Hercules Gets a Job



I was sitting at a table under a tent, on a street called Piotrkowska, in a city called Łódź, in a place called Poland, drinking a beer called Żywiec. It was spring. There was still a bit of a nip in the air, but the ladies couldn’t wait any longer to remove their fur coats and knit caps. Some had already spray-tanned. They were ready to be done with winter, having lived with it for seven months a year, all their lives. I was kind of hoping Kate might happen by. She didn’t.

Guess who did?

Go ahead, guess.

Yes. Him:

dick hercules

He Who Happened By.

I hadn’t seen him since last summer at the swim up bar in Puerto Vallarta. A sordid affair, that — and one I couldn’t soon forget. Now here he was again, interrupting my book as he turned a chair around backwards, straddling it, his fat elbows crashing on my table.

“Waltypants,” he said, in that high-pitched tone I’d grown to loathe. He sounded like Costello, of the Abbot & Costellos. Most days he was jovial, but today he was foul of spirit.

“Mr. Hercules,” I said, placing my Chewbacca bookmark into my copy of Gatsby. “
What a surprise.” It wasn’t, of course. He’d found me in Puerto Vallarta, after all. And New Orleans. And a pancake house. And a record shop.

“I wanna talk about your tweets,” he said, cracking one knuckle. The hairs of his underpits were caked white with deodorant. (He was shirtless, of course. As was his wont.)

“Tweets?” I said innocently.

“Walt. Don’t play dumb. You been tweeting about The Candidate.”

“The whatsis?” I said. “I don’t understand.”

“Don’t bullshit us, Walt. You’re putting out not-nice things.”

I wrinkled my brow, confused.

He scratched his perspiring, hairless head. With the same hand, he made a finger gun and pointed it at me.

“I’m afraid I — well, see here now. What do you mean, us?

He studied me, rubbing his hands together.

I studied him.

Then he did it.

He jumped.

Leapt across the table.

For my phone, of all things. Snatched it right up, he did.

“Excuse me!” I said.

“What’s the passcode?” he said, poking the screen, eyeballing me with a raised eyeball.

“I’m not telling you,” I said snottily, like I was five. (Not proud of it.)

“Soochyerself,” said Dick, locking eyes with me and hoisting my phone into the air. His white-caked underpit was now exposed for all to celebrate. A suited man approached him from behind and snatched my phone away anew. Then this suited man, this second snatcher, tapped something into the phone. Then he tossed it back to Dick and he was gone, pushing past the folk on the street, disappearing beyond a grassy knoll.

Dick eyed me victoriously and flicked his big fat thumb up and down the screen, my screen, then turned it around for me to see. “What’s this?” he said, showing me this:

I’d retweeted it from the Twitters. Well, via Twitter, anyway. When he showed it to me, I was reminded why I’d retweeted it.

“Ha, yes, that one!” I said, laughing.

Dick shook the phone at me in frustration. “Why did you do this?!”

“Mr. Hercules,” I said, putting two and two together. “Please don’t tell me you’re working for him.

Dick said nothing, just glared and shook the the phone again, as if I hadn’t seen it.

“Oh, Dick, not you,” I said.

He put the phone down. He rubbed his fingers the way that says ‘money.’ He said, “I need me some, Walt. I ain’t gettin’ any.”

I nodded, sighed. Removed my monocle, gave it a good fog. Rubbed it with my handkerchief. “So you’ve come to rough me up, then?”

Dick shook his head and did the I’m powerful thingy with his finger tips, forearms on the table. Like this:

Then he said: “Look, Walt. I love ya like a brother. But a guy has to make ends meet.”

“Sure,” I said.

“And the cash funds ain’t exactly flowing betwixt us,” he said, motioning back and forth. (You might remember that I function from time to time as Mr. Hercules’ literary agent. Not by choice, mind you. He’s kind of made it clear it’s in my best interest.) He cracked another knuckle, and raised an eyebrow.

“Dick,” I said. “What’s happened to us? How has it come to this?”

Dick stared hard at me. He pointed two fingers at his eyes, then swung them around and pointed them at me. He was watching me.

“I know you are, sir. I know.”

He go up to go. But he didn’t (go). He just stood there, glaring.

“You have a ‘poem’ for me, don’t you?” I said.

He kept glaring, like a bull about to charge.

“I know you do,” I said.

He glanced from side to side, as if checking to see who might be watching. Safe to say that, at this point, someone was, somewhere.

