Open Letter to Rachel Dolezal from Johnny Americana

Note from the Blog Custodian: Since “paddytheduke” the normal blog contributor is being held against his will in an undisclosed location until he agrees to post this love letter, we at The Alembic are all too eager to see the matter resolved. Mr. Johnny Americana, a somewhat dumb-headed and lonely old acquaintance of “paddytheduke’s,” has demanded the use of this platform to profess his love to Rachel Dolezal, former head of the NAACP’s Washington State chapter. Mr. Americana, while purpose driven and blind with passion has always had the somewhat debilitating deficiency of being obsessed with women he sees on television while paying no real attention to context. Mr. Americana’s letter is posted as part of an agreement to release Mr. “The Duke” as soon as possible and we wish him the best of luck. Go right ahead, Mr. Americana.

Dear Rachel, First, allow me a quick introduction. My name is Johnny. Last name, Americana. Americana like the coffee type and believe you me, I like my coffee black. Always have. Pure, delicious, and smoking hot. Next, let me tell you that I am outraged. As much as I can piece together you’ve been forced to resign from your post as head of the NAACP. What type of world do we live in where a black woman is somehow deemed unfit to head an organization for the advancement of the black community? It’s the most hypocritical thing I’ve ever heard. I can’t stand hypocrites and I’m sure you feel the same way. People all trying to be who they are not, and not be who they are. Washington State, no less? I always assumed the upper west side of the United States was a place of tolerance that didn’t judge people by the color of their skin. Well my “assuming” about Spokane, Washington has made an ass out of you and me, as the saying goes. A great big round curvy ass. I’m here for you Ro-shella. I’ve been watching you on the TV down at the coin laundromat where I hang out. The sound is busted, but I don’t need volume to tell me that you’ve got a problem and that I am the man to solve it.

Here’s the deal. I know in this world you can never be too sure about yourself, but I’m pretty convinced I’ve fallen in love with you. Madly. Suffocatingly. Blindingly. I’ve never felt this way before. I’m like a different person. My old friends don’t even recognize me. I can’t take my eyes off the TV screen when the camera is on you in all your Nubian splendor. I know this might seem weird, a total stranger putting his fragile emotions on the line, but I believe in being honest and upfront. So first, I’m in love with you. Second… I’m white.

Now Shelly, before you brush me aside, let me assure you that all white people aren’t poisonous little devils. In fact, there are many of us that have a lot to offer. I’m not sure how much time you’ve spent around caucasian folk, maybe none at all, but we’re an okay bunch once you get to know us. In fact, let me offer up a little history from a decent set of white people. I’m speaking of course about the sitting Supreme Court of 1967.

It was destiny last Friday, June 12th when I first caught sight of you on one of them news channels. If you didn’t know, June 12th, in these United States, is known as “Loving Day” in honor of the landmark Supreme Court case that made it legal for people of different races to whistle at each other, flash their things at each other and marry each other, even though I’m a little sketchy on the fine print. I’m no lawyer although I work for one from time to time. He is a fraud lawyer. Mostly because he handles fraud cases but also because I’m not sure he is an actual lawyer. I get a cut of the lawsuit every time I fall on slippery floors in supermarkets and dart out in front of fancy cars. I’m ashamed to admit I spend my life tricking people. I hope you aren’t turned off by that. It takes a lot of skill to get hit by a car and not get hurt but act like it. Anyway the great Supreme Court of 1967, led by the honorable barrister Hugo Black, told us Americans that we can marry any chick we damn well please. Hugo Black? “Don’t mind if I do.”

Listen Shel-Shel, if we hurry up and get this thing going we can be married by this time next year. June is always a beautiful time of year for a wedding. We can have the ceremony somewhere that appreciates diversity. Forget Washington State. I’ve got friends in Alabama, Mississippi, Rural Georgia, and South Carolina–real freedom-lovers that would be glad to see two people of mixed race stand up to old taboos.

