It might be important to know, but perhaps it isn’t, that the character, Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein, cannot speak, is a corpsable gorilla (likely), likely multiple corpsable gorillas (less likely), and on weekends (note: weekends not depicted in this narrative), commonly dressed with feathers scatter-tied to portions of his/her naturally occurring fur coat. For purposes of better imagining (understanding that imagination is weak these days):
The literal start of the story or “ACT I”: Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein, part-time mad scientist (freelance), full-time White House veterinarian, backup backup White House Press Secretary (in cases of emergency), walking along the sidewalk outside the White House gates, walking through the gates, walking up to the White House side door (not smoking cigarettes, never smoking cigarettes), crawling through the doggy slip (as has been instructed of Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein), petting Lily-Anne.
“Dr. Zjockenstein! So glad you could make it on such short notice.”
President John C. President (henceforth President President), obviously excited, moving his limbs as if relieved (said movement involving a lamentable slow-flapping of the arms in conjunction with the off-timed rise and fall of the legs).
“Lily-Anne, do you mind fetching me some cold lemonade? I’d like two ice cubes.”
“Of course, dear.”
Once Lily-Anne’s out of ear-shot:
“As you can tell, I need new lungs.”
For weak imaginations, what it means to appear, visibly, to need new lungs:
“My presidential medical staff, every last one of them, is out golfing—out smacking whiffle balls—on the lawn of the National Mall. Can you imagine it? One hundred and fifty men, all in scrubs, riffing whiffle balls back and forth with their nine irons. Supposed to be catered, too. Apparently, they’ve had it scheduled for months.
“I figured, you’re a doctor, and I’m not much different than Gertrude, can you fix me up?”
Fastforward: President President laid out atop the kitchen bar, opened wide, the presidential children swinging in their chairs—chairs anchored to the underside of the bar—licking ice cream, and Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein removing President President’s presidential lungs, both gleaming pink and dripping red, replacing them with two medium-sized duffle bags. Duct tape until tomorrow, when the actual presidential medical staff—the designated drivers—are available for stitching and things.
“Dr. Zjockenstein, I’ve never had better. Honest! See, your focus work with African elephants paid off! Now do you mind checking out Gertrude? Her heart-guard pill? Her liver pill? Her anti-anxiety medication? Taking her for a walk?”
“Don’t forget her presidential affiliation medication, dear.”
“That’s right, almost slipped my mind (President President, well known for the memory of a wet soap bar)—thanks Lily-Anne!—and her presidential affiliation medication. Of course, you’re plenty familiar with all that—though this is Gertrude we’re talking about here, can’t be too careful.”
The presidential children immediately, at the hint of concern for Gertrude, abandoning their seats swinging at the kitchen bar, their ice cream cones, crowding Gertrude with affectionate hugs and kisses, imploring Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein: “You’ll take care of Gertrude won’t you Dr. Z? Please Dr. Z, we couldn’t bear not having sweet Gertrude. Please Dr. Z.”
They’re sweet kids, the presidential children, honestly. They should be in films.
Subsequently, Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein walking Gertrude, a petty Lab with red, white and blue tinsel extensions weaved into her leg hair (you know what a dog looks like, right? An American dog? American dogs are Labradors.), property, officially, of the White House.
Does it matter that all of the Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockensteins, deteriorating the way they are, corpsing, does it matter to this narrative that they (and/or he/she), in transit back from the National Zoo, are powwowing with zoo protesters; that, in secret meetings, Zjockenstein(s) is (are) an outspoken proponent of subversive de-zooifying techniques (Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein(s) cannot speak?)?
Later in the week, the same presidential workweek: President President manhandling fiscal policy like a champ. Joking it up with his secret service manlies (a hyper batch; boys bodied as men (mostly)). They are secret servicing him aggressively (inwardly), they are secret servicing him casually (outwardly).
President President on the cellular phone (flip-style):
“Dr. Zjockenstein? Is this Dr. Zjockenstein? Dr. Zjockenstein! Can you be here soon? At the White House.”
