The Nougat Experiment



The Empire Strikes Nougat

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Nougat Robert Ford

Glengarry Glen Nougat

They Shoot Nougat, Don’t They?

Dracula Has Risen from the Nougat

I, Nougat

When Harry Met Nougat

Whose Nougat Is It, Anyway?

The Nougat of the Sierra Madre

In the Heat of the Nougat



O'Higginstein's Pub, Wednesday night, 10:38 p.m.

Yeah, you know, I think my problem was that I was basically typecast---oh, wait, let me get you another drink, beautiful. You’ve gotta try the Litigious Mexican, it’ll knock your socks off. Anyway, you have to understand the whole politics of the industry and how casting directors think, all that jazz. So no, I didn’t really accept any other major parts after we shot Hitch’s movie---ha, yeah, I always used to call him Hitch during our discussions about the film. He let me improvise, we had a good time. I mean, I was looking to get out of acting anyway, the hours were brutal, I was away from my girlfriend a lot, and I’m the kind of guy who really believes in romance and working at a relationship, you know? I didn't want potential fame to erode our love. So for the last few years I’ve just been doing the usual things, picking along the ground for stuff to eat, flying here and there, migrating when the time’s right, blah blah blah. I figure when a part really speaks to me I’ll get back in the game. I turned down a lot of bird roles, of course, because I want to expand my range, really craft my art, you know? But yeah, to make a long story short, I definitely consider myself still in the business, and I’m sure that if we spent some time together I could get a sense of your, um, essence, and maybe I could talk to some people, you know, some people I know on the lot. Maybe if we had dinner a couple of times….whoa, ha, go easy on that drink, it’s a killer…I remember when we were shooting the scene where I attack Tippi Hedren, it was so exhausting we all went to the nearest bar and---well, sure we can go back to my place to watch it! I should explain that what happened during the scene was that Hitch told me I was actually commanding too much presence, so he asked me if I would hang back, which is why I’m only on the edge of the screen and for a second and a half. Yeah, he wanted me to kind of nurture the other birds along, they kind of looked up to me….hey, did that guy over near the Keno machine just drop part of his sandwich? Sorry, I’m just gonna go check that out. Don’t you go anywhere, I want to tell you how I got into the part. I actually flew all the way to Vegas and back with a group of birds undergoing treatment for rabies just to master the character….what? No, no, I don’t think that’s George C. Scott over there…well, I wouldn’t bother going over, I know Georgie pretty well, and he’s not really very---um, okay.


Man vs. Nature

Let me make this perfectly clear: I realize that you, as a human almost six feet tall and weighing upwards of one hundred seventy pounds, hold all the bargaining chips in this deal, while I, a lizard barely four inches long, don’t have a lot to work with here. And I want to reiterate that I am NOT threatening you in any way. As I see it, we are two rational parties, both of whom possess a clear goal: you, to keep me out of your home by any means necessary, and I, to enter said home for a pre-determined length of time which, as I have stated again and again, will not be exceeded under any circumstances, and you have my word as a lizard on that. I literally just want to come in, take a quick look at what’s going on with the Packers game, get a score and see who’s got the ball, and then I will exit, with absolutely NO designs on creeping into your pipes and setting up shop there for months, even years, wallowing and bathing and delighting in the slippery goo therein, becoming the happiest of all God’s creatures. Dude, you have to believe me on this one: it’s just about five minutes of tube time to check on the game. Now, I do not recall ever having insinuated that if my request were not granted, I would sneak into your pipes some other way, and tell a few close friends about the hundreds of feet of slippery goo-filled piping there for the taking if we just marshal our efforts and try hard enough to slip in. I apologize profusely if you perceived my words as any sort of veiled plan to penetrate your home and pop my little head out of the kitchen sink from time to time when your wife least expects it, giving her a big old lizard Howdy before ducking back into the dark and glorious goo, where my body---tiny now, yes, I’ll admit---will double in size over the years.

So I guess we’re at a standoff. Again, ten minutes in front of the set and I’m history. If you don’t feel comfortable with this arrangement, then hey, no hard feelings, I’ll go on my way. As a fellow sports fan, I just thought you’d understand the fact that there’s a division up for grabs and I’m understandably concerned with how the Packers are doing. If I’ve misjudged you, my bad.

Okay, so….you’re seriously not going to let me in for ten lousy minutes? Oh for God’s sake, you can stand right beside me the whole time, and I’ll tell you what, I’ll dab my feet in whatever molasses you have lying around so I won’t be able to scamper off all of a sudden and disappear into a crack in the wall. What do I need, references? Look, I’m doing you a FAVOR here, when you think about it. When’s the last time you had ANYONE over? You sit around all day writing crackpot letters about Castro and piecing together Kennedy’s route through Dallas as if you’re going to DO anything. That’s right, I’ve been watching through the window, and let me tell ya, pal, you’re what they call a TALKER, not a DOER.

