The Mysterious Mustard Kings

Sean came up with a way of lacing mustard with cocaine.
It still tasted like mustard and the sniffer-dogs couldn't tell,
but it packed a concentrated cocaine buzz.

So we headed out to Guadalupe and built a mustard factory,
on the edge of town where the shacks look like broken hearts
and Columbians arrived in cowboy hats to give us pallet-loads of coke.
We set the peasants to work and crossed the border,
taking the first delivery, in Los Angeles city.

The villagers had packed the mustard into big plastic dispensers with nozzles on the top -
the kind you get at baseball hot-dog stands.
We put a box of twenty in the trunk of Sean's Corvette and hit the streets.

We started at the house-parties, all kinds of parties;
college kid parties and underground parties and aging hipster cocktail parties and movie producer
swimming pool parties.
We turned up sight unseen, through the night, attracted by the noise and the lights
and no-one knew who we were,
the mysterious Mustard Kings.

And we squirted it on everything man; birthday cakes; tequila shots; vol-au-vents;
we squirted it on mirrors in lines and licked them clean;
we squirted it straight, into our mouths;
on breasts; on people's faces;
we squirted it on walls, writing our names,
and the neighbourhood dogs came and licked them clean,
and once they got the taste they'd chase the Corvette, and follow us everywhere.

An army of crazy, wired, dogs, fighting for their fix.

And with the dogs came two homeless men,
With wild, red beards and wild, red faces
and one of us had the idea of setting them up in the hot-dog business,
with their own hot-dog stands and umbrellas
and concessions for selling ice-cream drinks,
and of course, the condiments were laced by the Mustard Kings.
And the money came rolling in,
and soon enough we promoted the homeless guys to area managers and they shaved off their beards
and bought tubs of moisturizer and spacious houses in the suburbs with throw-away wives
and they employed whole departments beneath them,
teams of people with dental plans and state-wide marketing budgets,
and dreams of going legit.

And the army of dogs grew bigger.

The Colombians came to visit so we took them to a nighclub on the beach
and after getting drunk and high and wired they left with smiles on their faces,
with briefcases full of dollar-bills
and life-size models of pink flamingos we'd bought from an aging sculptor
who lived on the sand in a hemp-sown tent.

And we wrote cheques for the Guadeloupians' kids, made out to the bursars of UCLA and Princeton
And when the Guadeloupians' kids arrived in town, looking confused,
we set them up in digs, gave them pocket money, treated them like our own children,
and told them to make something of themselves.

We started heading down to San Francisco,
three times a week on the mustard run.
The red Corvette flew down the Pacific highway,
there's so much space on the Pacific Highway
the ocean on the left, and the sky above.
Rattling the cliffs, through the blue,
A hand on the wheel, a hand dispensing,
spraying mustard into our mouths,
gulping it down,
with fresh air chasers.

And the dogs in the backseat howling and barking.

After Frisco we hit Las Vegas,
I traded in the Corvette for a rusty, 18-wheeler.
We filled the back with mustard dispensers, and wild dogs,
nd drove full-pelt through the desert.
The truck rattled and clanged like a hundred drum-kits
and the horn screeched like a demented chorus.

Eventually the state-wide marketing budget stretched to include
the commissioning of a logo
so we employed the pink flamingo sculptor, in the depths of one of his hashish fits
he designed a cartoon face with a devil's grin and a clown's eyes.
The cartoon face popped up all over the state,
on desert roads, by rain-fall forests and silent ponds,
in shopping malls next to Bed-baths and Beyond.

We bought San Simian and watched our empire grow.
Sean traded his converse for a white laboratory coat and an afro wig,
and dedicated a room in the basement to scientific experiments.

Once he'd perfected the formula for coca-mustard-powered rockets,
he hitch-hiked to a small country in South America,
and started a revolution.

The last I saw of him was a grainy video clip on the evening news,
wearing a General's uniform,
smoking a cigar,
growing a beard.
by Eugene Thomas