Excerpt from Agony: a proposal:

The Behavior Of Generals

Joe Wenderoth


An individual who maintains a Petique-Word on his belly even after Petique Fo’ Sho’ has ended is referred to as a General.  Generals are frowned upon, typically, but so long as they maintain their Resumes, they are condescendingly tolerated.   

There are two kinds of Generals: Union Generals and Confederate Generals.  The difference between the two is simply stated: Confederate Generals wear Outfits, while Union Generals opt to conceal their fetish.  

Illustration of a thirtyish businessman in a suit—caption: Union General, and then of plain-looking sixteen year old girl with an Outfit on—caption: Confederate General.

The harshest view of a Union General is that he is simply a coward—too weak to admit to his own habits, and too vain to imagine that these habits might originate in something other than his own soul.  The most forgiving view of Union Generals posits them as cynical, or even as humble pragmatists.  In this view, the concealment they practice is understood as coextensive with maturity—a certain invulnerability to cheap drama. 

Those sympathetic to Union Generals imagine them as devotees of solitary pleasure.  Imagined this way, a Union General might be heard to say: “I just love the feel of the marker on my belly,” or even: “I love to know I have a word on my belly when the people around me think my belly is blank.” 

Confederate Generals are rarer, and are usually perceived as downright wacky.  A Confederate General will almost never understand (or at any rate, accept) that he has a fetish at all, and this proud naiveté forms the whole foundation of his character.

To love something so much, and to be so completely oblivious to what it is that one loves, Confederate Generals seem, at times, to be the epitome—a bold shameless emblem—of the Nameless Soul. 

At other times, Nameless Souls think of Confederate Generals as completely incapable of civility, numbly adrift in the strange, empty machinations of an exhausted tantrum.