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Spring Imbroglio and Impasto 

Come spring people go out of their minds, slightly at first, then they get seriously intoxicated by the flowers and the tender green, and they start imitating their pets who go nuts without thinking twice. I saw four dog fights on the street, two cats locked in a noisy amorous struggle, a whole bunch of frisky baby alligators in a lake near St. Francisville, and a gaggle of inebriated poets declaiming unusually combative verse at the Gold Mine Saloon. And as if that wasn't enough, a stream of out-of-town visitors came from places where it's still cold, to catch our balmy weather, and ended up overstaying and confessing incredible things. There is really no need to repeat to anyone my friend CL's descriptions of his dominatrix ex-wife, except to say that he misses her constantly. No, not because he's a masochist. Quite the contrary. She used to take care of him like a nurse, very kindly, and only tied people up and beat them outside the house, because that was her job. I never met her but I met another dominatrix (they come out in the spring, too), a very young woman who has a pliable imagination and is in high demand by powerful people who need to be punished for being mean and arrogant. She sees herself performing a needed service and tries to stay amused about the intricate scenarios she's hired by these powerful people to follow to the letter. Need I say that most of these powerful people are lawyers? They write everything down, including their masochistic contracts, and if she deviates even by a comma, they threaten to sue. Spring spares no one, and lawyers are no exception. They frisk like dogs and cats, and heed the flowers just like every other living thing. One year I followed spring all across the country, starting early in Louisiana and catching the first timid pokes of it far north by the Canadian border. Everywhere people went mad on cue, throwing themselves into the thawing mud and inhaling the first flower. After that, they trembled until the grass greened and they leapt about in the moss like juiced fawns. The light-starved creatures of the North are susceptible to anything at such times, so it's a good time to sell them something, anything, especially if it's a crazy and useless object, such as a feather broom or a plastic grape-cluster to put on top of the television. I sell advice around this time. I see them palely loitering and I feel for them. I say, "How about I give you the answer to your existential crisis?" "Sure," they say. I then take the $30 and say, "spring." They love it, I tell you. This spring makes infants out of the hoariest scalps.

Would you like answers to life's most vexing questions? Would you like to know how to make a deal with the devil? Read Wakefield, Andrei Codrescu's new novel, a wise and practical book. $25+$5 postage from the author at PO Box 25051, Baton Rouge, La 70894, or at a bookstore near you beginning April 18.

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