THANK you. Yes, the plan you propose is in fact one I will tentatively consider. I would say that it all depends on the size of the water glass you want to trap me under, and how confident you are that you can skoosh me across the floor using it as a little cage without getting my tail pinned under the rim. Also, I really must insist that I be allowed to walk out under my own power, with some kind of dignity, rather than being skooshed over the threshold. And I think we need to talk about snacks if I’m going to have to make the sacrifice of listening to the game with the sound all distorted because of the glass. You got some Ritz?

Some Like It Digital

Good eyes, ladies and gentlemen, good eyes. I see you’re all admiring the latest gift to the world from Electronic Deities Incorporated---we're simply calling it The Gigantic Goddamn Television Set. Yes, citizens, eleven FEET of viewing craziness, and really, what more do I have to say? Why should I even go on? Every word I utter is like a foul gas just clouding your judgement! I defy you all to look at this thing for five seconds and then not say to me, in all honesty, "YES! I would rather own this TV than ever SPEAK to another human being again!"

Look, we’re not children here. I want to tell you something from the heart. I love ALL television---and so do you! You wouldn’t be sitting there like oversized blocks of cheese if you hadn’t already accepted this undeniable truth. You know, I read a book last year---something about animals taking over a farm from their masters and then they became corrupt---I don’t know, but I read that book....and I just started laughing. I started laughing thinking how pathetic this book was compared to television. Where were the actors? Where were the commercials for valuable consumer goods, such as televisions? It took me eight months to read that alleged entertainment, and then a week later, bam, there it was in the TV Guide, they’d made a movie of it. I had been played for a FOOL, ladies and gentlemen, and so are we all whenever we get suckered into believing that this product is not all there is to know about culture. I would rather watch the crappiest ten minutes of Happy Days than read one word by so-called "geniuses" like Dean Koontz or Jackie Collins. (Even the weird later ones where the Fonz moved in with Dracula.) So I’m gonna say it now, before the world, and may God strike me down if I offend thee, but thank you, television! Thank you for saving me from the strain of maintaining interpersonal relationships! Thank you for being the only one who understands my violent mood swings! Now I’m not saying we should engage in mass genocide against people who read and then all of us watch television twenty-four hours a day. No, I'm really not saying that, for that would be cruel. What I am saying is that these literate freaks are threatening a way of life we have fought for for millions of years! So now I say "Save us, television! Save us!" And you know what television would say back if it could? "No problem, man! I am eleven feet wide and I’ve got vertical hold and brightness control, and the printed word can kiss my big rubbery butt!"

I remember my first TV. Oh, it wasn’t an eleven foot sperm whale like this one, it was just a small one, I was just out of college, didn’t have a lot of money, it was only a sixty-eight inch screen or so. And I sat down in front of it that first night and I remember the first thing that came on: it was a wrestling preview show. I realized at that moment that divinity school had been a waste of my time, seven weeks down the drain. All the education I required was contained in my new little friend there. Through television, I have been to the two corners of the globe, I have watched the Buffalo Bills lose like ninety Super Bowls, and through a glitch in my cable transmission, I have managed to glimpse entire naked women on the scrambled channel every night at exactly 2:17 a.m.!

I had a dream the other night. It was a dark and terrible dream. In the dream, there was no more television. (Also Aquaman was in there for some reason, but his contribution was minimal.) And because there was no television, there were no celebrities. Because there were no celebrities, there was nothing to talk about. And because there was nothing to talk about, the world cried out for television! We wander around this earth so happily assuming that TV will be here forever---well, wake up, people! The government already took away our right to buy Russian women for cheap farm labor! They already took away our right to enter our own children into futuristic demolition races! So you WILL buy this television from me and you WILL take advantage of EDI's new pyramid credit scheme, in which you make no payments until you physically die and lie rotting in the earth! Now if you’ll just place your Visa cards in the tote bag that’s making its way around the room, we can start breaking down this universal remote. Get comfy, this is gonna take a while.


