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Napoleon's Tortured Spirit
(Way Out Club, South Jefferson Avenue) 

Alan comes from a venerable and wealthy family, which is one reason he reminds me of Crosby — a kid with whom I spent childhood Saturday afternoons playing war until boredom overwhelmed us and we began beating each other with our fists. Such is the nature of war: It causes even friends to yearn for each other's demise.

Alan's eyes are an appalling affront to everything living: Two beads of blazing cruelty that say: Compassion is the only place left empty in this otherwise rotund, buttery body.

Crosby's most striking characteristic was the scar drawn across his forehead. Yet both he and Alan, despite their intimidating features, represent comically pathetic creatures when taken as a whole.

Another reason Alan reminds me of Crosby is his utter lack of coordination. If he starts walking too fast, he inevitably topples forward for no apparent reason. Also like Crosby, Alan is a warmonger without a war, and this fact makes the cruelty in his eyes burn more brightly. It pains him to be without bloodshed, conquest, plunder, women to ravish. Hence, he moves too quickly for his puny legs to keep up, like Napoleon's tortured spirit paying for past sins, imprisoned in a vessel of boorish ineptitude.

We're sitting at the bar, watching snippets of strange film trailers silently darting across a TV screen: a mishmash of old B movies with titles like Orgy of the Dead, Hot Rods to Hell, The Fiend of Dope Island. One involves busty women, all topless, jumping rope while some lunatic flogs them, barking inaudible orders. Alan sucks his teeth, emits a sinister laugh.

"What?" he asks, noticing I'm watching him.

"You remind me of somebody." Tim has a far-out, Way Out reverie.

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October 21, 2020

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