Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Billy Button Bought a Bat by Manolo Gonzalez

After several shots of whiskey, and about three cigarettes, Billy Button, real name William Garfield Buttonowski, of the famous Buttonowskis of Westphalia, fell asleep on his bed made from the finest cat skin in all of England, which is quite the feat considering he was in Cincinnati. You see, Billy Button wasn’t always living in Cincinnati, he was actually born in the great sprawling acres of Western Westphalia, to Eucredio Buttonowski and Incontinentia Morowitz, owners of the biggest and best fish circus in all of Europe, The Fish BM Circus. This was, of course, many years ago, during a time where animal labor laws weren’t in place and no one made a big fuss about anything, especially the circus, which was incredibly popular at the time. Their most famous act was at the end of the show, when all of the herring and cod and white fish and depending on the season, salmon, would get into a straight line and juggle tiny little ginzu knives. Well, as one can already imagine, such tricks don’t come without dangers, and one night tragedy struck. One of the herring, Fred they called him, filleted himself during the juggling finale. After that, the show never fully recovered; the audience waned and Eucredio and Incontinentia were forced to close down their circus. That’s not to say they didn’t try their hand at opening a similarly themed cow circus, but by this time there were cow unions, and after the accident they had trying to shot a cow out of a canon, not many cows were interested, but I digress.

Billy Button slept that night, in his cold, lonely, desolate, and kitschy Cincinnati apartment alone, wearing his wool pajamas with blue choo-choo trains embroidered on them, the same pair that was given to him by his grandmother, Svendska Optini, inventor of giant squeaky toys for moose. She made millions of her invention, and was even able to put her favorite moose, Robert, through medical school.

The reason he was sleeping alone that night was because his wife, Castrata Poglioni, of the famous Poglioni Bacon Rope family, had left him the week before for Billy’s best friend, Patricio Mayer, son of Oscar Mayer. Castrata left Billy because according to her, Patricio Mayer had the best, and longest sausage in the Mid-West, while Billy had the wurst. This was all perfectly fine to Billy. It was an arranged marriage, set up when Billy was just a kid, and he never truly got around to liking Castrata’s moustache. The only thing that truly hurt Billy when she left was the fact that she took their dog Albert along with her, because now not only was he without a wife, but he was also left without someone to play cards with.

Billy Button tossed and turned that night like he had never done before, and he awoke in a cold sweat, yelling for dear Mercy. Mercy, by the way, was the name of his first aquatic animal, a lobster, which also happened to be his favorite. What was the matter, he thought to himself? He served himself a little more whiskey, like any good man would, and sat down in his favorite chair, a brown leather armchair made by midgets in Morocco. He had originally bought it as a birthday present for Dr. Robert, PhD, but he liked it so much he kept it for himself. He pondered and pondered why he had awoken in such a fury. Had he had a bad dream? Was there something awful about to happen? Billy didn’t know. And the fact that he didn’t know scared him. He then tried consoling himself that since he knew that he didn’t know, he knew something which is always better than knowing nothing. Then, it dawned on him. Billy realized that his life had become stagnant, and eroded. What happened to all the dreams and promises he had made? Whatever happened to that house he was going to buy in England, with the little garden for the neighboring children to play in? Whatever happened to his business? That was the reason he was in Cincinnati to begin with. Billy moved there many years ago with his wife at the time, Castrata, to begin his own Multilingual, Multilateral, Binocular, Bisexual, Bicentennial corporation, as he called it. Taking a cue from his grandmother Svendska, Billy set out to invent a new toy for animals, just as his grandmother had done to great success. He invented stick horses for horses. Well, at first the product really caught on and was quite the success for the first couple of years, before it all started to go downhill for him. Billy was sued by the Clydesdale Union for equine discrimination after a couple of his toys shattered under the sheer mass of a Clydesdale. Unfortunately for Billy, the Clydesdales won the lawsuit and got his business in the settlement. To make matters worse, on his way home from court Billy’s car was battered by a disgruntled boar, which had just lost his job over at the Mayer Factory. He tried to have his insurance cover it, but they dutifully pointed out that his policy didn’t cover acts of swine. In one day, Billy had lost his business, and his car, and was soon to lose everything else.

So there, sitting alone in his lonely apartment, Billy Button, who had changed his named to Button from Buttonowski when he crossed through Ellis Island (Buttonowski didn’t fit on his passport), realized that his family name, once the greatest of Westphalia, as started by his Great-Great-Grandfather, Albouster, the finest flea trainer in Europe, had in fact waned and fizzled to a mockery. The great princes and princesses of Europe did no longer know the Buttonowski, neither by face nor by fame. No more galas or parties; no more name recognition by the entire European moose community. So, that night, with a limp cigarette (he’d rather not talk about it), and a stiff drink in hand, Billy Button, nee Buttonowski, of the famous Buttonowskis of Westphalia, made a resolution right then and there in his choo-choo train pajamas. Billy Button would return the splendor, the vigor, the adoration of the people to his family’s name, even if it was the last thing he would do. He would bring the name Buttonowski back to greatness, and back to Europe!

Billy Button packed with great vigor, taking all of his suits and shoes and belts and suspenders (as to why someone would need both a belt and suspenders, I don’t know), and socks and boxers. He packed with great haste and precision, slowing down only to carefully wrap a silver picture frame around a pair of woolen briefs so that it would not break on his great trip. The picture in the frame was of great emotional value to Billy. It was of his first love, Eleonora, his prize-winning goat. At first his parents weren’t too keen on the idea of such a union when he first told them. But after a couple of days, they didn’t mind…and after a couple of shots, neither did the goat.

He called a cab as he read through his old moleskin address book. The book was special to Billy, because he used to personally know the mole, but that was a long time ago. Billy scanned through his contacts, looking for the best person to go to that would help him in his glorious quest for re-fabulousnessisation. After a couple of minutes the cab arrived, and Billy found exactly who he was looking for. The cab drove Billy to the train station, where Billy bought a one-way express ticket.

Before he knew it, Billy was sitting in a train, sharing a compartment with an old Turk who smelled of smoked ham (which, by the way, used to be his wife’s favorite smell) on the way to St. Gustav, the city that never siestas, to see his cousin, Yiminy.

This was all very well, except the last time Billy and Yiminy saw each other was years ago, when Yiminy discovered that Billy had been viciously mocking Yiminy behind his back to family and friends. You see, Yiminy had a Caesar complex—salad, not Julius—and had a knack for putting Parmesan cheese in his hair. But, I digress.

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