By Rick Johnson

It was another typical afternoon at CREEM’s posh eddytorial digs in luverly downtown Birmingham, Einsturzende Neubauten tapes blare, almost drowning out Bill Ho’ship, who is alternately hallering “He’p!” and “Yoohoo!” out the window at pedestrians below. Dave DiMartino has his face buried in the glacial wastleland of his desk, softly whimpering a sad song, the lyrics to which sound something very much like, “…drummm…supplement…” Eddytorial Assistant Ann Marie is up on her seat, screaming “NO MO’ AD COPY! NO! I REFUSE! I WILL NOT WRITE THE WORDS ‘WIN BIG’ EVER AGAIN!”

Meanwhile, the author is slyly writing all this down between trips to his “private” office. Being a deranged Tab Addict—especially when the idea flow is down—and never being one to let a sleeping bladder lie, the author misses many of his fellow eddytors witticisms. He hopes.

Yes, these are desperate times. Deadline approacheth, as deadlines are wont, from “around the corner,” to “almost there,” way past “about that time, kiddies,” right up to smack dab in the middle of DOOM DOOM DOOM. The only thing that elicits a smile from the misbegotten eddies at this point is the occasional hateful in-joke about “paying” the writers.

Suddenly, the sound of the eddytorial hatch being unbolted from the outside fills their hole with metallic scraping sounds not unlike what’s playing in the tape deck, only much more melodic. The door swings open eerily, and several Mr. T-sized uniformed men rush in. After a quick sweep with metal detectors and a sawed off-staple remover, CREEM’s Fearless Leader herself strolls in, views the slimy premises, somehow keeps her lunch down at the sight of what appears to be a cross between an Alien Sex Fiend dressing room and a maximum security Raoch Motel, and snaps, “attenshun!”

“Whudduh concept,” mumbles the author as the motley eddy crew fumbles to their very best approximation of “attention.” Looks like they’re gonna need some pipe cleaners.

“I heard that new Michael Jackson/Mick Jagger record on the way in today,” Fearless Leader begins (amidst barely audible groans of “not again” and “Fluffo alert!”, “and that’s gonna be our next cover! What d’ya think, kids?”

“Wodnerful,” says Dave.

“Excellent,” says Bill.

“Quite excellent,” says Ann Marie.

“Best idea I’ve ever heard,” adds the ever brown-snouted author.

“OK, then do it, A.S.A.P.!” FL suggests in a somewhat forceful manner, pounding her fist on the author’s head. Kronk, it goes, emptily. The bodyguards form a phalanx around Fearless and negotiate her through the free-fire saccharin zone safely.

“Guess that means we’ll have to scrap that Butthole Surfers cover,” complains Dave bitterly.

“May be we can get Kordosh to interview the Jacksons’ dog,” suggests Ann Marie.

“What does A.S.A.P. mean?” wonders the author.

Meanwhile, Ho’ship is gingerly unwrapping a new razor blade. “Who wants first slit?” he asks.

The eddies, however, are silently grateful for the inspiration, which does not naturally occur in their environment. The author, in fact, is as grateful as a murder victim whose killer was caught from the skin found beneath the deceased’s fingernails.

His fun reverie is shattered by the sound of his phone buzzing like a particularly objectionable answer on a game show. It’s Fearless Leader again.

“And kids,’ she suggests sweetly, “don’t make it all filler this time, K-O?”

* * *

…don’t make it all filler this time, the author writes.

Now, there are many ways of interpreting the concept of “filler.” Does she mean substance added to a product as to increase bulk, weight, viscosity, opacity, or strength? Or perhaps a composition used to fill in the pores and grain of wood or other surface before painting or varnishing? Or how about a piece or slice of boneless meat of fish? Or sorry! That’s fillet!

Just as author-face is thinking of different ways to express fillerous filler, bloated bloating, fluffy fluff, and/or megamung, the phone screeches again. Gotta oil that thing someday.

“Listen, kiddo,” uh-oh, it’s FL’s voice. “I have changed my mind,” she announces, exactly like Jethro Bodine in the famous Jethro’s Magic Act episode of Beverly Hillbillies. “that Jagger and Jackson record’s a bomb! I have a better idea—let’s make it a Michael Jackson and David Lee Roth cover instead!”

“In a word brilliant!” says the author, clutching at his throat a though a noose was being tightened around it.

“And I want it today, or else I’ll cancel your dry cleaning allowance!”

“You got it, boss!” sez me, ruminating on the unpredictable mechanics of genius. Either that or senility—he often confuses the two these days.

(TIME WARP: At this very moment in “real” time, one of CREEM’s art jammers tiptoes up to the author’s desk with this actual story in one hand and a bloodstained sledgehammer in the other.)

“Hey, dirtball,” she squeaks politely, “ We need another 14 lines in the basket case of an intro.”

14 lines?!” wails Tabman with mock interest. “Haven’t the readers already suffered enough?”

“Fergit those knuckleheads!” she announces with a wink, not knowing her every word s being added to the article. “We got priorities!” (GAME OVER)

Hmm, now that we’ve got that settled, let’s see…Sonny & Cher, Jan & Dean, the Righteous Brothers, Eurythmics, Dale & Grace, Friend & Lover, The Captain & Tennile, Chad & Jeremey, Hall & Oates, Bachman-Turner Overdrive…dunno about you, but this author does not want to even think about these people, much less write about them.