Beware of All Job Fairs

Well, I’m just in way over my head, and that’s all there is to it. I’m sorry I ever accepted the job in the first place. So now I’ve learned never, ever to lie on your resume. What can I say, the benefits this outfit was offering were just too good to pass up. Plus the opportunity to tell people you’re a divine oracle….how much hottie action would that have gotten me if I were able to stay? But there’s just no way, not with the sorry training I got. So now I stand there every time someone comes up to me with some profound philosophical question or a need to look into the future and get a good, hard answer about it, and I’m always stalling for time and asking the divine oracle next to me how to respond. This dude yesterday asked me which of his children was going to usurp his throne and I was like, “Um, give me some names,” and I just picked the middle child and said, “Yeah, he’s totally the one! So keep an eye out.” And then the explorer on Wednesday who begged me to tell him which way to send his fleet of ships so his legions of men would survive the ocean’s terrors---how am I supposed to answer that on my fifth day on the job when I missed orientation and my supervisor is on maternity leave? I can’t even get into Outlook because my password never works. You know how embarrassing it is when Prince Caspian asks you to call over a manager because he totally knows you just made up a bunch of crap in response to a seemingly simple question about whether the Prophecy of Ulthar was going to come true or not? I must be the first divine oracle in history to be called a “retard” to my face. Absolutely the only part of this stupid job I’ve got nailed down is the shimmer. From day one, I could shimmer impressively and give off a perfectly green ethereal glow and levitate over the Pool of Tears like nobody’s business. Yet I still have no idea who to even talk to about getting direct deposit, or what to tell people when they say that the answers I’m giving them conflict with what the Three Sisters of Sagittarius spoketh on Mount Teslus. Who? Where? What page of my intro packet were they mentioned on again? Oh, they NEVER WERE? I am so done. The second I get my first paycheck, I’m walking out and going right over to that arcade in the mall and applying for a job there. “Excuse me, I’ve got a question---can I get four quarters for this dollar bill?” YES. YES, YOU MAY.


The Salty Tang of Vengeance

Yes, you inhuman piece of trash, it was I who poured vanilla pudding all over the hood of your precious Nissan Sentra---a full eleven years after you offended both myself and Captain Sal’s Crabcake Grill with your insolent affront! Ha, you never suspected that when you parked in our lot in the summer of ‘98 and then slapped us and our paying customers in the face by crossing the street to Eyepatch Sally’s Shrimp and Steak Buffet, I would be watching and memorizing your license plate! For years I kept the information close to my heart, waiting for exactly the right moment to remind you of the strict Parking For Captain Sal’s Customers Only policy which I was hired to protect and defend! Try and have yourself a decent honeymoon now, punk, when you’re busy scraping pudding off your ride! How ironic that eleven years after your crime, you would return to Skaggs Beach and I would still be working the lot for seven fifty an hour! It appears that fate and I are apparently better friends than I once believed!

In fairness, I should point out that due to some economic difficulties at Captain Sal’s, the parking policy has since been dropped and the lot is now open to anyone, even those who are only seeking a round of putt-putt at Pirate Rudy’s Tee Time Booty. If anyone asks, you got puddinged because of your past, not because of parking there tonight. Also, I apologize for slightly scratching your left rear tire rim when I tripped over a pebble and fell against the car, which caused me to briefly lose my grip on the pudding bucket. My insurance policy number is C08-775-1910 and I can be reached by phone here at the restaurant from ten until eight Monday through Saturday.



I’m telling you, the thing literally came out of nowhere, and I feel lucky to be alive. Can I have a drink of water, maybe that’ll calm my nerves. Anyway, I was walking north along Ender Street like always, just thinking about what kind of bagel I was going to get from Lippy’s, and yes, I had my iPod on, but it was at really low volume. Suddenly, WHAM---there it was. I walked right into it. On my left instead of an empty sidewalk there was a woman selling homemade candles and on my right there was some Jamaican-looking dude with a cart full of handbags. As I was falling to the pavement the first time, I caught sight up ahead of some housewife trying to hawk copies of her self-published romance novel, and I almost totally lost consciousness right then. I managed to get to my feet but it just got thicker and scarier---beadwork everywhere, papier mache rabbits, hand-painted cuckoo clocks, and I swear to God, a fifty-four year old man with a ponytail. I’m telling you, we DESPERATELY need some kind of warning system to alert people that there may be an arts and crafts festival up ahead. You have no idea what it’s like to try to get past all those tables with crappy jewelry on them. What happened to Herb is NOT going to happen to me. That dude had looked forward to having a Saturday off for months, and I still remember him smiling at me as he and his girlfriend headed out for an innocent morning walk, then disappearing around the corner of 8th and Duvall just to pop in on Howie, and you KNOW what happened next. The look on his face when he came out the other side of the Arts Council’s Folk Art Block Party…something in him had died inside. He was carrying a freakin’ LANYARD some graduate student had made, man. He even got caught in some theater subscription pitch at the table where they were handing out flyers for the Crescent Hill Players. Yes, the very same Crescent Hill Players that did that total botch number on West Side Story. Now, the last time I checked, I am still mayor of this crappy town, and from now on I want gigantic day-glo orange signs alerting pedestrians to the possible presence of arts and crafts fairs, and I want them COMPLETELY encircling the area. I don’t care how much it costs---we’ll find the money in the budget. To start with, we might want to think about cutting the number of cop cars on noon patrol down to thirty-five or so. To be honest with you, I’m not sure why a town with a population of sixty-seven would even need that many. Just because two different mass murderers strangled the entire population in two separate incidents seven years apart, it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen on my watch.

You seriously missed the Crescent Hill Players do West Side Story? Amazing. They literally forgot to sing the first two songs. Just skipped right past ‘em. You could see it on their faces. “Aw crap, we forgot a couple of songs, didn’t we?” Love it.