Johnny Smoke
Erik Wennermark

This here song is about John W. Smoke Jr. … It goes something about like this.
—Butthole Surfers

John W. Smoke Jr., infamous singer, is dead.

In his long career, Mr. Smoke released 25 albums, three of which, “Johnny Gets his Gun,” “Johnny’s Got a Grip,” and “Johnny Blasts from the Past,” were international hits, selling over 5 million copies worldwide. His critical successes include “Johnny Sings from the Planet of the Apes” and “John and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,” his album of duets with Latin sensation Julio Iglesias.

John W. Smoke Jr., popular musician, died Sunday in his adopted home of Scotland. He was 57. According to Mr. Smoke’s longtime agent, Len Strumpick, the cause was cirrhosis of the eye.

Mr. Smoke was known as a musician who was keenly aware of the popular zeitgeist, shifting his style to suit the times. From his psychedelic tinged albums of the seventies, movie soundtracks of the eighties, and grunge-influenced records of the nineties, Mr. Smoke was ever able to alter his distinctive lyrics and delivery to suit a new musical style. Some light Nag Champa you dumb hippie fuck I make music like fuck make fuck though felt this to be pandering and we’re dismayed by his inability to find a signature sound. Rock critic Mel Adams believes this was the case, “I mean, I had ‘Johnny Gets his Gun’ in high school, but c’mon, who the fuck didn’t?”

On stage, Mr. Smoke took to bringing a dagger on stage and simulating mock sacrifices on stage and mock sex acts with his backup dancers on stage.

John W. Smoke, dead at 57, gingerly peeled a quail egg—the shards of mottled shell under his feet caught by the wind and blown into an exact topographical representation of the Bikini Islands—and placed it in his mouth. “Yummy,” he said.

Julio Iglesias once walked in on John W. Smoke and Gary Glitter fellating each other in the Sixty-Nine position. Iglesias’s erection was as turgid as it was instantaneous. John W. Smoke Jr., great friend of Julio Iglesias, comes from outer space.

The majority of his many fans, however, did not believe Mr. Smoke’s fluidity a disadvantage. Pete Marcus, local magician, recalls his experience of Mr. Smoke’s music: “John W. Smoke Jr., man. I’ll never forget the no call me no elf no more say do, we do, you do first time I heard him. My brother and his buddies were hanging out and of course I couldn’t hang out with them, so I’d sit outside his room and the door would be closed, but I’d sit there and listen to them talk about girls and getting laid and whatnot, but then when John W. Smoke Jr. came on I was just like what the fuck! And I’d just sit there listening until they changed it. My brother had records, you know, like vinyl, and later I’d sneak into his room when say no call me androgyny, me with mustache long as Saturn’s rings, me with cock to smack your fucked up visage he was out or whatever and put on “Johnny Hits in the Dark” and I knew were my brother kept his weed and I would roll a joint and turn off the lights and sit there, me and John in the dark, smoking weed and listening to his songs. John would sing about the loveless hate he grow up fat. he grow up fast and I just knew exactly what that was, you know?”

Shane MacGowan is thought to have been greatly influenced by John W. Smoke Jr., dead, but it also thought that Mr. Smoke would not allow the Mr. MacGowan into his castle. The Pogues bring brick up his head come crash my head. Sley. classic, “The Old Main Drag,” is thought to be rooted in MacGowan’s profound disease at the preventative exile.

When Julio Iglesias asked John W. Smoke Jr. to be godfather to his son Enrique, Mr. Smoke, now dead, categorically refused. It is thought to have put great strain on an otherwise formidable friendship.

A familiar story for lovers of John W. Smoke Jr., it seems: the older brother’s record collection, insinuations of sexual abuse, falling into the music. Escaping into the music. Sleeplessness, anxiety, psychotropic drugs. All gone, all wrapped up into one, this time, this time for John Smoke.

Upon his first listen to the classic John W. Smoke, dead, track, Lemons, Peaches, and Passion Fruit, Jacques Brel slapped his head and exclaimed, “Baise Moi!

