Vol. 22, No. 5,514 - The American Reporter - September 7, 2016



by Clarence Brown
American Reporter Correspondent
Seattle, Wash.
November 26, 2003
Ink Soup
SOUP REDIVIVUS

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SEATTLE. Wash. -- Dr. Soup walked, no, make that lurched into the office the other day and started talking to us all as if he'd been here for the last few months every day.

You are...? I said, my hand stuck out, a fake look of astonished non-recognition on my face.

Out of my way, Brown, said the good doctor. There is work to be done. Where is Melchior?

I should explain that Melchior is Dr. Soup's mechanical man, not to say son, since he did in fact build him.

He has my DNA, the doctor said, my Designer Natural Aptitude, and the moment I can think of a better expansion of that acronym, he'll have that, too.

No one has seen Melchior lately, said I, looking around at the staff with a question mark in my glance. No? said Soup. Excellent! Then it's working!

It... ?

The invisibilty oil! Ignoring my look of perplexity, he began poking about: Melchior! Melchior! It's me, old chum. Just lift something or drop something or... I don't want to have to blow smoke to make you appear.

At this, one of the ladies in the steno pool screamed.

Melchior! Soup bellowed. Act your age! Or at least your model date! Stand by for the spray!

Here he pulled out an aerosol and pointed it in the general direction of the offended lady. Melchior appeared, and if a robot can blush, he blushed.

Windex, said Soup, looking at the cannister that had caused his mechanical man to appear. Who would have imagined its power to increase visibility?

Dr. Soup, said I, with the deferential tone that I keep for this offspring and this offspring of my brain only, where in heck have you been? Everyone has been worried. Not least the readers, who were worried that you might one day be back.

Brown, said he, with the pitying regard that he reserves for his maker, who needs readers? There are millions, nay, hundreds, okay ten or twelve of them, whereas there is only one of you...right?

One? said I. You forget that I am Gemini.

He pointed the aerosol at me. This will bring out the other twin, said he. I took the Windex from him and put it on a shelf beyond his reach. Where have you all been? I asked, to change the subject.

I love it when you talk Southern, said Soup. I've been hanging around outside the White House.

And Melchior?

Inside, said Soup. Invisible, of course. And wearing a wire.

Here a hush fell over the bustling INK SOUP headquarters. And? I said.

It's true, said Soup. He never reads newspapers. Laura reads them to him. Though I could hardly hear anything for the fierce crackling that I at first put down as a bad microphone.

And?

Turns out that while she is reading him the papers, she is also breaking up his pretzels into tiny bite-size bits.

After he nearly choked on a pretzel that lodged in his throat his man in the Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld, advised him to work on an exit strategy. Hence the widely misunderstood headline: Rummy Pats Prez on Back for Exit Strategy.
Clarence Brown is a cartoonist, writer, and Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at Princeton University.

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