[Reigian Studies.] [On behalf of the baroness.]


Have you got piles?

Have you got piles?

Found among Reig papers this other anecdote with Pep C. Cola the
hero. It seems that Reig was rummaging at Hechinger’s (which used to
be a big store with stuff for do-it-yourselves and tinkerers and such, a
warehouse that later was called Home Depot, and now I don’t know
what’s called;) he was trying to buy some pipes or tiles for his flooded
basement... Behind some tottering shelves he heard Pep C. Cola’s
croaky voice. Reig spied and saw that indeed it happened to be the
warty toad Pep, with his frog green coat asking one of the lady cashiers:

Have you got piles...?

Are you a doctor...? (Here inquired the fat lady, anticipating
maybe he, looking for all the world like a hawker of cheap nostrums,
had an ointment to offer?)

I am. (Pep said; and he was: doctor Pep, a doctor on dead
Levantine languages.)

How does it show...? (The lady asked timidly; meaning: How
did you see that I really had piles?)

Pep C. Cola must have understood “How do they look?” (his
English never too good.) So he started explaining. “Well, they are
cylindrical, of this ah, ah, ah, size, two inches long, quarter of an inch
wide, or ah, ah, two and half inches long, half an inch wide, or, see,
much, much thicker, and...”

But the fat cashier’s face had been waxing red, until exploding in tears
(I mean, her face), and her feet (the lady’s) at the same time carrying
her, running, away, far from the telling machine.

Bemused, Pep lifted his shoulders and went to the next cashier, a thin
woman with a nasty face, a nasty woman who hadn’t appreciated a bit
the way the batrachian customer had acted toward her trusting partner.

Have you got piles...?

None of your damned business, you pervert! The

That really sent him reeling; immediately, cockeyed, he inserted himself
into one of those thickly packed aisles. Reig saw him wandering lost
and wobbly along the rows and rows of machinery and lumber and

At last, doctor Pep C. Cola, gathered his pluck again and asked of a
passing pimply boy with an employee’s green-blue frock on him and a
tag with a silly name on his upper pocket. An already wary gangling
pimply boy, I might add. “Pardon me; have you got.., do you have

Piles of what...?

Well, they are those cylindrical things with a little prick at the end
and that you stick into a hole in the body of the machinery, so that it,
you know, it

That’s it! Citizen’s arrest. Homosexual solicitation!

The boy ravenously grasped Pep by the arm and drew him to the
manager’s booth in order to telephone the police...

Reig was laughing behind a row of shiny white fridges.

* – * – * – *

[Professor Pep surely disentangled the harmless mistake; “piles,” of
course, being current in Catalan for batteries. Even in English you can
say piles, as when they are Voltaic, or Nuclear, or Atomic. Piles are not
only batteries, for sure (the pile can even be the sheen in the crust of
bread,) but it’s true that for the common clerk at Hechinger’s piles
are piles

...the piles both the professor and the acolyte are afflicted with, and the
manager and the prentice, and the hen with her yolk and her white of
egg and her shell, and the wife with her “brown hatched chicks,” and the
babe with her rattle and her spite, and the snake with his hazmats, and
the more conspicuous hawk with its aegagropiles, and its gleams and
its bezoars, and the cat with her furballs, and so every other conniving
beast... Not even the least dishonest of the brahmin are immune to it...
Tapping the hoard it’s a challenge for the more glitzy too, “lift the tails
of your smock frock and fight like a soldier balked at the seat of a
murderous siege;” we are all in awe as we ponder how to pander to the
hoarse necessities the touchy bulwark presents before it can be
breached even with such a little shit of a ramming tiny push as we
dainty damsels are ever capable of... Even the precious stones
ensconced in the garbage of a moving trash train would have a hard
time of it trying to exit unnoticed... But ah the exhilarating yell when the
exuberant blast occurs and the delicate wall succumbs to our
courageous endeavors and the sacred wedding of the turd with the
blessed water takes place!

Splish-splash. Pardon the rhapsody.

And now... Did Reig ever taunt the professor with that disturbing piece
of sad vaudeville...? Or it was for him only a snatch of comic plot to use
maybe some day in the wake of a perceived slight on the froggy fellow’s
part. They went through a rough patch before they parted forever [in
1992 or 3, it was.] Pep censuring the author. Another censor;
unstomachable, no to be abid, abode, put up with, not any longer, not
with anyone anymore. Anyway... It happens all of the time everywhere,

* – * – * – *

[In connection with all that, let me now extract this from a nineteen
century Catalonian text: “Les nombroses aplicacions de la pila de
en fan una de les principals descobertes d’aquesta centúria.
La pila ve formada per una sèrie de potets de vidre amb aigua i àcid
sulfúric i, damunt, dues làmines, una de coure i una altra de zenc
amalgamat que no es toquen. Els potets apilats
horitzontalment es comuniquen amb un fil d’aquesta manera: cada
làmina de zenc d’un potet amb la làmina de coure del contigu, i així fins
a les dues làmines lliures dels potets extrems. La làmina de coure lliure
i la làmina de zenc lliure reben llavors un fil de coure (aquests dos fils
s’anomenen “reòfors,” és a dir, portadors de corrent); pel fil que es lliga
a la làmina de coure n’ix electricitat positiva i s’anomena, doncs, pol
positiu; pel fil de la làmina de zenc (el pol negatiu) n’ix l’electricitat
negativa... La tensió llavors entre els dos portadors de corrent o reòfors
depèn del nombre de potets. Tota aquesta energia així produïda podria
ésser qui-sap-lo útil en aquest segle de les meravelles científiques.”]

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