In which Christopher
Pappas tells a tale of a pimp called Kaiser Permanente, who says the bitch
betta have his money – but he ain’t payin’ for no more ‘Brel..
BY CHRISTOPHER PAPPAS
Good times on tour? Sure, I’ve had a few. Like most
musicians, I have my fair share of pretty wild stories; women, drugs, Waffle
House – you name it. But hey: when you have close to 300 followers on Twitter
and the cash flow of indie-rock record sales – it’s hard not to get caught up
in the world of extreme excess.
However, when I was asked (via my publicist’s assistant’s
publicist) to write a “Most Fucked Up Thing” for Blurt, I wanted to really dive deep. No one-night stands, or silly
booze-binges. All of those are fun, yeah, but everyone has those stories. I
searched my mind for what, I believe, is truly the most fucked up thing I’ve
ever been a part of. And though I tried to avoid it – I came to one impassable
conclusion: I had to tell my big secret.
I currently have a $1600 a month drug habit.
It’s not cocaine, or crack. Not heroin, either. Nor is it
pain-killers, uppers, downers, or middlers. Mood stabilizers, mood
de-stabilizers, rounders, crankers, pop-ups, hoo-diddles, or toe-tinglers are
all peanuts compared to this drug. No, the drug I need is really underground.
You know what? You’ve probably never even heard of it.
I was in my mid 20’s when I first got addicted to sweet lady
Enbrel (to which, henceforth I will refer to by its street name “Brel”). One
afternoon, after seeing someone on TV do it, I decided to try it for myself, to
(as the program said) see if it was right for me. I mean hell: All the people
on T.V. ‘Brelling ended up running through fields and stuff – and it was always
sunny. And that’s exactly what it was like: When I had my Brel – everything was
always sunny, and I was always running through golden fields.
Well, even the deepest pockets in the ‘biz (that’s what we
people in the business call “the business”) end up empty from time to time, and
it quickly became clear: I was either going to need to find some money fast or
give up Brel. (Author’s note: Kickstarter hadn’t been invented yet – or I would
have just done that.)
That’s when I met him.
He was a sweet talker. Rich, powerful, owned a bunch of
fancy buildings downtown. I was immediately drawn to an intangible quality of
his, that, I guess I could only describe as, his money. Because, see: he had a
lot of it – and he was just giving it away.
“The deal is simple, sweetie.” he said. I blushed.
“You just give me 300 bucks a month, and I’ll pay for your
“All I have to do is pay you each month, and you’ll take
care of the rest?” I asked dumbfounded. “What’s the catch?”
“No catch,” he said as he turned to walk away.
“Sir!” I called after him, “Watch should I call you?”
He turned and tipped his hat: “You can call me The Kaiser.”
From then on The Kaiser’s role in life became permanent, or
as the Spanish would call it – permanente.
And when the first of the month came around I walked down to one of his office
buildings (right near a marijuana dispensary that was shut down by the FEDS) to
give him his money.
“Beautiful, baby – nice to see you.”
“This money is good” he continued, “I’m just going to need
an upfront payment of $500 that I’ll need to deduct from your account.”
“Oh, well – okay,” I stammered, “I guess that’s a fair
“Don’t worry – its only once a year.” He assured me.
“So, do I just give you a check?” I asked, holding out the
check I had written.
Right then, a golden eagle swooped down and snatched the
check out of my hand and flew back up to a high bell tower, which, up until
this point, I had not noticed. I swore I heard thunder strike somewhere off in
the distance. .
Month after month, I would see The Kaiser to drop off my
payment, and this went on without incident; until one month.
“Hey, sexy robo-sex-a-matronic.” He said.
“I’ve got your check.” I told him, holding it out to let the
golden eagle grab it.
“Great,” he said, “But unfortunately, you have to cover the
cost of your own drug now.”
“Wait – what?” I nervously sputtered.
“Listen, sweet honeydew melon cake,” (I blushed) “I offer a
premium service here, which is why you pay a premium price.”
“But you can only benefit so much from it, and
unfortunately, your benefits have run out.”
“Oh.” I responded, dejected. “So, I’ve hit the end of my
benefits. So, I guess I stop paying this premium?”
“Oh no!” He snorted, “You keep paying me that.”
“But wait -” I was confused. “If you’re not paying for my
drug anymore, why would I pay you?”
He snapped his fingers and the eagle swooped down, stealing
the check right from my hands.
He looked right at me:
“Don’t mess with me kid. I got friends all the way to the
top – you will pay me every month.”
“The top!” I laughed, “What – like, the president?”
“Yeah, right,” I shot back, “Like the president would make
it a law that I have to pay you.”
He laughed his high-pitched laugh that told me – this did,
in fact, go all the way to the top.
What did I get myself
So there it is: the most fucked up thing I could think of.
Me, a highly Google-able musician that’s been featured on several weblogs,
stuck like a prostitute, working for a pimp named The Kaiser.
I’m not proud of it, but we all do what we need to do. So
every month I drop off a check to his office and every month he finds a new
inventive way to get out of paying for my Brel.
But hey – I choose to look on the bright side; I’m hoping to
use my huge fame to perhaps shed light on this fucked up thing, and to let the
others out there, just like me, know: there’s no hope. You’re fucked.*
(*Note: Apparently, there is hope – I’ve recently read in
several periodicals and internet message boards, that other countries have
figured out a way to weed out this type of prostitution. Perhaps, someday, America will
catch on to this idea that has worked in every other westernized country, and
we won’t have to suffer at the hands of people like The Kaiser anymore.)
latest album Hark & Other Lost Transmissions is out now. Details at www.miracleparade.com
MIRACLE PARADE – “THE DYING PHYSICIST”