him out of the madness, at least temporarily.

Josia Jimsenweed was the butler for the fabled Chronicstein clan in souther Minnesota. Importers of exclusive lines of mayonnaise from the far corners of Persia, the Chronicsteins were worth millions, billions by today’s standards. You must understand that this was during the sandwich riots, and if you had the market cornered on a hard-to-locate condiment, well, aces was your middle name. Aces was not Roger Farnsworth’s middle name, but it might as well have been the day Josia found him face down in a pile of straw in a transport freighter containing a critical shipment. Josia nursed the young boy back to some semblance of health and introduced him to the patriarch of the Chronicsteins, John Lee.

Roger was brought into the fold and raised along with John Lee Chronicstein’s sons, Billston, Edston, and Jackston. The “ston” at the end of the name was a family tradition for generations, and Roger harbored a bitter jealousy over that fact which seeped through his much of his later writing like teriyaki sauce on rice. This is not to say that all of Farnsworth’s works were bitter memoirs of childhood anticlimaxes. In fact, most of the great master’s tomes are filled with lusty, baudy, interexchanges between his primary character of Ernestine P. Johansson and a bevy of robust beauties from the four corners of the globe. These were matters which did not require much imagination on the part of Roger Farnsworth, who was noted as an irrepressible and unforgiving lady’s man with an eye for ample bosoms.