The Absurd Epistolary Adventures of the Astonishing FartMan chronicles the amusing escapades
of the lovable, stinky, and obnoxious Cape & Tights Super Hero, and his maudlin Alter Ego, W____,
as they learn to cope with Stage IV colon cancer, each other, and their annoying fellow human beings.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Crowd Control Never Goes Out of Style

From: T.A. FartMan
Sent: Wednesday, June 01, 2011 9:46 PM
To: St__________
Subject: W____ and I

Dear St_____,

As you warned me, I did run into W_____ at D____'s big Memorial Day Bar-B-Que.

And as you advised, I did take advantage of the opportunity to have a long talk with him about his role and our relationship.

Notwithstanding all his grousing about my management style and my PR strategy, the bottom line is, (surprise, surprise), W____ wants more compensation, and he wants more "recognition" of his efforts.

I do try to sympathize, but finally had to tell him straight out, "That's not the way this deal works."

As to his compensation, W____ knew from the start that his good efforts to help get this operation going would constitute his fair share of capital investment in TAF Enterprises. If this thing pays off, he'll be well taken care of. He made sure to get my promise about that, in writing. (Isn't mutual trust a beautiful thing!?!?!)

But right now, W____ needs to stop whining to me about his compensation, because times are tough all around. This hanging-by-a-thread startup pays me squat and barely covers my expenses. As an alter ego, W____ is able to keep a regular day job, but as a Board Certified Super Hero, can I be expected to schlep my Cape & Tights around StarBucks making half-caf capos for all those Birkenstocked white people? Most of my longterm projects might as well be pro bono, because eventually everybody seems to forget that I don't work for free. People just aren't paying.

If not for the occasional paid-up-front contract job, I couldn't afford to keep my skivvies and longjohns patched and dry-cleaned. Speaking of which, things were so slow last month that I had to accept a one-off gig as the "costumed entertainment" at a stupid little rich kid's ninth birthday party. You can't imagine how 5FUing humiliating it is for a Board Certified Super Hero to have to stoop to doing "pull my finger" routines for a bunch of spoiled brats.

But I do it, gladly, because I've got my eye on the big picture.

And speaking of big, we have come close to hitting it big several times. Just one example:

Last February I had a deal all lined up with Mubarak to clear Tahir Square. The buzz on The Street was that if we closed the Tahir Square deal and could turn in a halfway decent performance on that job, we could build on that success to compete for the hundreds of crowd control and mob dispersal contracts expected to be put out for bid for the upcoming Arab Spring. I had rounded up three dozen ambulatory homeless people and got them to sign releases wherein they "volunteered to be humanely dispersed" from Market Square Park. So we were all set to nail down the deal with a convincing live demo of our "airborne sub-lethal mass dispersion" solution.

Unfortunately, before we could run the demo, mealy-mouthed Hillary got the idea that it would be politically incorrect to grant any U.S.-based operators the permits and clearances they would need to render any substantial assistance to the Mubarak regime. The idiots at Foggy Bottom don't mind appeasing the mullahs; but heaven forbid letting an independent entrepreneur help out a longtime US buddy like Hosni. So before long Egypt will have Moo Slim Bros, Inc., running things, and that ain't no 5FUing Fat Free Yogurt Company! (Big mistake, HRC!)

I had told Hosni, if he would just chill for a sec, I could talk Hillary back onto the bus. But Hosni decided to try to solve his problem the old-fashioned way. I warned him that, even though the old open and direct method (batons, bullets, and blood) will do the trick in places like Syria and Iran or really any country that's not a US ally, what would still work in Tiananmen Square won't work in Tahir Square. But Hosni was too panicked to pay attention, and we all know how that turned out. (Big mistake, Hosni!)

