I had a girl friend in New York City. She was fresh out of Amherst College and working as a secretary at a large publishing house in Mid-town Manhattan. Her mother was a commercially successful photo-realist painter and her father had been the editor of National Lampoon Magazine. She was short and cute, loved to smoke pot, make love and hang out with her college friends. She was also quite proud of her exceptionally high IQ.
She was only five years younger than me, but it may as well have been fifty; our outlook on life was that different. This incredible gap in our way of seeing things might have been caused by her affluent, relatively sheltered upbringing or perhaps it was just one of those “soul” things. Regardless, the relationship didn't work out and we soon lost contact with one another.
One rainy afternoon twenty-five years later, with my marriage on the rocks and my mind on the lam, I decided to Google her. It didn’t take long to track her down. She had married and was living in Brooklyn, NY. Her husband was a professional writer and she was a mother as well as part-time performance artist with the stage persona of Anita Liberty, a character who finds strength by remaining resentful and bitter over failed relationships instead of forgiving and letting go. I liked that. It was so not politically correct.
At the time of my internet search, the screen Writers Guild was out on strike and Anita Liberty's "MySpace" site was supporting the artists' fight against the cooperation. I am not sure why, but that made me want to touch her life somehow, without actually initiating a real conversation. I also was interested to know if she had developed the sense of irony and wonder that defines a good comic. So I posted three anonymous letters to her MySpace page (see below). The lyrics in the first note were drawn from a song I had given her many years before and in the second, I used my real first name as the author of "Magic Mercenary's" Poet-Warrior submission. After my third letter, I found my correspondence blocked. So ended my connection to Anita Liberty.
I should mention, that all references made to the military hardware in the promotional letters to Anita are real and drawn from advertisements viewed on-line.
It’s a crazy world out there, so smile and be apart of it!
"I'm a great big man, I've no fear of guns, but there's one thing that I just can't stand... "
ANITA LIBERTY, if you can NAME THAT TUNE from the quoted lyrics, you may be our next GRAND PRIZE WINNER of an all expense paid vacation to the Nicaraguan highlands for five nights and six days of "out-back" gorilla warfare training. Sleep in a hammock, gargle with guanine, learn to apply grease paint, tourniquets and much, much more!
Had another squabble with the boss? Did the husband leave whisker-speckled puddles of Edge Gel in the sink overnight? How about that jerk at your last show who kept screaming, "Hey Liberachi, where's your piano? " Well now is your chance to BLOW THEIR FUCKIN' HEADS OFF with your choice of Czech-made Scorpion or the Croation Agram 2000. These terrorist toys are just what the doctor ordered for a fun filled week of extreme vindictiveness and violent venting. ANITA, you will return relaxed, refreshed and rearing to lock horns with any little shit that gets in your way. A week of ethnic cleansing and you'll feel fresh as a daisy! So time to NAME THAT TUNE ! Here's another lyrical hint:
"I go to sleep at night, the second I snap out the light
I feel their presence in my room, oh, these things that move
Oh, in the darkness in my room"
E-mail your answer within the next 24 hours and you may be our next GRAND PRIZE WINNER! ANITA, take advantage of our special three month subscription offer to "Magic Mercinary" the only periodic offering an up-to-date listings of over 3000 "Guns for Hire." And remember our slogan: "No enemy is a good enemy until he is a dead enemy!"
ANITA LIBERTY, one of the toughest things for a Freedom Fighter to do is to stay PISSED OFF! With Magic Mercenary's hot new DVD "Make 'Em Beg" you'll say good-bye forever to those dulling moments of remorse, regret and compassion. Learn the secrets of the masters while enjoying live footage from the killing fields of Cambodia to the machete blood baths of the Sudanese bush.
"That extra edge in hand to hand combat is what I was looking for. "Make "Em Beg" delivers like a bayonet in the gut!" Jim Losset, Shriveport Lousiana.
ANITA LIBERTY, apply the "Make 'Em Beg" anger meditations to all parts of your life. The next time a dinner date suggests you go half on the check, give him a taste of "The Dutchy"; shoulders back, deep abdominal breath and then a single thrust with the steak knife...voila... "un-seamed from the knave to the chops!" Shakespeare never tasted so good!
Today, in this special "MySpace" limited promotion, we are moving the award winning "Make 'Em Beg" DVD to Magic Mercenary's "Surplus Store." We love to slash prices as much as you love to chop heads...so check in and check us out!
A note from the editor:
"Magic Mercenary isn't just for the Freedom Fighter ANITA, it's for the whole family! We have recently expanded our feature section to include "THE POET-WARRIOR," fiction submissions from our in-country readership. We think it will be a real hit on the home-front! This month our "killer" writer is Ronnie Romero and his kinder-gentler piece called "Count The Branches." We hope you enjoy it ANITA LIBERTY! And we agree, BITTER IS BETTER!
Count the Branches
By Ronnie Romero
“Count the Branches" is a game they play in Spain.
