cratilsoup

 

Cratilsoup was not a town you would have wanted to take your grandmother to. It was overrun by miscreants and malcontents of every description, and if you dared venture down by the river for  an afternoon stroll with only your own business at hand, you might very well find yourself returning home without wallet and a couple of front teeth. Hurting people was the favorite sport for many of the citizens of Cratilsoup and killing was the favorite occupation for more than a few of them.

The town was, ironically, one of the prettiest places you would ever see, nestled by a lake, surrounded by willow trees winding their way along a freshly paved road with no beginning or end. Cratilsoup had always been there, before civilization, before the last ice-age, even before the age of the dinosaurs. The folklore surrounding Cratilsoup claimed the town was fashioned from a cobweb. Of course that sounds ridiculous and impossible but many things are ridiculous and impossible yet exist alongside the very practical and scientifically sound. So why would such a pretty and ancient place end up as a breeding ground for criminals and malefactors and heinous characters of every kind? Who knows?

I took matters into my own hands this one day. I grabbed my harmonica—I think it was my F harp, the nice low one, and headed down to the main part of town,

determined to blow the vermin away, note by note. I warmed up as I walked, playing the blues scale slowly— ascending and descending, note by note. As I approached the outskirts I broke into a gentle version of “Another Man Done Gone”, an old blues song made popular by John Mayall on his first Bluesbreakers album. By the time I reached Main Street and began the dangerous walk to the center of town I had segued into a medium shuffle blues. I saw a man on the corner, face full of pockmarks and ugly hairy warts, knuckles the size of golf balls, sporting a look that would have frightened any Corleone. As I drew close to him I started to ease my way up to a high E flat (the flatted seventh of the F scale for those not familiar with the art of music). This was the bluest of the blue notes and in my experience could do real damage to an unsuspecting ear. I got to within several feet of this murderer and hung on the E flat, bending it up and down with all the ear-splitting artistry I could muster. He shot me a look that curdled my blood but I blew on, that high E flat screaming the air, shattering the molecules around his head. He let out a loud moan and put his paws to his ears, but it was too late. His knees buckled and his body lurched—rocked back and forth several times before he fell to the ground, hitting the pavement with a loud thud. Was he dead, or just out cold? I didn’t want to take the time to find out, or be seen at the crime, so I continued down the street, blowing chorus after chorus of the F blues, until I spotted my next potential victim.

Getting rather bored with playing the blues and also with this story, I will quickly get to the end. I killed ‘em all, one by one, two by two. Blew my harp out and blistered my lips in the process. But it was worth it. I did the world a favor and cleaned up a crime-infested, vermin- ridden, rat-bag ruined town. Now it is one of the greatest places on earth, with a soft gentle breeze blowing through the trees and smiling friendly people populating the street corners, children playing with their dogs, riding their bicycles and selling lemonade to the frequent passers by. And if you listen closely, as you stroll down Main Street, you might hear the faint strains of “Another Man Done Gone” bouncing off the street lamps and reverberating the gutters.