Ray-Ray, I can’t wait to meet your parents. I can only imagine the look on their faces when I show up to the house. Boy won’t that be funny. They’ll think you’ve gone crazy! I know they will be able to get over their prejudices and come to accept me into the family. First off, I never work on Martin Luther King day. In fact I took the whole month of February off last year (Black History Month!) but that was because I got hit with a golf ball at this uppity white country club. They knew what was good for them and settled out of court.

Sweet Ray our kids will be beautiful. I have acne and psoriasis so I hope that they have your beautiful brown skin and tight curls. Who knows, with you by my side the sky is the limit. I could be mayor of New York City. Imagine that?

So here is what I’m going to do. You just give me the make, model and license plate number for Cornell Brooks’s car. As head of the NAACP he has to have some major pull and after he runs over a pedestrian some time next week, he’ll be more than happy to reinstate you back to your old position in order to clear up the whole fiasco. That’s how strong my love is. Not many people can say that and mean it. Even if you don’t get your old job back I will be able in the next couple of months to provide a comfortable life for us as long as reckless supermarkets keep creating hazardous conditions for the general public and cars fail to yield for pedestrians that appear out of nowhere.

Heartsick and white as fuck,

Johnny Americana.

P.S. I’m very broad minded. I don’t know if you’re into role playing but I’ve always been a little on the kinky side. I’ve got some 18th century costumes. I’ll even let you be Thomas Jefferson and I’ll be Sally Hemings. If that isn’t downright progressive then I don’t know what is.


American Cleopatra

It came as a shock to horse racing fans everywhere on Monday when the news broke. After a stunning Triple Crown triumph, the first in 37 years, the prized horse “American Pharoah” announced to a sea of microphones, flashbulbs and frantic reporters that he was really a mare trapped in a steed’s body. Repeat–He confessed he is a female horse trapped in a male horse’s body. How? Through a complicated combination of hoof clops and whinnying and with the help of a rare equine translator, the thoroughbred champion admitted to grappling with issues of gender identity.

“I ponder my reflection in the water trough. I see this beautiful mane, this slender neck, radiant coat and these callipygean haunches and I know that there is a female horse inside of me who is just crying to get out,” he communicated.

The announcement ends rampant speculation about some of American Pharoah’s more questionable habits. Repeated trips to the groomer. Excessive prancing. His obsession with only the finest Neuhaus Belgian chocolates. Rumored collagen injections. His fascination with the drag performer RuPaul and other tendencies typically not seen in any horse, champion or otherwise.

“I’d like to add further,” said American Pharoah, “I understand that this announcement is not without recent precedent.”

The owners of the history-making stallion, the Zayat family, could not be reached for comment, although they are likely very distressed at the possibility of losing potential stud fees of up to $100,000 a foal due to lack of interest. American Pharoah tried to appease such concerns, but avoided questions about his sexuality, simply clopping out a vague, “I like what I like.”

“Sure he can still sire champions,” said an anonymous source close to the Winstar breeding company, “but will he be able to sire champions that aren’t all wishy-washy?”

The reaction among the classic breeder dynasties reflects a somewhat outdated, conservative attitude toward issues of gender among the handful of elite stallions in the racing community. With so much at stake, though, they may be forced to temper their atavistic stereotypes. A winner is a winner, no matter what their personal issues may be. “I’m not at all surprised, really,” the source continued. “We oversee his father, Pioneerof the Nile. There’s a dandy if there ever was one. He’s got to huff male urine before he can get excited. Not even Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet got that weird. And it takes him like five mounts to get the job done and he’s got to have a mirror positioned just so he can watch himself the whole time and his favorite movie is Spartacus. We all know what that adds up to. It’s like everybody knows but nobody wants to talk about it. It’s the five-hundred pound gorilla in the room, or to be blunt, the five-hundred pound big gay horse.”

A few of the descendants of the late “Mr. Ed” remarked that their great-grandfather, a notorious bigot, would’ve been horrified at the announcement. “A horse is a horse of course but guys is guys and dames is dames and I’d rather be trapped by the red commie scourge than watch some galloping twist let it all hang out for the gossip mags,” was one of his more common outbursts, usually after he had gotten into his gin.

