Tagger by Kurt Freirmuth

Tagger walked warily into the car knowing that it was likely to be something other than what was to be expected. As it turned out he was right since the car was lit in an unearthly glow not unlike that of a theater lobby when something popular was on. Not only that but all of the other riders had turned into something like garden gnomes and taken all of the free seats. "This is not like the Boston subway that I,ve always known" he thought and was astounded to hear his thoughts broadcast over the PA system of the subway car. Since this was a teleplay, any thoughts had to be audible and so to save money thoughts were broadcast with a sort of whispery echo effect. This produced the ironic condition that speaking aloud was more private than thinking. The shock of this caused the narrative to shift to the first person point of view.

As I entered the subway car I realized that I had stumbled upon a community of garden gnomes or possibly a coincidence. The garden gnome that looked like a Viking was remarking that he had been mugged by a large flower named Pat. As I gradually became accustomed to the commotion around me the thought occurred and reverberated around the car that this scene was going to be difficult to paint. Not only that but the story could be improved by having me paint the scene before entering the car. The effect of this change is that not only would I not find myself in a story that I couldn,t paint but also the reversal of the causal chain would be more interesting.

At this point one of the garden gnomes turned into the author (Kurt R Freiermuth) and objected that that part of the story had been specified already by the actual writer who had created the beginning and end of the story as well as everything in between that occurred outside of the subway car. He probably wants to string the middle parts together like links in a sausage" he remarked to no one in particular. Just then the voice of Ken Babbs sounding like a trumpet or the voice of an adult in a Charlie Brown cartoon said something incoherent. God then appeared in the form of Dinah Ross and chastised the two claiming that he/she/it was the only real author. At this point Tagger could no longer contain himself (anyway the narrative had reverted to third person even if it was a teleplay) "If you had used my idea from the end of the last paragraph then I could have been the author".

The mouth of a cave appeared in the side of the car and inside was seen the prophet Mohamed. He told everyone to be quiet as he was trying to write a book (Note: one of the things that make the Koran such an innovation in religious literature is the way in which the author makes god in his various manifestations speak directly to him in the first person). Then the creator in the form of Dinah Ross and the Supremes floated down the center aisle while doing a greatest hits medley and disappeared. People asked each other "Was that one person or three or what"?

Shortly afterward the car turned into a kind of 1920s version of hell with people running around in their underwear and pitchforks all over. Jazz music was playing and the narrative became a dialog:

Tagger: I don,t think I,m ready for this

At the other end of the car a rhythm was generating. It turned out to be Johnny from the Kingston Trio song about not being able to get off the subway. He was dressed in a black leather jacket and still looking for a way out after all these many years.

               Are you who I think you are? I don,t listen to much folk music.

Johnny: I,m condemned to ride this subway forever or until I can pay to get off.

Tagger: There seems to be a theme developing here about doing things before or after. What is this anyway, Sesame Street? I,m getting out of here before anything else happens. Anyway I,ve got a really complicated mural to do.

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This is the point where Rod Serling would do his Mutual of Omaha speech which would explain what this was all really about or was that Wild Kingdom? But since the previous was neither of those there will be no explanation. Actually it all takes place in a parallel universe much like our own except that Frank Zappa never existed. The truth is that all of mankind,s problems can be traced to not having white enough teeth. The only way to achieve real heavenly bliss and obtain choice real estate in heaven is through the constant use of Crest tooth whitener (a product of Procter and Gambol).