Some in the Christian community of the Southeastern United States felt John W. Smoke was an incarnation of the devil. This belief stemmed largely from a period in the early seventies when Mr. Smoke purchased a Scottish castle and adopted an interest in the occult as well as maintained a relationship with renowned Black Magus Aliester Crowley renowned scribe of the Law of Thelema. Frequent Bacchanalian rites are known to have occurred on the Crazy Crazy World, the sentiment. Brainlessly Legglessly Hairlessly, the sentiment. Scumbag Child Boy, the sentiment. Motherfucker, the sentiment. compound, once drawing interest from Scotland Yard. There were accusations of cannibalism. It was against the law. Julio Iglesias and Farah Fawcett were both known to regularly attend. Not all agree that John Smoke is the Michael Jackson of his generation, others say Julio Iglesias is a more apt comparison.

In Florida, John W. Smoke Jr., dead, once bowled a 295. Though a devout vegetarian and early spokesperson for PETA, he celebrated with a meal of pheasant smothered in nacho cheese.

My relationship with John W. Smoke is a complicated one.
     What an asshole. Fuck you John. You haven’t made a good record in years. What else is there to say, really? What more were you? A cultural ambassador? you are glued to building on fire but I have solvent so your fear is not enough. It is flame retardant I think not, despite your safari kit and concern for the world’s hungry. I’ve been sitting here puzzling over this for a while now and that’s really about all I can come up with. I was down at the bar the other night and I admit I’ve never really been a huge fan—.
      Let’s do it for him! Do it for John!

“Do what thou wilt,” said John W. Smoke Jr. to Julio Iglesias when the latter asked him if he believed a recording of Balkan funereal music would be a wise career move. Iglesias apparently thought better of the idea and telephoned Willie Nelson. We all know the resultant gift. A prayer to the heavens manifest on Earth not unlike the fabled tablets of Moses.

“I remember when the needle came down with a splash of static. I smiled and mewed under Johnny’s voice. I starting to shake. Contorting motions, throwing my shoulders forward, arching back, my arms sweeping down, clawing sharted sugars shushed from ruby lips, in caskets of lime with fingers curled. Feet shuffling the whole time, back and forth, tapping up and down, my legs driving the motions along a straight line, then back again. I cut through the ash that piled on the floor,” said Milton Archer, elementary school principal.

Len Strumpick, John W. Smoke Jr.’s longtime agent, was star witness in the war crimes trial of deposed Yugoslavian strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

John W. Smoke, dead, had a peculiar fascination with the biblical figure Jonah. A complete sperm whale skeleton hung from the roof in the atrium of his castle. Dianne Arbus took an influential photograph of Twiggy, naked, straddling the whale’s jawbone that hung 20 meters from the ground. The reflection of a disgruntled Julio Iglesias can be seen in the gleam of her cornea.

Helen McElroy, grocery store clerk, has forever longed for John W. Smoke Jr., dead. A shrine to him, still living, encompasses the entirety of the guest room. This made things difficult for guests, who were forced to sleep on a faux leather sofa that resulted in an uncomfortable clamminess of the back when awakened. After a time, Helen McElroy had no guests. She considers this a worthwhile trade-off.

Holland Cotter, deceased, illustrious New York Times art critic, has ass fanta ass fanta ass fanta ass fanta no time for John W. Smoke Jr., recently deceased. “He sucks my old man balls,” said Cotter ruefully.

It is widely rumored that Farah Fawcett is the mother of Enrique Iglesias. It is even more widely rumored that John W. Smoke Jr. is the father.

In lieu of flowers, the estate of Mr. Smoke asks well-wishers and fans to make a charitable donation to a charity of their choice. “Anything will do,” confirmed Mr. Strumpick.

Goodnight Cleveland!

Erik Wennermark writes prose in Hong Kong. Another story of his appeared in LIES/ISLE #6.