Tuesday, April 11, 2017

New parody book: Melee Child: A Jock Scratcher Thriller

Coming soon to Kindle and to print: A parody of the Jack Reacher novels entitled Melee Child: A Jock Scratcher Thriller.

Crime writers try to grab your attention from the opening paragraph, but Ricky Sprague gets your attention with a dynamic opening word—‘She’d.’ 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Free autographed copy of Arsole Fantüme Gentleman Immoralist to anyone who asks presidential candidates about enema murder!

The stakes have never been higher, obviously. This is the most important election of our lifetimes. Tomorrow's "town hall" style debate will be the most important debate of our lifetimes. That's why I'm offering one free autographed copy of the classic novel Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist, to the person at tomorrow's "debate" who asks *either* candidate for their position on enema murder.

That's right. Ask Obama. Ask Romney. I couldn't care less. Ask them the question, and I'll send you the book. With my signature. Also, I will inscribe the message of your choice. If you'd like for me to thank you for asking the question, I'll do that. If you'd like for me to write that you're my best friend and inspired the novel, I'll do that. If you want me to write that I've always been in love with you, I'll do that. It's your choice!

Just ask the question, and get a free book!

Illustration by Chris Wisnia.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The first chapter of the second Arsole Fantüme novel, Underwhere

The first Arsole Fantüme novel, Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist, has done so well that I'm often asked, "When will you be getting around to publishing a sequel?" And when I say "often," I actually mean "occasionally." Actually, the novel has done surprisingly well-- well enough that I've been working on the translation of the second in the series, Underwhere, for awhile now. I've got the first 100 pages or so translated, from an (obviously) unpublished manuscript I acquired during my last trip to Paris, in 2010. I hope to have this translation finished soon; unfortunately, I'm busy with multiple projects, and the nefarious Prince of Night Soil has had to take a back seat, in a manner of speaking. But I thought, in honor of Halloween-- a holiday made for terror!-- that I would offer up a translation of the first harrowing chapter. To that end, here it is. Enjoy...

...if you can dare!



For the unfortunate reader who has missed the first novel in this most exciting and fantastic series, pity is due.  Pity, for he has missed out on the most wonderful descriptions of action, danger, fear, loathsomeness, spirituality, and feculence.  However, there shall here be no summation of what has come before, for the authors have endeavored to most skillfully integrate into the body of the following text any pertinent information from the previous novel— most especially in the chapter in which Esmerald Vargasse and Irma d’Assas have their enlightening conversation.  This has been done in a most unobtrusive manner that will in no way disrupt the narrative flow so important to the novel’s enjoyment.
And now, having dispensed with pity, the authors reveal their envy of the reader- about to experience for the first time the pulse-pounding thrills of the further adventures of the Gentleman Immoralist and his antagonists!

