Spoofs & Satire

The Fiery Furnaces Visit the Department of Motor Vehicles

The brother-sister duo’s narrative inclinations take over during a license renewal.

Can I help the next person in line?

(approaches, hands clerk a document)
I’m plowing through a stir fry like it’s the last one ever
Tied to my porch with chicken wire and clever
When Vargas dips his fingers into my sticky rice
And up floats a letter from the DMV, very nice
I’d better run down and get my license renewed
Or my cargo line of plastic dolls from Beaconsville is screwed

OK, let’s take a look. (pause) Um, is this gentleman with you?

My brother Matt had my shoes in the cab of his blue truck
He drove out to the bad side of the bluffs with Tony, just my luck
I used the old Fiesta from the parade float to track him down
But some pirates stole the gas so Matt drove me into town
He wouldn’t give my shoes back til I told him my plans
That’s why we’re both here in line getting fluorescent tans


I’m on the ball like the trained seal from Svalbard
I brought my ownership, though the caterpillars chewed it hard
My benefactor’s agent paid my car insurance in doubloons
And I signed my organ donor’s card—I’m no poltroon

Great. I actually don’t need to see that last one. It’s your personal choice.

Mm, this process is new to me, new like the sapling tree
The one that always bends, the one struck by my friends

Yes. Well, we’re going to require a payment, either by check or—

Can I take an eyetest?
Can I take an eyetest, Sadie?

My name is Barb.

Can I take an eyetest while I’m here?
Gotta convince the magistrate that I’m clear
Or my leather goods concern goes into arrears
Mine eyes have seen the apex where the beadle scrapped my fears

We get that a lot. I could write you a note or something—

Eek, my checks blew away, into the bay
Oh no, sploosh sploosh, they blew away, whoosh whoosh,
I’m eating baba ganouj, dans la salle de douche—

It’s all right, it’s all right. Calm down. Do you have a credit card or debit card?

(pulls out credit card)
The plastic came from fossils, the numbers from business models
This belonged to the laughing Turk who hoarded morphine bottles

Well, it’s got your name on it, so that should be fine. Can you stand in the black box on the floor there? Great.

A little bird told me my pictures were worthless,
A little bird told me my pictures were smeared,
My mother looked anxious and Callum was laughing
A little bird told me about my beard

(hands over old license)

Yikes. Heh, the shadows in here do that sometimes. Your new picture will be better.

And now I’ll never, never, never, never look like that again—

God, it really does look like a beard, y’know? Big bushy thing. And it’s, like, textured or… rippling…

But I’ll never, never, never—

It’s almost grotesque. Why can’t I look away from—

Take the bloody picture, snap snap


(takes picture)

My tires gonna up and kill me one fine day
Says a pamphlet, says a pamphlet from the NHTSA
I’m reading a jeremiad on tire pressure safety
This trip wasn’t as fun as I thought it would be
Can we hoof it, can we shag it, can we crackle carpetbag it?
Can we strop yliaout aginyoh, can we ersatz Inca rag it?

Matt, shut your mouth with your amphigories
My hands would like to cut you a grave in the quarry
I need to sign this form on the dot-dot line
Survivor won’t be on until the owl hoots nine

Rush rush rush, my mind is like a Taiko drum
They’re treating that screaming child behind us like some sort of panjandrum

(whispering) I know, totally! Who brings a baby here? (louder) Soon as this prints, you’ll be on your way.

A salt lick and a star fruit peel are all the kindness I ever knew
But downy, bubbly, tremulous, I have a virgin’s love for you

Oh, OK, thanks. S’nice to be appreciated. (pause) This orphan gets no orphery stuck in a sterile phrontistery.


Orphery. It’s like this gold trim kinda stuff.



TMN Contributing Writer Michael Rottman lives like a lord in Toronto. His miscellany has appeared in print in The Fiddlehead, Grain, and Opium, and online at Yankee Pot Roast, Cracked, News Groper, and McSweeney’s. More by Michael Rottman