• Fearsome Critters

John Can’t Hang Baby — John Gillen

I was throwing out my jizz rags from Saturday night’s fuckfest and waiting for my morning dose of Johnny Cash pills to kick in when two black sedans pulled up to the front of my house and six Republicans got out.

Well-dressed Sunday morning white people.

I was bare chested, wearing flip-flops, blue gym shorts, and an aromatic medley of bodily fluids and personal lubricants.

I had just brought the trash cans to the curb when these authoritarian populist radicals approached me.

Big smiles and handshakes.

I was out-numbered and strung out like a ball of yarn.

The fanatical bastards could pull anything now.

I was on my guard.

“Excuse me, sir, is this your residence?”


“I see, and your name, sir?”

“Who wants to know?”

“Well, sir, we’re from the Republican Party of Virginia, and we’re going around to speak with all registered Republicans in our district to ask if you’ve given any thought to who you’re going to be voting for this November.”

“Oh, sure.”

“Yes, sir, so may I ask your name just to confirm for our records?”


“Great, and may I ask who you’ll be voting for?”

“Oh, Trump, sure.”

I’m an evil man.

“Right on, brother.” “Good to hear that.” “I’m glad you’re one of the good ones.”

“Yeah, sure, of course.”

“This is the one that counts, you know.”


“Well, is there anyone else here we can speak to?”


“What about Albert and Brenda? Do they live here? They’re the homeowners, right?”

“They’re at church.”

“Oh, I see.” “And your grandfather? Leroy? Is he here?”

“They put him in a home.”



“Right, yes. Donny. Is he here?”

“No, he moved away.”

“Do you know where?”

“No, I have no idea.”

“He’s your brother, right?”


“You don’t know where your brother is?”


“Well, what about John?”

“What about him?”

“Is he here?”


“I mean does he live here? He’s your brother, too, right?”

“Yeah, he’s my brother. He used to live here, but he fucked off to New York last fall.”

“Well, does he need an absentee ballot?”


“Oh, so is he registered up there now?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

“Wait. I don’t understand. Why not?”

“I don’t think he’s voting.”

“He’s not voting?!” “But this is the one that counts!” “He’s not voting for Hilary, is he? That would be a disaster!”

“No. He’s not voting.”

“May I ask why not?”

“Oh, you know he can’t hang, baby.”

“He can’t hang?” “Hilary would be a disaster.” “He has to vote. This is the one that counts!” “What does that mean? ‘He can’t hang.’ What does that mean?”

“It means he can’t hang . . . John . . . He can’t hang.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Man say he can’t hang.”

“What does that mean?” “This is the one that counts!” “I don’t understand.”

“John can’t hang, baby. That’s it. That’s all he said. He said when he left that if anybody asks why he isn’t around or why he did or didn’t do something to just say, ‘Oh, you know he can’t hang, baby.’ That was it. That was all he said. John can’t hang baby.”

They looked at me in silence as the drugs began to take hold.

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