After completing his phone call, President President’s secret service manlies applaud him generously, some resorting even to ‘hooting’ and ‘hollering’ when he’s flipped closed his cellular phone.
In reference to the previous section of narrative in which “President President [is] manhandling fiscal policy like a champ.” A visual depiction, again, for weak imaginations:
Later in the day, the same presidential workday (depicted earlier with the phone call: “Dr. Zjockenstein?…”) or “ACT II”: “I don’t know exactly how this happened—Heavens! If I would’ve known, why I, I—but it appears anyway that my White House Press Secretary and my backup White House Press Secretary, both of them are tied up tonight. One’s daughter has a thing, and the other one is good friends with the one’s daughter and so, too, is attending the aforementioned thing.”
President President pausing, working out the dual relationship to the thing in his head. Quits (aforementioned thinking of the aforementioned thing).
“So anyway, I’ve got a room full of press in the back, they’re in the garage actually, and I need someone to announce my new motorcycle. I bought a Yamaha. Yamaha’s patriotic, right? American? Just yesterday I saw the most beautiful man on the television, he was wearing dark sunglasses and he had this magnificent black mustache. Most American thing I’ve seen in years, this guy. It was almost as American as the bear I saw eating a lit firecracker in Yellowstone (the catalyst, it is suspected, for President President’s successful bid for the White House in which he toured the country feeding firecrackers to the captive bears of local zoos). And he was riding—(President President famously placing the palm of his hand over the receiver of his cellular phone in order to address Gertrude): Gertrude. Gertrude! No, get out of the garbage receptacle this instant. Down! Good girl—he was riding a Yamaha. At least it feels like he was riding a Yamaha, how he was straddling it. Anyway, are you up to it? Presenting it to the press? ….The Yamaha motorcycle I just bought.”
Fastforward: Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein in a tuxedo unveiling the Yamaha under spotlight, presenting the Yamaha, cameras flashing, one hand on the hip, the other hand, appropriately, elegantly, guiding attention to the features of the Yamaha: handlebars, seat, wheels, fenders, engine.
For weak imaginations (some American readers not having experience imagining Yamaha motorcycles):
Later, tie off: Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein analyzing Labrador lab results from the presidential Labrador, Gertrude, at home after work (nearly the weekend), checking [his/her/their] email inbox: new messages from Lily-Anne (What!?).
For weak imaginations, and for those unfamiliar with the modern appearance of the Hotmail emailing platform (a not uncommon choice among men and women of an evil disposition (a subset of which requiring an electronic mailing apparatus of an equally evil quality)):
Is it important that, for this narrative, Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein’s mother, Monte Jane President, is revealed to be the mother also of John C. President—President John C. President (President President)—and that of the Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockensteins, the primary Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein, the Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein participating in both the Official White House Press Release on President President’s New Yamaha (ACT II) and President President’s near fatal (we didn’t tell you?), but ultimately successful lung transplant (ACT I), is not the same Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein as the Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein that rounds out the final portion of this narrative and that that Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein (the final, rounding-out-the-lastly-narrative-portion-one or “ACT III”) is, roughly, the same age as President President, and so is, one assumes, President President’s fraternal twin?
An illustration of the potential confusion that this may produce (arguably) in the reader (if the reader is sorely in lack of imagination and, in that state of lack, cannot decipher the appropriate level of potential confusion that could be considered in the wake of the immediately preceding statements of potential fact):
Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein, ever falling apart, sneakily procuring a double report of the Labrador lab results: a botched copy for the president, a copy for Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein, the lab results having particular significance in the research and development of Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein’s key part-time evil planning (contain yourself, the evil plan is forthcoming—you evil fiend).
Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein cooking up some wizardry, some frigid lightless concoction, some disharmonic pantheon-crushing maelstrom, some dark gorgeous venture. Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein fielding evil phone calls, bragging to his evil colleagues (silently?)—
Grendel: “O, M, G—you didn’t! You did! A copy of the Labrador lab results?!”
