“calling in well”
by Davy Carren
Kafka: What do you know about the Hot Dog Show?
Santa: The Hot Dog Show?
Kafka: Yes. The Hot Dog Show.
Santa: I know that it’s catching to the eye.
Kafka: I catch you. I catch the mood. The mood is everything. Emotionally speaking.
Santa: An emotional striptease?
Kafka: That’s asking too much.
Santa: No it’s not. It’s asking more than some would ask.
Kafka: Same thing.
Santa: Let’s not dawdle around in circumstantial muck.
Kafka: Okay. So. The Hot Dog Show. When it comes down to what we all want —
Santa: From the Hot Dog Show?
Kafka: Yes. What we all want from the Hot Dog Show —
Santa: When it comes down to it.
Kafka: When it comes down to it we all want to be in it.
Santa: The Hot Dog Show?
Kafka: Absolutely. It’s all about clarifying the recidivist moral structure of our well-to-do instinctual guides.
Santa: Hot dogs for a dollar!
Kafka: I saw the sign. It opened up my eyes. I saw the sign.
Santa: Get your juicy plump franks.
Kafka: All the fixings included?
Santa: At The Hot Dog Show?
Kafka: Of course. We’re talking about The Hot Dog Show.
Santa: Of course.
Kafka: All for a dollar.
Santa: Everything for a dollar. A joachimsthaler. A buck. A greenback.
Kafka: Washington! You’re no fun. You’re no fun. Washington! Right down the barrel of —
Santa: Exactly. Good point. And it’s just handing over some wrinkled paper for a meal.
Kafka: But when it comes down to it —
Santa: And it always does.
Kafka: The Hot Dog Show is worth more —
Santa: The Hot Dog Show.
Kafka: Yes. It’s worth more than the paper it’s printed on.
Santa: The Hot Dog Show?
Kafka: All accounts payable to —
Santa: The Hot Dog Show?
Kafka: Not as I see it.
Santa: How’s that?
Kafka: Well, you see, I keep getting these phone calls from Lincoln, Nebraska.
Santa: Who do you know in Nebraska?
Kafka: That’s what I kept asking myself.
Kafka: Nobody. Not that I could think of. And this Nebraska number kept coming up on my caller ID. It’d happen like four or five times a day. Sometimes in the middle of the night. I had to start sleeping with my phone off.
Santa: Would they leave messages?
Kafka: No. Not usually. Not until this one day. And it was like this rambling thing. This guy reciting passages from the bible.
Santa: Residual wisdom attained by rote osmosis.
Kafka: Not like The Hot Dog Show at all.
Kafka: Sure. This guy kept calling. And eventually I started answering his calls. Turns out he was living in the basement of a church. There were some bunk beds down there where they let transients sleep at night. The water heaters squealed. And the creaks of the boards overhead were like sea lions sneezing through sawed-off kazoos. This guy had been down there quite a while. There were exposed light bulbs dangling and swaying from gnawed wires. He could hear people praying all through the night. And all he had to read was the bible. He had whole passages committed to memory.
Santa: Really, though, is that so unlike The Hot Dog Show?
Kafka: “His power and his wrath is against them who forsake him.”
Santa: Ezra? That ain’t right.
Kafka: It ain’t?
Santa: Not if we’re still talking about The Hot Dog Show.
Kafka: Why I oughta…
Santa: Yeah. You and an army of Al Jolson wannabes.
Kafka: Swaneeeeeeee Rieeeeverrrrr!
Santa: Whatever. So. This guy in the basement, he’s —
Kafka: Forget that guy.
Santa: Really? Forget him?
Kafka: Yeah. He’s out of the picture.
Santa: That was quick.
Kafka: Ah, you are too beautiful for silences.
Santa: Look out. I’m liable to direct our attention away from The Hot Dog Show.
Kafka: You wouldn’t.
Santa: Wouldn’t I?
Kafka: You love the Hot Dog Show. You can’t get enough of it.
Santa: Of The Hot Dog Show?
Kafka: Yes. You admire it. You hold The Hot Dog Show in great esteem.
Santa: I estimate it’s worth as being… high?
Kafka: Would I were the relish on your bun.
Santa: It is appraised, by me, to be, The Hot Dog Show that is, an excellent revenue enhancer.
Kafka: Ha cha cha cha —
Santa: Hooray for baby and me!
Kafka: Put a stick in it.
Santa: Say something that matters. Something important.
Kafka: The women on the bus speak of Kierkegaard while holding their Louis Vuitton purses in their laps. Somebody pipes up, “Compliments say more about the person giving them than the person receiving them.” I want everybody to spit all at once. There aren’t many ways left to wipe my ass.
Santa: And still, The Hot Dog Show don’t care.
Kafka: It don’t care at all.
Santa: It’s just The Hot Dog Show. That’s all. There’s nothing more to it.
Kafka: There must be. I mean, it’s The Hot Dog Show.