When the Tahir Square deal collapsed, I did pick up a little side money by personally and discreetly transporting Hosni down to S-el-S. During the flight, while he was sitting on my back with his legs squeezing the crap out of my solar plexus, I was sorely tempted to "blow him off" (if you know what I mean) right there over the desert, but instead I just told him he should change his name to Hose-me Mubarak, because his impatience, nay, his untimely lack of confidence in our crowd control capabilities, had left me bent over, nailed to the Wailing Wall, with my tights tangled up around my ankles.

(To put the cherry on top of this three-turd-sundae, the Houston mayor called me again today demanding I do something about the 36 unkempt fellows still homesteading in Market Square Park. I promised her that, now that I'm off chemo, I would try to fly over there tomorrow and drop a couple of my F-bombs to clear the place out. More unpaid pro bono!)

But even though "Operation Square Deal" fell through  in Egypt, I'm still confident that we've got a winning business model. We've maintained our position as the only player in our segment that can absolutely guarantee to disperse any mob, of any size and any disposition, promptly, discreetly, and totally without bloodshed. That's big. And we have demonstrated the expertise not only to manage events in the crowd control workspace, but also to coordinate messaging about those events. When we clear out a crowd of political protesters, we simultaneously gin up the memes that the regime has "heard the legitimate demands of the people and is committed to democratic liberalization,"  and that "the people, having brought their plight to the fair leader's attention, now are returned satisfied to their happpy hearths and homes." (It will never cease to astonish me, The Astonishing One Himself, how well that BS still works.)

The main performance issue for me, and this is something I've got to work on, has been to calibrate my emissions so that the stupid protesters can run clear of my poots before they pass out. We can't have media images of people laying around unconscious, because that creates a misperception of WMD use, which undermines our careful positioning of our crowd control solution as "humane, sub-lethal, organic, biodegradable, and 100% gluten-free." (We are also the only provider certified compliant with ISO 13.040 Air Quality standards.)

Anyway, I think we are in the right business, at the right time, with the right product, because as my dear momma explained to me so many years ago:
"Even when times are tough, crowd control never goes out of style."
I went over all this with W____, and he seemed to realize that, as far as compensation is concerned, we all need to show some grown up adult patience.

However, it has not been so easy to dispose of W_____'s complaint that he doesn't get proper recognition for his efforts. He can't seem to accept the fact that the whole point of having an alter ego is to avoid recognition. (Well, duh!) It's like he wants us to book time on a digital billboard on Broadway flashing:


W___, reprising his Tony-nominated role,
The Astonishing FartMan
"The Absurd Epistolary Adventures"

I reminded him about the confidentiality agreement he signed, and carefully explained that a Super Hero must have some chill time when he can just blend in and act like a normal person. That's all I'm asking W____ to do, for him to cover for me a few days a week so I can have a little downtime relaxation and, while he's at it, maybe for him to scout us out a stray hottie every once in a while. (Strange as it seems, a lot of perfectly doable babes prefer W____'s sensitive prissy guy shtick to my manly Board Certified Super Hero wooing. I don't know what it is about me that bothers them . . . maybe it's the farts. But having spent a lot of time in D.C. lately with WJC lobbying for an export exception for our advanced gas technology, I can tell you that the females who work in the federal government don't mind my smell or WJC's, and he is one very stinky dude. It seems Washington women are used to it, and are actually attracted to men who emit gaseous BS all the time, because I guess they figure those guys are the ones most likely to float to the top of the capital toilet bowl.)

Forgive me for my parenthetical digressions, but since you are a longtime friend of ours and also TAF Enterprises' biggest investor, it's vitally important that you be fully informed about the subtleties in my key man relationship with W___, especially since I will have to be making the rounds with the VCs again soon and am counting on you to set the example for our other investors.

I'm also hoping that you might try to talk some sense into W____ about the "recognition" thing. Gently remind him that, if he goes to the media with his complaints, my lawyers will make him eat every page of our twenty-seven page confidentiality agreement, one page at a time, in front of a jury that won't be able to stop itself from falling in love with . . . .

Your Do-Gooder Super Hero,
The Astonishing FartMan

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