Monday, October 5, 2009

There's An Englishman, A Scotsman And An Irishman — 3,973 Camels And A Masseuse 6

‘What did the big chimney say to the little chimney?’

‘Ha — I know this one! You’re too young to smoke.’

‘Fast forward a little.’


‘Everyone’s heard the joke right at the start, but later on is when it gets really interesting.’

‘Interesting? Aren’t jokes supposed to be funny?’

‘Hey, this is about smoking. Not a laughing matter. Thousands of people die from smoking-related illnesses every year.’

‘So why the chimneys?’

‘It’s just an illustration. They’re characters. Helps to get the kids onboard, you know, like Ronald McDonald.’

‘Do you mean the Ronald McDonald who lives down my street who’s kind to old ladies and never has a bad word to say about anyone, or the Ronald McDonald whose fatty, salty, processed garbage has contributed to the biggest rise in clinical obesity since—’

‘Okay. Bad example. What about Batman?’

‘What about Batman?’

‘He doesn’t smoke.’

‘You don’t know that for sure. If he’s clever enough to conceal the Bat Cave from the whole of Gotham City, he’s got to be capable of sneaking a crafty fag in the Bat Closet, surely?’

‘And this is the Bat Closet from which comic or movie, exactly?’

‘You’re missing the point.’

‘I don’t think so. You’re saying Batman is a smoker, right? So prove it.’

‘OK. In issue number...657 — the one from the late 70s where he’s against...the Joker...and...I dunno...the Pelican! — he ducks behind a wall on page five just as Robin finishes off some hoodlums in his fey trunks.’


‘That’s when he has one. A Winston.’

‘So where’s the closet? You’re telling me his secret smoking closet was right there behind the wall? Ha! Even if this was a pre-planned ambush on the part of the caped crusaders, I find that hard to believe. Surely Robin would have spotted it? “The Bat Closet: Robin KEEP OUT”?’

‘Robin, if I may remind you, is not the most astute of sidekicks. He probably mistook it for a shed.’

‘OK, you win on the cerebral prowess of the boy wonder. But a shed? In a Gotham City alleyway?’

‘Now you’re jumping to conclusions. I never said what was behind the wall did I? Could have been the Pelican’s back garden—’

‘Ha! In which case, how did Batman erect his shed-like closet without being spotted, huh? If it came as a kit, it would have taken him ages to put up; all those nails, and all that hammering. And if it was a prefabricated structure, he’d have needed a crane. Not the easiest thing to sneak into your arch-enemy’s back garden, is it? So how did he do it?’

‘He’s Batman, dummy.’

‘You said. But that doesn’t make the Hulk an opera singer. I know Batman’s got a utility belt, but that’s doesn’t make him superhuman.’

‘He was in league with The Riddler when he did it.’


‘Exactly. The Riddler. Maestro supreme of the perplexing conundrum. God knows how he did it, but he did.’

‘Batman? In league with The Riddler? Waitaminute...’

‘Have you read issue...482?’

‘You said six hundred and something!’

‘It was a reprint.’

‘Okay...okay — but having a concealed closet in the Pelican’s back garden doesn’t make Batman a smoker!’

‘His life’s a wreck, remember?’

‘So’s mine. But that’s no reason to blast off twenty a day just to get by. Or thirty, if I’m stressed.’

‘Hang on. Is that whisky I can smell on your breath?’

‘Georgio Armani, actually.’


‘And I was only joking.’

‘Fine. Can we get back to the two chimneys? I’m keen to go home and slash my wrists.’

‘Okay. So you get the joke at the start?’

‘Big chimney. Little chimney. Yeah. Hilarious.’

‘So, then the little chimney asks the big chimney why it’s too young to smoke—’

‘Spare me the line-by-line account. Cut to the chase.’

‘Okay, so as the big chimney is lying there in a pool of blood—’

‘What pool of blood?’

‘I’m cutting to the chase. Like you asked.’


‘So, he’s just coughed his lungs up, right? But he still manages to speak—’

‘Because he’s a talking chimney — a concept no more ludicrous, folks, than a closet—’

‘Shut it. He’s trying to make a point about the susceptibility of childrens’ lungs to the evils of nicotine. It’s a passioned plea, delivered as he’s literally choking to death. In the end, the kid sees sense, and saves the big guy’s life by performing an emergency tracheotomy with a biro. It’s a testament to the wisdom of mankind; a triumph of reason over habit, and all you’ve done is trivialise it.’

‘I trivialised talking chimneys?’

‘Yeah, that’s right. Ronald McDonald, remember? It’s a gruesome, hard-hitting message — all this lung cancer, emphysema and shit — and sometimes the world of metaphor reaches out to people more readily than brute reality.’

World of Metaphor? Is that a theme park?’

‘Get lost.’


Scarlet-Blue said...

But what happened to the 6 year old masseuse?

Whirlochre said...

I wink at your phantom comma ;)

Kiersten White said...

Oh, Whirl. You make me laugh.

Kiersten White said...

Which is CERTAINLY not to say that I don't take those issues VERY seriously and should in no means be subjected to a lecture on the issue.

Very serious stuff, this.

Robin S. said...

I love your world of whirled metaphor. Oh yeah.