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The Fall of Heartless Horse


The fourth installment and first female author in Dennis Cooper’s groundbreaking Little House on the Bowery series.

$11.95 $8.96

Excerpt from The Fall of Heartless Horse

Dramatis Personae

Heartless Horse: The Patriarch
Mrs. Heartless Horse: The Matriarch
Tadiscule: The First Son
Ambuscule and Minuscule: Siblings Rarefied
The Trembly Bird Who Flew Away: The Lost Daughter
Grandvikings: The Grandchildren
The Landscaper: Lover of Mrs. Heartless Horse
The Hatcheck Girl: The Mother of Heartless Horse’s Other Child
The Soprano at the Glee Club: Heartless Horse’s Lover
Donald Dhu: Delicious Bad Boy Long Gone

The Fall of Heartless Horse

Heartless Horse was on a fool’s errand in search of a modicum of peace in the living room.

A premonition: an ambush of balled socks. Were this to occur, a terrible headache.

Mrs. Heartless Horse was game for quibbling but Heartless Horse was not. The facts are by no means clear but certain truths persist:

It was necessary to have a bigger navy than anyone else.

It was necessary to own huge tracts of land and a ring of powerful stone-built castles.

It was necessary to procure the Stone of Destiny.

It was necessary to procure a genuine leather-top all-cherry wood desk.

Heartless Horse looked over his traveler’s clock out his window at the Bayou. Long gone were the high rocks of Dunnottar. Life was a fool’s errand, landing him in Florida, far from the ambush of stones and daggers and closer to the ambush of balled socks. O Stone of Destiny. Little grains of sand. Little loud and shitting grandvikings riling him up! Hail Lame Heartless Horse! Swarmed by his pesky descendents. Gone were the days of the Galley of the Stern Rudder. The tailgate falls off. Follow the birds.

The Family Goose
There is a dire shortage of docile sheep!

From his office chair in the sky, Heartless Horse is resisting a family mutiny. He prepares his next memo: The goose that has laid the family eggs for 100 years will not be sold!!!! Down below, brothers and sisters are jockeying for position. They have developed a catapult for hurling dirty laundry onto enemy lawns. In-laws have been seen wearing illegitimate undergarments at various ice-cream parlors. The arguments for selling the family business are minuscule, tadiscule, and ambuscule. The moon is wearing a dunce cap. It’s the end of the wild frontier.

A Trio of Fiendish Voices Kept Heartless Horse from Sleeping at Night

Voice One: Tadiscule:
I, Heartless Horse, for one, am for the Tadiscule. If you are going to perambulate around, I believe, at best, it can only be fictitious to wear laundry, and imply a suppository of ham beyond belief. This just cannot be done at the expense of the family. It is unacceptable, intolerable, and uninhabitable. Think of the nephews in their vests having to defoliate points a, b, c, f through h, and point q. It’s plain immoral. Tadiscule immediately and be done with it!

Voice Two: Minuscule:
I agree, Heartless Horse, but would add that the Minuscule is essential as well. A complete distribution of the Minuscule is the only compassionate, legitimate, and percolate thing to do at this tincture and juncture to prevent a puncture in what seems most imminent. To add clauses 136D through 256FF might delineate the necessary underwritten bifurcated separation of aero, euro, hydro, and necro economics. Pay the nieces as well!

Voice Three: Ambuscule:
Ambuscule!!! Ambush the old bastard, you fricasseess!!! Let’s down the goose and crack the eggs!!! Go for the gold, I say. Enough of this bullshit. I for one prefer my wife to wear her own lingerie and to sleep at home. I say we kick the old horse in the ass. To the glue factory he goes!!!

in aria repetissimo arondissimo again and againissimo through the nightissimo . . .

Premonition of the Trembly Bird

Somewhere in this complicated city of white chalk marks
I discern a little white cabin on top of a mountain.
From its chimney, a single ring of smoke.
I am going there.

Heartless Horse at the Executive Power Lunch

Fornicating and crumpled in his hand was the letter from his daughter. She was off to marry that asshole Lame Small Pot! Heartless Horse had been rallying his scepter in the stars. Stirring the cups of high-class soup, so to speak. Counting his clubs, spades, and diamonds, ordering his kings, queens, jacks, and aces. Now Heartless Horse was releasing his car keys to the hat check girl and lying on the lobby sofa for a minute of sleep. His shoes were too small. His wife was still shopping. Heartless Horse was having trouble feeling the left side of his face. Was his ear there? His eye? Life was but a fool’s errand. Gone was the Stone of Destiny. A ring of castles on the finest hill was but a shitty little grain. Armies encircled him bringing him aspirin and water. Would he be egged on to battle? He’d rather die! Call him a headless horseman! A mentally unstable king!

Heartless Horse Egged on to Battle

Would he be? . . . Never!
Call him a headless horseman! A mentally unstable king!
(Was his ear there? His eye?)
Heartless Horse was circling the corral.
Littering the lair of the beast.
If Ambuscule and Tadiscule can’t teleate,
I won¹t capitulate. It’s a long heritage.
I spent years, years of my youth in the dungeon
with no windows, doors, chairs, or toilets,
working and sweating and learning those machines,
fructifying those eggs, and now you want me to sell the family goose.
It just won’t be done. Not for grandvikings. Not for nephews.
Think of Charles the Foolish,
after his long and glorious career,
forced to leap out of a burning castle wearing chain mail,
no loch below to cool him off.
After my long and glorious career
I will not be ambushed by a city of balled socks.
I will meticulously and assiduously recount the plan
from point A to point F, appealing to reason,
then rewrite the bylaws to extricate all in-laws.
I will calmly and coercively extricate the exit rows
and extradite the fashion show.
I will ply with boar slayings, viands, tinctures,
and Sister Euphemia’s well-seasoned purse.
I will maintain.
Just how . . . is a mystery.
Leave it up to me.

To be a Trembly Bird,

you have to go.
Even when you have no place to go.
Even when there is no one out there waiting for you.
Even when no one has sent you a letter saying come along.
You have to go.
You just cannot stay.
You have to leave your one little bed behind for good.
Even when you have no shape.
Even when you have no eyes.
Even when your skinny arms melt as you reach for the door.
Even when you have no voice to whisper,
“I really loved you and will always remember you.”

What is out there
way out in the lonely

and beyond?

Being Tadiscule Esquire,

oldest and legalest of offsprings,
acquainted with legalese
(as well as the heretofore forthcoming potential inevitable demise),
I submit humbly to place this measure,
for your perusal, at your leisure,
honorary siblings,
on the next supernumerary agenda,
but before the perusal of the purchasing of the largest navy acquisition,
an agenda item put forth by one Heartless Horse,
our grand but outdated bestiary executive issue.

Please submit your signatures to my plan.

For each of the sons and daughter,
gaining relative amounts of ham,
can fortify their castle.
Tadiscule Esquire believes the fortress will be stronger.
And our heritage extended generations longer.

To Heartless Horse we write: Dole out the appropriate distribution to alleviate the pious poverty that is upon your hardworking offspring, Heartless Horse!!!