Not everyone was critical of the announcement. There was a whinny of relief from some of American Pharoah’s competitors who applauded the courage it took to admit to something so personal. “I always knew,” clopped a horse named Frosted. “Actually I think there is a lot more of this type of thing in the business than any stallion would care to admit. Hell, half the reason he wins is because the other horses get behind him to watch his ass while he runs.”

One thing is clear. The trend is trending. The road is wending. The gender is bending. Today’s male sports hero is tomorrow’s centerfold model. Retirement is a tricky thing. Nobody wants to believe that their life is reduced in the golden years to some sort of epilogue where they sit around and wonder whence all the glory and fame and honor have returned. It is particularly vexing for male athletes. The body will simply not be able to meet the demands of rigorous professional competition as it approaches its fiftieth, sixtieth year. And if the sport is particularly grueling, as it is in a contact sport like football, the lesions on the brain from season after season of heavy collisions will leave little to no ability for academic pursuits. What then but a feminine ideal to be objectified and adored. They already have the muscle tone. The testosterone dwindles naturally. A nip here and a tuck there and suddenly there is a whole new career as a pinup gal, something to inspire the fellows fightin’ overseas and to add that bit of feminine mystique to the dull routine of life stateside.

Already the winning stubs from the Belmont race are being sought after as collector items. There is still upwards of $300 grand worth of unclaimed winnings. It is one thing to hold the winning ticket for a triple crown winner, it is another entirely to hold it for the first transgender triple crown winner. If the business model proves lucrative there will be a range of sports stars who make the jump to womanhood. LeBrana James, Tory Aikman, and Bo Derek Jeter will be just a few of the names that’ll be circulating in the upcoming decades. As for American Pharoah, the sky is the limit. There was no mention of a name change. Not yet, anyway. I think American Cleopatra has a nice ring to it. She will be in attendance at all the important galas. She will model the latest in European caparisons. She will bathe in rosewater and attar. She will keep the farriers busy with constant re-shoeing, something in a pump, perhaps, as she struts across the bluegrass hills of Kentucky, a grand symbol of the power of the modern day female icon.

More Alembics to come.

Strippers In Space

We’ll look back at this whole thing and realize that the pursuit of comfort and ease in the outer limits started with an espresso on the International Space Station. Leave it to the Italians. In an experiment to understand the effects of being smug in outer space an engineering firm in Turin has built the first ever zero or “micro” gravity espresso maker for use on any number of spaceships. The Neil Armstrong moment came when Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, with the bone structure and hair of a Milanese runway model, sipped the first space espresso and exclaimed for the ages, “One small sip for man, one giant sip…no you can’t have any Dmitri. Why don’t you go drink some vodka? Because it’s not nine in the morning, is that it? If you can’t have a belt when you wake up then what’s the point, right? Which one of you geeks wants to rub my feet?”

Argotec, the firm responsible for the intergalactic coffee machine, is already planning to launch a low-lit space trattoria with cheeses and Italian meats–the kind that they wrap in that hemp string, as well as a wine bar where astronauts can sample the finest Sangiovese and Barbera. A place where men can whistle at the women who happen to float by, smoke rich space tobacco and play space grab-ass while their mothers weep at the feet of any number of “Virtual Mary” statues.

“In an effort to evaluate the effects of rare spices and the finest Italian wines in a zero-G environment we plan to have a full-service cafe up and running by 2020,” said an Argotec spokesman. “There will be a replica of the Trevi fountain where buxom Italian astronauts can frolic in the water in a state of carefree splendor and a small area where as many as seven Vespa scooters can try to fit in an opening clearly only wide enough for three.”

