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The Calivigs

It’s that time of the month again. Vigil candles are flying off the shelves all over America. If you haven’t bought up stock in the American vigil candle industry, you don’t know anything about investing.

Every time there’s a mass shooting(which is just about every month now), Americans love to congregate in front of churches and sit around with sagging faces and stare down with glazed, unseeing eyes at the candles in their hands. ‘Why, oh why do ‘they’ hate us so?’ the expressions in their faces seem to cry out, in despair.

America – the home of the evangelical progeny of ultra-orthodox Christian puritan settlers who thought they had charted every pimple on their messiah’s ass. Despair because they always thought they were the chosen ones, until they were mowed down by one of their own.

Invest in the Media stocks too. Mass murder is media goldmine. They might bleat appropriate, politically correct cliché-laden commentary, but make no mistake about it – the news networks salivate at mass murder.

While you are at it, don’t forget to invest in those ‘think-tanks’. A think tank is a typically American money machine that sucks in retired bureaucrats and college professors by the dozens – folks who love to hear the sounds of their own voices. After every mass shooting, they come out of the woodwork and let out enough hot air to fuel a zeppelin boom. Maybe you could take a look at the dirigible industry too, as a target for future investment. No, wait, I will have to clear it with my Middle-Eastern investment consultant first, a wassissname called Baghdadi.

Me, I am thinking of starting a whole new industry segment altogether – the ‘moment’s silence’ industry. I will have lobbyists get legislation passed so that observing a moment’s silence after mass shootouts shall no longer be free. That silent moment will henceforth have to be purchased from a government authorized single-source outlet (me). If there is a shooting anywhere in America and you wish to observe a moment’s silence, it shall become mandatory for you to buy it from my company, Windy Candle Inc. The rates will vary depending on the body count. And since the body count is headed north, I am optimistic I will make my first billion within a year.

This is America. You have to grab an opportunity when you see it, no?

You’ll also do well to kiss your dear ones goodbye every morning, before you leave for work. And in the evening too, when you return. Like I said, you never know when they’ll suddenly begin to gain weight, lead weight.

Vigil candles aren’t like ordinary candles. They are made of sterner stuff. They are ingeniously designed not to go off easy, staying aflame even in howling cemetery winds and chill town square vigils and concert stadium vigils. They will be on even when the windbag pastor blows hard, on how your loved ones are right now ‘in the heavenly kingdom of God’. Your hat might blow off but your vigil candle won’t.

If you research the antecedents of any one of those vigil candle manufacturers, you’ll discover that they are actually in good hands. The largest of them, Mangle Candle Inc., is an ultra-high tech spin-off set up by Glock, to take up the seasonal slack in sales of their guns. You have to be a financial sleuth to unearth the connection though.

But don’t be mad at the gun makers. They are just honoring what America’s ‘phounding phathers’ have set in stone – the right to bear arms. They are doing business in a nation of ‘god-phearing’ pholks with a literacy rate of 99% plus. Surely, they know what they are doing. And those folks just happen to love carrying guns. They love to remain in the days of the wild west even if all the injuns are now safely cooped up inside reservations.

Americans love the thud of rounds slamming into themselves, the spreading numbness, the sparkling bright tunnel and the light in the end — otherwise they would be holding referendums to ban carrying guns, wouldn’t they? They would be kicking out those redneck puppy dog politicians who grovel in front of the NRA, would they not?

In the aftermath of last night’s shooting at the Las Vegas Strip, this was the immediate reaction from the shooter, Stephen Paddock’s family….

His brother, Eric Paddock, wept as he reacted to the news. “We have no idea how this happened. It’s like an asteroid just fell on top of our family. There is no reason we can imagine why Stephen would do something like this. All we can do is send our condolences to the people who died. Just no reason, no warning.”

There never is any warning, is there? Hey, it is okay, trust me. Americans are simply getting what has always been coming to them. This here god-fearing, shoot-out country is made up of gun-toting kooks who have parents and neighbors that invariably had no inkling that this ‘thing’ was going to happen, because ‘Bobby/Fred/Tim/Burt (and now, Stephen) was always such a quiet, respectful man, loving husband and father who couldn’t hurt a fly.’

If you are a pathological candle-lit vigiler, you are a comparatively new phenomenon. You are a part of a new demographic that is growing rapidly, trying desperately to keep pace with the runaway growth of the fire-arm industry.  You have already begun organizing yourselves into a movement and you are most likely a member of a fast-expanding nationwide group of Americans who have decided to call themselves ‘The Calivigs’ (CAndle LIt VIGilist). You love candles and you love sitting around clutching each other tightly with glum, dumb-struck, tear-streaked faces.

America likes to call itself a capitalist system and true to it’s word, it has start-ups for everything, even mass shootings. Besides vigil candles, there is the burgeoning flower industry that feeds into it. If the massacre happens in a blue collar borough, the hyacinth and the lily outlets will be booming. Lower-end white collar row houses and condos will see the rose and chrysanthemum guys having a ball. Gated exclusive neighborhoods with lawns and mansions will have orchid and gardenia  merchants laughing all the way to the bank. Offended? You have no reason to be. Body-bag makers have been making a killing ever since the ‘war on terror’ began. This is America, where everything has to be larger-than-life and everything has a dollar value attached to it. And a mourning dollar is a recession-free dollar.

Even by American standards, the mass shooting at Las Vegas was huge – not your ordinary garden-variety school or mall massacre. This was not even a primary school, for crying out loud. These were grown-ups at a concert who got shot – brothers, sisters, girls, boys, fathers and mothers, aunts and uncles. This is front page material and likely to remain there for a while.

Stephen Paddock had just forty-two automatic firearms – handguns and assault rifles and just thousands of rounds of .22 and .306 ammunition – boo! That’s right, just 42 piddly little pea-shooters with a caliber that can barely manage to bring down a Kodiak bear. Scandalous. America is growing soft. Back in the days, massacres were massacres. You had dramatic drive-bys and serial shooters on top of university towers with peanut butter sandwiches and coffee and radio blasting Kris Kristofferson, to sustain them while they went about the difficult task of gaining attention. In the end they went into the sunset, guns blazing – they got blasted off their feet with a cop’s sniper rifle and their brains got splattered all over the rooftop. Now that would be a massacre’s massacre – something worth debating about on network TV talk shows.

But this time? Just 50 dead. The Glock and Colt CEOs are in a huddle as I write. They had established a benchmark of 100 as being a decent month, though they figured they could ‘break even’ and be happy at maybe 60 a month on an average. The much awaited candle-boom seems like it is fizzling out. Mass murdering white Americans just aren’t that mad enough anymore. Mangle Candle Inc. may be up for sale soon if the death toll doesn’t rise.

The scale of the Vegas killing is so insignificant that the NRA hasn’t even bothered to go on network TV yet. Oh, I forgot to tell you why the NRA is keeping a low profile. After Charlton Heston died, they are still looking for a Moses-clone with a reassuringly booming baritone in his voice, who will convincingly thunder on the airwaves, ‘It’s not the gun that’s the problem – the man who pulls the trigger is the problem.’

Either way, America, you do have a problem.