Cataplexis (kat-a-pleex’-is): Threatening or prophesying payback for ill doing.

“You broke my heart. You made me cry. Ain’t that a shame? My tears fell like rain.” Fats Domino, sometime in the 1950s. Fats needed a champion. Somebody to hit his faithless girlfriend with payback for what she did. Ain’t that a shame? Hell no. It’s the right thing to do.

I hired a private detective to find her. He told me her name was Nadine, she’s 84, and she lives in the Vieux Carre in New Orleans. I flew to New Orleans. It was the height of Mardi Gras. I bought a devil costume and put it on. It made me feel suitably evil to wreak revenge on behalf of Fats. Then, I realized it! She was the Nadine that Chuck Berry sang about—a cheating tart riding around in a Cadillac with her paramour. Chuck had to risk his life in an epic car chase to bring Nadine home.

Nadine lived in a tiny apartment over a topless place on Bourbon Street, where tourists go to get drunk and soak up the risqué nightlife. I knocked on her door. An elderly women with a walker opened the door. “Hello there,” she said when she opened the door. I looked over her shoulder and saw an autographed photograph of Chuck Berry with “Nadine why can’t you be true?” written across it. Then, I knew I was right about her being the Nadine in the song. I asked, “Were you the one who destroyed Fats Domino’s life too?” She said: “Fats and Chuck were the loves of my life, but I couldn’t choose between them—when Chuck did his duck walk across the stage, and Fats pounded on his piano, I was in ecstasy. They wanted the three of us to move in together, but my religious faith kept me from doing so. It was the worst decision I ever had to make: I couldn’t have both of them, so I would have neither of them. Chuck went into denial, believing I was cheating on him. Fats handled it better, crying and realizing it was a genuine shame—that I hadn’t betrayed him. I never married or had children. I was a topless dancer until my boobs gave out when I turned 50. Chuck and Fats would visit every now and then. Sometimes we’d go out to dinner—the three of us. When Chuck and Fats passed, they left me $1,000,000 between them, but I haven’t moved. All I did was buy a titanium walker, a pair of orthopedic shoes, and a bidet.”

As she spoke, my anger and desire for revenge evaporated. I understood the painful decision she had to make to uphold her faith. I looked at the switchblade in my hand, and though for a second that I should stab myself for being such an idiot.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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