Marcel Maurice
Paris, 1901

The Man With the Scar

Jean-Phillipe DuPasse shook his fist with emotion, and projected his sonorous voice with power and authority.  “What I cannot abide is the idea that any French man, woman, or child, might go to bed tonight without access to necessary and proper health care procedures!”
The crowd, spiked with supporters, gave a roar.  A few jeered him, but they were shouted down.
“This wonderful republic can stand some dissent,” DuPasse continued, in reference to the jeers, “as long as that dissent is civil, and does not fall into chaotic lies about our intentions- which are quite good and generous, I assure you!”
Those in the crowd who were not cheering were now beaten by those who were.  In turn, those who were beaten themselves also beat back.  Soon, the police came in, and proceeded to beat everyone in the vicinity of the unrest, including a group of children who had been brought in by DuPasse’s campaign, to demonstrate the candidate’s support from the nation’s youth.
“That is why I sincerely hope that I will attract your vote on election day, one week hence!  Thank you, and good day to you all!”
DuPasse descended from the dais, shaking the hands of his supporters, and signing autographs.  He cut a striking figure, with his broad shoulders, his thick, frosted gray hair combed back and out from his temples in a manner befitting his age and stature in the national government, and the scar on his right cheek that he’d gotten so many years before, in the war between France and Luxembourg.  He was a man of both dignity and hard-bitten power; the perfect mixture of compassion and intensity.  Clearly, this was a man who would fight to ensure that all citizens of France would get their just desserts.
His assistant, Michel Ompare, waited a reasonable amount of time before finally positioning himself between DuPasse and the citizens who had been waiting to shake his hand.  “I am sorry,” he said, to the supporters.  “But Monsieur DuPasse has many important appointments to make.  After all- he is still the deputy Prime Minister!”
DuPasse shrugged at his supporters, and gave them a sheepish, charming grin.  “I am ever at the mercy of my assistant!” he said.  The lines of his face became more pronounced as he smiled, giving him an even greater air of dignity and grace.  “But I assure you that once I am elected Prime Minister, I shall return and thank each of you individually!”
A cheer rose from the crowd, and DuPasse waved his arm in acknowledgement as he climbed into the motorwagon.
“Thank you for removing me from that… situation,” DuPasse sighed, after their carriage had left the cheering crowd.
“That is my job,” Ompare said, taking his seat behind the directional wheel.  He glanced at DuPasse, getting but a quick image of the man, of his power and dignity, of the ragged and slightly discolored scar obtained decades before. 
The motorwagon rattled along noisily at a top speed of four kilometers per hour, in a haze of smoke and petrol odor.  Many who’d stood in wonder and listened to DuPasse’s speech now walked along beside the motorwagon, shaking DuPasse’s hand and offering him obsequious wishes for his election.  DuPasse accepted these with magnanimous grace.
Ompare turned his eyes back toward the road before them.  His hands on the directional wheel were tired from the tension of controlling the bouncing and jittery motorwagon, and it took all his strength to ensure the vehicle traveled in a relatively straight line on an uneven road still better suited to horse and carriage traffic than this unwieldy, modern form of conveyance. 
As the sun was setting in the west, somewhere out far beyond the confines of Capitale Cité, Ompare thought of how devoted he was to his master.  This was a man who had such compassion for those less fortunate than himself.  A man who was amassing power, it was true, but doing so only so that he could use that power for the benefit others.
He was a strong man, a military man, and France needed someone with strength.  She also needed someone who would wield that strength in the service of the greater good.  Too often, France’s citizens could not be trusted to know exactly what that was.  The recent incident with the Possédant spice was an excellent example.  Even after it was discovered that the spice had been tainted with poison, people continued to ingest it.  Thousands of people had suffered, until the gendarmerie asserted itself, and forcibly confiscated all the spice in France.  It had been DuPasse who had made the final decision to have it destroyed.
It was only too bad that smoke from the destructive fire had infected the lungs of a few thousand others.  Still, what was a few thousand, when there were millions of lives at stake?
That was why it was so important that DuPasse win the election.  Only he wanted to create a system in which the government would provide health care for all France’s citizens.  Only he had the bold vision to give the citizens what they needed, even if it was not what they wanted.  It was only too bad that more voters did not realize that.  Certainly, if everyone had the right to vote, DuPasse would win in a landslide.  But because only taxpaying citizens— and not the unemployed, the manual laborers, those employed at any profession yet making fewer than 5,000 francs per year, the mentally deranged, the emotionally different, the incompetent, and of course women— could vote, the election was much closer than it should have been.
DuPasse was locked in a five-way battle.  Only something compelling and dramatic could possibly swing the election to one of them.  Ompare hoped against hope that something dramatic and compelling would happen- to DuPasse’s benefit.
“Ompare, when you get that way, it frightens me.”