Gollum: “You’ve always been a sly fiend, Zjockenstein, I’ll give you that. A sly fiend…”
Gaga: “Honestly, I don’t know. I’m sure Beyoncé will get over it, but I’d watch out for Jay. You know how Hova’s been mothering Brooklyn.”
—Excuse us, please, for suspending once again the progress of the story-telling. We understand that you love story-telling. As do we. But: according to our findings, sponsored by the International Imagination Conglomerate of Cincinnati (IICC)(as reputable an organization as they come), the information we have just revealed (prior to the image on the previous page—what that image was attempting to illustrate the effect of when said information collided with the average readerly imagination—secret information as of yet not approved for consumption in the non-italicized portions of this narrative (at least semi-secret information) that has been known to alter the perceptions of some readers, causing them to recalculate their previously imagined concepts of what Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein(s) looks like in relation to President President. This is an imaginative error. Don’t look back. You had it right the first time, we promise. Here, consider this: how Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein (singular, in this instance) looks on the telephone (poor little weak imaginations—so weak—can you even translate words at all?):
(Similar recalculated imaginings are expected to retroactively impact images described in this text in conjunction with the claymation and live action versions of Evil! Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein!! (Both versions in post production; The Malleable Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein and Evil? Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein? Respectively (their current working titles)). Participants in test screenings have been noted to comment on how President President is described too dissimilarly to Ryan Gosling in the text and to contend with Gertrude’s depiction as a Labrador (a Schnauzer in the claymation).)
Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein, ever self aware, catching himself becoming overly excited, resigning himself to the basement, his goat-horned conglomerate scotch taping him up where his corpsable areas are in advanced stages of corpsing.
Renewing him. Relaxing him. Reviving him.
Pumping him up with some Van Halen.
Coaching him in advance of him completing his evil plan.
A sneak peak: the evil plan (as translated and transcribed by non-evil, narratorial hands for consumption by your average readerly fiend (your average reader naturally tending toward evil and therefore well conditioned for—though not quite fully—the casual—but still intense—pleasure of understanding and following an evil plan in progress):
Hoohaw! Evil evil evil, now now now! Diabolical, crucifyingly burdensome, excruciatingly malevolent, maddeningly unholy, demented, socialistically inclined, but with a negative bent (as is socialism proper, of course—America!), anarchy, destruction—Mwaa Ha Ha Ha—death death death, evil evil evil, now now now!
That, perhaps, was not Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein’s plan after all (or what the group of them—each Zjock Zjockenstein—had mutually considered), that being, we assume, a narratorial lapse in judgment, a reflection of the narration itself, perhaps. We slap our own wrists two, no three times. We beg you: forgive us! Trust us! We kneel and plead! We can’t bear mistrust! We want your heart! Your soul!
Oh, thank you for coming around (gratitude contingent upon your continued reading)…
Your prize (“ACT III”: Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein’s true, evil plan): Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein’s going to mess up Gertrude.
Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein, suited in meat, dripping—an amoral stench—as tall as evil gets (quite tall in fact), as wide as evil gets (a fair bit wide), checking the tire pressure of his bicycle, making sure he has plenty of water (that’s not water), a putrid note humming in his throat (a massive throat), breathing slowly in, breathing slowly out, mad scientisting madly, the late hour, Bunsen burners burning Bunsen-appropriate combustibles, processing further the zippy, bubbling, mordantly-indentured amalgam.
Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein, so evil that he doesn’t even think of President President’s family: of Lily-Anne, of the kids (all 3 to 5 of them, always anchored and swinging at the kitchen bar, licking ice cream), of President John C. President himself (Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein’s own twin brother (possibly)), how the lot of them will swell noticeably around the place where they keep their eyes, how they will dispense salt-liquids therefrom, each hovering over the body, choking the way salt-water dispensing persons choke, sucking with their noses the substances salt-water dispensing persons generate from their noses, the whole scene of it blitzed with flashing camera bulbs, strobe whites pinging off their backs while in huddle formation, Gertrude’s paws visible in the photos, the leg tinsel twinkling between the gaps in their legs, but not the rest of Gertrude, the garbled portions, the particulars mutated into the roots of the eastside White House trees.
