John From Cincinnati
His Visit: Day One

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Mr. Sobell: C | Grade It Now!
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Hang Ten, Cocksucker!

In another section of the brushy growth near the beach, Upbeat Morrissey is wandering around, doubtlessly looking for the other Smiths. But before he can break into a rousing solo version of "Meat is Murder," a voice snarls at him, "Hey, frat boy! Drove down to TJ to see the donkey show, did you?" As a fellow who attended college in San Diego, let me state for the record that my one and only trip to Tijuana was to place a bet on the San Diego Chargers beating a seventeen-and-a-half-point spread in Super Bowl XXIX; in retrospect, I probably would have been better off attending this mythical donkey show. Anyhow, the snarly voice belongs to the guy who played Mr. Ellsworth on Deadwood; since getting gunned down by Major Dad, he's apparently staked out a living helping illegal immigrants sneak across the border and annoy AM radio talk-show hosts. The Late Mr. Ellsworth -- whom we will now refer to as Vietnam Joe, as that is his righteously cool character name -- has mistaken Upbeat Morrissey for a stoned-out-of-his-gourd college student. Upbeat Morrissey is doing little to combat that perception, since he's staring stupidly and wordlessly at Vietnam Joe. For $50, Vietnam Joe offers to drop Upbeat Morrissey anywhere in Imperial Beach and orders the goofy '90s alternative rocker to turn out his pockets. Wouldn't you know, there's exactly $50 in there. That's convenient...or is it? "Some things I know, and some things I don't," Upbeat Morrissey says, apropos of nothing. "Spare me the babe in the woods routine," Vietnam Joe snarls. "You just paid to see a donkey fuck a woman." You know, the hell with this John From Cincinnati business. You want a real worthwhile successor to the Sopranos, HBO -- give me an hour of Vietnam Joe From Vietnam every Sunday and I'll never, ever contemplate canceling my subscription.

Back at the No-Telling-When-They-Cleaned-Last Motel, Butchie is having the buyer's remorse about that heroin purchase, largely because it appears that he was cheated. While he airs his grievances with his heroin supplier, doubtlessly the final step before composing a sternly-worded letter to the Better Business Bureau, an adolescent or very wiry adult rolls up to the motel on a skateboard. We'll have Dickstein exposit as he does so well: it's Shaun, who is Butchie's kid, and something of a surf prodigy in his own right. He currently lives under the custody of Grandpa and Grandma Yost, on account of Butchie's crippling smack addiction. Thanks, Dickstein -- at least someone is trying to keep us abreast of what's going on here. Anyhow, Shaun knocks on the door of the Motel California, and, in a nice detail, Butchie ditches the vein-producing tie around his arm before opening the door. Father Of The Year stuff, right there. "Sorry about the fucking mess," Butchie says. It is unclear whether he is apologizing to Shaun, the viewers, or God. After the requisite father-son small-talk -- "How's sixth grade?" "It was good." -- Shaun lets it slip that he's going to participate in that Huntington competition Mitch and Dylan McKay were arguing about earlier. Butchie pauses when he hears this, expressing surprise that Grandpa Yost gave his OK. It was actually Grandma's idea, Shaun says. "That sounds more like it," Butchie says, with only a detectable trace of bitterness. Shaun wants to know if his dad wants to come and watch; "No, fuck, not if you want them to let you on the water," Butchie says. As parental brush-offs go, I suppose that's better than "I'd love to, champ, but I'm going on a business trip." Shaun presses, causing Butchie to explode: "What the fuck would I want to go up there for, Shaunie, OK? Those things are fucking bullshit." He quickly adds "Not for you," after Shaun's face registers disappointment. Smooth save there, Smackie. As a disappointed Shaun leaves the Fetid Presidential Suite, Butchie offers this last bit of fatherly advice about surfing competitions: "Just don't pull your left nut out...it tends to get you DQ'd." My father said the same thing to me the night I graduated from high school.

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John From Cincinnati

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