It doesn’t stop there. Already Silvio Berlusconi is planning a zero-G Bunga Bunga party high above the earth’s atmosphere, where the laws of pandering and prostitution and buggery don’t necessarily apply. The Germans are planning a zero-G beer garden, and the Netherlands is already in the process of putting together a space hash bar, although the project has experienced numerous delays since the designers are constantly distracted by “that thing over there” that looks “pretty fuckin cool” because it has “all different sorts of lights and shit.”

The early pioneers would be seething with jealousy if they knew that modern travelers didn’t have to sleep in the same soggy clothes day in and day out, risk illness and injury and rarely feed on the bodies of the dead in order to survive the treacherous journey across the Continental Divide. Instead they could just fly overhead on the same day from New York to Los Angeles with an in-flight meal, a movie and all the booze they can drink. So the generations of tomorrow will be mystified to hear about what a pain in the ass it was to get into space back in the early twenty-first century. “You mean you had to have like seven PhDs and wear big clunky suits and worry about burning up upon re-entry?” People will wonder what space was like before the rave scene took over. Old astronauts will have to explain that it was silent and cold and radiation was a constant danger but at least traffic wasn’t as bad, crime was way down and Paris Hilton wasn’t constantly having a friggin CD release space-party for some over-produced collection of off-key crap.

Innovation takes our species from conditions of privation to levels of serious indulgence. The days of chopping wood, gardening and tending the whiskey stills have given way to electric heaters, food postings on social media and bottle service poolside at the Delano. We find ourselves relying heavily on the genius of others and outraged when these creature comforts become a slight inconvenience. Thus I like to watch people pitch a fit when their flight is oversold. I like to watch people have tantrums when their coq au vin has too much “vin” or not enough “vin.” It is a stark reminder of the disparity between invention and our understanding of it when I see a car off on the side of the road pouring smoke from under the hood; while the driver stands in front of it helplessly trying to locate a virgin to throw into the engine in order to appease the angry god who runs the pistons and gearshifts.


Speaking of cars breaking down and unavailable virgins, my car broke down a few weeks ago right outside the Pink Pony Gentlemen’s Club on Buford Highway in Atlanta. A lot of cars break down there. In fact it is such a big problem that there is an on-site mechanic, Sal, who has a little garage next to the valet attendant. Sal can figure out any car’s problem, and usually when he realizes that there is no problem he can break something, fix it and work up a legitimate bill of sale that will pacify the most hysterical of housewives. He usually has it good as new in the time it takes to drink a few beers and chat with some of the bawdier members of the burlesque community. I told Sal I wasn’t sure what was wrong with my car but when I park it and shut it off it stops running. Sal said he’d take a look. Inside it was business as usual. I always have the vague feeling of being hermetically sealed off from the outside world when I’m in a strip club. There are never any windows. Everything is soundproofed, artificially lit and the air is recycled. The shots arrive in test tubes. It is difficult to keep track of time. The girls simulate legitimate interest. We listen to the unseen D.J. like he is “Hal” from “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Good lord, I thought, suddenly seeing the bigger picture. We were all part of a mad experiment. Before I knew it a young woman in a bikini descended upon me from overhead, inverted, hanging from a brass pole.

“Hi. I’m Candi, Sandi, Brandi, Mandi or Randi.”

“Nice to meet all of you,” I said. “You know something? I just realized how the inside of a strip club always feels so cut off from the outside world. It’s almost like being in outer space.”

“Maybe that is why I’m so interested in science,” she said, hovering.

“Is this your full-time gig?”

“I’m in college for aeronautics. Heading to Embry-Riddle in August.”

“Impressive. Have you heard of any plans to build a Space Pony? Some type of satellite strip joint?”

“That’s top secret,” she said, flipping herself down and dropping her feet angrily next to my head. “Who are you?” she asked, arms akimbo.


“You’re a nosy nobody.” She made some strange motion with her hands and seconds later the bouncers were behind me. I was thrown out the door faster than the speed of light. My head hit the pavement and I thought, “My god, it’s full of stars.” I hugged the ground, happy to be back on good ol’ planet earth. Some people just aren’t meant for space travel.

More Alembics to come.