A beautiful woman finds a soft spot under an orange tree and lies down on her back. She must try to count all the branches of the tree and she must count out loud, "uno, dos, tres..." In the meantime her handsome lover must get busy under her skirt. If he makes her lose count before she reaches the top branch of the tree, he wins and they may play again. On the other hand, if she reaches the top of the tree and has counted every branch, he loses. The beautiful woman must then say "adios" to the man and go in search of a more talented opponent. It is a very old game.
The Catholics banned "Count the Branches" for many years, but when the Cortes party came to power they tossed out the Jesuits and again legalized the game. As a matter of historic interest, there is a large park in Madrid where in spring there blooms a huge orange tree (they cover this tree in the winter to prevent it from freezing). This tree was transplanted more than a hundred years ago from the town of Seville. It was brought to Madrid with a team of 150 Belgium horses gifted to the crown by King Leopold I and planted in the park at the request of Queen Isabella II (1830-1904).
Isabella II had been installed as Queen of the Spanish throne at the age of thirteen. In order to keep the French happy (and they have always been a tough bunch to keep happy) Spain's court dignitaries decided that Isabella should marry her cousin Prince Fernando, a very snappy dresser much loved by both the French and Spanish people. In a cruel twist of fate it was soon revealed that Fernando wasn't quite the man Isabella had expected. Night after night, when the candles of the royal nuptial chamber were extinguished, the only sound to be heard by the Queen's late shift attendants was the rhythmic, sedative like snoring of her young Prince. It was not that Isabella wasn't attractive. Compared to ladies of the royal Hapsburg clan, she was down right stunning. No, it was just that Fernando was born to prefer the leotard leggings and gallant military dress of the male conquistador. Chicks just weren't his thing.
In need of an heir, the Queen decided that a little orange branch counting might be just what the doctor ordered. After all, she had not yet given up on Fernando. He still was a dashing young man; she admired his penchant for fine perfume and they had spent some wonderful afternoons comparing the weaves of exotic clothing in the many shops and open-air markets of their lovely city. The Queen, who was not one for searching out dark clouds, preferred to think of Fernando as...well… just a sleepy young bull. And nothing could be better than a good competitive game of "Count The Branches" to put a little life back in the lad. Aware that her dreamy-eyed husband might need more time than most to make her lose count of the branches, Isabella ordered the largest orange tree in Seville to be brought to Madrid and placed in the park outside the Royal Palace.
On a glorious spring day, after the tree had firmly taken root, the Queen challenged Fernando to a match of C.T.B. and off to the park they went. Many hours passed. Finally, looking exhausted and forlorn, Issy (as her close friends liked to call her) and Fernando returned to the Royal chambers. Soon everyone in Madrid knew. There were exactly 632 branches on the orange tree that had come from Seville.
Now, since Isabella was the Queen of Spain and there were many political alliances to consider, she decided that she could not say "adios" to Fernando. Sure he had lost but there was the country to consider and beside, she loved when they did their nails together. So Fernando remained her husband. Fortunately, as royal lineage goes, the House Guard, emboldened by the Queen’s victory, covertly challenged his boss to a match a few days later. As you can imagine, Madrid's ruling champion of "Count the Branches" (a title no girl really wanted to hold) graciously accepted.
To this day, there is a city holiday celebrating the outcome of that sporting event. It is said that on a brilliant April morning in 1848 loyal Spanish subjects through out Madrid heard their beloved Queen Isabella scream "qui, qui, qui… iiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnceeeeee!” At first, many thought the Queen was calling for her favorite court cat Quincy, but then they realized that she had actually reached the fifteenth branch of her orange tree and could count no higher.
The House Guard had won! To the nation’s jubilation, an heir to the throne named Alfonso was to follow some nine months later (Isabella bore many children, but none were thought to be Fernando's.).
So now, every April, on the 15th day of the month, the Spaniards of Madrid pop their corks and let the wine flow...its "Count The Branches Day*!"
*The Queen vs, Guard match was one of many that Isabella would play during her reign. The actual date of the first “Count the Branches” challenge is actually thought to taken place on the twenty-first of April but for obvious reasons, the 15th became the official day of celebration.
ANITA LIBERTY, why not launch your next writer’s strike from the air. Magic Mercenary’s pick of the month is the M1-28 Havoc Attack Helicopter. Make this two-station aerial assault platform the pithy pulpit for your next negotiating session. Out fitted with a top-of the line laser guidance system, the “twenty-eight” will really sting the pants of those fat-ass television executives.
Has CEO Roger King refused to return your calls? Don’t waste time on e-mail! Send him an old fashion aerogram sporting the decorative font of a Havoc AA Fire and Forget Missile. The “King” might think he can hide behind those twelve-inch concrete and steel reinforced walls of the CBS executive suite but they are no match for this little bunker buster.
ANITA, once you have Roger’s attention, put a smile on the faces of your fellow strikers; make him dance the Texas two-step with your 23 millimeter synchronized nose guns. With the M1-28 Havoc Attack Helicopter in your hip pocket, you’ll have a Union Card worth playing and that 8% residual practically in the palm of your hand.
Bitter Is Better, so bombs away babe! And don’t forget ANITA LIBERTY, between battles there’s no better way to relax than kicking back with a tall cold one and the latest issue of "Magic Mercenary."