Ompare turned his head slightly and fixed his gaze upon DuPasse.  He still had difficulty looking DuPasse in the eyes, even after he’d been directly addressed.  He was a dazzling man, who had lived a life that he himself could only admire; who had made of himself something Ompare could only wish for.  “How?” he asked, timidly.
“So caught up in your own thoughts that you fail even to notice that we’ve arrived at our destination.”
Indeed, Ompare now realized that he had involuntarily pulled the motorwagon up the causeway, and they were outside the Capitale Cité main government building.  With alacrity he depressed the braking pedal with his left foot, brining the motorwagon to a sudden, breathtaking stop.  Nervously he chuckled and said, “Apologies, sir,” as exited the mechanical vehicle, raced around the front, then opened DuPasse’s door and pulled down the step, then knelt down on the ground.
DuPasse descended from the motorwagon, stepping first on the step, and then upon Ompare’s back, and finally the cobblestone street.  “No need to apologize,” DuPasse said, adjusting the epaulets of his retired military coat.  “I just hope there is nothing troubling you that should, in turn, trouble me.”
“No, sir,” Ompare said, rising and wiping dirt from his knees.  “I was merely woolgathering.”  He walked before DuPasse, opening the door and leading him up the stairs to his second-floor office.
The room was dark, and Ompare walked toward the lamps, his hand out to light it.
“A politician in darkness is somehow appropriate.”
“What?” Ompare asked, turning.  “Did you say something, Monsieur DuPasse?”
“I spoke nothing,” DuPasse said.  “I thought I’d heard you say something.”
Ompare turned his body fully in what he thought was DuPasse’s direction.  “We need to exit this room immediately- someone else is here!”
He did not complete his sentence.  There was a dull thud at the base of his neck, and the semi darkness of the room became complete.
When Ompare awoke, he saw his master, DuPasse, tied to the vescicle at the far end of the room.  His arms were bound above his head, and his mouth was covered by a piece of cloth.  There was a look in his eyes that Ompare had never seen before.
The look was of terror.
His head aching, he attempted to rise, himself, but he found that he was bound to the spot, on the floor, on his knees.  Heavy rope bound both his wrists.  The room was still semi-dark, but he could see enough to know that the ropes were tied to cornices at either end of the room.  He could also feel that his ankles were bound, but he could not twist his head round to see to what they were bound.  His clothes had been removed.
He tried to speak, but he could not.  His own mouth was bound with fabric.  For once, he had something in common with his noble master.  And then he had another, as he could feel his own eyes bugging out with terror, like a pair of saucers, matching DuPasse’s expression.
If Ompare could have said anything at all, he would have asked, “Who has done this?”
That is what made the next sound so remarkable to him.  It was the sound of their oppressor, answering the unasked question.
“I am called the master of feculence,” the voice said, from everywhere in the room.  “I am Arsole Fantüme!”  Suddenly, the figure was between Ompare and DuPasse.  He wore a long, dark coat, a wide-brimmed hat, and a mask.  Ompare could not make out the details, in the dark of the room, but he could see the figure turn toward DuPasse, facing him.  He saw the corresponding change of expression that this movement elicited, as DuPasse’s face became distended by revulsion.
The figure continued:  “I have a vested interest in the outcome of this election.”  In one blinding quick movement, the figure turned toward and Ompare and raced to him, closing the space of five metres from one side of the room to the other in less than a second.  “You have done much to achieve success for your master,” Arsole said, his lips pulled back into a sickening yellow-white smile beneath his jester mask.
Ompare could feel his heart racing.  This evil cretin of the night was going to murder the noble DuPasse to prevent his election!  And it was all his— Ompare’s— fault!  He’d been too effective in his presentation of the noble politician!  Someone like Arsole Fantüme could never want goodness to win over indecency!  He must have wanted one of DuPasse’s four primary opponents to win- to destroy France!
How he wished he could remove the fabric, and speak to this madman— perhaps he could be shown reason!
Arsole rose, like a fantastic and bleak statue before him, and removed from his dark jacket a metallic cylinder with a plunger at one end, and a piece of rubberized tubing at the other.  The tubing moved and undulated as if alive!  It seemed to snake its way toward him, trembling with eager anticipation.  “Alas,” he said, “there is only so much any of us can ever do.”
There was wistfulness to the tone that gave Ompare a sense of hope.  He clung to that sense of hope even as he watched DuPasse’s face grow further exaggerated by fear.  He clung to that sense of hope even as he felt the cold hard end of the tubing force open the muscle of his sphincter.  He clung to that sense of hope even as he felt the first gush of liquid sluice through his bowels, perforating the soft, tender tissue inside his body.  He clung to that sense of hope even as he was assaulted by the feeling of drowning, as of his lungs and indeed the entire cavity of his chest filling with suffocating liquid.
It was not until he saw the dull multicolored pieces of his innards, effluvia, blood and fluid burst through the fabric that had covered his mouth and come gushing out through his mouth and nose that finally lost all sense of hope.
       The last image he saw was that of Arsole Fantüme, stepping over his effluvia in the direction of DuPasse, who seemed to be struggling against the rope that bound his wrists, and making muffled sounds from his mouth.  He despaired that somehow his noble master could defeat the horrible man who had just murdered him by enema. 

