On the Vug-Randolphs

by the American Ling Master


“Caruso,” a Vug-Randolph, painted by Blaster Al Ackerman in watercolor and marker
on the back of a 6" x 9" envelope mailed to Feh! Press in 1992 or 1993.


“...I just hope those beetles were a simple parasitic infestation, and not advance scouts for the Vug-Randolphs--” Then I went on to tell my dazed young friend about the Vug-Randolphs and how they operate. I told him that they were a creche-family of large sentient black beetles that live in this city and prey on the innocent and the unsuspecting. “You see,” I explained, “my brother was snatched outside a movie theater three years ago by the Vug-Randolphs, and now whenever I try to phone his apartment, all I hear is the receiver being lifted and a long silence, followed by a series of dry clicking sounds like tiny non-human feet scrabbling at the bottom of a brown paper bag.” I shivered.

“In any case, my boy, if the Vug-Randolphs have decided to take an interest in you, you're in deep trouble. My advice is to leave this place immediately and begin random evasive tactics. Don't go back to your room. Check in at a fleabag hotel. Use an assumed name. Don't use 'Smith' or 'Jones' because everybody who goes on the lam uses those, and don't use your own initials. 'Richard Kern' is a good bogus name. Use that. Shave your head and buy a pair of cheap hornrim glasses. Pack your right shoe with raw liver to give your walk a noticeable limp. Go down to one of the passport joints on Burnside Ave. and have them make you a set of fake I.D. cards. Stay out of dark halls and area-ways. Don't answer your door to anybody. If you find you have to have a phone, take one out under the name of 'Arthur Turner,' and then have the number unlisted. And whatever you do, don't show your face in this neighborhood again; they're sure to maintain surveillance on this building for at least the next six months. In fact, when you leave here, you'd do well to walk out backwards. The Vug-Randolphs to be perfectly honest are morons when it comes to figuring out deviations in the spatial-temporal matrix and generally if you walk out backwards they'll waste a lot of time trying to decide whether you're coming or going...Well, I could go on but that's enough for now. Okay. Get going. Good luck, kid, and I hope by now you realize you should have stuck to the glue sniffing.”

- from “Jimmy” or the Bread Doll Fancier


I have devised numerous strategies to confound and elude these marauders. On my trip to the library last week--never mind which day it was!--I began by first entering the closet of my room, and remained there for forty-five minutes instead of going directly out the door, which may, on the face of it, sound like a big waste of time. I was, however, merely utilizing the principle of “Unexpected Closet Lurking,” as this variety of maneuver is extremely difficult for an enemy to anticipate. Later, when I actually left my room, I sensed the possibility of menace on the back stairs--and so went down by the front way. I proceeded along to the library building, following a circuitous route that involved matching my steps to the secret algebra of every third (then every fourth) traffic light; I also spent seventeen minutes loitering near the magazine rack in Big Value Drugs--and added a limp to my gait for the remaining six blocks.

- from Confessions of an American Ling Master


Commentary by Blaster Al Ackerman

...Having adopted this premise--that Ling is simply too shifty to be trusted in what he says--I find myself confronted at the outset by a pretty grave situation. In respect to the three leading groups that Ling speaks of as his “constant enemies,” (1) the Vug-Randolphs, (2) the dread Araby Society, and (3) all the rest of the horrible things he claims are out there trying to get him, what is one to think? Lucidity staggers at the very contemplation of this tangle. On the one hand, it may be that Ling means us to take these groups at face value; that, for example, when he says “beware of the Vug-Randolphs!” he really does mean “beware of this creche family of large sentient black beetles.” (If you think this sounds dingey, you ought to hear some of the other things he says.) On the other hand, knowing how often, just for the sake of secrecy, Ling will speak in code, it is perfectly possible that he means us to take the “Vug-Randolphs” as a kind of cloudy metaphor for the CIA, or the KGB, or the IRS (something like that). For all I know, “Vug-Randolphs” could even stand for some well-known cult or fraternal organization, such as the Moonies, the Scientologists, the Rotarians, or the people who go around illegally administering the high colonics.

- from the Introduction to Confessions of an American Ling Master


Commentary by Lord Valois, Bookseller & Phrenologist Extraordinaire

So that's what you've been going-on about recently! I had assumed that you were worried about your neighbors, and their family name was “Randolph,” and that they were thugs, and rather than says “the Randolph thugs,” you deferred to the French culture and used the Gallic “les Tug Randolf.” (Tug, vug, to my ear it's the same.) Not, of course, are things any clearer to me but I am now convinced an unhealthy percentage of my customers must be these creatures you so fear.

- from a personal communication to Simeon Stylites, October 20, 2011