Tuesday, November 6, 2012

"Betwixt The 'Mongst Of Us" by Dr. Ace T. Jericho, Rogue Journalist

"Where," said Alabaster McMurdo, between pulls from a pint of Hefeweizen, "have all the Huguenots gone?"

"What," I said, "are you blabbering about now?"

We were sitting at the bar of Mr. Happy's Bar and Grill on Saturday just after one in the afternoon. I was in between frantic bursts of rogue journalism and had gone down there to take a load off. Anne was out with The Girls and promised to meet me later that afternoon.

Al was already perched on a bar stool when I came in, talking up a storm with Louie the bartender, who stood behind the bar, drying pint glasses with a towel, and nodding and making affirmative grunts.

"I was talking about the Huguenots," said Al. "You know--indigenous tribesfolk from the southwestern part of Africa? Related to the bushmen"

"No no," I said. "Huguenots were French Protestants from around the 16th, 17th century. You're thinking of the Hottentots."

He nodded. "That's it. Hottentots. They danced on the rooftops of British homes according to Admiral Boom."

I shook my head. "Can't call them that anymore."

"What, Hottentots?"

"Older, derogatory term."

"Ah," he said. "So ought not Hottentot."

"Right," I said. "Nowadays, they're called the Khoi."

Al quirked an eyebrow at me. "They're fish?"

"Different kind of koi. The non-fish kind."

"Koi that aren't fish. That's a new one."

"It happens," I said.

"It happen a lot?"

"Nine times out of ten."

Al gave a small grunt and nod. "Go figure." He took a pull of beer, then said: "Reminds me of Colorado."

"What does?" I said. "The koi?"

He nodded.


"The hard 'k' sound. As opposed to the silent or hidden 'k'."

"I know," I said. "Takes less strokes to write so they sometimes call it a par 'k'. But you were talking about Colorado."

"I was," said Al. "Ever been?"

"Seen pictures."

He shook his head. "Doesn't count."

"Then no," I said. "Never been."

"You gotta check out this one place. Chimney Rock. It's this archeoptical site in the San Juan National Forest."


"Where you can see ancient stuff," said Al. "It's between Durango, where the SUVs come from, and Pagosa Springs, where the Japanese towers come from."

"Pagoda," I said. "Those are the Japanese towers. Not just Japan, either. China, Vietnam, India, other parts of Asia."

Al harrumphed. "Next, you'll be telling me Durango isn't originally a town in Basque Country."

"As a matter of fact, it is."

"Told you," he said, grinning. "And it's about 33 kilometers east of Bilbo, Spain. Those hobbit folks sure get around."

I drained my pint of beer and signaled Louie for another. "Chimney Rock, Al."

"Right. Well, it's called Chimney Rock on account of the rock formations looking like chimneys."

"I'd never have guessed."

"It's on something like 4,000 acres of the National Forest and surrounded by the Juvenile Indians of Southern New Jersey Reservation."

"Juvenile Indians of Southern New Jersey?"


"You mean Ute."

"That's what I said."

"You said 'yutes.' "

"You lost me."

Louie came up and set a new pint of beer in front of me. I immediately upended the whole thing and Louie sprang back and looked at me, bug-eyed. If Al was going to keep talking like he was, I'd need muscle relaxant to better assimilate the information.

"Holy hell, Jericho!" Louie said. "You're liable to bust something drinking a beer that fast. A blood vessel or synapse or your medusa oblong glottal."

"Don't worry, Louie," I said. "I'm a Professional."

"At least have some peanuts," he said, pushing a bowl of salted nuts toward me.

I grabbed a handful, shoved them in my mouth, chewed, swallowed, then turned back to Al. "The Southern Ute Indian Tribe," I said, "is a federally recognized Ute tribe. One of three tribes, actually."

"What's that got to do with New Jersey?"

"About as much as the price of the Star Wars Complete Saga Blu-Ray edition in Nova Scotia."

"Nova Scotia," said Al, "probably doesn't have a crisis of butter-deprived children."

Come back soon for another entry of The Jericho Files!
Read previous Jericho Files entries here.

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