For more information on Arsole Fantüme, try his official website. And the official blog.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"Enema Man": Why is Alan Simpson complaining about Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist?

Recently, the former senator from Wyoming Alan Simpson went on a tirade against rappers like "Snoopy Snoopy Poop Dog" and fictional characters like "Enema Man." Of course, he was actually referring to the rapper Snoop Dogg and the fictional character Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist, the famous enema murderer.

He really needs to get his references straight! If only he'd read the novel, Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist, he wouldn't make such embarrassing mistakes.

Thanks to the great Chris Wisnia for the fantastic illustration above.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist now available for the Kindle!

Someone once called it "the greatest novel ever written about enema murder." I think that someone was me. Anyway, it can be yours for a mere $2.99, on the Kindle.

For more information on this fabulous book, why not check out the official Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist website, which can be found here?

Also, thanks to the great Chris Wisnia for the fantastic illustration above.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Is Bear Grylls an Arsole Fantüme Fan?

How else to explain the "Man Vs. Wild" star's self-enema?

I think that it was in the third Arsole novel that the dastardly master of evil enemation uses seawater to enemate a sailor. Surely Bear Grylls, from England, is aware of Arsole's exploits, and making cheeky reference to it in this scene.

The enema can help... the enema can hurt... the enema can KILL!

Order the novel Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist from amazon here.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

RE: Edgar Allan Poe's First Book Sells for Record Price

A rare copy of Edgar Allan Poe's first book has sold for $662,500, smashing the previous record price for American literature.

That is a pretty good price. It's higher than the $67,823.19 (US) reportedly paid for a first edition of the classic novel Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist (which makes a great "stocking stuffer").

Of course, Arsole Fantüme is French. But, like the Poe collection, it is horror. It is also beautifully and compellingly written. But you should read it and judge for yourself.

Why did he buy this...

...When he could have, theoretically, gotten ten of these?

Friday, October 9, 2009

'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus' Trailer: Heath Ledger in an Arsole Fantüme Mask

Heath Ledger's character in "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," the new film directed by Terry Gilliam, is wearing an Arsole Fantüme "jester mask":

Here's a detail from an illustration from the original novel:

I've already written about how one of the film's stars, Johnny Depp, has been rumored to be trying to get an Arsole Fantüme film made-- and I have no doubt that Gilliam knows about the tawdry classic. Now, thanks to this film, we might get a glimpse as to what a movie version of the character might look.

The novel is available for purchase here.

Monday, October 5, 2009

New Roman Polanski-Inspired Art from Death Gush Artist Troy Louden!

Troy Louden, creator of that great Death Gush artwork, has sent along a link to his latest work, a painting of film director Roman Polanksi. It can be viewed at his deviantart page, which is here. Or you can view it below:

Champagne and Quaalude by ~TroyJunior on deviantART

Two words come to mind when I look at this artwork. Oh my.

Interestingly, there were rumors that Roman Polanski wanted to make a film version of Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist (the book can be purchased here) in 1974, but he decided against it because he believed the book was too decadent.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Where Shooting Stars Come From

I have heard rumors that one of the sequels to "Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist" sent the mad enemist into space. Perhaps the designers of space toilets have read that book?

"Everything that comes out of your body gets pulled down into the toilet by the air."

Marcel Maurice and Pierre could not have said it any better.

Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist can be purchased here.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Coffee Enemas in Australia: Arsole Fantüme Would Be Proud

A Health Minister in Australia, John Hill, is warning people about unregistered doctors offering "quack therapy," including coffee enemas:

Mr Hill today announced the State Government would adopt the recommendations of a parliamentary committee examined therapies being offered by unregistered doctors.

These included offering to cure cancer through the use of "organic coffee enemas" and another practitioner who claimed to be able to cure cancer through "vaginal blowing".
"These people are scum and I am determined to do whatever we can to make sure they can no longer practise in this state."

Good for him, calling these exploiters of human misery "scum." I'd like to recommend he read the novel "Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist," which will offer him some insight into the mind of the mad enemist.

Coffee is for drinking, not for enemas.

Picture source.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More from Death Gush, and Some Strange Enema Drawings; Also, Was Kurt Cobain an Arsole Fan?

I got another email from EneMetal music pioneer Gareth Lower, of Death Gush fame.

an old friend of mine is has pasted up some old drawings he made for DEATH GUSH back in the day, they're on deviant art .com, you should take a look as they pertain very directly to Arsole Fantüme, this guy can draw but never was into what i asking for, well youll see.

meanwhile i'm still looking for recordings of DEATH GUSH so you can hear more than the rehearsal tapes, and so here i go back into the attic to look one more time, avoid the black widows and enhale more desert dust and all the rest, gareth

First of all, Gareth, I repeat what I said earlier- I can't wait to hear some Death Gush music, and I look forward to what you've got to offer.