Santa: Nope. It’s just what it is, nothing more.
Kafka: Something less?
Santa: Not that I’ve ever noticed.
Kafka: But you told me once that your bible’s covered in cobwebs, that the pages are filled with dust.
Santa: No. I said spider webs. There’s a subtle difference.
Kafka: Don’t be so implacable.
Santa: I don’t ever want to be placated or appeased. I don’t want domestication to come crawling up on me, catching me off my guard. Let’s have a party! Let’s have a party tonight!
Kafka: A Hot Dog Show party?
Santa: No. A Wanda Jackson party.
Kafka: You mean like a Fujiyama Momma?
Santa: Shoot out the light, you know?
Kafka: Unfortunately I do.
Santa: Great. So. When’s The Hot Dog Show?
Kafka: It never stops or starts. A dollar. A dollar. Your Cadillac for a dollar.
Santa: Paint it on a sign.
Kafka: Scratch it in your skin.
Santa: Until the blood runs out.
Santa: Joan Wayne. The girl of everybody’s dreams.
Kafka: Cladding to keep your fantasies safe from harm.
Santa: The inimitable Joan Wayne! The Hot Dog Show’s biggest draw.
Kafka: As it were.
Santa: Loan me a dollar. Please. Please. Please.
Kafka: Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of The Hot Dog Show?
Santa: Singing, “She can’t help it. The girl can’t help it,” for all to hear from sea to foggy sea.
Kafka: An aubergine mood has swept its rascally way over the hollows of my days.
Santa: Being old and full of days.
Kafka: I might lend ya a buck or two, buddy. But if I am a going to go on and scratch your hairy back, well, you better be ready to scratch back at me someday, ya know?
Santa: Maybe I scratch your front. Ya know?
Kafka: Get your own stinking money. Get your salty salary somewhere else.
Santa: Just a pinch?
Kafka: No. No way. No how. Not going to budge on this one.
Santa: We all just want to go —
Kafka: To The Hot Dog Show. To The Hot Dog Show.
Santa: I know, I know, I know.
Kafka: Get your dollar’s worth, oh, oh, oh…
Santa: And so much more so…
Kafka: At The Hot Dog Show!
Santa: Nonononononononononono —
Kafka: The Hot Dog Show!
Santa: Okay. I get my own stinking dollar.
Kafka: That’s all?
Santa: For folks like us.
Kafka: Folks who want to ban all dogs and cars from the city.
Santa: Nothing but cats and pedestrians.
Kafka: Folks who read aloud when they’re alone.
Santa: Who sing commercial jingles and put mustard on steaks.
Kafka: And it’s still all a matter of —
Santa: The Hot Dog Show!
Kafka: Yes. By gum. That it is!
Santa: Let’s all go down to the Hot Dog Show.
Kafka: To The Hot Dog Show let us go.
Santa: Let us go. Let us go.
Kafka: All this while the chromosomes of tears get lost in the omnium-gatherum of canned laughter. How well do we know the show?
Santa: How well can we ever know the hot dog?
Kafka: To go or not to go.
Santa: To the show. To The Hot Dog Show.
Kafka: A collective anosognosia prevails. Nothing wrong here. Nothing here is wrong at all.
Santa: We two-step to our own inhibitions. We cut in line.
Kafka: Temptation calls us by name. It hollers o’er the tombstones.
Santa: And what we don’t say is never heard, except maybe by our own personal Hot Dog Show.
Kafka: The Hot Dog Show will tell all.
Santa: Bounded only by the infinite and the hawkers of cotton candy.
Kafka: Countervailed by the inscrutable satiation of fair-weather dipsomaniacs.
Santa: We must target The Hot Dog Show’s least known demographic: ice-cream soup drinkers.
Kafka: Stained with steel. Look inward. Take inventory. Make the hubris-challenged swill their own sweat.
Santa: You make a better wall than a wall.
Kafka: A wall built with vain tools, brought on by vexation of spirit, profitless under the sun.
Santa: But we’ve still got The Hot Dog Show, right?
Kafka: Until they come for our bodies. Until our minds skip town for the century. Until everybody’s gone fishing.
Santa: Ah. Don’t worry about that.
Kafka: The Hot Dog Show?
Santa: Yes. That that.
Santa: Uh huh. And the whole time…
Kafka: All the while.
Santa: It was just civil servants whispering my dreams to sleep, chanting, “The dead are more dead than the living are alive.”
Kafka: Na na na na na —
Santa: Na nanana na nana!
Kafka: Hey! Ho!
Santa: To The Hot Dog Show —
Kafka: We all are going to go —
Santa: Whether we like it or no —
Kafka: In the end it’s only clavichords playing scales of woe —
Santa: Like a fretful fletcher stringing a broken bow —
Kafka: Heigh-ho! It’s only disco —
Santa: Return to the world below —
Kafka: At —
Santa: Theeeeeeeeeeee —
Kafka & Santa: HOT DOG SHOW!