I gave him the reassuring head-nod, the lean-forward, the motioning with my fingers that said it’s okay, Dick, just slip it to me. I didn’t really want it, I just felt sorry for him.

Then he did something almost terrible. He reached into his pants. Luckily, all he pulled out was a folded piece of wide-rule paper torn from a spiral notebook. Relatively harmless, if a bit damp with sweat.

“Dick,” I said. “That’s gross. You should invest in some pockets.

As he turned to go, he put on his sunglasses, then peered over them. (I think he put them on just to peer over them). He was about to do the finger thingy, but I beat him to it. “Yes, that’s great,” I said, doing the finger thingy.

And then he was gone. Heading toward the grassy knoll, I think. Not even stopping to ‘press the flesh’ with other patrons, as per his custom.

I unfolded the wide-rule notebook paper on which Dick always delivered his ‘poetry.’ This is what I read:

Maybe I’m amazed at the way you’re with me all the time
Maybe I’m afraid of the way I leave you
Maybe I’m amazed at the way you help me sing my song
You right me when I’m wrong
Maybe I’m amazed at the way I really need you

That he doesn’t really understand

Not only had he plagiarized one of the all time greats, he’d put the screaming part in caps. Italicized ones.

I signaled the waiter for another Żywiec, then made a mental note to send a polite letter of rejection sometime after the election.

featured image: dr. trump evil


The ‘poem’ Dick stole:



And another version, in which it takes two to do it half as well:

* * *

25 thoughts on “Hercules Gets a Job

  1. Ah, the welcome return of Mr Hercules! Where has he been hiding? Poor man has come under evil influences, I see. Someone really should take better care of the big lug – his literary agent, perhaps? 🙂
    Another great installment in the surreal life of Mr H. What has that man got against wearing a short BTW? Is he allergic to cotton, or buttons or something? At least he uses (overuses) deodorant – that close encounter could have been a lot worse …


  2. So I went to Amsterdam for a few days to kind of go offline, then this morning caught up on my news and entertainment, having heard about Brussels on a TV in a Dutch coffeeshop but unsure exactly what happened, and maybe it’s a comment on the times, that I read your story alongside the news, and all of it together is a form of entertainment, or a car wreck you can’t stop staring at. But that said, I missed your posts and I’m glad to see you back, but not surprised about this dim-wit and his deodorant and where he leans. Interesting choice, the second snatcher — and that is a terrific song you put in my head, so thank you for that. I ended my journey pulling into the train station yesterday with The Long and Winding Road, seems to be a good place to end things. Cheers, Bill


    • Yes, I’ve not been around much lately. I’m trying to get out of a bit of a funk, and it’s quite a funk that’s funking me up. It might very well be something chronic, as you said a while back. Having a hard time shaking it off and this post was the best I could do, which is not saying much for my best night now. Oh well, this too shall pass. And you, I was wondering where you were. So it was Amsterdam, then. Looking forward to hearing more about that. Did you make it to the Museum of Bags and Purses? In other news, I saw that Ross wrote a fantastic post about Gen X, it hit all the right notes for me. Thanks for pointing me his way. The song… I’ve been addicted to it for over a week now. Been watching others do it on YouTube… The Faces, Billy Joel, Dave Grohl & Norah Jones together, various other YouTubers, they all serve to highlight McCartney’s talent by doing versions that are pretty good, even very good, until you see McCartney’s, and you see the range he covers vocally, the things he does with his voice, that none of the others can do. Some of them can do some of them, but none of them can do all of them, not even the ones with two people doing the different parts. It’s mind-boggling to me. Anyhoo…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am trying to picture a job interview in which Dick Hercules was the applicant. At some point surely he must have donned a shirt? Eccentric as he is, there is no denying his art. Is an anthology a possibility?


    • One would think Mr H would don a shirt for a job interview, but I’m not sure it’s in his character. I think he would go shirtless (and shoeless) to any interview. And I would not at all put it past Mr Trump to hire such a fellow. An anthology would be fun. I don’t know why people seem to enjoy Mr H, but I’m glad they do. His stories started as nonsense throwaways, and gradually evolved into more time consuming throwaways. I’m kind of shocked that people like them. They made me laugh, but I never thought they would make other people laugh. But again, I’m glad. Thanks for reading, Frederick.


  4. Pingback: In which I, Walt, attempt to breach Trump Tower | waltbox

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