There Goes Crazy Ass George Again:
Imagine you're at your favorite bar, a neighborhood joint, named after the owner in just one word ("Joe's" or "Juanita's"), where all the crap hanging on the walls is the real deal, stuff that Joe or Juanita actually picked up at real ball parks, stadiums, and rinks, not just ordered out of a bar decor catalog. It ain't the nicest place, but, hell, it's just down the street and Juanita knows just how strong you like your third and fourth whiskey sours.

At the end of the bar, in the dark corner near the tiny johns, sits Crazy Ass George, twitchin' and mumblin', clinging to that glass mug like it's a life preserver, swirlin' that shot around like it's holy water. And despite all the times he's passed out and fallen off that stool, all the times he's threatened to fight the pool players who bump him with their cues, he's always there. And Crazy Ass George, he's got those shakes, man, the never-quite-endin' DTs, always movin' with a little jitter. Crazy Ass George was a nuthouse schizoid for a good part of the 1970s, set free back in the Reagan era to wander the streets until he found this corner of this bar. He never served in Vietnam, but he sure can talk like he did.

Crazy Ass George sees things, shit no one else sees, and you get him tanked up enough, he'll start tellin' you about all the phantoms and demons that are floatin' around him. When he gets goin', like Henry Darger on his last Vivian Girl bender, Crazy Ass George'll spin whole universes of bugfuck insane shit. He calls them "evil," he calls them "radical," and he talks about how they wanna take over the world of human beings. It's a pity, Juanita'll tell you, how Crazy Ass George was just a crap-his-own-pants alcoholic until September 11, 2001, when all of a sudden his gibberish began to take on this apocalyptic tone.

You may even sit and listen to him for a moment or two, hearing him babble on about "Evil men, obsessed with ambition and unburdened by conscience, must be taken very seriously -- and we must stop them before their crimes can multiply." You can make out phrases like "enslave whole nations and intimidate the world" and "the rage of the killers" and "cold-blooded contempt for human life."

Yes, you listen to Crazy Ass George long enough and you're gonna start to sense harpy wings blowing a breeze that ruffles your hair, you're gonna feel claws testing the elasticity of your flesh, you're gonna smell a breath decadent with human gore wafting across your nostrils. When you're in that corner with Crazy Ass George, all sorts of horrors can seem real, immediate, and terrible. And those horrors must be stopped before they rip our children from our arms and drag them, screaming, into realms of hell we have only dreamt of.

You shake yourself free of Crazy Ass George. Surely, you realize, we live in dangerous times, times of monsters real and sentient. But we simply cannot exist as Crazy Ass George believes we ought to, on our guard constantly, scanning the sky for endless chimeric enemies, bolting our doors to our neighbors. It's soul-withering and, ultimately, renders us victims as well. And then there's the other possibilities: that Crazy Ass George is completely, utterly wrong, or that Crazy Ass George is the demon himself, and one day someone will show you the dump where he tossed the corpses of burnt children. Besides, Crazy Ass George is just a worthless, slurring drunk, right?

You turn to leave the bar, something Crazy Ass George won't do until he's pissed himself and the bar stool. And outside, where the rest of us are, there's only the cool breeze, smelling of rich autumn, blowing away the scent of summer decay, and stars, man, bright fuckin' stars, against a big, dark, endless sky, and earth under your feet that'll take you back home.