This is a cry for help.
For a couple of weeks now, I’ve been signing off my email with, “As Mista Moose-Puppet-Head would say, ‘Ha-cha-cha-cha!'” It speaks volumes about who I am and how long I have been, that not a single person has thought to ask, “Who is Mista Moose-Puppet-Head?”
Maybe they all assumed that it is just another obscure reference from a guy known for obscure references. Or maybe they just thought that if someone named Mista says something, there’d best be no backtalk. But I think it all comes down to the fact that unless you know Mista Moose-Puppet-Head, you really can’t care about him. And you should. You really should.
I so wish that I could provide a picture of Mista Moose-Puppet-Head, but alas, I no longer have one. So all I can do is describe him and where he lived. You see, Mista Moose-Puppet-Head was not a nice guy. He was a despot. He ruled over the Puppet Theater and generally abused all of its inhabitants. All except one: the antimatter baby—the only non-puppet in the whole place. And Mista Moose-Puppet-Head? He was this tall guy with a puppet head who acted like Frank Sinatra in Randy Newman’s Lonely at the Top: filled with himself, but a star by any measure.
The Puppet Theater was a kind of post-apocalyptic universe where all the puppets were safe. Think: Beckett’s Endgame. It lived inside a little magazine called Naked Toast. But it would perhaps be more accurate to say that it existed inside the supremely twisted mind of artist and writer Mark Neville. No, not that Mark Neville. Or that. Or that. Damn these common names! (And yes, I am perfectly aware there are no links there.) I thought my Mark Neville would be easy to find. Certainly by now he would have scanned his Puppet Theater cartoons and put them on the internet! But no. Certainly there would be some mention of Mista Moose-Puppet-Head. Again: no. In fact, Google provides no results at all for the way I believe his name was actually spelled: Mista MoosePuppetHead. There is nothing on Naked Toast or its predecessor Orange Toast.
Could it be that Mark is dead, literally or artistically? What if he is? That’s bad news and there’s only one thing to say.
I have managed to find two old chapbooks of Mark’s: The Time Dog (1991) and Died: Not Yet (1992). That second title is a bit ominous.