I had to do some searching, but I found the pictures to which Gareth referred in his email here. I asked the artist, Troy Louden, if he would mind my posting the images to this blog, as they do pertain to Arsole Fantüme, as Gareth stated. Troy graciously agreed, and so here are the four drawings. In the first, Batman is getting an umbrella enema from the Penguin. In the second, Yogi Bear receives a picnic basket enema from Ranger Smith. In the third, a hapless Smurf is getting an enema from Gargamel, while dead smurfs hang from the ceiling from what appears to be their intestines. In the fourth, which is my personal favorite, the Hamburglar has hooked Grimace up to a milkshake machine, and is giving him a milkshake enema. Gross and hilarious stuff- perfectly in keeping with the tone of the novel, Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist!

Batman and Penguin Enema by ~TroyJunior on deviantART

Yogi Bear + Ranger Smith Enema by ~TroyJunior on deviantART

Gargamel Smurf Enema by ~TroyJunior on deviantART

Hamburglar and Grimace enema by ~TroyJunior on deviantART

The artwork was clearly designed to promote Gareth's band, Death Gush. It's only too bad the band didn't take off in the late-90s, when these drawings were originally done. Perhaps the novel would have found greater fame a full decade earlier!

I find it interesting that a band could be inspired by a novel about (among other things) a French super villain who murders by enema. But Death Gush apparently wasn't the first band to be inspired in this way; at least, if indirect influence is taken into account. Kurt Cobain's first band was called Fecal Matter, and their songs "Sound of Dentage" and "Blather's Log" almost sound like they could have been inspired by Arsole Fantüme.

Was visionary musician Kurt Cobain a fan of Arsole?

This theory is given further credence by the fact that King Buzzo was Fecal Matter's bassist. King Buzzo, a founding member of the Melvins, was also a founder of the band Fantomas, which was inspired by the French literary supervillain of the same name, who was himself inspired by Arsole Fantüme! It hardly seems unlikely that King Buzzo would be aware of Arsole.

The great King Buzzo- another fan of Arsole?

Arsole Fantüme's stretch is long indeed, and infects the worlds of art, literature, film, and music! Finding these connections has been exciting, and keeping this blog has been a real revelation!


Kurt Cobain pic source.
King Buzzo pic source.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

David Černý - Arsole Fantüme Fan?

On Saturday, the New York Times ran a profile on the Czech artist David Černý, the "bad boy of the eastern European art world... a wiry, floppy-haired 41-year-old who resembles Mick Jagger... who once considered getting silicon breast implants and walking around Prague naked “to see how people would react.”

The entire profile is interesting and well worth reading in full, but this paragraph in particular caught my eye:

He has painted a Soviet tank pink, depicted Prague’s heroic 10th-century King Wenceslas riding a dead, upside down horse and lampooned the incendiary, right-wing Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, by displaying a caricature of him inside a giant fiberglass anus.

Being from Eastern Europe, and a bit of a prankster, it hardly seems impossible that Mr. Černý would not have been aware of Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist. Perhaps he was even inspired by Arsole's literary antics. Look at this photo of the "giant fiberglass anus" sculpture, and you be the judge:

Who can forget the classic scene in the novel (Chapter 23, "The Unfortunate Orifice"), in which an Arsole victim is made to be a gruesome part of a water-spraying art installation?

Apparently, the body had been suspended within the installation for some time, and most everyone had thought it was part of the artwork. It was the small that had finally caused complaints. When an observer was heard to comment, "This stinks," a near scandal erupted until it was clarified that he meant it literally stunk- it smelled of human waste and decay.

David Černý- Arsole Fantüme fan? I think it's safe to say, "Yes!"

Order Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist here.

Fiberglass anus sculpture pic source.

"The Human Kite" -Another Short Story by the Authors of "Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist"

Two days ago, I received in the mail an envelope from France. I opened it and discovered within photocopies of two manuscript pages consisting of the following the short story by the authors of the novel “Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist.” Along with this treasure was a note, the details of which I’ve been asked not to divulge. Suffice it to say that there is an underground network of “FOAs” (“Fans of Arsole”), and I now find myself firmly in its ranks, and charged with getting as much of their work as possible translated into English.

Written in 1914, “La Kite Humain” was probably the last short story that Marcel Maurice and Pierre wrote together before their death. It is significantly lighter in tone than the previous short story I translated on this blog, “The Devil in the Ass,” but it is clearly the work of the same nimble and brilliant minds.

