The irreverent wag known far and wide as “The Bar Jester,” beloved creator of the immensely popular “Bar Jester Chronicles,” has been forced to return to work.
Sources close to the creative genius, whose work has appeared in the widely-read and internationally-respected electronic magazine Front Porch Republic, say the poor devil is back in the classroom after a hiatus that extended for nearly nine months.
“He’s devastated and depressed,” said a sloe-eyed beauty and devoted reader who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity. “But what do you expect? A two-term sabbatical, and the usual summer break, and then you want him to return to comma patrol and the hobbled prose of you-know-what?”
Officials at his academic institution disagreed.
“He owes us several articles for his time off,” said the college mascot, Seminal Ovary. “He promised us the definitive piece on the daily routine of the undergraduate male—to include its semi-monthly bathing habits—plus that essay on the world’s five best India Pale Ales he claims he’s had in him for fifteen years now.”
Asked to clarify, the mascot said, “by ‘in him for fifteen years’ I mean the essay, not the five best India Pale Ales.”
“The brochures say this is a highly-selective liberal-arts college?” said senior business administration major Bambi Muffin, captain of the Pom-Pom squad and Student Body President. “The dean or whatever doesn’t, like, grant time off to everyone? If this Bar guy is out of the classroom for, you know, an extended period of time or whatever, he should at least produce a power point? Or poster presentation, like in my marketing seminar?”
Worried that work will interfere with what the Bar Jester himself once called the “Tuesday evening act of desperation,” several of his readers have sent letters to the FPR founder and president expressing hope that the Bar Jester will continue to write for FPR in spite of his having to resume duties in the classroom.
“I read him every Wednesday,” said “Kate” from Kentucky. “He helps me sleep better than any pill I’ve ever tried. Better even than a fifth of gin and a book review by Bill Kauffman in the WSJ.”
“The ‘Bare Jestr Kronikules’ are wut give me hop that won day Ill be a righter,” said “Caleb in Kansas” via text message.
“Patrick” in Arlington said, “a man of his talents—and it pains me to say this, because his talents so far exceed my own—shouldn’t be consigned to the classroom like the rest of us academic hacks. Besides, what the girls in the front row write on their eyelids could easily be his undoing–were he not, I hasten to say, a man of such integrity and moral steadfastness. As my friend and mentor Willem Larry McWillem used to say, ‘For the good of the republic and humane letters everywhere, the Bar Jester should be free to write without distraction—into perpetuity. And paid well in top-shelf bourbon.’”
Readers as disparate as Rome and Athens themselves have expressed their fears that they’ll never again read anything as moving and compassionate as “Mere Krustianity.”
Others have worried what will happen to the American culinary scene.
“Raw beef was nothing more than a grazing cow to me before I read his work,” said Sara Pite in Hookworm, MD. “Now I eat steak tartare morning, noon, and night. And I’m losing weight!”
“His piece on Carbonara changed my life,” said Evan Jellicle in Wheaton, IL, a lifetime FPR reader. “I can’t even think about bacon without crossing myself now. And I hate Catholics.”
Rumors have been circulating, however, that the Bar Jester will soon be retired, which has led to speculation that his creator is thinking about leaving “The Porch,” as FPR is affectionately called by insiders.
“I can’t confirm that,” said Mitch Markell, who is the current FPR administrator. “Our lawyers have met with his, and we’re hopeful that an agreement can be reached suitable to everyone concerned.”
What sort of agreement that might be remains a mystery. Sources close to Markell allege that over the course of his first year alone with FPR the creator of the “Bar Jester Chronicles” received in excess of $0,000,000 for his weekly posts but that he has been holding out for ten times that amount, or $00,000,000.
“That’s something you’ll have to ask our attorneys,” said Jeremy Ale, Markell’s associate. “We understand they’re working hard on a contract that will keep the ‘Bar Jester Chronicles’ a regular addition to our mission here at FPR, which is committed to high seriousness and several phobias.”
When asked whether the Bar Jester should be expected to work in higher education and at the same time remain serious and avoid phobias, Ale replied, “have you seen what’s in the bottom drawer of his file cabinet?”
Asked whether he wasn’t embarrassed by a recent piece on George McGovern and Barack Obama, Ale said, “you know, ‘FPR’ stands for many things, including ‘Fascist People Rock!’ We love everyone here. We’re about openness and how we should all just get along.”
But other rumors tell another story: The Bar Jester’s “wife” is not happy with what readers are likely to infer about “her.”
“I’ve heard that one until I’m blue in the face,” said a blue-faced John Medaille. “But you have to remember that I’m a monarchist and have blue blood.”
“Nonsense,” added Jimmy Matt Wilson in response to the rumors. “The Bar Jester is not a person; the Bar Jester is a persona and therefore he has no wife. If you people were as smart as I am, and if your lives were properly oriented toward their true end, you would know this. q.v. St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, et. al.”
But the rumors persist. Another source close to the artistic genius says the Bar Jester persona has begun, dangerously, to take on a life of its own.
“From what I hear he is incapable of being serious anymore,” the source said. “A neighbor told me the man was up in his locust tree trimming dead branches and telling Polock jokes to the black squirrels. Then he came down and told black jokes to his Polock neighbors. And drank their Polock beer!”
The source declined to repeat any of the jokes.
“I don’t want to get anyone in trouble,” he said, “but I did hear him allow that although a Polock invented the toilet seat, it took a German to cut a hole in it.”
Front Porcher Jeffrey “Hackalong Cassidy” Polet said, “I keep coming back to the work thing. I’m worried it’s because he’s had to go back to work after all this time. He got to the point where he was playing scratch golf and writing two thousand words a day. No one can do that and be happy about standing up in front of horny undergraduates and talking about ‘the glory, jest, and riddle of the world.’ I mean, if I could break 90 and write a post-it note a day I’d laugh till the Friesians came home.
“You know, the Friesians?”
Attempts to reach the Friesians by phone were unsuccessful.
Investigators did, however, uncover one promising bit of information. It has been reported by sources intimate with the Bar Jester’s closest confidants that a taxonomy of burgers—with commentary on the nature of true friendship—is forthcoming.
Emails to Shaggy and Scoob were not immediately answered.
“All I can say is, watch the cattle and hops futures,” said one investor who got wind of the rumored essay. “Or maybe buy stock in a well-advertised cholesterol medicine and get yourself on a liver-transplant list.”
When asked about this, “Kate” from Kentucky said, “I’ve cleared my calendar for next Wednesday morning. We’re having the Mundanes over for coffee.”
“Caleb from Kansas” said, “this culd be awsummer than ennything!”
“Patrick” from Arlington said, “I’m already on a liver-transplant list.”
Mitch Markell and Jeremy Ale said, in unison, “this is a matter for the attorneys.”
Jimmy M. Wilson declared it heretical.
John said, “I may die, so what of it?”
Hackalong Polet was busy denying rapid global climate change and didn’t hear.
A certain WSJ reviewer was too occupied with Bambi Muffin and the sloe-eyed beauty to respond, and they themselves were blinded by a bright chromium reflection bouncing off a Memphian cranium.
At least three loyal readers in the Kansas City area were reported to have said, “please end this piece before it gets worse.”