Vol. 12, No. 2,856W - The American Reporter - March 18, 2006


Ink Soup
LOW DOWN: A FABLE SANS MORAL

by Clarence Brown
American Reporter Correspondent
Seattle, Wash.

SEATTLE, Wash.-- Low is dead. Bereft of this word, the world of advertising is, for once, at a loss for words. There is a scramble to find an alternative to "shocked disbelief."

Some of Low's close associates were of course more devastated than others. Fat, for one, collapsed at her desk and had to be revived by liposuction. No Low!? she groaned. Whatever will become of me? We've been a pair since we met on Noah's Ark. Without Low I'll never get another gig. I can just see it now: FAT MILK! FAT CHEESE! Fat chance!

You might go back to Non, said a friend.

Oh we tried that, sobbed Fat. And no one believed it. Least of all Non himself. He kept slipping out at night to go back to his old boyfriend, Chalant.

Don't give up, said the friend. If this Dr. Atkins thing pans out, you and Hi might become an item.

Could be, said Fat, somewhat consoled. Me and Hi have been kicked out of the best restaurants in the world. Wouldn't it be fun now if they gave us the best table?

Fat was of course not the only one whose life was irreversibly altered by the death of Low.

Cost and Downpayment were already on the window ledge and eying the pavement 30 floors below when they were finally coaxed back inside.

I might as well pack it in, said Cost. Cost without Low? Don't make me laugh. You might as well have Toxic without Non!

Especially now that Non is going back to Fat... .

Maybe! yelled Fat, from the next room.

Well, said Maintenance, maybe its just as well Low kicked off. I was sick and tired of all the lawsuits, anyway. Low Maintenance was becoming a not very funny bad joke. In fact, I'm thinking of resuming my maiden name, Upkeep. Which reminds me...anyone hear anything from Easy lately?

Easy? Didn't he hang out with Downpayment for a while?

That was ages ago. Someone told me he'd gone into the detergent business with Cleanup. Which I hope is true. Cleanup deserves a break after all the grief she had with Low and Non, two marriages that never made any sense to anyone. Easy Cleanup finally clicked. Upkeep should look for someone else.

Like Perpetual?

Ha ha. Perpetual Cleanup. Like the advertising business suddenly became truthful. Tell me another. Besides, nothing on earth could separate Perpetual from Care, now that they've made such a killing, forgive the pun, in the mortuary racket.

At this point all heads turned toward the door. Cholesterol had just come in. She had a smile on her face, which could only mean one thing: she had not heard of the death of Low.

Someone tell her quick, hissed Fat. This I gotta see.

Cholesterol, honey, you'd better sit down, I've got some terrible news... .

If you're going to tell me Low's dead, forget it, I know already.

And... ?

And I'm sorry of course for my old friend Fat and that crowd and anyone else who can't keep me and my twin straight. I'm Good, sugarpie. Me and

Low never got on at all. As for my sister Bad, she was on the phone trying to reach Unelevated when I left the house.

And by the way, is the toilet backing up or what?

This water's not from the bathroom...it's from...the window!

Just then another figure turned up at the door, and for the first time they all realized the true peril they were in. It was Tide.

Clarence Brown is a cartoonist, writer, and Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at Princeton University.>/i>

Copyright 2006 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.

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