By Marcel Maurice and Pierre
Translation © 2009 Ricky Sprague

Kay and I lived together in a small but tastefully furnished one bedroom apartment in the beautiful and overpriced city of Paris. We were both happy and content, save for some unsatisfying dealings with our landlord, the sneering, handlebar-moustached cad named Monsieur Tawdry.

I was seated, reading a Le Figaro “Drama In Real Life” from 1909, involving the twin scourges of drinking and syphilis, when Kay walked into the room brandishing a letter.

“My Expensive, we’ve been invited to be in this year’s big parade. Do you want to go?” she said, excitedly.

“Of course,” I said, because I knew it would make her happy.

“Okay, but there is one catch,” she said, placing the letter in my hands. As I read, I visualized the author, our landlord, snarling as he wrote, pausing every so often to rub his hands together in a parody of menace (the letter was unsigned, but in his unmistakable chicken-scratch).

After reading the letter, I looked up at Kay and said, “’The Human Kite’? That sounds terrible!”

“Yes, it sounds terrible,” she said. “But it might also be a lot of fun, if you look at it the right way.”

I started to say something witty, like, “Indeed; from the ground,” but I decided against it and simply said, “You’re right; let’s do it!”

The next week, Kay and I were seated upon the Human Kite’s crossbar. The Human Kite itself was a large aeroglider attached by a long cable to one of the parade floats. (“City of Paris Youth Organization Supports The Wonders of Kiting.”) We were approximately 10 metres above the ground, but our vertigo made it appear at least 15 metres. Kay turned to me and said, “You know, if this were an aeroplane, I’d be very disturbed right now, but I have to say this Human Kite is most enjoyable!” as we waved to spectators along the parade route.

Monsieur Tawdry watched us from a darkened corner, twirling his ebon moustache. His expression became angry as he muttered, “I can’t believe it! They’re actually having fun!” (He had expected, and not unreasonably that because of our vertigo, the experience would terrify us.) “Well, I’ll show them!”

He crouch-walked beside the floats, and surreptitiously climbed into the bottom of the Paris Youth Organization float. Using a long wrench, he dis-attached the cable that anchored the Human Kite to the float, and Kay and I soared off into the welkin, away from the parade, eventually flying south and floating to a beautiful tropical beach with white sands and clear, blue-green water. But everyone was standing on the shore, their bodies showing agitation.

“Why isn’t anyone in the water, when the water looks so clear and inviting?” I asked.

Kay pointed and said, “I think that might be the reason!”

I followed the imaginary line that extended from the tip of her beautiful finger out into the ocean and I saw the huge, great white shark that had been menacing the beach-goers.

We started to lose altitude, since neither of us had any idea of how to operate the Human Kite, and it was obvious that we were going to land in the ocean. Since there was no hope for us, and we were going down anyway, we shifted our bodies in an attempt angle the Kite so that we would hit the shark. As we hit the water, the hard, sharp-pointed front of the Kite’s frame hit the shark in the head, killing it instantly.

Cheers erupted from the beach-bound crowd as they ran splashing back into the water; arms flailing, faces happy. The owner of the luxurious beachside hotel, whose son had been eaten by the shark a week before, gave us a free room for a week.

The next day Kay and I decided to finally make our romantic partnership legal, and we were married. Our unusual story was picked up by the wire news services.

Back in our hometown of Paris, Monsieur Tawdry was sitting in his setee, no doubt feeling smug about having done away with his best tenants. As he flipped through the newspaper he came upon the story about Kay and me killing the shark and then marrying, and this triggered in him a mild heart attack.

When we returned home after our weeklong honeymoon and visited Monsieur Tawdry in the hospital, he explained, “I used to hate you two, so much so that when I saw your joyful story in the paper I actually had a heart attack. Then, when they brought me here to the hospital, they found that suffered from an unusual number of ailments heretofore unknown to me. For this reason, I’m sorry I hated you; I had no reason to, and I’m sorry I dis-attached your Human Kite from the float...”

“It’s okay,” I said. “We’re just glad you’re alright, and that the doctors caught all of those things that were wrong with you in time to cure them all!”

Monsieur Tawdry said, “And I want you to be in the big parade next year, too, only next time I won’t put you in the Human Kite!”

“Actually,” Kay said, “the Human Kite was a lot of fun!”

“Yeah, I wouldn’t mind riding in that thing again!” I added.

The heart string galvanometer to which Monsieur Tawdry had been attached began to beep rapidly. As the nurse walked in to administer drugs to calm his racing heart, Kay and I laughed the laugh of two young, attractive lovers.