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Robert

Roman

Empire

RED BRICK ALLEY STORIES

The Killards Are Coming

Every damn day in Religion Class, Sister Anna Banana yapped about the Soviets revving up to start a nuclear war with the new president, Ronald Reagan. She said after the cities burned to Holy Hell, there’d be something called “nuclear winter” that would kill all... 

Double-Strength Demon Dogs

Fantastic Freddie was the only altar boy from the Red Brick Alley. He was always consecrating Ritz Crackers and trying to make us eat them like communion wafers. He light-fingered incense from the sacristy, and he blessed water from Old Lady Tully’s spigot...

Laser Loop

I couldn’t see over the tall green school bus seat except when we hit a pothole and I bounced up in the air like a Pop-Tart jumping out of a toaster. Nobody at Saint Augie’s could believe I was allowed to go. My first school picnic ever. I was good from the day I handed in my pink...

The Boy Wonder

How the Hell did Jaggerbush get himself up there? He was clawing his way up into the open window above the Science class door like a real-life gargoyle. The blockhead of a wooden mallet stuck out of the back of his Toughskins where his butt crack was. He wore three...

About The Author

Rob.jpg

Robert Roman grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, where he sold newspapers to cars from a concrete island. Read more→

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  • Robert Roman

My Own Private Ulysses: Live from Exile Confession of Deadly Sin #2 – Pride, Part Two


ONLY ONCE MORE THAT SOAP

- Ulysses, Aeolus episode


Pride, the Deadly Sin of the Professor, will get you bounced from the NFL of James Joyce Facebook Groups. And that’s only the half of it.

In my previous report on the Banishment Bowl Game, I coped to an impersonal foul. My necessary roughness was in defense of an innocent interpretation. A Logic to the Lunacy: The Daughters of Erin prayers are log lines for the middle twelve episodes of Ulysses. (Read the full gender-bender flea-flicker here. Bring Kleenex. More than tears may spill during that Crying Game.)

An all-star member of the mighty Joyce Group, a beguiling white-armed Nausicaa, contested my play. “Let’s hear your ‘theory,’” he demanded. The insidious, insinuating “perverted commas” are his.

Since my original reply to his teasing challenge is now hidden behind a firewall of ostracism, I’ve had to recreate it. I scrounged around the locker room for drafts of my “theory’s” defense. I scanned chicken-track marginalia of my Gabler edition, unsticky Post-its, the bathroom ceiling of the pub down the street, stray sheets of toilet paper, mostly unused, and old Tinder messages.

Always a good sport, I refused to remind the sweet seductress that he had implicitly agreed with eleven twelfths of my premise when he said, “Number six doesn’t fit” (“Wandering Soap, pray for us”). I answered the call of Devo’s Jocko Homo, “Are we not men?” and allowed the vampy vixen his disjointed dalliance.

Forever the gentleman, I refrained from asking him any of the following: Are we to believe Joyce fumbled the pigskin on this one prayer? Tanked the game? Shaved points? With his famous fanatical belief in the juju power of numbers? Of course, I would never probe him with such penetrating questions. He wasn’t to blame for his lack of logic. Nymphs will be nymphs.

A paradigm of polity, I restrained myself from berating him with Joyce’s own words, “A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.” My crafty coquette wanted me to violate a different portal. Zuckerberg’s fair land of Facebook did not hold his equal! Tossing prophylactic protection to the wind, I went deep. I answered his siren song with the following:

“Bloom buys his Sweny soap in the morning, and the lemony cake goes on its own little odyssey from pocket to pocket to pocket throughout the long day. After the soap is overtly mentioned in the last lines of Lestrygonians, it vanishes from the text during the Scylla & Charybdis as if it has wandered off stage. Bloom all but disappears while he wanders the outskirts of the Hamlet-fisted episode until its end when Bastardly Buck Mulligan refers to him as, “the wandering jew.” Later in the Circe episode, the anthropomorphized soap says, “We’re a capital couple are Bloom and I. He brightens the earth. I polish the sky.”

Granted, the sixth prayer of the Daughters of Erin may not be as explicitly on the nose as the others. But, with a little lubrication we can make the appeal to Bloom’s totemic soap fit in its corresponding episode. Of course, I’m curious about any other theories.” (Notice my noble omission of perverted commas.)

And no reply.

Poof! My Gerty was gone. The situation was fluid, until it wasn’t. He’d hit it and quit it.

I’d been ghosted by a Joycean Jezebel, fluffered by a fluffy-tailed playmate. He was a black widow honeypot the entire time. A true assassinatrix.

Without warning, without even throwing a penalty flag, the NFL of James Joyce Groups blackballed me. Adding insult to injury, the No Fun League blocked me. Adding involuntary celibacy to insult and injury, the Non-Fornicating League cock-blocked me.

Yet, one thing is to blame. It was my beastly pride that killed the beauty. And maybe a little lingering lust.

Stay tuned for more deadly sin confessions.

Same sordid time, same shameful channel.



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