Understanding that this does not always translate (imaginatively) to what Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein (the group of them, if there is more than one) is not imagining:
Actually, you’ll excuse us if we ask you to re-read the paragraph: our hands are tired…
Beginning of new presidential workweek: Monday: Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockerstein (which one?), part-time mad scientist (freelance), full-time White House veterinarian, backup backup White House Press Secretary (in cases of emergency), walking along the sidewalk outside the White House gates, walking through the gates, walking up to the White House side door (shoulders visibly smoking), crawling through the doggy slip (Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein), petting Lily-Anne.
And President President, his familiar voice: “Doctor Zjockenstein…it’s Getrude…her tinsel is falling out! Can you help her?”
Tuesday: Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockerstein (if there are more than one, do they alternate?), part-time mad scientist (full-timing it lately), full-time White House veterinarian (weekdays), backup White House Press Secretary (promoted after his eloquence in dealing with President President’s Yamaha), walking along the sidewalk outside the White House gates, walking through the gates, walking up to the White House side door (smoking cigarettes), crawling through the doggy slip (expertly), petting Lily-Anne.
And Lily-Anne: “President President’s out at a conference today…”
Wednesday: Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockerstein, mad scientist, full-time White House veterinarian, Lily-Anne’s official mistress(es), backup White House Press Secretary (pretty much the Official White House Press Secretary after President President’s conference drinking issues get bungled up in transmission), jogging along the sidewalk in downtown Washington DC, entering a hotel, checking in under the name Susan Lincoln Washington (Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein, you dog!), petting Lily-Anne (smoking cigarettes, afterward).
(The presidential children, licking ice cream, swinging in their seats at the presidential bar: “Dr. Z, what is that you’re feeding Gertrude? Where is our mother?”)
Thursday: Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockerstein (the evilest one), mad, full-time White House veterinarian (has been for several terms for multiple presidencies), White House Press Secretary (it seems to be a state of emergency), ducking along the sidewalk outside the White House gates (the White House heavy with Thursday paparazzi), jumping the back gate (the secret service manlies preoccupied in video gaming with President President), walking up to the White House back door (virtually a figure of smoke), using the door handle (how he has been waiting for this day), petting Gertrude.
Sneaking back out with Gertrude.
Burying Gertrude before the transformation becomes apparent.
And President President, jovially, having just creamed his secret service manlies in a Call of Duty tournament (or so he has been led to believe), addressing the captain: “Kyle, I’ve been thinking—or talking with my wife, rather—do you think that Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockenstein is evil?”
If you feel you need to imagine Kyle (you don’t):
Friday: Evil Doctor Zjock Zjockerstein, sleeping in, weekending early (he’s accrued an unholy amount of vacation hours), full-time White House veterinarian, no longer White House Press Secretary (his/her silence proving less helpful in this occupation), responding finally to Lily-Anne’s emails using his laptop (breaking up is hard to do), watching the television, every channel broadcasting the commotion, it being quite the to do, what is happening on the eastside White House lawn today, under the trees.
Imaginations, we are told, are not unfamiliar with TV screens (an aspect of their downfall, some say); however, Doctor Zjockenstein owns a particular model, and so, what it appears like when he is watching when it is unfolding (distance imagined from the recliner):
Imaginations, we are told, simply can’t understand at that range what is happening on the television. So, a closer view:
Later, after the reanimated Gertrude is subdued:
“John, see, I told you you shouldn’t have hired an evil doctor.”
“Rehired, Lily, rehired. He’s been on staff for years!”
Nick Francis Potter is still married. He currently writes and draws things in Providence, RI where he is making friends. His stories have appeared in Caketrain and >kill author, criticism at The Collagist. Also, the “potential confusion” illustration featured in this story was actually drawn by Nick’s son, Atlas (age 2).